Hi there! This is my review of the Roland FP-10 digital piano. This is the entry level piano in Roland’s FP line (FP-10, FP-30x, FP-60x and FP-90x); it doesn’t have a huge feature set, but when that feature set includes a great quality piano sample and Roland’s PHA4 triple sensor action with escapement & a matte finish on the keys, the FP-10 turns out to be an absolutely amazing value, especially for those players who’s main focus is a realistic piano action. The PHA4 action is also in the FP-30x (and the FP-60x which sells the more than twice the price!) I owned an FP-30 for about a year so I am quite familiar with the sounds and the PHA4 action.
Roland FP-10 Review – The Summary
Roland PHA-4 Action: 88 fully individually weighted graded hammer action keys WITH escapement, simulated ebony & ivory keytops & 5 levels of touch sensitivity
15 voices (Roland “Supernatural Sound Modeling”), accessible either with onboard key combinations or with the Piano Partner 2 app (app adds access to 20 additional voices when connected), 96 notes of polyphony
5 levels of ambience (reverb), 10 levels of brilliance (chorus) and for the piano tones: built in string, damper and key off resonance (always on)
Headphone (1/8″), MIDI usb out, USB type A port (updates only), generic 1/4″ sustain pedal input (“brick” switch pedal included), BlueTooth MIDI (no audio)
- 17 built in songs
- Transpose (and fine tuning) capability
- Can layer 2 voices
- Twin mode; can separate speakers L/R to match
- Half-pedaling (with an upgraded foot pedal: Roland DP-10)
- Memory backup: functions as a single registration to load your preferred settings when the piano is turned on
- 12 watts of speaker power
- compatible with most features of the Piano Partner 2 app from Roland:
- adds 20 voices
- adds ability to split voices (and to adjust relative volume of layered voices)
- adds ability to record midi
- adds some teaching functions (flashcard games, sheet music for built in songs)
- NOTE: Piano Partner 2 rhythms are NOT compatible with the FP-10
- Piano Designer app from Roland: officially the FP-10 is NOT compatible with this app, BUT it does seem to work – allows you to modify piano voices for things like string and damper resonance, open and closed grand piano lid etc.
Roland FP-10: The Details
Wow; where to start? Roland has taken the approach with their FP line of digital pianos of going all out with the quality of their keybeds and the quality of their sounds. The Roland FP-10, Roland FP-30x (which is $300 more than the FP-10)and Roland FP-60x (which is more than twice the price of the FP-10) all share Roland’s well known PHA-4 action. This is a TRIPLE sensor action – most . . . (well ALL that I am aware of) competitors in the price range of the FP-10 will only have dual sensors), so it is a VERY realistic playing feel when compared to an acoustic piano. It has 88 fully weighted, graded hammer action keys and the keys are individually weighted, which results in a more accurate playing experience that in most entry level digital pianos, where the keys are often weighted in groups instead of individually. The PHA-4 action also has escapement, which mimics the feel of the hammer leaving the string on an acoustic piano (this is a very rare if not non-existent feature in the competition at this price point). And Roland didn’t stop there; they also included simulated ebony & ivory keytops which really help a lot in preventing your fingers from slipping (which can be an issue with the shiny, smooth “plasticky” keys found on most entry->intermediate level digital pianos).
I owned an FP-30 (the predecessor to the FP-30x) for about a year so I am very familiar with the PHA4 action; I also had a Yamaha P-125 for a year, and I now own a Casio PX-S1100.
In comparison to the dual sensor GHS action on my Yamaha P-125 (also found on the P-125’S cheaper sibling, the Yamaha P-45 which is closer in price to the FP-10) the action on the FP-10 is noticeably different, even to a relative beginner like myself. It is solid, smooth and consistent and I definitely prefer the matte finish on the keytops over the smooth shiny plastic on the Yamaha. I’m not really accomplished enough of a player to notice the escapement when I play, but I can definitely feel it if I slowly press a key – you can feel the bump that is meant to mimic the letoff. I should mention that while the action is a more accurate representation of an acoustic piano than the P-125, it is also noticeably “heavier” to play. And action is a VERY personal thing, and my personal preference was actually towards the Yamaha, but I prefer lighter actions to heavier ones and that is not everyone else’s preference.
My current digital piano, a Casio PX-S1100 has a dual sensor “smart” action (the “smart” is software driven) that is a bit lighter and faster still than the Yamaha, and the Casio has that matte finish that I like, so out of all 3 of these, while I enjoy all of their actions, my favorite is the Casio. But like I said, everyone’s preference is their own, so you really need to try out all of these if it all possible before buying. The one thing I can say for sure though, is that if coming as close as possible to an acoustic action is important to you, then the Roland PHA4 is definitely the right choice.
