Roland FP-7F Review: Latest Model Roland FP7 Review

My Overall Rating: stars

Roland FP 7F available as a bundle package price at BHPhoto.com

If you’re looking for a digital piano that sounds the most like a live grand piano, at half the cost of other digital pianos, then you’ve got to have a look at the Roland FP-7F digital piano.

After trying many digital pianos from Yamahas, to Casios to Rolands, and others including Kurtzweil and more, the Rolands win out in my ears. When comparing the Roland FP-4F and the Roland FP-7F, both are great keyboards, but the FP-7F is better and is a different experience.

When you play the FP 4F it’s a great sound, but when you play the FP 7F, you almost believe that you are playing an acoustic grand piano – something that is very difficult to achieve with digital pianos. I will also compare this with the V piano by Roland in a moment, and see why the V piano is in my opinion no match for the FP 7F.

roland fp7f review digital piano

This digital piano Roland FP 7F is currently on sale with a bundle package price at BHPhoto.com here for $100 less than buying the piano and stand separately.

So what’s the sound like from the Roland FP 7F?

1. The sound from the Fp 7F is more real than almost every other digital instrument I have played so far in this price range.

The sound is the most important part of choosing your digital piano. Yes? Absolutely.

Let’s first look at the FP4. When you play the FP 4F it’s nice, but you can tell it’s “coming from speakers”. This is very common with so many digital pianos and is a weakness that holds the pleasure of playing back.

But when you play the FP 7F, it feels like you are playing a real instrument, especially in the bass notes, where this is typically weak and ‘speaker like’ sound found in other digital pianos. This is a major difference between the two that you will have to hear and experience. The speakers in the FP 7F sound better and gives you the impression that you are with a live instrument. It’s not a loudness difference. It’s a quality of sound difference. .

It is a major breakthrough as I am concerned with the Rolands. I have played the Roland FP7 (old model) and it was like, OK, the sound is coming out of speakers.

But with the new model, when you hit the notes soft, it sounds like it should, when you play the notes hard, the base roars like a Steinway, and whichever way you play it, you almost feel that you are playing a live grand piano.

The response is that I could simply enjoy the beauty of the sound that is coming out of the instrument. This is when the instrument inspires you to play, because you feel as if you are playing an acoustic grand.

The way I could tell is that when you hold the pedal down and play randomly some high notes to test the realism of the overtones. When I did this it’s like pure pleasure again, at the gorgeous overtones, like the ones you get with a good acoustic grand piano.

This is why I like it so much.

The realism is there and is not something that you will find even in the V piano. The V piano has a cheaper piano sound, even though the cost is many times more. When you play the FP7F, it sounds like you’re playing a grand piano.

Here’s a video of the Roland FP 7F digital piano in action:

2. The touch is even better than the original FP7.

There is the newly developed PHA III Ivory Feel-S Keyboard with Escapement in the Roland FP7F.

The touch is natural that when you play you feel like it is an acoustic grand. This is a complement for the FP7F. Many digital pianos are let down by touch that is not real and this makes the playing experience low. But the Ivory feel keys and the escapement, where there is that slightly more resistance in the middle of the keystroke when you play the note softly, makes it feel even more like an acoustic piano.

When you play loud, you go through this resistance without feeling it, like an acoustic.

The touch responds to fast movements like trills and turns and repeated notes.

All, in all very expressive.

When I say expressive, I mean the timbre changes and naturally varies as in character as it does on a very good and expensive grand when you play soft or loud, like a real acoustic grand should, not underdone or overdone (can be in some Casios).

In fact it was so good that I played bass octaves loud, and it was just pleasure. I could listen to just these base notes and octaves played all day with its rich sonority. When you play random notes in the higher register with the pedal down, there is pleasure that you again could do this just to enjoy the tones from the piano.

Again, this is rare, as most digital pianos you just want to get away from the tones as they sound not real. But when it sounds real, you just want to play and experience and feel the notes.

3. The features are plentiful.

Like with all Roland digital pianos with 88 keys, there is more than enough features.

Firstly the keyboard looks nice. It looks neat and will fit in any kind of room, and is easy on the eye.

