Hi there! So, exciting news! Roland has upgraded 3 of their pianos in their FP line – the FP-30, the FP-60 and the FP-90 all have updated models available (FP-30x, FP-60x and FP-90x). I reviewed the FP-30 already you can read the full review here. Until I get the opportunity to rent / try out an FP-30x I will just briefly outline the major differences here between it and the FP-30.
Roland FP-30x Upgrades
So at the time of writing this review, I owned an FP-30 and absolutely love it – the key action is amazing (triple sensor with escapement & ivory feel keys), the piano sounds are spectacular and the speakers (22W) are more powerful and better sounding than the competitors in its price range, most of which have speakers in the 14-16 watt range.
But that being said, no piano is perfect and there are some areas with the FP-30 that I feel could really use some improvement, and the FP-30x has pretty much nailed most of them (not all of them though!)
NOTE: Please make sure that you confirm specs on the FP-30x on Roland’s website – they have already changed since I first saw them – You can confirm the current specifications here: https://www.roland.com/ca/products/fp-30x/
Proper L/R (1/4″) Line Outputs
This is a HUGE addition – with the FP-30, you have to use one of the headphone jacks with a splitter to send an audio signal to a PA system, amplifier, audio interface etc. While this is functional, proper line outputs will be a big improvement; the lack of line outs on the FP-30 is something that probably keeps many gigging musicians from choosing that instrument for a performance environment.
Bluetooth Audio In
Also a HUGE addition. This allows you to stream audio over Bluetooth to the piano speakers/headphones, so you can play along with music / lessons etc on your device. I read a lot of posts from FP-30 owners complaining that they thought the FP-30 did have this feature, only to find out it only has MIDI over Bluetooth, not audio (so you can hook it wirelessly to MIDI enabled apps, but you cannot send audio in or out). I think alot of the marketing material out there has “Bluetooth” in big bold letters and people may have assumed audio functionality without reading the finer print.
Record in Audio As Well As MIDI? Possibly . . .
When I first saw the specs on Roland’s website, it indicated that you could record in AUDIO as well as MIDI (the FP-30 only records in MIDI) and I was super excited about that – then a helpful subscriber on my YouTube channel commented that the ability to record in audio has been removed from the specs on the Roland website. So at this stage I have to assume that this was an error on their original specs; I apologize for any confusion I may have caused by reporting that this feature WAS available – I was merely outlining the specs they had on their site. It’s a shame though because this would have been a huge addition!
UPDATE: I have reached out to multiple sources (including Roland who has NOT responded) to confirm whether or not you can record in audio, and have recently been told by 3 sources that the USB to device port DOES transmit audio as well as MIDI! Assuming this is indeed the case, that means you should be able to stream audio from your device to the piano speakers, as well as send your piano audio directly to your device’s recording app/software without the need for an external audio interface (which should also give you a much higher quality audio recording because it is direct instead of going through an extra level of processing!)
Desktop Speaker Setting
The FP-30’s speakers are 22W and fantastic, but they do face downwards. This works fine (sound bounces off the floor and creates a very full & warm sound), but the only problem is that gets very muffled if you place the piano on a table as opposed to a stand. I remedied that with my custom piano stand I made by cutting circular holes in the shelf to match where the speakers are. The FP-30x has a setting added for when you place the piano on a table that apparently improve the speaker sound in that situation (I’m not a technical guy with speakers so I can’t say much more than “this is what Roland says”). I would like to try this out and see how it works, but I do know that other pianos (like the Yamaha P-125) have this feature so it’s not new.
Double The Polyphony
The polyphony (number of concurrent sounds the piano can produce) has increased from a respectable 128 to 256. I never had an issue with 128, a more advanced player might be able to, but would probably have to TRY to have notes drop off to make it happen. With 256 notes of polyphony, that is something no one will have to worry about, especially on a digital piano that doesn’t have arranger functions included that take up additional polyphony (backing rhythms and accompaniment etc).
More Voices And . . . Some Improved Ones?
