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Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 #2620532 03/05/17 11:30 AM
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Emily Zoe Offline OP
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Hi. I am looking for a digital piano for my daughter who started to learn piano a few months ago. Currently I am looking at Roland FP30 and Yamaha CLP535. If we ignore the price at the moment,which one should I chose? Why? And are both of them sufficient enough to take my daughter all the way to grade 8? (exam board accepts digital pianos) Thank you in advance for your opinion.

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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620537 03/05/17 12:03 PM
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voxpops Offline
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Hello Emily, and welcome.

I can only speak about the FP-30, which I own. While I believe there are many outstanding features on the FP-30, I really don't believe it's suitable to take someone all the way through Grade 8. The principal reason for this is the action. Although it's one of the better actions among the smaller slabs, the depth of the piano is insufficient to allow for keys that are ideally pivoted. It's mainly designed for portability or very tight spaces.

If I were you, if a real acoustic is out of the question, I would seriously consider the Roland FP-90 or one of its cabinet equivalents. The modeled engine will allow for the most subtle expression available in a digital, and the action is capable of more closely replicating an acoustic.

Some of the upper echelon of Kawai digitals also feature excellent actions, but no digital can completely replicate a good acoustic piano. Grade 8 is demanding, and you need to make the transition from digital practice instrument to acoustic performance instrument as painless as possible.

Although your daughter is only at beginner level, so as to avoid having to upgrade in a year or two, I would strongly suggest checking out the FP-90.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620541 03/05/17 12:16 PM
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Just for general information - the FP-90 from Roland has the PHA-50 action which is their best ; it is in all models DP603 HP604 FP-90 HP605 LX-7 LX17 GP-607 and the RD-2000. From the middle range to the top of the line, all have the top of the range action, and sound engine.

Yamaha makes a nice action, but dresses it down for the cheaper models - personally I did not like the one in the 535 much, and would rate any PHA-50 equipped roland above it.

What is your budget?


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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620564 03/05/17 01:28 PM
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Whatever piano you choose, digital or otherwise, will get her up to grade 6 or so. Some acoustics don't have brilliant actions, but playing a Roland seemed to make for a pretty seamless transition in my case.
I find little difference in feel between my FP50 and the Yamaha B2 and U4 acoustics. The sound is more resonant on the acoustics of course, but even an LX17 didn't feel hugely better.
A cabinet model will encourage her to think she's playing a real piano; the portable ones lack a decent sound.
There's a huge choice at most price levels.
Best wishes to her!

Last edited by peterws; 03/05/17 01:29 PM.

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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620568 03/05/17 01:37 PM
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terminaldegree Offline
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535. However, it's kind of an unfair comparison, since Roland makes a very worthy direct competitor that isn't the FP30. The FP30 is a very low cost, semi portable model. The 535 isn't.


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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620588 03/05/17 03:02 PM
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Bambers Offline
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Originally Posted by Emily Zoe
And are both of them sufficient enough to take my daughter all the way to grade 8? (exam board accepts digital pianos) Thank you in advance for your opinion.


Which board? They might accept digital pianos but that doesn't necessarily mean she will be taking the exam on one!

Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620622 03/05/17 04:16 PM
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Hi Emily.
Those are two very different types of digital pianos. Even if they were the same type (e.g. both cabinet style), they can feel so different, I would most certainly recommend seeing them in person. I was in a music store a few days ago and happened to play the FP30 and the CLP535 back-to-back, each for quite some time. The Roland is a great instrument but for me the piano sound was very "synthetic", to me more suited to pop/rock genre of music. Many people like their "SuperNatural" sound because it is modelled and has a lot of dynamics but to me it was too computer-generated. The 535 has a much more natural (to my ears) classical, acoustic sound, with samples from two very distinct acoustic instruments (a Yamaha grand and a Bösendorfer grand). I also preferred the action of the Yamaha. But it is a very personal a subjective matter. I would also advise to check Kawai - the CN37 is a direct competitor of the 535 with a much praised action and sound. I have not tried it yet myself though.


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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620650 03/05/17 06:51 PM
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Emily Zoe Offline OP
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Thank you all for your valuable opinions. Wow, i really didn't thought thoroughly before. I, actually know nothing about piano and just started to do my research online.

At the moment I don't want to invest in an acoustic piano mainly because of the maintenance services. Secondly, I am not sure how far my girl wants to get on her piano journey.

