My Overall Rating:
If you’re looking for a digital piano that has that superb grand piano sound that is unmistakable, and which sound better than keyboards twice its price, then you’ve got to look at the Roland FP4 Digital Piano.
I have tried many digital pianos, including the Yamahas, Casios and Rolands, and the Roland FP4 is the one I currently use. I auditioned all the current models in the music shop of acoustic grand pianos as well as digital pianos, and the Fp 4F and the FP 7F are the ones I chose and would recommend. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, and can spare this in your budget, then you should see my latest review of the Roland FP 7F here.
I would have said Yamaha had the top digital pianos a few years ago, but now I would say that the Roland is my personal choice. And if you thought the original FP4 was great, the latest model FP 4F will really please you, even for the critical ears.
This digital piano Roland FP 4F (latest model) is currently on sale with a $300 discount on Amazon.com
I have used the Roland and found that:
1. The sounds is like that of a grand piano (even more than the original FP4)
Here’s a video of the Roland FP4 in action:
This is the most important criteria for me. After all, when you play any digital piano, the sound is what is most important. It is what makes you want to play for hours, and not get fatigue or notice that the sound is lacking and looking for more. Instead you focus on the sound and the music that you are creating, and just focus on that. This is the most important thing.
The sound is sampled from a grand piano, and though they don’t say it is from a specific brand, I would not be surprised if it was from a Steinway. I have tried Steinway grands B and D size, as well as Yamaha grands etc. The most impressive thing about the sound is that it sounds like a high quality grand that it is from. Compared to many Yamaha digital pianos which doesn’t have the richness of sound, the Roland FP4 and even more so, the FP4F has this quality of sound that makes you want to play and just focus on your expression, and it just sounds like it’s a concert grand piano, with all the beauty of its tone, which is a rare thing to find in digital pianos.
A great digital piano can sound better (or way better) than an acoustic piano because the sampled sounds are superior and from a way better piano. Not just this, but the sounds has to be reproduced really well as well.
So if you’re looking for great sound, which is the most important criteria, then look at the FP4F and you will enjoy your playing because the sound is good.
2. The touch of the piano
The next most important thing, which is closely related is the touch. The touch is excellent on the Roland FP4F and is something that I have read about even before I tried the FP4F for the first time.
When I tried it, I just enjoyed playing on it, and the touch felt real and expressive. The keyboard is the ‘deluxe Ivory Feel-G Keyboard with Escapement’ Progressive Hammer Action keyboard which means it has responsiveness, and a genuine feel and this is important too. When you do trills or turns or rapid notes, it can handle it just like an acoustic piano. The other test is when you hit it soft and hard, the sound that comes out is expressive and responsive.
The latest Roland FP 4F is currently on sale with a $300 discount on Amazon.com
This is where you play notes softly, the notes have a certain character. When you play hard, the notes sound different, ie the timbre changes are pleasurable, just like you expect with an acoustic piano, which means that the piano is expressive, varies with your touch, which is what you want from a piano acoustic or digital.
Roland keyboards have been developing and improving and at this stage feels excellent to the touch, which helps you play.
Here’s a video of the Roland FP4F digital piano in action:
3. The features are plentiful
The Roland FP4F digital piano has plenty of features, from recording MIDI to your computer, or the sound output to your computer, to playing pre recorded songs, or having accompaniments (over 80 types of session partners, automatic and input with keyboard) that creates the entire sound of a band or rock group.
This is why this keyboard is so good for classical music players, rock bands – it is used with amplifiers for rock bands – I have heard it like this and it sounds so professional, and most genres in between.
There is of course the 1/4 inch headphone jacks (2 of them) for playing and listening with a friend, MIDI and USB out (whichever you prefer or need to use), input jacks to play music from an external source to the FP4, output RCA phono jacks to record the audio from the keyboard, and pedal jacks (soft, sostenuto). These features makes recording as MIDI, or as audio easy, so that you can store your favorite recordings and share with others easily.
The control buttons are quite easy to use, and most functions are intuitive. If you want to select more complex functions like registering a preset of instrument settings, then the user manual is easy to read and tells you step by step which buttons to press, and it makes it easy.
There are a few grand piano sounds, but I like the main one the best, and feel no need to change to another type. There is a European grand piano sound that is more mellow, but I prefer the main one that sounds like a Steinway to me.
There are many other sounds, 345 tones, that vary from guitar and harpsichord to airy voices and all sorts of sounds and instruments. This may be entertaining, and great if you need to record more than 1 track, to MIDI.
There is the full 128 voice polyphony which means little chance of dropping out of tones when using pedal.
In terms of effects, there is damper resonance, string resonance, and key off resonance (off, 1-10 for each) which means that you can tailor the sound of the piano exactly to your taste with small increments of each effect. For most part, you can just go with the default but if you have specific taste, then you can adjust these to your liking with very good control.
There’s 5 levels of touch sensitivity available, in case you want a lighter or harder touch.
Even the master tuning and 8 temperaments are available, in case you need to play with acoustic instruments tuned to different pitches, or want to try a different temperament.
In terms of accessories, the main one is the pedal and the stand. I prefer the dedicated stand ( KSC-44). If you gig though, you may want the KS-18Z stand that you can easily transport and place the FP4 on. The standard pedal (DP-10 pedal) is the sustain pedal, which is what most people will ever need, though there is the option of the 3 pedal as well.
In conclusion, the Roland FP-4F is a digital piano for you if you love a real and authentic piano sound that sounds just like a quality grand piano that is unmistakable the moment you hear it. I was totally surprised and pleased that Roland was able to produce this quality of piano sound that to me is better and way more natural than the V piano which costs many times the price.
It’s for you if you want a quality piano sound that makes you enjoy playing for as long as you like without fatigue and that makes you enjoy playing because the instrument sounds so good – as I said, very rare to find in digital pianos.
The touch is excellent and feels totally natural and the deluxe Ivory Feel-G Keyboard is weighted gradated.
The features are plentiful and if you want to record, use all kinds of sounds, effects that you can adjust to your own liking, use the session partner and more, then you can do it easily.
In terms of value for money, I would say that it is very good value. The Roland FP4 F price is low compared to the keyboards that offer similar sound but are twice the price. So it is very good value for money.
The grand piano sound, touch and all the features I’ve found means that you play and improve your playing as the sounds is that of a grand that you can listen to all day, even for critical ears. And you can hear and see the response of the keyboard which means that your playing will improve as it responds to your actions.
So if you’re looking for a digital piano, then get the Roland FP4F and you will immediately enjoy the piano and your playing. The moment you hear the sound, you will feel pleasure that a good piano sound gives to you, and the many hours of pleasure of playing a good instrument.
Note: this digital piano Roland FP4 F is currently on sale with a $300 discount on Amazon.com
Here’s a video of the original Roland FP4 in action:
Want the original version of Roland FP4? You can get the original FP4 with a $220 discount
If you want the latest model the Roland FP4F with an equally real grand piano sound with even more realism and escapement touch as well, then get the latest model Roland FP 4F with the $300 discount at Amazon.com while it’s still on sale at Amazon.