Korg D1 A Hidden Gemand A Very Affordable Stage Piano
Didnt expect this, did you? Yes, Korg instruments are often overlooked when it comes to their entry-level and mid-range offerings, and thats a shame because they have been consistently releasing some great affordable digital pianos over the last couple of years, and the D1 is one of them.
The reason why this keyboard wasnt included on the main list is because technically its not a digital piano. What is it then? you may ask. Well, this is what wed call a stage piano.
One of the biggest differences compared to your regular digital piano is the fact that the Korg D1 doesnt have any built-in speakers. What it means in practice is that in order to hear the sound youll need to either use headphones or some external speakers.
Depending on how you plan to use the instrument, this can be a deal-breaker or just a minor inconvenience. Personally, I always prefer to use a high-quality pair of headphones over onboard speakers, especially when playing lower-end instruments that dont have sophisticated multi-speaker setups. So if the absence of speakers doesnt bother you, the Korg D1 should definitely be on your list.
The highlight of this instrument is Korgs Japanese-made RH3 key action, which Korg usually puts only on their premium workstation and higher-end digital pianos. The key action might seem basic on the surface , but dont get discouraged yet, this is one of the best feeling key actions youll find in this price range.
What Is An Arranger Keyboard
Arranger keyboards are designed to provide auto-accompaniment. Simply select a few options, and the keyboard then lays down a backing track that matches the style, rhythm and tempo of the piece being played. This helps students get a feel for playing with other musicians while allowing them to play solo compositions.
Advantages of an Arranger Keyboard
- Conforms to professional industry standards
- Is well suited for composition
- Has auto-accompaniment that encourages students to play
Disadvantages of an Arranger Keyboard
- Starting prices can be higher than those of less advanced keyboards
- Beginners can find the range of programmable options overwhelming
What Is A Synthesizer
A popular music keyboard for beginners, a synthesizer is an electronic keyboard capable of generating a wide range of sounds, from musical instruments to sound effects. Theyre smaller and more portable than keyboards for beginning piano students and ideal for the keyboard student interested in playing in bands or small ensembles.
Advantages of a Synthesizer
- There is a wide range of quality between brands
- Students may outgrow keyboard capabilities
- Unweighted keys can make the transition to full piano more difficult
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Alesis Recital 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard
If you are considering electric musical instruments like launchpads or keyboards, then considering Alesis and its offerings can be a great option since they offer great features and options.
Alesis Recital 88 key weighted keyboard is present in the 2nd position in this listicle as this is a highly feature rich option. Most importantly, this electric keyboard has a full size 88 key layout for allowing you to play any music of your choice. Speaking of music, this keyboard offers a maximum output of up to 40 watts which is one of the highest out there.
While this keyboard does not offer any USB connectivity, you do get different connection options like pedal input, RCA output, headphone output, and a few others for connecting speakers and amplifiers if needed. And since Alesis is a reputable brand of electric instruments, you also get a 1 year long warranty period.
- Uses a full size 88 key weighted keyboard design
- Outputs audio at up to 40 watts of power
- Backed by a 1 year long warranty period
- Highly powerful and loud inbuilt speakers for music playback
- Large form factor with a standard key layout
- Various inbuilt voices and effects for music production
Why Are Fully Weighted Keys So Important
Whats the big deal about fully-weighted keys ?
The answer is simple. This is the only type of action that tries to recreate the feel of a real acoustic piano.
If youre serious about learning the piano, or you play a lot of piano repertoire, fully-weighted keyboards are the only thing you should look for, provided of course that realistic playing experience is important to you.
Kawais premium Grand Feel Compact key action
Even if youve never played an acoustic piano before, youll be able to tell the difference between a weighted and unweighted keyboard right away. Yes, the difference is that big.
You should also understand that most digital pianos have hammer-action keys but that doesnt mean that they all feel the same.
There are $500 instruments that have weighted keys and then there are $5,000 instruments that also have weighted keys. As you can guess, the difference between those key actions is very significant, starting from the design of the action mechanism, length of the keys and ending with the material of the keyboard.
Less experienced players may not notice it, but if youve ever sat at a good grand or even upright piano, youll notice how closer to that feel high-end digital pianos get.
Korgs plastic RH3 key action
Of course, not everyone is willing to invest $5000 in something thats just a hobby, especially considering that you can buy a good upright for about the same price.
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Buying Guide Choosing The Best Weighted Keyboard
So, how do you decide which weighted keyboard is the best one to buy? To be honest, there is no simple answer to this question. It all depends on your needs and preferences.
Just to clarify, a weighted keyboard is a digital keyboard. Thanks to an in-built resistance system they provide a feeling similar to an acoustic piano.
There are two kinds of weighted keyboards. The first kind is fully-weighted, which means that each key has its resistance. The second kind is semi-weighted, which means that there is the same resistance across all the keys. Both mimic the realistic feel of a real piano.
