Choosing a digital piano can be quite a daunting experience, especially considering the sheer amount of different choices available on the market today. The quality across the market is unprecedented – the technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years: with the synthesized acoustic piano playing experienced nailed down pretty well.
This has resulted in there being a lot of great options across the cheaper spectrum of the market, with manny cheaper models able to boast great weighted keys and very good piano-playback. The top end of the market now concerns itself with really digging into the subtleties of acoustic piano playing, trying to nail the nuanced sounds previously only heard whilst playing an acoustic piano.
And so in this article, we’re going to be discussing the best rated digital pianos currently on the market today. And to better help you, please view our interactive guide below, which allows you to directly compare popular digital pianos against one another.
Let’s begin with the Williams Legato III.
Williams Legato III
The Williams Legato is widely considered one of the best digital pianos at the lowest of price points, and for good reason.
The Legato boasts a full set of 88-keys, which is absolute must for those looking for an instrument to play piano on. These aren’t fully-weighted – you will struggle to find an 88-key fully weighted keyboard at the lowest of price points – however they are semi-weighted, and are done so well: these keys feel really nice to play, you are still able to coax descent velocity control out of them.
The Piano sound is well sampled, and sounds on par with many more expensive models from better known manufacturers. The Legato also includes a handful of other voices, all of which sound great, which is a real plus considering many more expensive keyboards struggle to offer any particular decent sounding extra voices.
The Legato is also a sturdy instrument, built out of good-quality material: this model definitely does not feel like a cheaper instrument. In fact, neither does it play like one – which is why this Williams digital piano is one of the best rated digital pianos at the lowest end of the market.
Below, please check out some of the best selling digital pianos currently for sale online, and see how well they stack up to the pianos that we discuss throughout this article:
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-S3100|
|3) Casio PX-870|
|4) Roland FP-E50|
|5) Roland FP-30X|
Now, let’s move onto the next digital piano on this list: the Yamaha P-125
Yamaha is everywhere. One of the most prolific manufacturers of digital piano, Yamaha are masters of the craft. For years now, Yamaha have been manufacturing high-need digital pianos at both the low and higher ends of the market, and regularly feature in the best rated keyboard lists annually.
The Yamaha P125 is one of their best efforts at a mid-price point, and really stands out front the crowd.
The 88 keys built into the instrument are all fully weighted to Yamaha’s GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) – a system that really manages to capture the nuanced playing of piano keys well, featuring tony hammers built into the body, replicating the specific resistance of playing an acoustic piano.
The weight is also graded across the keyboard, with those notes in the lower octaves noticeably heavier than those in the higher registers.
These great keys are combined with Yamaha’s awesome Pure CF sound engine, which based on samples taken from a Yamaha CFIIIS Grand Piano – one of the best grand pianos on the market. The speakers built into the body of the instrument are excellent, delivering deep low end, resonant mids, and sparkling high-end.
All of this culminates in an acoustic piano-playing experience that is absolutely fantastic – and if you are after digital piano that plays piano well, then the Yamaha P125 could well be the instrument for you.
- You Might Also Like: Yamaha P-125 review
Yamaha aren’t just adept at manufacturing less-expensive digital pianos, however – they also have fantastic variation and quality across the upper ends of the price spectrum.
The Arius YDP164 is perhaps one of their best offers to date: and is a high point in terms of acoustic pianos playing on an instrument you wont need to remortgage your house to afford.
The YDP164 is immediately different from the P125 in terms of its build – while the P125 is essentially a portable instrument (weighing in at around 26 lbs, and with a relatively slim build-profile), the YDP163 is built much more like an acoustic piano, albeit not quite so spacious. The keyboard is set into a beautiful wood finish upright body – which will manage to exist as smart piece of furniture, whilst still fitting relatively snug against the wall.
Being built into a cabinet means that this digital piano comes with inbuilt pedals, in this case the three pedals commonly found on quality acoustic pianos – a dampener, an una corda pedal, and a third pedal in the middle that many musicians, myself included, struggle to properly understand (it effectively dampens only a specific set of keys)!
The 88 keys are weighted using Yamaha’s GH3 keys, one of their more advanced key weighting systems. A trio of sensors underneath each key mean the instrument is able to pick up on even the subtlest shifts in your key pushing: for example, allowing you to press a key once again before depressing.
These high-quality keys are supported by a polyphony of 192 notes – which for most people is far more then they will ever need, but will be appreciated by classically trained and jazz musicians alike: allowing for rich and complex soundscapes with no audio loss. The piano samples themselves are taken from a Yamaha CF35 concert grand piano – leading to velvety warm tones that are adeptly outputted from the inbuilt speakers.
Not only is the YDP164 a great stand-alone instrument: it can also easily be controlled through your smartphone through Bluetooth connectivity, and just as easily hooked up to be used as a MIDI controller.
The YDP163 offers one of the best synthesized acoustic piano playing experiences on the market, despite not costing nearly so much as some models from other manufacturers – resulting in a digital piano that is often rated as one of the best around today.
