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#1705171 - 06/30/11 07:21 PM Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc.
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
The quest continues...

NP88
A few weeks ago, my NP88 arrived. Since then I've done a couple of gigs with it, and managed to find a little time to rehearse. However, my GEM PRP800 didn't take too kindly to the interloper, and started to throw hissy fits; I found a student to pass it on to who didn't mind dealing with the reboot issues. I shall miss that GEM. As I listened to the student playing a beautiful harpsichord piece, and a complex jazz composition, I was once again reminded that, despite its flaws, the GEM DRAKE engine was a stunning piece of DP innovation. The student was very happy with his acquisition.

Although my time with the NP88 has been limited due to other commitments, I have formed a basic impression of it. I knew roughly what to expect, sound-wise, having owned the NE3. Currently I have installed the Grand Lady D (Steinway - L), the Bright Grand (Yamaha - XL), and the Grand Imperial (Bosendorfer - L) in the Grand section; the Blue Swede (L) in the Uprights; all the EPs plus the Clav, and nothing else. I expect this to change as time goes by, and other pianos become available. Of course, as every owner has stated, the downloadable Nord library is one of the main attractions of this DP.

Unlike some, I have not been "blown away" by the NP88. It is a unique offering in the mid-upper range of stage DPs, but is far from perfect. That said, it offers a sound "experience" that is sophisticated and vibrant. Each sampled piano has its own character, some exhibiting more tonal flaws than others. I find the Grand Lady has a more mellow character than most other offerings; it plays smoothly and is pleasing to listen to, but its dynamic range seems somewhat limited. The Bright Grand can sound a little harsh at times (I'm not sure Mackie SM-350s are ideal for amplification), but it is a well-implemented sample, very playable for jazz-oriented pieces. (I'm not a great lover of the Yamaha sound, preferring Kawai acoustics, which I find richer and more interesting, tonally). The Bosendorfer is big and bold, but I haven't yet found too much use for it. All of the grands seem to have insufficient timbre variation from ppp to fff - a common failing in DPs. Also, a little more "attack" in the louder samples might help the dynamics. Perhaps the best thing about these pianos is their transparent quality - you don't hear processing.

The uprights are great - if you can make use of them. They all have very distinctive characters, and are quite believable. The EPs are excellent - I'm making a lot of use of the Custom Tines - but again these could benefit from more sample layers and a wider dynamic range. Having used the GEM's EPs for a couple of years, I can attest to the superior response of physically modeled EPs. The effects are great, but I still miss the NE2's finer control of FX amount/depth.

The action is passable, but not like an acoustic's. I do get occasional random velocity level spikes, but not enough to be worrisome. I would say it is roughly on a level with my FP-4's action. It is certainly not a high-end action. However, I seem to be able to play with a reasonable amount of expression. The surface of the keys is good for grip, but feels almost dusty under the fingers.

The simplicity of operation is a great boon. Having tried to fathom the murky depths of the CP5/50 interface, I love the instant accessibility of the Nord. I particularly appreciate the "live" memories. The internal power supply, the flat surface to either side of the controls, and the modest weight all make for a very gig-friendly piano. The supplied 3-pedal unit is a real bonus.

Live, as everyone has said, this red machine has no problem being heard in a band setting. It is also probably the most gig-friendly piano available at the moment, and its shelf-life should be considerably longer than most of its contemporaries, due to the ever-expanding library. I am not sorry I bought it, but as many have suggested, it takes some getting used-to.

FP-7F
Confession: I have never played the FP-7F. However, I got a good deal on a re-box, and it will soon be on its way to me. Why am I going to get the Roland as well as the Nord?
1. I love the ability to have a self-contained unit that I can use both at home and on small gigs.
2. I want to have a DP in the house with a better action than the Nord (or the FP-4).
3. I am very curious as to how much difference the SN pianos really make to expressiveness and tone.
4. I find it almost irresistible to pass up a good deal on a piano. smile

Why not the Kawai MP6? Goodness, I came so close to getting the MP6 instead of the 7F. I've heard such good things about the action and the EPs. However, the majority consensus seems to be that the main AP sound, while good, is just not quite up to the SN offerings. I may come to regret this decision, but in the end, the inclusion of reasonably good-quality speakers for the cost of an extra 5lbs weight, plus a tri-sensor action to go with the SN engine swung things in favor of the Roland.

Why not the FP-4F? The lighter weight of the 4F is a huge advantage (for me), but I have heard that the speakers are not as good as the 7F's, and that the action is rather slow. Having struggled with the GEM's rather ponderous action and poor internal speakers, I decided that I would rather have something that I know is going to be responsive.

