Are you looking for a keyboard within the Roland brand? There are a lot of reasons to go for this brand as they manufacture a lot of excellent audio products, including keyboards and digital pianos. In this guide, we’re looking to filter out the best Roland options for you to choose from in this guide, with a variety of features and designs.
Some Roland options have more of a digital piano feel while others have much more of a synth or keyboard vibe to them. Our keyboard and digital piano reviews will help you to make the most suitable choice for your own musical needs whether you are building a home studio or you need something that you can take out to shows with you.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
- 2 Types of Roland Keyboard
- 3 Roland vs Other Brands
- 4 Best Roland Keyboards Reviewed
- 4.1 1. Roland GO:PIANO 61-key Digital Piano Keyboard with Integrated Bluetooth Speakers – Best Overall
- 4.2 2. Roland A-500PRO-R 49-key MIDI Keyboard Controller – Best Roland MIDI Controller
- 4.3 3. Roland, Premium Portable Piano - FP-90 – Best 88-Key Model
- 4.4 4. Roland FA-06 61-Key Music Workstation with 16 Backlit Pads
- 4.5 5. Roland FP-10 88-key Entry Level Digital Keyboard – Best Value
- 5 Summary
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Types of Roland Keyboard
There is a wide range within the Roland brand and the products are so diverse and different that it is worth spending the time in establishing which is right for you. The model of keyboard that an aspiring piano player will opt for is different to the model a bedroom producer might look for.
- Digital Piano – these feel like a “real piano” also known as an acoustic piano! They are designed to have accurate piano sounds and a keyboard with weighted keys that can help with that piano feel and the expression of playing some passages harder and some softer. Roland digital pianos are some of the best on the market.
- Keyboards – these can have weighted keys too, and are velocity-sensitive so that you can play harder and softer, but Roland keyboards are designed to be more portable than a Roland digital piano, and may have more tones. The Roland piano tones don’t tend to be as strong in a keyboard design.
- Synthesizers – Synths generate the sound from scratch rather than just playing back samples. Roland are a brand with a rich history in all sorts of areas of music including synths, and this means that there are some in the range of keyboards. They’re a little different, but if you know what you are doing then you can use a synthesizer to generate no end of sounds and even get involved in the basics of sound design. These products tend to be quite expensive in comparison to other types.
- MIDI keyboards – MIDI keyboards don’t generate sound on their own, and need to be connected to a laptop or other device in order to trigger the sounds through a DAW such as GarageBand or Logic. If you want a model that can make a sound without needing to be connected to another device then an electric piano or keyboard might be a better option.
- Arranger keyboards – these have the option to record multiple tracks and use your keyboard as a full workstation for writing and recording music. This is quite a specialist product with different features from digital pianos.
Roland Sound Engine – SuperNATURAL Piano Sounds
The Roland sound engine is one of the best selling points. All of the brands of digital piano and keyboard have their own sound engines which generate the piano sounds. If you need specific piano sounds and are looking for a digital piano with strong realism then you might consider Roland. The SuperNATURAL piano sounds are designed to “recreate the behavior and characteristics of how the instrument plays”.
This means that they create an organic and acoustic piano feel which replicates the keyboard pianos have with a weighted design. They also have a multi-layered and sampled technology which means they create a variety of rich tones based on the Roland V-Piano. SuperNATURAL models offer the sustain and decay of an acoustic piano meaning that Roland Digital pianos can have this exceptional, natural tone and they offer a 128 note polyphony which is great for playing even complex piano pieces.
These sorts of piano sounds aren’t exactly what everyone is looking for. If you want a keyboard, piano features may not be the number one priority. It might not be such a priority to have a strong piano sound engine, there are a number of features that keyboards in the range offer that are worth considering, too.
Number of Keys
The number of keys on a Roland keyboard is always something to consider and you will need to think about what you need before buying.
Roland digital pianos are mainly equipped with 88-keys. This is pretty standard, allowing people to use the full range of a piano. You can play complex classical pieces with a full 88-key model, whereas you might not be able to with smaller models.
Fewer keys are still usually fine for keyboard players who are looking to play rock and pop songs. These may not require the full range that a grand piano or upright pianos would offer, as chord progressions and melodies are often simpler. 61 key designs are extremely popular for keyboards. Some Roland MIDI keyboards are even smaller with just 49 keys.
The number of keys is tied to the portability, naturally. If you want something you can easily take out and about and store in a relatively small apartment, an 88-key model might not be the best choice you can make. Instead, a smaller, more portable Roland keyboard can fit in a bag and come to shows or practice with you.
