The Casio PX5S Digital Stage Piano is truly a wonderful new stage piano. It comes in at just around a thousand dollars ($999.99), but the quality of this instrument extends far beyond this relatively modest price. I don’t really know how Casio manages to make such an affordable digital piano but whatever they’re doing, it’s working—this popular model has received rave reviews from musicians all across the world.
If you’re looking for an instrument with high quality sounds—and we’re talking all instrumental sound and not just the piano voices—the Casio PX5S is the model for you. Most pianos in its price range can only offer you a grab bag of sound quality, with some voices sounding professional and others sounding hopelessly hokey and computer generated, but the PX5S offers musicians an unrelenting array of top notch sound options that would feel right at home in even the most professional musical settings.
This is not to say that the PX5S doesn’t have its own weaknesses as well, but at such an affordable price, many musicians will be more than happy to overlook its flaws in favor of focusing on all the great things this model can do.
Below, please enjoy the interactive piano guide that was created to make piano purchase a bit easier. Compare the affordable Casio PX5S to the best pianos in its class based on weight, price, and even customer reviews from Amazon.com.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Casio PX-5S||88||$$||Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II Keyboard|
|Yamaha CP300||88||$$$||GH Keyboard|
|Yamaha CP88||88||$$$||Natural Wood Keys|
|Yamaha P-515||88||$$$||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Roland RD2000||88||$$$||SuperNATURAL Sound Engine: 128 voices|
|Casio PX-S3000||88||$$$||700 Sounds, 200 Rhythms
|Casio Privia PX-560||88||$$$||5.3” Color Display|
|Korg Grandstage||88 or 73 Keys||$$$||500 Sounds|
Casio PX5S: Specs
Here are a few of the specs of the new PX5S:
- 32.5 pounds (lightweight when compared many other models)
- 256 Note Polyphony
- AiR Sound Source
- USB Connectivity
- Can record and play back audio
- Hex Layer Technology
Below, please take a look at some of our favorite digital stage pianos currently on the market, and then see how well they stack up to the Casio PX-5S:
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Roland RD-2000|
|3) Casio PX-560|
|4) Casio PX-5S|
|5) Kurzweil SP1|
AiR Sound Source
Casio’s patented AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) sound source is worth the price of the piano itself. Thanks to lots of research and technological advances on Casio’s part, the AiR sound of the PX5S is able to attain a high level of realism and quality. By using lossless compression, the PX5S is able to reproduce sounds that sound just as good as the originals, and with lid simulation options, you’re able to reproduce that authentic grand piano sound with a professional level of nuance.
You can choose from four options—lid opened, lid closed, lid partially open, or lid removed. The PX5S also features Casio’s top of the line AiR system that allows for realistic sympathetic harmonic resonance.
The multi-dimensional mapping that is key to the success of the AiR sound system takes multiple factors into consideration to ensure the highest quality of tone reproductions. These factors include time elapsed, amount of pressure when striking the key, volume, and timbre.
The Casio PX5S offers a whopping 720 tones for users, and gives musicians plenty of room to tinker around with creating and customizing their own sounds. While this vast sound catalogue is impressive in itself, it has been rightly noted that you might be better off sticking with a basic set of sounds and tweaking them from there, since the PX5S offers so much in terms of customization.
If there is one weakness in this model it’s definitely in its organ options—they just seem to lack some of the high quality realism that can be found in the instrument’s piano, clav, and percussion sound sets. However, this organ problem is a common one among digital pianos in this price range, and unless you’re content to spend a considerable chunk of money for that authentic organ sound, then the PX5S does the job just fine.
Most importantly though, the note to note transitions for all of the sounds is seamless and natural. There are no awkward or abrupt changes in sound quality as you move across the entire range of the keyboard.
As with its other sound options, the synth capabilities of the PX5S are quite impressive as well. Like other Casio models in the past, the PX5S offers users the technology to create their own customizable hex layers. In a nutshell, hex layers are a single tone that’s made up of up to six different samples.
Users have lots of options when creating these layers that include stacking or splitting samples and applying different filters and envelopes to each of the six sample components of the hex layer. Most impressively, the PX5S allows musicians to use two hex layers at once.
Audio Playback and Recording
Like many digital pianos, the Casio PX5S has a USB port that allows users to record and transfer sounds from keyboard to computer. These files are saved in .WAV format which keeps them uncompressed and preserves their quality during the transfer process and is the standard format used by Windows processing systems.
Transfer also works in the opposite direction with the PX-5S, which means that you can transfer .WAV files from your computer and have them played back on the piano. This is yet another way that Casio allows you to customize your performances on a truly professional level.
At only 32.5 pounds, the Casio PX5S is one of the lightest digital keyboards on the market today, which makes it a breeze to transfer to and from performances. Plus, the keyboard can run on battery power—eight double A batteries, to be exact—for hours if you find yourself in a performance with no access to electrical outlets.
Customizable Stage Settings
The PX5S allows you to move quickly between different sound combinations thanks to its great stage setting capabilities. You can filter between up to ten banks of ten settings that can control the sounds for the keyboard itself, an external MIDI device, or a combination of both. By using the data manager software included with the PX5S you can easily add, remove, or make adjustments to these groups of settings.
Comparison to Other Models
Lots of piano players have noticed that there are some striking similarities between the Casio PX5S and the Korg Kross line of keyboard workstations. Both clock in at $999.99, and both are no doubt reliable instruments; however, there are some things about the Kross that make it much more distinctly an “entry level” instrument than the PX5S.
While the Kross is capable of producing a perfectly fine range of sounds, it just doesn’t have the same level of professionalism that the PX5S offers. While its keyboard is weighted like the PX5S, the Kross suffers from some minor response issues—namely, it requires a much longer down stroke before a key will actually sound.
The Korg Kross also offers a lot of customizable options, but they are not as easily accessed in the midst of a performance like the Casio PX5S. Unfortunately, it requires a lot more menu work and button pressing, which makes it seem less than ideal for a live performance.
However, the Casio PX5S can’t compete with the unbelievable portability of the Korg Kross. It weighs in at less than ten pounds (9.5 to be exact), which makes it super easy to travel with and a breeze to store.
The Casio PX5S may not be the absolute best digital keyboard on the market today, but it sure gives lots of other brands a run for their money, and you’re probably not going to find a better digital piano deal.
Due to its high level of customization and configuration, this model is not an ideal instrument for a complete beginner or someone who’s simply looking to recreate the acoustic piano experience on a digital instrument, but I believe that it would work well as an inexpensive introduction for someone looking to really learn what the digital piano world has to offer. However, a seasoned professional should not be quick to write it off, though—it can provide a level of sound quality that is unrivaled by competing models that could easily cost twice as much.
The PX5S is a bit bare when it comes to accessories, which means that you will need to invest in some necessities. A damper pedal is always a must for a serious player, and unfortunately this model does not come with its own stand, which means that you’ll probably need to purchase one of these as well. But, you can purchase the convenient and very affordable Casio PX5S bundle deal, which includes not only the PX5S stage piano, but a bench, a sustain pedal, a stand, headphones, a dust cover, and more.
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Below, check out a video review of the Casio PX 5S.