In our last article, we discussed five digital piano reviews of pianos we really thought were some of the best instruments on the market. They ranged from relatively cheap digital pianos (such as the Yamaha P-45 and Korg B1SP, for example) to more expensive pianos that are ideal for both beginners and intermediate piano players (such as the Casio PX-870 or Yamaha P-515).
In this article, however, we’re going to expand on this exact topic, bringing you an additional five pianos that we love and think are some of the best instruments on the market (backed up with a few quotes from our previous reviews on them). And, in order to better help you, we’ve complied a table below that allows you to directly compare some of the best pianos on the market against one another in categories like price or key features.
|Yamaha YDP-144||GHS action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Yamaha P-515||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha YDP-164||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Roland RP-102||Works w/Roland Piano Partner 2 app|
|Casio AP-470||256 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha YDP-184||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)|
Our Favorite Digital Piano Reviews
We’ve discussed and reviewed an almost immeasurable amount of digital pianos on this website. Below are the ten digital pianos that we most think are worthy and relevant in 2019 and beyond, as well as instruments that we not only enjoy, but ones that continue to be some of the more popular pianos on the market:
- Yamaha P-45
- Korg B1SP
- Casio PX-870
- Yamaha YDP-144
- Yamaha P-515
- Casio PX-160
- Roland F-140
- Nord Piano 4
- Korg Grandstage
- Yamaha YDP-164
In our last article, we discussed the first five of these pianos (Yamaha P-45 through Yamaha P-515), showing you what we think made them so impressive—be it their piano samples, hammer action, seamless integration with your cell phone or tablet, or a instrument’s ability to help beginners learn how to play the piano.
In this article, however, we’re going to talk about the pianos listed from #6 to #10. So,without any further delay, let’s dive into what makes the Casio PX-160 such a special digital piano.
Let’s now move onto the Casio PX-160.
The PX-160 is in the same class of piano as the Yamaha P-45 in my mind—a digital piano that’s about $500 and is truly ideal for a digital piano beginner (or perhaps someone that learned piano many years ago but hasn’t played in over a decade and wants to be eased back in to re-learning everything).
Like the Yamaha P-45, the Casio PX-160 is an weighted 88-key digital piano (with simulated ebony and ivory keys). The PX-160 and P-45 both are about the same weight (25 lbs), so you can feel comfortable lugging them two and from you home, or taking them from one gig to the next with ease.
The Casio PX-160 and the Yamaha P-45 share more than a few similarities with one another, so we decided to write a comparison review between these two digital pianos (in an effort to better help the reader determine which instrument best fits their needs).
One of the bigger differences we noticed was in the department of polyphony, as we wrote the following:
“The Privia PX-160 also features 128-note polyphony, which gives you complete control over those massive chord progressions. It gives you a wide variety of sound choices like Concert, for that Symphony and Orchestral performance.
Modern, which gives you more of a new age array of Pop sounds. A Classic sound for beautiful homophonic melodies. And mellow sounds that provide a soft and laid-back aura of relaxation.”
Despite the Casio PX-160 costing about $50 less than the P-45 (approximately $400 for the PX-160 compared to about $450 for the P-45), the PX-160 is boasting an impressive 128 notes of polyphony. The Yamaha P-45 simply can’t compete in this department, as it offers customers just 64 notes of polyphony.
Now, it’s very possible that, if you’re purchasing such an inexpensive digital piano, that you likely won’t play too many complex music pieces in the early going. But, with the PX-160, it’s really comforting to know that you have somewhat future proofed yourself against potential note decay by buying the PX-160 over the P-45.
And below, please take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos currently on sale online (and see how they compare to the pianos we discuss in this article):
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-144|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Casio PX-870|
And here marks our first entry for Roland digital pianos on this list.
The Roland F-140 not only sounds wonderful, but it gives you a ton of sounds to play with. While the YDP-164 may only have three grand piano voices, the Roland F-140 more than triples that number, giving you a whopping 11 grand piano sounds.
On top of that, you’ll get an additional 305 tones to play around with (which will include 8 drum sets and 1 SFX set).
In our Roland F-140 review, we dove deeper into what the F-140 has to offer potential buyers in terms of sound:
“The default piano sound (Concert Piano) has a nasal warmth around the mid-range, a sweetness at the top and a warm and throaty bottom end. The unique manner in which the SuperNATURAL sound engine combines with the 128 note polyphony, creates a sound full of the natural overtones and harmonics of the acoustic instrument.
