Holiday 2012: Digital Piano Roundup
There’s nothing like the experience of playing a grand piano. Everything from the resistance of the keys to the scent of the soundboard is intoxicating. However, if you aren’t Ben Folds or Billy Joel, moving a grand piano from gig to gig presents quite a challenge. For those of us who live in apartments, just getting a grand piano through the door can be expensive, impractical or even impossible. Luckily, brands like Yamaha, Casio, Korg and Roland have made painstaking efforts to recreate the joy of playing an acoustic piano on 88-key digital keyboards.
The Yamaha DGX-640 digital piano features a Graded Hammer Standard keyboard, which mimics the weighting of a real piano, with the low keys having more resistance. With 535 voices (presets), built-in digital effects and an onboard recording engine, this digital piano gives you the best of both worlds. It also includes a decorative wooden stand in cherry or walnut.
Yamaha presents a more conservative look with the P-105 digital piano. It also has the Graded Hammer Standard keyboard, but adds four levels of touch sensitivity. More dedicated to faithful reproduction of acoustic instruments, the P-105’s PureCF sound source includes only 14 voices. But with 128-note polyphony, thorough connectivity options and a host of practice-enhancing features, it’s clear that this digital piano is built for the dedicated pianist. It’s also available in white.
The more basic P-35 is slim and compact, weighing only 25 lb, which is quite lightweight for the digital piano realm. Like its big brother, the P-35 features a Graded Hammer Standard keyboard and four levels of touch sensitivity. It includes 10 AWM stereo sampled voices, 32-note polyphony and 4 types of built-in reverb. The P-35 is appropriate for students with its Duo feature, allowing two players to split the keyboard into two identical ranges.
For those of you who miss the classy look of wood-paneled stationwagons, there’s the Yamaha P-155. Available in Black/Mahogany or Silver/Cherry combinations, this digital piano features 17 voices of AWM stereo sampling, 128-note polyphony and a 24W speaker system. Dual headphone ports and a USB jack add to the full functionality of this piano.
The last Yamaha digital piano that we’re going to discuss today is the Arius YDP-141. This luxury model includes a bench and a wooden stand with integrated damper, sostenuto and soft pedals. The Graded Hammer Standard keyboard complements its variable touch sensitivity, 6 voices and 64-note polyphony. The AWM stereo sound source also responds to incremental velocity on the damper pedal with corresponding sustain lengths. The Arius YDP-141 also features a 2-track recorder and 50 built-in songs.
In recent years, Casio has climbed through the ranks of digital piano makers with their Privia series. The entry-level PX-150 is a testament to how far they’ve come. It features the proprietary AiR sound source with 18 built-in tones and a Tri-sensor scaled hammer action keyboard for an authentic sound and feel. The damper resonance simulator and onboard digital effects add to the sonority of this impressive instrument. It is also available in white.
The Privia PX-330 digital piano features the Casio Linear Morphing System sound source and a Tri-sensor scaled hammer action keyboard. Additionally, the PX-330 has 250 built-in tones, digital effects, layer/split modes and 128-note polyphony. An SD card slot and a USB port add to the storage capability and functionality of the onboard record functions. The integrated metronome, accompaniment tracks and speaker system improve your practice sessions, while dual headphone jacks are handy for lessons.
The PX-750 includes a matching wooden display stand, for a more elegant look. Its AiR sound source and Tri-sensor scaled hammer action keyboard combine with the included damper, soft and sostenuto 3-pedal array to create a realistic experience. The PX-750 features 18 built-in tones, onboard digital effects, an integrated 2-track recorder and a damper resonance simulator to help you make the most out of every practice session.
The Korg SP-170s has a simplicity that makes it very attractive to anyone who truly wants a digital piano. A power button, a volume knob, Piano Play and Sound are the top panel’s only controls. Piano Play has one function, to return you to the main grand piano sound. The Sound button allows you to switch through the 9 other included sounds. The SP-170s has a Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard for an authentic feel, while built-in reverb and chorus effects add dimension to its already lush tones.
The look of the Korg SP-250BK is complemented by its uniquely-shaped metal stand. It features 30 preset sounds, built-in reverb, chorus and 30 demo songs. The RH3 weighted hammer action keyboard has 3 stages of selectable touch response to accommodate your style. It also includes a damper pedal and a 22W speaker system.
The Roland FP-7F digital piano is designed to provide an exceptionally realistic playing experience, featuring a SuperNATURAL Piano engine and a PHA III Ivory Feel-S Keyboard with Escapement. Additionally, the FP-7F includes 351 built-in tones, 128-note polyphony and an onboard looper. If you are a vocalist, the combination of a microphone input and the built-in speaker system allow you to practice a performance. The FP-7F also features Session Partner, a play-along tool that provides more than 80 rhythm tracks to back you up.
The RD-300NX digital piano features the SuperNATURAL Piano engine with Roland’s Ivory Feel-G Keyboard with Escapement. The RD-300NX has 939 preset tones, including electric piano patches created using SuperNATURAL technology. Additionally, it features 78 types of digital effects, an intuitive user interface and 200 built-in rhythm tracks to provide a fun, interactive playing experience.
The Roland V-Piano looks like a Fender Rhodes at first glance. It features the “living piano” system with 24 piano presets and a PHA-III Ivory Feel keyboard with Escapement. The V-Piano’s Piano-Voicing parameters allow you to adjust every nuance to your liking, from how in-tune the unison strings are to how audible the damper pedal is. This truly unique instrument also features extensive connectivity, 128-note polyphony and an onboard sequencer. In addition to its piano sounds, the V-Piano includes an additional sound generator section with an additional 256 tones. This is a digital piano for the most discerning players.
Thanks for reading this InDepth Roundup. You can find more information about each model on our website, and your questions or comments are welcome below, in the Comments section.