Finding the best digital piano in 2019 isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright challenging to find a perfect balance between great piano features and a reasonable price. And because of that, you may find yourself perusing countless digital piano reviews to best determine what piano is best for a beginner (or intermediate) player.
So how do you find the best of the best when it comes to digital pianos? Which ones are truly worth your time and potentially money?
Well, in this article, we’re going to discuss some of our favorite digital pianos on the market, and also use some of our previous reviews of these pianos to help you get the best overall impression of the instrument as possible.
And, to better help you, we’ve created this table below that allows you to directly compare some of the best digital pianos on the market against one another.
|Yamaha YDP-144||GHS action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Yamaha P-515||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha YDP-164||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Roland RP-102||Works w/Roland Piano Partner 2 app|
|Casio AP-470||256 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha YDP-184||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)|
The Best Digital Piano Reviews
We’ve discussed and reviewed what feels like a countless amount of digital pianos here at Digital Piano Review Guide. But in this article, we’re going to really hone in on the following digital pianos:
- Yamaha P-45
- Korg B1SP
- Casio PX-870
- Yamaha YDP-144
- Yamaha P-515
- Casio PX-160
- Roland F-140
- Nord Piano 4
- Korg Grandstage
- Yamaha YDP-164
We feel that this mix of piano models provides a truly great blend of both affordable digital pianos and more robust, high quality instruments that will really provide you with the best bang for your buck.
So let’s begin with the Yamaha P-45 and work our way down the list.
And below, please take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos currently on sale online (and see how they compare to the pianos we discuss in this article):
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-144|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Casio PX-870|
The Yamaha P-45 succeeded the popular Yamaha P-35 some time ago, and has continued the tradition of the Yamaha brand making cheap digital pianos that really are capable of providing the pianist with a solid keyboard and action.
For about $500, you get an 88 key digital piano with GHS or Graded Hammer Standard action (yes, it’s the most basic action available in Yamaha’s wheelhouse, but this is a incredibly affordable piano). Coming in at just 25 lbs, this is a very lightweight and highly portable instrument. And while the 64 notes of polyphony afforded to you here is certainly not the best that’s available on the market, you’ll likely be fairly satisfied with it until your skills grow to the point where you’re ready to play more complex pieces of music with little to no note decay.
In our review comparison between the Yamaha P-45 and the Yamaha P-125, we took some time to compare it to the Yamaha P-125, which is basically the bigger brother of the P-45. And while both pianos both use the same GHS key action, you begin to notice differences when you look at what both instruments offer in the department of sound:
“Now the Yamaha P-45 has adequate sound. It features AMW Stereo Sampling. The Yamaha P-125, on the other hand, uses the Pure CF Sound Engine, which includes Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano.
But where you’ll notice a difference in the sound is once you sit down to play. While the Yamaha P-45 is adequate in its sound quality, the P-125 has it beat.
In fact, the Yamaha P-125 incorporates a two way speaker system that improves on the sound of the P-115. What this does is it provides a more expansive sound that moves in both an upward and downward direction. Doing this allows the sound to be deeper and richer to the pianist, better resembling the tonal quality of an acoustic piano.”
So with the P-125, which costs about $150 or so more than the P-45, while playing the keys will likely feel identical to the P-45, the sounds you can play (like the Yamaha CF111S 9’ concert grand, for instance) and the overall sound quality will be much improved.
Still, if you’re just starting out, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to save a little bit of money and get the P-45. Then, once you feel you’ve mastered everything this piano can offer you, you can invest in a better digital piano.
One last thing I wanted to mention here revolves around the Yamaha P-71. Many people have wondered what’s the difference between the Yamaha P-45 and Yamaha P71. The interesting thing here to know is that there actually is no difference between these two pianos. At all.
In fact, the Yamaha P-71 is actually just a renamed Yamaha P-45 that’s offered to customers as an Amazon exclusive (which is why it’s renamed the Yamaha P-71). Either piano will do the job and satisfy your needs.
The Korg B1SP is the last of the very cheap, sub-$600 digital pianos that we’ll discuss in this article.
Now, some people may be a bit confused about the difference between the Korg B1 vs Korg B1SP, but there’s no reason for any confusion. That’s because the letters “SP” simply stand for “stand” and “pedal” or “pedal unit.”
