Best Digital Pianos for Students iMore 2020
We're taking a look at the best digital pianos that would suit students. This means they have to be relatively portable in case they need to be transported to and from college accommodation or to gigs, compact enough to fit in bedrooms or dorm rooms, yet still offer a full, weighted 88 key keyboard, three pedals and decent construction. Our overall best choice, the Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano, does all that and remains compact.
- Best Overall Digital Piano: Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano
- Best Compact Digital Piano: Roland F-140R-CB Compact Digital Piano
- Best Value Digital Piano: Casio PX860 Privia Digital Home Piano
- Best High-End Digital Piano: Korg C1 Air Digital Piano
Best Overall Digital Piano: Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano
Yamaha's YDP103 is the entry-level model in the company's popular Arius Series and is available in black or dark rosewood. It has a full 88 key Graded Hammer Standard keyboard for a heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end, tactile, matte black keytops, and three realistic pedals.
With 10 voices, the Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling recreates natural instrument sound in stereo, and dual-mode lets you combine two voices, like piano and strings. A cable can be used to hook up iOS devices and use the "Digital Piano Controller" app that lets you adjust settings, choose voices, and record performances.
- Graded hammer standard weighted action
- iOS compatibility
- Advanced Wave Memory stereo sampling
- Bench included
- No Bluetooth connectivity
Best Overall Digital Piano
This is a great entry-level option from Yamaha, and it benefits from iOS compatibility.
Best Compact Digital Piano: Roland F-140R-CB Compact Digital Piano
The F-140R is available in classic black or elegant white, with a compact, contemporary design that makes this ideal for smaller living spaces or even bedrooms/ There are built-in stereo speakers and Roland's "Headphones 3D Ambience" effect that offers an immersive experience during private practice.
With onboard recording, this digital piano gives you 72 different rhythm styles for a variety of musical genres, and non-piano sounds, such as organ, guitar, brass, and synths. The keys have an ivory feel and boast Progressive Hammer Action with advanced sensing tech to make the most of Roland's "Supernatural Piano" sound engine's tonal range.
This piano has some really neat connectivity options. As well as hooking up to a computer via USB, you can connect your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and tap a pedal to turn an app's sheet music pages wirelessly.
- Bluetooth and USB connectivity
- Headphones 3D Ambience effect
- Compact, low profile, slimline design
- No bench
Best Compact Digital Piano
Strikes a chord
A modern, compact option from Roland, this is perfect for bedrooms and dorm rooms.
Best Value Digital Piano: Casio PX860 Privia Digital Home Piano
The PX-860 is the flagship of Casio's Privia line. It has the company's proprietary sound source 'AiR' (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator), which provides the sound of a nine-foot concert grand piano in stereo at four dynamic levels with the sympathetic resonance of the sound of strings.
Helping create that realistic piano experience is Casio's 88 note Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard with simulated ebony and ivory textured keys that have three sensors to closely reflect how hard the keys are pressed.
There are an impressive 256 notes of polyphony, a choice of 18 instrument tones, four speakers, and a 20-watt plus 20-watt amplifier. It has USB connectivity, split and layer capability to play bass on the left and have two layered tones in the right, and duet mode, which splits the keyboard into two equal ranges. So, a student and teacher can use the piano simultaneously.
- 256-note polyphony
- Duet mode
- Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator (AiR) processor
- No Bluetooth
- No bench
Best Value Digital Piano
Ups the tempo
This Casio option offers a cleverly designed keyboard and some advanced technology in a classic package.
Best High-End Digital Piano: Korg C1 Air Digital Piano
From well-respected electronic musical instrument specialists Korg, maker of the multiple award-winning KRONOS keyboard, and based on decades of piano sound tech, comes the high-end C1 Air digital piano. This is a particularly slimline option. The C1 Air boasts Bluetooth audio streaming, on-board recording, and has 30 different instrument sounds.
The C1 produces the sound of three of the world's finest concert grand pianos. It offers multiple-layer samples and digital recreation of grand piano strings and a damper resonance for realism. At the same time, the RH3 keyboard accurately simulates acoustic piano touch and response from the gentle pianissimo to the powerful fortissimo.
- Bluetooth audio playback
- On-board recording
- 30 realistic instrument sounds
- Recording functionality
- High cost
- No bench
Best High-End Digital Piano
Scale it up
The C1 Air is a luxury option from Korg. It's well-specced with a contemporary design.
No strings attached
Which digital piano is best for you is largely going to be down to what you can afford. These are all very worthy full-size, 88 key pianos with built-in speakers and three pedals, but the price varies by literally thousands.
Our overall best pick, the Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano, is a very capable and competent digital piano from the long-established brand, Yamaha. It boasts some clever tech to replicate the experience of playing an acoustic piano, but in a much more manageable design.
Its iOS compatibility will appeal to students, so they can hook the piano up to their iPhone or iPad and make the most of the excellent piano apps available. We also like that this piano comes complete with a matching bench, so for the relatively affordable price, you get everything you need out of the box ready to go.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Amy-Mae Turner As someone who hasn't got the room or organizational abilities to look after an acoustic piano, Amy-Mae was an obvious choice to go down the digital route.
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