Roland FP4 REVIEW: Latest Model Roland FP 4F Digital Piano

My Overall Rating: stars

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.

roland fp4 review digital piano

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.

roland fp 4f review digital piano

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.

Summary

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.

roland fp4 digital piano

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:

Update:

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.

16 thoughts on “Roland FP4 REVIEW: Latest Model Roland FP 4F Digital Piano

  1. Manuel Gutierrez Rojas

    Hello there,

    You’ve got quite a detailed review of the FP-4F; then again, it’s hard to find any review of the product. However, I don’t really understand what is so much better about the FP-7F. You give the impression that it sounds better, though I understood that the main difference between the two is that the 7F has PHA-III Ivory keys while the 4F has G Ivory keys, which are much lighter (according to some stiff/slow). The on-board SN pianos would be the same, though you could tweak them more on the 7F so that they would sound the same through headphones. Although both have 12W speakers, not only does the 7F project the sound upwards (like an upright does) while the 4F projects it away from you, the quality of them seems better.

    It might not be true, though; this is what I observed. I have the FP-4F White (with KSC-44 stand).

    Mano

  2. admin Post author

    Hi Mano,

    When you compare the FP-4 with the FP-7F, while they are both very good instruments, the sound is different. I feel that the overtones in the FP-7F sound more real and has an ambience to it, especially when reverb is on. And the other major difference is the low notes, when you play octaves or chords, the sound is fuller and richer like what you’d expect from an acoustic piano. But having said this, the FP-4 sounds very coherent and very nice and non fatiguing, even when you play for a long time with headphones. The midrange is pretty good in both instruments. The Roland FP-7F uses a newer technology to produce the sound, than the FP4, and it sounds different.

  3. Pingback: Roland FP4 Review: Roland FP-4 Sound Test | Latest Audio Reviews

  4. Manuel Gutierrez Rojas

    The FP-4F was released after the FP-7F (I wasn’t talking about the FP-4, so I think the technology is the same, just stripped down in options with the 4F. I need to recheck, but I think the difference the 7F sounds clearly better than the 4F is the better on-board speakers (and projection of sound) of the 7F. With headphones, both might sound the same.

    Anyway, I kept my FP-4F, but I am planning to buy some decent external speakers.

    Mano

  5. Jim Turner

    I have the old FP-4 and have purchased the new FP-4F. The piano sampling is better (longer sustain, more legato, darker, fatter tone, and more natural) however the new model’s action is sluggish and physically tiring to play. I can play Chopin Etudes on the old FP4 action with out straining but get quickly tired on the over weighted new FP-4 action. It is a strain to play. My tendinitis actually flared up almost right away with the new FP-4F action. It feels stiff and resistant, the keys don’t bounce back or move as fast as the easier to play FP-4 original action or as on my Mason & Hamlin grand.

    Two other complaints I have are that they have not included an editable Effects generator on the new FP-4F, whereas the old FP-4 had a sophisticated library of effects. Also, there is no volume balance control for when in Split Mode, so if the bass for the left hand is too loud or too soft for whatever sound you are using in right hand you are stuck because there is absolutely now way to adjust the balance.

  6. admin Post author

    Hi Jim,

    Very interesting to hear what you thought of the FP-4F vs FP-7F. I agree that the speakers are better on the 7F in the later models compared to the FP4F. Interestingly, the speakers on the FP4 I feel is better than the FP7 especially, if you don’t have the piano right up against a wall.

    In terms of action, hopefully the tendonitis will get better soon. I find that it also depends on whether you also play other keyboards in other venues. Eg if you also play an acoustic that is heavy weighted (not as heavy as my piano teacher’s Petrof – that’s a beast!) you will need to adjust between them.

  7. admin Post author

    Hi Mani,

    Let us know how you go with the external speakers for the FP4F and which you would recommend.

  8. admin Post author

    Hey Manuel,

    I do agree that the onboard speakers sound better on the FP7F than the FP4F especially the bass, very strong.

