Last updated: August 13, 2021

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Hello! Welcome to MONEDEROsmart. Today we're going to talk about an instrument type that is becoming more and more common among pianists: the digital piano. For having some facilities that the acoustic piano does not provide, it is increasingly being used.

In the age of technology, the digital piano stands out. Many models offer facilities such as the use of bluetooth to connect your smartphone or tablet to the instrument, allowing you to play music or use practice apps.

However, there is still much to question: How to choose the best model? Are there digital pianos with the sound quality of acoustic pianos? Digital piano or keyboard? Here we'll answer all your questions and help you choose the best instrument for you!




Summary

  • Despite being similar to the keyboard, the digital piano has its own specificities. Here, we'll take your doubts about both.
  • Most digital pianos cannot achieve the timbre of an acoustic piano, however, some models stand out for those looking for the instrument for this purpose.
  • Among the advantages of the digital piano are its technological facilities, the fact that you can control the volume and it is not necessary to tune the instrument.

The Best Digital Piano: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Technology shows its face everywhere. It could be no different with the piano, transforming these large, classic instruments into something more portable and digital. And while many people confuse the digital piano with the keyboard, they are distinct instruments.

There are several specificities in each digital piano model such as notes, sounds, technologies, among others. Here, we'll talk about the advantages of digital pianos and what you should pay attention to in order to purchase the best model for your needs!

Piano digital portátil e uma pessoa com camisa xadrez com as duas mãos na tecla.

Digital piano is an instrument that imitates the acoustic piano but has technological resources. (Source: guvo59 / Pixabay)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the digital piano?

The digital piano has several advantages. One of them, and perhaps the most obvious, is the fact that it is directly connected to the technologies we are used to in everyday life.

This is an advantage especially for those who are just starting to play, as you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the digital piano via bluetooth and train with songs or apps.

In addition, the digital instrument is much easier to transport, making it more practical to take to concerts or classes. Some models are compact, making it even easier to transport.

The noise is also an advantage, especially for those who live in a flat. You can plug in your headset and practice at any time of the day or night without receiving complaints.

The electronic resources are also very advantageous, as they can reproduce sounds from several other musical instruments.

Among its disadvantages, we can mention the timbre. Although there are digital piano models with technologies that resemble the instrument to the acoustic piano, most models do not have such a rich harmonic.

In addition, many digital pianos also have a high variation of sensitivity of the keys, which can make it difficult to change models.

Advantages
  • Easier to carry
  • They offer technological facilities, such as connecting your smartphone via bluetooth
  • They do not require tuning
  • They are quieter, allowing you to play at any time
  • They reproduce sounds from various musical instruments
Disadvantages
  • They do not usually have as much harmonic richness as the acoustic piano
  • Many have high variation of key sensitivity

What is the difference between digital piano and keyboard?

Because they are similar instruments, many people are in doubt about the similarities and differences between the digital piano and the keyboard. To begin with, both instruments do not emit sound, but rather reproduce samples that are stored in the memory by means of digital recordings.

Also, the keyboard resembles some digital piano models when we talk about size. Both are easier to carry around than the acoustic piano. But anyway, digital pianos are a bit heavier and more robust than most keyboards.

The keyboard, however, features a much larger number of functions. There are several types of keyboard that have different purposes such as workstation, synthesizer and the controller. The keyboard is best suited for those who like to compose with the sounds of various musical instruments.

The digital piano is more focused on reproducing the sound of other key instruments such as acoustic piano and organ (although many times it can't reproduce it with total fidelity).

The digital piano has the heaviest keys, which actually mimic, an acoustic piano. Compare:

Digital piano Keyboard
Feature Imitates the acoustic piano in the sensitivity and weight of the keys Has more functions
Size Although they are compact, they are still a bit heavy and robust Lighter and more compact instrument
Price Medium investment, cheaper than the acoustic piano and more expensive than the keyboard Low investment. It is possible to buy keyboard for less than £70

Buying Criteria: Key Factors When Evaluating a Digital Piano

Even though you already know several things about the digital piano, there are still some features that you should consider when buying. These are the main ones:

  • Type of digital piano
  • Polyphony
  • Number of keys
  • Timbre

Read on to learn more about each of the topics.

Digital piano type

There are three types of digital pianos. Apart from size, they can also differ in terms of sound quality.

Portable Digital Piano

This is the simplest type of digital piano. It is ideal for beginners or for those who need to carry the piano frequently to concerts, lessons or studios.

The cheapest models of digital piano are usually exactly the portable ones. Although many are simpler and without many functions, there are, also, the professional laptops, which are very similar to the acoustic piano sound.

Vertical Digital Piano

This model is similar to the portable one, however, it comes with a "mobile" attached. Although it's easier to carry than an acoustic piano, it has less portability than the portable model itself.

Many upright digital pianos provide better sound quality due to the pedals. They aid in harmony and help the instrument resemble the acoustic piano.

Digital Piano with Tailpiece

As well as the acoustic models, the digital piano with cauldron provides an unmistakable elegance and sophistication. The biggest difference of it for the vertical piano is exactly in the appearance.

In the question of the sound, it usually also provides better sound quality, due to the pedals.

Portable Digital Piano Vertical Digital Piano Digital Piano with Pulley
Advantages Offers greater portability, ideal for those who carry the instrument frequently. In addition, it is usually the cheapest model It usually provides better sound quality than the portable model In addition to providing superior sound quality, it offers elegance and sophistication to the environment, resembling the acoustic piano
Disadvantages Some models are simpler and do not reproduce the sound as similar to the acoustic piano They are not as easy to transport and cost more -

Polyphony

One of the main things to take into consideration when buying your digital piano is polyphony. It is like the instrument's "memory". In other words, how many notes it can emit at once.

This will depend a lot on the playing style of each pianist or on the musical style. If you are going to play sustained arpeggios, for example, the ideal is to select a model in which the previous notes don't stop sounding beforehand.

Before choosing your digital piano, check how many voices of polyphony the model has. Prefer those that have at least 200.

Number of keys

There are digital piano models with various numbers of keys. The most common are the ones that come with 61, 76 and 88 keys.

This will influence a lot on the range. If you are looking for a greater range, the ideal is to opt for a digital piano with 88 keys. For those who are just starting to learn, a 61-key keyboard can be enough.

Take into account, also, that the more keys, the more complicated the instrument's portability becomes.

Timbre

The sonority is an essential factor not only in the digital piano, but in all instruments.

By nature, digital pianos usually have a timbre that reverberates with little variation. If you are looking for a sound that resembles that of the acoustic piano, it is necessary to buy a model with greater sonority and quality. When possible, test your piano's timbre to check its harmonic richness.

(Source of the highlighted image: dankreider / Pixabay)

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