It models the sound you hear based on the combination of notes that you play, rather than just triggering samples which don’t respond to each other. This is what, I believe, gives the SuperNATURAL engine the edge over their competitors.
The 2nd piano sound (Ballade Piano) is a much brighter sound with a balance of frequencies throughout the entire octave range but retaining the warmth of Concert Piano around the mid-range. Great for jazz.
There are a selection of combined piano voicings, such as Magical Piano, which layers an electric piano with the Concert Piano; this may sound as if it’s destined for the cheesiest of 80s teen flicks, but it’s actually pretty usable if you stick around the bottom and mid-range of the keyboard. It sounds pretty awful the higher up the keyboard you go, heading into B-side Whitney ballad territory, so it’s worth avoiding the top notes. You have to play quite hard to get the acoustic piano to cut through the electric, which actually makes it quite a colorful electric piano.”
We also took a look at the keyboard on the Roland F-140 and, for a digital piano that’s just a little bit over $1,000, we quite liked what we saw:
“The realistic nature of the keyboard is further enhanced with the mechanical escapement that you get with acoustic pianos. Although escapement, strictly speaking, isn’t necessary for a digital piano (as there are no hammers hitting strings), it’s a useful addition to the feature-set. If you’re playing a fast, quiet passage, an acoustic piano requires you to perform ‘above the escapement,’ otherwise notes won’t play consistently. It’s useful to have this feature with a keyboard that you’re likely to use as a practice instrument, as much as an instrument that’s going to provide years of playing enjoyment.”
There are certainly other digital pianos that a deemed more high end than what’s being offered for sale here by Roland. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Roland F-140 is a great digital piano that’s easy to fit into tight spaces and might be most ideal for a person that wants a portable digital piano that provides countless features features for a very reasonable price.
The Nord Piano 4 is one heavy hitter of a portable digital piano. Coming in the well known red finish that many Nord digital pianos are known for, this instrument uses the same Virtual Hammer Action Technology that was also seen in the Nord Piano 3.
If you like flexibility and customizability in your digital pianos, then the Nord Piano 4 is likely right up your alley. In fact, with this instrument, you’ll find knobs that will be dedicated to splitting the keyboard, layering one sound on top of another sound, and transposing.
In our Nord Piano 4 review, we discussed the price point of this digital piano, and specifically how the cost of this instrument directly correlates to its potential demographic:
“The Nord Piano 4 is undoubtedly an incredible, premium instrument, so it comes with a pretty high price tag. This digital piano retails for about $2,999, which is likely more than some beginner and intermediate keyboardists are willing to pay. Advanced players and stage musicians are more likely to see the price as reasonable and are more likely to be willing to pay nearly three grand for a keyboard.
Features like the split point crossfades and access to the Nord Sample Library 3.0 are only available from Nord and are certainly not available at a lower price point. Indeed, digital pianos below this price point typically only offer one split point and they are rarely indicated with LED lights.
This digital piano is a highly sophisticated instrument. It offers more than enough onboard sounds and effects for players to create an almost infinite number of soundscapes; even better, lifetime access to Nord’s sound libraries allows players to pick the sounds that they want to keep and to remove the sounds that they want to replace.
The only drawback to the Nord Piano 4 is its price. This digital piano is likely worth roughly $2,999 or even more for advanced players, but the price is simply unreasonable for those who are just starting to play the piano and for those who are on a budget.”
In short, this is a beautiful piano, but if you don’t consider yourself at an intermediate piano player (let alone a genuine advanced pianist), you’ll probably want to go with a cheaper option—be it the Casio PX-870 or the Yamaha P-515.
In fact, speaking of other options outside of the Nord Piano 4 that we just discussed, I think you may also want to consider the Korg Grandstage (especially if the price of the Nord Piano 4 is a little too rich for your blood).
The Grandstage costs approximately $2199, so you can likely find it for almost $1,000 less than the Nord Piano 4. And yet, despite being in relative competition with the likes of the Nord Piano 4 and Roland RD2000 and other notable stage digital pianos, the Grandstage more than holds its own in a crowded marketplace.
