As part of its recurring renovation process, Casio has revisited several of their best selling instruments and infused them with new features and improvements. One of these instruments is the flagship entry in the Privia series–the renowned PX-850 digital piano, which has now been replaced by the new Casio Privia PX-860.
Improving on such a good product as the PX-850, but Casio has achieved this goal by adding all the acoustic piano sounds and tech from its famous PX-5S stage piano and thrown it into the PX-860–and the final result it’s clearly noticeable.
Below, compare the Casio PX-860 to a few other noteworthy digital pianos, so you can see how it stacks up against pianos inside and outside the Casio family:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Yamaha P-515||88||$$$||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Casio PX-870||88||$$$||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Donner DDP-100||88||$$$||Includes Stand, Three Pedals|
|Yamaha DGX 660||88||$$||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) Keyboard|
|Yamaha P-125||88||$$||GHS Weighted Action|
|Roland FP-30||88||$$||Built-in Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity|
|Yamaha YDP-164||88||$$$||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Casio PX-160||88||$||Dual Headphone Outputs on Front|
|Casio PX-S3000||88||$$$||700 Sounds, 200 Rhythms|
Now, let’s start digging deeper into the comparison of the PX-860 vs 850. Let’s first start with the design and build quality of both instruments.
THE DESIGN OF THE PX-860
This new Casio Privia PX-860 digital piano ships for approximately $1099 online and comes in the same three variations as the previous model (Black, White and Walnut Brown, which all ship in an elegant and warming lucid finish). The piano natively includes a furniture-style stand, which comes with a music rest and a matching three-pedal system.
Let’s find out what’s included in the box:
- Casio PX-860 88-key digital piano
- Furniture-style stand with music rest and three-pedal system
- Headphone hook
- Score Book
- AC adaptor
The construction quality of the furniture stand hasn’t changed much from the PX-850 and remains quite good for its intended price, but differently from other digital pianos (that can be turned in pieces of furniture by adding a proper stand) this instrument is designed to be placed down inside home. Unlike other pianos that are easily portable, it’s very difficult to move the PX-860 due to its weight (78 pounds).
Before we move forward, please take a look at some of the best selling upright digital pianos currently available on Amazon (and yes, the Casio PX-860 did indeed crack this top 100 list):
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland F-140|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Yamaha YDP-184|
The PX-860 features the same controls included in most of the entry-level products from Casio. Located on the left side of the front panel, the interface provides a Power button, the Volume knob, the multi-use Function button, the Audio Recorder section with Start/Stop and the Song Recorder, the Metronome/Duet modes, and the usual three buttons to recall the most-used sounds (Concert Grand, Modern Grand and Electric Piano).
On the rear side, placed on the bottom, there is the connectivity panel, which includes the RJ connector for the triple-pedal system, two USB ports (one for an external storage device, the other being a USB-to-host terminal for MIDI purposes with a PC/Mac). There is also a stereo line output (for connecting to an external P.A. system) and the DC 24V jack.
Using the Function button on the main interface, you can access to several hidden features that allow you to customize the sound, the key response, and all the mechanical emulations, such as the Hammer Response or the String Resonance. The PX-860 also offers a Lid Simulator, which lets you emulate four different positions of a true grand piano lid (removed, full-open, semi-open or closed).
This feature does really a great job of making the acoustic piano sound very different and more realistic than ever if compared to many other products in this price range. With the PX-860, both beginners and students would enjoy a great experience without investing too much money on their first digital piano.
But is the PX-860 actually better than the PX-850? Well, the answer lies in the sounds.
THE BEST AND BEYOND
There are many things that make the PX-860 a step up in terms of sound quality when compared to its predecessor. The first is the adoption of the same acoustic piano samples of the Casio PX-5S inside the same Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR that powered the PX-850, which elevates this new model at the top of all the products available in its price range.
The piano sounds are enriched by the Hall Simulation, a technology capable of emulating the space of big concert halls or stadiums by adding more presence, resonance and deepness. This allows for an enhanced realism and immersion when playing, as you’ll feel that you’re putting on a concert for thousands inside a beautifully built hall. And, thanks to one of the highest amount of polyphony (256 notes) ever on an instrument of this price range, you likely won’t have to worry about notes dropping out if you start playing more complex musical pieces.
Another reason to consider the PX-860 over the 850 is its keybed, also known as Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer-Action Keyboard. This technology allows for realistic weighted action without using any kind of springs. Being a digital piano and not an acoustic one, the springs are replaced by a three-sensor system that replicates the expression and mechanical nuances of a real grand piano.
The ebony and ivory matte textures used by the company to emulate the materials used in the hammer-weighted keyboards of a real grand piano ensure very natural sensations, as well.
AN ORCHESTRA IN YOUR HANDS
One of the new features of the Casio PX-860 is the Ensemble Library with Concert Play, an expanded version of the music library that includes ten famous pieces of classical music recorded by a real orchestra made of professional musicians.
You can play along with these songs using one of the 18 built-in sounds, adjusting tempo according to your needs if you want to practice with them, and performing as if you were the lead pianist of the orchestra.
The experience derived from this mode comes from the integrated speaker system, which includes four 20W speakers and offers a deep, powerful and warming sound diffusion.
The library also includes sixty built-in tunes that you can play along with. But contrary to Concert Play mode, these tunes are recorded in MIDI and performed using the internal sound engine.
If you want to track your progress in order to properly master a song, you can count on the 2-track digital recorder that lets you capture your masterpiece and play along it. You can also play in Duo mode (splitting the keyboard in two zones, which can be great if a student is being aided by a teacher) and record the performance.
SIDE BY SIDE
It’s clear that the PX-860 has taken all the best from the PX-850 and expanded on its overall value by adding several features, but ultimately, you want to know one simple thing: is it worth your time to invest up to $1099 on this new version, or should you search for a better offer on the older model?
While manufacturers generally tend to provide minor updates on their best selling products, in this particular case, Casio has truly improved the PX-860 and kept it relatively affordable. Because of this, you might want to strongly consider going for the newer model—unless you can find a really wonderful deal on the PX-850.
And, if you are looking a different upright piano that’s also aesthetically pleasing, you can consider the Casio AP-460 Celviano digital piano.
A great evolution of a best seller, now shipping with even better sounds and lots of new features that enhance its overall value, the PX-860 from Casio is the first and only upright digital piano that is great for beginners and intermediates and won’t necessarily break your bank account. With a price of $1099 (though you can still find better offers online), this revamped version offers the best sound quality and hammer-action keyboard currently available on the market.
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