6 Best Digital Pianos Under $800 for Intermediate Players

best digital pianos under 800

Nowadays, there’re plenty of high-quality digital pianos in the 500-800$ price range that, if chosen correctly, will meet the needs of intermediate and recreational piano players, and provide a lot of room to grow.

how to choose a digital piano

In the past 2 years, most major manufacturers (Yamaha, Kawai, Roland) have introduced updated versions of their intermediate pianos, which have become even more realistic and technologically advanced.

Unfortunately, as the market becomes more saturated, and new models are being introduced, it becomes more difficult to find the right instrument.

Moreover, an intermediate piano means different things to different manufacturers.

So my main goal is to make choosing your digital piano as straightforward and enjoyable as possible by explaining every aspect of each instrument and comparing them thoroughly so that you know exactly what they offer.

choose digital piano

First, I encourage you to take a look at the table below to familiarize yourself with all the digital pianos that made it into the list.

Comparison table of the 6 best digital pianos under 800$

  • Keys
    Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most digital pianos and keyboards have 88, 76, or 61 keys.
    In reality, 76 keys are enough to play most modern pieces. Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.
  • Hammer-Action
    There are 3 most common types of actions:
    1) Non-weighted - most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
    2) Semi-weighted - common action for budget portable keyboards (usually cost <300$). Spring-loaded mechanizm adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.
    3) Fully-weighted (hammer action) is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers (rather than springs) attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements found inside a piano.
  • Touch Sensitivity
    The volume produced by the instrument changes depending on how hard or soft you play the keys.
    Touch Response, Velocity Sensitivity, Touch Sensitivity are different terms for the same thing.
  • Tone Generator
  • Polyphony
    The number of notes a piano can play at once.
    The more polyphony the better, especially when layering several sounds or using backing tracks, etc. When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for the new ones, which affects the sound and its fullness.
    It’s desirable to have at least 64 notes of polyphony.
  • Built-in Tones
  • Modes
    1) Split - divides the keyboard into two parts, allowing you to play a different instrument sound in each of them.
    2) Dual (Layering) - allows you to layer two different sounds so that they sound simultaneously whenever you press a key.
    3) Duo (a.k.a. Duet Play, Partner Mode, Twin Piano) - devides the keyboard into two halves with identical pitch ranges (two middle Cs) allowing two people to play the same notes at the same time.
  • Lesson Function
    The ability to use built-in/user songs for practice by turning off the left/right hand part of a song and practice it along with the playback of the other part.
  • MIDI Recorder
    Allows you to record and playback your own performances right onboard.
    Multi-track recording (2 and more tracks) allows you to record several musical parts on separate tracks and play them back as a single song.
  • Audio Recorder
    Allows you to record the audio output of the instrument and save it to a flash drive usually in WAV format (Linear PCM, 16bit, 44.1 kHz, Stereo).
    You can then share your recording on social media, upload it to SoundCloud, burn to CD, etc.
  • Accompaniment
    Auto accompaniment feature will enrich your playing with a full backing band (rhythm, bass, harmony) making you performance a full-fledged song.
  • Transpose,Tuning
    1) Transpose function allows you to shift the overall pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps. 2) Tuning function allows you to shift the pitch from the standard A440 tuning in 0.1Hz or 0.2Hz steps.
  • Preset Temperaments
    Ability to change the standard “Equal Temperament” tuning to other tuning systems better suited for playing certain styles of music (Indian, Arabian, classical).
  • Metronome
    A useful tool for practice that will help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills by providing a steady beat to play along with.
    Some pianos allow you change the conventional click sound of the metronome to various drum rhythms.
  • USB Type B
    This port will allows to connect the keyboard to your computer/tablet and use it as a MIDI controller with music apps like GarageBand, Synthesia, FL Studio, etc.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
    Allows you to connect to other devices wirelessly (to exhnage MIDI data and control music making apps) in the same way as using USB type B port but without any cables/adapters.
  • Speakers
  • Weight
  • 88
  • Responsive Hammer Compact (RHC)
  • 3 types, OFF
  • Harmonic Imaging™ (HI)
  • 192 notes
  • 19 (8 pianos)
  • Dual, Split
  • 3 song books (106 songs)
  • 1-track, 3 songs
  • 7 types
  • (+100 rhythms)
  • Midi In/Out
  • 8W + 8W
  • 26.5 lbs
  • 88
  • PHA-4 Standard with Escapement and Ivory Feel
  • 5 types, OFF
  • SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine
  • 128 notes
  • 35 (4 pianos)
  • Dual, Split, Twin Piano
  • 1-track, 1 song
  • (+8 rhythms)
  • 11W + 11W
  • 31 lbs
  • 88
  • Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • 3 types, OFF
  • Pure CF Sound Engine
  • 192 notes
  • 24 (4 pianos)
  • Split, Dual, Duo
  • 50 songs
  • 2-track, 1 song
  • (+20 rhythms)
  • 7W + 7W
  • 26 lbs
  • 88
  • Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II
  • 3 types, OFF
  • Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR
  • 128 notes
  • 19 (5 pianos)
  • Dual, Split (Bass only), Duo
  • 60 songs
  • 2-track, 1 song
  • Concert Play
  • 17 types
  • 8W + 8W
  • 69.4 lbs
  • 88
  • Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • 3 types, OFF
  • Pure CF Sound Engine
  • 192 notes
  • 554 (10 pianos)
  • Split, Dual
  • Yamaha Education Suite (100 songs)
  • 6-track, 5 songs
  • 80 min per song
  • 205 styles
  • 6W + 6W
  • 46.3 lbs (+ 15.5 lbs stand)
  • 88
  • Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II
  • 3 types, OFF
  • Multi-Expressive Integrated (MXi) Sound Engine
  • 128 notes
  • 550 (28 pianos)
  • Split, Dual, Duo
  • 16-track, 100 songs
  • 74 min per song, 100 songs
  • 200 styles
  • 17 types
  • 20W + 20W
  • 26.2 lbs (+ 30.5 lbs stand)

