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5 best digital pianos for classical pianists (the most affordable)

Aktualisiert: 5. Juni 2023


Hey there! You are a pianist looking for the perfect digital instrument to replicate your regular piano as closely as possible? And all that without breaking the bank? Well, you've come to the right place!

In this article we analyze 5 best digital pianos for classical pianists based on their diverse sound range and settings, enabling effortless replication of classical pieces.


 
Piano keyboard

Contents:


 

Digital pianos and their features: quick overview

As a classical pianist, you know that the right instrument is essential to bring your music to life. While traditional acoustic pianos have been the gold standard for centuries, digital pianos have come a long way in recent years and offer many advantages over their traditional counterparts.


More affordable and portable, they also can offer advanced features such as recording capabilities, multiple voices, and more. This article will explore the top 5 best digital pianos for classical pianists based on sound quality, key action and touch sensitivity, polyphony, portability, and other features.


Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting, these instruments will take your playing to the next level. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of digital pianos!


Although a concert pianist would likely use a digital piano as a practicing option when on the road, a high-quality instrument that closely mimics the rich tones and feel of a regular piano is a bare necessity. For a beginner, a digital piano can be a great choice as it is more affordable and effortless to maintain than an acoustic instrument.


Digital pianos come in two main types: portable electric and upright pianos. The electric piano has a slimmer, lighter body and is more mobile, whereas the upright piano looks more like a traditional acoustic instrument. Both types use sound engines to produce high-quality piano sounds that mimic those of real pianos.


What are the benefits of using a digital piano?

Digital pianos have become an essential tool for classical pianists. With their ability to replicate the acoustic sound and feel of traditional instruments, they offer a wide range of sounds and settings that allow players to experiment with various styles of music.


One of the best things about digital pianos is their weighted action, able to mimic the feel of playing an acoustic instrument. They also offer a wide dynamic range and polyphony - the number of notes that can be played simultaneously - which varies up to over 300 notes in high-quality digital pianos.


Digital pianos' also offer customizable sound options that suit any individual playing style. Whether you prefer a bright or mellow tone, these instruments will meet your needs. They provide an excellent alternative to acoustic pianos while maintaining the same level of sound quality and playability. So if you're a classical pianist looking for a versatile instrument to help taking your playing to new heights, consider investing in a high-quality digital piano today!


One of the major advantages of digital pianos is their portability. Classical piano players do not have to rely on heavy acoustic instruments when performing or practicing anymore, as portable pianos can be easily transported to any location.


And of course, the price is another advantage of electric pianos. While acoustic pianos can be quite costly, electric pianos offer a more affordable option without sacrificing quality.


The cost of an electric piano equipped with advanced technology like realistic touch sensitivity, powerful internal speakers, display, a wide variety of onboard sounds, Bluetooth, MIDI, and numerous effects may equate to the price range of an inexpensive real piano.


facts to consider choosing a Digital Piano for Classical Music


When it comes to choosing a digital instrument for professional practice, there are several factors to consider. Each function and feature can impact the overall playing experience, so it's important to choose the right instrument that meets your specific needs.


There are a few key things to keep in mind: the quality of the sound engine, the key touch response, etc. Let's display each factor in more detail:

Sound Quality


Hands playing piano in a dank ambience

When it comes to music, sound quality is king. No matter how skilled the musician or how complex the composition is, if the sound isn't up to par, it can be a major distraction. That's why choosing an instrument with high-quality sound is so important.


But what exactly makes for good sound quality? The piano's speakers? Well, not only. It's all about clarity, depth, and balance. You want each note to ring out clearly and distinctly, with no muddiness or distortion. And you want the overall sound to have depth and richness, filling the room with warmth and resonance.


Of course, every musician has preferences when it comes to tone and timbre. Some may prefer a brighter sound with more attack, while others may gravitate towards a warmer, more mellow tone. It's all about finding what works best for your style of playing and personal taste.


So when you're shopping for a new digital piano test out different models, and be sure to listen carefully to the sound quality before making your decision. Trust your ears – they'll lead you in the right direction! Certainly, finding the right fit ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget. But with so many options available today, there's no reason why you can't find a high-quality digital piano that meets all your needs as a classical piano player.

Key Action and Touch Sensitivity


Close-up to piano keys

The keyboard is a crucial feature in any digital piano, and its design and performance can impact the authenticity of playing an acoustic piano. While most manufacturers follow a standard layout of 88 keys, it is essential to pay attention to the design of the keys and ensure that the keyboard features weighted keys.


Weighted keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano by providing resistance when the player presses down on the keys. This feature plays a significant role in creating an authentic experience, which is vital for music makers.


Moreover, different sensitivity options are also important features to consider. Sensitivity refers to how hard or soft one has to press down on the keys to achieve different levels of volume and tone. Having a broader range of sensitivity options allows players to customize their playing style more accurately and expressively.


