If you’re looking for a budget-friendly digital piano that’s robust and portable, then you’re likely interested in learning more about the Casio PX-S1100. So in this Casio PX-S1100 review, I’m going to share my thoughts on this instrument, including my experience using it, and whether or not this piano lives up to expectations and is worth your money.
Casio PX-S1100 Review — First Impressions
|Casio PX-S1100||192-note polyphony; 18 built-in tones|
|Yamaha P-125||GHS Weighted Action|
|Alesis Prestige Artist||30 voices, 256 polyphony|
|Casio CDP-S360||128 Notes of Polyphony|
|Yamaha P-515||40 Voices, 18 Drum/FX Kits, 480 XG Voices|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Korg LP-180||Natural Weighted Hammer Action|
|Casio PX-770||128 Note Polyphony|
Let’s talk some first impressions. My first thought upon seeing this instrument was the following: this is actually fairly small. But that’s certainly not a bad thing. The “S” in this instrument’s name stands for “Slim” after all, meaning that this keyboard is very streamlined—just the basics here.
At first glance, everything regarding the instruments aesthetic appeal is nice and clean. There’s not a lot of buttons on the front panel, as you’re mostly just working with a volume knob and power button.
The Casio PX-S1100 (a successor to the popular Casio PX-S1000) also feels well-built, which is of course a great thing. Once I powered it up, I was delighted to see some additional features of the piano immediately illuminate in a nice white light (below).
The Casio PX-S110 costs about $700, and sometimes we can get the impression that digital pianos under $1,000 are cheap or simply not made well. But I didn’t find that to be true with the PS-X1100’s build, as the volume knob felt nice to the touch and smooth as butter to turn. This is a solidly built instrument.
On top of that, I also really appreciated the effort that Casio went to in order to give the plastic keys some texture. You’ll notice that they actually put in effort to give you the illusion of ebony and ivory grain on the keys. This is of course something Casio didn’t have to to do, so I really appreciate them putting in the extra effort here.
As far as first impressions go, this is a winner, especially for a fairly budget friendly piano.
- First Impressions: 9/10
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how well they stack up to both the Casio PX-S1100:
|1) Casio PX-S3100|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha P-515|
|5) Roland FP-90X|
Casio PX-S1100 Sound
If you’re like me, an instrument’s looks are secondary on your list of “must-haves” in a piano. What I would be most concerned with is how the piano sounds. And when it comes to the Casio PX-S1100, it’s overall sound is fairly good.
Piano voices (including a wondrous German concert grand) sound the best out of all of the options that are available on this instrument, in my opinion, as its sounds surprisingly closer to the “real deal” that you might initially imagine. On top of the piano sounds, you also get over a dozen of other voices like Organ, Strings, etc.
And if you’re worried about how loud the sounds can get, I wouldn’t worry too much here. Cranked up all the way, the sound is quite loud in my experimentation. A big reason the sound is quite nice is due to the fact that the PX-S1100 boasts an 8W speaker that does a pretty darn good job of projecting across a room. You won’t have any problem being heard with this instrument, and I think you’ll even be fairly happy with it if you perform at certain functions, events, or gigs where you need to be heard from a distance.
No, there’s aren’t the best speakers a digital piano has ever had. But, I think they’re very nice speakers given the relatively cheap retail price of this piano.
- Sound Rating: 8/10
Touch and Feel of the Casio PX-S1100
The touch and feel of a piano—any piano—is one of my biggest concerns and, as a result, one of my biggest points of interest. Being a classical musician, touch is a big thing for me, and much to my surprise, I felt the PX-S1100 served me pretty well in this department.
Casio has developed a pretty sophisticated smart scaled hammer action on their pianos. What that means is that the keys are weighted the way a real piano would be and are designed to give you a more authentic feel.
This is crucial for learning to play the piano, and something I tell my students is an absolute must on their list. One doesn’t just learn where the keys are, after all—you must learn how to press them if you’re to build up your skills.
On a weighted keyboard like the Casio PX-S1100, the keys are responsive. Striking a key softly will give you a quiet sound and striking harder will give you a louder sound. As it absolutely should if you want to learn correctly.
Now admittedly, the touch on the PX-S100 is a little on the light side for me, and it feels as if the black keys are even lighter than the whites. It was enough to bug me, but for the beginner or intermediate musician (or just any player looking to learn how to play chords), this piano is still an awesome option for you.
After all, a lighter touch is pretty beginner-friendly, and the above-mentioned texture on the keys feels very nice on your fingertips. Not at all like the slippery and cheap plastic keys on most instruments in this price range.
Overall, pretty nice.
