As an advanced pianist, you demand a lot from your equipment. You want – nay, need – the best quality keybeds and the most authentic piano sounds possible. Your goal is to get as close to an approximation of a real piano as possible. So to help you out, we combed through our tests to find the best digital piano for an advanced pianist.
It’s tough being a pianist.
Acoustic pianos feel incredible and sound better than anything Yamaha and Casio can come up with. But good acoustic pianos also cost more than heart surgery and need more maintenance than a Chevy with a million miles on it.
So as an advanced pianist, you have to resort to digital pianos.
Modern digital pianos have come a long, long way from their ’80s cousins. At the top of the market, they boast keys that feel as good as on any serious acoustic piano. Their sound engines have become sophisticated enough to compete against concert pianos. And they manage all this without all the maintenance issues that plague acoustic pianos.
The problem? Finding the best digital piano for an advanced pianist can be hard. There are literally hundreds of options on the market and if you go by their marketing, they’re all the best thing since sliced bread.
Which is why we wrote this article to separate fact from fiction. We’ll look at the key factors to consider before buying. And then we’ll share our pick of the best digital pianos for advanced pianists.[toc]
Our Selection Process
As an advanced pianist, your needs are substantially different from intermediate and beginner level pianists. The features that clutter the bottom and middle tier of the market would hardly interest you.
For instance, at the bottom-end, digital pianos advertise their “sound banks” and “built-in rhythms”. These might be great for beginners but no advanced pianist will choose a keyboard because of these features.
Even at the mid-end, where 128-note polyphony and graded hammer action are advertised, you’d want something more.
So what do advanced pianists need?
Mostly, two things:
- Good keybeds
- Accurate piano sounds
Essentially, you want to get as close to an acoustic piano as possible.
This was precisely our criteria for selecting the digital pianos for this list.
Features were secondary. Nay, they were not even a 10% factor in deciding the best digital piano for advanced pianists.
Rather, we focused almost exclusively on:
- Build quality
- Sound engine, especially in its ability to reproduce piano sounds accurately
- Key action
- Key feel
And to a lesser extent, we also considered the design. No advanced pianist I know wants some cheap plastic toy-like thing in his living room; classic designs and acoustic piano approximations made the cut.
Price was less of a consideration given the target demographic. Sure, we don’t want you to spend $3,000 on a digital piano, but if you’re a self-confessed advanced pianist, it is reasonable to expect to pay $500-$1500. Anything below that is usually not good enough for a serious pianist.
Based on this process, let’s look at our picks for the best digital piano for an advanced pianist.
The Best Digital Piano for an Advanced Pianist
Based on the factors listed above, here are our picks for the best advanced pianos:
While we may say that the Yamaha YDP-S54 is the best digital piano for advanced pianist, it is still a good instrument for beginners as it has many simple features. It is stylish in design and it will enhance the interior décor of your music room a lot. If you have been yearning to develop your piano skills, you need this instrument. The weighted keys will give you an acoustic piano experience.
One of the indicators of performance in a digital piano, or any piano for that matter is the sound. The YDP-S54 does not disappoint because its tone and sound has been replicated from the CFX – a 9-foot grand piano for concerts. On the side of sound, you can consider all of your needs met. Even the onboard speakers of 20 Watts are quite powerful and unless you are giving a live performance on stage, you will not need external speakers.
Hand in hand with sound, another indicator of performance is the keys. The S-54 comes with GH3 key action that is exclusive to Yamaha where the keys use actual hammers for a more realistic hammering experience. The hammers are also graded which means that tremble is light while bass is heavy and so on.
Even the pedals contribute a lot to the performance. For example, the half-damper pedal wil cut the sustain time. You may download the Smart Pianist app for your iOS or android devices so that you can create jams with the music stored there.
One of the things that you will love so much about this digital piano is the ease of use. For example, to change voices, just click the button indicated with the instrument that you want. You may also connect the piano to your computer through USB to learn and play to songs stored inside.
What we don’t like:
While the Smart Pianist app is great, we do not like that you still have to use a USB dongle to connect the piano to your tablet, smartphone or laptop.
