Casio Privia PX-860 Digital Piano Review
The digital or electric piano is an important way to learn and practice the piano. It's convenient because digital pianos have all kinds of extra features to make it easier to master tough passages. Some digital pianos are useful for performing, recording, editing, or other roles. The Casio Privia PX-860 is a high-end model worth your attention.
What To Consider Before Buying A Piano
By far the most important task is identifying the reason you need a digital piano. Every digital piano has a unique combination of price and features, so it's crucial that you know what you want in advance. That way you know where to look and you are less likely to pay for a feature that you will never use.
The Casio Privia PX-860
The Privia PX-860, or just the 860, is one of the highest-end digital pianos that Casio sells. The instrument retails for a thousand dollars and comes with its own stand that includes a music stand for sheet music and a full set of three pedals. The 860 is in the advanced end of the digital piano market. It doesn't have a particularly long list of features, but it does boast an excellent reproduction of an acoustic piano sound and playing experience. The instrument is meant to help people play the piano when they might not have enough room at home to store one, or if this is a more affordable option than buying a full piano.
Features and Benefits
The designers at Casio did their best to include as many elements of the piano as they could. For example, there is a simulation that controls whether the tone sounds like a piano with the lid open or the lid closed. String resonance, damper resonance, and ivory keys are all simulated. There is even software that changes the response and tone based on how quickly you release a key in the same way an acoustic piano would respond. The Hall Simulator mode changes the sound to reflect different potential acoustic environments. All of this accompanies effects like chorus and reverb, plus a master EQ, to give you a high-fidelity replication of piano play.
The underlying samples that drive the piano voice are enhanced by Casio's newest sound tech. It's called Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source. The system allows for not only detailed and clear notes with a max polyphony of 256, but also a natural sustain and falling-off from each key press. These are difficult and complex systems and Casio has managed to do an excellent job at recreating them. All of these combine to create a great tone across all of the 18 voices.
Despite the price of $1000, the 860 is actually reasonable in terms of what you get for the money. The key is to know before buying that this is a piano-centric choice. Some digital pianos have hundreds of different voices and can simulate dozens of different instruments, or even full bands. That's not the case with the 860. Among piano-centric digital pianos, few combine the quality of samples with the attention to detail in simulation. Those that do tend to cost at least twice what the 860 does. making it a relative bargain.
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Value for the Money
The DGX-660 from Yamaha is a little cheaper at $800. It is also a piano-centric design, but it has a few more recording-friendly features. Specifically, it has an aux in port that you can use to attach a microphone or another instrument and accompany yourself or record a backing track for your piano play. This comes at the cost of samples that are not quite as good and a lack of simulated piano aspects.
Style: Piano, Accompany
Casio Privia PX_860
Williams Symphony Grand
The Williams Symphony Grand costs $1300 and contains a longer feature list and number of voices than the 860. Again, it doesn't have the same piano simulation tools, but it has a large library of good samples and both learning and recording tools. It also has USB, MIDI, and Bluetooth support and the ability to use the speakers for playback from a mobile device.
Willam Symphony Grand
Casio Privia PX_860
Yamaha YDP143R Arius
The YDP143R is another Yamaha entry. It costs slightly more than the 860 at $1100. The 143R has very high-quality samples, but doesn't have all the piano simulation tools. It does have more tone control and iOS compatibility for its modes and features through an app. It comes with 50 preloaded songs to learn and a 2-track recording feature, which can isolate each hand to a separate track.
Casio Privia PX_860
The digital piano space is a competitive one, and each model has its unique advantages. In the case of the 860 those are its software simulations of certain aspects of the piano, like the lid, resonance, and key release. Other models specialize in other advantages and features. If you choose to invest in an advanced digital piano that costs $1000 or more, you should expect excellent quality for what you need it to do, and it should last years. Any of the models in this post should be well-suited to your needs if they meet your budget and your goals for using the piano.