If you are looking for an entry-level digital piano under $1000 with fully weighted keys that is light enough to carry to a gig at the local cafe or use in your home studio to practice and teach on, the Roland FP-30 and Yamaha P-125 are great options to look at. Before you read further, though, you should know that these are aimed at musicians, teachers, and students looking for a somewhat basic instrument. If you’re looking for a more high-end stage piano with more sonic options, check out the Nord Stage 3 or Korg Kronos instead.
In summary, Roland and Yamaha have been head-to-head competitors in the digital piano market for decades now. Yamaha P-125's design is functional and compact enough, and it is lighter, weighing 11.8 kgs. It appears that the Roland FP-30 seems to offer much better value with a more modern, sleek, and streamlined instrument.
Here is a comparison to help you gain some clarity on that choice.
Design and Portability
The Roland FP-30 comes with a clean, minimalistic look that gives it a professional vibe uncommon in this price range.
A simple dashboard with slim, blue-and-red back-lit switches gives you access to operating onboard sounds.
They took the minimalist aesthetic pretty seriously. The result is a solid, no-nonsense look with no frills and makes you feel like getting straight to business. Playing piano.
The Roland FP-30 is 1300 mm wide, 284 mm deep, and 150mm high. Making it an extremely sleek and portable instrument. And weighing in at 14kgs, it’s a realistic carry for the solo performer.
FYI: The Roland FP-30 comes with an optional home piano style stand and pedals. And for those with more flamboyant tastes in color, white is an option as well.
You might also want to check the Owner's Manual of Roland FP-30.
While the Yamaha does look slightly clumsier and dated in comparison, its design is functional and compact enough. User-friendliness and functionality are at par here with self-explanatory switches and a volume slider. Overall though, the aesthetics struggle to keep up.
On the plus side, it is lighter than the Roland FP-30 (11.8 kgs)
Similar to its competitor here, it is available with optional stands, pedals, and in white as well.
The ultimate test of sorts for the digital piano is its playability and feel.
Acoustic pianos can never really be completely replaced. But over the years, digital pianos have come up to a standard where they qualify as a legit substitute that’s functional enough.
Both of these digital pianos have weighted key systems. But the technology used on each is different. One would think that Yamaha would have an advantage over Roland as the maker of acoustic pianos. But as it turns out, this is not necessarily the case. Let’s investigate.
The Roland FP-30 uses the PHA-4 (the 4 signifying 4th generation) hammer action on its keyboard. These trademark 'ivory feel’ keys are weighted individually and graded.
The simulated ebony and ivory surfaces offer a luxurious touch and superior grip. There's barely any noise while playing, and the inner mechanisms feel solid. Giving you a realistic piano feel that budding and seasoned hands of beginner and expert alike will enjoy.
The Yamaha P-125 uses its trademark Graded Hammer Standard. The keys are explicitly plastic. The responsiveness is not as uniform. Quirkily enough, the black keys seem to do a better job in this regard. The overall experience tends to feel somewhat uneven and takes a while to get used to. This keyboard has not been upgraded since its predecessor, P115, either.
That’s not to say it feels cheap or tacky. All things considered, the Yamaha P-125 still is a reasonably comfortable piano-playing experience. It lives up to the brand’s usual quality. But it does feel a little behind the times.
Check out the Product Manual of Yamaha P-125.
The Roland FP-30 uses Roland’s critically acclaimed SuperNATURAL technology. This creates sound by digitally emulating the sonic processes of an acoustic piano.
Yamaha, on the other hand, uses sample playback synthesis. For the layperson, the easiest description of this technology is that every time you play a key, what you hear is a recording of a piano key being played back.
Here's how does that’s relevant to your decision:
- Roland FP-30 is actually closer to an acoustic piano in the manner it works. The sound is being created in real-time when you play. So the response feels more organic.
- The Yamaha, on the other hand, does tend to feel a little artificial in comparison. It's playing back a recording.
That being said, the Roland digital piano does come with its signature sound, which is not everybody's taste. Some find it too perfect to be real. Yamaha, with its legacy and realistic sound library, does have an edge here.
Neither offers a great deal of versatility as far as the sonic palette is concerned—regular sets of acoustic pianos, electromechanical keyboards, and some organ strings and synths. At best, these are emergency solutions at a gig you can't be bothered carrying a second keyboard to.
Both offer sufficient volume for home usage. Larger locations for live performances will need a PA system, though.
- The Yamaha P-125 comes with a 2 x 7W speaker system.
- Roland FP-30 comes with a 2 x 11W speaker system.
Both Instruments are compatible with a variety of apps that are handy for educational purposes. These can be downloaded and used on your gadgets. But the Roland FP-30 has the ability to connect to your apps via Bluetooth.
Both Instruments come with their separate power adaptors. In-built power that works with just a power cable is only available on higher and more expensive models from the same brands.
Both come with standard stereo outs and two separate headphone outputs for duets and lessons. MIDI connections are on board, as well as are USB connections that let you save recordings directly to a computer.
However, the Roland FP-30 comes with two USB ports (type A/type B) connecting to a flash drive and computer. Additionally, its Bluetooth function also hooks it up wirelessly to your computer.
- The Roland FP-30 retails at around $799.99
- The Yamaha P-125 retails at around $1,004.99
(Please check prices at your local dealer).
- Design and Portability: Tie. The Roland wins in design. But the Yamaha is lighter.
- Key Action: Roland FP-30 wins.
- Sound: Tie. Boils down to personal taste.
- Speakers: Roland FP-30 wins.
- Learning Features: Tie.
- Connectivity: Roland FP-30 wins hands down.
- Price: Yamaha P-125 costs lesser.