The world of pianos – especially digital pianos – can be very confusing and overwhelming, not only for beginners but also for seasoned musicians!
Today we’re going to answer most (if not all) of the questions that may pop into your head when you’re looking for the “perfect” digital piano.
In this guide, we’ll cover all the important things you should know before buying a digital piano or keyboard.
Though I do believe that no digital piano is perfect, this guide will help you to better understand how to pick the instrument that’s right for YOU and to narrow your options to 1-2 models that suit you the best.
People often fail to do proper research, choosing instead to rely on the product with the most Amazon reviews. While this may work with some products, it doesn’t work with digital pianos.
What make things even worse is that there are many unreliable online resources (not pointing fingers here) that write about this topic without having any experience with digital or acoustic pianos whatsoever.
So be careful where you get your info from, and make sure you trust the source before you go and make any BIG DECISIONS!
With that out of the way, let’s jump into the good stuff and talk about the magical world of digital pianos.
First, you should know how digital pianos differ from their acoustic counterparts and why you might prefer one over the other, so let’s address this first.
When it comes to digital pianos, the main challenge engineers face is to reproduce two things accurately: the sound and the feel of an acoustic piano.
Both tasks are very difficult because there’s too much going on inside this amazing musical instrument.
Strings, hammers, and keys are the elements that produce the sound in an acoustic piano.
When you press a key, the attached hammer strikes the corresponding string(s), which vibrates and makes a sound.
Digital pianos don’t have strings, and the hammers are only used to add weight to the keys and to recreate the mechanical movement found in the traditional instrument.
To reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano and other musical instruments, digital pianos use samples.
What are Samples?
A sample is a small audio recording of a musical instrument’s sound, or of any other sound (ocean waves, sirens, wind, etc.).
Samples can also be excerpts from recorded songs. For example, a five-second bass guitar riff from a funk song can be a sample.
In this article, we’ll focus on samples used to reproduce the sound of musical instruments.
Sampling is not limited to acoustic pianos. It is widely used for guitars, strings, organs, electric pianos, drums, flutes, strings, and many other musical instruments.
Usually, samples are recorded at different velocity levels (multi-samples) to naturally respond to the way you play the keys (from the softest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo).
In recent years, technology has become so sophisticated that high-end digital pianos provide sound that’s almost indistinguishable from a real piano.
When it comes to major brands, the recording process usually looks like this…
In a professional recording studio with a perfectly tuned acoustic piano (a grand piano in many cases), manufacturers record each note played at different volumes using multiple high-fidelity microphones.
So if the process is roughly the same for all manufacturers, why don’t all digital pianos sound the same?
Well, there are still a lot of things that manufacturers do differently.
The ultimate sound you get depends on many factors:
- 1) The acoustic piano model used to record the sound and the condition of the instrument.
- 2) The equipment used to capture the sound.
- 3) The placement of the mic(s) during the recording.
- 4) The acoustic environment where the recording was done.
- 5) The post-processing and algorithms used to model complex tonal interactions, like string resonance, damper resonance, cabinet resonance, etc.
- 6) The length of the samples and the amount of memory dedicated to them on a digital piano.
- 7) The number of velocity layers recorded for each note. The more velocity layers, the more natural volume transitions and better expressiveness you get.
Generally, more memory means that longer/higher-quality samples with more velocity layers can be stored on a digital piano.
Cheaper models have less memory, so manufacturers have to take a slightly different approach.
Rather than recording each individual key of an acoustic piano, they record every second or every third note and then stretch the samples using modeling technologies to fill the gaps.
Moreover, to avoid using gigabytes of sampling data, many manufacturers cut off a part of the sample to reduce its size.
For example, when you depress the sustain pedal and play, say, C3 on an acoustic piano, the note will continue to resonate for well over 10 seconds.
While this helps to create a perception of a longer decay, it’s not the same decay that you hear on an acoustic piano, which is much more complex and dynamic than a simple volume decrease.
The same applies to velocity layers.