First off, it’s important to know that the Grandstage comes in two versions—one version features just 73 keys (for about $2,000), while the more expensive version (about $200 more) features a full 88-key keybed.
In our Korg Grandstage review, we actually walked you through what you can expect from this piano—everything from the button and knob layout to how certain features will impact the sound and overall performance of the piano:
“Now the dynamics setting here is meant to project sound a bit more when you’re playing live. This comes in handy if you’re in a band, and you’re concerned that the piano sounds coming from the piano you’re playing aren’t going to successfully reach the audience with the fullness the music deserves.
The remedy that, you can use the Korg Grandstage to switch on the Dynamics, and when you turn the knob up, you’ll notice that the music you’re playing on the piano gets projected much more forward to the intended listener.
In many ways, this is a “loudness” setting, but ultimately, it’s the piano giving the sound a little bit of a boost.”
One thing that I felt was also worth mentioning was the fact that the Grandstage comes with two LCD screens—but they’re very small. In our review, we discussed the pros and cons of having an LCD screen that, while present and certainly helpful to the pianist, lacks a large display:
“The Korg Grandstage actually comes with two very small LCD screens. They aren’t the best screens in the world given their size, but they are quite effective at displaying the basic information you need when navigating through menus and making selections.
The screens give you instant feedback on selections you make within the piano itself, such as you selecting a piano or ensemble sound. On top of that, it’s nice to see that knobs and buttons will light up red, letting you know things are properly selected or deselected.
Whenever an LCD screen is small, my biggest question is always about how intuitive the machine is to use and how easy it is to make important changes to settings. And it’s nice to see the Grandstage does well in this department.”
The screen size might be a bit lacking, but it’s also important to know that the Grandstage packs a punch where it really counts—the sound. Specifically, the piano sounds on the Grandstage are wonderful.
In fact, you get to play around with the Wurlitzer or Fender Rhodes piano sounds on the Grandstage. So, if part of the reason you’re interested in the Korg Grandstage is due to your excitement to play the Fender or Wurlitzer piano samples, well, you’re in for a real treat.
The YDP-164 takes over for the ever popular Yamaha YDP-163. Both are of course pianos from the Arius line Yamaha offers, and costs approximately $1,500.
While the Arius line of pianos is pretty great, it’s important to note that it’s certainly not up to par with their Clavinova series of pianos. Not only are those pianos more expensive, but a piano such as the Yamaha CLP-685 is going to offer grand piano-esque features like a GrandTouch keyboard that features wooden keys with escapement.
But that’s not a knock on the YDP-164. In fact, I’d argue quite the opposite: the YDP-164 may not have all the impressive bells and whistles of a more high end digital piano that costs 4 times the amount of its own price tag, but it provides the beginner or intermediate piano player with more than enough great features and excellent build quality to be a piano you can grow with for years to come.
In our Yamaha YDP-164 review, we discussed the piano’s built in sounds. And while the piano does only come with 10 sounds, this is very much a situation of quality over quantity:
“In addition to the CFX Grand Piano sound, you’ll be able to enjoy a Pop Grand Piano Sound. This is a bright sound that has a jazzy feel to it. And then, you also get a Mellow Grand Sound, which has a sweet and very upbeat sensibility.
Additional sounds include things like Jazz Organ, Vibraphone, Pipe Organ, 80s Electric Piano sound, Classic DX, Harpsichord and Strings.”
The YDP-163 and YDP-164 both did and do come with a GH3 or Graded Hammer 3 keyboard. And while it’s a bit improved over the Graded Hammer Standard keyboard, it’s on the lower end of “quality” when compared to something like the NWX or Natural Wood X keyboard. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that you’re getting weighted keys that are fully graded (heavier on the lower end of the keys and lighter on the higher end).
In the end, you might prefer something like the Yamaha P-515 because of the better key action and its ability to be highly portable. But if you’re looking for a digital piano that can sit upright in a living room or bedroom (and will rarely need to be moved), then the YDP-164 is a great option to consider.
No matter which digital piano you feel is perfect for you, it’s comforting to know that there are pianos in various price ranges that will offer excellent quality and features.
Whether you’re trying to save some money by purchasing the Casio PX-160, or you feel your skills have advanced to the point where you’re ready to purchase something like the Yamaha YDP-164 or Nord Piano 4, you’ll likely be very happy with whatever choice you make!
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