Roland FP-90X Review – The Portable Digital Piano Masterpiece?

Hello everybody! Welcome to EzMusicBox.com. This is our Roland FP-90X review. The FP-90X is Roland’s flagship portable digital piano. With its impressive build quality, there is no doubt the FP-90X lives up to its premium instrument reputation.

I have been enjoying this instrument for a while. After extensive use, we have a lot to go over. We are excited to share our findings and what we love about this excellent portable digital piano.

The FP90X is the successor to the FP90, a fully featured and competent portable digital piano. Still, the FP90X brings some nice updates to the table.

Roland FP-90X Specifications

FP90X Specifications
  • Sound: Pure Acoustic Piano Modeling
  • Keyboard: Progressive Hammer Action 50 (PHA-50); Wood and Plastic Hybrid Structure
  • Effects: 6 types of Pure Acoustic Ambience and 12 types of My Stage
  • Unlimited polyphony for piano and for other voices 256-note polyphony
  • Voices: 20 piano tones plus over 300 other voices, including drum pads
  • Recorder: recording MIDI data to internal memory and audio files to a USB flash drive
  • Mode: Dual (layer); Split, Duo (Twin Pianos)
  • Display: LCD
  • Pedals: a sustain pedal DP-10
  • Speakers: 4 speakers with a total of 60 W output
  • Connections:  2 headphone jacks (1/4″ and 1/8″), USB-to_Host, USB-to-Device, 1/4″ LINE OUT, Wireless Bluetooth Audio and MIDI, Microphone input
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 52 13/16″ x 5 3/8″ x 1513/8″ (1340 mm x 136 mm x 390 mm)
  • Weight: 52 lbs (23.6 kg)
  • Release Date: February, 2021
  • Owner’s Manual on Roland’s official site

Design

The Roland FP-90X is the flagship model in the portable series. The solid design makes it an attractive instrument.

The PF90x weighs just over 52 lbs, which puts it on the heavier side of portable pianos. However, with its quality construction and output power, the weight is justified.

Build Quality

Roland FP-90X’s quality is premium. The instrument is sturdy and well-crafted. The model has two colors: black and white.

 top view

User Interface

The FP-90X comes with a clear and intuitive user interface. The large LCD screen and well-laid-out controls make it easy to navigate through the various functions and settings.

On the right of the main volume slider are three equalizer sliders to adjust the tone color.

user interface

Moreover, there are two volume sliders that allow you to adjust the volume of different parts of the piano:

  • In split mode, you’ve got individual sliders for both the upper and the lower part volumes.
  • In layering (dual) mode, you can alter the volume of the two tones independently.

Optional Matching Stand and Pedal Unit

Roland also manufactures a wooden stand and pedal unit. They are ideal for people who want the piano to look nice in their home. The stand and pedal unit are sold separately.

Of course, you can also choose a portable stand for your gigging purpose.

matching stand

Sound

Starting with the FP-90, Roland applied full piano modeling technology. I believe it was the very first portable Roland digital piano using modeling instead of sampling for piano tones.

Roland further enhanced the FP-90X by using the upgraded and faster processor chip. This increases the instrument’s ability to offer more complex algorithms for sound modeling.

Audio Modeling vs. Sampling

If you are new to the digital piano industry, you may wonder what is sound modeling and sampling. Essentially, there are two ways for digital pianos to produce sound –

  • Sampling is recording a real piano. The samplings are stored in the piano computer system. When a player presses a key on a digital piano, it reproduces the sound. Most digital pianos are using the sampling technique to produce sound.
  • Modeling is using a computer algorithm to generate sound in real time based on many preset parameters.

There is a regular discussion about which one is better. The debate may be tilting towards modeling as the modeling technique becomes more sophisticated.

Roland FP-90X Piano Sound Modeling

Speaker

Back to our discussion on FP-90X. Which is using the piano modeling methodology. The FP-90X uses Roland’s Pure Acoustic Piano Modeling sound engine to create its core piano sounds. One of the advantages is that you get unlimited polyphony for the piano tones on this instrument.

With the better chip on board, FP-90X offers more robust and colorful piano tones. The bass end has a really rich and warm sound, while the treble side gives a nice and sparkly voice.

Abundance of Tones

Although this instrument is centered around its piano sound production, many tones are available. In fact, the number of tones is well over 300.

The Roland FP-90X features –

  • 20 different piano tones
  • 18 electric piano sounds
  • 27 string and pad sounds
  • 18 organ sounds
  • 279 other sounds, which include brass, woodwind, percussion, choir, synths, drum kits, etc.

Speakers

It is a very satisfying experience to hear the music from the onboard speakers of FP-90X. There are four speakers, two 25-watt speakers plus two five-watt tweeters, and a total combined output power of 60 watts.

roland fp-90x back sound output

One enhancement Roland did on 90X was adding the two sound outputs at the back of the instrument. These outputs disperse sound better in a room. In many cases, such as in a rehearsal or small lounge, you could get away without external speakers.

However, if you ever need external amplification, there are also two standard 1/4″ jack outputs on the rear. This offers convenience for performances in larger venues.

Whether you need external amps or use the onboard speakers, the Roland FP-90X is an excellent gigging instrument.

