The sound and feel of a grand piano is something truly marvelous which brings forth certain emotions from the player and form the listener. Sadly not any piano player can own a grand piano in their home for private practicing because let’s face it, one is so damn expensive. So even if you want to start learning playing this amazing instrument or you are a student and study hard to master its every secret there is little chance you will be able to afford one. But like in so many other fields this is where technology has come into play and has brought forth the digital piano, which mimics the grand piano, having a much smaller size and much lower price range.
Being interested in purchasing a digital piano requires you to know certain details about one and at the same time necessitates that you know exactly what you buy it for. For this matter you can try to invest in a entry-level digital piano which can be pretty basic, you can opt for a portable version as well if you are always on the road from venue to venue, you can also choose one which is heavy and has a grand piano design to it with more complete features so you can even do some home creations and the list can go on a bit further. So firstly set your priorities and then if you pay attention to certain details and to your budget of course you will surely and up with one of the top rated digital pianos under $500.
The first and most important thing you need to remember is to buy a digital piano with 88 keys just like a grand one has. You ask yourself why is this important? Well because this is the only proper way you can learn how to play this instrument. If you get a digital piano with less keys you will have a really hard time to adapt to a fully sized keyboard and this practically means you will never learn how to play the instrument properly. A more experienced player can tell you how hard is to switch from a small keyboard to an 88 keys one and the other way round.
Moving onwards the next feature you need to watch out for is the weighted action of the keyboard so it does feel like real thing. If you buy a low priced digital piano even with all the 88 keys you will see that it is quite different to the real grand piano feel and this is down to the fact that the plastic keys don’t put out so much resistance to you pushing them, thus not having a weighted action. This over time can lead to no learning a proper technique and having problems once more. Also the weighted action will mean that if you push with a different velocity the sound of the key will be different. And as you probably foresee it this will again mean you will not learn how to play the real piano properly, not grasping the actual correct technique and if you are a student this unfortunately means you will fail your classes.
Being a more experienced player on the other hand gives you more things to think about as well, like for instance the headphone jack which is very important when you want to practice at night or you get a moment of inspiration when other people are enjoying their rest. Also be sure you have easy connectivity options if you want to compose your own tracks and of course that the internal memory is enough to record them. As a pointer I recommend that you look for a digital piano which has a micro SD card slot so you never run out of memory space.
Lastly my suggestions for brands when it comes to a digital piano are: Yamaha, Korg, Roland and Casio. There are others of course, but these are the best in my opinion. I would not recommend getting a digital piano which is not from a renowned brand because it probably has an inferior quality. I hope my sort buying guide will aid you in your quest for one of the best digital pianos under $500.
A reliable grand piano must have:
- A 88 key weighted and velocity sensitive keyboard
- For creative purposes a lot different sounds and tonalities
- A considerable memory space, plus a SD memory card slot
- Choose between Yamaha, Korg, Roland and Casio digital pianos
- Light and compact for portability, heavy and grand piano like for only home use
- A headphone jack
Casio Celviano AP-420 Digital Piano Review
Finding a piano for training your skill is difficult since comfort and good sound quality is a must. Casio Celviano AP-420 Digital Piano might end your search. It features a handsome wood-grain-like finish, realistic piano sound and touch, brass pedals and as well as a sturdy height-adjustable bench. It has 88 keys, 128-polyphony, and 16 different tones for great music quality. There’s also a large dynamic range from hitting keys even at fast velocities. There’s also a wonderful sustain effect when you hit the pedals. It also has USB storage and SD memory card storage for transferring data from your computer. It also has a built-in metronome. Feel as if you’re playing on a grand piano with Celviano AP-420 Digital Piano.
Yamaha P155 Digital Piano Review
With its amazing high-quality piano tones and the “Graded Hammer Effect”, Yamaha P155 is one of the best digital pianos 2014 you can buy at affordable prices today. It has 88 keys and also 128-note polyphony. It can also play in 17 different voices, 7 demo songs and 50 piano preset songs. What’s great about this is that it has built-in speakers and you don’t want to disturb anyone when you’re playing your piano, Yamaha P155 has a 2 front-panel headphone jack wherein you can attach you headphones. In terms of acoustics, Yamaha P155 perfectly captured the brilliance of the authentic acoustic piano sound.