When compiling this list, we were looking for the following criteria:

  • 1) 88 full-size hammer action keys (full-size)
  • 2) Authentic piano sound (at least 3 different piano tones)
  • 3) A good range of dynamics: ability to play very soft (pianissimo) up to very loud (fortissimo)
  • 4) Polyphony: at least 128 notes
  • 6) Onboard MIDI recorder
  • 7) USB MIDI or Bluetooth MIDI connectivity.
  • 8) Standard functions like metronome, transpose, layering etc.
  • 9) Price < 800$
  • 10) Only well-established manufacturers with a good reputation (Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, etc.)

Now let’s take a closer look at each of the instruments try to figure out which of them is best suited to your needs and experience.

I’ve divided the list into 3 sections so that you understand the core differences between these instruments:

1) Portable Digital Pianos
Compact & Lightweight digital pianos aimed to provide a realistic piano playing experience. They usually have minimal extra sounds and features. Suitable for gigs as well as for home use.

2) Console Digital pianos
This type of digital pianos is a perfect choice for home use. Console digital pianos come with a furniture-style cabinet and 3 piano pedals. They are not meant to be moved around a lot and also mainly target piano players.

3) “Multi-purpose” (Entertainment) Digital Pianos
These digital pianos not only provide a realistic piano sound and feel, but also have hundreds of instrument sounds, accompaniment styles, songs and other so-called bells and whistles designed to bring more fun and productivity to your playing sessions.

They are also perfect for non-professional music making as they usually offer multi-track MIDI and audio recording function.

Portable:

1) Kawai ES110 – Best piano playing experience in this price range

kawai es110 review

Kawai has recently updated its portable digital piano lineup with the new ES110.

It’s the most affordable piano in Kawai’s arsenal, but without a doubt, the ES110 is one of the most realistic digital pianos in its class.

Kawai is known for its highly realistic keyboard actions and incredibly realistic sound. Well, the ES110 is no exception.

