Best Digital Piano | Keyboard Review and Buying Guide

When it comes to pianos, I wouldn’t say I am a novice. I have played both acoustic and digital pianos for close to ten years.

As I’ve become more experienced, my interests and needs have expanded as well. With the continuous development of technology, there’s no better time to be a musician than now. Today, the market has so much more to offer than acoustic instruments, which were once the only option. So I started looking around for digital pianos with the range of sounds and tones that I wanted to explore.

My first purchase wasn’t great. I was so eager to unbox it, and at first, the keyboard seemed alright. Little did I know I’d made a mistake.

The keys were cheaply made and felt static. To make matters worse, the sound wasn’t all that great, and I was back scouring the internet for a new piano in no time. After digging around, I have come up with a list of the best digital keyboards on the market in 2019. Read on and save yourself from making the same errors that I did.

Best Piano Keyboards – Top Pick

We loved the Roland RD 2000. It comes with two sound engines and a decent number of features. The keys feel fabulous, just like a real piano. The RD 2000 also offers over 1,100 additional sounds that’ll let you create any style of music.

 

 

Best Piano Keyboard Reviews

Roland RD 2000 – Our Top Pick

Roland is widely-acclaimed for its spectacular keyboard pianos, and the RD 2000 truly stands out. This model is a full-featured professional piano with tons of customization options and sounds. It also has an authentic piano feel.

 

Key features

  • Two independent sound engines including V-Piano engine
  • 128-voice polyphony with dedicated acoustic piano
  • 1100 non-piano sounds
  • Two wave expansion slots
  • 100 scene memories for single touch setup

 

What I like

I love the mix of wood and plastic keys that feel like ivory. The Roland RD 2000 also uses the widely loved PHA-50 Hammer action. Add this to the beautiful sounds and high customization possibilities, and you have got yourself a real contender in the stage piano category.

 

What I don’t like

Other than the volume button, the rest of the control buttons have a slightly awkward placement. They are also a bit flimsy and feel somewhat cheap. It also doesn’t come with built-in speakers, meaning you can’t play it at home.

 

 

Pros

  • Surprisingly lightweight
  • Full-sized keyboard
  • Dual sound engine setup
  • Great action

 

Cons

  • It has a complicated manual

 

For professionals, this is a great piano keyboard with tons of customization options and beautiful sounds. It can serve as a stage piano or controller.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Yamaha CP88

You can’t miss a Yamaha musical instrument, and rightly so. The brand has a penchant for producing high-quality equipment with usability at the core of their production philosophy. The same applies to the Yamaha CP88, a high-quality stage piano with lots of features and a great control panel.

 

Key features

  • Graded hammer made from natural wood
  • Three premium Grand Pianos
  • AWM2 Sound engine
  • One-to-one UI control panel
  • 57 sounds

 

What I like

One of the things that I love about CP88 is its one-to-one control panel. Each of the buttons does what it supposed to do, with clear labels below it. It also has a decent sound and comes with premium grand piano sounds from both Yamaha’s CFX and S700 concert grands as well as Bösendorfer Imperial 290.

 

What I don’t like

The major problem I have with the Yamaha CP88 is the fact that the sounds aren’t user expandable. So this means you have to wait for updates from Yamaha. The placement of the headphone jack is a bit off too.

 

Pros

  • USB audio support
  • Great UI layout
  • Well balanced action

 

Cons

  • Has headphone jack in the back
  • A bit heavy
  • No ability to add sounds

 

If you are looking for a professional stage piano with a smooth UI and a great sound to boot, you will be at home with Yamaha CP88. It has many options to explore.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Kawai MP11SE

One of the most beautiful stage pianos in the market, the Kawai MP11SE features ebony finished side panels that look breathtaking. Being in its second edition, it also has a rich sound and plenty of updated features that rival those of many stage pianos.

 

Key features

  • Wooden-key keyboard
  • MIDI 4-channel master controller
  • Weight-graded hammers
  • GFP-3 triple pedal
  • 256 polyphony tones
  • 40 voices
  • USB port

 

What I like

I particularly loved the concert piano voices and the three unique sounds that include Shigeru Kawai Concert Grand, Shigeru Kawai SK5 and Kawai EX Concert Grand. It also comes with a graded triple pedal that is such a joy to use.

 

What I don’t like

Though the Kawai MP11SE is an excellent piano for classical pieces and practice, it isn’t such a versatile digital piano. The sounds are okay but could be much better than they currently are.

 

Pros

  • Unbelievably great hammer action
  • Sounds like premium Grand Pianos
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Customizable MIDI

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t have many voices.

