Guide to the Best Korg Digital Pianos with Weighted Keys

The Korg Company has been in the digital instrument business for a long time.  It was founded in 1962 in Japan as an organ and synthesizer company.  Korg actually made quite a few innovations and advancements for synthesizers in the early seventies.

Korg has since branched out into digital pianos, effect modules, recording equipment, software instruments, and more. Korg specializes in electronic elements and it shows in its digital pianos. The highlights of many of the Korg instruments are their effects, tones, and vintage electric piano patches. With so many contributions to digital instruments and effects throughout the years, it is no wonder that Korg is a trusted brand for many pianists.

But with all that said—when discussing weighted key pianos made by Korg—which of their pianos are the best and why?  We’re going to examine that exact question today.

In fact, to better help you, please view our interactive table below that showcases many of the Korg digital pianos we will discuss in-depth in today’s articles.

Yamaha YDP-145

Yamaha YDP-165
Casio PX-870
Casio AP-460Casio AP-470
Yamaha YDP-184

Korg B2

At a reasonable price of $599, the Korg B2 is a great way to first get into music.

The B1 gives you the option of black or white finishes for the attractive stand.  A three pedal is attached at the bottom, giving it an upright piano-like look. The B1 comes with a new and improved music rest to keep sheet music and books from falling off or flipping pages as you play.

This keyboard has 12 sounds total, including acoustic pianos, electric pianos, organs, and harpsichord. For an entry level piano, the B1 uses pretty advanced samples for its piano tones.

Korg has even gone as far as to include the sound of sympathetic string vibrations and other subtle resonating noises inside the piano. It uses Korg’s standard Natural Weighted Hammer keyboard, but also includes three levels of touch control – light, normal, and heavy – to customize the feel of the piano.

A polyphony of 120 ensures that dropped notes won’t be a problem, even when playing more complex passages.

Below, please take a brief moment to view some of the best-selling digital pianos currently available online:

1) Yamaha P-515
2) Casio PX-S3100
3) Casio PX-870
4) Roland FP-E50
5) Roland FP-30X

Korg SP 280

The Korg SP 280 puts a stylish spin on a traditional piano.  Its unique design makes it an eye catching piece for anyone’s home.  This digital piano comes with a streamlined metal stand that attaches quickly for easy portability. 

At only $699, the SP 280 is quite affordable. The 280 uses a more advanced damper pedal that is capable of half damper pedaling. This keyboard has two line out jacks and a stereo line in so that you can plug in an iPhone or laptop to play music through the piano’s sound system. It also comes with MIDI in and out jacks for access to full MIDI capabilities.

The SP 280 has three adjustable effects that can apply to any of its tones.  You can choose from brilliance, reverb, and chorus.  This keyboard even allows users to change the temperament and choose nine different tunings.

Like most Korg keyboards, the SP 280 has a metronome where players can change the tempo and time signature. Users also have the ability to adjust the volume of the metronome and add an “accent bell” to mark the beginning of the measure.

This Korg 88 key digital piano also boasts a powerful sound and tone, thanks to its dual 22w amplifiers that live inside the piano. Additional sound reinforcement might not even be necessary in smaller venues or events.

You can read our review of the Korg SP280 right here.

Korg SV1

Korg’s SV1 88 is a workhorse of a digital piano that would be a good choice for the stage, studio, or living room. Its list price is $1,749. The SV1 comes with thirty six sounds, but makes them fully customizable with layers of signal processing at your finger tips.

The SV1 gives you access to an equalizer, several “pre FX” (compression, boost, U-Vibe, chorus/vibrato, tremolo, and wah), amp modeling, modulation FX (choruses, phasers, flanger, rotary effect), reverb, delay, and a limiter.  These exponentially increase the number of sounds that you can create.  You can also use Korg’s Editor/Librarian software easily create and save your sounds.  The editor is compatible with both Macs and PCs, has an intuitive graphic interface, and gives users access to settings not available on the SV1 88’s front panel.