The piano features the newly designed Responsive Hammer Compact action with 88 full-size matte-finished keys.

Even though the keyboard uses 2-sensor technology and doesn’t have simulated Ivory keytops, it feels very responsive and nice to the touch and, in my opinion, beats every other action on this list.

The ES110’s sound is another area I’m extremely pleased with.

The piano uses Harmonic Imaging™ (HI) sound processor, which delivers a very realistic, natural piano sound sampled from the Kawai 9-foot EX Concert Grand Piano.

There’re 10 different piano tones recorded using different methods and equipment in order to recreate various nuances and characters of sound (studio, mellow, modern, etc.).

Moreover, the ES110 allows you to adjust various elements of piano sound such as damper resonance, fall-back noise, damper noise, temperament, etc.

The P-125/DGX-660 and the ES110 are the only pianos in this price range that have 192-note polyphony.

Apart from realistic playing expirience the ES110 offers some nice “bells and whistles”. The piano comes with 106 built-in songs, MIDI recorder, and 100 drum patterns to practice your timing.

Kawai continues to stick with traditional MIDI In/Out ports, which nowadays are being replaced by USB ports.

While I also prefer the USB type B port for connecting to a computer, the ES110 offers an even better solution.

The piano supports Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, which means you can connect to any smart device supporting Bluetooth and exchange MIDI data wirelessly without using any cables.

So for example, you can connect the ES110 to the iPad and create music with the GarageBand app or learn new songs with Synthesia, etc.

Another advantage of the ES110 is that unlike the other keyboards, it comes with a high-quality chrome sustain pedal with half pedal support.

Kawai is probably not as popular as Yamaha brand, but if you’re looking for an instrument with a natural piano sound and feel and don’t bother with extra sounds and features, the Kawai ES110 is the number one piano to consider.

In this price range, it’s really hard to beat this keyboard when it comes to piano playing.

 

 

2) Yamaha P-125 – Most popular choice for intermediate players

yamaha p125 review

The P-125 is the new midrange model in Yamaha’s Portable (P) series. Just like its extremely popular predecessor (P-115), this keyboard is going to be just as successful considering all the new features and improvements it brings over the previous release.

That’s why it’s usually the first keyboard intermediate players consider for purchase.

The P-125 features 88 fully-weighted keys with Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action.

It’s Yamaha’s most basic weighted system, which can also be found in the P-45 (next model down). But it’s still a decent action for a keyboard designed with portability in mind.

The GHS utilizes 2-sensor detection system and has smooth plastic keys (no simulated ivory feel); the black keys have a matte finish which gives them a nice non-slippery feel.

The sound is the area where the P-125 really shines, and there’re three components responsible for that:

  • At the heart of the piano is the Pure CF sound engine, which provides an incredible piano sound sampled from the Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ Concert Grand.
  • The 192-note polyphony ensures you hear every detail of your performance without notes being cut off even when you layer multiple sounds or use backing tracks.
  • The P-125 also has a very decent 2-way sound syste, which consists of four speakers with 2 x 7W amplifiers. They deliver and a rich, well-balanced sound and thanks to the two dedicated true-circle speakers the piano a great bass response.

The P-125 has a standard set of features, nothing groundbreaking here. Everything from a metronome and transpose function to Split/Dual/Duo Modes and onboard MIDI recorder is available with this piano.

It’s worth mentioning that unlike its main competitors (with 1-track MIDI recorder), the P-125 has a 2-track recorder, which will allow you to record left and right hand to a separate track, and practice each hand part independently turning off one of the tracks.

Unfortunately, the P-125 doesn’t offer many options for sound customization. It doesn’t have preset temperaments (other than Equal) and doesn’t allow you to adjust the elements of piano sound like damper noise, resonance, etc.

Despite the fact that some other pianos on the list have more advanced features such as Bluetooth connectivity, more options for sound customization, and more built-in sounds, the Yamaha P-125 is still a solid intermediate piano for anyone seeking reliable action and authentic piano sound in a compact, gig-friendly instrument.

