You may think a piano is just an instrument, but that’s not quite the case. Sure, there are acoustic pianos and digital pianos, but the quality also makes a difference. The best digital pianos for advanced pianists aren’t going to be the same as the best choice for beginners.
There are so many great digital pianos available, but we’ve picked the Casio Privia PX-860 as our number one. Not only is it a beautiful instrument, but it has a full range of 88 weighted keys, a maximum polyphony of 256, and a grand piano lid simulator for the best sound possible.
Apart from our top choice, our recommended best pianos for advanced pianists are:
Reviews of the Best Digital Pianos for Advanced Pianists
This digital piano is perfect for home use. Every advanced pianist, whether classical or contemporary, will get value out of this instrument.
The performance is impressive, with foundation features like hammer action keys for a realistic acoustic feel and varying levels of touch sensitivity. Casio’s Tri-Sensor hammer action setup emulates the unique sound timing that only a grand piano has, by making use of a three-sensor system for detecting sequential key touch.
The keys are simulated ebony and ivory, giving not only a grand feeling but limiting finger slipping due to its detailed surface texture. This allows for smooth, effortless playing that feels as luxurious as an old classic.
It shines in its sound quality, too. It comes equipped with Casio’s AiR Sound Source, which naturally reproduces classic piano tones such as string resonance, damper resonance, and vibrato.
The cherry on top is the PX-860’s Lid Simulator, which is a unique feature that every fan of the grand piano will love. It allows for the tonal changes that occur when a grand piano’s lid is raised and makes this digital piano extremely well-rounded for those looking for a classic sound.
There’s also a Hall Simulator, which recreates the acoustics of some of the most famous concert halls.
For those looking to make use of some digital-specific functions, there are 18 different tones, a range of effects, and approximately 5,000 notes worth of recording space.
The Roland RD-2000 differs from the top pick most noticeably in its portability. While the Casio Privia PX-860 is too large to be moved around, the Roland RD-2000 is easy to transport and doesn’t sacrifice any sound quality.
It’s advertised as a stage piano by Roland and performs superbly, allowing the player extensive freedom in terms of both sound selection and effects, as well as easy control for fuss-free live performances.
The RD-2000 sports twin sound engines—one for reproductions of electric sounds, and one for acoustic. This versatility is fantastic for advanced pianists who love having a variety of sounds at their fingertips. The simulation of real piano sounds is rich and detailed, made possible by Roland’s V-Piano research.
The first V-Piano sound engine is designed specifically to produce incredibly natural and rich acoustic tones, with full-keyboard polyphony for a fantastic acoustic experience. A second SuperNATURAL-based sound engine offers a large variety of distinctive electric piano sounds, all the way from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.
The progressive hammer-action keyboard with escapement is responsive and light to the touch, featuring hybrid keys for a durable but classic feel.
One of the best features of this digital piano is the ability to assign sounds and effects to particular patches, allowing you the freedom to create your own entirely customizable combination of sounds.
It’s incredibly versatile for those interested in sound creation, while still retaining classic tones and feel for that old-fashioned piano experience.
The best digital piano for advanced pianists doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Casio CGP-700BK is packed with high-end features and has a modest price tag, making it perfect for advanced musicians on a budget.
The CGP (Compact Grand Piano) is also very easy to use, so it’s great for those who are opposed to something that has too many buttons and switches. The panel is sleek and features a full-color screen that makes it easy to see things at a glance.
Navigating through sounds and effects is simple, and if you want that authentic grand piano sound, it’s as quick as pushing the dedicated Grand Piano button.
The CGP-700BK has an impressive speaker system. You’ll find four in the keyboard panel, and two incorporated into the keyboard stand, with 40 watts of power for a sound experience unlike any other digital piano.
Casio’s exclusive Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action keys feel just like a proper grand, having a heavier feel in the lower register and a lighter feel higher up.
One of the biggest advantages of using a portable digital piano is the ability to take it with you wherever you want to go. While some digital pianos are designed to be more fixed in one location, this one has been made with portability in mind.
Its slim, smooth design is perfect for transportation since it weighs only 25 pounds, and it’s 43 percent smaller than its other Privia cousins.
It doesn’t sacrifice any high-end playability, though. Advanced string and damper resonance bring out that warm, rich tone that Casio pianos are known for.
The multitude of built-in rhythms makes it a breeze to create, practice, and incorporate into live gigs. You’ll also find some helpful songwriting tools, so this piano is versatile enough to be used in every step of the music creation process.
