If there's one thing we love here at Digital Piano Expert, it's a good Roland. Roland has long established itself as a favorite of some of the most widely-known on-stage performers and recording artists alike when a finely tuned acoustic Grand Piano isn't available. Now, the same technology that's been gracing the stage for most of electronic music's history is now available to you, the consumer. Here's our review of the Roland FP 90 Digital Piano, stacked up against the heaviest pianos the competition will try to drop on its head!
What Is The Roland FP 90 Digital Piano?
What's the Roland FP-90 Digital Piano? Have you been living under a piano?
The Roland FP 90 Digital Piano is only one of the greatest things to happen to electronic music since the musical toothbrush. Like Casio, Roland makes all sorts of devices, although they tend to be on the more expensive side, like, of all things, large-scale industrial printers and - get this - dental mills. Roland's product lines do seem to coalesce around a shared theme, and that's simply products that deliver when attention to detail is critical. The Roland FP 90 Digital Piano is no exception.
Roland's well-reputed piano "sound engine" comes here with a decent, included multi-channel speaker system, which is a slight departure from typical stage-worthy pianos, that generally shelve the speakers in favor of more audio processing. However, the Roland FP 90 is designed with you, in mind, whether you're the stage performer, home composer, student or party entertainer. It's fairly slick in that regard. This piano is on the higher side of the price range for home-use digital or amateur-attainable prosumer-grade pianos, but worth every penny.
Some of the more well-known brick-and-mortar music retailers have pegged this at a little beneath $$$. Like with most products, you can find it cheaper, as well as legally evade sales taxes, by purchasing online (contact your tax attorney for legal advice regarding sales tax). We recommend that you go with an online retailer simply because if they ship well and have a good reputation for delivering products well, there's really no need to pay more locally. We hate to say it, but try it out at your local brick-and-mortar, then buy online.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
Roland FP 90 Digital Piano
- Authentic grand piano touch from the PHA-50 (Progressive Hammer Action with Escapement) keyboard, which combines wood...
- Uses the latest Supernatural Piano Modeling technology instead of conventional sampling for a far richer, more detailed...
- Four speakers provide powerful and rich sound that’s ideal for intimate live performances
Ease of Use
The product is as easy as you need it to be, but its technology scales the applicable learning curve to the level of customized sound you desire. In other words, you can use it out of the box after plugging it in and work up from there, although it sounds fantabulous straight out of the box.
This particular model is definitely designed more for the home user, albeit it's a very expensive model for the home user. What it contributes to the home musician, or the traveling "gigger," is that it offers a built-in mic mixer and a built-in recorder that actually records your vocal performance atop the piano track on-the-fly for recording directly to USB drive.
This model is fairly basic and straightforward and super-portable for a Roland.
The external design doesn't strike us as particularly inventive or novel. However, it does work, and it works fabulously. We appreciate the built-in speakers that complement the sleek, contained design.
We already touched upon the voice-recording capability, which is somewhat novel and perhaps useful for when you want to get those ideas down that it would otherwise be inconvenient to record. Like many prosumer models, this Roland aims to do a lot in a fairly simple way, and that's fine because that's what most consumers and prosumers need.
Roland's warranty on the Roland FP 90 Digital Piano is two years for parts and labor.
Yamaha Arius YDP-181 Traditional Console Style Digital Piano
You'll pay a little more for the Yamaha Arius YDP-181 Traditional Console Style digital piano, but you'll get a lot of quality in return. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Yamaha has a great industry reputation, especially among consumers. Who doesn't remember their first Yamaha toy that, despite our thrashing it around, still worked when we regifted it 10 years later for our nieces or nephews?
Okay, maybe you wouldn't regift after 10 years, but the bottom line is that Yamaha is a quality name with a great industry reputation for quality beyond being a household name, though that it certainly is.
Ease of Use
Plug and play this Yamaha - kind of, sort of. Check the Assembly Timesection below for more on that.
Some assembly is required, of course, and it doesn't hurt to have a Phillips-head screwdriver on hand to help out with that aspect of your assembly journey. If you're planning to start playing this out of the box, you may find yourself sitting on the floor.
Since we began reviewing digital pianos here at Digital PIano Expert, we have experienced lots of pianos, from the touch and feel of the keyboards to the overall presentation. There was a time when we would have, and in fact have, given the Yamaha YDP 181 a five-out-of-five on design.