What this means is that, if you purchase the Korg B1SP instead of the Korg B1, you also get a stand for the B1 itself, as well as a metal three pedal unit that will give you more control over making more sophisticated sounding music.
When you factor in the stand, this piano is fairly hefty, as it clocks in at about 46 lbs. And while you only get 8 sounds to play around with (three acoustic piano sounds, a couple electric piano voices, plus harpsichord and two organ sounds), you do get 120 notes of polyphony in the Korg B1SP.
The piano that you’ll probably most compare the B1SP to is the Yamaha P-45, which we of course discussed a bit above. In our Korg B1SP vs P-45 comparison review, we actually went into a bit of depth about polyphony and how and why you should give it some thought before you purchase either one of these pianos:
“Polyphony also gets eaten up by some of a digital piano’s onboard voices; some voices are created with multi-layered samples, so technically two or more notes are being played while a player hits a single note on the keyboard. Similarly, effects use up some of a digital piano’s polyphony, too.
Personally, I would never go lower than 120-voice polyphony, and even 120-voice polyphony seems a bit low to me. Still, this amount of polyphony is pretty much the most you’ll get at this price point. Having 120-voice polyphony should see you through the beginner and intermediate phases of your piano-playing journey.
Let’s now move into more robust pianos that can not only satisfy the needs of a beginner, but the higher expectations of a veteran piano player. And luckily, the Casio PX-870 is a digital piano that can make people in both camps very happy.
The first thing that’s undeniable about the PX-870 is that, for its higher price point ($1,000), it comes in a stylish cabinet made of wood. Aiming to give you a grand piano experience, the PX-870 does its job to imitate the look and feel of an upright digital piano—right down to the sliding key cover.
In our PX-870 review, we touched on many things that makes this piano standout—most notably what it offers the pianist in the department of sound:
“The PX-870 has 19 tones which include 5 grand pianos (concert, mellow, bright, modern, rock, jazz), 4 electronic pianos, 4 organs (pipe, jazz, and 2 electric organs), 2 strings, harpsichord, vibraphone, and bass. Although many digital pianos and certainly keyboards house hundreds of sounds and tones, at least these 19 tones are authentic and rich.
There are a few other features that Casio uses to recreate the sound of an acoustic piano such as lid simulator, key off simulator, and hammer response. The lid simulator allows for lid removed, lid open, lid half-open, and lid closed to simulate the sound changes with opening and closing the lid of a grand piano.
Every weighted key digital piano needs advanced hammer response to achieve acoustic realism. The Casio Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II, for example, closes the gap between sound structures from a grand piano and a digital piano. The three-sensor feature detects keystrokes sequentially and allows for a note to be played repeatedly without the key returning to a full resting position.”
I think it’s worth mentioning that the PX-870 is a very friendly piano when it comes to working well with other forms of technology. In fact, not only can this piano connect to both iOS and Android devices, it also works well with Apple and PC too.
You can also use the Chordana Play for Piano app, which essentially gives you total control of your entire instrument via your mobile device. So whether you want to change a voice, or you simply want to download some MIDI files, so long as you have a cell phone or a tabet, you won’t have to touch anything on the actual piano to, well, control the actual piano.
The Yamaha YDP-144 is the successor to the popular YDP-143, and it’s safe to say that this digital piano keeps the gravy train of wonderful features and blissful sound chugging along beautifully.
In fact, there are some nice sound improvements on the YDP-144. Where the YDP-143 featured recordings of the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand piano, the YDP-144 boasts the Yamaha CFX Grand Piano sound. With that, you get a much more bold and rich tone.
You also get two additional grand piano sounds—one being a Mellow Grand Piano, and the third being more of a Pop Grand sound (think more of a jazzy sensibility to the sound).
Another improvement is the amplification. On the YDP-143, it was rocking a two speaker system that featured 6 watts per speaker. The YDP-144 improves on that a bit, going from 6 watts per speaker all the way to 8 watts per speaker.
To be fair, we also really like the Yamaha YDP-164 too. And, if you have the funds (and sound amplification is very important to you), you may want to strongly consider bypassing the YDP-144 in favor of the YDP-164.
Because the YDP-164 features a 20 watts per speaker system. So if you’re planning to buy a digital piano that can be heard clearly and boldly in a large room, the YDP-164 is probably the better way to go. The sound is just much, much stronger compared to the YDP-144.