Roland vs Other Brands
Is Roland the best brand out there? How does it stand up when compared to some brands with slightly bigger ranges such as Yamaha and Casio? Roland is slightly different to many piano brands as their products initially didn’t revolve around keyboards and piano, as they focused on drum machines and other music tech. Their first product was a “rhythm box” that is almost unrecognizable from the sort of products they make today.
Roland certainly has a professional feel. Their keyboards and digital pianos are very well-made and comparable to some of the high-end Yamaha models. Casio models tend to be a little bit more affordable, but definitely have some similarities with Roland in terms of the number of tones available and the portability of the keyboards.
If you want to get the very best in the range then the money you will part with for a Roland is relatively high. Though they have affordable keyboards, some of the digital pianos and arrangers in the range cost in the thousands of dollars.
Many of the top brands have huge ranges, so it is impossible to compare them in a generic way. Roland is a very strong and professional brand whether you are looking for electric pianos, keyboards, or even synthesizers. You may spend a little more than you would with some budget brands, but many of the features and realistic feel of the best Roland digital pianos might make it worth the extra investment.
Best Roland Keyboards Reviewed
If we were making a list purely based on the best Roland digital pianos the GO:Piano might not make it quite to the top of our list, but instead, we’re looking at keyboards and digital/electric pianos and the Go:Piano is an exceptional model if you are looking for something that is portable (hence the name).
It’s a 61-key digital piano/keyboard and we think it is the ideal compromise between piano features and realism but also portability.
Although it has 61-keys instead of 88, these keys are full-sized and have a touch response. They’re not fully weighted but this does allow you to play with more expression and dynamics. In spite of being well-made it is still really lightweight, hence the name of the “GO” piano. It is meant to be portable and come with you when you head out and about, and battery power makes this possible wherever you are.
The Bluetooth speakers are obviously used to hear what you are playing but also can be used with smartphones and other devices as they are totally Bluetooth compatible.
Newbie keyboard players will also be impressed by the three months of Skoove access to allow you to learn how to play, too.
If you don’t mind paying a little bit more for the professional feel of a Roland then this could be a good piano for you. In spite of being smaller than digital pianos it still has a lot of great piano tones and a sound that is superior to a lot of the other 61-key keyboards on the market. Some of the best Roland digital keyboards and pianos are quite big and bulky, but the GO:Piano has the advantage of being super portable.
2. Roland A-500PRO-R 49-key MIDI Keyboard Controller – Best Roland MIDI Controller
When you buy a MIDI keyboard, it might feel a bit cheap and flimsy. They are just controllers for other pieces of software, after all. You can buy MIDI keyboards and controllers under $50 if you don’t mind how robust and high-quality they are. However, if you are happy to spend a little bit more then you can end up with a far superior model that will last you years and give a huge number of options and controls for your sound. Step in the A-500PRO-R!
There is no denying it, this is one of the more expensive MIDI keyboards, but the features and build are clearly the reason for this. 49 velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch can give the feeling of a synthesizer or other keyboard.
MIDI keyboards should have the flexibility and the option to alter controls, and this Roland model has an incredible 45 assignable controls. These include knobs, sliders buttons and transport, so you can set these all to do what you want within your DAW, control synthesizer sounds or even trigger samples to play.
The keyboard claims to work with any DAW, and it doesn’t matter if you are using Mac or PC as it supports both. There is an AC adapter if you wish to use this for power, but it is fully USB powered so you don’t need to use his necessarily. Likewise, there is space for expression and sustain pedals which are compatible but they are optional.
Many MIDI options are cheap and flimsy, but this Roland digital MIDI controller is not that at all, it is well-built, with loads of controls and though it doesn’t have a sound engine inbuilt, it can be good as the focal point of a studio or live setup.
3. Roland, Premium Portable Piano - FP-90 – Best 88-Key Model
The FP-90 makes our list even though it is somewhere between digital piano and keyboard. If you are looking for the full range of 88-keys then a Roland digital piano can be a great option and this model, while portable and lightweight has an incredibly high-quality sound engine and real piano sounds that make it a good choice as a stage piano.
The PHA-50 technology provides “progressive hammer action” which combines wood and other molded materials, there is a somewhat ivory feel but more importantly, it has the full dynamics of an acoustic piano replicated in the keys and within its sound engines.