If there’s only one or two layers recorded for each note on a digital piano, it becomes very difficult to reproduce the wide dynamic range of an acoustic piano.
In that case, to recreate the dynamics, the tone generator of the digital piano will just increase/decrease the volume of the same sample rather than using separate layers for different velocities, which is never ideal.
On an acoustic piano, the sound changes not only in volume but also in character, depending on how hard or soft you press the keys. So it’s not just a matter of simple volume change.
Now, if you’re beginner, you may not even notice these nuances, since manufacturers do try to make those transitions as smooth and realistic as possible.
However, if you have a more trained ear, this could become an annoying thing that bothers you every time you play the instrument, which is never fun.
Another interesting technology that has been gaining popularity is called Physical Modeling.
Various modeling techniques and advanced software recreate the physical behavior of the acoustic instrument, in which hundreds of elements interact with each other, making up the ultimate “imperfect” sound that we hear.
While sampling remains the most popular technology in digital pianos today, you’ll hardly find a digital piano that doesn’t use some kind of modeling on top of its samples (e.g., for string resonance, damper resonance, etc.) to further improve the sound and make it sound more natural.
There are also some digital pianos that use purely modeled piano sound with no samples at all.
For example, most Roland high-end digital pianos today feature the SuperNATURAL Piano Modeling sound generator that uses only physical modeling to produce the sound.
There are also various VST plugins that provide piano modeled sounds and effects.
There’s a lot of debate today over which technology produces a more accurate, natural sound, but let’s leave that for another article. I’ll only say that both technologies have pros and cons. It’s ultimately a mixture of both that yields the best results.
If you want a quick overview of the primary differences, please refer to the video below and to our table that shows the pros and cons of digital pianos.
The difference between a digital piano and a keyboard easily causes confusion.
In fact, people often use these terms interchangeably, not realizing that these are two different instruments designed with different purposes in mind.
While every digital piano can be called a digital keyboard, not every keyboard should be called a digital piano.
Digital pianos come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but one thing stays the same.
A digital piano aims to mimic the feel and sound of an acoustic piano as closely as possible.
The first thing you’ll notice is that all digital pianos come with a full set of 88 fully-weighted, hammer-action keys.
In fact, this is the most obvious distinction from keyboards, which usually have only 76 or 61 non-weighted or semi-weighted keys.
Another important aspect is the sound.
This is achieved by using high-quality multi-samples, as well as sophisticated modeling that simulates organic elements of a piano’s sound, such as sympathetic resonance, damper resonance, key-off effect, etc.
Digital pianos are straightforward instruments designed as an alternative to their acoustic counterparts. Generally, you won’t find hundreds of built-in sounds, songs, accompaniment styles, and interactive features on a digital piano.
Here is a quick overview of digital pianos and their main features:
Digital (aka electronic) keyboards are a slightly different beast.
The most obvious difference from digital pianos is that they don’t try to replicate an acoustic piano, or this isn’t their main focus.
As with digital pianos, there are different types of electronic keyboards. There are portable arranger keyboards, synthesizers, music workstations, MIDI-controllers, etc.
These days, it can be tricky to categorize a particular keyboard since they feature sets often overlap with other keyboard types.
Now let’s take a quick look at each keyboard and digital piano type to point out their main differences. We’ll start with digital pianos.
As I mentioned before, digital pianos aim to reproduce the feel and sound of an acoustic piano as closely as possible.
Yet not all digital pianos are created equal. There are different types of digital pianos, and depending on your needs and budget, you may prefer one over another.
Let’s go over each type and define their main features and usage scenarios.
Portable digital pianos are also known as “slab pianos” and are probably the most popular type of digital piano. The biggest advantage of these instruments is their design.
They don’t come with a base (stand) and like portable keyboards they can be moved around with ease and stored when not in use.
The main difference from portable keyboards is that portable digital pianos have a full range of 88 hammer-action keys, like an acoustic piano.