- Touch Rating: 7/10
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Portability and Accessories
If you’re interested in a portable digital piano, then you really just care about one basic thing—can I lug this sucker around for hours on end—or even days on end—without getting tired or frustrated? Well, if your goal is to be a gig musician or to play in a band or at church or wherever else you might want to bring your talents, then you’ll be happy to know that the PX-S1100 will be perfect for the job.
You may have noticed from the very first photo shared above that this instrument does not have a body like a traditional piano. It’s a full-size (all 88 keys) keyboard with the capability to be powered by 6 AA batteries for up to 4 hours of gigging away from a power source. And it also features a removable music stand that can be plucked off and tossed in a case.
On top of that, this piano is actually just a bit under 25 pounds, so it’s fairly easy to lug around. It’s not as light as a feather, of course, but it’s quite manageable in my opinion.
Besides carrying around the instrument, it’s light enough to fit on standard tables or desks. Or, you can of course buy a stand as an optional accessory, as well. Most gig musicians go for something like the stand pictured below:
These kind of X-stands are great because they’re lightweight, inexpensive, and fully adjustable. They can also be conveniently folded up straight for whenever you need to toss it in your trunk and go.
You can also purchase a traditional stand that will make your new PX-S1100 look much more like a digital piano, if that’s your jam. Personally, I would only do so if I wasn’t planning on traveling anywhere.
An adjustable stand will also give you the additional benefit of allowing you to comfortably play standing up. If you prefer to sit though, please don’t count on any venues having benches for you to sit on. It just won’t happen. So in that case, you’ll want to purchase a Casio piano bench like this:
Even with a bench, a stand, and a keyboard (please buy a carrying case for protection), your whole kit is still pretty easy to carry around.
- Portability and Accessories Rating: 10/10
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Casio PX-S1100 Features
As mentioned before, this is a budget-friendly piano geared more toward beginner and intermediate musicians. It’s great for learning how to play, but there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on it.
It has 18 voices on it that are quite decent sounding and, in the back, there is a port to add a pedal. In fact, a pedal such as this should suit you just fine.
The Casio PX-S1100 also has a headphone or speaker jack in the front, which is very useful as well.
Other features include recording capability, USB compatibility, and a very nifty add-on for Bluetooth connectivity. It doesn’t come standard, but for a little extra, your PX-S1100 can be fit with a little adapter that lets you connect to a digital audio workstation (DAW) or a speaker via Bluetooth.
All of that, however, is not enough to make up for the user interface, as I found the PX-S1100 to be a little aggravating to navigate.
There are a decent number of functions on this instrument, but they are hard to get to. For one, the function buttons (shown at the beginning of this article) only appear as lights underneath the front glass panel, meaning that they aren’t tactile at all. That can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on your tastes. While I do like the look from an aesthetic point of view, I did find it to be a little too easy to press the wrong button at times. And after a few minutes of playing with settings, you’ve also left fingerprints all over the surface of your function panel, making it harder to see.
Getting to certain functions is tricky as well, so be sure to have your owner’s manual ready. You can set your piano to play in dual mode (two voices at the same time on one key) in split mode (a different voice on each side of the piano) or duet mode (splits the keyboard into two sections with the same octaves), but good luck figuring out how to do it in a quick an efficient manner. You’ll have to press “Function” and then turn the volume knob to scroll down the list. That goes for switching out voices as well, and is kind of a pain.
Casio has attempted to rectify this with the Chordana Play app, which gives you control of your piano through your phone and allows you to pinpoint the functions you are using without having to utilize the buttons located on the front panel of the instrument itself.
If you’re going to be playing live, the app is necessary or you’ll be plunking around to make sure you’ve got the right voice and function set correctly. I’m definitely happy the app offers an alternative. Admittedly, perhaps with more time, navigating the functions on the instrument itself would become a bit more second nature. But my initial reaction is that it’s a bit more cumbersome than I would’ve \ expected.
- Features Rating: 4/10
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In my opinion, this instrument is geared toward musicians of beginner to intermediate levels and for that, it does a great job. It looks great, sounds great, and feels great, and I hope that was conveyed quite well in this Casio PX-S1100 review.
The keys are responsive, the speakers are loud enough for playing at home or for gigs, and it is fully portable so you can pop it in the car and play on the go. And for a beginner instrument, it does offer a lot of features.
There is a definite learning curve around the user interface, but once you’ve mastered it learned, you’ll find your instrument can do quite a lot!
All in all, I like the Casio PX-S1100, and if you are a beginner or looking to upgrade to a full-sized keyboard, this will have all the bells and whistles you need.
This article was written by Sara and edited by Michael.
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