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Joined: Mar 2021
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Hi all,

I have a Roland FP-10, and while I do rather like it I felt there are some probably some shortcomings (mainly the tone, short pivots and slightly heavy action) which meant I should consider an upgrade to a more serious bit of kit.

So, I decided today to go into town to try out the Kawaii and Yamaha range, expecting to be bowled over (I guess) by how much better these far more expensive pianos felt....but I was pretty surprised at how small the difference was in terms of the key actions themselves.

I was looking for a lighter action, which would feel more like the 35 year old Yamaha upright I learned to play on, and which I still play from time to time.

I started with the Kawaii CA49, which is not bad at all, but ultimately I felt that the CA79 was the superior instrument, and provided a noticeably more enjoyable playing experience. Despite that, I found myself wondering if it was really worth the extra £2000 you have to shell out compared to my (fairly) cheap Roland. Yes, the sound was far superior to the FP10, but the key action itself just didn't feel like it was 5x better than the FP10.

I then tried out a large selection of Yamahas including various CLPs and the AvanteGrand range of hybrids. My initial reaction to the CLP range was that the key action was rather too stiff, and not entirely engaging. The whole Yamaha digital range was also, I felt, plagued by a quite unpleasant hollow knocking sound and feel when you play a key hard against the key bed.

To my surprise, the Hybrid and the transacoustic also felt heavier than I was anticipating. (though the sound they make is rather nice)
This made me wonder if my expectations were awry...maybe I had just forgotten how a real acoustic should feel to play. But either way, I really didn't feel inclined to part with several thousand pounds (or £12k in the case of the transacoustic) right there and then.

So, the Kawaii CA79 was the leader of the pack for me today, but I still baulked at the sheer price of it.

Ultimately the experience made me realise that Roland really have made a quite exceptional instrument at a very reasonable price in the FP10. You get an awful lot of bang for your buck, as they say.

Does this chime with anyone else's views?

Has anyone here upgraded from an FP-10 or FP-30 to Kawaii/Yamaha/An Other, and how much improvement did you notice as you became more accustomed to the new action/feel? I feel like I shouldn't write off the idea of an upgrade, but I am less certain now than I was yesterday.

Next time, before I go shopping, I think I will hire a practice room with an acoustic grand for a few hours, just so I can remind myself what the golden standard I'm aiming for is...!!

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See if you can find a Roland FP90/FP90X to try (or another Roland with that keybed PHA-50).


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Hello,

Originally Posted by Chris James
Does this chime with anyone else's views?

Yes it does. I use an FP-10 as well, but solely as a MIDI piano with a PC, virtual piano, audio interface, two stereo amplifiers and six hifi speakers 😋.

The internal sound engine doesn't do it for me, as you'll have figured from this.

The action, though, isn't bad at all and its use of a triple sensor system and decent MIDI implementation work very nice for me.

On the longer run, I will be looking for an improvement in action just as you do, but for where I am now financially and on my piano discovery path, I am happy as can be with the FP-10. Nothing to be sniffed at, as the saying goes.

Originally Posted by Chris James
Next time, before I go shopping, I think I will hire a practice room with an acoustic grand for a few hours, just so I can remind myself what the golden standard I'm aiming for is...!!

That sounds like a thorough plan 😋 which I can utterly relate to as well.

Cheers and happy discoveries,

HZ

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Hello,

your impressions are very comprehensible. I own a FP-30 with the same PHA-4 action. While I absolutely detest the built-in samples (the bass sounds like enhanced with an cheap subwoofer, the highs sound like a toy piano) the action is very good for it's price indeed. It has its shortcoming, especially when playing high in the keys and the black keys it doesn't offer nearly as much control as an acoustic. Also the hammers are attached in a way to the keys, so you cant trigger the velocity sensor by playing on the "surface"/upper part of the keys which is sometimes requiered. But aside from that, its the best in its price range. Paired with Pianoteq the FP10/30 is a fantastic beginner setup.

