Casio CDP-135 review: A Good Beginner Digital Piano?
A lot of times, when we’re buying digital pianos, the biggest hurdle is in trying to determine what exactly you need your piano to do.
If you’re a true beginner, with no experience, you need a piano that has enough features to help you learn without the process feeling too difficult, advanced, or expensive.
And if you’re someone that knows how to play, but just wants to keep their skills sharp, you want a digital piano that meets those specific needs as well.
In this Casio CDP-135 review, I’m going to show you why I think this is a pretty great digital piano to fit a variety of different needs you might have—especially if you’re on a relatively tight budget.
And, in order to better help you determine which digital piano is ideal for your needs, take a moment to view our interactive guide below, which allows you to directly compare the Casio CDP-135 against other notable pianos on the market.
|Korg LP-380 U|
|Yamaha DGX 670|
- You may also want to read our Casio CDP-S360 review, as well!
Who Should Use the Casio CDP-135?
Priced at about $300, the Casio CDP-135 is a very solid beginner’s digital piano. I’d also say it’s a good secondary piano if you just want a piano to practice on, or perhaps if you’re someone that learned piano ten or twenty years ago and are looking to slowly ease yourself back into the prospect of playing consistently.
The CDP-135 is indeed an entry-level digital piano, but don’t dismiss this instrument. It still has plenty to offer.
In the CDP-135, you get 88 weighted and graded keys. Weighted keys are often expected this days, but it’s always important to remember the importance of weighted and graded keys.
When you play a digital piano, you ideally want it to simulate the feel of a grand piano. Now, no one is going to forget that they are playing on a genuine grand piano while using their $300 portable instrument, but the technology built inside the CDP-135 is quite good at making you feel that is indeed the case.
Graded keys are of course always nice to see on a digital piano, as the keys will feel heavier to the touch in the lower end and require less force to press and play in the higher end of the keybed.
Now, the keys certainly aren’t made out of wood here—you’re not purchasing a baby grand after all. But they do feel good to the touch, and that’s a testament to the weighted and graded keybed.
This piano is also very portable, as it clocks in at only 23.8 pounds. It’s size is more or less what you’d expect for 88 keys, as the CDP-135 is 52 inches wide, 11.25 inches deep, and 5 inches high.
You’ll get a power adapter included with this piano when you open the box, but if you want a padded bench to sit on or a stand to put the CDP-135 on, you’re unfortunately going to have to buy those accessories separately.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how well they stack up to the CDP-135.
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-S3100|
|3) Casio PX-870|
|4) Roland FP-E50|
|5) Roland FP-30X|
Notable Features of the CDP-135
Despite only costing about $300, the Casip CDP-135 offers some pretty nice features.
First, you get 10 voices on this instrument. Not an overwhelming amount of sounds, but you can play around with 3 electric piano sounds, 3 grand piano sounds, strings, harpsichord, organ patches, vibraphone, and more.
You also get a metronome with this piano, which is always incredibly helpful to anyone that’s a beginner. Using the metronome, you can adjust time signatures and tempo, which will help you better learn how to play a piece accurately and in rhythm.
The CDP-135 also has adjustable reverb and chorus, as well as a transpose function that will allow you to play in different keys. In fact, you get 10 different reverbs to play around with, along with 5 different choruses.
Overall, the CDP-135 provides you with 15 different effects you can enjoy.
Sound and Speakers
So the speakers on the CDP-135 are…okay. Solid enough—remember, this is a $300 digital piano, not $1,300. You get 16 watt stereo speakers, which will provide you with a fairly rich tone for the cost.
While not the best of the best on the market, the speakers pick up low frequencies and low octaves, so you’ll notice that the sound comes across as being a bit more clean and precise and less muddy.
The speakers themselves are located on the top of the piano—one on the left side and one on the right. You do have the ability too plug the CDP-135 into an amp, if you’re so inclined. If you do this, you’re not really going to have to worry about the on-board speakers, as your music will have a lot more bite to it thanks to the added amplification.
It should also be noted that this piano comes with 64 notes of polyphony which is…decent. Again, solid enough given the price point of this piano, but nothing amazing. We’ve discussed polyphony quite a few times, but essentially, 64 notes of polyphony means you can play 64 notes at once without hearing any note decay.
64 notes is probably perfectly fine if you’re a beginner. But as you begin to mature, you may want something with 128 or 192 or even 256 notes of polyphony.
But I think the CDP-135 is certainly a good start, especially if you’re on a budget.
An interesting feature that we’re seeing a lot on digital pianos and is no doubt here on the CDP-135 is the Hall Effect feature. Essentially, this features makes it feel like you’re playing inside of a concert hall (or other unique venues). So if you’ve always dreamed of playing in front of a live audience, but had no idea how that would sound if you were indeed on stage, make sure you enable this option to know how it sounds to play inside a concert hall.
The CDP-135 comes with a USB port on the back, so you’ll be able to very easily plug the piano directly into your computer so you can use it as a MIDI controller.
One downside, it should be noted, is that there’s no recording functionality on the CDP-135. So, if you were hoping that you could record your masterpiece and export it so your friends or family could hear it, that’s not something you’re going to be able to do on with the CDP-135.
Other Downsides of the Casio CDP-135
One of the downsides I feel the CDP-135 has (as opposed to the Casio CDP-240, which doesn’t suffer from this issue) is that it doesn’t possess an LCD screen. And what that means is that, as you use the CDP-135 to change different settings and select or deselect certain features, you never fully know you’re setting the right thing at the right time until you start playing the piano.
Now, to be fair, a lot of this becomes a muscle memory thing—just like playing the piano. Over time, you get a feel for what you’re doing. But when you’re first starting out on the CDP-135, you might find it challenging to have to push down on the “Function” button in order to cycle through and select different features.
On top of that, the keyboard doesn’t light up when you select certain buttons or certain features. And so, when you couple the fact that there’s no LCD screen along with the reality that there are no light up features that confirm your selections within the instrument, there’s a chance that you’ll find navigating all of the options within the CDP-135 to be a bit cumbersome.
For example, you might believe that you’ve selected a strings or organ voice, but in reality, you have selected a harpsichord. Of course, this can easily be corrected, but if you are a gigging musician, it could be somewhat problematic to be on stage and have to be concerned that you’ve selected the incorrect function in between performances.
Overall, the Casio CDP-135 is probably still one of the best digital pianos for the money available today. It’s not going to have everything you ever dreamed of, but for about $300, this is a very good beginner digital piano. I think it’s also good for someone that’s returning to the piano art form after being away for years.
And it’s also good for someone that owns a more robust piano, but is looking for a lighter and cheaper instrument that they can use in their home or studio to simply practice or play around on.
If you’re looking for a very solid 88 key digital piano with weighted keys that costs less than $500, the CDP-135 might be the instrument for you.
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