What’s the Best Digital Piano for Classical Music?

Those who love classical music and want to brush up on their skills can use a digital piano for practice and performance.  Diving into Beethoven or Bach is easily done with the right instrument.  Many say that classical music should only be played on an acoustic piano because of the sounds and the form used for playing.  However, newer instrument additions allow you to transfer into the modern, digital age while continuing to enjoy the classics.

And so, in this article, we’ll discuss the best digital pianos for classical pianists that are available on the market.  And, in order to better help you, please see our interactive guide below which features a variety of digital pianos that are ideal for classical music.  We will discuss many of these pianos within the article later today.

Yamaha CLP 735
Yamaha YDP 144
Casio PX-770
Yamaha YDP-165
Casio PX-870
Roland RP-102

The Digital Vs. Acoustic Debate

Many classical musicians debate over whether digital or acoustic pianos are more feasible for enjoyment of the greatest masterpieces.  The central issue is with the sounds that result by using a different piano. 

The acoustic piano uses hammers that strike a string every time you push a note.  This mechanic creates resonance from the strings and results in a rich sound while playing certain styles of music.  Classical musicians have composed music to create specific effects based on this function.  Digital pianos, because of the use of electronics, mimic this sound.  While it may offer some similarities, overtones and responses are often left out of the mix.

Another difference with digital and acoustic pianos is with the touch sensitivity.  Classically trained musicians often focus on the mastery of touch, specifically because of the responses that the piano creates when applying different arm and wrist weight to the keys. 

Digital pianos, while having weighted keys, have slightly different responses that result from touch sensitivity.  For pianists, this requires an alternative approach to learning the physical mechanics of the classics.  Matching touch sensitivity to the acoustic or digital piano creates alternative responses and sounds with classical pieces of music.

Below, please take a look at some of the best-selling digital pianos on the market today, and then see how well we compare to ones we discuss in detail today.

1) Casio PX-770
2) Yamaha YDP-145
3) Roland RP-701
4) Yamaha YDP-165
5) Casio PX-870

Similarities Between Digital and Classical Pianos

While there are applications between the digital and acoustic pianos that differ, there are also some similarities.  The digital pianos are designed to mirror the acoustic sounds and applications.  An 88 weighted key piano created with similar applications as a grand piano will carry similarities in the feel of the keys, response systems, sounds and the overall effects that are used with the acoustic piano. 

Professionals who have focused on upgrades to the digital piano have found ways to assist pianists with getting the full effect of classical music, even without the acoustic response systems. 

Advantages of a Digital Piano for Classical Music

If you are deciding between an acoustic or digital piano, you want to look at what your goals are with playing music.  Keeping an acoustic piano at home for practice and to play for those coming to your home offers functions and compatibility for your favorites.  However, if you have other needs based on your playing capacity and goals, then you will want to look at the advantages of a digital piano. 

  • Cut Out Maintenance Costs.

An acoustic piano requires an upgrade every year with tuning and to make sure all of the strings and hammers are working efficiently.  Continuous maintenance with tuning and other issues which take place as a piano ages are a concern with the acoustic piano.  You can cut these issues out with a digital piano, which requires little to no maintenance to keep the same sounds. 

  • Play Out or In.

An acoustic piano is difficult to move or work with.  If you plan on playing gigs or going out, then a digital piano offers compatibility.  You will easily be able to wheel your digital piano to the next best gig, expanding your ability to perform the classical music you have been practicing.  More important, if you have limitations in living space, then a digital piano may fit easily into a room. 

  • Expand Your Library of Sounds.

If you are not a strict classical pianist, then a digital piano helps you to expand your playing abilities.  You will easily be able to add in an orchestra to your pieces while altering the sounds you are using.  If you want a different sounding piano for era based pieces, then a switch of a button can help you to time travel to the unique piano sounds. 

  • Practice to Perfection. 

You can use the features of a digital piano for support with practice techniques.  For instance, many of the digital pianos offer integrated songs that help you to learn the music quickly and easily.  You can also use record and playback features to listen to your playing and make corrections quickly. 

  • Built In Additions.

Whether you want a metronome or effects, you can find it on the digital keyboard.  You can use different complimentary features that compensate with the classical sounds on the digital piano.  Mastering the next classical piece by adding in the additional functions or perfecting your practice helps you to take classical to the next level. 