The Casio Privia PX-S3000 may cost less than other digital pianos, but it delivers a premium quality playing experience that you won’t find elsewhere for this price.
The Nord Stage 3 is the ultimate digital piano experience for high-energy performers. Not only does it look funky, but it also delivers a host of amazing features, making it one of the most versatile offerings available.
The extensive piano, organ, and synth sections can be used alone or simultaneously. The flexibility this offers to the performing musician is unique and exciting, and that’s not even including the vast library of effects that can be added.
The configurations are virtually endless, so it’s perfect for advanced pianists who find joy in creating new, unusual musical experiences.
A unique feature is the Extern section, which is designed for easy control over external devices. Devices are integrated seamlessly and controlled as if they were an effect on the keyboard itself, which gives this piano an extra thumbs-up for usability.
One of the biggest fears of advanced pianists is that switching to digital won’t give them that same sound quality of an acoustic. While this is a valid point, there are digital pianos out there with unreal capabilities to replicate the acoustic, in both feel and sound.
The Korg Grandstage does just that and takes the top spot for sound quality and for advanced pianists looking for that classic sound.
Seven sound generators give you just about anything your heart desires, including electric, acoustic, organs, and synthesizers. It also includes both stereo and mono options to suit any taste.
Its most interesting feature is the Dynamics knob, which controls how the sound and volume of your music responds to your touch. It’s an unusual but excellent addition that isn’t found on any other brand and makes a noticeable contribution to the quality of sound.
The Casio PX560BE is ideal for busy gig use. The 5.3-inch color screen is fantastic for at-a-glance info in gig settings and makes use of more pictures than words. It’s extremely user-friendly and looks great at the same time.
Casio’s Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source can’t be faulted in its reproduction of the natural sound and resonance of an upright piano. The technology allows for smooth transitions between softer and louder sounds and incorporates string and damper resonance, hammer response, and key-off simulation.
The 256-note polyphony, in addition to the above features, gives the authentic feeling of playing a full-sized concert grand piano while on stage.
The PX560BE also has capabilities for digital effects, rhythm editing, and a 17-track MIDI recorder, making it one of the most versatile options around.
The advanced features not only give it great stage chops but make it a superb option to use as a decent home studio too.
Key action is another area in which advanced piano players worry about digital pianos. The Roland FP-90 has a progressive hammer action, reproducing the feel of an acoustic uncannily.
The keys are made of wood and molded materials but have a substantial weight behind them. The key action response can also be adjusted, so you can set it up for what suits you best.
The sound is excellent as well, using Roland’s SuperNATURAL technology instead of conventional piano sound sampling to ensure a rich, detailed sound.
It’s also very reactive to playing and pedaling, so although this may be a digital piano, it’s a physical playing experience that closely resembles that of an acoustic piano.
The purchase includes a damper pedal, and between that and the enormous selection of piano, organ, synth and strings sounds, your musical options are almost endless.
The polyphony is also incredible, being limitless on the piano and with a count of 384 when effects are being applied.
Although this is our top choice for its amazing acoustic-like key action, it offers a ton of premium features that make it a step up from other digital pianos.
Classical pianists who want a digital piano that’s as close as possible to the feel and tone of an acoustic will love this choice.
The Yamaha Arius YDP-164 recreates the tone of Yamaha’s classic CFX concert grand piano. Using Virtual Resonance Modeling, it creates a superb string resonance, damper resonance, and touch response. These parameters can be adjusted in the Smart Pianist App to formulate the ideal sound for you—a full, detailed acoustic tone that replicates the grand piano almost perfectly.
It doesn’t just get the sound right, either. The springless hammer mechanism in grand pianos’ keys is also used in the Yamaha Arius YDP-164, giving it an incredibly similar feeling to playing a real grand. You’ll get the authentic heaviness in the lower register, which lightens the higher you go.
The YDP-164 also has a three-sensor system that senses the behavior of the keyboard and adjusts accordingly, allowing for quick note repetition.
The damper resonance and half-damper pedal control feel just like what you’d get on a grand. This adds a realism that some digital pianos struggle to convey.
You’ll also have access to MIDI recording functions and can record two tracks (approximately 11 000 notes per song).
The purchase includes a padded bench, headphones, and a polishing cloth, so you’ll have all you need to move your new digital grand piano in and start playing.
How Do Digital Pianos Differ From Acoustic Pianos?