Coincidently I also looked for an update for the FP-30 and went three times for several hours to a store this week. I testet pianos with the PHA-50, the NWX and GF actions and also the VPC1. In my opinion the only action that is really signifiantly better (all of them are, but imo not that much) than the PHA-IV is the GF1 from Kawai. I was really disappointed with the VPC1 action. Not because it is bad per se or it is heavier - I prefer heavier actions. But because it is barely better controllable than the FP30. It shares the same problems as the FP30, only on a higher level. The GF in the MP11 SE is another league. I didn't expected it, because I also read some experiences of users who liked the VPC1 better than the MP11, but the longer Pivot in the GF really makes a big difference compared to all the other actions. I also liked the NWXin some way, it has a nice weight and feels substantial, but also suffers from playing higher in the keys. Dito to the PHA-50. I liked it - but not a significant update to the PHA-4.

I absolutely LOVED the action in the NV-5. Even better than the GF (and also a little better then the NU1X Action, which is also very good, but a bit shallower, stiffer and more difficult to play high in the keys). But its unfortunately out of my price range. I owned a Kawai K-500 ATX3 for a few weeks but had to gave it back due to other unexpected expenses and it was waaaay to loud for my apartment too. The action of the NV-5 is almost as good as the action of the K-500 and to my suprise I liked it way better then the action of the K-200 and 300. Its heavier and better controllable than the K-200/300 actions. For now I will go for the MP11 SE that is an significant update to the FP30 and will upgrade in a few years to a hybrid.


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I've not used the FP-10, but based on my experiences with the prior generation of action (Ivory Feel-G), I definitely agree. If the PHA4-Standard is similar/better, it definitely punches above its weight compared to the budget/entry-level offerings by Yamaha (GHS) and Casio. The Kawai ES110 is quite nice as well, but it's a bit more expensive than the FP-10.


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Only had mine for a week but that was after MONTHS of research so I'm kind of gratified to learn that the research worked from what you, as someone clearly with more experience of it, says.

I have to say that the initial reaction, even just using internal sounds, was that the thing is truly magic but all I have to compare against so far were a bunch of devices with synth/waterfall/spring action keys so it was bound to feel "solid" compared to those I guess.

BTW if anyone is interested I'm going to ebay a Yamaha SY-35 synth shortly. It was bought new but has been little used. In part it will make room for FP-10 (and pay a fraction towards it) ;-)

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All these cheaper actions are well fit for purpose; changing the action for something better won't improve your peformance in the slightest until you're up to grade 8 or so.
You could be pleasantly surprised by Yamah's GHS now, on their latest models. It seems to me, indistinguishable from those on the CLPs. Maybe something has changed hera, and nobody's saying . . . .
Maybe the designers are having a laugh . . . .


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Hello,

I like your observations, @eddiepiano, thanks!

The pedal unit of the MP11SE is also better than the VPC's. Enjoy.

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ

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@HZPiano,

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks!

Yes, that is true.
The pedal unit of the VPC1 in the store was even defective. The midi output on the right pedal was max 50, so that I was only half pedaling without further adjustments in Pianoteq. After switching the unit it worked fine. But the new unit made a clack sound. Also the pedals were significantly shorter and lighter than the pedals of of the MP11Se. The whole unit was lighter too, it moved around a lot while pedaling. I didn't experience any of these problems with the pedal unit of the MP11SE on the same floor, it was rock solid and the pedals felt better and heavier. All in all, I was really disappointed with the VPC1 but pleasantly surprised by how much better the MP11SE is. I like the nice simple design (and the lower price) of the VPC1. It's a shame that there is no VPC2 with GF(3) and the MP11SE pedal unit (and a flat top as bonus ;)).

edit: And after practicing on my FP30 just now I remembered another think I don't like when playing the FP30: My keys (especially the black keys) make a "clacky" sound when playing f and harder. But that is more of a minor issue.

Last edited by eddiepiano; 06/10/21 02:03 PM.

