Roland FP-90X Review – Expressiveness At A New Level

FP-90X overview

The Roland FP-90X reigns supreme for the famous FP-series by Roland. This is the newest and most powerful portable digital piano that Roland makes.

When reviewing the FP-90X, the main thing that we wanted to focus on is finding out the difference between it and its predecessor, the FP-90, as well as where it rates with similar competition.

Our initial thought is that the FP-90X did not disappoint, in fact, it performed quite well and has set the bar pretty high for portable, yet professional options moving forward.

Roland deciding to improve upon the FP90 seems like a great investment for them as a company seeing how the FP90 had already set the bar so high for other companies.

We recently just published our thoughts on the entry-level for the FP-X series being the Roland FP-X30. Check out our thoughts!

Roland FP-90X Overview

FP90X Review

Simply put, the FP-90X is one impressive machine and it is going to be extremely difficult to compete with it, near its price point. We recently added this as our pick for the best digital piano for the price.

Roland has brought the state-of-the-art PureAcoustic piano modeling sound engine to the table for this creation. Modeling is a technique that we are seeing with a lot of the newer piano VSTs in the current market.

Roland has also introduced limitless polyphony for piano voices with the FP-90X. While 128 note polyphony is plenty, this is still an accomplishment and is never a bad thing to have.

As far as realism goes, the FP-90X plays like a real acoustic piano. From the key-bed to the intricate and dynamic sounds it produces, you will be thinking you’re playing on a real acoustic piano.

Roland FP-90X Specs

Let’s take a quick look at the impressive specs of the FP-90X:

  • 88 weighted keys
  • Key-bed: PHA-50 Keys, Wood/Plastic Construction with Escapement built-in
  • Touch Sensitivity: 100 x Key Touch, Fixed, 10 x Hammer Response
  • Sound: PureAcoustic Piano modeling
  • Presets: 20 pianos, 18 electric pianos, 18 organs, 27 strings, 279 synths = 362 presets
  • Polyphony: Limitless for piano, 256 notes for rest of presets
  • Effects: Ambience, Rotary Speaker, Modulation
  • Playback: 34 internal sounds
  • Recording: 3-track, SMF, WAV 16 bit/44.1kHz
  • Storage: USB Flash Drive
  • Metronome: Yes
  • Audio Inputs: :1 x 1/4″ (mic), 1 x 1/8″ (aux)
  • Audio Outputs: 2 x 1/4″ (L/Mono, R)
  • USB: 1 x Type B, 1 x Type A
  • MIDI I/O: In/Out/USB/Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth: Yes, V3.0 for audio, V 4.0 for MIDI
  • Headphones: 1 x 1/8″, 1 x 1/4″
  • Pedal Inputs: 3 x 1/4″
  • Speakers: 8 x 4.7″, 2 x 1″
  • Amplifier: 2 x 25W, 2 x 5W
  • Display: LCD
  • Included Software: Piano Every Day, Piano Designer
  • Height:5.4″
  • Width:52.7″
  • Depth:15.3″
  • Weight:52 lbs

Design

FP-90X

The FP-90X takes things from console digital pianos and blends them with portable digital pianos to create something that looks futuristic, yet operates exactly how you would want it to.

As far as colors go, it is available in both black and white. I personally think both models look pretty cool and it all comes down to preference.

Roland has taken a bit of a minimal approach as far as the design goes, by keeping everything clean and sleek. You’re not going to find a bunch of controls on this digital piano that you won’t be using.

Because of its slim design and middle of the road weight, the FP-90X can be used as a keyboard for gigs as well as a home or studio keyboard. The versatility and sheer power that this digital piano feature is hard to match.

The FP-90X has a height of 5.4″, a width of 52.7″, a depth of 15.3″, and weighs in at about 52 LBS. As stated above, the weight isn’t the lightest, but it’s also nowhere near the heaviest for digital pianos in this price range.

If you’re looking at this and wondering how it weighs 52 LBS, the answer is that the wooden construction of the keys and the hammer mechanism for the entire keyboard. These are areas in which you’re going to add more weight, but get closer to that acoustic piano feel and sound.

The one thing that I will say as someone who toured with an extremely heavy keyboard that was about 75 LBS, is that heavier keyboards are typically more durable, so that’s a plus.

As far as the aesthetic, I like how the buttons are illuminated. You will find a total of 25 buttons and 8 sliders. In the middle of the keyboard is an LCD screen.

The size of the LCD screen seems to be very fitting. I typically do not prefer larger LCD screens because I feel like it’s easier to crack them.

At the same time, having an LCD screen that is too small is also just as annoying since it will be hard to read, kind of defeating the purpose.

Should you be someone who is into music production, you will find the sliders to be extremely helpful as they can help you control certain parameters when recording and writing songs.