Naturally, a weighted keyboard is more expensive than a regular digital piano. But its worth the price if an authentic playing experience is what youre looking for. Consequently, weighted keyboards are a popular choice for both serious pianists and hobbyists.
Depending on your use case, necessities, and other different factors, every weighted piano has its special features. You may want to consider the best option for live performances or practice as a beginner.
Regardless of your considerations, here are some of the elements you should check when it comes to buying your new weighted keyboard:
- Feel and the weight of the keys
- Sound quality and effects
- Power and connectivity
- Playing comfort and touch
How Did We Choose
When making this list, we were using the following criteria:
- 1) Relatively portable, gig-friendly, no integrated stand
- 1) 88 fully weighted keys
- 2) Realistic multi-sampled piano sound
- 3) A wide range of dynamics: ability to play very soft up to very loud
- 4) Polyphony: at least 128 notes
- 6) Built-in MIDI recorder
- 7) USB MIDI or Bluetooth MIDI connectivity .
- 8) Standard functions like metronome, transpose, layer mode, etc.
- 10) Only well-established reputable manufacturers
Out of a big variety of options, weve selected 4 models that we think are the best intermediate digital pianos with weighted keys you can buy in this price range:
- Mid-range model of Rolands portable FP line
- Part of the new PX-S series with some cool innovations
- Reliable and very popular intermediate model from the portable line
- Affordable introduction to the Kawai brand
Note that even though most of these keyboards are relatively compact and gig-friendly, there are also perfectly suitable for home use. Most of them can be easily mounted on a table or a desk.
Moreover, there are home bundles available on Amazon that include a matching furniture-style stand and a 3-pedal board designed specifically for each particular model.
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Kawai Mp11se Closest To Piano Keyboard
The most realistic piano feel
The Kawai MP11SE is for the serious piano players only its not a keyboard piano that you can transport easily. Its bulky and heavy, so if you are taking it to gigs, you need to put in the work to get it there. The reward is a beautiful sound and an authentic feel.
The reason it feels so realistic is that it has genuine wooden hammer-action keys. These keys function using a similar pivoting mechanism that youd find in an acoustic piano. That mechanism makes the MP11SE one of the best keyboard pianos around. Synthetic ivory feel tops add to that realism. While its a heavy keyboard, its still portable, and youd struggle to find a better feel from a portable keyboard.
The piano sounds come from Kawais flagship grand pianos, the Shigeru SK-EX, SK-5, and EX. All of the grand piano voices are absolutely impeccable, but especially the Shigeru. Along with the grand pianos, there are some gorgeous vintage electric pianos with fantastic vintage amp simulations .
The layout of the top panel is pretty straightforward, pianos and electric pianos have dedicated control sections. There are 129 tweakable effects onboard, all of which are easy to adjust via rotary knobs either side of the small screen. It has both MIDI and USB connectivity, so if you have a performance rig that utilizes virtual instruments, too, the MP11SE can be your master controller.
Alesis Coda Pro Weighted Action
Alesis Professional are now a very well known name in the electronic music industry, and have a reputation for making some excellent weighted keyboards that rival premium manufacturers without the equivalent price tag. The Coda range is one of their best selling keyboard ranges, and its the Coda Pro that weve chosen to include here. Its full-size 88keyed weighted keyboards been designed for a wide range of uses, from students in their bedrooms to live use. We can tell you straight away that its a superb option, with some nice features at an excellent price, but lets look at things in a little more detail.
Theres little more to say other than that this is a great sounding digital keyboard with key weights – all 20 voices are excellent, and youd be hard pressed to tell that this isnt a keyboard that costs two or three times as much.
The hammer action weighted keys go a very long way in making the Coda Pro feel like a quality instrument. They help the digital keyboard feel more like a 88keyed digital piano , and generally are just very nice to play. Each key is made well too – you wont find cheap feeling plastics here.
The Coda Pro is a nice looking digital keyboard, with a clean black finish, a symmetrical design, and cool angular speakers. Highlights are in red. Again, this all helps it to look like a premium product. It has a USB port, as it is a USB MIDI.
Pros:+ Great quality+ Good range of features
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Hammer Action Weighted Keys
Hammer action weighted keys use a mechanism that replicates the action of a real acoustic piano.
In a real piano, the sound is generated by a hammer striking a string causing it to vibrate. The hammer is moved via a lever mechanism activated by pressing a key, the harder you press, the harder the hammer strikes.
Keyboards use a lever mechanism to simulate the resistance that comes with the weight of the hammer. With hammer action keys, the weight is set to give the same resistance right across the keyboard.
Best Digital Pianos With Fully Weighted Keys
- Keys Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most digital pianos and keyboards have 88, 76, 73, or 61 keys. In reality, 73 keys are enough to play most modern pieces.Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.
- Fully-Weighted Keys
At the beginning of 2021, Roland came out with some exciting news. The new update for their hugely popular FP line of portable digital pianos was on the way. And man was everyone excited!
The new models now have an X added to their name showing off their updated nature.