 

 

3) Roland FP-30 – Powerful, Compact, Innovative

roland fp30

The Roland FP-30 is the main competitor to the previous two pianos (P-125 and ES110). I’ve seen lots of players arguing about which instrument sounds and feels more realistic.

But really, it all comes down to your personal preferences. And while the best option is to compare these three pianos in person, it’s not always possible.

So let’s look at what the FP-30 has to offer and how it compares to the pianos from Yamaha and Kawai so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

The FP-30 is a relatively new and the least expensive model from Roland’s portable FP series. The piano is equipped with the PHA-4 Standard Keyboard with Escapement and Ivory Feel.

The Casio PX-770 and the Roland FP-30 are the only pianos in this price range that offer simulated Ivory key tops and utilize triple-sensor detection system, which allows for faster note repetition and more responsive playing experience.

While Kawai’s RHC action seemed a little bit more realistic to my fingers, the PHA-4 is my second favorite action in terms of authenticity and responsiveness.

When it comes to sound, the FP-30 is just as good.

At the heart of the instrument is Roland’s famous SuperNATURAL modeling technology, which is known for its rich and deep piano sound easily distinguishable from other brands.

Just take a listen:

The FP-30 is the only piano at this price point that simulates string resonance and key off resonance found on an acoustic piano, which makes the sound even more realistic.

Thanks to the powerful 2 x 11W speaker system, the piano can also boast a very good dynamic range from the soft pianissimo to the thunderous fortissimo.

The FP-30 offers a wide selection of instrument sounds (34) as well as all the standard features.

The piano is equipped with two types of USB ports, type B and type A. The USB type A (not available on the P-125, ES110) can be used to plug in a flash drive to the piano to playback MIDI/WAV files which you can also play along with.

Moreover, the piano supports Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, which you can use with Roland’s Piano Partner app and tons of other music apps for music making, learning, etc.

Unfortunately, the FP-30 doesn’t have a Lesson function, which means you won’t be able to practice the R and the L hand parts of the built-in/external songs separately.

The good news is that certain apps (e.g. FlowKey , Synthesia ) can easily solve that problem, allowing you to use hundreds of songs for practice each hand part independently.

The Roland FP-30 is about 100$ more than the Yamaha but, in my opinion, it’s worth the extra money. Realistic hammer action, lots of nice features and an incredible piano sound are the things that make the FP-30 one of the best portable digital pianos under 1000$.

 

Console Type:

4) Casio PX-770 – Casio’s most affordable console piano

casio px-770 review

When it comes to console digital pianos, the PX770 is the only piano in this price range that I recommend.

The PX-770 is the latest piano in Casio’s Privia line and was released just a few months ago.

The piano comes with a furniture-style cabinet and 3 piano pedals.

The piano features Casio’s well-known 3-sensor Graded Hammer Action Keyboard II with simulated Ivory & Ebony key tops, which feels quite realistic and have proven to be a solid action for beginner through intermediate+ piano players.

The piano is equipped with the upgraded AiR sound source, which comes with a new 4-layer Grand Piano sound and 18 other instrument sounds.

And you can tell right away that the new piano tone has been considerably improved with more natural resonance and decay times.

It’s safe to say that nowadays Casio offers piano sound, which is on par with the sound of Kawai, Roland, and other high-end brands.

Moreover, thanks to the cabinet design, the PX-770 sounds slightly fuller and deeper than the portable models, despite the 2 x 8W speakers, which are not the most powerful on the list.

The PX-770 is equipped with a standard set of features including a metronome, layer/split function, 1-track MIDI recorder, USB type B port, etc.

The piano also offers Casio’s unique feature called Concert Play, which allows you to practice and play along with live recordings (10 different tunes) of a symphony orchestra. I really had a lot of fun playing around with this feature.

Overall the Casio PX-770 offers incredible value for the money, and I can’t think of any other high-quality console digital piano in this price range that could compete with this machine.

The piano would be a great alternative to the previous three pianos for those who don’t care much about portability and wants a full-featured digital piano with a cabinet and 3 pedals, which feels and sounds close to a real acoustic piano.

