You’re an aspiring pianist, a new student, or a modern-day Liberace. You’re in the market for a digital piano but you have no idea what to get, or how to tell the vast number of brands apart. It might seem daunting when you approach buying an instrument as a new student pianist, and it is hard to decide which brand to get even if you you’ve been playing the piano for years. Most old-school pianists learned to play on an acoustic piano and making the change over into the digital world is a big step in any pianist’s musical pursuit. In this article, you’ll find out all you need to know about digital pianos – how they work, what they do, and most importantly which brands and models to buy if you want the best bang for your buck!
What is a digital piano?
A digital piano is exactly what the word says: A digital(electronic) version of a normal acoustic piano. They really serve as a wonderful alternative to acoustic pianos, as modern-day digital pianos mimic both the touch and sound of acoustic pianos quite accurately. Different brands of digital pianos focus on different niches – but, they all have keyboards (the notes) and a cabinet/casing that is more or less the same size as that of a traditional piano.
These, though easily moved, are designed as stationary instruments. These types of digital pianos usually have a cabinet, built in pedals, and an on-board speaker system. As a pianist, you’ll want to get a digital piano to play on – and although the design and technology differs, most digital pianos offer touch response and on-board or internal loudspeakers.
Some digital pianos are even designed to look like a real upright or grand piano, and a lot of people are interested in purveying one simply to add to the ergonomic look and feel of their homes. Digital pianos are usually upright console pianos, designed to stand against a wall. If you`re thinking of a digital piano, this is probably the one you’re imagining!
Portable digital pianos
Some digital pianos are designed as stage or portable pianos. As the name suggests, the primary aim of their design is to make them easy to move around regularly and these are the pianos you see on stage, be it with a band or a solo pianist playing. If you buy a stage piano, you will need to buy a separate stand and a plug-in sustain pedal as these pianos do not have built in pedals, stands or cabinets. Although some stage pianos have built in speakers, they are built stage ready to be amplified through a loud speaker system.
Electronic keyboards are an entirely different breed of piano. These are music instruments mainly used for live performance and studio recordings. Keyboards usually don’t mimic the touch of an acoustic piano as they don’t have weighted keys. Although some keyboards have touch response (the harder you press the note, the louder it will play) there is an entirely different non-personal feel to playing them. While some digital pianos have different instrument sampling sounds to play with, an electronic keyboard usually has many more for a player to experiment with. Keyboards often have less that the standard 88-key size of acoustic and other digital pianos.
A digital piano is NOT an organ!
Remember that a piano is not the same as an organ – although many sell them as organs, we’ll put them off as ill-informed. Hammond organs are the smaller organs found in homes and some small churches. Pipe organs are installed with wind chambers and pipes, usually in theaters, city halls and bigger conservative churches. The biggest difference between pianos and organs is that a piano has one register, and an organ two or more:
Image source: gpcsh.org
The Pros and Cons of owning a digital piano
Digital pianos differ from real pianos in various ways in how they look and feel. For instance, most digital pianos are less responsive than acoustic pianos – and creating a certain feel or emotion on them can be harder work. Acoustic pianos usually have a traditional connotation to them, and nothing will ever come close to the look and nostalgia that grandma’s family piano wakes in you.
The aesthetic high point does go to the acoustic piano but don’t let this put you off buying a digital piano – the pros, for many people, far outweigh the cons:
- You can easily transport a digital piano – no need to get Bob’s furniture removal in. The compact size of a digital piano makes them easy to transport, and easy to place. Smaller houses and apartments usually exclude their tenants from owning a piano simply because there is not space for one.
- A digital piano doesn’t ever need to be tuned. Acoustic or traditional pianos need to be tuned regularly – most piano boffins recommend tuning them every six months. You’ll also need to tune an acoustic piano after every move, even if you just moved it from one room to another! Upkeep of a regular piano can thus become quite an expense, which is something you don’t need to worry about when you get yourself a shiny new digital piano.
- Unlike acoustic pianos, digital pianos are not affected by small changes in climate like heat, moisture or humidity.
- Digital pianos can be connected to an amplifier or PA system which can amplify the sound enough to fill a large room. Hello concerts, hello soiree’s, hello family sing-alongs!