One of the most anticipated models was the new FP-30X, which replaced the legendary FP-30 that so many people came to love.
Before the introduction of the FP-10, the FP-30 was the least expensive model in Rolands FP series and their most affordable digital piano in general.
The old FP-30 model still hasnt lost its appeal in 2021, but of course, we want the newest and the latest , so today well be focusing on the new Roland FP-30X the FP-30 on steroids!
For a fairly affordable price, you get a fairly realistic fully-weighted key action and Rolands famous SuperNATURAL sound engine, which together provide an enjoyable playing experience.
The FP-30X comes with the well-received PHA-4 Standard keyboard with escapement and ivory feel.
The Roland FP-30X is the only digital piano in this price range that utilizes triple-sensor detection system, which allows for more precise control during fast passages.
When it comes to sound, the FP-30X is nothing to scoff at either.
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Yamaha Cp88 Retro Style With Modern Effects
The best onboard effects
This is an interesting one, weve had vintage/traditional and modern, the Yamaha CP88 might be the best combination of both.
Starting with traditional, it features the Natural Wood Graded Hammer Action system for supreme expression. Now, this is where old and new meet in Yamahas Virtual Circuitry Modeling technology. It very accurately re-creates the sound and behavior of vintage effects, which transforms your sound.
Its packed with 57 voices in total, a mix of acoustic pianos, electric pianos, and synths. There is a 3-band EQ along with 23 insert effects, two delay effects, and reverb. The CP88 is another keyboard aimed at the performers.
Its a difficult choice, itsanother excellent keyboard with fantastic sounds, and it feels very realistic.Because of the real wood keys, its one of the best hammer-action keyboards onthe market.
The question is, why should youchoose this over other keyboards and I think it comes down to the modelingtechnology. The amount and type of effects you can create with the CP88 is justdifferent from any other similar keyboard.
Alesis Recital 88 Best For Beginners
When it comes to semi-weighted keyboards, the Alesis Recital 88 is one of the best value options if youre looking for a new instrument without breaking the bank.
This digital piano with 88 semi-weighted and full-sized keys with adjustable touch will fit your playing style, particularly if youre just starting.
This beginner-friendly model includes 5 different voices and 128 polyphony, allowing for premium sounds and a wide variety of melodic combinations.
Layer Mode allows you to combine two voices of the 10 available in the sample library, and you can also assign each voice to the left or right hand.
Then we also like the fact that its battery-powered with a 9V adapter, allowing you to get creative with its effects anywhere you go.
But what we love in particular about this digital piano is that it gives you all the tools you need to succeed as a beginner. The Alesis Recital 88 also comes with 2 months of online piano courses that will support your piano learning and help you develop your skills at your own pace.
Overall, we believe this is a good choice if youre a beginner looking for a new piano that is a low investment.
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Kurzweil Forte Se The Best 88
The ultimate blend of value and high-end quality
Kurzweil is one of those manufacturers that sometimes get overlooked. But, if you are serious about keyboards, then you will know that Kurzweil makes seriously good keyboard pianos.
The Forte SE 88-key stage piano is a prime example of a fully-weighted keyboard. Everything about the Forte SE feels luxurious to a level not often found in keyboards under $2000. Starting with the Italian hammer-action weighted keys, from low to high, they feel correct. The bass notes have a little extra resistance, just like an acoustic piano, which brings out more expression in your playing.
Once you get past how it feels, Kurzweil has added some advanced features that enhance your performance no end. The keys have aftertouch, allowing you to add some vibrato and other effects by maneuvering your finger. Aftertouch isnt usually found on fully-weighted keys. While its not always necessary with a piano sound, it opens up new possibilities with other voices.
The next advanced feature is the dynamically allocated polyphony. It means even when playing with densely layered sounds, you wont hear any drop off when you hit max polyphony . The smart polyphony system thoughtfully selects any notes that are cut off, so only the least important ones ever go.
Choosing An Intermediate Digital Piano Buying Guide
There you have, folks! Note that this list is based on what we believe are the best intermediate digital pianos with fully weighted keys you can currently get.
In case you havent found the instrument that suits your needs in this article, Id like to provide some extra information that will hopefully help you find the right instrument.
Here are some of the main terms and aspects of the digital piano world that youll inevitably run into when doing your research.
KeysAction TypesTouch sensitivityPolyphonyModesLesson FunctionMIDI recorderAudio RecorderAccompaniment Transpose, Tuning USB type A USB type B
Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most keyboards and digital pianos have 88, 76, 73 or 61 keys.73 keys are enough to play most modern pieces. Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.
There are 3 most common types of actions:
1) Non-weighted most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.2) Semi-weighted common action for budget portable keyboards . Spring-loaded mechanism adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.3) Fully weighted is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements found inside a real piano.
If your main goal is to play piano that youll definitely want a keyboard with hammer action keys.
Its not a big deal nowadays as almost any $150+ keyboard have touch-sensitive keys regardless of its action type.
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