Ultimately, investing in a quality keyboard with these features is essential for any musician who wants to get as close as possible to an authentic piano-playing experience while using a digital instrument.

Polyphony


Sheet music of a classical piece

Polyphony is a term that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to digital pianos, but what does it mean? In simple terms, polyphony refers to the number of notes that can be played simultaneously on an instrument.


For classical piano players, having a high maximum polyphony is crucial for playing complex pieces with multiple layers and intricate harmonies. You don't want to hit a limit on the number of notes you can play at once, as this can cause some unwanted sound dropouts.


Most digital pianos offer a polyphony range of 64-128 notes, which should suffice for most styles of music. However, if you're planning on playing more advanced classical pieces with wide-ranging dynamics and complex chords, opt for a model with higher polyphony like the Roland FP-90 (384-note polyphony).

Portability

close-up to two keyboards on stage

If you're a pianist who's always on the go, portability is likely an essential factor when choosing a digital piano. Luckily, many manufacturers understand this need and have created portable pianos that don't sacrifice sound quality.


Portable pianos are perfect for rehearsals, gigs, or even just moving around your home. Plus, with advancements in technology, many portable models now offer realistic and high-quality piano sounds.


When considering a portable piano, look for one that is lightweight and compact without compromising on features such as weighted action and dynamic range. Additionally, check its battery life if you plan on using it outside of your home or studio. Here are several examples:


Other important features


Other important features of a digital piano include the sound engine, which is responsible for producing the sound of a real piano. Make sure to choose a model that has a high-quality sound engine to get the most realistic acoustic sound possible.


Additionally, consider the range of sounds and voices available on the instrument. While classical pianists may primarily use the traditional piano sound, having access to other voices like strings or organs can add versatility to your playing and inspire new creative ideas.


Another important feature is connectivity options. Look for models that allow you to connect to your computer or other devices, giving you access to educational resources and music software.

It also may be possible that you will need a MIDI function for recording and editing your playing, so you might want to consider devices that include this feature as well.


Finally, pay attention to the overall design and aesthetics of the instrument. You want something that not only sounds good but also looks good in your home or studio.

What are the best digital pianos for classical pianists?(under $1500)

Here we tried to help you to choose the most modern portable and affordable piano, so this digital instrument doesn't require a solid investment and offers mobility, versatility, high-quality sound, and authenticity of touch.


If you're looking for a modern model that falls under $1500, here are five of the best digital pianos to consider:


Roland FP-60X (customer choice)


This portable piano from Roland offers a range of features that make it an excellent choice for classical pianists. It has a SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, which produces incredibly realistic and nuanced acoustic piano tones. The FP-60X also offers 256-note polyphony, making it suitable for even the most demanding classical pieces.

Source: RolandChannel, YouTube


Roland FP-60X technical features:

  • 88 full-sized weighted hammer-action keys with Ivory Feel key surfaces and escapement

  • More than 300 onboard sounds, including authentic acoustic piano tones and electric pianos inherited from Roland's premium pianos

  • Powerful onboard speaker system with two speakers and two tweeters, along with a headphone output

  • Bluetooth audio and MIDI connectivity for streaming music and using popular apps

  • Dual/split keyboard modes, allowing players to play different voices with each hand or layer two voices simultaneously

  • Built-in recorder and USB audio/MIDI interface for recording and sharing music

Roland FP-60X pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Great variety of instrument voices

  • High compatibility with other devices

  • Authentic keyboard feel


Cons:
  • Quite complex controls

  • No MIDI ports

Yamaha P-125 (the most lightweight)


This compact and lightweight piano features Yamaha's renowned Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard action, which provides an authentic touch response. It also boasts 192-note polyphony and a wide range of voices, making it ideal for classical playing.


Source: Yamaha_Global, YouTube


Yamaha P-125 technical features:

  • 88 full-sized weighted hammer-action keys with Graded Hammer Standard action for an authentic feel

  • 24 voices, including the Yamaha CFX and Bosendorfer Imperial concert grand pianos

  • Intelligent Acoustic Control automatically adjusts EQ settings to ensure balanced sound at any volume level

  • 2-track MIDI recorder for capturing and sharing your performances

  • Sound Boost feature increases volume and clarity in small or crowded performance spaces

  • Yamaha Smart Pianist app integration for remote control and additional features

  • Split mode allows for two voices to be played simultaneously with each hand and allows for free left-hand bass and right-hand piano sections.

Yamaha P-125 offers an affordable option for musicians who want a high-quality digital piano without breaking the bank. With its authentic sound and touch, this instrument delivers exceptional performance at an affordable price, making it accessible to anyone who wants to elevate their piano-playing experience.