And as a side note, when I owned my FP-30, my wife commented on how quiet the keys were compared to other pianos I have had; the FP-10’s key noise is quieter than the P-125, and a lot quieter than my Casio PX-S1100 (which is pretty loud).
There are 5 levels of touch sensitivity (actually there are 4 levels and an option to disable touch sensitivity); this means that the harder you strike a key the louder it is, and you have 4 levels of that to choose from. So, if you are accustomed to playing a piano with a really “heavy” feel, you can adjust the Roland FP-10 to match that more closely.
There are 15 voices on the Roland FP-10; you can access them either by combinations on the piano or from within the Piano Partner 2 app (Note that the app also gives you access to 20 additional voices . . .as long as you are connected). Once nice touch here that I wish other pianos without menu screens that make you choose voices with key combinations did is just label the keys with the voices – there are small labels above each key so you don’t have to memorize the selections.
Here is a sample of all the voices on the FP-10; I will go over some of the additional voices added by the Piano Partner 2 app when I go over the app and all the features that it adds to the FP-10.
The Roland FP-10 (and other pianos in their FP line) uses “Roland Supernatural Sound Modeling” technology for their sounds. This is a fascinating technology to read up on if you’re interested – it’s a technology used in many of Roland’s instruments. In the FP-10, it basically takes high quality piano sound samples (like other manufacturers use) but then “models” them “on the fly” based on how the notes are being played (adjusts the decay to make it more natural etc). I don’t claim to be a sound engineer or to begin to understand the workings of this technology, but what I can say is that I find the piano sounds on this instrument to be pretty impressive – the pianos sound very full and natural. In comparison to Yamaha’s entry level sounds (which are fantastic in their own right), the Roland sounds to me seem to have more “going on” – thicker fuller sounds, emphasizing the low end, while the Yamaha sounds tend to be much brighter. I think the voice quality on my Casio PX-S1100 is probably a bit more in line with the FP-10, especially with the massive effects section on tha Casio.
But, just like piano action, sounds are also a very personal thing – people tend to strongly prefer one style of sound or the other; neither one is “wrong” they are just very different (if you can try a Roland FP-10 side by side with a Yamaha P-125 and a Casio PX-S1100 or PX-S1000 in a store, I highly recommend it – and bring your headphones!).
The Roland FP-10 has 5 levels of ambience (reverb), 10 levels of brilliance (chorus), and then for the piano tones only there is built in string, damper and hammer off resonance (always on, but these are not configurable). So just like an acoustic piano (to the discerning ear), if you hold down a key like C until it is no longer making a sound, then quickly strike another key with a harmonic relationship to C then you will hear the C note resonating (as if the string started vibrating like it would on an acoustic piano). This is incredibly cool, and really adds to the realism of the Roland sounds, especially when compared to their competition in the same price range. Here is a video of the default grand piano sound with different levels of ambience and brilliance; I will also demonstrate the string resonance.
The Roland FP-10 has 2 x 6 watt speakers, which is average (or a bit less than average actually) for this price range. The speakers are downward facing, so they can sound fairly muffled if you put them on a table. I modified my homemade piano stand (when I owned my FP-30 actually) to cut some holes under the speakers and this made a big difference; but the speakers are still only useful for practice in a small room – and to be honest, the piano sounds absolutely amazing in headphones.
If you play the Roland FP-10 on a stand where the speakers are exposed (like an X-brace stand) they will sound much better, but physics are physics, so the 6 watt per side speakers really aren’t the greatest. If you did want to play without headphones I would highly recommend some external speakers (either some powered studio speakers or a keyboard amp/PA). Note that there is a setting where you can choose to enable the built in speakers as well as external speakers at the same time (by default the built in speakers are disabled when you plug headphones or speakers into the headphone/audio out port).