- Digital pianos usually have a head phone input port, which most parents will be thankful for. Practicing on a digital piano eliminates the need for a neighbor to phone in a noise complaint.
- Digital pianos are way cheaper than acoustic pianos. Your Disneyland trip is safe.
- Digital pianos have come a long way since their inception. Today’s digital pianos have excellent instrument sampling, meaning that they sound really close to the real deal. At the same time, you have the added benefit of being able to select the sounds of different instruments on most digital pianos. Want to play Bach’s toccata and Fugue in D, on the pipe organ? No problem! Pink Floyd on the Synth? No problem! The world is a stage when you own a digital piano.
As you can see, the purchase of a digital piano might be the best decision for most households. Investing in a quality digital piano is a big step in any musicians life and choosing the right instrument for you shouldn’t be a headache. Before you go shopping, lets look at the key characteristics and functions that you should be looking for in a good digital piano.
What to look for in a new digital piano
Before you head out and start spending, it’s important to know what your wallet suggests. There are amazing (expensive) digital pianos out there, but there are solid cheaper options too. Decide how much you’re willing to spend right now. Is it 300 dollars? 500? 1000? 1500? We’ve compiled a list of the best buys in each category, and the perfect piano for whatever budget you have is out there. If you are one of those lucky for whom money is not a concern, keep reading as we have the ULTIMATE digital piano for you too!
There are literally hundreds of different manufacturers out there, all vying for your hard-earned cash. A whole lot of the better pianos are made in Japan – and even European brands are designed elsewhere but usually manufactured in… Japan. The general rule of thumb here is thus that good pianos, like good cars, are built in Japan.
Before we look at which manufacturer you should spend your money on, here’s a quick word of warning to the bargain hunters out there: Do NOT buy a cheap knock-off or look-alike. The lack of quality and durability in a “fake” piano will make your regret an expensive bite to chew on!
While you will recognize some of the brands that music shops stock, any purveyor of music goods will inevitably have a brand or two that you’ve never heard of. Here is our list of reputable brands that you can trust:
The big name in music instruments. You’ve probably heard of Yamaha pianos and their excellent craftsmanship for a reason. Yamaha makes a whole variety of pianos, from their range of affordable keyboards to their top end digital clavinovas. Yamaha pianos are dependable and durable, and their sound sampling and rich piano tone sound is among the best out there.
Japanese manufacturer Korg has been around for a while. They are especially known for their electronic synthesizers and keyboards. Their range of portable pianos are of excellent quality too. If you`re looking for a studio piano, Korg is a sure bet!
Although the Casio corporation has been around since 1948, they only started making musical instruments much later. As a matter of fact, when Casio started out as the cheap-new-alternative back in the 80’s, most folks didn’t give them a second glance. Their range of keyboards and pianos have since passed the test of time, and they have really proven themselves in the market. If budget is your main concern, Casio should be your manufacturer of choice. Their instruments are generally cheaper than the other big name brands and offer excellent value for money.
Roland is probably the manufacturer that comes closest to creating a real piano feel. Expect to feel like you’re playing on a Steinway grand when you’re sitting behind one of these babies! Roland pianos are technologically advanced, and offer a whole range of bells and whistles, chief among their recording and sound options. Many a pianist would cite Roland as the king of the digital piano universe. Be warned though, a good Roland piano can be expensive.
Kawai in Japan has been manufacturing grand pianos, acoustic pianos and digital pianos of the highest standard since 1927. Their vast experience has transcended into the digital world quite well – and a Kawai is an excellent choice for any musician.
Alesis pianos are designed in the USA and manufactured in China. Since introducing the first 16-bit professional effects processor, the MIDIverb for guitars back in 1986, Alesis has been at the forefront of technological advances in guitar effects, drum machines and most importantly, digital pianos. The great news here is that their prices are quite reasonable, and their pianos are reliable and tough enough to withstand being lugged around.
Founded in 1983, Hong Kong based digital manufacturer Medeli offers excellent entry level instruments at cut throat prices. While you can’t compare Medeli’s digital pianos with the more-high end pianos of Roland or Yamaha, no one will say that the 1 million people that bought an electric keyboard from Medeli in the 80`s were wrong! Medeli’s pianos have good touch response and a solid manufacturing quality.
