Roland F-120-WH Digital Piano Review

The digital piano is a popular instrument because it can have so many different features and options. They vary considerably in price as well. The Roland F-120 is one such instrument. Located at the higher end of the market, the F-120 has an intriguing set of features and benefits.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Digital Piano

Digital pianos come in many forms and styles. For example, some of them are good for lessons and learning from a teacher, while others specialize in demonstrating many different voices and simulated instruments. Don't just buy a digital piano: figure out what you want to use it for and then move on to deciding on a price range. Those two pieces of information can narrow it down to 10 or less options.

The Roland F-120

The F-120, which I will call the 120 from now on, costs about $1000 depending on shipping. It comes with its own stand, but not a bench. Despite the high price, the 120 is fairly light on features and instead delivers most of its benefit in the form of higher quality samples and learning features. This is a digital piano that is meant for performance and either giving or receiving lessons. It also comes with a number of prerecorded songs to help with practice, which supports the growth of new and intermediate players. It does offer a few more voices than most other digital pianos of this type.

Pros

  • High-quality samples
  • Good voice selection
  • Learning tools and features

Cons

  • High price
  • Limited feature selection
  • No included bench

Features and Benefits

Sound

Roland F-120-WH Digital Piano

The 120 uses something that Roland calls the SuperNATURAL piano engine to power its sound and samples. These samples are the essence of how well a piano sounds, along with the signal processing and the speakers. With 30 different voices, there is a wide range of different piano, organ, and harpsichord instruments to play, although it is the analog piano samples that have the highest quality.

Action and Keys

The faux ivory key surfaces and realistic weighting mean the experience of playing the 120 is enjoyable and similar to playing an analog piano. Each key is weighted based on its tone with the bass notes being heavier, just like a real piano.

Split Feature

The most important learning tool that the 120 has is splitting, which Roland calls the Twin Piano feature. Splitting does what the name describes: it cuts the piano in half down the middle so that the left half and right half are each playing the same register.

Preloaded Music

The 120 has 189 exercises and songs for practicing, learning, and warmups. Most of the competition has a few dozen loaded songs at most, so this is a deep roster of ways to practice. You can always find more online, but having them built in means more convenience and ease of use.

Cost Effectiveness

The $1000 price point marks the crossover from the intermediate level of the digital piano market to the advanced level. You should expect a significant boost in value for advanced pianos because the prices are so high, and the 120 does not disappoint. The samples are just as good as even more expensive pianos and the learning tools are deep and detailed. If you want access to top-quality samples, then it is harder to find a less expensive digital piano than the 120.

Ratings

Design

5

Performance

5

Construction

4

Value for the Money

5

User Satisfaction

4

Alternatives

Yamaha YDP143R Arius Series

Yamaha YDP143R Arius Series

The YDP143 from Yamaha costs $1100. It is similar in style to the 120 in that it concentrates on sample quality as its main attribute. The Yamaha also includes some basic recording tools and an iOS app for controls and options. It has a special headphones mode for a better headphone listening experience, 10 voices, and 50 practice songs.

Comparison

Yamaha YDP143R

Price: $1100

Voices: 10

Style: Performance, Recording

Roland F-120

Price: $1000

Voices: 30

Style: Performance, Learning

Casio PX560BE

Casio PX560BE

The PX560BE from Casio is a pure performance digital piano. It has a massive array of 550 voices and 220 accompaniment styles. It also has a very deep feature list like multi-splitting and multi-layering, a 17-track recorder, USB support, an equalizer, a touchscreen, and piano simulation software. The sample quality is not quite as high as on the Roland, but it makes up for it with its sheer depth of features. If you value performance the most it is a good advanced choice.

Comparison

Casio PX560BE

Price: $1100

Voices: 550

Style: Performance

Roland F-120

Price: $1000

Voices: 30

Style: Performance, Learning

Nord Piano 3

Nord Piano 3

The Nord 3 is a major upgrade choice. It costs $3000, which is very high for a digital piano, but it has a truly massive collection of 1000 samples, all of which are of the best quality. It can handle a six-way split, layering, transposition, effects and equalizers, and other modifiers via a series of buttons and knobs and an LCD. If you like quality sound, then it's hard to beat the Nord 3 for both number and quality of voices.

Comparison

Nord 3

Price: $3000

Voices: 1000

Style: Performance

Roland F-120

Price: $1000

Voices: 30

Style: Performance, Learning

Final Thoughts

Advanced digital pianos have the appeal of top-shelf features and sound for those willing to make the investment. The Roland F-120 is a standout because of its good ratio of quality to price, although if you are willing to pay even more there are better options. The included learning tools are both easy to use and useful. The alternatives in this post are all slightly different, but follow the same pattern of good samples with a little bit extra. Any of them can be a worthy purchase depending on your needs for a digital piano.

Stephanie Su
 

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