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#1820830 - 01/08/12 11:24 AM My Roland FP-7F Review
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
So I've had the Roland FP-7F for a little while now, and decided to give you guys my review of it.

A little history: I play classical piano, went to school for it. At home I have a Yamaha grand - but I recently moved and couldn't take it with me due to space/noise, so I decided to get a digital. I first bought the Yamaha P95, but within a short while, it was really grossly inadequate for serious practicing. The sound was not very good, and the action/keys were too plastic/flimsy.

So I went on a search - I tried some Kawai's, the lower end CE200, which had a decent touch but poor sound. The MP10, I thought the action a bit too "rubbery" and did not like that'd need to get speakers for it. Finally I tried the CA63, which was nicer - but for the price, it still sounded like a digital piano and not like a real piano that you could get for not much more. The action was decent.

Finally, I stumbled onto the Rolands. The 700 series was nice, but once again needed external speakers and were more expensive, with features I did not need.

The FP-7F felt just right. The action, while not necessarily too heavy, was very responsive, and the ivory feel make them great under the fingers.

I like to keep it on the "heavy" setting. Medium is a bit too light, but heavy is nice. They respond well, and feel good.

Minus: The action is extremely noisy. I can hear them over any music. What's worse, they transmit a stupendous amount of sound into the lower floor. It sounds like a washing machine from the lower room. Who knew that little keys could create such a thump! So much for "quiet practicing".

Now, for some accessories. I bought the KSC-44 stand, which at $300, looks exactly like the L85 I had for the P95 and costs $99. Who knows where they get the extra $200 from, maybe it's because the wood is 1/8 inch thicker. Aside from the price of admission, the stand is good - makes the keyboard look nice and stable.

I also picked up the RPU-3 pedal set, which has, as the name implies, the 3 pedals from a piano. Self explanatory here, and they feel and work well.

Now - onto the sound. I was using pianoteq with my P95, which improved it - but I felt no need with the Roland. The onboard sound is really good - the supernatural piano does a good job at replicating a real instrument, and while it's not as sensitive as a grand piano, it's very good.

About the sound: I use Sennheiser HD650 headphones, and it sounds phenomenal through them. Very clear, sparkling sound - it feels like I'm not wearing headphones at all. I'd recommend these to the serious user.

The downside of the Roland are the stock speakers. They are very disappointing, especially after having the HD650's on - they sound tiny, weak, and lacking character. To make it worse - a few notes at moderate volume causing the speaker housing to vibrate, especially D5 and some surrounding notes. Thinking my FP7F was defective, I went to 3 different stores and tried the floor models - every single one of them made the same rattling vibration on the same notes, once again at moderate volume, while other notes were fine. Who know's what is up here.

So to conclude: Touch is good, sound through headphones is good, but onboard speakers are poor, and the keys thump loudly enough to hear on another floor.

I got them to match the price for $1,699, plus the $300 stand and $100 pedals, and we're talking about $2,100-$2,200 for the complete package. Not bad - I honestly did not think the nearly $3,000 Kawai CA63 sounded or felt any better - I think you pay a lot for the cabinet there.

I'd recommend the Roland, even with the few shortcomings it has - because no digital I've seen really is like an acoustic piano, but this one comes close and gives you the sound of a much more expensive grand.

Oh, and It really sounds like to me that they sampled a Hamburg Steinway D - I don't know if that is true, but listening to records of real D's, and the Roland shares many characteristics of that sound.

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#1820839 - 01/08/12 11:37 AM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1956
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: CrashTest
Minus: The action is extremely noisy. I can hear them over any music. What's worse, they transmit a stupendous amount of sound into the lower floor. It sounds like a washing machine from the lower room. Who knew that little keys could create such a thump! So much for "quiet practicing".


Thank you. Appreciate the review.
I am wondering. Is the noise transmitted through the stand then through the floor? Can it be avoided with pads under the stand? I'm thinking pads like they have for bicycle trainers to subdue noise through the floor. ?
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#1820863 - 01/08/12 12:28 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I've tried putting some different materials under the stand, extra carpet, cardboard, and that did not work. I think as others have said you need something thick with mass, like granite - but that's a bit cumbersome as well.

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#1820901 - 01/08/12 01:31 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
Roki Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Orange County, CA
I appreciate the review! I'm in a similar position as you, as an experienced player without the space/ability to have an acoustic in my condo. I'm debating the MP10 or FP7-F. You mentioned the action being "rubbery," would it be possible to elaborate a bit on that?

