After the great success of entry-level products in Casio’s Privia digital piano series, the Japanese manufacturer has released a revamped version of the excellent PX-150 model, which not only offers all the specs of its predecessor, but also takes some interesting features from the renowned PX-5S, a stage piano designed with professional players and live musicians in mind.
First announced in 2015, the Casio PX-160 is one of the best choices currently available on the market for beginners, students and even intermediates that care about the piano fidelity and a realistic piano playing experience.
But is it worth it to buy the new model, or is it better to look for a great offer for the old PX-150? Well, that’s what we’re determined to discover today.
Before diving into our review, please take a quick moment to use our table below to compare the Casio PX-160 to a handful of other popular digital pianos:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
BREAKING DOWN THE CASIO PX-160
The Casio PX-160 is a 88-key hammer-action digital piano, which comes in two different finishes (Black or Champagne Gold), featuring a new, compact and elegant chassis that has been totally redesigned in order to host a better speaker system. The PX-160 ships for the discounted price of $499 with the following:
- Casio PX-160 88-key digital piano
- Casio SP-3 switch-style sustain pedal
- Music rest
- AC adaptor
- Owner’s manual
Both editions can be transformed into a home digital piano with the matching Casio CS-67 stand, which puts the piano at a proper height for studying and can host the optional Casio SP-33 three-pedal system, definitively a must-have accessory if you’re looking for the half-pedal functionality (which emulates some of the mechanical noises of a real grand piano).
Learning how to use the soft, sostenuto and sustain pedals is very important when learning the piano basics, and you’d better consider buying all these accessories if you want to obtain a realistic piano experience. The Casio CS-67 stand and SP-33 three-pedal system are both sold separately and ship respectively for $89 and $75.
Before we move on, please take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos on sale at Amazon:
|1) Yamaha P71|
|2) Casio Privia PX-160|
|3) Yamaha DGX-660|
|4) Roland FP-30|
|5) Yamaha P-125|
PIANO BUILD OF 150 VS 160
As said before, the body of this instrument has been improved and redesigned to accommodate the new speaker system, which features two 8W-speakers and a smart design that is capable of delivering a rich and powerful sound, even without a dedicated external P.A. system. This has been achieved without losing one of the strong points of the previous model—it’s size and weight. In fact, the PX-160 only weights 25.5 pounds, which is fantastic if you need a portable piano to take to and from your home or gig or college dormitory.
The speaker system is open to the front and ported to the back, so if you place the PX-160 against a wall, you’ll get deep and remarkable sound. But, you can also place the instrument in the middle of a room in order to provide great, natural sound towards the audience.
This is a big step forward for an entry-level piano, giving the fact that other competitors’ cheaper pianos usually offer sound systems aimed downward.
Beyond the several aesthetic variations provided by the new chassis of the PX-160, the PX-150 and PX-160 also differ in a few other areas, such as the PX-160 having two headphones outputs, located on the front side and now in a 1/8” format (was 1/4”), and two additional 1/4” line outputs that are very useful if you want to connect the piano directly to an external P.A using a low-impedance output. This helps to avoid distortions and clipping of the phones output.
The main interface is once again very essential: in the top panel, you can find the Power button, the Volume knob, the multi-use Function button, the Start/Stop and Recorder keys that manage the built-in 2-track digital recorder, the Metronome/Duet button and finally three additional buttons to recall sounds like the Concert Piano, Modern Piano and Electric Piano.
On the rear side, apart from the aforementioned line outputs, are the power port, the damper jack (that supports the SP-33 triple-pedal system as well) and a USB-to-MIDI port.
The PX-160 is a class-compliant keyboard too, and this means that you can connect it to a PC or Mac without installing drivers, or directly connect on your iPhone or iPad using Apple’s Camera Connection Kit.
The Casio PX-160 brings back lots of features already available on the old PX-150, such as the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source and the great 88-key Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer-Action Keyboard II, so the overall sound quality and touch feeling hasn’t changed much.
The sound engine offers 18 built-in voices (including five stereo-sampled 9” concert grand piano tones, four electric pianos, Harpsichord and Vibraphone, two Strings tones, four Organ sounds and a Bass voice that’s ideal for splitting), with a maximum amount of polyphony set once again to 128 notes.
Several mechanical simulations such as the Hammer Response, the Damper Noise and the Damper Resonance are returning in this model, along with a DSP with Hall Simulator and 4 different Reverbs, 4 Choruses and a basic EQ that let you adjust the Brilliance of the sounds choosing from seven different variations.
What’s changed is a set of new voices, some of which have been taken from the Casio PX-5S: the first is a new stereo String Ensemble tone that is particularly great for layering with the acoustic or electric pianos, while the others are all the PX-5S’ electric piano presets, which are really awesome and offer a wide range of dynamics and shades.
The Tri-Sensor Scaled keyboard confirms its reputation of being possibly the best 88-key Hammer-Action keyboard available under the $500 price range, thanks to its incredible feel and dynamics range offered by the three sensors included in each of the 88 keys that are capable of capturing the exact touch response with extreme accuracy.
The keyboard is progressively graded so that the low keys are heavier, and the high keys are lighter, but the key responsiveness hasn’t changed much from the PX-150: the new model offers the same four sensitivity levels, as well as the simulated ebony and ivory keys to replicate the same feelings as a real acoustic piano.
Apart from the Split and Layer modes, which allow users to play up to three sounds at the same time, the PX-160 offers a 60-song Music Library with Lesson function, a Duet mode that splits the keyboard in two separate zones (and is great for teachers who want to play along with their students) and an adjustable Metronome.
So, on the surface, the new PX-160 does not offer many reasons to justify an upgrade from the old PX-150.
If you already own the older model, there is no reason to buy the newer edition from Casio apart from its revamped design, the new speaker system and a bunch of better tones that, despite sounding extremely beautiful, are not worth the pain of reselling the PX-150 and buying the PX-160.
Things get a bit different if you’re planning to upgrade from a cheaper keyboard or buy your first-ever digital piano, however. In this case, the choice between the PX-150 and the PX-160 would depend of course on the price.
With the launch of the new model, it’s possible to find the PX-150 at a decent discount, so once again, it would be better to opt for the older model and save a lot of money that you could later invest in must-have accessories, such as the stand and the triple-pedal system.
But if you can’t find a quality, discounted PX-150, you absolutely can’t go wrong paying full price for the PX-160. It’s a great instrument, especially if you’re a beginner or someone relatively new to the world of piano.
The PX-160 is a nice evolution of the entry-level digital piano in Casio’s Privia series, but the new features are not such a game changing experience to justify an upgrade from the older model—if you were wavering on the fence and considering trading in your old model for the 160.
On the other hand, the Casio PX-160 is no doubt a product worth looking into if you’re attempting to acquire youre very first digital piano and don’t want to exceed a budget of $500.
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