Amount of keys
If you can, get a digital piano with 88 keys. A full-sized piano has 88 keys, and if you buy any less, you might need to chuck whatever you bought and upgrade at a later stage. If your budget forces you to get a smaller piano – or keyboard – make sure that you get a piano with at LEAST 5 octaves (61 keys). At the same time, make sure all the keys are standard width. One of the greatest pleasures of playing the piano is being able to play ANY piano – and practicing on smaller keys will make this impossible. Stay away from toy-like keyboards, as that is what they are…toys!
Polyphony refers to the amount of notes a digital piano can produce simultaneously. While a digital piano’s polyphonic capability can be anything between 8 and 264 notes, you should aim for a minimum of 32-note polyphony.
Sensitivity and response
You’ll want to play around on the piano you’re planning to buy. Do the keys react well to different amounts of pressure? We call a digital piano’s ability to accurately reproduce this “touch response”. High end pianos have weighted keys, meaning that they should feel close to playing a real piano.
Tone and sound
The sampling used in most of the newer digital pianos is excellent. Unless you’re selecting a honky tonk sound on a piano, it shouldn’t sound that way. Pay close attention to the piano you’re playing on – it should come as close to the sound of a classic grand piano as your wallet can afford. Also listen to the reverb and sustain of a note after you’ve played it and try to get a piano that emulates the sound of an acoustic piano accurately.
Number of voices
Most digital pianos have a small amount of other voices(instruments). You should be able to select most keyboard instruments – like the organ, harpsichord, synth and so forth on your new piano. But, if you’re planning on starting a one-man-band, make sure that there is a drum set and other voices you’ll need on the piano or keyboard you want to buy.
Here, not much needs to be said. The better the quality of a digital pianos built in amplifiers and speakers, the better it will sound. It might be wise to test the limits of the output while you`re at the dealer where you intend to purchase.
If you’ll be practicing at home, make sure that your new piano has a headphone jack. A USB port for connection to your computer or laptop is also handy! If you’re going to do live performances or plan to do studio recordings, check that the piano you’re buying has output options for connecting to PA systems, recording consoles or recording consoles.
As we mentioned earlier, some digital pianos are manufactured as console pianos intended to stay in one place. If you want to travel with the instrument you`re buying, make sure that it is lightweight and portable enough, without sacrificing the touch and tone that a console piano offers.
So, what do I buy?
You’re now ready to go shopping. You know which brand you like, how much you’re willing to spend and which functions best suit your need and budget. It’s great to have a solid idea of what you’re looking for – but WHAT do you buy? While it is true that you won’t get a horse’s service for the price of a donkey, these are our best picks in different budget frames:
The best digital pianos under 300 dollars
The Casio CTK-2550 is a wonderful starter instrument, and the cheapest of the instruments under our review. Essentially Casio managed to create a cheap instrument which is fun to play and rugged enough to get lugged around. It has 61 keys, a polyphony of 48 notes, and enough selection tones to function as a decent arranger keyboard. Its metronome function is handy, and if you`re practicing, there is a headphone input port. The CTK-2550 lets you make music anywhere with battery power, or you could use the included AC adapter at home. It features excellent connectivity options: There are jacks for a sustain pedal and headphones out, and a Mics in, audio in and USB to host ports. Too many of the cheaper pianos and keyboards out there just don’t have the functionality you might need in modern day life!
- Price – Casio has managed to create this little keyboard at a price any musician should be able to afford.
- It is VERY light – 7, 3 pounds to be exact
- Great connectivity options
- Only 61 Keys.
- The keys aren’t weighted, meaning they offer no resistance at all – and playing on the Casio CTK ends up feeling plastic.
- While the polyphony of 48-notes will do the trick for most amateur musicians, nothing sucks more than hitting dead notes – especially if you’re using the sustain pedal to carry a bass line.
- The sound output is mediocre at best. The two tiny 2w x 2w speakers just don’t make enough sound to come close to that of an acoustic piano.