The SV1 has a professional array of inputs and outputs, including balanced XLR outs, MIDI in and out and a USB MIDI port to connect you to a computer. This keyboard uses Korg’s Real Weighted Hammer Action 3 (RH3) to make players feel like they’re playing a real piano.

A downside to the SV1 is its moderately low polyphony of 80. It’s a surprising number considering how many additional features the SV1 offers. With so much going on inside the keyboard (voice layering, stereo patches, etc.), it may not take some players long to reach the maximum polyphony.

As much as it claims to be a stage piano, the SV1 weighs close to 45 lbs, so portability may be another drawback for some.

You can read our review of the Korg SV1 right here.

Korg LP 380

The LP 380 is an eye-catching instrument, with its sleek body shape and array of flashy colors: (black, white, rosewood grain, red, and black/red are all color options). Three pedals complete the stylishly designed stand, and their ability to utilize half pedaling makes them extremely functional as well.

Like the Korg SV1, it also comes with the RH3 keyboard for maximum playability. It’s got 30 of Korg’s classic sounds, and can do both layer and “Partner Mode.”  Partner mode essentially splits the keyboard into two identical halves. This is ideal for duets or for teaching situations where students can follow along in the same octave range.

The electric piano sounds of the LP 380 are particularly strong.  This is primarily because the Korg company got its start in electric organs and E Pianos. There are six different electric piano sounds ranging from vintage to modern.

The LP 380 is one of Korg’s most well made instruments, mainly because they are all manufactured in Kyoto, Japan. The people at the Japanese factory take a lot of pride in their work, and it shows in the standard of instruments that they produce. That kind of quality is not often found in digital pianos. For only about $850, the LP 380 is a steal.

You can read our review of the Korg LP380 right here.

Korg SP 170s

Korg’s SP 170s (which has been replaced with the Korg B1) is designed to be functional and simple to use.  For simplicity’s sake, the SP 170s has a Piano Play button, which automatically brings up the standard piano tone.

It is lightweight (26 lbs) for easy portability and comes with a basic damper pedal and music rest.  10 demo songs and 10 tones give users a variety of sounds without being overwhelming. 

The voices on the SP 170s are:

  • 2 Pianos
  • 2 Electric Pianos
  • Harpsichord
  • Electric Clavichord
  • Vibraphone
  • Pipe Organ
  • Electric Organ
  • Strings

Like many other Korg keyboards, the SP 170s uses the Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard.  While not Korg’s premium keyboard, the NH keys still provide a good feel, while the Key Touch Control gives players the ability to fine tune the sensitivity of the keys. The NH action is graded, meaning that the lower keys are heavier than the higher ones. 

The SP 170s got an improved speaker system to give a more detailed sound to your performances.  The body of the piano has been redesigned to optimize the resonance from the speakers

You can read our review of the Korg SP 170S right here.

The Verdict

The feel of a piano’s keys is an important factor to many players. Korg’s RH3 keyboard feels more realistic than the Natural Weighted Hammer action found on many of Korg’s keyboards. If the playability of the RH3 keyboard is something that you want, either the SV1 88 or the LP 380 would be great options.

The SV1 88 is certainly seen as more as a “gigging” keyboard than a furniture piece to occupy your living room. That doesn’t mean that it would not be a great choice for kids learning to play or hobbyist that would never play outside of their home too.  The action of the SV1 88 feels incredible, and its straightforward analog panel makes it simple and easy to maneuver.

If your budget can’t support the price of something like the SV1 88, the LP 380 is less money, but still a fantastic digital piano.  The fact that the LP 380 is Japanese made is a huge draw, since it means the quality is improved. Although it is considerably cheaper than the SV1 88, the LP 380 has the same RH3 keyboard action and only has six fewer tones. 

The LP 380 also has a higher polyphony (120) than the SV1 (80).  Forty notes of polyphony may not seem like a big difference to some people, but when stereo patches, layering, and other effects are being used, polyphony can be used up very quickly.

With quality of the Korg brand, it’s hard to make a bad decision when purchasing a Korg digital piano.

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