The features include the so called Super-natural Piano Sound which is Roland’s technology for producing its piano sounds with more realism than by sampling alone.

If you like to customize the piano sound you can do so to fine degrees of control. You can adjust the Hammer Noise (-2 to 2), Damper Noise (Off, 1 to 10), Duplex Scale (Off, 1 to 10), Damper Resonance (Off, 1 to 10), String Resonance (Off, 1 to 10), Key Off Resonance (Off, 1 to 10) to tweak the sound to exactly the way you like.

roland fp7f review digital piano

This digital piano Roland FP 7F is currently on sale with a bundle package price at BHPhoto.com here for $100 less than buying the piano and stand separately.

I found the default excellent and felt no need to tamper, but if your living room or where you play is different, or if you like more or less resonance, then you can adjust this exactly.

In terms of other sounds there are 351 tones including 8 drum sets, to play with or to record multiple tracks if you wish. There is maximum polyphony of 128 voices which is plenty. There is 80 session partners to play along with, as well as 74 internal songs included.

There are 8 ‘temperaments’ if you want to use these, and tuning ability by 0.1 Hz increments if you play with instruments that are in a different tuning.

In terms of connections, there are plenty including MIDI in and out, audio line in and out (1/4-inch phone jacks), 2 headphone jacks 1/4 inch for listening and playing with a friend by headphones, a USB connector where you can place a USB stick, all to make recording your performance to computer by MIDI or audio easy.

All this makes customising the sound as well as recording easy.

The standard pedal DP-10 is the sustain pedal that comes with the piano, and there is a 3 pedal RPU-3 if you want as an optional extra. I would get the stand KSC-44 keyboard stand, unless you are doing gigs and will then want the KS-18Z stand for performing on stage.

Summary

In conclusion, I am most impressed with the FP 7F by Roland. If you want a digital piano that sounds like a real acoustic grand with the beauty of the tone and realism in sound that you can really hear and experience, then this is for you.

There is no comparison to the V piano and other pianos that cost 2 to 3 times its cost. The FP 7F as I said, makes it feel as if you are playing an expensive grand piano, whereas the sound from the V piano sounds like a cheap piano and has way less realism to a classically trained ear, and cost more than twice the price.

Is it value for money?

Though it is more expensive than the FP 4F, the quality of sound makes it definitely value for money. The experience of playing this instrument is pleasurable and feels real, and this is something that is rare to find in digital pianos. When you play the notes soft or loud, there is pleasure in the experience.

When this happens as you play the FP7F, you want to play more and you focus on the expression and the playing. The sound being real and present, as if you are playing an acoustic grand, makes even random notes and improvisation sound so good and feels so enjoyable.

This is the major difference between the Roland FP 7F and other pianos. You feel like you’re playing a real live acoustic grand and you focus on your playing and there is no much more pleasure than on a digital piano that can’t deliver this.

Deciding between the FP 4F and the FP 7? Bottom line is, if you love the piano and the sheer sound of a piano, and have critical ears like I do, then the FP 7F is definitely for you.

So if you want a digital piano that sounds real, and where your experience is so much better, then go for the Roland FP 7F.

roland fp7f review digital piano

This digital piano Roland FP 7F is currently on sale with a bundle package price at BHPhoto.com here for $100 less than buying the piano and stand separately.

20 thoughts on “Roland FP-7F Review: Latest Model Roland FP7 Review

  1. admin Post author

    The Roland FP 7 has “88 keys PHA II keyboard” and the FP 4 has “88 keys PHA alpha II keyboard” so I think they are different.

  2. mike

    Appreciate the informative review of the FP7. After 12 yrs, I’m retiring my FP3. It’s been a true road warrior, and though heavy, that’s the price you pay for a solid gig performer. I, too, chose the Roland for its realistic action, as I play an accoustic, too and want to maintain my finger strength. As a pure session player I’m less concerned with the number of voices as the quality of them. And the enclosed speakers aren’t important because I play through a Peavy self-powered PA. I’ve tried the new red Korg, the Yamaha C300 and various other Rolands, but, given my experience with the FP3, I’ll stick with Roland. Strangely, our local Guitar Center doesn’t keep them in stock, so I’ll have to order one. Also looking at the Roland amps so any suggestions are appreciated.

