This best digital piano reviews has two parts: buying guide to help you choose; and best pianos for top 10 categories.
Yamaha Arius YDP161
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Review: The YDP-161 is the perfect electric piano for a beginner and is the best buy for under $1500. This model would also suit intermediate and more advanced music students. As with the other Yamaha models, this line features the GHS keyboard and AWM Dynamic Stereo Sampling for a true acoustical piano feel and sound. The 88-key Graded Hammer Piano weighted keys are just right to the touch. The rich timbre and styling of this top digital piano makes it a great choice.
Pros: The touch response can be set to hard, medium, soft or fixed. The new acoustical sound is clearer. It is compact and light and has low power consumption. You get a good value for your money in this series of Yamaha best digital pianos.
Cons: It has no split effect, damper resonance and brilliance. Though it has 50 pre-recorded songs it can only record one song at a time.
A close runner-up in this category is the Kawai ES6 portable digital piano. Click here for a full detailed review of the Yamaha YDP-161 for beginners.
Casio Privia PX130
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Review: Arguably one of the best choices for under $500, the sound quality and performance of the Casio Privia PX130 is amazingly good. Casio offers the most benefits and features for its price range. The sleek and compact digital piano reproduces great grand piano acoustical sound. The 88-keys use the Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard for authentic acoustical piano touch and feel.
Pros: It is very compact and can be lug around by gigging musicians, piano teachers and students. It has “duet” mode for teacher and student. It allows two people to play at opposite ends of the keyboard but in the same note-range or pitch. It has 128-note polyphony, 16 tones, 4 reverbs, 4 chorus, brilliance, built-in metronome and speakers and more.
Cons: Very light. An acoustic pianist might find it hard to adjust to the light touch even if the keys are weighted.
Close runners-up are: KORG SP170 88-Key Digital Piano and Yamaha YPG535.
Yamaha NP30 Portable Grand Digital Piano
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Review: Weighing at 12 lbs. the Yamaha NP30 is the best compact digital piano to lug around, small in size, easy to transport and good for frequent travels. This is not a complicated piece of musical instrument but it sounds great, feels great for the drop-jaw price of less than $300 US.
Strength: Ultra light and very cheap.
Weakness: Not the equipment for those who prefer more complicated playing as it only has very few features and functions.
For those who prefer a more high-tech portable electronic piano, KORG's SP200 88-Key Portable Digital Piano is also a good choice at 18 lbs.
KORG SP250 88-Key Stage Piano
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Review: KORG is noted for its superior quality digital stage piano performance - a budget model with consistent good reviews. The SP-250 offers a wide range of performance and expression with its new stereo piano sound that is matched with the RH3 (real hammer) graded action keyboard mechanism exclusive to KORG. The SP-250 Stage piano offers a variety of authentic acoustical and digital sound that meets the requirements of a performer.
Bemefits: Solid stand and pedal. Easy and intuitive to use. This Korg Best Digital piano has very realistic sound. It can be used for the home, school or gigs.
Downsides: Portability might be a problem as it's a little on the heavy side at 45 lbs.
Runner-up in this category is the M-Audio ProKeys 88-keys portable piano.
Roland RD-700NX Stage Piano
Review: The RD-700NX (88 keys) is Roland's flagship model and is the finest in the stage piano category for performing artists and professionals. This model includes a wide array of very expressive piano sounds, other instruments and EPs onboard. Sounds are customizable and can instantly be recalled. It features the PHAIII which simulates real ivory feel of the keyboard and has SuperNATURAL™ instruments for sound realism.
Advantage: Superb connectivity and storage functions and flexible file compatibility. The key action is akin to the touch of a real acoustical piano. It has extensive options for multi-effects processing.
Disadvantage: Expensive! But, you get your money's worth.
Very close in second and third places for stage best digital pianos are the Yamaha CP50 88-key stage piano and Kurzweil SP2X 88-Key Stage Piano with Hammer Action.
Review: This upright top rated digital piano uses the 5-level AWM dynamic stereo sampling and tri-amp system to maximize Yamaha's Pure CF Sampling. The sound produced is virtually that of fine concert grand piano. Connectivity to the internet is available for online streaming of radio programs and more.
Good: Keys are weighted. The Natural Wood keyboard offers great playability and touch, akin to real ivory keys of a concert grand. It has 3 USB ports, 128-note polyphony and 16-track sequencer that can save 250 songs.
Bad: A little expensive than most upright digital pianos.
A very close second is the Kutzweil Mark Pro Twoi Digital Piano and Kawai CN21. Also, the Suzuki SC-10ei could be turned into a one-man-band ensemble because of its iPod docking station feature.
Kawai CN 33
Review: The CN 33 is perfect choice for home practice, teaching or music studios; great for both intermediate and advanced piano students, teachers or budding musicians. The sound of a CN 33 is from Kawai's hand-build acoustical concert grand piano recorded, analyzed and meticulously recorded using Progressive Harmonic Imaging ™ technology exclusive to Kawai.
Pros: The touch is distinctively similar to that of a traditional acoustic grand piano. The surface of the keys feels like real ivory and not hard plastic. The 40 watt amp power is sufficient to fill a large room/studio.
Cons: The LED display is quite hard to decipher when choosing a song from a flash drive as it is not easy to figure out what song is 001, 002, and 003 and so on.
Runner-up - a very close contender to Kawai best digital piano in this category is the Yamaha YDP141 Graded Hammer Piano.