Yamaha’s 76 key NP32 is another great starting/low budget instrument worth looking at. It has a simple, practical design and its layout and buttons are easy to use. Its notes have what Yamaha calls “Graded Soft Touch keys” which essentially means that the bass notes have a heavier feel, and the high notes a lighter touch. Not quite weighted keys, but better than banging your fingers on a coffin! You have a choice of 10 voices. The quality of the piano tone is a huge selling point, and the NP 32’s is sampled from a Yamaha concert grand which sounds great.
The Yamaha NP32 can run on AC power, but was designed as an on-the-go little piano that uses batteries to power its two 6w speakers. It does has a built in Auto Power Off function if no buttons or keys are pressed in 30 minutes, which should save you on battery power.
The 64-note polyphony it offers should be sufficient unless you start playing really complex melodies or keep a large number of notes on the sustain pedal. It has a recording function – though it can only record one song at a time.
- The design is minimalistic and easy to use
- It has a great tone
- It is lightweight and easy to carry around.
- The Yamaha NP32 originally does not come packaged with a power adapter.
- Although you have selection of 10 voices, this isn’t much.
The Alesis Recital was created with the beginner in mind. Its LED buttons look and futuristic compared to other piano keyboards, and its design is slim, lightweight and modern. Boasting 88 full-sized keys, it really does represent a full piano. The keys are semi weighted and respond to touch and dynamic input well.
The Recital has everything the best digital piano, in this price category in any case, needs. The one big negative we need to point out is that it only has 5 voices. It has a layer and split function which allows you to customize the built-in voices a bit, but that’s beside the point. It has great connectivity options, including a USB/MIDI port, headphone jack, and a sustain pedal jack.
The Recital has two 20-watt speakers which gives a rich and very rewarding sound tone. Its output is perfect for home use or small audiences without the need to amp it.
- The Price. In this price range, it’s great to be able to feature a full-sized digital piano.
- Although the semi weighted keys aren’t of the best standard (it feels slightly springy and not as responsive as you’d like) at least it’s there.
- Portability: A full 88 keys that can run on battery power? Yes please!
- The sampling of instruments sound terrible. The organ sound is great, but we expected more from the piano voices. While it sounds okay under a heavy touch, tone control and quality is really iffy on this one!
- The speaker system can set to a decent volume level, but the output gets distorted at around the 60-70 percent mark.
Best digital pianos under 500 dollars
The Yamaha P-series is to digital pianos what the never-say-die Beetle is to automobiles. The P45 has 88 weighted keys with hammer-action, and features that are ideal for the needs of any piano student or performer. There is an added option of adjusting the sensitivity of the weighted action to the level of your playing style, which is great.
It has an interesting “Duo functionality” setting, which essentially splits into two smaller zones which has the same 44 keys. This is great for music teachers who can play the same notes as their students at a different place on the piano.
The P45 is ridiculously easy to use. Most of its configurations can be activated with a single button and one note on the keyboard representing its function. This makes it easy to change a voice selection, activate the metronome and so forth. The P 45 has various connectivity options including hook-up via USB, and a headphone port.
- Playing on the P45 feels realistic. The weighted action of its keys simulates the hammers inside an acoustic piano really well.
- Simplicity: The single button configuration just works.
- Sound sampling. The quality of the piano sound is as close as you can get to the real ma-coy… especially in this price range.
- There is no recording function. While we get that this is engineered to be a studio piano, one would expect some form of built-in recording function to document ideas or sessions with.
- The P45 has 64-note polyphony, and there is a notable decrease in sound quality as the amount of polyphony increases. The more you play, the worse it sounds.
- The P45 does have a somewhat limited dynamic range
Casio Privia PX-160BK 88
Built as successor to the popular PX-150, the Privia PX-160 is a better sounding, better playing, better looking digital piano which will suit the most pedantic of piano students and players.
Word is that the folks at Casio recorded the sound of a 9-foot concert grand at 4 dynamic levels to create the sound sampling for the Privia, and it shows! The piano sound on the PX-160 is breathtakingly beautiful. playing on its tri-sensor scaled hammer action keys is a joy.
