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#2191619 - 12/02/13 09:43 PM Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40
wynton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/28/13
Posts: 14
Just returned from my local Sam Ash, and I found myself seriously considering the Roland FP-50 and Yamaha CP-40.

The comparison was somewhat difficult because the keyboards were not situated at the same height, making it hard for me compare the action. Also, the keyboards were across the room from each other so I had some trouble comparing the sounds.

Having said that, my initial impression is that I preferred the action on the FP-50. (Contrary to some remarks I found elsewhere on this forum, it did not occur to me that the keys were too heavy, perhaps because I rarely play electric pianos now and am accustomed to playing on a grand.) I can't tell yet which acoustic piano sound I prefer. The Rhodes sound on the CP40 sounded better to me. But I cannot tell yet whether any of the differences in the sound would be eliminated by tweaking various settings.

Please let me know if you have any opinion how these two keyboards compare? If it matters, I would be using this primarily in a jazz setting, playing the acoustic piano. The keyboard is for gigging, not playing at home. Finally, because I am also thinking of buying a Hammond, any differences in the organ sounds are not critical to me.

(Incidentally, the salesman thought that the Privia - I forget which model - maybe PX-5S - was clearly inferior to both these units. I only played it for a few minutes, but tended to agree that the action was not as good. I intend to give the Privia more serious consideration when I return.)

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#2191637 - 12/02/13 10:30 PM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3215
Originally Posted By: wynton
my initial impression is that I preferred the action on the FP-50. (Contrary to some remarks I found elsewhere on this forum, it did not occur to me that the keys were too heavy, perhaps because I rarely play electric pianos now and am accustomed to playing on a grand.)

I don't think people find the FP-50 heavy, as much as they find it sluggish, i.e. the keys seem slow to return. (As for grands, they vary a lot, some are lighter than most DPs.)

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#2191671 - 12/03/13 12:16 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
The Roland SN piano sound is a more complex, evolving sound than what you can expect from Yamaha. However, it is also somewhat duller, with less clarity. Stretching and looping are things of the past with Roland - not so with Yamaha. The action on the FP-50 requires a little more effort than some other actions - it's not exactly heavy or sluggish, but has resistance, and fast runs can result in lost or low volume notes (particularly when black keys are struck too lightly). Paradoxically, single note repetition and trills are fast and easily controlled. Yamaha's GH is quite a heavy action, but has a reputation for being smooth. The EP sounds on the FP-50 are not as embarrassing as on the FP-4F and FP-7F, but not in the same league as those in the CP4 (and therefore, presumably, in the CP40).

I only noticed today (after owning the FP-50 for 5 months!), that it has no USB (B) port for connecting directly to a computer - you either have to use MIDI DIN ports for playing VSTs, or connect a memory stick to the USB (A) port when transferring files to the FP-50. The onboard speakers are not hi-fi, but they are useful. When connecting to other amplification you may need to tweak the EQ settings (which can only be saved globally, not in individual registrations).

The Casio PX-5S is more clearly intended as a stage keyboard, rather than a dedicated piano. It does not feature half-pedaling (via the damper pedal input), nor does it have provision for a music stand. However, the resonance characteristics are advanced and include string (or sympathetic) resonance, as does the Roland but not the Yamaha. Some of us find the Casio acoustic pianos a little "plinky," particularly in the upper mid register, but there are variations available for download that may make the issue less noticeable. The overall tone of the Casio grand piano is pleasing and "Steinwayesque." The Casio EPs are a matter of taste, but again there are variations available that improve markedly on the factory presets (IMO). The Casio weighs substantially less than either the Roland or Yamaha. The action is remarkably good for such a lightweight board, and feels a little freer than the Roland's. However it doesn't manage repetitions quite as well.

Depending on the type of jazz you play, the Roland can feel a little treacly when trying to execute fast phrases, but it is beautifully responsive in terms of finger/sound connection. The PX-5S works well also, but can be a tad jumpy. Not having played the CP40, I can't comment other than to say that many people have played jazz happily on the CP33 and P-155 which share the same action.

To be honest, there is no clear winner, as all these DPs involve compromises of one kind or another.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2191676 - 12/03/13 12:36 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3215
Okay, maybe sluggish wasn't right either. ;-) But there was something I felt was, I don't know, a bit unresponsive? It was a while ago. But also, my experience with that action is with the older FP-4F, which may not be quite identical.

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#2191821 - 12/03/13 10:16 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
You know, it's very difficult to characterize exactly what is the issue with the FP-50's action, but I find myself too aware of the action when playing, and it's necessary to use considerable finger force at times. If I were to play it exclusively, that feeling might dissipate, but coming from other boards makes it stand out somewhat. Funnily enough, I don't feel the same way about the RD-64, possibly due to the need to tame the velocity of strikes to avoid the more obviously aggressive overtones.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2191829 - 12/03/13 10:33 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: voxpops]
wynton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/28/13
Posts: 14
Thanks for these very helpful comments.

I just posted a somewhat similar question in the general thread discussing the FP-50 and FP-80, but I'll be more specific here.

The morning after my excursion to the retailer, I find myself less concerned about the action/feel of the FP-50, but more concerned about the EP sounds and apparently smaller selection of both AP and EP sounds.