I am a massive fan of the Roland FP-30 – while it is by no means a groundbreaking model, it is one of the best jacks-of-all-trades around, and offers fantastic quality, no matter what end you put it towards.
The body of the keyboard is smart and slimline, the 88 fully weighted keys sitting in a sleek black body that takes up relatively little space, and so is perfect for those of you with strict space limitations but whom are still looking for an 88-key digital piano.
The keys are all fully weighted, with the weighting graded across the keyboard: resulting in greater resistance in the lower octaves on the keyboard. The keys, deposit not being quite as advanced as models by the likes of Yamaha and Casio, feel absolutely fantastic, and are also very quiet: which is a massive plus if you tend to play through headphones or at lower volumes.
The piano samples built into the FP-30 are not uniform across all of the keys, meaning each individual note sounds subtly different from one another, resulting in sparkling piano playback that sounds really unique.
The Roland can also easily be connected to smart devices and your compute over bluetooth, and is a fantastic midi controller for those of you looking for an 88-key instrument through which to record and play music. While also the any digital piano nowadays can be turned into a MIDI device, the fact that the Roland is so portable, features 88 keys, and can be connected easily over Bluetooth make this instrument really stand out.
The Roland FP-30 is highly rated across the board for its capabilities both as a traditional digital piano, and as a midi controller. The Roland FP-30, quite simply, does many things well – and is a great choice of digital piano if you are looking for a portable digital piano with easy to use smart interface options.
- You Might Also Like: Roland FP-30 review
Yamaha PSR E363
Nowhere across the wider digital piano market is the amount of different options more varied and heavy than with beginner keyboards – this part of the market is particularly saturated, which makes it all the more difficult to pick out the best keyboard from the bunch.
It should come as no surprise that it is another Yamaha that widely features among the top-rated beginner keyboards, considering their years of experience delivering quality at a budget.
The PSR E363 features 61 velocity sensitive keys that, while not being at all weighted, are still able to translate across well the nuance in your playing, resulting in keyboard playing that has all the requisite velocity control.
The keyboard features around 500 sounds, all of which have been sampled superbly by Yamaha. The quality of these voices really sets it out from its other competitors, with few other keyboards able to match Yamaha in terms of the breadth and quality of their respective banks of voices.
There are also various backing track styles and accompaniments, and the keyboard can easily be hooked up to your smart-device: another feature that is not typical of keyboards at the lower end of the pricing spectrum.
The Yamaha PSR E363 is a lightweight and compact instrument, and stands out from its peers because of its unrivaled quality as a beginner keyboard. If you are looking to take up keyboard playing, or want to introduce a younger family member to the joy of music – you can’t really go wrong with choosing the PSR E363.
When it comes to creating the best stage pianos and keyboards, Nord are pretty much untouchable. Their signature flame red splash of color is almost synonymous with live stage performance, with their keyboards prolific amongst the professional music community, and for good reason.
The Nord Stage 3 features a host of different voices that are all meticulously well sampled, with the Piano and string sounds particular stand out performers. The inbuilt synthesizer modules are powerful and slick, with the various knobs and controls built into the body of the keyboard allowing you to tweak all of the parameters physical as if you would with expensive physical synths.
Alongside this, there are numerous different filters and effects you can overlay onto sounds, including various reverbs, flanges, and compression: amongst other things. All of these things combine allow you to create your own soundscapes that sound truly unique, and tweaked exactly to your own liking.
The keys are not fully weighted, but instead are finely semi-weighted – allowing for both accurate and controlled piano performance, whilst retaining the ease of playing traditional synth and organ lines.
The Nord Stage 3 is a high-quality piece of equipment that is the ultimate tool for the stage piano or keyboard performer: allowing you access to wealth of high-quality sounds, and allowing you unparalleled control over each. This Nord digital piano is the ultimate stage experience.
It can ben tough trying to decide which MIDI controller is best for you, particularly considering how many different options there are, all offering slightly different things.
The Novation Impulse is often regarded as one of the best and most capable MIDI controllers on the market, and I am inclined to agree with them.
This is a really stylish piece of kit, with the red/orange trim around parts of the body very reminiscent of the Nord, hinting at great quality, especially combined with the rounded edges of the body, and smart black finish.
There are a whole host of faders, drum pads and knobs to play with, alongside modulation and pitch bend wheels. All of these feel good quality, with good weight behind all physical controls, in particular the knobs and drum pads. The drum pads themselves feature aftertouch, and are velocity sensitive – with backlighting making it feel especially satisfying to lay down drum loops on them.
This great physical package is tied together by the Impulses ability to immediately integrate with the DAW of your choice through the implementation of their Automapping software, which instantly maps the various physical controls and actions to specific elements of whichever DAW or VST you are currently using.
The combination of great physical controls and easy digital integration means the Novation Impulse can serve as your ultimate midi controller – allowing you studio-level control over all of the parameters playback.
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