Although both types of piano serve the same purpose and produce the same sounds, they differ in the following ways:
Acoustic or upright pianos are quite mechanical. They create sound by striking a string or strings with a hammer when you press a key.
Digital pianos get that robust acoustic sound by playing back a recording of the real thing through their speakers.
Acoustic piano keys are made of wood with a thin covering of plastic. Older pianos may have ivory in their keys, but pianos are no longer made with ivory, as it’s considered unethical. Whatever they’re made of, acoustic piano keys are solid and heavy.
The pedals of an acoustic piano also have some weight behind them, so playing an acoustic can be a fairly physical experience.
Digital pianos don’t have the same full-bodied feel as an upright does. Some digital pianos are made with plastic keys to keep them lightweight, which affects the feeling of playing.
Although many digital pianos are now being made with weighted keys and the option to plug in pedals, the digital version still doesn’t reverberate like an upright when played.
Some other noticeable differences include the fact that digital pianos don’t need to be tuned, they can be used to create a variety of instrument sounds, and are much easier to move around than acoustic pianos are.
How to Choose the Best Digital Piano for You
Consider things such as:
- Available space.
- Sound versatility.
Your music, your lifestyle, and how these two are linked will influence your choice.
Buying a digital piano can get expensive. Although some of these pianos come with a high price tag, you don’t need to break the bank to get yourself a great quality digital piano.
The Casio CGP-700BK is the most affordable option that will give you a full piano experience. You’ll have access to an easy-to-use CGP (compact grand piano), a multitude of tones and rhythms to build your tracks, and an impressive six-speaker sound system.
Of course, if budget isn’t a consideration, then you need to look at the other factors below.
Space and Location
We’ve seen countless people go out and buy a digital piano without seeing if it’ll fit their home. Measure out that space first!
If you’re looking for an instrument to tinkle on while you’re at home, you won’t necessarily need something portable. The Casio Privia PX-860 is perfect for home use and will add to the home decor too!
If you live in a small apartment or can’t get a larger piano into your designated space, something smaller and easier to move around may be a better bet. The Casio Privia PX-S3000 is the most compact on our list and still packs a punch.
If you’re planning on going on tour (even if it’s just around the neighborhood), a portable digital piano like the Casio Privia PX-S3000 would be helpful due to its 52 x 9 x 4-inch dimensions.
It’s just as high-quality as the rest of the Privia range, but 43% smaller. This makes it the easiest to transport from gig to gig.
If you’re a pretty classic kind of musician, you may be more than satisfied with something simpler, such as the Yamaha Arius YDP-164. It has a wonderful grand piano sound but isn’t big on effects.
If you’re branching into a more digital style of music, you might want something like the Nord Stage 3, with a variety of sounds and effects so you can get creative.
Why Use a Digital Piano Instead of an Acoustic Piano?
Nothing quite feels the same as sitting down in front of a grand piano, and nothing quite sounds the same as the tone that comes out of it.
But it’s 2020, and while that certainly doesn’t mean that grand pianos are behind us (thank goodness!), it does mean that technology is marching forward.
Digital pianos do the same thing acoustic pianos do, but they have some advantages that you won’t get with an old-fashioned, classic acoustic.
- Volume control.
- Able to record to disc.
- Much lighter and easier to transport.
- Ability to play through headphones (no more unhappy neighbors!)
- More affordable in general.
- Take up less space.
- Doesn’t need to be tuned.
Are There Disadvantages to Using a Digital Piano?
Although digitals have some excellent features, they have a downside too.
Technology is advancing so quickly that the value of a digital piano decreases very quickly. New sounds and features are constantly being developed, so it doesn’t take long for your brand new piano to fall down the ranks.
The less robust playing experience, lighter key weight and balance, and the digitally tinged sound may also be considered disadvantages.
There’s no denying the advantages of the digital piano for advanced pianists, though. They’re incredibly versatile, and if you play often, the volume control and portability can make a huge difference to when and where you can do so.
It’s the Digital Age of Pianos
We love the quality of the Casio Privia PX-860. If you’re searching for the best digital piano for advanced pianists, we highly recommend it for its AiR Sound Source, Lid Simulator, and easily customizable sound and effects.
If you want something a little more portable, we’d suggest the Roland RD-2000. It has dual sound engines to reproduce amazing electric and acoustic sounds, as well as the capabilities to create extremely customized sounds and backing tracks.
There’s truly something for every type of advanced pianist on this list.