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#1820947 - 01/08/12 02:55 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I tried the MP10 in the store, and the action, while the weight was not the problem, did not feel too good to me. It felt like an action of a keyboard and not necessarily that of a grand piano - where I feel the FP7F felt much more realistic.

It's the first reaction I had to it, rubbery. I think it is in the way the key goes down - just did not feel well defined to me, it's hard to explain.

As per the key thump issue, I tried some 3/8 granite pieces - and it did not really help. I think either the slab has to be thicker, or something else has to be used.

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#1820986 - 01/08/12 03:45 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1422
I think the FP-7F is a solid package and congrats on your new setup. What's crazy is just how personal the preferences for touch and sound are as I felt the RM3 Wooden action and UPHI sounds of the top end Kawais to be both more playable and more natural than the PHA III action and SN sounds of the Rolands. I think with any of the new top end boards, particularly from Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland, you can't go wrong in touch and sound. Nice review as well.
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N1
Nord Piano 2


"Be who you are and say how you feel. Because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#1820991 - 01/08/12 03:56 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2305
Loc: UK
Interesting review, thanks.

I don't have an FP-7F but play my mates every now and then. Agree about the poor sound with built-in speakers and also what a delight with headphones. The keys also stop very hard or harshly and this won't help with the noise transmitted below.

The speaker buzz with D5 caught my attention. If you hit C5, D5 hard and separately and sustain them you can hear a strong metallic buzz in the tone. It is IMHO a design defect in the sound. It grates. I wonder if you heard part of this, or it's this causing the resonance. You can hear what I'm speaking about with headphones. This is with GP1 the SN piano, I don't know about the others.

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#1821003 - 01/08/12 04:14 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: PianoZac]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3012
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: ZacharyForbes
I think the FP-7F is a solid package and congrats on your new setup. What's crazy is just how personal the preferences for touch and sound are as I felt the RM3 Wooden action and UPHI sounds of the top end Kawais to be both more playable and more natural than the PHA III action and SN sounds of the Rolands. I think with any of the new top end boards, particularly from Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland, you can't go wrong in touch and sound. Nice review as well.


When I used to play acoustics (inadequately), I had definite preferences there, too. I preferred Kawai to Yamaha, and Bluthner to Steinway. So no change with DPs.

With regard to the FP7-F, I agree that it is a solid package. Going off my experience with the MP6, I think if Kawai could integrate their sound and action a little better, they would attract more potential Roland buyers. The basic tone of the Kawais is wonderfully clear (if a touch harsh), but I just don't feel that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in the way that the Roland is. The SN pianos have a slightly dull presence but play beautifully, have better sustain, and also seem to react more naturally to chord harmonics.

I can absolutely understand why someone would pick an MP (or a Nord) over an FP for band work - particularly in a jazz combo setting, as that tonal clarity will sing out over the other instruments in a way that eludes the Rolands. But for now, and purely in terms of APs, I think the FP-7F is the one to beat for overall response, dynamics and harmonic interaction.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
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"can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
[HisKidd, May 2014]

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#1821149 - 01/08/12 08:10 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: voxpops]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1715
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Originally Posted By: voxpops
, I think if Kawai could integrate their sound and action a little better, they would attract more potential Roland buyers.


I think Kawai attract plenty of buyers already its just that they aren't prepared to drive for hours to find one or buy one without playing it because their local dealer doesn't carry stock and will only sell certain models to order. Kawai's issues are all business and distribution related rather then product related.
_________________________
"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally supported by but not beholden to various musical instrument manufactures including Yamaha

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#1821283 - 01/09/12 01:36 AM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
moleskincrusher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 169
[quote=CrashTest]

The downside of the Roland are the stock speakers. They are very disappointing, especially after having the HD650's on - they sound tiny, weak, and lacking character. To make it worse - a few notes at moderate volume causing the speaker housing to vibrate, especially D5 and some surrounding notes. Thinking my FP7F was defective, I went to 3 different stores and tried the floor models - every single one of them made the same rattling vibration on the same notes, once again at moderate volume, while other notes were fine. Who know's what is up here.


