Best Electric Piano Review in 2017
Electronic pianos have come a long way since their introduction into the market. What was once a market dedicated to flimsy keyboards and tinny sounds is now a robust industry that makes it possible for musicians to reproduce realistic sounds. There are two ways to go with an electric piano. You can either go for the piano with the most realistic touch and sound as a replacement for an acoustic piano, or you can choose a piano that has a large number of effects and demo loops. It's important to decide ahead of time to make your search easier. While it's easy to find a piano that has plenty of sounds and has a realistic sound and touch, your decision will be easier if you decide ahead of time what you value most.
Things To Consider
A digital piano makes plenty of sense for musicians who need an affordable instrument that is also portable. If you're a classical pianist, the touch sensitivity of the keyboard and the responsiveness is going to be the most important factor. For the serious musician, it's best to choose a piano with an adjustable sensitivity for the keys. This way, you can adjust the keys to more accurately represent the touch of a real piano. For the digital performer who only wants the fastest keys possible, touch sensitivity is still a good idea. The easier it is to depress the keys, the faster you'll be able to fly across the big 88. Advancements in recent years have made digital pianos an ideal choice for players who don't want to sacrifice functionality, features and the ability to record pure and pristine sound.
The benefits of an electric piano are numerous, but some of the most common reasons a musician seeks out an electric piano are because of the convenience, cost, versatility, recording capability and connectivity.
Convenience: Long gone are the days of the musician who had to strap a baby grand to their back and drag themselves between performances. Alright, so that never actually happened, but the convenience of a digital piano can't be ignored. Digital pianos come with a stand, but it's typically detachable so that you can move the keyboard easily. There are even keyboard bags so you can sling your keyboard over your shoulder on the way to the next performance. You can beat the convenience of a portable keyboard.
The realistic starting cost of an effective acoustic piano is going to run in the thousands, and an acoustic piano only has one timbre unless you're into extended piano techniques. The cost of a digital piano is often several times less than an acoustic piano, and this is important for musicians who need a cost-effective instrument for their performances.
Ever tried to play piano in a dorm room without waking up everyone in the unit? It's pretty much impossible. Playing softly all the time will destroy your technique. With a digital piano, you can connect your piano to a speaker system to go all out or plug in those headphones for a solitary experience. The only thing other people near you will hear is the clacking of keys.
Recording an acoustic piano requires a degree in audio engineering and a room specially designed for a piano. It's serious business and it can be expensive. If you want to record a digital piano, all you have to do is hook the piano up to your computer and press record.
A digital piano can also be used with audio applications to record a piece note by note or use high-quality samples from the world's most expensive sample libraries. A digital piano is a must for those who don't have a dedicated studio in their home. Connect your keyboard to all manner of MIDI-compatible instruments, and some models even accept storage drives to record your performance directly to a transmittable audio file like a WAV or MP3.
There are a few things to consider when going out to purchase an electric piano. Your needs will change as you develop and grow as a musician. For the complete beginner or child who isn't certain to continue playing, it's best to start small and grow. A decent electric piano can be had for less than $300. The more advanced and intermediate players will want to choose a piano that is touch-sensitive and has greater velocity control. Essentially, what this means is that a piano that is touch-sensitive will respond like a real piano to how hard you depress the keys. Strike the key harder and the electric piano with touch sensitivity will get louder. This is an essential feature for any serious musician who wants to add expressiveness and musicality to a performance. No matter what style of music you intend to play, there are some key features all electric pianos should have. A digital piano should contain a full 88 keys, it should have a jack for headphones, and the keys should have some mechanism to weight the keys. There are semi-weighted, synth-action, fully weighted and touch sensor options available.
Care and Use
An acoustic piano requires constant maintenance to keep it in tune. Change the location of the piano or experience an unusually warm or cold day and the piano will need to be tuned. A digital piano is always in tune, and some of the better models even allow the performer to change the tuning. This is important if you're playing with a group that has a philosophy of playing slightly sharp in performance.
The main controversy with electric pianos occurs amongst musicians who are classically trained. They believe that no matter how expensive an electric piano is, it won't produce the right sound for a true replication of a performance. While there is some truth to the fact that a real piano's resonance comes from the physical vibrations of a string, this is not a good reason to pass over a digital piano. There are so many options available that it's possible to find an electric piano that works for your needs.
Before buying an electric piano, you should research the type of music you intend to play. If you want to use your piano as an acoustic piano replacement, then you'll need a piano with the full 88 keys and that has a true replication of sound. Additionally, and this can't be stressed enough, the piano must have touch sensitivity. For the performer who is going to play with a rock band, touch sensitivity is less important. This kind of performer will want a piano that can record loops, has plenty of sound options and can connect to a variety of sound equipment. Since the keyboard you'll need will depend largely on your goals, the best electric piano for you may not work for another musician.
Five Best Electric Piano
Nord Stage Piano
It doesn't matter what your goals are, any musician would kill to have this piano. While it's considered one of the absolute best electric pianos out there, it will also set you back quite a bit. The piano runs close to $3,000, but it has everything you need and it still costs less than a high-quality acoustic piano. This piano will work well for the musician who needs to record their performances, and it has all of the keys needed to perform all of the classical music literature.
Casio Privia Digital Piano
In my teaching at various universities, I've seen this piano in many practice rooms. It's affordable, provides a realistic playing experience and has a classic black finish that exudes a certain air of sophistication. This piano is an ideal option for anyone who wants a real piano replacement. It's not portable, but it does contain all three pedals and a full 88-key keyboard. It also comes with several useful accessories, including a bench, headphones and a getting started booklet.
In the more affordable range is a trusted and reliable keyboard that will enable you to play any of your favorite classical or popular works. This electric piano is exceptional for its affordability, quality sound and a variety of styles. The piano comes in a standard, intermediate, premium and professional styling. The beginner will find the standard version more than enough to get started. The intermediate piano comes with additional weighted keys that make it possible for you to play dynamically. The professional and premium version is on par with more expensive pianos and provides you with up to 256 notes of polyphony. Polyphony is important to create a realistic sound.
This piano is a high-quality piano with good polyphony and a range of features, but it's missing a crucial requirement for the professional performer. The electric piano doesn't have an 88-key keyboard. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but some of the most famous classical works require a full 88-key keyboard. A workaround is to simply play the lowest octave up an octave, and this will work in most instances. However, it's better to just get a full-sized keyboard to begin with. Still, for the beginner who can't spend a lot of money, this piano is an exceptional value.
Williams Legato Digital Piano
This piano is remarkably well-made for a lesser-known brand. Williams creates some truly spectacular value-based electric pianos. This particular piano has a full 88-key keyboard, which makes it essential for a performer who needs to play all of the notes in the literature. The price is low, but you will sacrifice some quality at this price point. There are very few built-in voices, and the piano doesn't have many options for a performer who is heavily into creating digital compositions. However, there is some basic reverb available and the piano does have semi-weighted keys.
While it's exceptionally difficult to select just one electric piano that will fulfill all musicians needs, the Yamaha P115 is our choice for the best balance of features and mobility. This piano will appeal to the professional and beginning pianist. It also meets the needs of the serious electronic musician and composer, and the realistic feel will make it easier to transition between this piano and an acoustic one. It's a great piano for practice, performance and recording, and the price point simply can't get much better.