My initial opinion to get my daughter to learn piano was to get her something to do when she is free, and I think to play music will calm her down when she is stressed in the future. I have never pushed her to reach an expert level, I even told her teacher that I didn't want her to play piano just to pass exams. My original thought was just this simple.

Now I know that most of the digital pianos can only help to get to grade 6. Does it mean that I don't need to invest on an expensive digital piano as I need to upgrade it in a few years anyway?

May I ask a very silly question here, generally speaking, how long it will take to get to grade 6? I asked it just to get an idea of when I need to upgrade.

Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620666 03/05/17 08:03 PM
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terminaldegree Offline
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Originally Posted by Emily Zoe

Now I know that most of the digital pianos can only help to get to grade 6. Does it mean that I don't need to invest on an expensive digital piano as I need to upgrade it in a few years anyway?


The better the action and sound, the more inspired most people are to play that particular piano. Particularly an advancing student who just plays for fun (and not because they're doing so because they're forced to)... You're considering a decent entry-level against a solid midrange model, not an opulent, "bells and whistles" digital grand in either case. If you're unlikely to purchase a quality acoustic 48" upright or something better than that later (because of cost or maintenance), then I'd recommend getting the best new digital piano you can reasonably afford, to keep for the long term. With decent care (keeping dust and spills away, and perhaps a surge protector), these pianos can provide 12, 15, even 20 years of pretty reliable service.


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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: terminaldegree] #2620671 03/05/17 08:22 PM
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Emily Zoe Offline OP
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Thanks terminaldegree. Can you recommend some models, my budget is less than $3000.

Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620708 03/06/17 12:08 AM
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Hello Emily, welcome to the forum.

Given your budget, I would skip the Roland FP-30 and consider the larger FP-90 model. The Kawai ES8 competes directly with the FP-90 - both models have their fans.

Note that the FP-90/ES8 are 'slab'-type instruments, and must therefore be mounted on a stand. Stands are relatively inexpensive, but I would recommend paying $100 or more for a good quality, stable, table stand. Roland and Kawai sell furniture style stand and triple pedal accessories for both models too.

If you do not require the portability of a 'slab' instrument, a 'console'-type (with the stand built into the instrument) may be preferable. Alongside the Yamaha CLP-535 that you are consider, I would also recommend play-testing the Kawai CN37 and Roland RP-504. All three models are good mid-range digital piano instruments, however the Roland and Yamaha are older models (i.e. they will likely be updated soon, and could be available at a reduced price), while the Kawai was launched in January.

If possible, it may be worth consulting with your daughter's piano teacher regarding suggestions/opinions on digital pianos.

I hope this helps - best of luck with your search.

Cheers,
James
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Re: Roland FP30 vs Yamaha CLP535 [Re: Emily Zoe] #2620749 03/06/17 04:42 AM
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I agree with James, and would recommend you opt for the best action (and sound) you can get within your budget.

I also have a slightly different perspective than posted earlier regarding Grade 6. For a student to get as far as Grade 6, they're probably quite serious regarding their studies (allow about a year per grade, depending on aptitude and commitment). All digitals can encourage difficult-to-erase habits forming that affect finger control, dynamics, pedaling and sensitivity to volume. Even at Grade 6 these issues are important. and could potentially inhibit or decelerate progress.

The latest Rolands (FP-90, LX7, LX17, HP605 etc.) include a high quality action plus a modeled sound engine that, arguably, more closely mimics the way an acoustic piano responds and resonates - more so than one that relies on recorded "snapshot" samples taken at a few dynamic levels (e.g. p, mf, f, ff) and for a few seconds in length.

On the other hand, the better Kawai digitals have some of the best actions currently on the market, but still rely on those sampled "snapshots," cleverly blended and looped to fool the ear, and then married to modeled resonances. Sampled sounds tend to seem more realistic when first heard, but after a while can seem static and lifeless. Modeled sounds might seem slightly less realistic, but frequently feel more "alive" with complex decay and resonance, and no looping of the sustained sound.

As someone posted above, for a learner the sound needs to be beguiling enough that they want to practice, and the action needs to be sufficiently acoustic-like that they will not have too much difficulty with touch, dynamics and pedaling when they try to recreate their practiced pieces on their teacher's or examiner's acoustic.

With up to $3000 to spend, you can ensure that your daughter has the best start possible, and is more likely to want to continue. Should she eventually decide piano is not for her, you should have little problem reselling either a quality Roland or Kawai within the first three years - and after that, you've probably had your money's worth!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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