It is also quite rare to find sliders on digital pianos, so this is something that Roland did really well.

The equalizer sliders are pretty neat as you can instantly adjust the highs, mids, and lows at your command.

There is a song volume slider with the FP-90X which allows you to control the backing tracks volume. You can easily turn it up or down to match the volume that you are playing at. This will make your life a lot easier should be using this feature.

There is also a mic volume slider that allows you to do the same as far as adjusting and getting all of the volumes correct.

Keyboard Bed

keybed of fp-90x

You are looking at a fantastic keyboard bed. I have always loved Roland keyboard beds, such as the Roland G8 series, and this is even better.

The keys combine a wooden construction with plastic to create a hybrid that emulates an acoustic piano to its fullest.

PH-50 A keybed

Roland has used its best keyboard bed called the PHA-50, which means progressive hammer action.

This key-bed is the same one that is used in some of Roland’s most expensive console digital pianos including the LX-17, HP605, HP603.

I would describe this key-bed as an extremely responsive key-bed that feels like an acoustic piano that has been played a lot. I mean this in a very positive manner as these are my favorite key-beds.

While the feeling of keyboard beds with digital pianos is always going to be subjective, it is easy to tell that you’re playing on a quality key-bed immediately with the FP-90X.

With weighted hammer action keys, you will notice that the lower register keys are going to be heavier than the higher register keys. This is exactly like an acoustic piano. The purpose is just like everything in a solid digital piano and that is to emulate an acoustic piano.

Roland talks about the “escapement” feature quite frequently and what this does is simulates a clicking sensation in the key when you press it halfway down.

To sum up the key-bed, I would say that this is easily one of the best keyboard actions you can find currently on the market. I don’t see many people not enjoying the FP-90x keyboard bed.

Connectivity

As far as connectivity goes, the FP-90X is packing some state of the art options that is truly meant for professionals.

Roland continues to push the envelope when it comes technological advancements with their portable options. With the FP-90X, we see two headphones jacks which you can use to connect 2 sets of headphones together for lessons.

Why is this helpful? This would be helpful if you’re in a noisy practice room or household and or you are playing duets with you instructor.

You will find one headphone jack that is 1/4″ and one that is 1/8″, and this is what allows you to connect your headphones without an adapter.

All of the other ports and connectors will be found on the back of the keyboard.

The FP-90X can be used as a MIDI controller, which allows pianists to hook up to a laptop or PC. This is becoming extremely popular as you can access hundreds of piano apps as well as even online piano lessons all in an instant.

One thing to note is that if you choose to use your keyboard as a MIDI controller via USB, you’ll need an expensive USB cable that is A to B.

One of the things that makes the FP-90X so great is the fact that it has Bluetooth connectivity for MIDI. This is a gamechanger in my opinion.

When playing live, I’ve used Bluetooth options and it made my life so much easier night in and night out.

Roland has developed its own free app, Piano Partner 2, and this is included with the FP-90X. You will also find Apple’s GarageBand for iOS is compatible as well as other music creation apps.

Accessories

The FP-90X comes with some great accessories. The best thing included in my opinion is the sustain pedal. You can expect the following with your purchase:

  • Roland DP-10 (3-pedal unit is sold separately)
  • Music Rest
  • AC Power Adapter
  • Owner’s Manual

FP-90X VS The FP-90

On paper, both of these digital pianos are beasts and capable of competing with pretty much anything on the market.

When comparing the two, I personally think the FP-90X sounds better. As far as most other things go, we are looking at the same keyboard bed as well as a lot of other extremely similar features.

As far as polyphony goes, we see an upgrade in the polyphony department with the FP-90X. The FP-90X comes to the table with unlimited polyphony with pianos and 256 note polyphony for all other voices.

I personally haven’t seem unlimited polyphony very many times, so this seems neat to me.

Wrapping Up

The Roland FP-90X has truly reached some extraordinary heights for digital pianos near its price point. This is going to set the bar high moving forward and it will be interesting to see how other companies follow it up.

10 comments
    1. Actually he didn’t say nothing about the difference between this two pianos, and is very rare, I can’t fine in the all internet someone saying why the 90x is better than the 90.

  1. Hi Chris – is the MIDI controller function easy to access or is it buried in a menu hierarchy? Thanks, great website by the way.

    1. Hey Steve,

      It is super easy to plug in the FP-90x and get it working like a MIDI controller. Your DAW should recognize it immediately!

      Chris

  2. HI Chris. How would you compare it with the ES920 in terms of action and Piano, E-Piano Sounds
    I also need good Wurlitzer and Rhodes sounds

    Thank you

  3. One correction. It’s not the SuperNATURAL piano modeling it’s the PureAcoustic Piano Modeling on the 90X.

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