This is one of the options to use the SuperNATURAL piano modeling to give an amazingly rich and detailed sound with the realistic attack, decay and sustain of a real piano. The sampled pianos are hard to argue with if you are looking for the very best sounds within a portable digital piano.
There are four speakers inside, which gives plenty of power and detail, and you can also use these speakers to play back other songs from a Bluetooth device just like you can with the Go:PIANO.
Generally, people who are looking for 88 keys will want a model that sounds as close to a “real” piano as they can get. Digital piano reviews are often centered around the realistic tones, and this Roland digital piano, the FP-90, doesn’t disappoint. It also has a number of other tones and a great sound amplified within four speakers. It’s on the bulky side of portable, but musicians can certainly use this to take out and about with them if they want.
If you are looking for a Workstation style keyboard and something to take center stage in your studio or bedroom studio then the FA-06 is an incredibly powerful tool. For writing and producing music you will struggle to find a more powerful option for the money, and Roland have proved their quality yet again in the design and production.
Let’s start by saying if you just want keyboards/pianos for playing simple melodies this will be overkill, but if you are in the market for digital capabilities, a ton of sounds and the option to start layering sounds and turning them into a full composition then the FA-06 could be your new best friend.
The workflow has been reimagined, with a 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard forming just a part of this Roland digital workstation. The whole upper control panel is designed to make it easy to access the incredible number of sounds and also the recording and tech functions that could easily get confusing.
In terms of the sounds available, there are almost endless options. As well as 2000 sounds from the INTEGRA-7 module, a superNATURAL synth, acoustic options and even drums, you can add your own through wave expansion slots. You can download more sound tones from Roland’s website for use with this workstation.
You can use an SDHC card within the keyboard to export to MIDI data or as a stereo audio mix and this allows you to import into your DAW. There’s a 16-track sequencer so in theory, you will be able to build full pieces of music all within the workstation.
There’s no denying that this is a specialist product. Those buying it will probably have quite specific needs and be looking for the best Roland digital workstation rather than a Roland digital piano, but it is an incredibly powerful tool for musicians of all kinds.
This may be a songwriter and producer’s dream but if you are looking for simplicity then it may not be the best option for you. The FA-06 is far more than just a keyboard, it can form the center of a whole studio setup.
5. Roland FP-10 88-key Entry Level Digital Keyboard – Best Value
If you are in the market for the cheapest of cheap music equipment then Roland might not be the brand for you but that doesn’t mean you can’t get good value, and the FP-10 might be the best Roland keyboard for those who are on a budget.
As well as being affordable, it has a lot of impressive features, and is technically a full-sized Roland digital piano so you can use it for playing complex piano pieces if needed.
The Supernatural engine is in place, meaning that you get the amazingly rich piano sound still without having to spend the same as you would with some of the other models. It has a hammer action too, something that is usually reserved for pricier digital pianos.
Connectivity is fantastic, as there is Bluetooth MIDI for use with DAWs, mobile devices and education apps so you can get the most out of your keyboard. There’s a headphone output for practicing on your own, and onboard speakers which are decent quality for the price.
Another feature that stands out with this Roland digital piano is the Partner 2 app, which is designed to unlock some of the extra functionality of the FP-10 and can be downloaded on your mobile device.
You can think of the FP-10 as something of an FP-90 “lite” version. It has some similar features and professional feel but costs a lot less. Both are portable digital pianos that can be suitable for live shows as well as use within your home.
This is a relatively basic model of 88-key digital piano but it has some excellent features and plenty of build quality so it will last a number of years. For beginners, and those who don’t want to spend huge amounts but do want a full digital piano with 88 keys of range this could be a solution that doesn’t break the bank.
Whether you are looking for a full-sized Roland digital piano or a more compact and portable keyboard, there is a model within the Roland range to suit your needs.
Is Roland the cheapest range of keyboards? No, but it does offer some of the best build-quality and most advanced features you could hope for, with products for professional musicians as well as beginners.
If you are happy to pay a little more for the exceptional sound engine that Roland have created, then you will find that their digital pianos give the feel and sound of an acoustic model. We’ve included digital piano reviews as well as keyboard reviews in this guide so you can decide which is most suitable. The main differences include the number of keys and whether or not there is a hammer action.
You can see why Roland has such an impressive and global reputation among pro musicians, but the range of products varies quite a lot, so it is important to understand what you need before buying. A Roland digital piano will offer very different functions from a Roland digital arranger or workstation and even if both are great products, one will be more suitable for your uses.