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Originally Posted by peterws
All these cheaper actions are well fit for purpose; changing the action for something better won't improve your peformance in the slightest until you're up to grade 8 or so.
That is not my experience. Simpler pieces benefit from a more nuanced touch especially in the p - ppp range higher in the keys and the black key region too. It is also easier to transition the touch of the GF to an acoustic piano than of the PHA-4 to an acoustic piano. After practicing long on the PHA-4 my touch is sometimes more "insensitive" on the grand piano of my teacher in this area.

Last edited by eddiepiano; 06/10/21 02:13 PM.

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I've been taking classes as part of a music program and noted the same thing. The PHA-4 that they have in the piano labs is still a long long way from even the old uprights in the practice rooms. It kind of gripes me that you can't get anything really noticeably better until you are almost at $3000, mostly because they all charge a premium for anything that looks like an upright piano. At that point, my mind starts contemplating nice fully restored acoustic (console/upright) pianos...

Mind you, the PHA-4 action IS a huge giant killer at the entry level, and certainly among the best cheap actions. Still, if $750 is all you have, the FP30 won't ruin your ability to learn and get started. I certainly wouldn't go much below that level, though.

Last edited by joberlander; 06/11/21 04:24 PM.
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I'm glad to see Roland NOT being bashed about, for a change smile I had the RD-2000 in the past, and currently the FP-90. I, for one, like their onboard sounds, especially the extent to which you can tweak them to make it sound like you want. They're pretty serious engines, for those willing to give them a fair try.

It's a shame the FP-10 is unavailable (discontinued?) in the US. I can't remember which models but I tested out the PHA-4 actions in some furniture models. I believe there are some sub-categories within PHA-4 (Standard, Concert? etc.) I almost felt like Roland and Yamaha collaborated to come up with such a good feeling, responsive action. We can debate on price points, but Roland is high quality.

Enjoy @Chris James and other PHA-4 owners!


A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
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Hello,

Originally Posted by mmathew
It's a shame the FP-10 is unavailable (discontinued?) in the US.

I currently see ample availability here in Europe. Which was a lot different when I purchased mine last November: I bought one of the last three that were in stock at one address between a whole number of dealers over here.

So I'd hope they'll be back in your neck of the woods as well.

Cheers and happy anticipation,

HZ

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This might be heresy but I think just about any of the big manufacturer hammer actions are very playable.

Yes, they all have subtle differences but give me a few minutes and I can adjust. I feel the same way on acoustic pianos.

The Roland pha-4 is pretty solid. I have a mild preference for the pha-50 keyboard but there is quite a price difference.


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I like both my current Rolands. smile


Decent bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, RD-2000, & VR-730; Yamaha MX61; Casio CDP-130
Past: Roland FP-30; Casio PX-160 & PX-830
Etc.: PianoTeq Stage 7 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4), Roland KC-80
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Just bought a new fp10 4 days ago, very easy to carry, I love the way if can be turned to an fp30x, 60x or 90x via Piano Designer and Piano Partner 2 apps. Piano Designer is the magician!! try it out ;-)

p.s: Will sell my old KAWAI MP7, as I no longer can move it even its way BETTER than fp10 and 90x of course.

Last edited by Nor; 12/20/21 01:10 PM.

—Nor

ROLAND FP10—KAWAI MP7—KORG TRITON EXTREME—VILABS TRUEKEYS & RAVENSCROFT—AS YAMAHA C7 & KAWAI EX PRO—GARRITAN CFX FULL CONCERT—PIANOTEQ 6 PRO—IVORY II AMERICAN CONCERT D—YAMAHA HS50—PreSonus HD7—JTS HP 535—NI NOIRE—BIG SWING GRAND—EASTWEST PIANOS GOLD BUNDLE
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Same action on my RD-88.

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I've owned an FP30 for a few years now and I love the keyboard action but after long sessions I feel that the action is just a bit too heavy. I thought I would adjust to it and I have pretty much, but still it strains my hands a bit.

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Originally Posted by jchaplain
I've owned an FP30 for a few years now and I love the keyboard action but after long sessions I feel that the action is just a bit too heavy. I thought I would adjust to it and I have pretty much, but still it strains my hands a bit.

Does it help to change the "Touch" setting?


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq

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