This makes them considerably heavier than non-weighted keyboards, though they’re still much lighter than acoustic pianos. The sound quality is also superior due to higher quality samples, a higher polyphony count, and a wider dynamic range.
Price is another big reason why portable pianos are so popular.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that you’ll probably want to buy a stand for your portable piano, which can cost you an extra $30-$100, depending on the design (see the Accessories section).
- Yamaha P-45 | Review
- Yamaha P-125 | Review
- Casio CDP-S160 | Review
- Casio PX-S1100 | Review
- Kawai ES120 | Review
- Roland FP-30X | Review
- Roland FP-90X | Review
- Kawai ES920 | Review
- Casio PX-560 | Review
- Yamaha P-515 | Review
- Roland FP-60X | Review
Console digital pianos are the second most popular type of digital pianos.
They come closest to an acoustic piano in terms of the main elements – sound, touch, and look.
The console design of a digital piano has both its upsides and downsides.
On the one hand, you get an all-in-one instrument that comes with everything you need to start playing right away – no need to buy separate stands or pedals!
Plus, with their sleek and elegant design, console pianos make a beautiful addition to any home.
On the other hand, console pianos can be quite heavy and bulky, typically weighing in at anywhere from 70 to 150 pounds.
While they’re easier to move around than a traditional piano, they’re not exactly designed to be carried around a lot, so keep that in mind if you’re considering one for your home.
But hey, if you’ve got the space and don’t plan on moving it too much, a console piano could be just the ticket!
The prices of console digital pianos differ greatly, ranging from $700 to $5,000 or more. It largely depends on how closely a digital piano resembles a real acoustic piano.
- Casio PX-870 | Review
- Yamaha YDP-145 | Review
- Roland F701 & RP701 | Review
- Kawai KDP120 | Review
- Korg G1 Air | Review
Upright digital pianos are a sub-type of console digital pianos.
They feature big, fancy cabinets that are nearly identical to that of an upright piano. This is the most expensive type of digital piano (not counting digital grands and hybrids).
Not only do you get the design of an acoustic piano but also a sophisticated hammer action (often with wooden keys), incredibly detailed samples, and a multi-speaker sound system.
Digital Grand Pianos
This is the least common and most expensive type of digital piano.
Many digital grand pianos from the big brands (e.g. Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai) cost more than a new upright.
Just like upright-style digital pianos, these offer an uncompromising playing experience, delivering big, powerful sound via their state-of-the-art speaker systems.
The big body of a grand piano helps this instrument produce an impressively deep, resonant sound that resembles the sound of a real grand piano.
Prices start at $1,500 for the inferior ones (from Williams and Suzuki) and go up to a whopping $15,000 for superior brands like Yamaha and Kawai.
Technically speaking, an arranger digital piano isn’t a distinct type of digital piano. But for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to refer to it as one anyway!
So what is an arranger digital piano?
Well, think of it as a digital piano that’s been beefed up with all sorts of extra features you’d typically find on an arranger keyboard.
But here’s the kicker – despite all those extra bells and whistles, an arranger digital piano still manages to maintain top-notch piano samples and all 88 hammer-action keys. Pretty cool, huh?
Unlike classic digital pianos, these instruments come with a whole world of built-in sounds, rhythms, songs, effects, and recording features.
As a result, their control panels are often cluttered with buttons, dials, and displays/touchscreens to improve the user experience.
In many cases, there is a stripped-down version of an “arranger” model that provides a very similar piano experience but lacks many of the extra features (e.g. Yamaha DGX-670 – P-125; Casio PX-S3100 – PX-S1100; Casio PX-780 – PX-770; Yamaha CSP-series – CLP-series).
Stage pianos are like the roadies of the digital piano world – they’re built tough and ready to rock the stage!
Unlike traditional digital pianos that try to mimic the look of an acoustic piano, stage pianos prioritize portability and convenience for musicians on the go.
But just because they’re built for performance doesn’t mean they skimp on quality.
Like any good digital piano, stage pianos focus on providing realistic acoustic piano sounds and touch response. Plus, they often come equipped with a variety of other tones like electric pianos, organs, and even some basic synth sounds.