Yamaha P-125 pros and cons:

Pros:

Authentic sound Lightweight, easy to transport

USB, Bluetooth, other connectivity options


Cons:

Price may be higher for entry level

Accessory pedal with less resistance


Casio Privia PX-870 (best design)


With its sleek design and impressive sound quality, this piano is perfect for classical pianists who want a high-quality instrument at an affordable price. It features Casio's AiR Sound Source technology, which delivers rich and realistic piano tones. The PX-870 also has 256-note polyphony, ensuring that you can play even the most complex pieces without notes dropping out.


Source: Casio Music Gear, YouTube



  • 88 full-sized weighted hammer-action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures for a comfortable and authentic feel

  • 19 built-in voices, including the iconic nine-foot concert grand piano sound

  • Sound projection system featuring four speakers and two transducers, for an immersive and realistic sound experience

  • Concert Play feature with 10 orchestral recordings to play along with, perfect for enhancing your performance

  • USB audio recording and playback for saving and playing back your performances

  • Audio and MIDI connectivity for using with computers, tablets, and other devices

  • Adjustable lid position to customize the sound and tone of the piano

Casio Privia PX-870 pros and cons:


Pros:
  • Great sound quality and realistic piano feel

  • Comes with three pedals

  • USB connection port and MIDI recorder


Cons:
  • Quite complex controls

  • No MIDI ports


Kawai ES520 (the most hi-end)


Kawai is known for their high-quality acoustic pianos, and the ES520 digital piano is no exception. It features Kawai's Responsive Hammer III keyboard action, which provides a realistic touch and feel. The ES520 also has 256-note polyphony and a range of voices, including their famous Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand piano sound.


Source: Oostendorp Muziek, YouTube


Here are technical specifications of the Kawai ES520:

  • 88 full-sized weighted hammer-action keys with Ivory Touch key surfaces

  • 19 high-quality voices, including the famous Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand Piano

  • 4-speaker output system, with each speaker driven by its amplifier, delivering powerful, clear, and rich sound

  • Virtual Technician function allows players to adjust various piano parameters, such as hammer and damper response, string and cabinet resonances, and more

  • USB audio and MIDI connectivity for connecting to computers or mobile devices

  • Built-in lesson function with a variety of practice exercises, including Burgmüller and Czerny etudes

  • Dedicated Line Out jacks for connection to a mixing console or PA system

Kawai ES520 pros and cons:


Pros:
  • High-quality sound and responsive touch

  • User-friendly interface for easy operation

  • Wide variety of sounds and effects available


Cons:
  • Sustain pedal is hard to install

  • Less bass compared to competitors


Alesis Recital Pro (perfect for beginners)


This affordable digital piano may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the other models on this list, but it still delivers a quality playing experience for classical pianists on a budget. It features 88 full-sized keys with adjustable touch sensitivity, as well as 128-note polyphony and a range of voices.


Source: AlesisVideo, YouTube


Here are technical details of Alesis Recital Pro:

  • 88 full-sized hammer-action keys with adjustable touch response

  • 12 built-in voices, including unique and rare voices such as church organ, vibraphone, and nylon guitar

  • 20-watt speakers and headphone output for private practice

  • Lesson mode divides the keyboard into two zones with the same pitch and voice, perfect for teacher and student

  • MIDI connectivity to use with virtual instruments or record music

  • Built-in metronome, chorus, and reverb effects


Alesis Recital Pro: Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • Highly responsive 88-keys keyboard

  • High sound quality

  • Lesson mode


Cons:
  • Keyboard touch may seem too light

  • Speakers claimed to be not loud enough

  • Sustain pedal not included




conclusion


When it comes to finding the best digital piano for classical pianists, there are several factors to consider. The quality of the sound engine and weighted action keys are crucial in replicating the feel of a real acoustic instrument, and maximum polyphony is necessary for playing complex pieces without any notes dropping out.


From the Casio Privia PX-870 to the Kawai ES520 and Alesis Recital Pro, there are a variety of options available for classical piano players of all levels and budgets. Each of these instruments offers unique features and benefits, so it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision.


Ultimately, the best digital piano for you will depend on your individual playing style and goals. Whether you're looking for a portable instrument for practicing on the go or a high-quality digital piano for recording and performing, there is a model out there that will meet your needs. So take some time to research and try out different options to find the perfect digital piano for your classical music journey.


I hope this article will help you find the most suitable instrument to play classical music. I tried to keep the price range under $1500 and reviewed models produced in the last five years.

I hope you will find the best instrument for you! Tell me below, which one you chose!

 

Kirill Zolygin, actor, musical performer and vocalcoach
Kirill Zolygin

Hi there! I'm glad you've stumbled across my blog! My name is Kirill Zolygin and I am an actor, musical performer, hobby pianist and vocal coach. I have been fond of music for as long as I can remember and I love diving into the technical nitty-gritty of music production and exploring the latest hardware and software for creating and recording music.


I started this blog to share my knowledge and passion for vocal techniques and all the technical things that go into making music. Whether you're an experienced musician or a beginner just starting out, I hope you'll find something here that inspires you and helps you improve your skills. Thank you for joining me on this musical journey!


 


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