Why not wait for the Korg SV-2? This is a tricky one! I am expecting a Kronos-based DP to blow everything else away (at least in terms of hardware-based sounds). However, there is no guarantee that Korg will get it right first time, and their gear is sometimes less reliable than it ought to be. However, should the SV-2 become a must-have reality, to ease the financial pain of making the transition, one of the commitments I've made to myself recently is to hunt down good deals on anything I buy, so that losses are substantially reduced whenever the inevitable march of DP technology turns into a sprint.

I will report back when I've had a chance to give the FP-7F a good test.

FP-4
Having owned this piano for a while, I would like to give it a mention in this post, particularly in comparison to its more illustrious cousins.

Firstly, I think that Roland hit the nail on the head with this piano. It's lightweight, well-built, has generally good sounds and great FX, is simple to operate, and can function without being connected to anything else (except power). Even though it's been out about 4 years, it is by no means obsolete, in my opinion.

The action, while nothing spectacular is perfectly useable and does not inhibit expression. The main AP sound is an 88-note sample set that plays very nicely. The EPs are very usable, if not spectacular. The organs are good for a piano (and include a rotary effect).

The downside is that the speakers are really not very good (as is the case with most on-board offerings), and are not quite loud enough for adequate monitoring in a band setting.

This is a workhorse of a piano that (to me) still sounds better and is more robust than the Privias without breaking the back or the bank! The test has to be - is it good enough to use at a paid gig? - and the answer is yes.
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#1705182 - 06/30/11 07:37 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9367
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Many thanks for sharing your thoughts VP!

Ah, and I too miss the NE2's effects depth control... ;(

Cheers,
James
x
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#1705192 - 06/30/11 07:52 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Thanks vp, cool.

Personally I preferred the Roland AP sound of the FP7-F over the MP6 although for me the Kawai action was clearly superior. I'm actually working on trying to play the FP4-F myself, not having too good of luck though.

Regarding an SV-2, if and when it materializes, you could be looking at April or May of 2012 at the earliest, given Korg's recent history I would think.

I think by now most that hang out here know my feelings on the Nord Piano so we'll just leave it at that.

I would expect Yamaha to come out (maybe NAMM '12 ?) with a newer, light weighted CP that would use the NW action and be around or under 40 lbs. Again that's a "when and if" issue so I'd prefer to concentrate on the "now". smile

Good luck with your FP7-F and let us know how it's working out for you.


Edited by Dave Ferris (06/30/11 08:07 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity and added thought
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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705198 - 06/30/11 08:08 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: Dave Ferris]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3293
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Personally I preferred the Roland AP sound of the FP7-F over the MP6 although for me the Kawai action was clearly superior.

It just goes to show again just how subjective this all is. I found the FP-7F action clearly superior to the MP6. And for that matter, I'd easily take the MP6 over the MP10, which I found to be one of the most unsatisfying actions I'd ever come across.

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#1705202 - 06/30/11 08:15 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: Dave Ferris]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
I too preferred the Roland sound of the FP7-F over the MP6 although for me the Kawai action was clearly superior. I'm actually working on trying to play the FP4-F myself, not having too good of luck though.


You know, it's a shame that the new lighter-weight Roland action may actually be a step back from the earlier alpha offering, despite the inclusion of escapement - at least that's what a number of people seem to have experienced with the 4F and the 300NX. The lighter Kawai action, on the other hand, seems to have won almost universal approval [edit: except from anotherscott!!]. I'm just hoping the "bottoming out" issue is not too much for me on the 7F.

Quote:
Regarding an SV-2, if and when it materializes, you could be looking at April or May of 2012 at the earliest, given Korg's recent history I would think.

I was wondering if, like the SV-1 in 2009, the SV-2 will be announced in early autumn this year, with availability by the end of the year. Personally, I'll be happier if they give me time to get used to the pianos I've got!

Quote:
I think by now most that hang out here know my feelings on the Nord Piano so we'll just leave it at that.

I'm hoping that the Nord will cement itself in my affections - if only for its live credentials - but I need to give it more time.

Quote:
I would expect Yamaha to come out (maybe NAMM '12 ?) with a newer, light weighted CP that would use the NW action and be under 40 lbs. Again that's a "when and if" issue so I'd prefer to concentrate on the "now". smile

That will be an interesting development, but for me it will need to be better than the MOX8.

Quote:
Good luck with your FP7-F and let us know how it's working out for you.

Thanks! I'll certainly try to write as objective a report as I can muster.