    Interestingly, the onboard speakers on the FP4 to me sound better than the FP7.

    But I think you’re right, with headphones it should be similar or same.

  9. Dal Carver

    One thing I don’t like about the FP7 is that it doesn’t have a Wurlitzer-style electric piano sound. I use that a lot. I wonder why they left it off.

    I play an FP3 that’s just about run its course, and I’m thinking about changing to an FP4.

  10. pete diamonds

    hey, i wanna know if the fp-7f has got volume cntrl for e split mode, i mean e split voices..and also if it has got effects cntrl..tanx.

  11. marlies

    First, I dont understand why my just new bought Roland FP 4, sounds a lot different than yours on this site. My speakers have an awful hissing noise even when I’m not playing and the volume is off and even when it’s not placed against a wall!
    Do you use an external amplifier and external speakers in this films?

    Second: some of the lower notes on my fp4 sounds like horns in the normal grand piano position. They just dont fit in the row.
    I also have a good accoustic piano and the sound is not comparible. Also the sustain pedal acts different: the fp4 has a lot less sustain.
    I bought this one to study silent, and I use Roland RH200S headphones which sound a lot better, but the internal speakers of the fp4 are rubbish. So I’m looking for a solution, but what can I do best? Which external speakers and amplfier do you use at home?
    Thanks.

  12. admin Post author

    Hi Marlie,

    Here’s my recording direct from Roland FP4 to my computer with no added processing such as EQ or reverb etc…

    http://www.latestaudioreviews.com/keyboards/roland-fp-4-review-sound-test-video/

    It sounds very similar to what I hear on headphones.

    When playing at home I use headphones or the inbuilt speakers.

    I think there should be no annoying hissing noise with the keyboard on, so if you can compare with another Roland FP4 in a shop, to tell if yours has a problem or not.

    Compared to an acoustic piano, the amount of resonance with a digital piano will be less, so if you are playing the same piece on both, the acoustic will sound more full and resonant, which even with the $15000 Yamaha Modus, the resonance cannot even get close to that of an acoustic. So this is probably a function of the sound, than the pedals.

    The sustain of the pedal should be pretty good. It should be that the resonance is different, which many people don’t notice unless they play the same piece on both an acoustic and digital.

  13. Isaac

    Hello,

    I’m thinking on replacing my F-110 with the portable FP-4F. Although I like the sound of my old F-110 I really sometimes get frustrated with the “cheap” feeling of its keyboard. The weight is fine and overall action is fine but (and here is the big BUT) if you hit any key in a specific position (in an edge, for example) the plastic key sounds like… well… a plastic key. I have played Yamaha and have not found an issue like that. I don’t want to buy a Yamaha because sound lacks richness and is weak but I’m kind of iffy about Roland since my last keyboard experience.

    How do you find the keyboard on FP-4F? Does it make “cheap” sounds if you hit any key in a “non-centered” way?

    Isaac

  14. dea madsen

    Hi,
    I have the same problem with my new bought (2 year-old) Roland FP4 wich has this constant hissing noise from both speakers, and it does’nt change if I lower the volume, or stop playing. This noise is from the speakers only and not when using the headphones.
    I read a few other place about the samme problem, so I wonder if this maybe is an issue with all the FP4? or something is wrong with a number of those?
    Maybe you can help me answer this?
    Thanks and best regards from Dea

  15. admin Post author

    Hi Isaac, with the original FP4, I think the feel is pretty good. It is very slightly lighter than a grand piano or a good upright piano, and so if you do play on acoustics as well, then there may be a difference in feel. It again depends on the brand. On some acoustic Yamaha grands the weight is slightly heavier, though on some Kawais, I find the touch very similar to the digital pianos including the FP4. It is a weighted keyboard so has realism. I haven’t found any strange sensations on hitting it in a different way. The main difference is I think the release of the key on digital keyboards compared to acoustics, as the weight is slightly less, the release seems a little faster or easier? It is a subtle thing that affects the feel a bit.

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