  3. Pran

    I have two questions. First where can I try this piano in Orange County, Ca area? Secondly, I had two Roland keyboard in the past that had keyboard issues as the keys were stuck. Will this happened again on this new key board? Thanks, Pran

  4. admin Post author

    Hey Mike,

    The sound must be better with a good amplifier for gig purposes.

    I use an amp for recording purposes but not for gig purposes, so I wonder if anyone else has a good suggestion here?

  5. Jason

    “The FP 7F as I said, makes it feel as if you are playing an expensive grand piano, whereas the sound from the V piano sounds like a cheap piano and has way less realism to a classically trained ear, and cost more than twice the price.”

    Why would you even say this? The fp-7f has some legitimate advantages over the V, but the V sounding like a cheap piano in comparison isn’t one of them. Undermines your credibility.

  6. admin Post author

    Hi Jason,

    I may have got carried a little away there! I think my impression was that the midrange of the V Piano to me (my preference only – so others may disagree!) that it doesn’t sound like a ‘normal’ piano, it is so strange in character, and put me off the experience.

    To give credit where credit is due, the bass of the the V piano is its strong point: very solid, ringing, good bass together with a “very” fast response from the keyboard, you can play octaves very loud and very fast at the bass and it sounds good and solid.

  7. Michael

    Personally, I agree with the comments about the Roland FP-7F. I love Roland products. I own two Roland A-80 controllers, and the first I purchased new in 1989.

    However, I trust less the opinion of anyone who has a problem with the sound of the Roland V-Piano (probably because they lack the ability to tweak the controls like nothing that can be done with a real acoustic piano), as it sounds fantastic, even for the most discriminating classically-trained ear.

    I guess someone messed with the settings and the reviewer didn’t realize this, or else plain ignorance as to the true range of capabilities of the V-Piano. The V-Piano Grand is the penultimate. Mid range and even specific control of key ranges, or each and every element of individual keys are possible with the V-Piano. If you want fuller mid range, this can be entirely customized with the V-Piano, or bass, or whatever, where this is not possible with the FP-7F.

    I don’t know about you, but I cannot remember the last time I could instantly adjust the thickness of felt on my piano keys, or change the strings to silver, copper, double or triple strings, or provide the warmth and resonance of a 9-foot (or larger) grand piano. Yes, the V-Piano does all of this, and way more.

    Essentially, the PHA-III keys with escapement provides the very real feel of ivory keys, even down to absorbing finger-tip sweat, just like ivory keys (unlike any other cheaper imitation plastic keys).

    The most important element left out of the description of the Roland SuperNatural Piano sound engine is that it is not sampled. It’s modeled. That’s a fundamental difference. Sampling merely records the timbre and characteristics of typically seven different key strike velocities. When one tries to introduce subtle qualities utilized in classical piano playing, sampling falls apart. Only true modeling seamlessly provides the “missing link.”

    I have sought for years what is embodied within the Roland V-Piano, and now with both the FP-7F and stage 700SX with the PHA-III, etc., it’s there at a better price.

    If you want the best sounding piano and control over all of the nuances, hands down, get the Roland V-Piano. If you don’t have that kind of money and don’t want to sacrifice the sound (but can do without some of the more interesting controls and output options), get the FP-7F. You won’t be disappointed with anything but the output choices (I wish it had balanced stereo or better digital outputs).

  8. admin Post author

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for your comments about the V Piano.

    I tried it at a shop with headphones, and based on what you said, I will have to try again, and see if I can test the mid range again. Maybe someone did tweak the settings and I didn’t realise it!

    I do remember the bass is very good, and even addictive in a way as it has a great, strong sound and such fast reaction with a good mechanism of keys.

  9. admin Post author

    I know, those guys at session music do so many video reviews, and not in English – I just skip to the playing parts!

