Our Guide to the Top Digital Pianos of 2014
Our Guide to the Top Digital Pianos of 2014
Let’s start by defining digital pianos. Digital pianos are a mix-up of an acoustic piano and an electronic keyboard, providing you with the best of both worlds. Why should you buy a digital piano? Here are some good reasons:
- You don’t have enough space for a grand piano
- You perform all over and want something consistent and portable
- You don’t want to disturb others whilst you play
- You don’t fancy forking out on regular tuning
- Because you want one
The term ‘weighted’ in a digital piano description is always a good thing; because every decent digital piano always tries it’s hardest to imitate the hammers of a real piano. Keep your eyes peeled for that word when searching!
When it comes to listening out for decent sound quality you want to keep an ear out for two particular things: the bass notes need to have a rich, full sound and the electric keyboard setting has to be soft and smooth – if the digital piano sounds the opposite to these descriptions then don’t buy!
Maximum Polyphony is the number of individual notes a digital piano can produce at one time. An acceptable polyphony is 64, however 128 is best. Anything less than 64 ain't much cop and anymore than 128 is gimmicky, unless of course you’re a master of the instrument and need 256 notes going at a single time.
Also remember to bear in mind the simple features of your digital piano and think about what you need from it: Does it have external-facing speakers? Is an amp needed to make any sound? Do you need headphone jacks? Will your digital piano be compatible with your amp and/or computer?
Lucky for you we’ve already picked six of the best digital pianos on offer this year!
Check ‘em out.
With a huge range of sounds and rhythms you can lose yourself with a true piano-feel, plus loads of support is available through apps that have been created specifically for digital piano practice.
- Keyboard: 88 keys (PHA-4 Standard Keyboard with Escapement and Ivory Feel).
- Touch Sensitivity 5 types, fixed touch.
- Keyboard Mode: Whole, Dual (volume balance adjustable), Split (split point adjustable, volume balance adjustable), Twin Piano.
- Three types of pedals: Damper, Soft and Sostenuto.
- PHA-4 Standard Keyboard features high-resolution sensing that maximizes the potential of the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine.
- Sophisticated onboard rhythm feature with intelligent accompaniment and 72 different rhythm styles, including 6 pianist styles.
- 305 additional tones that include electric pianos, strings, organs, guitars, brass, synthesizers, and many others.
- Headphones 3D Ambience effect provides a multi-dimensional sound experience during private practice.
- Available in sophisticated white or contemporary black finishes.
If you’re looking for something similar to the F-130R but in a more compact size then look no further than its little brother...
- Sharing all the same features as the F-130R this little ditty comes in a space-saving cabinet and in colour choices of either chic black or ultra-modern white.
- Both of the latest Roland digital pianos are compatible with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod through the free Air Performer app, so you can play along with favourite songs. The free Piano Partner app for iPad is also great to develop playing, listening, and music reading skills.
- You can also connect a USB to play along with WAV/SMF songs and save performances you’ve captured with the onboard recorder. Plus you can use your USB Computer port for using the F-130R and RP-401R with music software on a Mac or Windows computer.
“Simply the best stage piano we have ever made” – YAMAHA
Far from the days of the CP1, the CP4 ticks almost all the boxes, which is why we had to feature it in this article.
- The CP4 Stage Piano distils all of Yamaha's expertise in authentic, accurate, digital reproduction of real acoustic piano sounds into a budget-friendly package.
- 88-note wooden keys with synthetic ivory tops have action and response similar to that of a grand piano, with the ‘Linear Graded Hammer’ keyboard weights each key individually to correspond as nearly as possible to a traditional grand.
- FC3 footpedal for half damper and sound board resonance. GP Response Damper Pedal is designed to mimic the feel and operation of a grand piano’s pedals.
- 433 voices, including CFX, CFIIIS and S6, vintage EPs with VCM effects, plus sounds based on the flagship MOTIF synth.
- Slim and lightweight (17.5kg), portable without losing any of the elegance of a traditional piano.
- Like any good digital stage piano, it's got the ability to split and layer sounds so you can. Its intuitive user interface and large lighted buttons also means it is easy to play even on the darkest of stages.
- Dedicated internal amplifiers are used for three separate speaker systems, including a ‘GP Soundboard Speaker’, positioned to produce sound from the back of the piano for greater ‘acoustic’ realism – plus there’s an acoustic system to create real-life resonance inside the instrument.
If you need a stand to go with your stage piano, look no further than the Quiklok Z-71, a snug fit for the CP4 and it is great for those wanting to play standing or sitting.
“‘Real Grand Expression’ sound, touch and pedals are perfectly integrated to give you the sensation of playing a grand piano” - YAMAHA
High-end on price, but also on everything else; the Clavinova reaches new levels of realism, expression and design.
- Real Grand Expression (RGE) Sound Engine lets you enjoy the playing response and expressive capability of a concert grand piano.
- GP Response damper pedal take the playing experience to a higher level.
- 88-key Linear Graded Hammers recreate the keyboard touch of a grand piano where the weight, touch and return of every key is different.
- 256 Voice Polyphony, sufficient for even the busiest passages and use of damper.
- Record with the touch of a button and even do two-track recording, which lets you record the parts for your two hands separately, then play them simultaneously.
- Along with the piano voices, Clavinova also offers a wide selection of musical instrument voices, including electric piano as Yamaha's CP1.
- Available in luxury rosewood finish.
Compact, powerful and elegant the LP-380 will deliver a wide range of realistic piano tones while fitting nicely into the home.
- High-output amp section produces plenty of volume.
- RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3) keyboard.
- Reduced chassis, package size, and weight.
- Three pedal design with half-damper support.
- LINE OUT jack (stereo mini-jack) connects the instrument to your amplified speaker system or recording device.
- A built-in metronome feature lets you adjust the time signature, tempo, and volume.
- The LP-380 includes all three pedals normally found on a concert grand piano, including support for realistic half-pedalling on both the damper and soft pedals. These pedals are affixed to the LP-380 in the perfect position for a true piano playing experience.
- It’s red! It’s also available in white, black and two-tone black and red.
"The slim, stylish body of the LP-180 comes in your choice of black or white, ensuring that it will fit unobtrusively into your room layout and decor" - KORG
If you're looking for a home piano that performs well, fits into your home without fuss and comes at a very affordable price point, then the new Korg LP-180 could be the piano for you.88 Natural-Weighted Hammer Action keys.
- 120 voices and ten sounds are provided, including electric pianos and more.
- Reverb and Chorus effects for enhanced sound.
- Comes standard with the three-pedal unit that's indispensable for classical piano performance.
- Two headphone jacks allow for private practice and a stereo mini-jack type can also be used as an audio output.
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