The front panel is usually more streamlined, focusing on hands-on control, which allows you to make quick changes on the fly. Stage pianos are also more adept at sound shaping, providing various sound effects and parameters that you can adjust to get the “right” sound.
So whether you’re rocking the stage or laying down tracks in the studio, a stage piano might just be your best choice.
The most obvious difference from slab digital pianos is that stage pianos don’t normally have built-in speakers. This is because they are designed for use with an external amplifier or PA system.
- Roland RD-2000 | Review
- Yamaha CP88 | Review
- Nord Stage 4 | Review
- Nord Piano 5 | Review
- Nord Grand | Review
- Korg SV-2 | Review
- Korg Grandstage | Review
- Kawai MP11SE
[Comparison Table of Digital Piano Types]
Now that the digital pianos types are out of the way, let’s quickly go over the main keyboard types.
Portable Arranger Keyboards
Portable keyboards (a.k.a. portable arrangers) are often mistaken for digital pianos, but they differ in important ways.
Due to their affordability, portable keyboards are a popular choice for beginners who aren’t fully committed to mastering the piano yet.
However, they don’t offer the same level of realism in sound and touch as a real piano, so it can be challenging to fully understand or experience what it’s like to play on an acoustic piano.
A typical portable keyboard cost anywhere from $100 to $300 and comes with 76, 73, or 61 semi-weighted or unweighted keys.
Unlike the fully-weighted action on digital pianos, a semi-weighted/unweighted action doesn’t use hammers to recreate the feel of an acoustic piano.
Price aside, there are a few other advantages of portable keyboards.
As you can tell from their name that they’re very portable.
Most of these keyboards are only 10-15 lbs., so you can drag them around with ease. You can place them on a table or store them away when not in use.
Another advantage of portable keyboards is all the extra features and functions they provide.
Most portable keyboards are loaded with hundreds of sounds, songs, rhythms, and other so-called bells and whistles.
While I prefer quality over quantity, and many of the built-in tones sound plasticky and unrealistic, these features are definitely a plus for those who want to explore various instruments and styles and to have fun with interactive features.
That’s why portable keyboards are a favorite among beginners, including children. Ultimately, the choice depends on your individual needs and desired musical goals.
The comparison table below sums up the main differences between digital pianos and portable keyboards.
A synthesizer is an electronic keyboard that generates or copies a wide variety of sounds and is commonly used in music production.
Synths allow you to create virtually any kind of sound you can imagine, including sounds of musical instruments, voices, the wind, a burst, a siren, a car, and the list can go on forever.
How is it possible?
Well, synthesizers come with a set of basic waveforms and pre-recorded sounds, which you can mix together, as well as alter the sound’s attack, sustain, decay, and release time, add filters and effects to get the exact sound you need.
Arranger Keyboards / Workstations
Arrangers are designed primarily for professional musicians and a wide variety of backing tracks (chord and rhythm patterns) that will match the style, rhythm, and tempo of whatever you’re playing.
This allows composers and songwriters to create an accompaniment for a song quickly and easily without calling in musicians to play all instruments live.
A keyboard workstation is like a computer built into a keyboard.
Workstations combine a wide range of tools and allow users to perform a wide variety of tasks, including sound synthesis, sequencing, audio recording, working with sound effects/filters, etc.
They usually come with hundreds if not thousands of top-notch sound samples, which can be customized with knobs and sliders that allow you to control various sound parameters on the fly.
Watch the video below to better understand the difference between keyboard workstations and professional arrangers:
A MIDI controller (aka MIDI keyboard) is a device that generates and transmits MIDI data to other electronic devices that can interpret the data and can trigger sounds or control sound parameters accordingly.
A typical MIDI controller is a piano-style keyboard, which connects to a computer and sends MIDI data to it via USB or MIDI ports.
MIDI controllers can’t produce any sounds on their own (there’s no sound engine inside).