Edited by voxpops (06/30/11 08:18 PM)
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#1705211 - 06/30/11 08:37 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: voxpops

Quote:
I would expect Yamaha to come out (maybe NAMM '12 ?) with a newer, light weighted CP that would use the NW action and be under 40 lbs. Again that's a "when and if" issue so I'd prefer to concentrate on the "now". smile

That will be an interesting development, but for me it will need to be better than the MOX8.


Most definitely. I did not care for the AP of the MOX8 at all. I did like the graded action feel of the keyboard though.

Yeah Scott, without a doubt, one person's preference is another's-- "this ain't happening at all".... smile
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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705378 - 07/01/11 02:17 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
johnmok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/11
Posts: 21
thanks for voxpops' sharing :-)
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YAMAHA PSR-E423 / KORG microSTATION / Roland FP-7F

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#1705379 - 07/01/11 02:20 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: voxpops


Quote:
Regarding an SV-2, if and when it materializes, you could be looking at April or May of 2012 at the earliest, given Korg's recent history I would think.

I was wondering if, like the SV-1 in 2009, the SV-2 will be announced in early autumn this year, with availability by the end of the year.
.


I don't at all have an inside track to what's going on at Korg, or anywhere for that matter, but I'd think they have their hands full just getting the Kronos 73 and 88s out for the rest of 2011, they are going to be so back ordered. Not to mention ironing out the many bugs that are sure to surface.

I'd actually be amazed to see a SV-2/trickled down Kronos technology as early as the fall. Just guessing but it would seem Korg would finally be "catching up" to the point of where the Kronos 73/88s are likely to become more mainstream in places like GC.

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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705406 - 07/01/11 04:28 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2385
Loc: UK
If you want to use the inbuilt speakers the FP7F sound is vastly superior to the 4F. Both keyboard actions are quite good although you can tell with the 4F what people are complaining about when it comes to heavy/sluggish. I was pleasantly surprised on the models I tried by the reduced key clunking and bottoming out compared to some of the HP3xx models. Maybe I imagined it though. Looking forward to your 7F review.

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#1705441 - 07/01/11 08:07 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: spanishbuddha]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3293
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
If you want to use the inbuilt speakers the FP7F sound is vastly superior to the 4F. Both keyboard actions are quite good although you can tell with the 4F what people are complaining about when it comes to heavy/sluggish.

I haven't tried the 4F, but I think it's the same as the RD-300NX which I have tried... I definitely like the 7F much better. Yes, the problem with the NX was sluggish return. And whether for that reason or something else, it somehow felt "imprecise" to me when playing.

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#1705456 - 07/01/11 09:04 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: anotherscott]
Rimmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/10
Posts: 483
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Personally I preferred the Roland AP sound of the FP7-F over the MP6 although for me the Kawai action was clearly superior.

It just goes to show again just how subjective this all is. I found the FP-7F action clearly superior to the MP6. And for that matter, I'd easily take the MP6 over the MP10, which I found to be one of the most unsatisfying actions I'd ever come across.


Yeah. Same here. That said, people here know i'm in no way a pianist. Very much in the learning stage but it just feels more playable than the MP6 to me..

confused

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#1705552 - 07/01/11 11:43 AM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: Rimmer]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Rimmer
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Personally I preferred the Roland AP sound of the FP7-F over the MP6 although for me the Kawai action was clearly superior.

It just goes to show again just how subjective this all is. I found the FP-7F action clearly superior to the MP6. And for that matter, I'd easily take the MP6 over the MP10, which I found to be one of the most unsatisfying actions I'd ever come across.


Yeah. Same here. That said, people here know i'm in no way a pianist. Very much in the learning stage but it just feels more playable than the MP6 to me..

confused


Hey Rimmer, how is the FP-7F holding up for you? Are you still happy with it after owning it for a few months?
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#1705600 - 07/01/11 12:52 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: anotherscott]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I haven't tried the 4F, but I think it's the same as the RD-300NX which I have tried... I definitely like the 7F much better. Yes, the problem with the NX was sluggish return. And whether for that reason or something else, it somehow felt "imprecise" to me when playing.


I stated in that other FP4-F thread my difficulty in trying to track one down here in LA to play. So don't know when that will even happen. I'm not going to buy one sight unseen, I had too many issues with the older FP4 action wise. If it does play like the 300NX, I might pass. I played the 300NX briefly at NAMM and felt it was pretty uninspiring, especially next to the 700NX.

