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Roland FP-30 or a Yamaha P-125? Which one is best for you?

The Roland FP-30, or the Yamaha P-125, which one better suits your needs?

We decided to sit down and have an in-depth look at these great stage pianos which deliver impressive performance at an incredible price. Both available in Black or White, they are without doubt the best value entry-level portable pianos on the market today.

Their compact size makes them easy to transport and when purchased with the optional stands and pedal units, perform just like a traditional piano and look more like an acceptable piece of furniture.  But which is the right one for you?

Well, it really comes down to what you want to do with it… Do you want to take it ‘out and about’ in a performance situation, or is it for solo piano use purely at home?

If you need a ‘gigging’ piano for use on stage, the Yamaha has the advantage of separate line out sockets, so you can put the P-125 through a sound system without losing the benefit of its internal monitor speakers. The only output on the Roland FP-30 is the headphone socket, so, yes you can put it through a sound system, but you will lose the internal speakers as soon as you put a lead in the headphone output.

The other slight negative against the Roland is its weight! It weighs in at just over 14 kilos, the Yamaha is nearly 12 kilos, a staggering two bags of sugar lighter! Not much, granted, but you may well notice the 2kg after a long gig and are packing up at the end of a performance, or if you find yourself having to use public transport to get to and from a venue.

When you sit down at the pianos and play them, they both play and feel extremely good, particularly for pianos in the £500 price category. The Roland given its extra weight, and power that the speakers deliver, sounds and feels like an instrument from a significantly higher price point. It is indeed a very grown up sounding piano. Its ‘SuperNATURAL’ sound engine delivers a very mature and civilised tone perhaps better suited to classical, jazz or solo repertoire. It also feels very solid and able to take a large amount of the types of knocks and punishment stage pianos regularly have to endure.

The Yamaha has a characteristic ‘Up front’ punchy tone which leaves you in no doubt that in a live situation it will definitely have no worries cutting through the mix. Its lighter weight does perhaps make it feel slightly less robust than the Roland.

Both could probably do a low key acoustic gig or rehearsal without additional amplification. It’s worth noting that on both pianos their tones can of course be varied and modified to suit various situations or styles, and both pianos have a good selection of sounds on board for the everyday pianist. Of particular note is that both have very good Electric Piano sounds. The Yamaha of course excels with the classic 1980’s ‘DX’ style and the Roland has a great Rhodes style tone. But, once again both manage all the EP tones admirably.

So, if you are going to use the piano for home, for me the Roland has the edge. If your gigging lots, then maybe the Yamaha?

Both pianos actions are excellent considering the size and weight of the instrument. It’s always difficult to ‘shoehorn’ a high quality 88 note hammer action into a compact stage piano chassis. But, both feel great. The ivory effect keys of the FP-30 are very satisfying and grippy with a very nice texture. The Yamaha has standard plastic for the white keys and a ‘matte’ black key which affords a nice extra level of grip and tactility where you need it.

Other features of note include Bluetooth connectivity on the FP-30. Bluetooth is a very useful function that enables many ‘apps’ to be used wirelessly via the built in speaker system. Being able to wirelessly stream audio from an iPad using YouTube while viewing a tutorial is extremely useful.

So, to sum it all up, both pianos have differing functionality that tentatively lend themselves to differing roles, I would use the Yamaha on stage but the Roland at home. Ideally then, leave the Yamaha in a padded bag in your car for gigs, and have the Roland set up permanently at home with its posh stand and pedal unit. You will still have change out of £1200 if you buy both pianos!

Ultimately, it will be personal preference as to your choice. Both are very fine pianos. It’s important to buy the piano that ‘speaks’ to you! So, why not pop in to the showroom and have a play on both? Whichever you go for, you won’t be disappointed!

 

PRODUCT COMPARISON CHART

Product

Roland FP-30

Yamaha P-125

Tones

35

24

Polyphony

128

192

Keyboard Action

PHA4 with Escapement

GHS Graded Hammer Standard

Rhythms

8

20

Song Recorder

Yes (1 track)

Yes (2 track)

Song Player

Yes (WAV and SMF)

No

Speakers

2 x 11 watts

2 x 7 watts

Line Out Sockets

No

Yes

Bluetooth built-in

Yes

No

USB to host

Yes

Yes

USB to device

Yes

No

Dimensions (WxDxH)

1300 x 284 x 150 mm

1326 x 295 x 166mm

Weight

14.1 kg

11.8 kg

Warranty period

3 Years (when registered)

2 Years