Still, the YDP-144 is a very good digital piano. In fact, in our Yamaha YDP-144 review, we talked about one of the features on the piano called Stereophonic Optimizer, which can really be quite useful if you’re practicing with headphones on:
“One is the Stereophonic Optimizer. Now this feature is really great if you’re a pianist that finds him or herself practicing on the piano with headphones quite often.
If that’s you, then the Stereophonic Optimizer is something you’ll probably appreciate. That’s because this features gives you the ability to make adjustments to the sound coming into your headphones. More than that, it really adjusts the spacing of the sound and the piano within the headphones. This helps give the sound a very immersive and almost surround sound-like quality.
I think the goal of this feature is to really make you feel as if the sound is coming from the instrument itself, as opposed to coming directly into your ears from the headphones. In that way, I like to think of the Stereophonic Optimizer in a similar way that I look at sound bars for television.
Some sound bars simply play sound, and others attempt to recreate the surround sound experience. I think the Stereophonic Optimizer is attempting to do the later, which is really great if you often wear headphones to prevent your friends or family members from being disturbed while you practice.”
The Yamaha YDP-144 costs approximately $1,100, while the YDP-164 would set you back about $1,500.
So I wanted to close out this article (part two of this series will be linked below) with one of the best digital pianos not only on this list, but one of the top pianos available anywhere on the market.
The P-515 is a monster of an instrument, capable of handling almost anything you want to throw at it. It’s not a cheap instrument—this portable piano will run you about $1,500. But one could make the argument that it is money well spent, and possibly even provides you with an incredible bang for your buck.
When it comes to any digital piano, you’re likely very interested in knowing about the quality of the piano samples. And Yamaha didn’t skimp out here.
In fact, in the P-515, you get the Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, as well as the Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano sounds. While the Bösendorfer Imperial piano sound is quite warm to the ear, you’ll notice how bold and full of life the CFX concert grand piano sounds when you play the P-515.
But I’d argue one of the many standouts in the P-515 is the keyboard and hammer action. And in our in-depth Yamaha P-515 review, we outlines what made this action so special:
“If you’re familiar with Yamaha’s hammer actions, then you likely have some experience with GHS (Graded Hammer Standard), GH (Graded Hammer) and GH3 (Graded Hammer 3).
But when we start getting into the more expensive realm of Yamaha digital pianos, you start seeing something that’s called NWX. Now NWX stands for Yamaha Natural Wood X, and it’s a keyboard that features an escapement mechanism that aims to truly reproduce the touch and feel of an acoustic piano going through the let off and drop of the hammer whenever a key is played softly. The escapement is noticeable only on the lightest of keystrokes, which is meant to truly replicate the keys on a grand piano.
And this is fantastic news for those interested in the Yamaha P-515. Because NWX keyboards are normally reserved for the expensive Clavinova series by Yamaha, and so the fact that Yamaha transferred their wooden keys and great action over to the P-515 tells you how much they believe in the P-515.”
The Yamaha P-515 also works very well with the Smart Pianist app, which allows you to directly control the digital piano by way of your cell phone or tablet:
“Now, what’s cool about the Smart Pianist app is that it allows you to change sounds, record audio to the application itself, and even edit the voices on the piano. The app has a mixer on board too, which means if you’re doing layers, you now have control over the layers’ levels. You can also save your favorite settings too, which prevents you from worrying that when you exit out of the app, you’ll have to reconfigure all of your customs settings again.
One of my favorite aspects of the Smart Pianist app is its Chord Chart feature. This feature allows you to play some of your favorite songs within the app, and then Chord Chart analyzes the song and provides chords symbols right on the screen, allowing you to play along with your favorite songs.”
If you’re serious about playing the piano, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be very happy with what the Yamaha P-515 offers.
Whether you want to spend just $500, or you have the budget to upgrade to a $1,500 digital piano, the bottom line is that there are great pianos on the market for all budgets.
Depending on what you get, you may have to compromise on certain things, but you can rest assured that whatever your choice—be it the Casio PX-160 or the Yamaha P-515, you’re going to get a digital piano that will be flexible enough for gigging musicians, immersive enough to link up to other forms of technology, and diverse enough to satisfy both beginners and intermediate piano players alike.
You can check out part two of this article here, where we reveal five more digital piano reviews of pianos we did that we truly love, and why we think they are worthy of your consideration.
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