Here is a quick video demonstrating the speakers:
On the back, we have:
- USB Midi Port: connects to a pc, tablet or phone; can use it to connect to Piano Partner 2, or any app that understands MIDI data like GarageBand
- USB flash drive port: don’t get excited – unfortunately the only functionality with this port is for running firmware updates from a flash drive
- Generic 1/4″ sustain pedal port (there is a basic “brick” pedal included); you should either upgrade to a generic sustain pedal, or to the Roland DP-10 pedal which supports half-pedaling. There is no triple pedal option for the FP-10
- 1/8″ headphone port that doubles as audio out for connecting to external amplification
- BlueTooth MIDI (no audio): You can connect to a device like an iPad to send and receive BlueTooth MIDI (as opposed to using the USB to device port with a cable). So you can run apps like Piano Partner 2, or GarageBand this way; note that trying to record MIDI with BlueTooth can often suffer from some latency so for recording I would always recommend using a cable. I should also note that when I had my FP-30, I found that the BlueTooth connection was pretty unreliable – it often had to be reset & reconnected etc. I don’t know if this is an issue with the FP-10 as well, but with my FP-30 I always used a cable.
The two things that are noticeably lacking here are:
- no audio in (no port, no BlueTooth): so there is no way to stream audio into the piano to play along with – I do have a post with some solutions for this issue here
- no line out ports, which is the best way to connect the piano to external speakers, an audio interface or a PA system. You CAN use the headphone jack for this purpose (which is how I’m recording the FP-10 in this video). You split the signal into stereo with the proper splitter cable: stereo 1/8″ jack into the headphone port, splitting into 2 MONO jacks that go into the audio interface/external speakers. That is also the same connection I use in my busking setup where I connect my Casiotone CT-S1 keyboard from it’s headphone out to my Bose S1 portable PA and it sounds great.
So this is totally workable, and there are many people online, as well as some professional gigging musician friends of mine that are fine with this connection and use it regularly, even on gigs.
It is true however that you do get a stronger and better consistent signal from proper dedicated line out ports, so if you are a gigging musician or plan on doing a lot of audio recordings then this may be a sticky point for you – if not, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The other thing to note is that when you use the headphone jack for connecting to anything external, the speakers on the piano are muted by default; if you prefer you can override that and enable the built in speakers so that you can hear them as well as whatever external speakers you are connected to (would be a great monitor during a live performance where you’re connected to a PA or amp).
Roland Piano Partner 2 App
The Roland FP-10 is compatible with almost all the features of the free Piano Partner 2 app from Roland. You can connect to this app using either a USB to device cable, or you can use it with a BlueTooth connection (as I mentioned above, with my FP-30, I always used a cable because the BlueTooth connection was unreliable – I am also “old school” so you might prefer and really enjoy using BlueTooth) 🙂
When used with the Roland FP-10, Piano Partner 2 is a bit of a unique situation; with pretty much every piano app I have ever used, the app will have a nice graphical interface to help you control settings and voices on your piano more easily, and that is the case here as well, using the “Remote Controller” features . . . BUT . . . with the FP-10, the app actually ADDS some significant functionality that is not possible without having the app connected:
- adds 20 additional voices
- adds ability to split voices
- adds ability to adjust relative volume between layered voices
- adds recording functionality (MIDI only)
There are a lot of demos online that show all the functionality with Piano Partner 2, so in the video below I will focus on the features within the Remote Controller section, since this really alters what you can do with the FP-10. One thing that does come to mind for me though – companies will stop supporting apps at the drop of a hat, so while it is super cool that these features can be “added” to the FP-10 with the app, what happens a couple of years from now when you upgrade your iPad and find out the app isn’t compatible with a new version of iOS . . . just sayin . . .
Not to ignore the other functionality in this app, I’m listing that below:
Songs & Digiscore Light: In these sections you can choose from the included song list, and play along with the score – you can choose to mute the right and (or) the left hands if you like.
Rhythms: The rhythm section of Piano Partner 2 is not compatible with the Roland FP-10
Flash Cards: This is where you can test your sight reading and ear training. The app will either have you listen to a note and guess what note to play, or display a note and have you play it. It will keep score for you, and allows you to choose skill levels.
Recorder: In the recorder section, you can record your play (this will be a MIDI recording; you cannot record audio with the FP-10). You can play back your recordings, but that’s about it, so not really a huge feature in my opinion.
Diary: The diary allows you to track your sessions on the piano – you can report on how often you play, what keys you tend to play, do you hit them too hard etc. I didn’t spend too much time in this section but it looked kind of interesting.
Remote Controller: This is the section of Piano Partner 2 you will be likely to use the most often. It allows you to completely control your piano without using any of the onboard button combinations. So from within the app, you can choose your voices, choose voices for splits & layering (without the restriction of having to choose from 2 different categories), set your effects, transpose keys, fine-tune the keyboard, work with the metronome etc.
While there are some cool educational things in this app, to be honest if you are looking for an app or a course to get started on learning piano, I would highly recommend checking out either the flowkey app (there is a free version with limited functionality you can check out by following my affiliate link below), or one of the online courses I took and had tons of success with: Pianoforall, Piano in 21 Days or The Piano Man Approach.
