Yamaha P Series: Portable 88-Key Pianos
Excellent portable pianos for practice at home, or school or for the church, or for playing onstage. It doesn't come with all the fancy features, styles and effects. You just get real piano sounds and an excellent piano touch. Read more...
When buying musical instruments online, you usually have the option of going to Amazon, which does offer some amazing deals, but then most of the user comments are from beginners or players who have only been playing for a couple of years or so. So you'll find numerous comments where the buyer of a 400 bucks keyboard instrument would make statements such as "It's better than most $3000+ digital pianos" and so on.
Now there's no doubt that digital pianos are becoming cheaper and offer better quality, but in no way can a 400 dollar piano compare with a something that is priced 8 to 10 times more. So when reading comments, you've to take such statements with a pinch of salt.
And even though an entry level piano instrument may sound good, you need to ask questions such as:
Does it sound good across all the octaves?
How is the piano action?
How are the other instrument tones? Do they sound realistic or only the piano sounds are good?
How much is the polyphony?
How many track-sequencer does it provide?
Does it have built-in speakers, and a lot more
And we are not even taking about the aesthetics here. So there's no doubt that consumers are spolit for choices, but if you're really looking for a quality product (as an experienced musician), the least you should be ready to spend is at least around thousand dollars.
Having said that, every keyboard-instrument is built for a purpose and has a target audience to which it suits well!
Here are few important things to remember:
1. You can buy keyboards that have more than 61 keys for less than $350, but then they will not offer you proper weighted action, which is a must for serious piano playing.
You can still get started though on them, if budget is a constraint. Pianos in this price point are good to get started as a beginner, and probably a couple of years down the line you can upgrade to a better one.
2. The ones in the $500 to $600 are much better in terms of the action, if you're looking for a practice piano. Though it may not have all the bells and whistles, you can definitely expect to get good key action and piano sounds. You'll still need to get a decent stand and more importantly a pedal board.
Though these are good, you still may not be able to express yourself like on a real acoustic piano (if you're an experience musician). These are good for beginners to less-than-intermediate level players.
3. The ones costing around $1000 are better and offers good value for money. Someone who is serious about learning to play the piano or someone looking for a good practice piano should definitely look in this range.
Most of the brands are the usual names, Casio continues to dominate the digital piano market in the entry-to-mid level segment (Williams has a couple of products in this range). Yamaha has offerings for players of all skill levels. Brands such as Roland & Nord have good products but at the higher price point.
You also get premium digital pianos for home use and/or for performance. Roland HP & LX series, Yamaha Clavinovas, Yamaha NU1 are some of the premium pianos but are priced much higher than most of the pianos mentioned here.
Each of these has its own fan following and have a huge user base. Some of the names like Kurzweil, Kawai are not so well known to the general public, whereas brands such as Nord cater only to pro musicians.
Brands such as Yamaha, Roland, and Casio make a wide range of keyboard instruments and they also make (except Casio) a lot of music and recording related equipment, which explains their popularity.
Yamaha, Roland, and Korg have the biggest share of the Digital pianos market, more or less in that order, and then you have the rest of the brands. Out of these, Yamaha is the biggest manufacturer and has over 100 years of experience in making acoustic pianos. So definitely, their experience comes in handy. Yamaha, Roland and Korg also make some good keyboards and synthesizers so even that experience has been used to incorporate some amazing musical styles and effects in some of their digital piano models.
You can even have a look at Casio's Privia & Celviano range of Digital Pianos for a cost effective option.
Here's a summary of their strengths:
Roland: Probably the best Piano Touch that you can get on digital pianos
Yamaha: Brand Reliability, good support
Kurzweil: relatively unknown but good sound technology
Korg: Good synthesizers
Nord: Pricey, for the Pros
Again, exactly stating which is the best brand or model is very difficult as almost all of these brands have a huge range of models, some of which, are very popular.
When somebody does a digital piano review and recommends a brand or a model, you have to take it with a pinch of salt as that person may be biased towards that particular brand if he/she has used it earlier.
So trust your ears and your instincts as well!
Range Of Digital Piano Prices
Normally the digital piano prices would vary depending on its look and the features available. As a general guideline, the following are the digital piano prices you can expect to pay –
Stage pianos - 1000 to 1500 USD
Upright Digital pianos - 2000 to 3000 USD
Baby Grand/Grand Piano - around 4000 USD and above
Almost all the brands mentioned above offer various models in these categories and the cost of these models may vary somewhat depending on the quality of the sound, the key action, the looks and the availability of musical styles and effects.
Choices Available for 1000 USD?
So what are the choices available for around 1000USD?
For 1000 dollars the options may not be too many but here is what you may get.
Yamaha P range of piano models
The Casio Privia range of pianos (good value for money)
Korg - SP series pianos
Yamaha, Roland and Korg have other interesting models but those are on the expensive side.
Most of the weighted-key digital pianos have sound samples taken from a concert grand and the key action is also based on a concert grand action. So ideally you should not have any problem using inexpensive digital pianos for playing even the most difficult classical pieces.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, digital pianos can be used for playing even the most difficult classical repertoire. This aspect coupled with the fact that digital pianos are portable and affordable makes them an attractive alternative to acoustic pianos. Yamaha, Casio, Korg, Roland, Kawai are some of the major manufacturers of affordable and high quality digital pianos. Checkout reviews of the popular Digital Piano models here.
Your First Digital Piano
Still not sure what to choose? Looking forward to buy your first Digital Piano?
Want to know which are the major brands and what you can get for your budget?
Not sure if inexpensive digital pianos are adequate for working on serious classical pieces?
Review of all the accessories that are available for your digital piano keyboard. You may not need all of them now, probably some essential ones to make it more enjoyable to play. The piano accessories that you will need will depend on what sort of piano you own. If you own a portable stage piano (the more high-tech ones), then your requirement will be a bit different from what you would need assuming if you have a home piano, read more...
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Every digital piano has different features: number of keys, key sensitivity, key touch, polyphony, availability of built-in speakers (and its quality), dimensions of the piano & its weight, music creation tools, computer access, warranty, and more.
Keep your current piano skills in mind & where you would like to go with your piano playing, and choose a piano accordingly.
Everybody has their own preferences (soft corner) for certain brands/models; happens if you have been playing them for years. so don't let that affect your judgment.
Most brands have their own terms for weighted action. Yamaha use GHS/GH/GH3, Casio calls it scaled hammer action. Roland & Korg have their own terms. As a rule, the more expensive ones will have more realistic touch.
Every digital piano sounds & feels a bit different, so you really don't have to agree with others (beyond a certain point).
To be truthful, most of the pianos listed here on this page are great options (for certain requirements) as each have their own benefits. We have selected these models based on several factors, such as sound quality, value and usefulness.
Here comes the hugely popular and trusted brand. Yamaha does have some professional stage pianos for the pro-performer, namely their CP series of pianos. Regarding home pianos, the Yamaha YDP series is the next best thing in case you find the Clavinova pianos out of budget.