by Serena Grant
Digital pianos provide a more recent and economical alternative to acoustic pianos. Digital pianos tend to much smaller and more portable than acoustic pianos, and are able to reproduce the sound and tone of an acoustic piano. Although this fidelity is never 100%, digital piano sound has improved in the past ten years. Digital pianos are also generally cheaper than acoutic pianos, and feature a number of additional extras, from LCD and LED displays through to USB connections, amplifiers and headphones, as well as synthesisers.
When choosing between different digital pianos, it is important to think about cost, the sound and touch quality of the piano, its additional features, and how portable it is for travelling and gigging. Most digital pianos will be sourced from a small number of manufacturers, with Yamaha, Roland, Casio, Kawai and Korg among the most popular. Looking at these brands, it is possible to narrow down some recommended pianos.
Still the most well known and widespread brand, Yamaha’s entry level digital pianos are particularly recommended for their sound quality and range. One of the best options when exploring Yamaha models is the NP30 portable grand digital. Compact, and not as expensive as some other brands, the NP30 is defined by its simpler, but streamlined functions, making it an excellent choice for anyone wanting to begin playing the digital piano. This piano is also recommended for touring.
Another leading digital piano manufacturer, the Roland brand is primarily defined by its HP and KR models, and for the lightness of its key touches. A favourite amongst music professionals, Rolands also feature lighter materials, and are similar in quality to other Japanese brands. Recommended examples of Roland’s digital piano range include the RD-700NX. A stage piano with 88 keys, the RD-700NX is customisable and while more expensive than some other digital pianos, is one of the best performers on the market.
Deciding between Casio Digital’s Celviano and Privia brands is important for new buyers, with Celviano more expensive and more useful. Casio pianos are generally best for their value for money, as well a for their sound and touch. The Privia PX130 piano is particularly strong as a lower end option that is also highly portable. With 88 keys, and light enough to carry to performances, the Privia is a good choice for regular use.
Best known for their upright digital pianos, the Japanese manufacturer Kawai have been producing digital instruments for decades. Their pianos are best defined by their medium weight and range of features. The Kawai CN33 is recommended for home practicing and studio work, as well as for its distinctive acoustic emulation and LCD displays.
Another Japanese brand, Korg’s stylish digital pianos are particularly ideal for micro and stage playing. The SP170 is perhaps their best model, and while more expensive than some other manufacturers, is ideal for performances and for its 120 polyphony range. Korg pianos are also compatible with MIDI devices, and features weighted, touch sensitive keys and a range of preset songs and accessories.
About the author Serena studied AS Drama and A-Level Musical Theatre, achieving a distinction in the latter. With an enthusiasm for playing the piano, taking lessons since she was 7 years old, she is also an avid theatre lover, using her knowledge to be a full-time writer for a number of online publications, including UK Theatre Tickets, the number one seller of discount theatre tickets online.