A frequent complaint found on a number of threads on this Forum is the harsh sounding upper octaves on the FP-7F, at least over the internal speakers. I and other FP-7F owners have also frequently pointed out how that harshness can be mitigated with a little patient tweaking of the Piano Designer subfunctions. Here we go again: (1) Decrease Duplex Scale to 1 or 0 (I also increase String Resonance to 7, Cabinet Resonance to 7 and turn off Reverb, and set Lid at 6 or 3 depending on the music -- but these are my personal preferences, not prescriptive); (2) Change setting of Stretch Tuning from Preset to User and adjust individual keys per the invaluable recommendations of DazedAndConfused in the thread called "The FP-7F Thread".

You can eliminate a lot of the bass boominess in the speakers by going to Equalizer 4 and making the curve flat except for very gradually rolling off below 1K one db at a time only until the boomness disappears but the lowest octaves aren't thinned out too much.

That's my longwinded way of stating that anyone can, like me, play around with the extensive adjustability Roland provides of the FP-7F APs until eventually they sound pretty good through the internal speakers, despite those speakers' out-of-the-box inadequacies.

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#1821638 - 01/09/12 04:31 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: moleskincrusher]
sentient Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/11
Posts: 32
Thanks for the great review. The key noise is really a thing to think about, especially if other families live one floor deeper.

Crashtest, would it maybe be possible to shortly record some organ sounds of the fp7f and upload them? I would really like to know if they re comparable to the fantastic organs of the mp 6.


Thanks again ;=)

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#1826014 - 01/16/12 04:32 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
Anders M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 18
Regarding the "rubbery" action - as a former MP10 owner I thought the action was very good overall, but I did note that the final stop/breaking part of the travel of each key was a bit mushy. By this I mean that it would be the opposite of a hard stop. I didn't feel that it impacted my playing in a negative way, however, and I really do think the MP10 has an excellent action. As I recently mentioned on this forum I had to send it back because of damage possibly inflicted during shipping.

Cheers,
Anders

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#1826109 - 01/16/12 06:33 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, there's a reason for the rubbery feeling. The hammer hits a big pad of foam rubber. If the hammer hits the rubber before the key bottoms out, then you will get a rubbery feeling. If I recall correctly, those two events happen pretty much at the same time.

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#1826653 - 01/17/12 05:30 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: gvfarns]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4322
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Yeah, there's a reason for the rubbery feeling. The hammer hits a big pad of foam rubber. If the hammer hits the rubber before the key bottoms out, then you will get a rubbery feeling. If I recall correctly, those two events happen pretty much at the same time.

They pretty much have to if all the sensors are located on the "hammer" (Kawai RM3, Roland PHA III, Yamaha GH, etc.).

A better way to do this is with three sensors: two velocity sensors on the "hammer" and one damper sensor on the key, and with some kind of escapement mechanism. AFAIK only the AG is made this way.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1826754 - 01/17/12 09:08 PM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah I was thinking this. If the hammer hits the rubber (without escapement) and the key hits the bottom at the same time, then it seems like it would need to be perfectly calibrated in order to have the right fee. If you hit to hard on the rubber or too hard on the keybed it could make bottoming out more rubbery vs more jarring. Ya think?

Probably that's what those adjustable screws in the RM3 and AWA PRO actions are about.

If a particular piano seems rubbery, there exists the possibility that the calibration is out of whack (hammers hitting too hard), perhaps? There haven't been reports of this, I'm just speculating here...


Edited by gvfarns (01/17/12 09:08 PM)

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#1826914 - 01/18/12 05:31 AM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2168
Loc: Sydney, Australia
On my MP9000, which is ancient but still has the rubbery velocity sensors for the hammer shanks, I do not feel any mush due to those velocity sensors. I DO feel a rather soft landing, but that's because the hammers hit a rubber stopper, as gvfarns says. I've never felt that there was anything at all wrong, or bad, with the feel as the key nears the bottom of it's travel. It is absolutely buttery smooth all the way down. (with no escapement feel, of course)

I do feel some mush near the bottom of the travel, on my Casio PX-330. I'd rather it wasn't there.

Greg.

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#1827010 - 01/18/12 10:18 AM Re: My Roland FP-7F Review [Re: CrashTest]
moleskincrusher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 169
Ahhh, the Kawai MP9000! I had one for 13 years, until Xmas 2010 when I got my Roland FP-7F. The Kawai action (not I hasten to add its AP sound)was state of the art for digital pianos then, and rarely if at all surpassed since (aside from AvantGrand of course).

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