Yamaha CVP-409 GP
Review: Yamaha's Clavinova series is the ultimate in concert digital piano, full of features, bells and whistles. The CVP-409 GP is a digital baby grand piano that produces a very realistic acoustical sound and feel. Yamaha's Graded Hammer keyboard system and its AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) stereo sampling technology are in use when assembling this best rated digital piano. This model has the components of Yamaha's ensemble line giving the performer more access to enhance his performance.
Pros: The qualities of a great Clavinova grand digital piano are combined with the gadgetry and technology of Yamaha's CVP ensemble digital piano.
Cons: Expensive digital grand piano that needs space to sit. Not for beginners.
Runner-up in this category is the Kawai CP-209.
Both produce the most remarkable acoustical sound coming from a digital piano. It would be quite a task to pinpoint which one as all models in the series have exactly the same tone and timbre. Yamaha spent endless hours and manpower in research to produce their Clavinova best digital pianos. They have invented the Advance Wave Memory Sampling Technology and the Graded Hammer Keyboard System to produce a great line of digital pianos.
Cons: The models in the CLP and CVP series are expensive. The digital grand pianos take up space and truth be told, technology has not matched the true “feel” of an acoustic piano.
This is a very subjective concern. Though all top digital piano manufacturers have done their research and implemented innovations and technology to reproduce the same feel and touch of a real acoustic piano on an electronic unit, the touch and feel of real ivory keys is far from being imitated.
Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, KORG, Suzuki and Casio have all implemented the weighted keys to their keyboards. This means that the lower registers are heavier to the touch whereas the upper registers are lighter to the touch.
What is “heavy” for one pianist might not be for the other and what is “light” for a one pianist might not be to another.
According to customer reviews, Yamaha, Classenti and Kawai digital pianos have the closest feel and touch parallel to an acoustical piano.
Best Digital Piano Buying Guide
Choosing the best pianos is a matter of preference. There are plenty of electric piano manufacturers that all claim that they produce the best pianos.
However, many of the so-called best electric pianos leave much to be desired.
It is true that digital pianos are less expensive than their acoustical counterparts, but a piano consumer need not be left with a musical instrument that sounds more like metal hitting metal.
Cheap and generic brands tend to have poor sound quality. Even an entry level student will not be inspired to learn how to play with such a poor-sounding electronic piano.
The price of a music instrument is a good indicator of its quality and value.
You get what you pay for. Do not expect a great-sounding best electronic piano with the feel and touch of a real acoustic piano for a few hundred dollars.
If you want quality best digital pianos, you have to be willing to shell-out a bit of money.
Some basic keyboards are quite inexpensive, but a truly digital sounding piano will be more beneficial in the long run.
Again, this thought is subjective as a performer would definitely prefer a portable keyboard for gigs.
The best digital piano for you is one that produces quality sound. The price should be well within your set budget, but at the same time has the necessary features and functions that you need.
Are you an entry level piano student? Then a simple and basic digital piano is for you.
Are you an advanced piano student who prefers to have a baby grand digital piano than an acoustic one? Then you need to read on digital baby grand piano ratings to have an idea of what to consider for features and functions.
How to Choose Best Baby Grand Piano?
Kawai, Yamaha and Suzuki currently manufacture the best baby grand pianos- both digital and acoustics.
The price of an acoustic baby grand piano is prohibitive and is actually recommended for advanced and serious piano students and professional or concert pianists.
However, if your wish is to have a baby grand piano, settling for a digitized one is not a bad idea as there are several advantages of owning a electric baby grand piano over an acoustic.
For one, an electric piano is less expensive. It does not require tuning and has functions and features to make learning to play the piano a breeze. It is quite portable and does not require a big space to accommodate it unless it's a 7-foot grand.
What to Look for in Best Digital Pianos?
The best electric piano is one that has a graded hammer effect and weighted keys. These will ensure that you get to play the lower registers heavily and the upper registers lightly, same as a real acoustic piano. Without these features, you will not get the real feel of an acoustical piano.
As much as possible, do not settle for light-weighted or semi-weighted keys, as they will not deliver the touch and feel of an acoustical keyboard.
It is wise to actually read the brochure and try to play the digital piano.
Read reviews about the specific electric pianos you plan to purchase. Feedbacks from actual piano users and owners are helpful.
Find out how the tones of the electronic piano were sampled.
The best digital piano should have a tonal and sound quality that is akin to real acoustical sound. This is achieved through advanced digital technology where an acoustic instrument is recorded at different levels of softness and loudness and then digitally filtered for a great authentic acoustic sound.
The gap between the sound of a digital and acoustic piano is slowly being bridged through high technology. However, the sound and feel of a real acoustic piano is still hard to equal.
Which is Better: Digital Piano or Keyboard?
Sourcing for the best digital pianos is not easy. Keyboards and electronic pianos both create music but a keyboard is more of an entry level instrument.
No self-respecting piano teacher would recommend a 66-note keyboard to his student.
The high quality portable keyboards and work stations are for professional musicians and composers and although they produce a good-enough acoustical sound they are not advisable for piano students who want to learn how to play classical music.
Of course, it goes without saying that a real acoustic piano is the best choice for a keyboard instrument, but it is more expensive than an electric piano that an entry level student would not want to splurge on such an expensive model.
What are the Best Digital Piano Brands to Buy?
The most popular brands of digital pianos are: Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, KORG, Technics, Kurzweil, Suzuki and Casio.
The best sellers do not necessarily mean they are top of the line in the digital piano categories. This is because price and portability factors of each model can easily influence how well it performs in the sales rank.
Some of the best brands are not even in the top 100 best sellers.
Based consumer reports and major sites that sell digital pianos, like Zzounds and Amazon, Roland and KORG are up there with Yamaha and Casio as best selling digital pianos.
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