They only track your key presses (velocity, length, pressure) and various control elements (knobs, sliders, pads, etc.). That data is then sent to your computer or another musical keyboard that generates the actual sound.
Most MIDI-controllers have non-weighted keys and are not designed to mimic the feel of an acoustic piano. The non-weighted action facilitates non-piano sounds, like synths, organs, electric pianos, etc.
Refer to our MIDI Connection Guide to learn more about how to use your keyboard as a MIDI controller and about what you can do when connected.
When it comes to digital pianos I recommend sticking with the following brands:
- Yamaha | Full Brand Overview
- Roland | Full Brand Overview
- Casio | Full Brand Overview
These are proven, reliable brands that provide the best technology in the industry unmatched by other brands.
Buying a digital piano from one these 7 brands will save you the time and headache of dealing with lesser-known brands that deliver poor build quality and provide an unrealistic sound and feel.
While this may not always be the case, do you really want to take that chance?
Brands to Avoid
There are many more I could mention, but these are the most popular ones.
Digital pianos from these manufacturers usually look good and are very affordable, but their sound realism and key action leaves a lot to be desired.
Keyboard actions come in 3 main types:
- 1) Non-weighted
- 2) Semi-weighted
- 3) Fully weighted (Hammer Action)
The mechanism used determines how much force is required to press a key and how closely the action resembles an acoustic piano.
Your playing style and needs will determine which type of action is best for you.
This is the most lightweight action, which is found commonly in organs, synthesizers, entry-level keyboards, and other keyboard-based instruments that don’t aim to mimic the feel of an acoustic piano.
The synth action uses a basic spring-loaded mechanism. The keys are usually thin and small with a light plastic feel.
The action will likely feel uncomfortable to piano players as it’s just too quick and springy.
At the same time, for some types of music (other than the piano) synth action is preferred for its playability and light feel, perfect for playing synth leads, organ tunes, etc.
A semi-weighted action feels similar to the synth action, yet it offers slightly more resistance and better control. It uses the same spring-loaded mechanism, but compared to synth action, the keys feel heavier thanks to either stiffer springs or additional weights.
As a result, the keys return to their “up” position a bit more slowly. Even so, the action is far from what you get on an acoustic piano and is not recommended if you want to focus on piano playing.
It’s a basically a middle ground between a synth action and a fully-weighted action, making it perfect for those who don’t want the heavier feel of the hammer action or those who constantly switch between piano and non-piano sounds.
Semi-weighted actions are commonly found in music workstations, arranger keyboards, and some stage pianos (usually versions with fewer than 88 keys)
Fully Weighted (Hammer Action)
A hammer action keyboard is designed to replicate the touch and feel of an acoustic piano.
To achieve this goal, manufacturers add little hammers under (or behind) each key to recreate mechanical movement similar to a real piano.
However, not all hammer action keyboards are created equal.
A cheap $500 piano and a fancy $5,000 piano can both have hammer action keys, but the way they feel will be totally different.
Typically, the more you spend, the more advanced the hammer system is going to be.
High-end models often have real wooden keys with an escapement mechanism that recreate every nuance of an acoustic piano action, including the design of the hammers themselves.
Also, the total length of each key (including the part behind the fallboard that you don’t see) is usually much longer compared to that of entry-level digital pianos.
This becomes more important as you develop your playing skills. The longer the length of the keys, the further back you can have the pivot point, which makes it easier to play further up the keys.
If your goal is to learn to play the piano, I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice on a fully-weighted keyboard as opposed to a semi-weighted or an unweighted one.
This is the only type of key action that facilitates developing proper finger strength and technique. Moreover, it will make it much easier to transition to an acoustic piano further down the line (if you decide to do so).
Popular Features of Hammer Action Keyboards
There are many new terms and technologies that you will run into when looking for a digital keyboard.
Here are some of the most common and important ones that you should know and understand.
Functions and Features
Not only do digital pianos provide versatility and convenience not available on acoustic pianos, but they also come with a bunch of extra features that make playing and learning more enjoyable.