My friend, Pierre Julia at Pierres Fine Pianos does have the FP7-F in stock. I'd brought my TT08As down to his store last Dec. to listen to the MP6 and the 7-F. At that time the 7-F didn't knock me out but maybe I'll try it again. Like the Nord Piano, I certainly like how it records. Jazzwee's recordings that he posted here awhile back of his sound good. But at 52 lbs. , the 7-F isn't solving any weight reduction plans from my CP5, which is one of the main reasons I'm looking at another or extra DP....
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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705620 - 07/01/11 01:30 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
I just checked some specs on the FP-7F and its size is very similar to my old P120 that I used for almost 10 years as my lightweight Dp. Weight is 12 lbs. heavier though then the P120 and only 2.5 lbs lighter then my CP5. It might have a more "portable" feel then the CP5 since it is a bit smaller.

Another thing regarding the action I noticed on the Roland site--the 7F is listed as PHA III "S" and the 700NX says it has the "Deluxe" PHA III .....hmmm.

I did like the 700NX the few times I've played it...
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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705623 - 07/01/11 01:33 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: Dave Ferris]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
My friend, Pierre Julia at Pierres Fine Pianos does have the FP7-F in stock. I'd brought my TT08As down to his store last Dec. to listen to the MP6 and the 7-F. At that time the 7-F didn't knock me out but maybe I'll try it again.

Dave, what was your conclusion when comparing the MP6 to the FP-7F?
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#1705641 - 07/01/11 01:57 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
moleskincrusher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 172
It is my view that the sound of the APs on the FP-7F is greatly affected by the setting of the Lid subfunction within the Piano Designer function.

Lid settings below default (esp 0 and 1) I like to use when playing cocktail jazz, while the higher settings (like 5 and 6) I find suitable for brighter, louder music and for working with a rhythm section. I find this true for headphones, internal speakers or external PA.

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#1705680 - 07/01/11 03:09 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: voxpops
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
My friend, Pierre Julia at Pierres Fine Pianos does have the FP7-F in stock. I'd brought my TT08As down to his store last Dec. to listen to the MP6 and the 7-F. At that time the 7-F didn't knock me out but maybe I'll try it again.

Dave, what was your conclusion when comparing the MP6 to the FP-7F?


It was like I think I mentioned earlier--I dug the AP sound on the Roland more but preferred the Kawai MP6 action. This was going on 7 months ago though, I'll have to go down to Pierre's place again and see if I still feel the same way about it all......
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2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP4, CP5 (home use) , RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers

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#1705689 - 07/01/11 03:23 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: moleskincrusher]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: moleskincrusher
It is my view that the sound of the APs on the FP-7F is greatly affected by the setting of the Lid subfunction within the Piano Designer function.

Lid settings below default (esp 0 and 1) I like to use when playing cocktail jazz, while the higher settings (like 5 and 6) I find suitable for brighter, louder music and for working with a rhythm section. I find this true for headphones, internal speakers or external PA.


Thanks msc, this is all good to know in case I go the 7F route...
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#1705710 - 07/01/11 03:56 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
I've been gigging with the FP7F now (Jazz setting) for a bit and it's really been working well for me. There are some quirks that make it difficult to function as a stage piano. For example, the low gain of the outs (which you can control in the Function Settings -- but it forgets it when you turn it off).

Some voices have really different touch levels. If the AP is the standard, the EP's have too heavy a touch to make them bark. Changing touch level doesn't help because it forgets the setting and interferes with other voices.

But I found that I can SAVE REGISTRATIONS and this saves something called a TOUCH OFFSET. This way I can recall different touch levels for my favorite voices.

Overall, the piano really sounds good in a jazz group. Cuts through well enough.

One of my friends who sat in on a gig and happens to be a Yamaha Dealer, really liked the piano sound.

Now I still wish it were as light as FP4F, but apparently the FP4F has different keyboard so I like this the way it is.
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#1705802 - 07/01/11 06:11 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Originally Posted By: voxpops

FP-4
Firstly, I think that Roland hit the nail on the head with this piano. It's lightweight, well-built, has generally good sounds and great FX, is simple to operate, and can function without being connected to anything else (except power). Even though it's been out about 4 years, it is by no means obsolete, in my opinion.


Agreed smile
Originally Posted By: voxpops

The action, while nothing spectacular is perfectly useable and does not inhibit expression. The main AP sound is an 88-note sample set that plays very nicely. The EPs are very usable, if not spectacular. The organs are good for a piano (and include a rotary effect).