Best Entry-Level: Yamaha P71
- 88 touch sensitive keys
- Has graded hammer standard key for weighting
- 64-note polyphony
- Has 10 voices
- 4 reverb effects
- Has 5 different functions
- Automatic power off
This Yamaha P71 has some good features that make it the best digital piano for advanced pianist. This specific model is made as an Amazon exclusive meaning that is the only place where you can find it. A smallish piano weighing 25 lbs, there is nothing small about its performance, but it is good for traveling with if you love making music on the road.
This is a plug and play kind of electric digital piano. It is performance-enhanced in many aspects. For example, the weighted keys can give you a professional feeling, just as if you are playing a real piano and they will inspire you to play some more.
You will agree that the keyboard is the most important aspect of any piano because you are in direct contact with it. These keys are touch-sensitive and weight resistant. If you plan to play an acoustic piano in future, buy the digital Yamaha P71 for an easier transition.
Second in importance to the keyboard is the sound. You get ten voices put together from the Yamaha Grand Piano. These acoustic voices are then backed by high quality resonance and sounds. It also has dual mode, which allows you to combine two voices for a richer playing time.
What we don’t like
There is one thing that we do not like about the Yamaha P71 – the lack of feature. While I understand that advanced pianists aren’t looking for features, if you are looking at the entry-level market, you’d want something more than plain piano sounds and features, which are not available on this one. We also wish it came with more voices than just ten.
Best Budget Piano: Casio PX860
- Has 88 keys with hammer action
- 18 voices
- Two 20-Watt speakers with amplifiers
- 60 preloaded songs and the user can add 10
- Three pedals – sostenuto, soft pedal and damper
- 256-note polyphony
- Has split and layer functions
You will be able to create a great sound with the Casio PX-860 digital piano. There are more features than you would find in its peers. The inbuilt features are great enough to enable you to create a great sound experience. For example, the layer and split functions, in combination with the 18 voices that have been digitally adapted from acoustic pianos will give you a rich playing experience. In addition, the reverb, brilliance and chorus settings all come in to give you a rich sound.
From the most important part of any piano, whether digital or acoustic, that is, the keyboard, you get 88 fully weighted keys. You will have almost the same experience that you would have if you were playing an acoustic piano.
The AIR sound source makes the sounds produced by this instrument richer and intensity, and more realistic. The sounds of various instruments such as string sound really authentic.
You also get other thoughtful features such as hall simulation. With this one, you will feel as if you are playing inside a concert hall. Long story short about the effects; let us just say that whatever you desire to play, it comes off as the real, authentic thing.
What we don’t like
This digital piano is quite feature-rich. However, we feel that the omission of an LCD screen was a mistake.
Best Premium Piano: Casio AP-700 Celviano
- Has voices from three grand pianos
- Has 88 weighted keys with hammer action
- Has 256-note polyphony
- Has 26 voices
- Has two headphone outputs
- Has a clear LCD display
- The hammer action is scaled and has three sensors
- 60 built-in tracks for practice
If you want to fully develop your piano playing skills, this is a good investment. But that is not all because the Casio AP-700 Celviano is the best digital piano for advanced pianist because of its features. It has three sounds from three of the greatest grand pianos ever built. When you learn how to play on this piano, your transition from digital piano to acoustic piano will be totally effortless.
The performance of the hammer action weighted keys is incredible, no question about that. You will feel the resistance, just as you would when playing an acoustic piano. However, it is in the sound that this piano excels itself. After all, the Casio AP-700 Celviano brings you tonal values adapted from three of the best grand pianos from Hamburg, Vienna and Berlin.
You will get audio and MIDI recording, a feature that helps you record a moment of inspiration. Take the opportunity to record two MIDI tracks and if you fancy direct audio recording, you can connect a USB drive for that.
You can use the Hall Simulator feature to bring about an effect of playing in a concert hall. This piano will reproduce the effects that you would feel in a cathedral or opera house.
For the sound, it comes from the AIR Grand Source using the Linear Morphing technique for excellent tonal quality at the gentlest as well as the loudest sounds. You can also split the keyboard into two halves – and have the bass in the left half. If you are practicing with your student, you can engage Duet Mode so that you can play on the keyboard simultaneously.