The PX-160 has several handy functions. Its duet mode allows the keyboard to be split into two equal ranges which is ideal for teachers wanting to play with their students. The layer function allows its voices to either be used on its own or layered with others. It offers a two-track record and playback function. There is a dual headphone output (Located at the front of the chassis – thank you, masters at Casio!) and several other connectivity options. The PX-160 can be used with Mac or Windows computers as controller, without the need to download additional drivers.
- 128 Note polyphony – more than most of the competitors in its class.
- Giving an expressive and dynamic performance on the PX-160 is a joy. The keys are responsive and the action realistic.
- Computer connectivity is a huge benefit
- Built in 2-track recorder
- No digital display screen
- The keys are noisy. Although the action is good, the fricative noise it generates, especially when your playing gets emotive or loud is irritating at the least.
Alesis Coda Pro
The Alesis Coda Pro is a full sized portable digital piano, and a competent competitor in the sub 500 price category. What really counts in its favor is that it is PORTABLE. It is lightweight (27.6 pounds) and narrow, and easy to transport. The 88 weighted keys have hammer action and is fun to play.
The Coda pro features layering, and a split mode -but don’t get carried away using this function, as it only comes with a polyphony of 64 notes.
The one thing the Alesis Coda Pro has going for it, is the excellent connectivity options: The USB MIDI port allows you to hook-up to a computer, and there`s an Aux input. Two headphone jacks, and the standard pedal input complete the necessary basics of being able to perform in the here and now.
While the speakers are clear, they are not sufficiently loud enough.
The LED display offers ease and clarity while you toggle between the 20 voices and split/layering options.
- Compact, lightweight, and portable digital piano.
- Easy controls.
- It has a pitch bend wheel
- LED Screen
- Only 20 voices
- Speakers are not really loud.
Best digital pianos under 1000 dollars
The Yamaha DGX 660 is the flagship of Yamaha’s portable grand range, and is a newer, upgraded version of the Yamaha DGX650. It has 88 graded keys with hammer action, which was used with great success in the Yamaha P45 and P115 pianos too. There are 4 different types of touch responses, which gives a pianist the ultimate control in touch response.
The whopping 192 note polyphony allows you to easily play the most complex pieces and sounds without having to worry about note dropouts. There’s a six track MIDI recorder, and a split and dual function that covers the whole keyboard. You also have the option of layering multiple sounds, with the added benefit of an array of accompaniment styles.
The DGX 660 has a powerful on-board sound system – two 12cm speakers, two 5cm speakers and two 6W amplifiers.
The 320×240 LCD screen is bright and informative, and the rest of the interface is easy to use. The DGX is equipped with a pitch bend wheel that allows you to bend notes while playing – a nice feature not many pianos have. The amount of styles, sounds, rhythms and instruments that come pre-programmed on the DGX is astounding. It has more than a hundred and fifty voices!
- Mounted on a stand, making it sturdy and ergonomical
- Real piano feel
- User friendly LCD Screen display
- Has a tinny internal memory capacity of just 1.7 MB’s
- Heavy and bulky, and not that easy to transport around.
Kawai is famous for its realistic key actions on its digital pianos and the action on the ES 110 is excellent. Featuring 88 fully-weighted keys with a Responsive Hammer Compact (RHC) action mechanism and offering 192-note polyphony is really all any pianist needs. The RHC mechanism is an attempt to mimic the hammer-action of an acoustic piano, and one that the technicians at Kawai pulled off on the ES110. The designers have cut out all the bells and whistles in this one and it is a very basic piano. A very basic piano that is a whole lot of fun to play, that is!
The weight action is heavy and probably more springy than some pianists might like. They key rebounds are… weird. It’s as if the folks at Kawai just couldn’t get it right. But that all said, the hammer action is still a lot better than having to grind your fingers on a semi-weighted or worse, non-weighted keyboard. Some users observed that there seems to be a slight gap between the keys.
Being a portable digital piano, the Kawai ES110 has a very bare-bone control panel, and no LCD screen. On the front of the piano you’ll find two headphone jacks. The back of the chassis has MIDI In/Out and Line Out (R, L/Mono) ports, and a Sustain jack port. One excellent feature the ES110 has, is that it has full Bluetooth connectivity options.