Roland Piano Designer App
Roland has another app called the Piano Designer; this app is actually not officially compatible with the Roland FP-10 . . . but it seems to work. This app allows you to modify characteristics of your piano sounds like string resonance, open and close the lid of a grand piano, etc. Since it isn’t officially compatible I won’t cover too much of it here; I go over the basic featres in the video below. If you’re interested in it and have an FP-10, feel free to give it a go.
The Other Features
Metronome: You can configure the metronome not only for tempo, but you can also edit what beat the main “chime” is on (the default is 4, you can change that to 3 for 3/4, 2 for 2/4 etc).
Half-Pedaling: The FP-10 comes with a very plain “brick” foot pedal; you really should upgrade to either a generic pedal (make sure you get one with a polarity switch – I will link to one below), or to Roland’s DP-10 pedal which is compatible with half-pedaling. Note that there is no triple pedal unit available for the Roland FP-10.
Transposing: You can easily transpose keys up or down – super handy feature, especially for beginners (like me 🙂 ). NOTE: You can also fine tune your piano if you needed to match a recording or an acoustic instrument that isn’t tuned to an exact key signature.
Twin Mode: This splits the keyboard into 2 halves with the same octave (so that you and a teacher can both play the same notes at the same time). There is also a setting where you can have the left half of the piano play out of the left speaker and the right half play out of the right speaker.
Memory Backup: This allows you to automatically load your default settings when the piano is turned on (SORT of like a single registration). Settings that are included are: metronome volume, ambience (reverb), brilliance (chorus), key touch, master tuning, and whether external speakers are always on or not.
The Other Choices
The main competition for the Roland FP-10 would be the Yamaha P-125 and the Casio PX-S1100 (or the prior version PX-S1000).
Roland FP-10 vs. Yamaha P-125
The Yamaha P-125, currently selling for about $700USD, is either close to the best selling piano in the world (or it possibly is the best selling); it used to be compared most often to the Roland FP-30, but over the last couple of years, while all piano manufacturers have raised their prices, Roland has raised theirs a bit more than Yamaha. As a result, the FP-30x (formerly the FP-30) is suddenly $160USD or so more than the Yamaha P-125, and the Roland FP-10 is only about $50 less than the P-125, so it is closer in price.
I owned both a Roland FP-30 (with the same action and main sounds as the FP-10) and a Yamaha P-125 for about a year each. To be honest the FP-10 and the Yamaha P-125 are both awesome pianos, and either one is a great choice; but which one is right for YOU depends on your interests and needs.
In a general sense, as far as overall features go (especially when you don’t include features added by the Piano Partner 2 app) the Yamaha P-125 wins that battle hands down: the P-125 has a few more voices, twice the polyphony (192), built-in split voices, onboard MIDI recording, built in rhythms to practice with, proper 1/4″ line out ports to connect to external amplification, and an audio interface built into the USB port (which not only allows you to record high quality audio WITHOUT needing an external audio interface, it also functions as an audio in to stream in audio to play along with).
So why doesn’t the P-125 win the WAR hands down? While your personal preference of piano sounds may go either way, Roland’s Supernatural sound engine is definitely a more advanced technology, but most of the reason to lean towards the FP-10 is Roland’s PHA4 triple sensor action with escapement and ivory feel keys! This is the same action Roland has in the FP-60x which is over twice the price of the P-125, and actually competes with Yamaha’s P-515 (which is more than twice the price of the P-125). That being said, piano key action is a VERY personal thing, so you have to try these out yourself to fully decide what you will enjoy playing the most. I liked the action on both of these, but I personally prefer a lighter action so I prefer the Yamaha – BUT that is just me. If getting the most realistic acoustic piano action possible is super important to you? You will prefer the Roland FP-10. And if BlueTooth MIDI is a valuable feature for you (it’s not for me to be honest), that is also something that the FP-10 has that the Yamaha doesn’t have. And, the Piano Partner 2 app does add notably missing features like splitting voices and adjusting relative volume of layered voices.
So which one is better for you? It really depends on:
- Which action do you prefer (if you want the most realistic action compared to an acoustic piano, the Roland wins easily)
- Which piano sounds do you prefer (this is totally personal)
- How important to you are the extra features the Yamaha has that the Roland does not? (rhythms, splitting voices without an app, L/R line outs, built in audio interface/audio in)
For example, if you are taking traditional piano lessons on an acoustic piano, or plan to be playing acoustic pianos regularly (school, church, friends place etc) then the more realistic action on the Roland may be important to you. Or, if you plan to play live shows/gigs consistently, the dedicated line out ports on the Yamaha may be important to you.