What we don’t like
Nothing really, apart from the price. The only little thing I can raise a complaint about is the bulk. But then, this isn’t something you’re likely to travel with anyway.
Best Keybed: Roland FP-60
- 88 keys with hammer action/PHA-4 graded weight
- 288 note polyphony
- 351 voices with 15 pianos
- Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
- 10 built-in songs for practice
- Split and Dual Modes
- Has Master Tuning, Metronome and Transpose
- Audio recorder and MIDI recorder
Roland is one of the most well known names for synthesizers and therefore it is little wonder that one of their digital pianos makes it to this list. This is a feature-rich piano that you can use for practice, stage performances as well as for studio work. Designed in a cabinet-style, this is not only a very efficient piano for students, teachers, home and even studio practice but it is also very stylish.
The 88 keys give an excellent performance. It has a PHA-4 keyboard whose keys have a fantastic ivory touch that gives you the feel of a grand piano. The sound is quite rich; it comes from the SuperNATURAL sound engine that has 288-note polyphony that gives a rich sound.
You can play along to your favorite jams from your smartphone or tablet through the 4.0 Bluetooth. If you are not going to use your own music, you can use the 10 built-in songs that the Roland FP-60 comes with. The built-in speaker system is powerful and so if you intend to play live performances with the piano, you will have a great time.
To juggle between different settings fast, there is a small LCD screen. It is not much but it is better than no screen at all. Other performance enhancing features include the three pedals, the escapement feature that allows the hammer to strike and clear the string.
With a 70000-note storage capacity, you can make longer recordings. To enjoy using the synth sounds built into this piano, you can set the keys to fixed sensitivity.
What we don’t like
We do not like the fact that this digital piano lacks a mod wheel. Thus, you cannot use software that requires Mod wheel, and there is feature designed to take the place of a mod wheel or pitch bend.
Best Stage Piano: Kawai ES84Pre
- 88 keys
- Harmonic Imaging XL sound engine
- Dual Mode has been included – you can play two sounds at the same time
- Four hand mode to split it into two halves for students and teacher
- Headphones jack, MIDI input and output, pedal and USB to host/device
- Onboard speakers with 15W
- 256 note polyphony and 34 unique instrument sounds
Whatever kind of performance you might need the best digital piano for advanced pianist for, get the Kawai ES8. It is categorized in the same class as the Roland FP-60 and is indeed a good choice for an advanced user who wants the feel of an acoustic piano. It is sold with the important accessories so that as soon as you put everything together, you can start playing immedia
You will get a professional performance from this piano. The speakers are installed on each side facing upwards. Whether you play in church, in school or at home, you will enjoy a great time. The sound is rich, clear and deep. It has been carefully programmed to sound as close to an acoustic piano as possible. Therefore, short of playing in a concert hall, you will find the built-in speakers quite enough.
You get all of 34 instrument sounds. These include jazz piano, rock piano, 4 bass, 4 strings, 6 Grand Pianos, upright piano, pipe organs and many others. Explore all of these sounds to see which can help you create your favorite jams easily especially when using the MIDI feature.
You can play two sounds on the piano at the same time. You may also engage the four hand mode which splits the keyboard into two equal halves. Two people can play at the same time. This is a very useful feature for a teacher who is helping a student learn how to play.
You will love the weighted keys of this piano. In fact, the keys are programmed to give sound commensurate to their functions. That is why tremble keys give a lighter sound while the bass keys give a heavy tone as befits a bass.
When you buy, you get a power cable, a sustain pedal and a music rest.
What we don’t like
This is a great digital piano for stage performances. However, we wish it was lighter than the 50 lbs so that we can travel with it. At such weight, we would need a wheeled backpack to take it with us.
Over to You
Picking the best digital piano for an advanced pianist can be tough. Keys and sound quality are supremely important, both of which are subjective. This makes it difficult to narrow down and pick the right option.
Hopefully, this article would have helped you choose the perfect digital piano for your needs.
For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.
- Our selection of the best digital pianos for all needs
- Still a beginner? Check out our list of the best beginner digital pianos
- Learning to play? Here’s our pick of the best digital pianos for learning