The tone of an acoustic piano is quite complex and consists of many different elements.
Depending on the model, digital pianos reproduce various nuances of piano sound to get even closer to the sound of a real acoustic piano.
Moreover, you can often customize these parameters, giving you the ability to create a personalized tone that suits your preferences and playing style (e.g. by adding more resonance, less hammer noise, etc.)
Other elements of piano sound reproduced in some digital pianos (typically higher-end models) include:
- Hammer Noise
- Key On/Off Noise
- Damper Noise
- Cabinet Resonance
- Aliquot Resonance
- Undamped String Resonance
While some of these elements are subtle and obscure, they add to the overall realism and produce a more organic sound.
The ability to connect to other audio gear and smart devices is another important advantage of digital pianos and keyboards.
By connecting your instrument to external devices you can open up a world of possibilities when it comes to learning, music creation, and performing.
While digital pianos can serve you for a long time (sometimes 10 or more years), their lifespan tends to be shorter than acoustic pianos, and this is not necessarily due to wear and tear (though this also can be the case).
The digital piano market is thriving and constantly evolving, with new models and features being introduced every year to enhance the playing experience and bring even more realism to the sound and feel of the instrument.
It’s similar to the electronics market in general, where new technologies and features are constantly being developed and released.
Consequently, a digital piano you bought, say, 10 years ago, will have a hard time competing with models introduced only a few years ago. That’s why you’ll find few people using a 20-year-old digital piano today.
And since digital pianos haven’t been around for that long, it’s kind of hard to predict the future direction of the industry and if such trends continues.
That being said, today for around $1,000 you can buy a pretty decent digital piano that sounds and feels close to an upright piano, which serve you for many years to come.
One reason is the obsolescence we just talked about, and another one is wear and tear.
While digital pianos are electric instruments with fewer elements that can break or wear out compared to acoustic pianos, there is still some mechanical wear and tear that needs to be considered. This is especially true for the key action.
Over time, it can develop more noise (the felt under the keys wears out, the keys become clunkier and looser, etc.), which can make the playing experience less enjoyable.
How fast will that happen? It depends.
First, it will come down to the key action itself.
It should come as no surprise that higher-end digital pianos with higher-quality and more sophisticated action mechanics will serve for more years than a $300 keyboard.
Maybe you’ll be playing it for an hour or two several times a week, or you might have a big family and your kiddos will bang on those keys daily for hours.
Either way, by the time your digital piano needs repair/maintenance, there will probably be newer, better models available on the market, and the question is, “Will you be willing to invest money into repair?”
In some cases, repairs can be half as expensive as the piano itself, or in other cases, it is easier to get a new model instead.
Getting parts can also be difficult, especially if your digital piano is more than 10 years old.
When it comes to acoustic pianos, the situation is different because they tend to cost considerably more than digital pianos and “obsolescence” is not really a thing for them.
So it makes much more sense to repair an acoustic piano than to repair a digital one.
But it all depends on your situation of course, and if you’re a happy owner of the Kawai Novus NV10S (~ $15,000) or the Yamaha AvantGrand NU1X (~ $8,000), it will probably make more sense to repair your instrument than to get a new one. But that’s a different story…
There are several accessories that you may consider purchasing with your digital piano, depending on your specific needs and preferences.
Nearly all console digital pianos come with an integral stand (cabinet) and 3 pedals, so you don’t need to spend extra money on that.
Most portable pianos don’t come with a stand of any kind and only include a small plastic sustain pedal (footswitch). So with portable models, you’ll likely to spend more money on additional accessories than with the console ones.
When it comes to stands, you basically have two options.
You can buy a portable Z- or X-type stand that is portable and easy to store away when not in use. Such stands are usually collapsible and adjustable, making them even more versatile.
A second option is to purchase a furniture-style stand, which is often offered by manufacturers for their portable models. These stands are sturdier than X-type stands and are better suited for home use. They can also add a more elegant look to your digital piano setup.
