New keyboard - and not the computer kind

Earlier this year, I decided to treat myself to a new keyboard.  No, not a replacement for my UHK, but a digital piano.  Specifically, a Roland FP-30X, the white one, complete with stand and pedal bar.

I got the idea from a music shop in the Colonie Mall in Albany.  We stayed at a nearby hotel on the way home from our vacation this summer and were walking around the mall to stretch our legs after the long drive.  The shop had a bunch of digital pianos set up, and the FP-30X was one of them.

I tried a out a few and quite enjoyed playing the Roland.  The main attraction was the keyboard action, which was very realistic - much closer to a real piano than most keyboards I've tried.  The keys were well weighted and, even though they're plastic, they felt close to ivory.  It was also pretty compact - only about a foot deep - while still having a full-sized keyboard.  That's actually what made me think about buying one.


Our old upright piano is nice, but it takes up a pretty good chunk of the living room, which is the only place we have to put it.  It's also getting very out of tune.  I mean, it's been very out of tune, but for a long time it was "in tune with itself", i.e. everything was out of tune in the same direction, so if you were playing by yourself, you didn't really notice.  However, that's increasingly not the case anymore.  And that's the piano I learned to play on when I was in high school, which my mother bought second-hand when I was a kid, so it's not exactly new.  I'm not sure how much it would take to get it make into proper tune and repair, but I figured it would probably cost about as much as the retail price of that Roland keyboard.  So why not just replace the piano with the keyboard?  It would probably cost the same and it's small enough to fit in my office, so it fixes two problems at once.

So that's what I did.  I bought the keyboard a few months ago.  It fits comfortably against the back wall of my office.  I even got a matching bench to go with it.  And we just got rid of the old upright today.  My wife put it on Facebook marketplace and a very nice couple took it off our hands for their daughters to use.  It served me well for many years and I hope they enjoy it.

But back to the new keyboard.


I already mentioned that I really like the action and feel of the FP-30X.  I'm no audiophile, but the sounds is pretty good as well.  The maximum volume level is just about what I would expect for a "real" piano and the internal speakers project the sound well.  But one of the "killer features" to me was the plain, simple headphone jack.  (Actually, there are two - a 3.5mm and a 6.35mm, if I'm not mistaken.)  One of the main down-sides of the old acoustic piano was the fact that you can't play it while people are using the living room or trying to sleep.  I mean, you can try to keep the noise down, but that doesn't really work all that well.  But with the Roland, I just plug in some headphones and now I can play after my son has gone to bed.  It's great!

The one thing that's kind of a mixed blessing about the FP-30X is the control scheme.  As you can see from the picture, there's no display of any kind and there aren't exactly a lot of buttons either.  On the one hand, I really like this from an aesthetic standpoint.  It makes the unit look more like a musical instrument and less like something they pulled out of an air traffic control console.  But on the other hand, that makes it a little awkward to change the settings.  Of course, you can configure pretty much everything using just the keyboard, but that involves combinations of holding down control buttons and pressing specific keys.  It's weird and you really can't do it unless you have the reference sheet right there.

However, the preferred control method is Bluetooth.  The FP-30X supports MIDI over Bluetooth, so you can pair the piano to your mobile device and control it using Roland's Piano App.  The app itself is...fine.  The interface and control scheme is decent, but not remarkable.  The pairing and connection is sometimes a little slow and doesn't always work the first time, but it does work as advertised and it does allow you to twiddle with all the settings of the keyboard.  It also includes some paid extras, like downloading sheet music in the app and things like that which I haven't played with much.  However, using the app to control the more advanced features is definitely preferable to using key combinations.

If you want to read more about the Roland FP-30X, I found this review very helpful and informative.  Honestly, a lot of the details there went over my head, but the gist is that it's pretty darn good for a budget digital piano.  I just know that it meets my needs well and I've been having a very good time using it to play Christmas songs this week.

You can reply to this entry by leaving a comment below. This entry accepts Pingbacks from other blogs. You can follow comments on this entry by subscribing to the RSS feed.

Add your comments #

A comment body is required. No HTML code allowed. URLs starting with http:// or ftp:// will be automatically converted to hyperlinks.