The FP-50 has something like 3-4 preset AP sounds, I think (not counting things like "rock piano"), whereas the CP-40 had several times as many. For my purposes - jazz - I think that I am likely to settle on 1-2 AP sounds and disregard the rest. So the number of choices is not as important as the quality. Still, I'm wondering whether I am even correct in believing that the CP-40 has a greater selection of AP sounds. Could I achieve the same variety in the FP-50 simply by tweaking settings?

I am somewhat more worried about the quality of the EP sounds on the FP-50. Though I will be using this keyboard mostly for acoustic jazz, I can't really anticipate my needs and I'd like to be confident that whatever I buy can do the job for blues, funk, pop. I don't need a huge library of sounds, but do want solid EP sounds. Above all, I'd like a good Rhodes sound.

Can you tell me if I can adjust the EQ or other settings on the FP-50 so as to produce pretty decent EP sounds (i.e., roughly equivalent to the CP40 and other keyboards in this range)?

Thanks.

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#2191834 - 12/03/13 10:49 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3215
By reputation, at least, the Yamaha CP1/5/4/40 have well-regarded EP sections, whereas EP seems often to be seen as a weakness in Roland's SuperNatural pianos.

If you can possibly stretch your budget from the CP40 to the CP4, you can get the CP40 sound you prefer with an action that most people consider notably better, than either the CP40 or the FP50.

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#2191836 - 12/03/13 11:01 AM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
The problem is that, although you can adjust EQ, you can only save as a global setting. I discovered that when I tried to EQ the Rhodes to be a little brighter, and found that the new EQ had made the AP unusable. It is a significant restriction not to be able to save EQ as an individual setting.

The Rhodes in the FP-50 clearly shares the same roots as that in the RD-64, but the RD's has more clarity and definition. I enjoy playing the RD's Rhodes, but less so that in the FP - although it's usable. I think you'll find that Yamaha's SCM Rhodes and Wurli outperform the FP's.

The three main AP sounds in the FP are pretty much it when it comes to variations. The only thing I did to the Concert Grand sound was to save a registration with a lighter touch setting, to help compensate for the action's resistance (however, I rarely use it). I also played with the AP global settings to dial out some of the muddiness.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2191889 - 12/03/13 12:55 PM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
David Farley Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 285
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: wynton

The FP-50 has something like 3-4 preset AP sounds, I think (not counting things like "rock piano"), whereas the CP-40 had several times as many. For my purposes - jazz - I think that I am likely to settle on 1-2 AP sounds and disregard the rest. So the number of choices is not as important as the quality. Still, I'm wondering whether I am even correct in believing that the CP-40 has a greater selection of AP sounds. Could I achieve the same variety in the FP-50 simply by tweaking settings?


The CP40s AP sounds are all variations of the CFIII sample set. With the CP4 you get variations based on three AP sample sets, CFX, CFIII and S6. I believe you get some more EPs on the CP4, too.

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#2192045 - 12/03/13 05:27 PM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: voxpops]
wynton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/28/13
Posts: 14
Originally Posted By: voxpops

The Rhodes in the FP-50 clearly shares the same roots as that in the RD-64, but the RD's has more clarity and definition. I enjoy playing the RD's Rhodes, but less so that in the FP - although it's usable. I think you'll find that Yamaha's SCM Rhodes and Wurli outperform the FP's.


If I ultimately prefer the AP and action on the FP50, but am somewhat dissatisfied with the EP sounds (particularly the Rhodes), can I easily get around this by hooking up a laptop and using software for better EP sounds?

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've never experimented with laptop solutions like this, so have no idea how practical or impractical they are (for gigging purposes).

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#2192047 - 12/03/13 05:36 PM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
As I mentioned earlier, you will need a MIDI-USB conversion cable to hook the FP-50 up to a computer.

It still seems to be a little hit and miss with regard to getting high quality performance from mobile computers. I'm having all sorts of issues trying to make a new tablet work, but have a little netbook that functions quite well within its CPU limits. It's usually a question of experimentation. As for reliability during live performance, I've been OK with using my netbook for VB3 (organ) live, but I wouldn't risk relying on software for my main piano sound.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2192065 - 12/03/13 06:22 PM Re: Roland FP-50 v Yamaha CP40 [Re: wynton]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3215
Originally Posted By: wynton
If I ultimately prefer the AP and action on the FP50, but am somewhat dissatisfied with the EP sounds (particularly the Rhodes), can I easily get around this by hooking up a laptop and using software for better EP sounds?

Yes... the MIDI/USB adapter voxpops mentioned is not expensive... there are no-name ones for about $5 that work fine for many people, or you could get a number of brand name ones for $30-$40 (E-Mu, Roland, Art, iConnect, M-Audio), or more.

Ergonomically better than a laptop, if you happen to have an i-device (iPad, etc.), you can try some EPs there. Again, you'll need an interface, those start at about $40. The neo-soul EPs from gospelmusicians have gotten nice reviews, but they are resource-intensive so they work best on the newest models. They have a free mode so you can check them out and see if they work for you. It's not as good as the laptop, but if it's good enough, I think it's a nicer form factor for live work.

And regardless, you still have a serviceable sound in the Roland you can use as backup, if need be.


Edited by anotherscott (12/03/13 06:23 PM)

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