 

If you’re looking for a digital piano that produces a pure piano sound and feel, the Kawai MP11SE should be on your list. It has an enormous hammer that feels genuinely like a proper grand piano. However, it lacks in terms of versatility and sound quality.

 

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Nord Stage 3

The Nord Stage 3 is one of the most beautiful digital keyboards out there. It has controls split for piano, organ, and synth which are highly customizable. The sound is great with more memory for even deeper tones.

 

Key features

  • 2GB memory for storing songs
  • Dual isolated slots for simultaneous voices and effects
  • 2 OLED screens
  • Three sound engines for piano, synthesizer, and organ
  • Has a Song Mode function with a setlist feature for easier management on stage

 

What I like

I love the controls and drawbars for the Nord Stage 3 organ. These provide a realistic control for the sound it produces. Also, it has an OLED screen for the synth that allows for control of some other parameters.

 

What I don’t like

Even though the Nord Stage 3 keyboard piano has an excellent sound and many controls to customize the music, it doesn’t have great keyboard action compared to similar models. If you are looking for a piano with a grand piano feel, this might not be it for you.

 

Pros

  • Great quality sounds
  • Genuine digital effects
  • Contains controls for all the voice groups
  • Includes drawbars for the organ

 

Cons

  • Not the best keyboard action
  • Pricier

 

No review would be complete without featuring a Nord piano. The Nord Stage 3 is an excellent stage piano with lots of features and customization options.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Dexibell Vivo S7 Pro

The Dexibell Vivo is a beautiful Italian stage piano with a ton of sounds and a grand piano action too. Add to that the many customization options and the quality sound, and you have an instrument that mimics a real grand piano.

 

Key features

  • 113 sounds, different EFX
  • Pitch bend as well as a modulation wheel
  • Audio streaming via Bluetooth
  • Unlimited polyphony
  • Vivo Editor plus XMURE software

 

What I like

The keys of the piano come from Fatar like most other hammer action pianos. It doesn’t slip compared to playing other ivory finished keys. Also, it is very well balanced and produces a pretty high sound, just like playing a grand piano.

 

What I don’t like

Although this model has a terrific sound, it doesn’t have many options for other sounds, such as the drum out of the box. You will need to import these from the website or to use supported files in the USB. To get the right sound, you will need to fiddle around with the controls.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Responsive action
  • Looks beautiful
  • Full polyphony

 

Cons

  • Needs a bit of customization
  • Feels and looks cheaper

 

The Dexibell Vivo S7 pianos sound convincingly realistic and will add depth and flavor to your classical music. Once you adjust its controls, you can use it hassle-free for all your other performances.

 

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Casio CGP-700

If you’re looking for a good piano for both your home practice or gigs, you may want to consider looking at the Casio CGP-700. It’s a dual-purpose piano with exceptional versatility. You can play it at home or take it to the stage once you remove the stand. It offers plenty of sounds and easy customization controls to get you jamming straight away.

 

Key features

  • 128 polyphony
  • 550 sounds
  • Colored touch screen
  • 200 in-built rhythms
  • Dual 20W amplifiers
  • Auto-harmonize
  • Transpose, octave shift, and fine-tuning options

 

What I like

A beast of a piano, the Casio CGP-700 has a highly responsive and usable touch screen that allows you to quickly change your settings by swiping across the screen, without the need to press any button. The piano keys, with the triple sensors, sound ridiculously close to a concert piano. Once you add the built-in amp and speakers, you’ll be jamming away in your living room with great sounds from its 550 tones.

 

What I don’t like

The Casio CGP-700 uses the MXi sound engine which isn’t as good as the AiR engine in other Casio pianos, and this might affect your performances. The stand is also not quite firm, especially if you have deep carpets at home or on stage.

 

Pros

  • Highly portable without stand
  • Versatile stage piano
  • Comes with a built-in stereo amp

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a modulation controller
  • Touch screen finger swipes not very smooth

 

The Casio CGP-700 will come through for you while playing at home or on the stage. You only need to remove the stand, and you will have a fantastic stage piano for all your performances.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Korg Grandstage 88

The Korg Grandstage 88 has a sleek and intuitive design that a veteran player and a beginner can use with ease. Aside from the looks, the sounds are excellent. It goes on to show Korg’s resolve to maintain its dominance in the musical instrument market, especially with their digital pianos.

 

Key features

  • 32Gb preloaded PCM capacity
  • 500 sounds
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels
  • A-stand and damper pedal
  • Multiple sound generators

 

What I like

The Korg Grandstage 88 is a truly unique stage piano with various sound engines that let you switch and experience the best sounds for any gig. It also features an excellent piano hammer action that mimics a concert grand piano, albeit with a heavier lower register and lighter upper ones.