The powerful speaker system of the piano consists of two 12cm speakers, powered by two 7w amps. The sound is clear, and the tones it emulates are richly rewarding.
The ES110 doesn’t come with a stand, but you can buy a specifically designed furniture stand for it from Kawai. On that note, we must observe that the sheet-music stand looks flimsy and it feels like a gigging job might be too hard for it if it is not left alone.
Voice selection is adequate – with 19 instruments, of which a very comprehensive 8 of them are piano settings.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Wireless Bluetooth MIDI connectivity.
- Great on-board speaker system
- Fully weighted keys
- Irregular spacing between the keys. We get that this piano wants to look like a grand piano, but it just ends up being harder to play on.
- No USB ports
- No LCD screen. User interaction would be a whole lot easier if you were able to see current selections on a screen and have some visuals to available settings somewhere on the piano.
The Korg SP280 with its 88 Natural Weighted Hammer Action keys reproduce the feel of playing an acoustic piano better than most pianos in its price class. Sampling is masterfully done from a Steinway Grand – the one of the most coveted piano brands in the world. For a fracture of the price, the Korg is a great, cheaper fun instrument to buy – and probably the closest you could get to owning a Steinway without buying a Steinway!
So what makes the Korg special? It`s got natural weighted hammer action keys, with three touch settings. It has a 120-note polyphony, and 30 sound selections.
It has a stereo audio input jack, and MIDI capability. A great benefit is the option of using MIDI connectivity to connect and control other devices.
The speaker system is magic. Two 18cm speakers are powered by two 22W amplifiers, and it handles loudness very well. Bang it all you like!
- Steinway sampling
- Great speaker system
- 30 sounds – which should cover any instrumentalist`s requirement.
- The SP280 has no built in recording system
- The stand feels less stable than a standard digital piano in a cabinet.
Best digital pianos under 1500 dollars
Lets visit the house-of-Korg again. The Korg LP380 is a top-notch piano, built with the professional musician in mind. The acoustic piano sounds come from the Kronos workstation which is one of Korg’s digital products. While it doesn’t come close to the sampling used by other manufacturers using digital pianos, hats still go off to them: The synthetic sound is wonderful and melodious!
The Lp380 has 88 keys with real weighted action. The way the lower register’s heavier response compliments the higher keys lighter response is fantastic and there’s a very real piano feel to it. You should be able to perform big chords and complex melodies with ease, as it has a 120-note polyphony.
The cabinet looks elegant and classy and reflect a good built quality. The issue with stage pianos – and some digital pianos – is always the exclusion of fixed pedals. The good news here is that the Korg LP380 has three pedals, permanently fixed to the floor of the cabinet
The LP 380 features 30 sounds of which 11 are pianos – 5 acoustic, and 6 electric sounds.
The speaker system is awe inspiring, and the feedback and clarity – even at high volumes – is first class. Two 10cm speakers powered by two 22w amps deliver the rich tones of its sampling with ease and great gusto.
Connectivity is sufficient, with a line out, MIDI in and out, and two headphone jacks. The one shortcoming here is that there is no line-in jack.
All in all, the Korg LP 380 is a good players piano that will complement the aesthetics of any house well.
- Three standard pedals
- Weighted hammer action keys
- It just LOOKS good
- No Line-in jack
Yamaha YDP 163R
The YDP 163R falls in the Arius range, which is the range Yamaha designated for their home digital pianos. It is heavy and bulky, and not a portable or stage piano. It does its job at home splendidly well though! With 88 graded-hammer weighted action keys, covered with synthetic ivory material, this piano feels and plays like a real acoustic piano.
The YDP 163R doesn’t just feel like a real piano, it also sounds like one: Yamaha has included the Pure CF Sound Engine which reproduces the tones of a Yamaha nine-foot concert grand, and its sampling was done masterfully well. Its 2 oval shaped speakers are powered by two 20w amplifiers, which is impressive for any digital piano.
Notable functions and features you’ll love include a built-in metronome, sound blending, and an impressive 192-note polyphony. There no composition too intricate or complex for this piano to handle. The cabinet is also equipped with a proper footwell, and 3 fixed pedals.