However, Yamaha has really made this the standard since then, so we're giving it a four out of five stars because since Yamaha helped establish this industry standard, it has carried this standard of fine exterior design ever since. We'd like to see something new and even more exciting. However, that said, you won't find much better than this in the way of living room looks.
Yamaha is almost universally known for its great warranties, and we give the Yamaha Arius YDP-181 four out of five stars by virtue of the fact that according to the latest sources we're aware of, its digital pianos are only warrantied up to three years. It's not a bad warranty among digital piano warranties in the industry.
Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano
- Full features Digital Piano for beginners Electric keyboard with 88 premium full sized semi weighted keys with...
- Premium Sounds 5 voices (Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synth, and Bass), built in FX: Chorus, Reverb, and two...
- Connectivity Covered ¼ Inch sustain pedal input (not included), ¼ Inch stereo headphone output for private practice...
Alesis is another music and recording industry heavyweight, manufacturing digital technology that belongs in every phase of the recording process. This is a great thing in terms of their pianos because they have familiarity with complementary devices, so they're not merely diversifying their selection in this regard. They design systems which feed their collective skill in developing powerful, and surprisingly lifelike, piano devices. That said, they're not necessarily at the top of the piano game, but they can help you out with a deal as compared with the likes of the Roland FP 90.
Ease of Use
As the title reads, this is an easy, beginner digital piano. However, let us say something. The keys are weighted, but they're not the kind of hammer action you get out of the more sophisticated Roland FP '90s. Remember, you're buying strictly on price when you pick up your Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano.
The Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano comes pre-assembled out of the box with no cumbersome cabinetry that attempts to look like an acoustic. All you really have to do is place the music stand atop the back, if you need it.
If you don't like separate power supplies, you're not going to like the design here. If you like fancy-looking, luxurious, furniture-esque cabinetry, you're not going to like this. Again, think of a toddler dropping this off a cliff, or spilling apple juice on it. Those are the reasons you buy this guy - or if you are really looking for a toy that has kinda-sorta weighted keys.
Alesis doesn't seem to like to talk about their warranty. It's surprisingly difficult to hunt down. But again, it's a minimal investment anyway, so if it breaks, you're not losing much. Pianos aren't really Alesis's main game, though they produce many fabulous electronic audio products.
Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano
- Korg B1SP 88 key Digital Piano s Advanced sampling technologies were used to capture the Korg B1SP digital piano's eight...
- The Korg B1SP digital piano employs Motional Feedback technology to give you top-notch sound quality. An active servo...
- The Concert Series is a new lineup of KORG digital pianos. The B1, an entry level piano, is now joined by the B1SP, a...
The Korg is actually a very well-known brand in the professional digital piano realm. Additionally, where there's a lot of weight behind the brand name, there's a lot to lose, which we like because the pressure to make good on the investment it took to get to the top means they're always trying to out-do themselves. Or are they? Let's find out.
Ease of Use
Again, check the assembly time, but this is a relatively straightforward product. Now, it's not easy to learn how to play the piano, so you want a device like this that doesn't get in the way of your learning and executes so seamlessly.
You're looking at a little bit of assembly time, but the good news is that the product generally comes with the furniture stand and pedal system. You also get the bench included in the relatively economical price.
Furniture stands and included benches and pedals have become fairly standard in the Digital Piano industry largely owing to Yamaha's constant inclusion in their products. We're not sure why Korg decided to include so much at such a low price point compared to Yamaha's models, but they did. Therefore, you can expect a unit that will play well with the whole family, from the interior designer to the sound designer among your at-home pack of piano students and hobbyists!
We default here to four out of five stars because the Korg warranty for this product is surprisingly elusive and depends on the retailer and country where you're purchasing the product. Check with your product salesman or saleswoman for more details, as it may vary, particularly in the realm of used Korgs.
We'd like to be safe and recommend the industry-leading Yamaha, but the Roland FP 90 digital piano really does have a lot to offer in its own right over and above our expectations. You can't go wrong with the reasonably priced Roland FP 90 digital piano, from its generous offering of sound selections. It left us just slightly underwhelmed in that beyond all the bells and whistles. As for the grand piano itself, the Roland FP 90 Digital Piano still sounded like a digital piano. But hey, the Bluetooth-compatibility, the bells and whistles, might be sufficient for those looking for a pricy yet disposable kind of gift - if the $ range is disposable for your income level.