 

What I don’t like

One thing that isn’t great about this Korg model is its weight. It is not exactly a lightweight stage piano. As a result, you may find it hard to move it around if you are a solo performer. However, it comes in a sturdy design that can withstand regular travel. The boot time can be longer at times.

 

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Huge sound pallet
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Smooth transitions between sounds
  • Brilliant live controls

 

Cons

  • It has a slightly longer boot time

 

Korgs’ Grandstage 88 is an excellent stage piano with lots of customization options and features. It is a well-built piano with beautiful sounds and clean live control setup, but the piano is bulky in weight and not very portable.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Yamaha DGX-660

Made for the beginner, performer, and enthusiast, the Yamaha DX-660 can transform your performance with its great sounds. It has a timeless black finish with a synthetic wooden grain on the stand and a fantastic collection of sounds.

 

Key features

  • Pitch bend
  • Pure CF sound engine
  • 192 max polyphony
  • Dual 6W amps
  • Eight register banks
  • 320 sounds

 

What I like

I love the range of piano sounds that come with this warm piano. Also, it sounds exactly like the real one, especially the timbre. It comes with many customization options so you shouldn’t have a problem configuring the sound you want. Beginners and learners stand to benefit from its excellent educational tools.

 

What I don’t like

The piano keys are not that bad as they are weighted to mimic a concert grand. However, their recoil from the mid-section to the high has a somewhat unnatural feel to it.

 

Pros

  • Authentic concert piano sounds
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Supports MIDI
  • Comes with a stand

 

Cons

  • Non-foldable stand and is a bit shaky
  • Not great with loud sounds

 

With this keyboard piano, you open the door to great versatility. There are a ton of sounds and features for the experienced performer and enthusiast as well as educational tools for the beginner. Also, it includes a sturdy stand that is great for either your living room or a stage.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Alesis Recital Pro

Every other piano in our best digital piano review was a stage piano more suitable for the experienced pianist. With the Alesis Recital Pro, beginners get an attuned piano that includes premium sounds at an affordable price.

 

Key features

  • 12 in-built premium voices
  • 128 max polyphony
  • Lesson mode; splits the keyboard
  • Playback your music with record mode
  • USB-MIDI output

 

What I like

The Alesis is well-built and boasts a remarkable sound. Almost everyone that hears the sound compares it with that of a Yamaha. The weighted keys are also such a joy to play, providing a truly authentic experience in addition to useful digital features that elevate your performance.

 

What I don’t like

Unlike other keyboard pianos, the Alesis Recital doesn’t come with a ton of sounds. You only have access to 12 premium-quality tones as a beginner.

 

Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • High-quality premium sounds
  • Support battery use
  • Full-sized piano with weighted keys

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a lot of built-in sounds
  • A stand isn’t included

While it doesn’t come with as many features that other premium keyboard pianos tend to have, the Alesis Recital Pro comes with just enough juice for the beginner. It has a fantastic key action and beautiful sounds that simply can’t be matched by other pianos in the same range.

 

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Piano Keyboard Buying Guide

Searching for the “perfect” piano in the era of the digital piano is a daunting task. There is an endless list of brands, types, and sizes to choose from online. The moment you think you have found the best keyboard piano, an ad shows up for an even better choice.

Before you move from shop to shop, look at the guidelines below as they could help you find the best digital keyboard today. If price is no object, we’ve got more awesome digital pianos under $1000 for you to check out.

 

#1 Where Am I Playing?

Believe it or not, there are different pianos for different setups. Some people play it in their homes, while others use it in recording studios or for live performances.

For a home piano, there are certain things you are going to need like speakers which might not necessarily be in a studio version or stage piano. A live recording and a stage piano may need lots of connectivity options to hook up all the required accessories. They also have more control options compared to a home piano.

 

#2 Make or Break Features

There are a ton of features that come with every piano. Most people usually use about 5, mainly when you are not a producer or a composer. The key elements you need to look out for in the best keyboard piano include:

 

Digital Sampling

Ever wondered why the best keyboard piano sounds so much like a Grand Piano or a Concert piano? The reason is that sounds are reproduced from an actual piano. A digital piano uses the playbacks from a real piano.

Not everyone can do these digital samples. It is a long and tedious process. You wouldn’t even want to know how much memory it takes on the piano.

That being said, this is one of the key factors that’ll determine how your keyboard piano sounds.

 

Weighted Key Action

Are you used to an acoustic piano or transitioning to one in the future? A weighted key action mimics the weighted keys of an acoustic piano with fake hammers inside. The top-end pianos have real graded hammers to give you a feel of the real thing.