The one bit hate-spew we’ve got is that the YDP 163R only has 10 instrument sounds of which 3 are piano. The organ sound leaves much to the imagination, and Dracula wouldn’t rock up if you were trying to rouse it on this one. Stick to the piano sound though, which we need to say again, is fantastic!
The connectivity ports here reflect the fact that this is NOT a studio piano – there is a headphone jack, USB to host, and a 2-track MIDI recorder
- The Yamaha Pure CF Sound Engine – It feels and sounds as if you’re playing a 9 foot Yamaha Concert Grand.
- With the YDP 163R you’ll be buying the big name in piano manufacturing, and Yamaha’s superior built quality and reliability is never a bad investment.
- The synthetic Ivory keys feel remarkably close to that of an acoustic piano.
- The powerful 40w sound system.
- The YDP163B does not have an LCD screen (or any other display).
- This is definitely not a portable piano.
- Limited selection of sounds
The Roland F140R is marketed as a student piano – but it is in fact a great, versatile instrument that will suit seasoned players just as well. The F-140R features 88 hammer-action keys with escapement. Its sound engine does a great job of reproducing long natural decays of a piano’s sound. The PHA-4 which is used in this piano is a triple sensor action, which is light and responsive. The folks at Roland created what they call the ivory feel keys, which isn’t ivory but feels better than plastic.
It has a compact build, with superior sound quality, and a great feel. The speaker system comprises of two 12cm speakers, powered by a 14w system.
The sound engine you in the F140R is a digitally reproduced and very realistic piano sound called the SuperNATURAL. Essentially, the sound engine combines recorded sounds from a grand piano with excellent computer modelling – giving you the best of both worlds.
There are 316 built in sounds, of which 11 are grand pianos. The 128-note polyphony is more than a modest pianist will ever need. The keys have 5 different levels of touch sensitivity – so finding the perfect piano-feel should be easy. The other controls are intuitive, and selection is made easy by LED indicators. There is also a built-in display screen which makes user experience and control over the sound section of the phenomenal range of sounds better.
As you`d expect from a piano in this price range, the F140R has a dual, split and twin piano function. The recording feature can handle 10 tracks.
Connectivity options lead the pack: USB to host, USB to device, Audio in/out, MIDI Bluetooth and two headphone jacks come as standard features.
- This really is a good looking, slim, modern piano
- 316 built-in sounds
- Wireless Bluetooth MIDI connectivity
- Superb sound quality, driven by SuperNATURAL sound engine
- 3 pedals
- No multi-track recording
- No volume slider (The volume buttons are a chore!).
Money is not the boss of you
Image Source: http://kawaius.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CP1-Polished-Ebony-600×600.jpg
Ladies and gentleman: The Kawai CP1 5’3″ digital grand piano – in polished ebony
With a current MSRP of $21,999.00, you`ll have to dig them pockets deep… but this is what you`ll buy:
If there was a beauty contest for pianos, the Kawai CP1 would win the digital grand category. It has all the functions, bells, whistles, razzle and dazzle that any pianist might need. With the best sound system, highest rated key-action(all 88 keys are made fully of wood, and are fully weighted and tampered), one of the only truly active sound boards, over 1000 voices, a full touch screen and heaps of other features, this baby(grand) will make your knees weak!
Dial your volume up and have a listen:
To try and list all its functions and features would do it an absolute injustice – but we`ll bring some of the most notable ones to light:
- A 16-track recorder
- Full connectivity package, and any port/connection you will ever need – including 2 headphone jacks, MIDI in, MIDI out, Left and Right Mono, USB to device, MIC in, XLR fixed (L/R), video out and a ground lift switch.
- 6 types of reverb and 34 types of other effects.
- A 200-Watt, 9 Speaker, 3-Channel sound system
- Large color touch display
Absolutely nothing. Go buy it. Now.
There are literally thousands of options out there. If you’re searching for the best digital piano for any particular budget, the best this article could do was to awaken your imagination. While we tried to cover the most popular choices, there are certainly other good choices that we didn’t mention here. Any piano could be a player’s piano, and we all have different needs and playing styles – our advice to you right now, is to go out and play as many pianos as you can.