The price of furniture-style stands can be as much as $100-$150.
When it comes to piano pedals, there are three options to consider.
The first one, is to use a sustain pedal that comes with your instrument.
Most entry-level digital pianos come with a flimsy, plastic footswitch that feels nothing like an acoustic piano pedal. But it still does its job and, for a beginner, it would be a satisfactory solution.
On the other hand, if you’re a more experienced player and something more substantial and realistic, you may want to consider a piano-style chrome pedal that looks and feels like a real piano pedal.
Luckily they aren’t very expensive, and I often recommend the M-Audio SP-2, which has proven to be a reliable high-quality sustain pedal that will work with any keyboard that has a damper jack (most of them do).
If you require more than just a sustain pedal (the most commonly used piano pedal) but also need the soft and sostenuto pedals found on an acoustic piano, consider buying a 3-pedal unit that many manufacturers offer as an accessory for their digital pianos.
Usually, those 3-pedal units are designed to be fastened to a furniture-style stand (both should be compatible with your specific piano model).
Choosing a good pair of headphones for your digital pianos is probably as important as choosing a digital piano itself, especially if you’re going to spend a lot of time using them.
Your headphones play a crucial role in delivering the sound of your digital piano to your ears. Investing in a quality pair can make a big difference in the richness and depth of sound you experience, leading to a more enjoyable playing experience.
Check out our guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your digital piano.
Alright, you’ve purchased a digital piano, but you need to sit on something, right? That’s where a piano bench comes in!
There are a variety of options on the market, so it’s relatively easy to find the one that catches your eye and fits your budget.
There are basically two types of benches:
The price of a bench varies from about $20 to $60+ depending on the type, brand name, and materials.
Check out our guide on how to choose the best bench for your instrument.
There are several types of external speakers that you can use with your digital piano.
A keyboard amp is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about amplifying a keyboard.
It usually consists of a power amp and a speaker housed in one unit.
Keyboard amps are designed to provide a more powerful, higher-quality sound, with a better bass response compared to onboard speakers.
Amps are quite versatile and can be used in a variety of situations, starting from a small band rehearsal and ending with big performances and live events.
There are a few factors you need to consider before buying external speakers including portability, power, input and output channels, extra features, etc.
Are you planning to take your digital piano on the road or maybe to a friend’s house for a jam session?
Well, then you definitely want to protect your investment with a keyboard bag! Not only will it keep your piano safe during transport, but it also makes carrying it around a breeze. Plus, you’ll look like a pro musician showing up with your trusty digital piano in its sleek carrying case.
Some manufacturers offer their own branded keyboard bags, while others don’t. Regardless, you have many options from other trusted brands like Gator, Kaces, etc.
Here are my two favorite protective cases for long-distance travel:
For light travel, you don’t need those heavy-duty plastic cases, which are quite expensive.
However, if you’re traveling by plane or train, one of those cases is a must if you want to keep your instrument safe.
For car travel, you’ll be better off with something lightweight and less expensive.
Here are some great keyboard bags that I recommend for light traveling:
- 1. Gator Padded Gig Bags
- 2. Gator Pro-Go Gig Bags (with removable backpack straps)
- 3. Snigjat 88-Key Keyboard Soft Case
- 4. Yamaha Soft Case for 88-Key Keyboards
When it comes to buying a digital piano, there are two ways you can go – order online or buy in a physical store. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
While I always recommend playing the instrument in-person to ensure that YOU like how it sounds and feels, this may not always be an option.
Let’s look at advantages and disadvantages of buying offline vs online.
Despite strong competition from online retailers, brick and mortar stores are a popular place to buy musical instruments and digital pianos in particular.
- 1) You can try out the instrument in person to find out what you like or don’t like about it.
- 2) It’s much easier to make a decision and be confident about it when you have actually played the piano yourself.
- 3) You receive personalized attention from the sales staff. You can get a recommendation from a sale’s person for your particular situation (needs and experience), as well as a demonstration of how the instrument sounds from a listener’s perspective.
