Korg SV1 review

Korg SV1

Finding a digital stage piano sometimes can be a little bit different than searching for a regular digital piano. Stage pianos are used a little bit differently, and are geared more toward the live performance than for the individual who might want to practice at home or who is looking to bring the acoustic experience to the digital platform.

A stage piano has to be able to do everything in the heat of the moment, from controlling levels to changing musical instrument combinations on the fly. If one can master how to control such an instrument, it would almost seem that the musical world in an instant is completely at their fingertips.

When dealing with the Korg SV1, you quickly realize you have on your hands one of the better options on the market today, and after seeing some of the quality features it has to offer, you may even find yourself putting down some hard, cold cash for this bad boy.

The Ultimate Piano Buying Guide

Please use the table below to compare the Korg SV1 to some of the best pianos in its class:

Roland RD-88
Nord Stage 3
Casio PX5S
Nord Piano 5
Yamaha YC88
Nord Grand
Casio PX 560Casio PX-560

The Korg SV1’s Exquisite Design and Feel

The Korg SV1 is truly a beautiful machine. It first debuted in 2009, and quickly became one of the more sought after machines due to its performance and design.

You will first notice the unique shape of the piano, that comes off as some sort of futuristic spaceship dash panel. The control panel of the piano is somewhat set into the machine, almost like an indentation of sort. In my opinion, it gives it a really cool look when you view it from afar.

The panel is set with a smorgasbord of knobs and buttons, and at first sight it may look a bit overwhelming. Let me use this opportunity to say that this piano is certainly not for the beginner, and maybe not even for the intermediate piano player. This digital stage piano is meant for serious players who might need something for heavy gig playing or even use inside a set location (like a club or church venue).

Despite the Korg SV1’s unique shape and size, the piano still has very standard measurements for a digital piano. The SV1 stretches out at just over 53 inches, is almost 13 ¾ deep, and sits only 6 inches off the table. The machine weighs in at just over 45 pounds, which is a delightful weight for anyone hoping to carry this thing around from gig to gig.

Below, take a look at some of the best-selling stage pianos available online, and then compare each one to the Korg SV1:

1) Casio PX-560
2) Nord Piano 5
3) Roland RD-88
4) Korg D1
5) Roland RD-2000

Voices and Tones

The Korg SV1 has a great range of sounds to go with the machine. There are 36 different sounds that make their home on the machine, being organized into 6 different banks with 6 different variations. The most hailed sounds onboard are the German piano, the Japanese piano, and the Vintage piano. These three sounds are absolutely brilliant and have clearly been engineered to exquisite perfection; any piano player will be pleased with them.

Along with those tones are an assortment of electric pianos, synth pianos, clavichord variations, jazz and pipe organs, string variations, and even some brass. A pretty awesome demo of some of the amazing sounds of the SV1 being shown off by prominent musicians can be found below:

High Class Engineering and Touch

The engineering you find on the SV1 is some of the best you will find on the market as a whole. It all starts with Korg’s Real Weighted Hammer Action (RH3) system, which pulls Korg models up to date or even better than some of their counterparts.

RH3 is the third generation in engineering realistic key action from Korg, so they have had a good amount of time to improve on any kinks or mistakes that have been present in past generations.

The feel of these keys, to me, are just amazing; they really do feel like a real piano. In my opinion, the only thing that could be left to add would be a feature like Synthetic Ivory key tops, which can be found on GH3 key action systems from Yamaha digital pianos.

The other great piece of engineering is the Enhanced Definition Synthesis (EDS) tone generation system, a serious and great improvement over the simplistic Stereo Sampling system present on many of Korg’s other digital piano models. Surprisingly, the SV1 only has 80 notes of polyphony, something that I would expect from a piano of much less quality. The only explanation I can give for this is that maybe the designers at Korg have figured out a way to get more out of less in the way they have designed their features and functions.

Key Features

The Korg SV1 has a number of awesome features that set it apart from other pianos. One of the most distinguishable is the retro styled panel and body of the machine, a look designers have explicitly and purposefully put in place to give it that vintage appearance.

When you stand back and look at the piano, sometimes it looks as if you are playing a vintage Wurlitzer or Rhodes electric piano. It’s awesome to have a machine that actually appears like one of those classic pieces!

Another feature is the update in software, technology and connectivity on board the SV1. This machine is prepared for just about anything you can think of. There are XLR ¼ outputs, MIDI in and MIDI out jacks, a USB MIDI port, a damper and two pedal jacks.

The pedal jacks work hand in hand with the PS-1 footswitch pedal, which can be bought in bundle packages found online. The piano also comes with amazing editor and librarian software, housed by the SV1 editor. This program allows the user to save, manipulate and organize all of the instruments, and controls possible MIDI input into other recording devices or software.

Below, please take a look at three of the best selling digital stage pianos that are available on Amazon, and see how well they compare to the Korg SV-1:

By Comparison

When trying to find pianos to compare with the Korg SV1, you realize quickly that you have to raise your standards in quality and engineering just a bit higher. Three worthy comparisons can be made with the Korg Krome, the Nord Electro, and the Roland RD 300NX.

First, we will stay within the family brand and talk about the Korg Krome. It is a bit difficult to give a fair comparison between the two, since in essence one is a stage piano and the other is actually a music workstation. Music workstations have a different goal and purpose–mainly geared towards music production and song composition.

Put simply, stage pianos are meant more for the live performance, while music workstations are built to be able to produce songs in any situation, at any time.

Nevertheless, each one is a wonderful Korg digital piano. The Krome sets itself apart by offering over 600 preset drum track patterns, a polyphonic arpeggiator, over 500 voices, an equalizer and Total FX mixer and master, among many other things. Surprisingly, despite their differences you can find both these machines at about the same price.

The Nord Electro is a little bit more of an apt comparison, although it outpaces the SV1 in the end. The Electro trades technology (their lesser Velocity Sensitive Hammer Action, which is not the best Nord has to offer) for weight (the Nord is lighter than the SV1).

The Electro has a lot of firepower the SV1 does not have, including more memory, with 500 MB dedicated to piano and sample libraries, three authentic organ models, rotary speakers, a power connection, and an additional monitor input. The Nord Electro also weighs much less, coming in at anywhere from 15 pounds to 25 pounds—dependent on whether you opt for the 61 or 73 key keyboard.

However, the Electro also costs much more, with prices for the Electro going for around $2600 at some online retailers (about $1,000 more than the SV1).

When compared with the Roland RD 300NX, you see immediately that the SV1 holds the advantage in tone generation (Enhanced Definition Synthesis over the SuperNATURAL engine) and also in key action (Real Weighted Hammer Action over the Ivory Feel G, with Progressive Hammer Action). The RD 300NX has an amazing selection of voices however, with an almost astounding 1,000 voices to choose from.

At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with the Korg SV1, and this machine can be found on Amazon for around $1,700.

You Also Might Like:

  1. What’s the Best Digital Stage Piano?
  2. Yamaha CP-33 review
  3. Roland RD 300NX review
  4. Yamaha CP-40 review
  5. Yamaha CP4 review

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