 

“Multi-purpose” :

5) Yamaha DGX-660 – Not just a digital piano

yamaha dgx-660 review

In 2016 Yamaha introduced the DGX-660, a new digital piano in the Portable Grand line, which replaced the successful DGX-650 model.

When it comes to piano playing, the DGX-660 is almost identical to the P-125 model.

The keyboards share the same Graded Hammer Standard action, the Pure CF sound engine, and 192-note polyphony.

And that’s where the similarities end.

Aside from realistic piano playing experience, the DGX-660 offers a whole world of sounds, rhythms, songs as well as impressive capabilities for learning and music making.

There are 554 instrument sounds, 205 accompaniment styles, 100 preset songs, over 300 sound effects available for your playing enjoyment.

To record your music, you can use either 6-track MIDI recorder, or audio recorder, which will record the audio output of the instrument (rather than MIDI data).

Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S) provide 3-step lesson function, which you can use to practice preset songs. You can also download hundreds of MIDI songs from the Internet and load them into the instrument.

The DGX-660’s monochrome display will show you the notes and the keys (on the virtual on-screen keyboard) you need to play at each point of time.

The connectivity capabilities of the DGX-660 are also quite impressive.

Along with the standard headphone and sustain jack, the piano is equipped with two types of USB ports (type A and type B), an AUX In port (to play music from your smartphone/ mp3-player through the DGX-660’s speakers) as well as a Mic In port, which will allow you to connect a microphone to the piano and sing along as you play.

The good thing about the DGX-660 is that it comes with a sturdy matching stand, which will allow you to save some money on buying a stand for the instrument.

Unfortunately, with the increased amount of features, Yamaha had to increase the size of the instrument as well. The DGX-660 is not as portable and gig-friendly as the P-125 and therefore mostly suitable for home use.

Compared to the P-125, the DGX-660 is about 6 inches deeper and 35 lbs heavier. At the same time, due to the bigger front-facing speakers, the DGX-660 sounds slightly fuller and richer than the P-125.

The Yamaha DGX-660 would be a great alternative to regular digital pianos that only a few built-in sounds and basic features. The DGX-660, on the other hand, offers much more than realistic piano sound and feel. It’s designed to make playing, learning and making music as fun and intersting as possible.

Kids and those who may feel bored after long piano practice sessions will enjoy playing around with all the fun and useful features on the keyboard, which will keep them engaged and interested for hours.

 

 

6) Casio CGP-700 – Ideal creative partner with color touch screen and 40W speakers

casio cgp-700 review

The CGP-700 is the direct competitor to the DGX-660. Not only because the keyboards have the same price tag, but also because they are indeed very similar.

The CGP-700 , just like the DGX-660, is a very versatile keyboard that offers a realistic piano experience as well as lots of features for music production and learning.

The piano features Casio’s famous tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II with simulated Ivory & Ebony keytops, which to my taste provides a more realistic feel than the DGX-660’s GHS keyboard.

It’s the same keyboard as used in the PX-770 model that we’ve talked about above.

Speaking of sound, the CGP-700 doesn’t use the popular Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source we’re used to seeing on most Casio digital pianos.

Instead, it features MXi (Multi-Expressive Integrated) sound processor, which also provides a very full and rich sound, which delivered by the 40W speakers is almost unbeatable in this price range.

However, listening through headphones, I liked the DGX-660’s piano tone a little bit more.

The two main features of the CGP-700 are its screen and speaker system.

First of all, the CGP-700 comes with a 5.3” color touch screen, which provides an extremely convenient user experience, and allows you to change all the settings/parameters on the fly. It’s much more enjoyable and easier to use than the DGX-660’s monochrome LCD.

Secondly, the CGP-700, just like the DGX-660, comes with a stand. But, in the case of the Casio, aside from the four speakers on the keyboard itself there’re two low-frequency speakers built into the stand, which in total gives you 40W of total amplification.

No other digital piano in this price range can offer such powerful sound.