Agreed, though recently I played a gig using Nord Electro 3 as a sound source, and using FP-4 action (MIDI), and it made some difference. I'd lke to have more belly sound of Rhodes, slightly less dark - I use only first EP sound. (and sometimes number 34 from GM2 set, it's brighter)
Originally Posted By: voxpops

The downside is that the speakers are really not very good (as is the case with most on-board offerings), and are not quite loud enough for adequate monitoring in a band setting.

They are directed forward, so they aren't designed for monitoring. For me it's a big advantage - I don't have to buy a speaker to practice without headphones or perform in small rooms. Even with these speakers it's most portable board worth considering. There is speaker on/off switch, so I don't understand why it's disadvantage, you can have it always off. I do so during gigs, but sometimes it slightly helps to turn on the speakers, when sound man gives me to less me.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I've been gigging with the FP7F now (Jazz setting) for a bit and it's really been working well for me. There are some quirks that make it difficult to function as a stage piano. For example, the low gain of the outs (which you can control in the Function Settings -- but it forgets it when you turn it off).

I believe it's comparable to other Rolands, like my FP-4. For professional use you should use dibox, it gives you twice louder signal, enough for any purpose. There is only problem when you like to have really a lot of headroom for making you louder, like during solos. In my FP-4 setting at 12 o'clock position was mostly enough to soundman.
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#1705826 - 07/01/11 06:49 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: kiedysktos.]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
I believe it's comparable to other Rolands, like my FP-4. For professional use you should use dibox, it gives you twice louder signal, enough for any purpose. There is only problem when you like to have really a lot of headroom for making you louder, like during solos. In my FP-4 setting at 12 o'clock position was mostly enough to soundman.


Interesting with Rolands. What DI Box do you use? Active/Passive?

For a moment, I actually thought I needed a bigger amp but then I realized the Mic was coming out significantly louder on the shared PA. So the gain setting setting on the FP7F works (it can double the signal). But if the keyboard ever gets unplugged on a gig, I'm in big trouble.

The other possibility is to bring my mixer but I'm trying to simplify. There's enough to carry.

I see a lot of posts here complaining about the volume/gain on the FP7F and not realizing there's a gain setting.
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#1706228 - 07/02/11 02:22 PM Re: Views and Reviews: NP88, FP-7F, FP-4 etc. [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
OK, here are a few (very personal) initial impressions of the FP-7F which arrived this morning.

The action is on the light side and pretty responsive. Fast, single note repeats can be achieved. The escapement effect is subtle and so not intrusive. The matte finish has a pleasant feel. Slight "clack" heard occasionally from a couple of keys - but this is an ex-demo model. I did not notice the "bottoming out" that was talked about in relation to the FP-7.

The main piano sound is very "Roland." If you're used to that sound, there'll be no surprises! However, the timbre at the pp end of things is much improved. It plays and sounds like a very classy grand; less "real" than the Nord but more controlled. It could use an extra kick at the fff level, but if I had to choose, I'd rather have the additional dynamics available at ppp. I haven't had a chance to play with the sound designer features yet.

The EPs are "meh." Forgive the heresy but I prefer the EPs in the FP-4. Of course, the Nord blows the FP-7F out of the water when it comes to EPs.

I haven't delved into the tonewheel section yet (other than to play a few runs), but the basic sound signature is very similar to that of the FP4's offering - which is actually pretty good for a DP. It's necessary to read the manual to know how to adjust the "drawbars" in order to set up different organ registrations.

Strings and pads are nice. I shan't be using much else.

All-in-all, this model seems to be a good attempt at offering a basic AP alternative in a light(ish)weight package. The speakers are OK, certainly better than the FP-4's by quite a margin. If you're looking for the best all-rounder, I don't think this is it. In fact, I'd stick my neck out here and say that Kawai may have the best all-purpose stage keyboard at a sensible price right now. Having played the MP5 for a while (but not the MP6), I was very taken by the wide dynamic range and the number of live-oriented features. However, the Kawai is definitely MUCH better in stereo than mono. The Nord is definitely the only board I've played that doesn't seem to lose much when summing to mono. I haven't tried running the FP-7F in mono yet.

I think the FP-7F will be great for home use. I will be more inclined to sit and practice at the 7F rather than the FP-4, since the sound is so much less harsh from the internal speakers and has so much better dynamic control. I will keep the FP-4 for small gigs - it has a number of advantages for that purpose (weight, better EPs, more FX etc.). The FP-4F probably offers insufficient extra to make it worth upgrading from the older FP-4.

In conclusion, I would say that we're being offered some pretty good packages by all the major manufacturers right now, but we're nowhere near reaching the holy grail of DPs! The FP-7F is a nice step along the way, however.
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