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Home & Studio Digital Pianos

Once upon a time, some would scoff at the idea of going digital, preferring instead to stick with an acoustic upright or for those who could afford it, an acoustic grand. However, Digital Pianos have come on in leaps and bounds over the years. Countless hours and vast sums of money have been invested by the likes of Yamaha, Kawai, Casio, and many more, into the research and development of their digital pianos nowadays musicians are spoilt for choice.


What are digital pianos?

A digital piano is an electronic keyboard instrument that is designed to replicate the look, feel, and sound of its acoustic counterpart. Rather than relying on hammers striking strings and an internal soundboard to project sound in the manner of an acoustic piano, digital pianos utilise sophisticated technology to reproduce their glorious sounds. These include internal sensors that monitor weighted (or semi-weighted) keys, which send electronic signals to an internal sound engine that synthesizes sounds to emulate the tactile playing experience and sound of an acoustic. It is all rather ingenious.


The term digital piano can be applied to models that look similar to acoustic uprights and grand pianos, as well as those that look similar to keyboard workstations, which are also referred to as Stage Pianos.


Digital Pianos Vs Acoustic Pianos


If space is at a premium at home or in the studio, you are on a budget or need an instrument that is adaptable and versatile enough to accommodate beginners, intermediate and advanced players, then a digital piano has significant advantages over an acoustic piano.


Many digital pianos offer features well suited to beginners and students such as Duo or Split mode, which divides the keyboard down the middle to create two independent keyboards. The benefit here is that it allows students and teachers to sit side by side during lessons and use the same piano. Therefore, whether the student travels to the teacher or vice versa, only a single instrument is required.


As well as featuring built-in speakers, digital pianos have the bonus of a headphone output. Therefore, you can practise well into the small hours without disturbing family members, housemates, or neighbours. Not only that but USB and Bluetooth connectivity options afford a range of recording possibilities direct to your device and DAW of choice. It also makes it delightfully easy to integrate educational software such as proprietary apps from Yamaha and Casio for smartphone and tablet, enabling players of all skill levels to follow guided learning pathways.


Thanks to their highly sophisticated sound engines, digital pianos can often reproduce the sound of not just one instrument but several – and in some cases simultaneously. For example, the Clavinova CSP-150 not only recreates the glorious Yamaha CFX Concert Grand but also the Bosendorfer Imperial. There are models such as the Yamaha P-45, which recreate 10 premium quality voices such as electric pianos, organ, strings, and much more.



What is the best digital piano to buy?


The best digital piano to buy is a hard question to answer as there are so many options to choose from. It depends on your budget, the feature set that appeals most to you, what your level of skill is as a pianist, and how much space you have in your house to accommodate an instrument.


In terms of budget, considerable advances in technology mean that you do not have to spend a small fortune to find the ideal instrument for you. Whether you are seeking a sleek stage piano for home use, studio recording, or live performance, there are options to suit everyone.


Digital pianos boast features such as voice modelling, duo playing modes to accommodate student and teacher, built-in speakers as well as headphone output for silent practise, and many more. Some are aimed more toward beginners with corresponding educational software that will encourage you to stay the course as you learn. 


Are digital pianos good for beginners?


When it comes to purchasing an instrument for beginners a digital piano is an excellent choice. In terms of budget, size of instrument, range of features, and educational software, digital pianos offer exceptional value for money.


Some would argue that beginners should start on an acoustic piano to develop the correct playing technique. However, digital pianos have come on in leaps and bounds over the years thanks to extensive research from companies such as Yamaha, Casio, and Kawai. Digital pianos are equipped with proprietary technology that offers varying degrees of playing feel to match the keyboard of an acoustic grand, capturing the hammer action, tactile response, and key texture to a T.


The advantages of a digital piano over an acoustic are the many features geared towards music education. For example, some digital pianos allow the keyboard to be divided in half so that student and teacher can sit side by side as they play. As well as boasting built-in speakers, there are headphone outputs that enable silent practice so that budding pianists can play without disturbing others.


Extensive connectivity options such as Aux-In, USB, and Bluetooth, allows students to play along to their favourite music, connect to a Smartphone, Tablet or Computer, and access a wide range of free music education software to aid their learning journey.


Digital pianos are excellent for beginners, and we have put together a handy guide over on Studio D to help you make the right choice, which you can find here.


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