  10. milton cyntje

    Whether you by the 7f or 4f depends really on your needs,
    I purchased a 7f last week from JR music world in NYC, but took it back and purchased the 4f instead. The reason is the weight. If you need a keyboard just to travel around with, then 4f is just fine. That assumes you have a better quality one at home

  11. Brent Taprell

    I purchased the the Roland f7 and we use this in our showroom. We sell Ammo Garage Doors
    doors, gates, remotes and motors. I use the piano as a display and we find our customers all play the piano whilst waiting to be served.
    We have found that 1 out of 5 customers are actually very good.
    This has been a great product for us as we can also play music brought the pa system too through the p7.
    Regards,

    Brent Taprell
    Ammo Garage Doors and Gates
    Amarr Garage Doors Australia
    1300654244

  12. Sean McLaughlin

    I have been recording with the FP7 F and have an advantage listening to playback through a great studio monitor system.
    I have owned a lot of digital pianos over the years. From the Roland Mks 20, Kurzweil Micropiano, an Oberheim piano module (sympathetic resonance!), and Ivory. Each successive generation gets SO much better.

    My problem was that I’d rather record my favorite acoustics with my project, but they are at a local arts school and very inconvenient to get to, let alone, set up the recording gear each time. I am recording a piano vocal project and was SO unhappy with my stable of digital pianos. I borrowed the VP7 F for the project, a slow, dreamy kind of music with lots of sustain etc. It is not perfect but it is SO enjoyable to play and sounds really really good. I don’t find myself hating it and wishing to be on a Steinway B or Bosendorfer instead for the purposes of this project. The tenor range sounds great, not just the bass and tenor, the sustain decay isn’t forever like the best pianos, but it it is at least as good as a lot of better quality grands I’ve played. It sounds like a very good recorded acoustic (which it is) and I can be me on it, not have to adjust my playing to make it sound acceptable. It of course sounds better with on board reverb and effects off. That is very telling. Not overly bright but not too dark either, very natural sounding. The only throwaway note is A above middle C, most pianos have one or two notes that run a little thin. Almost the Holy Grail. Almost there. Action feels great. Other sounds are somewhat usable. Rhodes without effects is cool.

  13. Scott

    I basically bought this Roland FP-7F, unplayed, on the strength of this recommendation. You really write well.

  14. Sean McLaughlin

    Wow. Thank you Scott. I hope you are enjoying your (now) “newish axe”. For the project I was working on, a girl singer-songwriter, we were actually able to use a lot of just piano/vocal “naked” in the end, rather than layering the piano tracks with other things to cover inadequacies, which is just great. Even in a stark solo setting with a vocalist, the Roland is pretty convincing. I didn’t mention I am also a piano tuner/technician so have played and worked on thousands of pianos, including apprenticing and working for my mentor at that institute art school which has a killer stable of high end performance grands. Now, of course, I will have to stop borrowing the Roland and get my own eventually! If I had to rely on the on board speakers alone in the FP7-F, I wouldn’t enjoy playing it nearly as much. For the price point and the physical size of the Roland Fp7F the built in speakers are a decent compromise but you don’t really hear this thing until you have it plugged into a great monitoring system. Having great quality monitors for listening to it (many steps above most performance gigging amplifiers which aren’t accurate at all) is a real key. Old NS-10M’s work, I use KRK Rockit 6’s which I like alot and they are LOUD. Gigging, I play alot of solo piano with three singers occasionally with a guitarist etc., acoustic sets; what never became a popular setup for most and they were very expensive at the time, I have a pair of Bose 802.2’s with one huge subwoofer, the 302.2, using my NS-10’s as foldback monitors in mostly more intimate settings. I’m sure the new Bose systems are great too. Many PA’s now (Mackie etc.) are so much better than a few years ago. Another thing? Not relying on a wobbly X stand to put the keyboard on. this Roland came with its furniture stand which is solid and stable. Lastly, I grab my artist’s bench from my real Yamaha grand and ditch my deskchair I usually sit on while tracking keyboard. Makes a real difference all of that getting good piano performances for me with this keyboard. Anyways, thanks for the kind feedback and enjoy!

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