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Why Buy A Digital Piano?
Digital pianos are an awesome invention, and some even claim that they are better sounding and much more useful than a traditional, acoustic piano. This might seem confusing at first, how would an imitation be better than the original? Well perhaps digital models are not mere imitations but in fact an evolution of piano. What are the benefits of a digital piano then?
- You never have to tune them. This doesn’t necessarily mean it sounds better for examply but it does mean that they are a lot less hassle than an acoustic piano, which unless you can tune yourself, can be an expensive hobby.
- It can sound like more than one piano. If you buy a standard acoustic piano it has one sound, which can only be changed by altering where you are playing it or in post production. The best digital pianos will come with the ability to change the sound and even imitate the top brands of pianos. On top of that, MIDI capabilities can even turn your digital piano into a controller for software synthesizers, and open up limitless opportunities for new sounds.
- Don’t disturb the neighbors! You can play a digital piano in complete silence, as the vast majority come with the facility to plug in headphones and play to your hearts content. This means you can be in the same room as somebody watching TV and not disturb them in the slightest, it is also great for beginners who aren’t that confident as pianists just yet.
- They’re smaller! It’s tough to find room in your home for a big old acoustic piano, but you can electric pianos that weigh about 12-25 lbs, which makes them light, easy and even portable.
Price Range of Digital Pianos
Before we delve into some digital piano reviews, you’re probably going to want to know a little about prices. As with any musical instrument, the cost that these will set you back can vary huge amounts. If you’re looking for one of the best budget digital pianos you could be looking for as little as $200 to $300 for a brand new model, this is great for beginners and the beauty is that they hold their value quite well so if you move on to an advanced model you can always sell it on for a good price. The majority of models in my experience retail for between $500 and 1000, and you can get an exceptionally good piano for this price. The cost goes all the way up to $3-5000 for the pro musicians and performers out there!
Brands of Digital Pianos
- Casio – You may associate this brand with kids toy pianos but in fact they’re a pretty good manufacturer and do offer some quality models.
- Korg – Again something you might associate with synthesis and electronic music gear but they offer great digital pianos too.
- Roland – An audio equipment powerhouse, Roland make amazing amps, great effects and processors and of course digital pianos, some of which will be reviewed on here.
- Yamaha – One of the biggest names in the world of instruments, these manufacture just about everything.
- M-Audio – Budget digital pianos and musical gear for the 21st century!
- And more…
The Best Digital Pianos
I’m starting with the top rated digital piano at the time of writing on Amazon. The DGX640W is an exceptional model which has dropped a lot from the retail price ($1,300ish) at time of release to now, and you can pick it up for roughly half of that now if you look in the right places. It comes in a walnut or cherry red design and looks nice, so you won’t feel bad about putting it in your house!
- 88 key Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) Keyboard – Black keys come with a lush matt finish.
- Realistic sounds that don’t sound synthesized or poorly recorded.
- Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
- “64-note polyphony” – Rich expressive power, free from sound cutoff even when the sustain pedal is used
- Music Database plus compatibility with other USB or External Files
- Music Notation Display to make performing super simple.
- Yamaha Education Suite – your own personal music tutor built in to the instrument with easy lessons that can help you to learn and compose on your new piano.
As well as all these excellent features, this yamaha comes with a massive 535 sounds, 35 different reverb effects, a metronome spanning from 11 to 280 bpm. Weighing in at around 45 lbs, this is also a relatively portable model.
Casio AP420 Celviano Digital Piano with Bench
As I’ve already said, Casio aren’t just makers of fun little toys and watches, they make some really great pianos, and the Celviano AP420 is definitely worth a mention. It has a really traditional upright look and even comes with a matching bench, you could even be fooled at a glance into thinking this was an acoustic!
The Celviano has done all it can do give an authentic feel and is almost a direct replica of an acoustic piano. It has a quad layered stereo piano sound which is thick and lifelike, and also comes with “ivory touch” keys so you feel like you’re playing the real thing. This is certainly a great option for those who come from classical backgrounds and don’t want to have to get used to the digital option. It doesn’t compromise on tech though, this piano is USB Midi compatible, has a tempo range of 20 to 255, 60 preset songs and a built in 20 watt speaker system that can really pack a punch and fill out your house with your beautiful melodies.
Available at a similar pricing point to the Yamaha these days, this is a great option for anyone wanting to play a more traditional piano with all the benefits of being digital.
Best Digital Piano if you’re on a budget…
I’m a realist, and we don’t all have megabucks to go out and spend on a digital piano, which is why I’ve included a very good digital piano review of a budget model. Still not cheap at around the $300 mark, the Williams Allegro does represent very good value for money in spite of not having all of the features of a top of the range model. Mostly 5 star reviews on Amazon, this is a top drawer piece of kit, offering:
- 88 touch-sensitive, hammer-action, velocity-sensitive keys
- Layer, Split, and Transpose modes
- Reverb and Chorus effects
If you’re a beginner, or just looking for a simple piano to take out and about on stage or set up and play at home, this could well be your answer, at a bargain price and well reviewed across the board.