Another advantage over the DGX-660, is that once the CGP-700 is detached from its stand, it becomes a compact, portable instrument, which you can take to gigs, rehearsals and move around more easily. The size and weight of the keyboard itself are almost identical to the PX-160 model.

As for the sounds and features, the CGP-700 boasts 550 built-in sounds, 200 accompaniment styles, 128-note polyphony, layer/split functions, duo mode (not available on the DGX-660), 17 reverb, 16 chorus and 6 delay types.

The CGP-700 features a 17-track MIDI recorder with memory capacity for 100 songs. You can also record your music using a built-in Audio recorder (WAV format).

Wrapping up, the DGX-660 offers slightly more sounds, styles, and effects as well as a higher polyphony count and arguably a better piano sound.

The CGP-700, on the other hand, offers a much more powerful speaker system, a more convenient 5.3” touch screen and arguably a more realistic keyboard action.

In general, the CGP-700 and the DGX-660 target the same consumers, and are very similar at their core, so it all comes down to personal preferences and what you appreciate the most in a digital piano.

 

Final Words

As you can see, there’re plenty of really good pianos at this price point that will satisfy even the pickiest intermediate players. And it’s really not that difficult to make the right choice as long as you know what you’re looking for.

The first 3 digital pianos (P-125, ES110, FP-30) are perfect for those who appreciate mobility and want to be able to easily move a keyboard around and gig with it.

At the same time, there are also perfectly suitable for home use, especially considering that there’re home bundles available on Amazon, which include a furniture stand and 3-pedal bar.

But in this case, you may also want to consider the 4th piano (PX-770), which is a great instrument with a console design and 3-pedals. It would be a more affordable option, but only suitable for home use as it can’t be used without its stand.

The last two pianos (DGX-660, CGP-700) would be the best options for those who don’t just want a regular digital piano but a little studio, an entertainment center and a piano all in one instrument.

In case you feel that we left out some other great digital pianos under 800$, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Intermediate Digital Piano – Buyer’s Guide

Well, our top 6 list is based on what we believe are the best digital pianos under $800 available on the market.

This might not suit you, so we prefer you to have a look at all the information below. That will help you choose your digital piano and understand the important aspects and characteristics of these instruments.

KeysAction TypeTouch-sensitivityPolyphonyModesLesson FunctionMIDI recorderAudio RecorderAccompaniment Transpose, Tuning USB type A USB type B

Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most keyboards and digital pianos have 88, 76, or 61 keys.
76 keys are enough to play most (99%) modern pieces. Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.

how many keys acoustic piano

There are 3 most common types of actions:

1) Non-weighted – most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
2) Semi-weighted – common action for budget portable keyboards (usually cost <300$). Spring-loaded mechanizm adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.
3) Fully-weighted (hammer action) is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers (rather than springs) attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements found inside a piano.

hammer action

If your main goal is to play piano that you’ll definitely want a keyboard with hammer action keys. It’s the only type of action that feels close to real piano keys and will help you build proper finger strength and technique, making it much easier to transition to an acoustic in the future.

Touch-sensitivity (also called velocity-sensitivity or touch-response) is a very important feature of any keyboard or digital piano, which means that the volume produced by the instrument will change depending on how hard or soft you play the keys.

It’s not a big deal nowadays as almost any $150+ keyboard have touch-sensitive keys regardless of its action type.
Much more important is whether the keyboard is weighted or not. Keyboards with fully-weighted action often have adjustable touch-sensitivity.

polyphony digital piano

The polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.

Most of the contemporary digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.

You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all together.

First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two notes for each key played.

Another thing is that the use of the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), Dual mode (layering) and even the metronome tick sound take up additional notes of polyphony.

For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.

In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for a backing track.

When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for the new ones, which in turn affects the sound and its fullness.

You’ll hardly ever need all the 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at a time, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limit, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.

For an intermediate player it’s desireble to have 128 notes of polyphony or more.

Along with the “standard” keyboard mode, digital pianos usually offer additional modes for using two instrumen sounds at the same time or playing four hands.

Here are the most popular modes that digital pianos offer nowadays:

1) Split – divides the keyboard into two parts, allowing you to play a different instrument sound in each of them. For example, you can play guitar with your left hand and piano with your right hand at the same time.

split mode
2) Dual (Layering) – allows you to layer two different sounds so that they sound simultaneously whenever you press a key. For example, you can layer strings with the piano sound or combine whatever sounds you like to get some new interesting sounds.

dual mode layering
3) Duo (a.k.a. Duet Play, Partner Mode, Twin Piano) – devides the keyboard into two halves with identical pitch ranges (two middle Cs) allowing two people to play the same notes at the same time.

Duet Play is particularly useful when you use it with your teacher or tutor who will be able to play you some tunes on one side of the keyboard, and you’ll be able to follow along on the other playing the exact same notes

duo mode duet play

lesson function

Some digital pianos allows you to turn off the left or right hand part (track) of a song (built-in or downloaded from the Internet) and practice it while listening to the playback of the other part.

Pianos that have this function usually have a multi-track MIDI recorder.

midi recorder

MIDI recorder allows you to record and playback your own performances right onboard.

Multi-track recording (2 and more tracks) allows you to record several musical parts on separate tracks and play them back as a single song. You can also experiment with your recording by turning off some of the recorded tracks.

MIDI-recording is not the recording of the actual sound of the instrument. Here, we’re recoding the MIDI data (a sequence of notes, their length, velocity and other parameters).

audio wav recording

Built-in Audio recorder will allow you to record the audio output of the instrument and save it to a flash drive usually in WAV format (Linear PCM, 16bit, 44.1 kHz, Stereo).

You can then share your recording on social media, upload it to SoundCloud, burn to CD, etc.

Audio recoding is much more universal than MIDI recording and allows you to get a CD-quality audio file playable on most modern devices.

accompaniment function

Accompaniment function will enrich your playing with a full backing band (rhythm, bass, harmony) making you performance a full-fledged song.

The accompaniment (rhythm + bass + chords) changes according to the notes you play with you left hand (chords or even single notes if you don’t full cords).

In other words, you manage the “band” with your left hand (by specifying chords) and play the main melody with your right hand.

Some instruments offer several accompaniment modes, and allow you specify chords using the full range of the keyboard.

transpose tuning

1) Transpose function allows you to shift the overall pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps. The function is particularly useful when want to play a song in a different key but don’t want to change your fingering and learn it in a new key.

So, for example, if you know how to play a song in F major, you can transpose the pitch and play the song in C major without actually learning it in a new key.

You can also transpose a song written in a difficult key (e.g., many black keys) into a different key with easier chords, hearing it as you were playing in the original key.

2) Tuning function allows you to shift the pitch from the standard A440 tuning in 0.1Hz or 0.2Hz steps.

You can use this function to match your piano’s pitch finely to that of other instruments or music (old piano, tape).

usb type A to device

Also called USB to Device port or USB drive port. The port is used to plug in a flash drive into the piano to exchange files quickly and easily.

For example, you can load MIDI songs into the piano’s internal memory for playback or rehearsal.

Alternatively, you can play back WAV and MIDI files (depends on the isntrument) directly from the flash drive without loading them into the piano’s flash memory.

And finally, you can save your own performances recorded with the instrument to the flash drive as well as load them back when needed.

usb type B to HOST

Also called USB to Host terminal. This jack can be used to connect a computer or a tablet (using special adapter) to exchange songs/files, and MIDI data.

This connection will allow you to use the piano as a MIDI controller to control music making apps (e.g. GarageBand) and music learning apps (e.g. FlowKey)

There are actually many other apps that can expand the functionality of a digital piano in terms of learning, composing, recording, editing, notation creation, etc., depending on the kind of software you use.

Some brands offer their own free apps designed for certain models. Such apps usually enable you to control all the settings and functions of the instrument using an intuitive on-screen interface.

You might also like:

One Response

  1. Ashikur Rahman January 10, 2018

Leave a Reply

shares