Yamaha DGX 640 Digital Piano Review
Reading the best digital piano reviews, you will surely be surprise of one of the best portable pianos, the Yamaha DGX 640 digital piano. It is versatile with over 500 voices, realistic sound quality, and graded hammer standard action keys. It also has build-in speakers that can also be connected with headphones to allow you to be able to practice silently. In terms of sound quality, it is most splendid. The sound produced is similar to the sound produced by a grand piano. Be amazed with this digital piano with its wide array of voices. There’s also a front-panel for USB devices for easy transfer of tunes from the computer.
Casio Privia PX-330 Digital Piano Review
Casio Privia PX-330 Digital Piano is one of the best digital pianos 2014. Casio Privia is lightweight but it doesn’t leave the sound quality to suffer. It has 88 scaled hammer-actioned keys and 128-note polyphony. It also has a built-in metronome, and pedals. It also allows duet mode, allowing two simultaneous players; moreover it also offers 2 headphone jacks for a more silent duet practice. It also has 5 song recorders for added entertainment, and accepts SD memory up to 2 GB.
Casio Privia PX-130 Digital Piano Review
Casio Privia PX-130 Digital Piano is affordable but it doesn’t leave the sound quality to suffer. Casio Privia PX-130 is a fantastic piano and was found to be the cheapest among the digital pianos available today. It is lightweight weighing only for 24.7 pounds. It has 88 weighted scaled hammer-action keys.
Digital vs Acoustic Piano: Which one is right for you?
A debate which will undoubtedly rage for some time, and has become even more rife as technology advances, Digital Piano vs Acoustic Piano is often a difficult call to make when you are considering purchasing, and both have their plus points, and their shortcomings, all of which will be explored in this article exploring the debate, will you go with digital or will you go with acoustic?
To keep the format easy, I’ve written two different sections below, a ‘pro acoustic’ and a ‘pro digital’ which allow you to see the plus points of both.
The Argument for Acoustic Pianos
In spite of the fact that this website is about the best digital pianos on the market, there is a strong argument for acoustic pianos, and sometimes they will be the best option, depending of course on what you’re looking for. Some plus points include
Hammer action is natural, not synthesized. The hammer motion is a key aspect of playing, and though this is replicated in most digital pianos, an acoustic piano can promise you the real thing.
Resale value. This is a bit of a funny one, but if your acoustic piano is of value then that value might not decrease, and could even increase, over time. This only really applies to the top end of the market.
Thick, natural sound. Some acoustic pianos make an amazing sound and though digital pianos replicate this brilliantly, acoustic will always be the real thing.
The Argument for Digital Pianos
As you might have guessed from the fact that this site is all about digital pianos, I do have a preference for these models! In my opinion the positives far outweigh those of acoustic pianos, as you can hopefully see from the list below.
They don’t need tuning. Tuning a piano can be an expensive, inconvenient and time consuming practice, but with a digital piano it will stay in tune at all times.
Multiple sounds. You can make your digital piano sound traditional, use other more electronic sounds such as Rhodes or other classic models, or you can even hook it up to a software synth to create a wide variety of sounds.
Effects! Lots of digital pianos have an option to add effects such as reverb to improve the sound coming out of your speakers.
Headphone slots available so you can practice late at night or just in private until you’re confident enough to play in front of other people.
Most have MIDI compatibility in order to allow you to program in other sounds such as drum kits and other triggers for performing live.
Some models offer built in Rhythm capabilities to allow for accompanied playing.
Portable! They’re not always the most lightweight items but compared to a big old grand or even stand up piano they are easy to take out and about for performances.
As you can see, there are merits to both, but in my opinion, the Digital piano wins the day for the vast majority of cases. Though many purists will make arguments about the sound of an acoustic, there are so many amazing features that make digital pianos the way forward for most pianists and other musicians.