- 4) You can pick up your piano immediately, without having to wait for delivery (in most cases).
- 1) A sale’s person might influence your decision and can talk you into buying a piano you’re hesitant about or don’t like.
- 2) Prices in physical stores tend to be higher than online, especially in small local ones.
- 3) You’re often stuck with a very limited selection of models (usually the ones that make the retailer the most money).
Online sales for musical instruments are growing every year, and people are definitely getting more confident buying a digital piano online today compared to, say, 5 years ago.
And this is not surprising considering the many advantages of buying online.
- 1) Save time and effort (saving on gas, no parking hassles, no need to wait for a sale’s person, etc.)
- 2) Enjoy the convenience of shopping at home, 24/7.
- 3) A wide range of models is available. Almost any digital piano or keyboard can be purchased online.
- 4) Get more information from consumer & expert reviews, forum discussions, and video demonstrations, which are more trustworthy sources of information than the opinion of a salesperson.
- 5) There’s no pressure. You can take your time and weigh all the pros and cons to make a thought-out decision, avoiding the salesperson influence.
- 7) The “price + shipping (usually free)” is often lower compared to brick-and-mortar stores.
- 8) If you have some issues with the piano and it’s still under warranty, you don’t need to bring it back to the store you bought it from. In most cases, an online retailer will collect, repair, and return the piano free of charge.
- 1) You can’t personally try out the instrument and may potentially buy one you don’t like (though you can still visit a showroom before ordering online).
- 2) You don’t get your piano immediately (usually takes 2-5 days), and in some cases, delivery can be delayed.
- 3) There is a security risk (payment fraud, personal information). That’s why I recommend only using well-known, reliable online retailers.
List of Retailers
Here are the most popular and trusted online retailers I recommend:
This giant needs no introduction.
As one of the largest online retailers in the world, Amazon provides a wide selection of keyboards and digital pianos, with special discounts and bundle deals (more discounts and next-day delivery is available for Prime Members).
- Reliable and trusted
- Tons of verified customer reviews
- Secured payments
- Sales and special offers
- Fast and cheap shipping (often free)
Sweetwater is one of the largest and highest-rated music retailers in the US. It’s known for its excellent customer service, well-designed and intuitive website, a variety of payment options and financing plans.
Many of my US-based friends who play music name Sweetwater as their favorite music store.
- Nearly every order received by 3 p.m. Eastern ships the SAME DAY
- FREE shipping to lower 48 states
- 99.95% warehouse accuracy
- Expedited shipping available
- Their central location reaches most states in 1-4 business days
- Exclusive free 2-year warranty (Total Confidence Coverage™) with most products they offer
These 2 music retailers are owned by one company and offer similar if not identical products and prices. Even their websites seem to operate on the same (slightly modified) platform.
It’s the largest and most well-known chain of musical instrument retailers in the US and probably in the world.
- Free Shipping applies to most orders shipped within the 48 contiguous U.S. states & D.C.
- Price Match. See a better price? They’ll match any verified price from any authorized U.S. dealer for the identical new item up to 45 days after purchase.
- 45-day return policy. If you’re not 100% happy with your purchase, send it back. You’ve got up to 45 days. No hassle.
- The largest selection of music gear in the world. Over 1,700,000 items in stock and ready to ship.
UK & Europe:
There are two online retailers that I absolutely recommend for those who live in the UK and Europe:
- Online since 1996
- The largest online retailer of musical instruments in Europe (based in Germany)
- Purchases at Thomann are backed up by their 3-year warranty, i.e. they extend the manufacturer’s warranty period (usually 12 months) to a full 36 months – at their own cost
- Free shipping from €398 euros (Worldwide)
- Europe’s largest warehouse = best possible prices
- Online since 2003
- One of the largest retailers of musical instruments and equipment in the UK & Europe
- Local websites in 19 countries
- Delivery to 196 countries worldwide
- 30-day money back guarantee on everything, with FREE returns (can be expanded to up to 120 days)