What’s the Best Korg Digital Piano?

Korg SP170s piano in white

Korg is one of the most legendary music corporations that exist in the world today, and the story behind the corporation and the man who built it are quite intriguing.

Korg was founded in 1962 by Tsutomo Katoh, a brilliant visionary who wasn’t afraid to test the market for something new, exciting and rangy. During his time period, there were a series of periodic landmarks in the music market, including the domination of the Hammond electromechanical organs of the 1940s and 50s, the boom in synthesis and synthesizer production made by Robert Moog in the 1960s and 70s, the programmable polyphonic synthesis engineered by great names such as Alan Pearlman and Tom Oberheim, and the continued growth of the market by Yamaha and Roland with digital FM keyboards in the 1980s.

Tsutomo Katoh and his company Keio Electronic, which would later be renamed Korg, changed the game when they introduced the M1, a 16 voice, 8 part, multitimbral music workstation that would beat out competing products from Yamaha and Roland to become the top selling digital synthesizer of all time.

Korg Piano Buying Guide

Please use the table below to compare the most affordable Korg pianos against other very notable digital pianos on the market:

Yamaha YDP-145

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

Determining the Best Korg Digital Piano

Today Korg has stood the test of time and continues to be one of the top companies for all products musical, including the ever-present category of digital pianos. There is no doubt that once in possession of a Korg, you truly have some value on your hands.

With that said, there is one question that certainly can be debated: what is the best Korg digital piano? Posing and answering this question is a conundrum of sorts, as many digital pianos sit in wildly different categories to begin with. Nevertheless, it will be my pleasure to take on such a challenge, and I hope this guide helps you better determine what Korg piano is best suited for your needs.

We’re now going to break down pianos that are best suited for beginners, intermediate, and advanced piano players.  So let’s get started with the keyboards best suited for the beginners.

And below, please take a look at some of the best-selling digital pianos currently available for sale online:

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

Digital Pianos Suitable for Beginners

Two of the best options from Korg for digital pianos suited for beginners are the Korg SP 170 and the Korg LP 180. Both of these are capable machines and certainly nothing to sneeze at, as they bring the best quality possible without confusing the user and inflating the price.

The Korg SP170 (as well as its newer modeled cousin, the Korg SP170s) has a sleek, black fashioned look about it, with no buttons on the front: a welcome sight to most beginner users.

The piano isn’t here to trick or dazzle you, its here to simply give you what you need. There are ten voices to begin with on the machine, ranging from a classical acoustic grand piano to electric pianos and strings.

Most likely, if you’re looking at this piano, you’re looking to find an affordable option for either you or a young pupil looking to practice on a machine that will have similar construction to that of a real piano. This is what is lovely about the SP 170, as it’s fitted with Korg’s Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) system, a keyboard action which has real hammers like a natural piano, something that will be suitable for any beginner player.

It also has a welcome 120 notes of polyphony, the standard measurement of how much capacity you need before there are dropped notes, and a Key Touch Control that allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the keys to three different levels.

This piano goes for a very low price online (less than $500), and trust me, it will be hard to find a better price than that.

The Korg LP 180 can certainly compete with the SP 70 in just about every category. It too also has 88 keys and 120 notes of polyphony, along with Key Touch Control and ten beautifully put together sounds.

Many of the sounds are the same as the SP 170 and include two acoustic pianos, 2 electric pianos, a harpsichord, a clavichord, vibraphone, pipe organ, electric organ, and a set of strings. It also has the same Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) system, which gives the piano an amazing touch and feel to the piano player.

In truth, they are both wonderful pianos that pretty much grade out on about the same level.  The difference, however, comes down to the user and what specifically he or she is looking for as a beginner.

That can be found in the exact label of the two machines: LP and SP.  SP stands for “Stage Piano,” or a piano built for the stage and the stage performances.

LP is built to be stationary and provide the digital piano experience in the home or private setting. The LP is almost built to be like an upright piano, but much more convenient. Because of that, it will typically be priced for more than $500 online.

Digital Pianos for the Intermediate Player

Two of the best contenders in the intermediate piano range are the Korg SP 250 and the Korg SP 280. These two pianos fit exactly what an intermediate piano is supposed to look and feel like, and every interaction I have had with them certainly has not disappointed.

The SP 250, when it first came out, and still to this moment, is one of the best selling digital pianos because of its durability and technical offerings. It continues the trend of having a full range of 88 keys, as well as a nifty Key Touch Control Feature that allows you to change the softness or heaviness with which you play.

But undoubtedly, the biggest upgrade to this from the other models is the change in engineering, or the addition of the RH3 key action system. The RH3 is the third generation in the Real Weighted Hammer Action series being installed in Korg pianos, and this is closest you’re going to get to feeling like a real piano. Even advanced pianos, such as the SV1 (which we have recently reviewed) have this key action.\

The SP 280 was built to be the upgraded successor to the SP 250.  Nevertheless, it still is one of the best intermediate options and is constantly in competition with the SP 250. The engineers tried their best to shave off some pounds in the chassis and frame of the previous version, and unfortunately in the process they decided to switch out the dependable RH3 system for the lesser Natural Weighted Hammer (NH) key action system.

This system isn’t bad, but there is certainly a loss in quality. Even the same, both of these pianos will go for about same price (less than $1,000) online.

Digital Pianos for the Advanced Players

Here come the big boys.

The Korg LP 380 and the Korg SV1 certainly aren’t to be messed with. These are fine tuned machines ready to perform in any area, and they are both going to cost a pretty penny.

The LP 380 is a massive upgrade from the 180 and the 280, and it showcases the achievement of reduced chassis size and weight the engineers were looking for with the 280, but without giving up the necessary engineering.

The LP 380 is fit with the RH3 system and also sports a sound bank of 20 more sounds than the previous versions, holding five acoustic pianos, six electric pianos, and a host of other instruments. It also is a major upgrade with booming 22 watt amplifiers for both 3.9 inch speakers, along with line out and MIDI in/out connections to add to dual headphone jack capabilities.

The Korg SV1 packs even more punch. This model is complete with the same RH3 key actions system as the other models, but brings a whole lot more to the table as well.

The SV1 includes 36 voices and tones housed in 6 banks with 6 variations each, Pre FX sound modifiers, modulation effects, an equalizer complete with controllers, 36 incorporated demos, a full SV1 Editor and Library that is Windows and Mac compatible, Enhanced Definition synthesis tone generation, and a host of optional accessories.

Some of those accessories are a custom SV1 carrying case to protect your great investment, a SV1 keyboard stand, and the PS-1 pedal foot switch–all things which any serious piano player will need.

I certainly would crown the SV1 as the best Korg piano by far.

You can find both the LP 380 and SV1 for less than $2,000 (and if you shop right online, less than $1,500).

Choosing a Korg

At the end of the day, if you choose a Korg you can’t go wrong.

Korg’s are tried, tested and true, and they are very dependable.It’s actually amazing, that in a market full of amazing manufacturers such as Roland, Yamaha, and Casio, the Korg has been able to continuously put out products that are just as equally in demand by consumers.

If you feel like none of the pianos discussed here float your boat, however, feel free to check out some other options from Korg:

  1. Korg LP 180 review
  2. Korg LP 380 review
  3. Korg SP280 review
  4. Korg SV1 review

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