Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano Review

Digital beginner piano is a key element in learning to play the piano. They provide a useful practice opportunity and special features for training and learning. Among these, the Korg B1SP stands out for its value and feature set. In this article I'll explain what makes it great and point out some alternative beginner piano options that might be attractive for their own reasons.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Digital Beginner Piano

Digital pianos can vary significantly based on their feature set and their sound. Sound can change based on the max number of tones the piano can play, or the polyphony, the quality of the samples the piano uses, and the number of different voicings. Features can be anything that makes the piano easier to play, recording and teaching tools, ports, sample songs, automatic accompaniment, smart chord play, and so on.

The Korg B1SP 88

The B1SP focuses on creating a good experience for students and teachers to learn collaboratively. Its feature set, price, and tools support using the B1SP as a supplement to playing an analog concert piano. It emphasizes quality and depth over a broad array of different features. Its price of $600 places it right in the middle of the intermediate digital piano market.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Good learning tools
  • Realistic key action

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Not loud enough for performance in large rooms

Features and Benefits

8 Voices with Quality Samples

Korg B1SP 88 Weighted Key Digital Piano

The B1SP comes with 8 different voices: three different acoustic pianos, two electric pianos, two organs, and a harpsichord. Each one has its own set of high-quality samples to ensure that it is accurate. The acoustic piano voices tend to sound the best, but the level of quality is high for all sets of voices. Other pianos have more voices but the quality usually drops off outside of the electric and acoustic pianos. At this price point it is hard to find better samples.

Ease of Use

There are two main features in the B1SP that make it especially suitable for play. The first is the Natural Weighted Hammer system. This is a common feature that causes the weight of the bass keys to be greater, or heavier, than the treble keys. This mimics the action of an analog piano, where the heavier strings of the lower keys cause the same effect. The other feature is the music rest, which makes it easy to place guiding music that will stay in place while you play.

Partner Mode

Partner Mode is a special feature that is meant to support duets or student/teacher pairs. It reprograms the keys so that the keyboard becomes split into a pair of two evenly-sized half-boards. That makes it possible for a teacher and a student to play the same notes at the same time, so the student can follow the teacher along. This comes at the price of half the notes, but it's the perfect way to teach a particularly challenging passage. Partner Mode is especially useful for working with younger students who need to see the hand motions up close.

​Rating

Design

5

Performance

5

Construction

3

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

4

Alternatives

Korg SP280BK

Korg SP280BK

The SP280BK is, in many ways, a direct upgrade of the B1SP. It costs $700. It has a slightly expanded selection of voices, the same music rest and weighted hammer system, and a significantly better speaker, which sounds great in large rooms. It has the same guiding philosophy as the B1SP but has better performance for a higher price. It is probably not as good value, but it's the logical step up.

Comparison

Korg SP280BK

Price: $700

Voices: 12

Key Feature: Enhanced speaker

Korg B1SP

Price: $600

Voices: 8

Key Feature: Partner Mode

Yamaha P71

Yamaha P71

Yamaha is a different brand that takes a divergent approach from Korg. While Korg tends to focus on a narrow set of high-quality features, Yamaha prefers to pack in a wide variety of features for different users. The P71 is less expensive than the B1SP at $400. It has Dual Mode, which lets you play two voices at once. Speaking of voices, the P71 has 10 of them of reasonably high quality.

Comparison

Yamaha P71

Price: $400

Voices: 10

Key Feature: Dual Mode

Korg B1SP

Price: $600

Voices: 8

Key Feature: Partner Mode

Williams Rhapsody 2

Williams Rhapsody 2

The Rhapsody 2 has an assortment of features that simulate effects. It has 12 voices including synth and electric bass, and the FX control adds a special effect unique to each voice. It has sustain and sustenudo pedals, weighted keys, and its own stand. The Rhapsody is a composing-friendly instrument because it can build a wide variety of instrumentations.

Comparison

Williams Rhapsody

Price: $500

Voices: 12

Key Feature: FX Control

Korg B1SP

Price: $600

Voices: 8

Key Feature: Partner Mode

Final Thoughts

The Korg B1SP is a strong intermediate digital piano that combines value and quality. At this price point, it is a good buy for teachers, parents, students, or anyone looking for a good portable practice piano. The samples are of as good quality as many more expensive digital pianos. If you like it, there are some extra add-ons you can buy, like a stand and a set of pedals. It works best for those who want to use it to hone their skills on the piano, especially if they are working with a teacher. The alternatives are good for anyone who wants more features, more voices, or an emphasis on a bigger variety of uses. These are all suitable options for this price segment and are all budget-friendly.

Stephanie Su
 

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