Roland makes flagship sound engine portable with FP-E50 digital piano
Roland has announced the launch of the FP-E50, a portable piano and creativity workstation that's designed as an easy intro for beginners while including enough advanced features to keep the pros happy, including Roland's flagship synthesis engine.
The latest member of Roland's FP series of portable digital pianos boasts 88 full-size keys with hammer action, escapement and ivory-like material to bring some classic realism to the playing experience. The company's SuperNatural piano sound engine, meanwhile, is reported to offer the authentic feel and response of an acoustic grand.
The headline feature here though is the inclusion of the powerful Zen-Core sound engine, which can be found in Roland's professional keyboard workstations like the Jupiter-X and Fantom. More than a thousand sounds have been cooked in to put brass and orchestral voices at your command, plus guitars and basses, percussion and historic Roland synth tones.
Players can layer Zen-Core tones, or assign different ones to left and right parts of the keyboard, while heading to the Roland Cloud platform can open up even more sonic possibilities courtesy of expansion packs like EXZ Wave, SDZ Sound and the upcoming Z-Style tone libraries.
Onboard recording can capture your noodles up to 200 minutes per song, or 390 minutes in total, in 16-bit/44.1-kHz WAV format. Players can hear the music being created through two built-in 4.75-inch speakers rated at 11 watts each or output can be routed to external speakers, and there's a headphone jack for private practice.
A bunch of auto-accompaniment tools give you a versatile backing band that can cover 177 different musical styles, and there's a chord sequencer too, for melody development and improvisation.
At-a-glance parameter checks are available via the top-level LCD graphic display, with sounds/tones accessed directly via the panel controls on either side – and many of the buttons include long-press functionality for saving settings or tweaking without menu diving. Users can also recall complete setups instantly by selecting Scenes options.
The FP-E50 sports a microphone input for singalongs or solo gigs, with an onboard vocoder (a combined instrument, vocal effects and audio processor), an auto-harmony feature, a compressor and a noise suppressor among the weapons at your disposal. It has Bluetooth audio/MIDI capabilities as well, to stream backing tracks through the built-in sound system or work with music production software running on a laptop or computer.
The Roland FP-E50 digital piano weighs in at 37.69 lb (17.1 kg), including the music rest. It goes on sale this month for US$999.99, and can be optioned with various stands and pedals for home and mobile deployment.
Product page: FP-E50