Regardless of which you prefer, these are both fantastic instruments from great manufacturers so you really can’t go too wrong.
Roland FP-10 vs. Casio PX-S1100 / PX-S1000
The Casio PX-S1100 (introduced in late 2021; a slight upgrade from the PX-S1000) is the same price as the Roland FP-10; they are both awesome pianos, but they are also VERY different and as such will appeal to very different customers. I can speak to that from a personal standpoint; after having owned a Roland FP-30 and a Yamaha P-125 each for a year, what piano did I just buy? A PXS-1100. But, as I said, everyone has different needs and preferences.
As with the Yamaha P-125, if you compare the PX-S1100 to the FP-10 on features alone, the Casio also wins hands down. Features on the Casio PX-S1100 that the FP-10 does not have include: built in splitting of voices, a MASSIVE effects section (reverb, chorus, surround and brilliance with MANY types and levels) for modifying any sound, and an acoustic simulator section to modify piano sounds with things like string and damper resonance, it has proper L/R line outs, it has BlueTooth audio in (as well as BlueTooth MIDI), twice the polyphony (192), built in MIDI recording, can record audio (.wav) directly to a flash drive, has an available triple pedal unit with half pedaling, and can run on batteries.
The sounds are once again a personal preference, but the Casio is technically (in my opinion) a lot closer in quality and complexity to the Roland sounds than the Yamaha is, especially with the massive effects section included where you can modify your sounds, and the acoustic simulator to modify your piano voices.
So once again, we are down to the PHA4 action on the Roland FP-10. While I personally prefer the action on the Casio, I happen to really like lighter actions, and have no need or desire to play a heavier action that more closely resembles an acoustic piano. But I am not everyone (thankfully 😉 and many players will be much more focused on getting a more realistic acoustic piano action; those players will NOT like the action on the Casio and will much prefer the action on the Roland FP-10.
So once again:
- Which action do you prefer (if you want the most realistic action compared to an acoustic piano, the Roland wins easily)
- Which piano sounds do you prefer (this is totally personal)
- How important to you are the extra features the Casio has that the Roland does not? (splitting voices without an app, L/R line outs, BlueTooth audio in, more effects, portability (smaller size and can run on batteries))
Roland FP-10 vs. Roland FP-30x
Now this is could be a confusing one! The Roland FP-30x is about 25% more expensive than the FP-10 (and 15% more than the Yamaha P-125!), so you have to evaluate how important the differences are between the two to decide whether that extra $ is getting you something you want/need. Probably the best indicator here is if you absolutely want the PHA4 action of the Roland FP-10, but you ALSO really want some of the notable features that the Yamaha P-125 has that the FP-10 doesn’t, like L/R line outs, splitting voices without the app, and a built in audio interface/audio in. The FP-30x also has much bigger speakers (22 watts), a USB flash drive port to save/play audio or MIDI from and it is compatible with a triple pedal unit.
Roland FP-10 Review – The Verdict
I think the comparisons to the Yamaha P-125 and Casio PX-S1100 have answered this already but; does this describe “you”?
- having the most realistic acoustic piano like action is super important to you (you want to be able to make the transition from your digital to a real piano as easy as possible)
- you want to mostly play piano sounds (maybe some electric piano occasionally, but you will spend 90% of your time just on piano)
- you don’t care about or need features like rhythms or splitting voices
- you either don’t intend to gig or use external amplification (or are ok using a headphone port to connect to external amplification, audio interfaces etc)
- you don’t need to use a triple pedal unit
If that does describe you, then I can definitely recommend the Roland FP-10 – it is a piano you will most likely love! It has an amazing action, and some great quality piano sounds, for a VERY inexpensive price. If the action is super important to you, BUT you really want some of those missing features, then you might need to look to the Roland FP-30x. And if you aren’t particular about the action and really want some of those other features, then either the Yamaha P-125 or the Casio PX-S1100 are great options.
If you would like to check current prices for the Roland FP-10 or FP-30x, Yamaha P-125, Casio PX-S1100 please click my appropriate affiliate link below to check that out. I’ve also included links for a generic sustain pedal and the Roland DP-10 pedal that supports half pedaling.
Thanks so much, and happy piano playing! (and piano shopping 😉 )
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If you have any questions about my experience with any of the pianos & keyboards I have reviewed, please feel free to contact me!
Video Version Of This Review: