Casio isn’t a brand that needs much introduction. They’re prolific in the digital piano scene, and their released-in-2019 PX-S lineup has been an innovative instrument that we thoroughly enjoyed during our playtests, though it wasn’t without controversy.
While many outlets and publications praised the portable, slim design, there’s a reason most digital pianos can’t shrink things down any further.
To achieve the impressive form factor, Casio made some design changes that compromised on the authentic feel of the keys, which some classically trained pianists found to be unacceptable.
In this review, we’ll see if these purported improvements actually translate to any noticeable benefit, and if the PX-S5000 is even worth the extra cost over the already solid PX-S1100.
Check the availability and current price of the Casio PX-S5000 in your region:
When it comes to design, the PX-S5000 is based around the ‘S’ in the name, which stands for ‘slim’. From its inception back in 2019, the PX-S lineup has always been focused on delivering digital pianos that were sleek, portable, and compact.
The design of the PX-S5000 is eerily similar to the PX-S1100, and it’s honestly a bit difficult to tell them apart just solely based on physical appearance. Similarities aside, the PX-S5000 still has a striking silhouette that no other manufacturer has attempted to replicate.
In terms of dimensions, the PX-S5000 is 52” (132.2 cm) x 9.1″ (23.2 cm) x 4″ (10.2 cm), and clocks in at an impressively lightweight 25.3 lbs (11.5 kg).
The dimensions are exactly the same as the PX-S1100, though there is a minor bump in the overall weight of 0.7 lbs (0.3 kg). This does give off the feeling that the PX-S5000 is an iterative improvement rather than a radical overhaul.
As per the PX-S1100, the PX-S5000’s smaller profile is perfect for people working with limited space, and it’s still one of the digital pianos you can find without sacrificing essential features like full-size 88-weighted keys and onboard speakers.
I’ve always described Casio’s PX-S lineup as being ‘clean’ and ‘futuristic’, and the PX-S5000 continues this tradition, retaining the PX-S series’ unapologetically glossy surface.
When turned off, the PX-S5000’s front panel is spotless, the buttons and legends only lighting up once you power it up, shining through the transparent surface with strong contrast that works even in darker environments.
While I love how this looks, it’s worth noting that this surface is a fingerprint magnet, as keeping the smooth, reflective surface spotless is basically impossible. I’d recommend having a microfibre cloth at the ready if you do decide to get the PX-S5000.
Do note that the PX-S5000 only comes in black. If you wanted a wider color selection, you’d have to downgrade to the PX-S1100, which has 3 colors for you to choose from.
The control scheme follows the standard layout and design ethos as the PX-S1100.
Casio opted to forgo physical buttons, instead opting to go with capacitive touch controls, similar to smartphone touch screens. This sacrifices tactile feedback, which is something I did miss, as there’d be a bit of uncertainty whenever I try to change the settings.
Do note that this might be a deal breaker if you are visually impaired, as there is no real way to discern button positions via touch. Thankfully, the volume knob is physical, and it feels excellent, coming with some good resistance that allows for precise volume changes.
I do have some gripes, namely the use of button/key combinations.
There are a limited number of buttons available, and there aren’t enough to cover the full gamut of features on offer. Hence, you’ll need to simultaneously press buttons and keys to tweak settings like sounds, effects, and so on.
While Casio included some helpful design cues, like how a sound is previewed whenever you press a key, I do wish Casio opted to use their PX-S3100 chassis as a foundation for the PX-S5000, as it included way more buttons and a screen to help make navigation feel fluid, rather than limiting.
Regardless, if you do end up getting the PX-S5000, I’d recommend having the manual on hand for reference or utilizing the companion Music Space app on your smart device for a more user-friendly user interface.
Finally, the PX-S5000 does come with a battery compartment, which takes in 6 AA batteries.
We did not run this through an endurance test, but Casio does claim up to 4 hours of continuous battery life, which should be enough if you’re using the PX-S5000 in a location without power outlets.
To summarize the PX-S5000’s design, it’s basically the PX-S1100 through and through, and retains the exact same set of pros and cons.
The PX-S5000 features a new key action, called the Smart Hybrid Hammer Action Keyboard.
This is an update to the contentious Smart Scaled Hammer key action found on the PX-S1100 and the PX-S3100 (as well as their predecessors), though it’s arguable if they’ll manage to convert the piano purists.
We’ve already devoted a lot of time discussing why the PX-S1100 and PX-S3100 might not be for everyone, and you can refer to those reviews if you want to get our unfiltered opinions about why these keys are fine, but definitely not for everyone.
Now, does the PX-S5000 do anything to remedy this issue?
The answer is no. If you found the PX-S1100 to be unusable, the PX-S5000 isn’t going to change your mind.
The PX-S5000 shares the same dimensions as the PX-S1100, so there’s no getting around the short pivot length, or the compromises that need to be made in service of that.
I’d say the PX-S5000 is geared towards those who found the PX-S1100’s key action to be acceptable but lacking in terms of ‘feel’. The PX-S5000’s keybed just feels better thanks to its improved construction.
The PX-S5000’s Smart Hybrid Hammer Action keybed makes a few key improvements, which add up to more than the sum of their parts.
First, there is the addition of wooden pieces to the sides of the white keys, contrasting the plastic-only keys from the original PX-S1100. Casio claims this gives the PX-S5000 a more ‘premium’ feel, and I do have to agree.
Similarly, Kawai also added some cushioning to the keys, making them more silent than their predecessor. This is a similar approach to what we’ve seen with Kawai’s KDP120, and it primarily reduces keyboard noise, while also making it so the keys bottom out in a more pleasing way.
The textures of the keys are also slightly changed and are more subtle now. Casio’s marketing materials say that the white keys use an ivory finish, whereas the black keys simulate ebony wood.
These modifications to the PX-S5000 result in an experience that I would simply describe as ‘comfortable’. I consider this key action to be an improvement over the PX-S1100’s, where Casio did the best they could within the limitations imposed by the slim design.
If you felt that the PX-S1100’s keys weren’t right for you, I’d say this is worth another playtest to see if the improvements change your mind.
The PX-S5000 runs off the same Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR engine that powers the PX-S1100, though it does include a few subtle upgrades, just like the keyboard.
In total, the PX-S5000 comes with 23 sounds, 5 more than the 18 you’d get from the PX-S1100. These include:
- 3 Grand Pianos – Concert, Bright and Mellow
- 6 Upright Pianos – Rock, Jazz, Pop, and other variations
- 4 Electric Pianos – Rhodes, Wurlitzer, DX-7 style FM synth and CP-80-style synth piano
- 4 Organs – Pipe, Jazz and 2 electric organs
- 2 String Orchestras
- 3 Miscellaneous – Harpsichord, Vibraphone, Electric Bass, and a new Piano with a Pad layer
Concert Grand Sounds
One of the main selling points we’ve seen from Casio is the inclusion of a German Hamburg Grand sample, something that is ported down from Casio’s high-end instruments, and also something you’d find off the new PX-S7000.
However, this wasn’t something directly apparent from the spec sheet. While there were 5 new additional sounds, the main Grand Piano category seemed to be identical to the PX-S1100, with only a few added variants.
It was only during the playtest session that things became apparent. The default concert grand preset you’d get upon startup has been changed.
The sound is similar to the PX-S1100, giving you a neutral Steinway piano sound, but the fidelity is increased, giving a naturally wider, hall-like sound.
One of the main improvements can be found at the midrange around middle C, where the PX-S5000 just has a more natural, pleasing resonance to the notes. Similarly, the higher registers also sound less harsh.
While the sonic signature of the samples is undoubtedly improved, the underlying piano being emulated sounds the same. At times, I wonder if the improvements come from samples, or if they actually come from engine upgrades.
There is also a major caveat, these upgrades are not obvious when you’re using the onboard speakers. The small speakers (another side effect of the size limitations) just don’t do these sounds justice, shrinking the wide soundscape and diminishing the increased level of detail.
You also get a few more piano variations over the original PX-S1100, such as a Dance and Modern piano which might suit more contemporary use cases.
Much like the PX-S1100, the PX-S5000 includes acoustic modeling functionality, courtesy of the AiR sound engine.
This is a relatively basic offering compared to more in-depth options like Roland’s Piano Designer or Kawai’s Virtual Technician, but it does give discerning players some degree of control.
The 5 tweakable parameters have 4 different intensity values, and an option to turn them off.
- String Resonance
- Damper Resonance
- Damper Noise
- Key On Noise
- Key Off Noise
I’m not someone who dives deep into these menus, and I generally found the concert grand sound to be great right out of the box.
However, if, per-se, you wanted to simulate a close-mic’d setup, you could turn up the noise options to get a more intimate tone, or vice versa.
Most of the non-piano sounds are pretty much the same as those found on the PX-S1100, with the main standouts being the electric pianos and the jazz organs.
The 1st and 2nd electric pianos attempt to recreate a Rhodes and Wurlitzer piano, both featuring a bit of grit and overdrive. When combined with the lightweight key action, these sounds are a ton of fun to play, and they sound great too.
On the other hand, the synthesized pianos are a bit bright for my tastes, but these were well-designed sounds that might work for 80s-era pop songs.
Finally, the Jazz organ has a nice rotary speaker emulation that gives it an authentic air, even if the rotary speed isn’t modifiable.
The remaining sounds include the usual suspects, such as your harpsichord, vibraphones, strings and bass. These are perfectly usable for practice purposes, but likely won’t make the cut as main, center-stage sounds.
All in all, the non-acoustic piano sounds are fine, and provide you with a solid sonic palette for all your practice needs (and possibly beyond).
Summary on Sounds
Overall, the PX-S5000 has a good sound selection, with the primary acoustic and electric pianos being the standouts.
If you’re primarily a piano-based performer, the PX-S5000 should be a valid choice, though more demanding gigging musicians might need to look elsewhere for a wider range of sounds.
The PX-S5000 shares the same simple effects section as the PX-S1100. The effects include a hall simulator/reverb, surround mode, a chorus, and brilliance.
The hall simulator/reverb is an expanded version of the same effect featured on the PX-S1100, giving you a way of simulating a sense of space with all voice presets.
The 4 hall algorithms from the PX-S1100 return, alongside 8 additional reverb algorithms. These range from rooms to sprawling stadiums, and the effect depth can be modified in 42 distinct steps.
Surround mode also attempts to simulate a sense of space, and seems to add a bit of artificial widening to the sounds. I didn’t find this necessary, and I’d recommend leaving this off for most cases.
The chorus effect comes with 4 different presents, ranging from light to a flanger effect. This effect is nice to have, as the subtle light settings were perfect for adding some richness to the electric piano sounds.
Finally, there’s the brilliance effect, which serves as a basic treble EQ for the PX-S5000. This setting isn’t all that tweakable, having only 7 levels, but it is a decent option for taming sounds that might feel a bit too bright.
The PX-S5000’s effects section comes with the bare essentials, but I still wish there was just a bit more here to justify the price hike over the PX-S1100.
The PX-S5000 comes with stereo 8W speakers, and these seem to be the same set of speakers as the PX-S1100. It’s a bit disappointing that Casio didn’t give the speakers another facelift with the PX-S5000’s release.
I was excited to see Casio adding on to the improvements we saw going from the PX-S1000 to the PX-S1100, where clarity and low-end response were improved with some minor tweaks to the design.
At the very least, those upgrades are still present on the PX-S5000. The frequency response feels quite even across all bands, and there’s no longer any trace of the muddiness you’d get with the original PX-S1000, as long as you restrict yourself to reasonable volume levels.
I think the price hike justifies a bit more scrutiny, and I’d expect a bit more from Casio, just because prospective buyers have a lot more options to choose from at the higher asking price.
The PX-S5000 has 192 notes of maximum polyphony, the same amount available on the PX-S1100. In general, this is enough to work with for most songs, even when you’re layering multiple sounds simultaneously.
In terms of features, the PX-S5000 comes with the exact same feature set as the PX-S1100, including the Bluetooth functionality via the complementary WU-BT10 wireless connector.
These are a few notable settings on the PX-S5000:
- STRETCH TUNING. This functionality was introduced with the PX-S1100, allowing you to turn off stretch tuning, which is on by default
- METRONOME. Plays a steady rhythm for practice purposes, tempo and time signature can be set, with common classical tempos such as Largo, Lento etc. being included
- TRANSPOSITION. Changes the notes triggered by each key, in a range of 12 semitones up and down
- OCTAVE SHIFTING. Changing the octaves of individual parts when using split or layer mode
- TEMPERAMENT. Includes 17 different preset tunings
- TOUCH SENSITIVITY. 5 different intensities to fine-tune the velocity sensitivity of the keys
The PX-S5000 includes 3 main modes: Layer, Split, and Duet Play Mode.
Layer mode triggers two sounds simultaneously with each key press.
For example, you can layer strings with the piano to get a ballad-style tone. Note that the bass tone cannot be used for layering.
Split mode, splits the keyboard into left- and right-hand sections, each with a different selected preset. The split point is modifiable. Do note that only the bass sound is available for the left-hand side.
There is also Duet Play Mode, which splits the keyboard into two sections with identical octave ranges. This feature is primarily for teachers who want to sit alongside their students for easier demonstrations during lessons.
Song Recording and Playback
The PX-S5000 comes with 60 built-in songs available for lessons, with left- and right-hand parts being toggle-able. You can also use the built-in song recorder to record your own compositions.
Each song can consist of up to roughly 10,000 notes. The song can consist of up to 2 tracks, allowing for some basic overdubbing or splitting left- and right-hand parts over different recording sessions.
A USB flash drive can also be used for transferring songs to and from the PX-S5000, though you can also use Bluetooth or USB connectivity options to record songs directly onto your devices.
The PX-S5000, much like the PX-S1100 doesn’t come with Bluetooth functionality built into the chassis. However, it does come with the WU-BT10 wireless adaptor, which slots into the USB Type A port as a Bluetooth receiver.
The Bluetooth connection supports both audio and MIDI. This means you can let the PX-S5000 function as an external Bluetooth speaker to playback songs, while also allowing you to work with supported applications, such as Casio’s companion app, Music Space.
Casio’s Chordana app has now been integrated into a new app called Music Space, which also comes with additional functionality.
If you share my dislike for button/key combinations, this app will feel like a godsend.
This companion app allows you to control the PX-S5000’s many features directly via your smart device’s touchscreen. It also integrates Casio’s piano tutorial and song-learning features.
The process of setting things up is straightforward, and the app seemed to work fine on my smartphone. Judging by the high ratings (3.5 stars on Google Play at the time of writing, which is relatively high compared to the competition), I’d say that most people share these sentiments.
In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the PX-S5000 also includes a few analog connection options to round things out.
For headphone use, the PX-S5000 comes with two 1/8″ headphone jacks on the front of the unit’s front left side, adjacent to the keys.
This arrangement facilitates dual listening, although it would have been beneficial if Casio had considered incorporating a 1/4″ jack as an alternative.
If you want to work with external amplifiers or speakers, the PX-S5000 provides stereo 1/4″ line outputs, adaptable for mono utilization if needed. This is a great feature that is commonly omitted, so I’m glad Casio is catering to gigging musicians.
A damper pedal jack is also included, allowing for compatibility with most standard sustain pedals available in the market, as well as the included SP-3 pedal that comes with every purchase.
If you want to use a triple pedal unit, there is the proprietary pedal unit jack, which supports the SP-34, which comes as a separate purchase.
There is also a USB Type A port, which is primarily used for Bluetooth connectivity via the WU-BT10 adapter. This same port can also be used with flash drives for transferring of recorded songs.
Finally, there is the USB Type B port enabling interaction between the PX-S5000 and a host computer. This aspect is particularly beneficial for recording artists seeking a MIDI controller.
Note that USB Audio support is absent, so you’ll need an external audio interface to use the Hamburg samples in your own recording setup.
Overall, the PX-S5000 covers most of your needs for practice, gigging, and even recording to some extent. Even with the lack of USB audio capabilities, there really isn’t a lot to criticize.
The default PX-S5000 package comes with the following accessories:
- SP-3 damper pedal
- WU-BT10 Bluetooth Adapter
- Music rest
- AC adaptor
- Owner’s manual
This package should give you enough to work with, but there are a few additional purchases that can help elevate things even further.
The SP-3 damper pedal operates as a switch-style pedal, serving its purpose but not appealing to everyone. If you’re seeking a classic pedal shape or need soft and sostenuto functions, you’ll have to make an additional purchase.
Casio suggests considering the SP-34 as an extra option, designed to complement the PX-S1100 (and the PX-S5000 by proxy). This triple pedal setup is sturdily constructed and feels comfortable to use despite its compact size.
While I didn’t find this all that necessary while reviewing the comparatively more basic PX-S1100, I’m much more tempted by this with the PX-S5000, as the half-pedaling functionality is very welcome with the PX-S5000’s higher fidelity samples.
With that said, you might find the additional soft and sostenuto pedals to be unnecessary, which would make a generic damper pedal with half-damping support quite appealing.
I would recommend Korg’s DS-1H, which is a workhorse damper pedal that has all the necessary features, while also matching surprisingly well with the PX-S5000’s compact form factor.
The PX-S5000 is compatible with a matching wooden stand, the CS-68 as recommended on the product page. This is the same stand designed for the PX-S1100.
The CS-68 feels robust, and its simple, minimal design complements the PX-S5000’s sleek frame quite nicely. If you want to have the PX-S5000 be a centerpiece in a room, the CS-68 should work nicely.
Alternatively, you can consider using a generic X- or Y-stand. The PX-S5000’s compact dimensions allow it to fit on most stands.
Headphones come in handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.
Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.
Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your keyboard.
The PX-S5000 can be easily described as an improved version of the PX-S1100.
There are two crucial components that make a digital piano great: the sound and the keys, and the PX-S5000 makes marked improvements in both of these regards.
However, it feels like the PX-S5000 is held back by the PX-S1100.
The improved samples are gorgeous, but the speakers don’t do them justice, leaving you with a piano tone that sounds very reminiscent of the PX-S1100.
Similarly, the PX-S5000 somehow feels less advanced than the PX-S3100, which was an instrument crammed to the brim with features and sounds that made it a competent instrument despite the divisive key action.
Back in our PX-S1100 review, I concluded that the PX-S1100 did just about enough to justify the version number bump, but only just. The PX-S5000 feels like a step in the same direction, but I don’t think I can give it the same praise I gave the PX-S1100.
If we were to judge the PX-S5000 on its own merits, it’s a decent digital piano for the price. However, I’m not as enamored by the innovative design, considering that the PX-S1100 did this more than a year ago.
I’d say the PX-S5000 targets a very specific set of customers. If you felt the PX-S1100 just needed a bit more to justify a purchase, the PX-S5000 might be enough to push it over the threshold.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the PX-S5000, I’d strongly recommend checking out the PX-S1100, which is almost the same instrument with a few minor downgrades (at just over half the price!).
Check the availability and current price of the Casio PX-S5000 in your region:
Casio PX-S5000 vs Casio PX-S3100 (Full Review)
So far, the PX-S3100 is my favorite instrument from the Privia PX-S lineup, solving most of my complaints about the PX-S1100 (and the PX-S5000 by proxy).
First, it has a more involved control scheme with more buttons and a screen, eliminating the for workarounds via a companion app. It also includes a pitch bend wheel and assignable knobs, catering to performers who prefer tactile interactions.
Moreover, the PX-S3100 boasts 700 built-in sounds, a significant leap from the PX-S5000’s limited 23.
This range can be further expanded through a customizable effects section and integrated rhythms, providing the PX-S3100 with arranger capabilities. You can even save preset registrations for convenient recall.
With that said, it’s worth noting that the PX-S3100 lacks the upgraded key action and sample set of the PX-S5000, as it used the PX-S1100 as a foundation to build upon. This also means you’ll be subject to the divisive key action, which might be a deal breaker to some.
If a more fully featured version of the PX-S5000 sounds even remotely interesting, I’d strongly recommend considering the PX-S3100, especially given its cheaper asking price.
Casio PX-S5000 vs Roland FP-60X (Full Review)
The FP-60X stands in stark contrast to the PX-S5000.
The PX-S5000 sticks to its slim and portable design, but this meant a few design decisions that won’t be to everyone’s taste. On the other hand, the FP-60X is Roland flexing its design muscles, wrapping their tried-and-true workhorse digital piano style in a gorgeous design.
The FP-60X has a design derived from Roland’s FP-90, which won the 2017 Red Dot Award for instrument design, a reward that is well deserved.
Unlike the PX-S5000’s minimal control scheme, the FP-60X includes a ton of buttons and even a screen for easier navigation.
These controls are also very much welcome, as there are 79 sounds with a ton of customizability on offer.
The dual 13W speakers also ensure you get to hear the changes you might be making, such as equalization changes via the onboard 3-band EQ, or even piano modeling via the onboard “Piano Designer”.
Roland’s PHA-4 Standard key action is also commonly regarded as one of the best budget-level piano actions. Its keys have a consistent weight and standard pivot length, which gives a more realistic feeling than the PX-S5000.
The downside here is the lack of portability.
The FP-60X is 42.5 lbs (19.3 kg), which is nearly 2 times the weight of the PX-S5000. It’s also larger and lacks the capability of being battery-powered.
If you find yourself unhappy with the PX-S5000’s design compromises, the FP-60X’s opposite design philosophy might be worth looking into. While it doesn’t try to innovate beyond the standard digital piano template, it does do its job well.