New Feature – My Stage

My Stage is a new feature added to 90X. The “My Stage” allows you to choose your favorite piano and performance setting within the comfort of your home. This feature replicates the sound and acoustic characteristics you’d encounter when playing on a grand piano in various settings. It could be a concert hall, church, or rehearsal studio, and My Stage tailors your performance to each specific environment.

My Stage is only available in acoustic piano tones. When you turn on My Stage, you get the presets that change the character of the sound. My Stage is a fantastic feature and easy to use.

Key Action

90x key action

The action on the FP90X is Roland’s Progressive Hammer Action 50 (PHA-50). This is the only member of the FP series that uses the PHA-50.

The PHA-50 action is a kind of a wood hybrid action that Roland also uses on a few higher-level home digital pianos. The key action comes with triple sensor technology with escapement. Both white and black keys feature ivory-like textures for better gripping.

It is a very well-engineered action with longer keysticks than in the PHA-4. Therefore, the pivot point of the PHA-50 key is very close to the position, like a key of an acoustic grand piano. There is also a stabilizer pin on the back of every PHA-50 key. These pins enhance the durability of the PHA-50 keys.

The key action is well suited for any intensive professional playing, especially for contemporary music.

Connectivity

fp-90x connectivity in the back

The Roland FP-90X equips some helpful connectivity. All the ports are in the back, except the two headphone jacks that are in the front for convenience.

Bluetooth MIDI and Audio

Bluetooth pairing from your smart devices to this piano is a no-brainer. You have the Bluetooth MIDI for data exchange.

In terms of Bluetooth Audio, it is only one-way traffic. You cannot broadcast your performance from FP-90X via Bluetooth Audio. However, the instrument can stream audio via Bluetooth connection and use the piano speakers, either for background music or for playing along.

Dedicated Line Out

The Roland FP-90X has quarter-inch independent outputs. It is convenient for gigging musicians because many amps still come with 1/4″ jacks. Therefore, you do not need a converter to deal with 1/8″ stereo jacks.

USB Ports

The built-in USB interfaces allow you to connect to your computer or a USB flash drive. The audio data can get to your computer directly without additional conversion.

Headphone and Microphone

This digital piano comes with two jacks; one is the standard quarter-inch, and another is 1/8″ (3.5 mm). Moreover, both headphone jacks are located in the front of the piano for easy access.

Currently, most of the headphone jacks are 3.5 mm, so you can plug in directly and don’t have to keep an adapter around anymore.

There is a microphone input that is a 1/4″ jack. Additionally, you have both gain control on the back and a dedicated mic volume slider on the front.

Other Features

The Roland FP-90X offers many convenient features.

Registrations

First, you can save your settings up to 45 registrations.

This means if you set the piano parameters up in a particular way you’re playing a song, you can store that setting. When you play the same song later, you can easily recall the setting. The registration function is beneficial when you need to take the piano somewhere else and recall your settings.

Recording

There is an onboard recorder to record standard MIDI files. You also can record your performance as audio files directly onto your USB flash memory stick.

Modes

The FP-90X allows you to split the keyboard into dual mode (a.k.a. layering) or split mode.

There’s also twin piano mode, with two identical ranges on the bottom and top. You play duets or teacher-student scenarios.

Moreover, you have independent volume sliders for each part.

Roland Piano App

The FP-90X is compatible with the Roland Piano App, which allows you to get auto accompaniment. There’s no auto accompaniment directly accessible from the instrument.

Pairing is simple with the Bluetooth wireless connection. You can also leverage many functionalities of the Roland Piano App.

Pros & Cons of Roland FP-90X

Pros Cons
Modeling piano tones with limitless polyphony A substantial portable device weighing 52 pounds
Outstanding piano tones plus over 300 various voices Mono-color LCD screen
Intuitive user interface with easy-to-use volume and EQ sliders  No onboard accompaniments
PHA-50 Wood and Plastic Hybrid action close to acoustic grand pianos  
Bluetooth MIDI and Audio wireless connectivity  
Front-located headphone jacks (1/4″ and 35mm)  
Powerful onboard speakers with top and back outputs  
High-quality and attractive instrument  

Is Roland FP-90X Worth It? Our Conclusion

4.8 out of 5.0

Let’s summarize what we think of this portable digital piano.

  • The Roland FP-90X is a well-made and high-quality instrument.
  • It offers an extensive variety of sounds suitable for a wide array of musical genres.
  • The user interface allows the player to change the volume and characters of tone easily during performance. This feature is especially important for musicians on the road or stage.
  • The PHA-50 key action closely resembles expensive acoustic grand pianos and offers outstanding repetition speed.

Although this digital piano leans towards the heavier end among portable options, the excellent sound produced by the built-in speakers offsets the weight. Potentially, it can spare you from needing extra sound amplification gear.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the Roland FP-90X is an exceptional instrument. It comes with incredible sound quality, convenient connectivity, and an incredibly user-friendly interface. The wooden key action is particularly noteworthy, especially for pianists accustomed to acoustic grand pianos.

If you can allocate a budget for a top-tier portable digital piano, we strongly endorse the FP-90X. Although it comes at a premium price in the portable piano category, it offers exceptional value for your investment. It represents a true masterpiece.

Enjoy your piano shopping, and feel free to get in touch if you have any inquiries.

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