Characteristics of a Digital Classical Piano

Unlike other electronic keyboards, your digital piano can showcase its capacity to play classical music.  This offers a substitute to acoustic models so you receive a comparable option for playing.  Generally, your classical digital piano will include:

  • 88 full size keys
  • Weighted, touch sensitive keys
  • Sustain pedal attachments
  • Maximum polyphony, or ability to play several individual notes at once with distinguished sounds
  • Flexible piano sounds

These qualities are designed to match the digital piano with acoustic models.  If all you need is classical sounds, then these foundational characteristics create similar sounds to a classical piano.  You can then upgrade the piano with extra settings for sounds, recording, effects or support while you are learning the classics. 

Top 5 Classical Digital Pianos

  • Casio Privia:

Casio is known for their popular and stylish classical digital pianos.  The Privia design focuses on mirroring the complete acoustic feel.  It has the aesthetic look of an upright piano while remaining compact enough to transport.  The central sounds mimic the grand or upright acoustics to create the closest possibilities with classical styles of playing.  88 full size weighted keys with an attached sustain pedal and extra digital controls are added in for the complete, classical feel. 

Read our review of the Casio PX-S3000 here.

The Casio Privia focuses on classical first for the serious musician.  While the aesthetics and functions mimic an upright, this often limits portability.  You may also find that extra recording sounds and control boards are minimized, specifically so you can focus on the acoustic piano.  For the serious classical musician, the Casio Privia offers a staple for playing the greatest classical hits. 

  • Korg Concert Series:

Korg has created a series for the concert pianist to enhance their playing.  The B series is the latest of this make and model.  Korg uses MFB technology, also known as motional feedback technology for better results.  This innovation creates rich sounds, frequencies and vibrations of an acoustic piano, specifically focusing on the lower range of the piano.  The piano also includes a naturally weighted key, offering the same feel as a regular piano.  The key designs include similar weights as an acoustic by measuring the natural response systems in the lower and higher regions and mirroring these with electronic feedback systems.

The Korg Concert series was created to highlight the acoustic piano while reducing the amount of digital highlights.  The sounds include eight changes made without extra controllers that many electronic items focus on.  If you want an electronic piano with a complete acoustic feel, then this will serve for the classically inclined.  However, it does not include the extras of other digital styles for diverse genres.

Read our review of the Korg B1SP here.

  • Yamaha P Series:

This line of Yamaha classics comes with the acoustic sounds and the light compatibility that pianists require.  The keyboard prides itself on the 88 key, weighted acoustic sounds for the desired classical effect and the best performances.  At the same time, Yamaha adds in more sounds and effects, integrating the digital piano through their classical line. 

The designs and functions of Yamaha P-Series offer some of the most popular options for the piano.  However, the digital style often compromises the sound of the piano.  The technology does not capture the same, sensitive sounds that other digital acoustics have.  The weight of the keys also uses basic weighted options, often limiting the touch sensitivity that classical musicians require.

Read check out our comparison review of the Yamaha P-45 vs the Yamaha P-125 here.  You can also read our review comparison of the Yamaha P-515 vs Yamaha P255, as well.

Make no mistake—these are portable pianos.  So, if you’re looking for something bigger and more substantial, try out the Yamaha Clavinova line (like our recently reviewed Yamaha CLP-635).

  • Roland Stage Pianos:

Roland is known for the versatile classical series it offers to pianists.  Weighted keys with feedback as well as acoustic tones offer diverse options to play classical music.  The series is known for it’s portability and recording features.  Roland combines their series with digital solutions, including a sound bank with classical piano styles, such as the harpsichord or organ.  Other versions have an expanded sound bank, modulation, drums and added effects for a diverse range of sounds. 

You can read our review of the Roland RD-2000 right here.

  • Kawai MP Pianos:

Kawai offers performance and stage pianos as well as editions for acoustic and classical sounds.  Similar to Yamaha, it has extended it’s bank of sounds to different types of acoustic pianos, organs and harpsichord for a complete piano experience.  Kawai extends the sound bank based on the era and genre you are playing, imitating various piano effects.  Added sounds are a large focus of Kawai to offer the ultimate digital experience.  It also includes weighted keys with a grand feel and an extra let off feature to get a close response, similar to the acoustic piano.

Your preferences in digital keyboards changes whether Kawai’s classical editions fits your needs.  It has 40 sounds and some effects; however, these are measured from the acoustic styles of piano.  If you have plans for other genres or styles on your piano or want pre-recorded options, such as arpeggios, then you will want to re-look at this particular alternative. 

Take your classical style to the road with digital keyboards.  There are several classical style pianos that use science and sound to replicate the feel of an acoustic piano.  While the mechanics differ between the acoustic and digital, you will easily be able to perform original classical music with the digital editions.  The specific brands that understand the functions of acoustic playing offer modern solutions with their keyboard.

You can read our review of the Kawai CA58 right here.

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