Why is a weighted piano essential? There are some riffs you can’t perfect if your keyboard is not weighted. Once you transition from a digital piano to a real acoustic piano, you will not feel entirely out of place. There is a weighted and semi-weighted piano, and the former is the costlier one.

 

Key Sensitivity

If you have played an acoustic piano, you will realize the harder you hit the keys, the louder the tones and intensity it’ll produce. The same action is replicated with velocity-sensitive keys. A keyboard without velocity sensitivity will play the same volume regardless of how you strike the keys.

On the other hand, the best electric keyboard, with key sensitivity, will change the volume or play the same tones as an acoustic piano would. This feature adds up the price of the keyboard you are buying.

 

Piano Outputs and Speakers

Depending on where you are playing, outputs and speakers play a significant role in the type of digital piano you intend to buy. If you are after an easy-to-play piano for home use, speakers are a must. You don’t need so many outputs as well.

For a recording and stage piano, analog and digital outputs are crucial. The more outputs you get, the better.

 

Other Features to Consider

There are also other features that make the best electric keyboard, whether you are a beginner or a professional.

 

Number of Keys

There are many options when it comes to the number of keys for your piano. If you are just starting, a 61 or 76 key keyboard will serve you just fine. For the stage piano or studio recording, a full-sized piano with 88-keys is a must. Some folks prefer the smaller keyboards, especially when it comes to synthesizers.

The best electric keyboard usually comes with 88 keys. A piano this big will undoubtedly cost you slightly more. On the bright side, you will find it more playable.

 

Number of Tones/Sounds

Professional keyboardists and recording studios will tell you how much they value the additional sounds and tones that come with their stage or recording pianos. They add a ton of versatility to any performance.

If you are a beginner, you probably won’t use all of them. Maybe a few pianos, organs, and bases. You can trade the other sounds for a lower price. Most of the pianos dedicated to learners and beginners don’t include a lot of tones and sounds.

The sound engines here also matter. Premium sounds and tones will sound more or less like the real thing on the best digital piano.

 

Polyphony

Not many people consider polyphony when they are buying their keyboard pianos. In most cases, it wouldn’t matter for the absolute beginners. However, if you are an intermediate or a professional, the max polyphony is crucial.

Polyphony determines the number of sounds that a person can play at the same time. It is crucial for live performances and even when you are using an organ or layering up your play.

Most beginner pianos will come with 32 polyphony while the rest will be from 64, 128, or even 256.

 

Educational features

There are some features and tools that can help beginners learn and practice with ease. When buying a digital piano, look out for features such as:

  • Metronome

 

  • Record with playback function

 

  • Chord visualizations

 

  • Accompaniment songs

 

Types of Pianos

Finally, when selecting a piano, you should factor in the kind of keyboard you’ll need. Depending on your playing level and where you are planning to use it, there may be some options better than others.

 

Portable piano

These are quite cheap if you are on a tight budget compared to the rest of the keyboards. You might also want to check out these decent but affordable pianos below 500. Because they’re easy to move, they’re a good choice for general use or learning purposes. On the flip side, they don’t always come with premium features like weighted keys or a tone of high-quality sound. They’ll, however, come with speakers.

 

Console Pianos

Console pianos are not the most portable piano model out there, as they’re supposed to stay in one location. In most cases, they are used at home or in institutions that don’t require much movement. You will instantly notice how much they resemble upright pianos. I have to say, they are the most beautiful keyboards, closely behind Grand Pianos.

 

Stage Pianos

A stage piano is not your ordinary piano. These models are quite expensive and are meant for professionals as they come packed with a ton of features and options. They also contain some of the best and authentic piano sounds and action compared to the other models.

 

Multipurpose pianos

As the name suggests, multipurpose pianos are a hybrid between the portable models and the stage pianos. They come with some of the features of the portable keyboard such as speakers. If you want to get the premium sounds of a stage piano as well as the comfort of a portable keyboard, this might be the model for you.

 

Final Thoughts

The Roland RD-2000 strikes all the right chords and is easily the best digital keyboard piano. It has an impressive UI that is easy to use with all the keys and buttons elegantly set out. The organ’s drawbars are a unique feature that makes the RD-2000 genuinely standout.

Besides having a beautiful finish, I love its dual independent sound engine setup that allows for an exceptional sound performance. You can’t put a price on the graded weighted-key action of the piano–it feels surreal to touch and play. The Roland RD-2000 is a remarkable piano for both the experienced pianist on stage and the enthusiast that loves to explore vintage sounds. You can also check out the Williams Legato digital piano which is suitable for beginners and intermediate students.

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