The F-130R is the latest itineration in Roland’s popular home piano series and replaces the discontinued F-120, which has been one of the best-selling products in the company’s catalogue thanks to an attractive design and a great sound quality.
Though it shares with its predecessor the same compact, space-saving build, the new Roland F-130R adds to the mix some great unique features, such as the all new PHA-4 88-key Progressive Hammer Action keyboard, a new rhythm and accompaniment section, the built-in stereo speaker system and the Headphone 3D Ambience.
The integrated USB port allows you to the connect your iPad or iPhone and get access to all the most popular free iOS apps from Roland, which allows users to control the F-130R directly from their iOS device.
All these features are included in a product that ships for only $1299. So let’s take a closer look at this attractive instrument.
Below, please use the table below to compare the Roland F-130 to other great pianos worthy of your consideration:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Roland F-140||88||76 lbs.||$$$||5.0/5|
|Yamaha YDP-143||88||83 lbs.||$$$||4.6/5|
|Yamaha YDP-163||88||92.5 lbs||$$$||4.6/5|
|Yamaha YDP-181||88||110 lbs.||$$$||4.9/5|
|Korg LP 380||88||81 lbs.||$$||3.2/5|
The Roland F-130R arrives in style
Available in two stylish finishes (White or Contemporary Black, both made of rosewood), the F-130R is an 88-key digital piano with a modern-looking design that comes in an elegant piece of furniture stand that would blend into any kind of living room.
Here is what’s included in the box:
- Roland F-130R
- Wooden furniture-style stand
- AC adaptor
- Headphone hook + Screw set
- Owner’s manual and Assembly manual
The aesthetic is once again one of the most appreciated aspects of this home piano from Roland. Thanks to its compact design, the piano features an elegant look that is suitable for any decor and would properly fit even in very tight rooms.
The returning lid design ensures two great benefits: when closed, it completely covers the keyboard and prevents the accumulation of dust, while donating a sober and pleasing appearance. When open, it works as a music rest capable of holding up to four-page scores, an iPad, or even both.
The matching wooden stand includes a housing for the triple-pedal system, made out of metal, which supports the soft, sostenuto and damper functions and may proove very useful when playing along the accompaniment section, thanks to the option to quickly start/stop the rhythm without taking your hands off the keyboard.
The F-130R interface includes a power switch, two volume buttons, the Song/Rhythm section, the Transport buttons, an LCD display, and several other buttons to manage the available sounds and options.
On the rear side, we find the power jack, a 3.5mm stereo input, a 3.5mm stereo output, two USB ports (one for all the USB-to-MIDI functions, the other for connecting a flash drive or a wireless dongle) and two headphone jacks.
And below, before we proceed to our next section on sound, we encourage you to take a look at some of the best selling upright digital pianos currently available on Amazon, and see how they compare to the Roland F-130:
IVORY FEEL, NATURAL SOUND
When Roland designed its new line-up of products, including the F-130R, the company chose to equip a new 88-key hammer action keyboard to improve as much as possible the overall quality and realism of the piano experience.
With the PHA-4 Standard keyboard model, Roland has definitively achieved the target by creating a revamped keybed that will set a new landmark for all the intermediate products to come in the next few years.
The noisy issues and sluggish key movements from the previous Ivory-G model are finally gone, as the Japanese manufacturer has hardly worked to improve the key action in the PHA-4 Standard keyboard by decreasing the noise and maintaining its typical features: the ivory feel material on the keytops, and the Escapement mechanical function, which are pretty unique bonuses in this price range.
The keyboard now has proper weight distribution on all of the 88 keys and a 4-part electronic system that is utilized to process the velocity information for each note, a very helpful option that ensures faster note repetitions (and more expressivity) to professional pianists.
When you combine all these features with the SuperNATURAL sound engine (well, at least its basic edition, which is the heart of this model), you’ll really hear the difference. The Roland F-130R offers possibly the most natural and expressive piano emulation ever achieved in a home product under the $1500 range.
What really does impress is the piano’s dynamic and volume range of expression, which has dramatically improved from its predecessor and ensures a surrounding piano experience, especially when using the Headphone 3D Ambience mode.
The F-130R’s new integrated speakers system has also improved from the Roland F-120, by connecting a headphone to the piano you’ll obviously enjoy several otherwise-unnoticeable sound shades, such as the strings resonance and all the mechanical emulations sampled by Roland. And when you’re done, you can simply store your headphones under the piano thanks to the included headphone hook.
R FOR REVOLUTION
The differences between the F-120 and this new Roland digital piano do not end here, either. The revamped version offers the new Dual/Split mode, which can be used to layer two sounds in the whole keyboard extension (such as piano and strings), or split the keyboard in two zones, each of which can be used for a different sound (i.e. piano and bass).
There are 11 different grand piano tones and 305 other voices, including 8 different drum sets and 1 SFX, which can be enriched with 10 different ambience effects or a 21-level brilliance.
The new Rhythm section is a pretty good addition to transform your piano in a sort of arranger keyboard. You can choose from 72 different rhythm types and two variations, and playing along it using the Dual/Split mode to create your unique songs that you can even record thanks to the built-in digital recorder.
You can also use the Twin Piano mode to split the keyboard into two specular parts so that you can play side by side with your teacher, but if you like to practice by yourself, you’ll find two more great features: the built-in Metronome and a catalogue of 189 internal songs: 69 Piano Masterpieces, 100 different Czerny songs and 20 Hanon tunes for beginners.
You can even connect your iPad using the Wireless Connect (via the optional WNA1100-RL USB accessory) to get the interactive scores of all the available songs as sheet music via the DigiScore Lite app. The iOS device can also be used to quickly manage the internal sounds: you’ll only need to download the free Roland’s Piano Partner app directly from the App Store and you will be ready to go.
THE OTHER SIDE
With the F-130R, Roland has created a very unique product that offers so many great features that are not available in almost any other piano in this price range.
The closest alternative to it would be the Yamaha P-255, which is not a home piano but rather a new addition in the renowned Yamaha’s Portable-series. This model ships for $1299, but without a furniture-style stand (sold separately).
The P-255 features the usual Pure CF Sound Engine and the classic 88-key GH Graded Hammer action keyboard (the same are used in almost all of Yamaha’s low-cost, entry-level products), in a special edition with synthetic ivory keytops to emulate the feelings of a real piano.
But despite the similarities, the truth is that the new Roland F-130R outclasses the P-255 in almost every aspect, starting from the PHA-4 keyboard to the SuperNATURAL engine. Also keep in mind that if you aim to use the piano as a piece of furniture, you would have to spend $1500 to get the P-255 along with the optional L-255 stand and LP-255 pedal unit, but the final result won’t be as good as the F-130R, especially when it comes to an aesthetic point of view. But of course, that is certainly subjective.
Roland has built a huge, great-looking product that has evolved from its previous model. It comes with loads of features, which will make the F-130R the new standard when it comes to home pianos available on the market today.
The new PHA-4 keyboard sounds amazing combined with the SuperNATURAL engine, and the several available modes contribute to make the F-130R a modern, multi-purpose piano that will easily find a place in any living room.
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