The FP-30x has 46 voices compared to the FP-30’s 35 voices. But it’s not just that they added 11 voices, it appears they have reworked most of them, and added modulation speed control to some of the electric piano voices. Here are the 2 lists of voices:
NOTE: the voices in the E. Piano section with asterisks allow you to modify the modulation speed
Since I haven’t tested these in person yet, I cannot offer my opinion other than to say in some of the initial review videos I have seen, the electric piano sounds in particular seem to be much improved over those on the FP-30. As far as the piano sounds go, I didn’t notice too much of a difference in the main piano sound, but the Rock Piano was a nice addition. I look forward to being able to test these in person in the future.
Things That Are Gone
The Roland FP-30 has 8 onboard rhythms, and when using the Piano Partner 2 app, the app adds another 42 rhythms as well as accompaniment with some basic options. There are no onboard rhythms or accompaniment options in the FP-30x, but there are rhythms available within the new “Piano Every Day” app.
Since I play mostly modern music, rhythms were a feature I was looking forward to in the FP-30, and to be honest, I was pretty disappointed in them after owning the piano for a few months. Of the 8 onboard rhythms, I only found 2 usable (there is one decent syncopated and one decent swing rhythm; there are no decent straight, country or 3/4 rhythms onboard – the only 3/4 is a marching band style which doesn’t work well with rock/pop songs in 3/4). The 42 additional rhythms in the app are also lacking some very common rhythm types, and there are issues with the accompaniment detecting chords properly, and the app has to be the active window on your device or the rhythm & accompaniment stop (so if you want to use an app for lyrics / chord charts you will need a second device). I can’t really offer an opinion on the rhythms contained within the new app until I have a chance to try them; I would be worried about the same types of issues though (chord detection and the app must be the active window).
Given that the rhythms (in my opinion) didn’t turn out as useful as I had hoped, it’s not a huge loss not having them on the FP-30x (although I would have loved to see an improved rhythm & accompaniment functionality on the FP-30x).
App Differences (2 additions & 1 removal)
The Roland FP-30 has the Piano Partner 2 app, which I included in my review. After owning the piano for awhile to be honest I don’t use the app that often. It works fine to make controlling the piano easier – it does have some mildly “flaky” issues (mostly to do with the rhythms and accompaniment), and when I did use it I always connected it with a cable because the Bluetooth connection often gets forgotten and you have to go through a process to reconnect the device.
The Roland FP-30x is not compatible with “Piano Partner 2” and has a new app called “Piano Every Day” which I don’t have too much info on other than from what I have seen online. In addition to the usual “control your piano settings” interface, it can also track how much you play, it has the ability to download and display/scroll piano scores for you, it has some teaching capabilities and games and also adds the rhythm and accompaniment. The FP-30x also is compatible with Roland’s “Piano Designer” app which has been around for a while but was not compatible with the FP-30. This app allows you to further customize your piano sounds (opening and lowering the piano lid, that type of thing).
Roland FP-30x – The Verdict
While I have to admit I have not actually tested the FP-30x in person, I think it is pretty safe to say it is a massive improvement over the FP-30. It takes the best features of the FP-30 (amazing action and great piano voices) and adds improved voices & multiple MUCH needed functional features (Bluetooth audio in & proper line outputs). And apparently (I have heard this second hand but have not confirmed it myself) the USB to device port DOES have the ability to transmit audio as well as MIDI so this is a massive feature. The only things I wish they had done would be to improve the onboard user interface and to improve the onboard rhythm functionality instead of removing it altogether, but . . . you can’t have EVERYTHING 🙂
As far as pricing goes, this is really the kicker – for all this added functionality (from online pricing I have seen thus far) the FP-30x is only about $35 USD more than the FP-30!
So with all that in mind, I would definitely recommend this piano if it fits in with your needs and budget. And, if you aren’t too concerned with the features that the FP-30x adds, you might want to keep your eye on prices for the FP-30 in hopes of finding a discounted one.
If you would like to check current prices for the Roland FP-30x or the Roland FP-30 please click my appropriate affiliate link below to check that out.
Thanks so much, and happy piano playing! (and piano shopping 😉 )
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