Digital pianos have a lot to offer to anyone looking for their first piano or even seasoned pianists who are looking for something a little more accommodating for their homes. But are they without fault? This guide will lay down the pros and cons of digital pianos so you can decide if they are right for you and your needs.
The Pros of Using A Digital Piano
Digital pianos have a lot of benefits that make them an attractive option for players of all skill levels. If these perks pique your interest, you can’t go wrong with choosing a one.
Digital pianos come from many different brands, various sizes, have weighted or semi-weighted keys, and more!
This means that price can vary drastically, which isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it’s okay. This means that there are entry-level pianos that are incredibly affordable, some that are mid-tier, as well as high-end pianos. There’s something for everyone, and in most cases, they’ll be cheaper than an acoustic piano.
Being able to find one at a reasonable price also means that it’s ideal for beginners who want to learn the instrument. In general, they’re awesome for anyone who practices regularly.
Although there are a lot of digital pianos that comes attached to a desk, there are also a lot of standalone options as well that are significantly lighter than an acoustic piano.
I’ve seen full-size models that only weigh about 40 pounds!
This is great for people who frequently travel to gigs, plan on moving in the future, or just want something that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
One of the biggest benefits of using a digital piano is that they are pretty much hassle-free. Other than any initial preparations the instrument may have, these will never need to be tuned!
Since there are no hammers and strings being plucked when you press a note down on a digital piano, this eliminates the need for tuning or fixing.
The only thing that might need repairing one day are the built-in speakers, but this won’t be anywhere near the number of times the piano would need to be tuned. On average, a piano is tuned a couple of times per year and can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 each time it is serviced!
Easy Recording, Updates, & Other Cool Features
Modern technology allows digital pianos to connect to your computer effortlessly, often through USB.
Being able to connect your piano directly allows you to record your own music without the need for microphones, sound-proofing, etc. It also lets you download updates to your piano if you have one that requires that from time-to-time, like Roland keyboards.
Some also support phones and tablets and provide an app that allows you to pull up sheet music, video lessons, and play practice games. You can even record and playback natively which is extremely useful. Headphone jacks are also nice if you want to practice in the middle of the night.
The Cons of Digital Pianos
Right off the bat, I will tell you that the benefits of these pianos outweigh the drawbacks; however, it’s still worth getting into the specifics of some of the things pianists might not like about them.
Some Aren’t Touch-Sensitive
While there are plenty of digital pianos with weighted-keys to try to emulate the experience of an acoustic piano, some fail to be touch-sensitive which means that regardless of how hard you hit the key, it will produce the same volume.
Part of the beauty of acoustic pianos is being able to vary the sound by hitting the keys hard or soft, allowing it to be very dynamic. In fact, the word piano is a condensed version of the word pianoforte, which is a portmanteau of the Italian musical terms piano and forte. Piano means soft, and forte means loud, so it’s definitely a suitable name for the instrument.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to all keyboards, and there are plenty with velocity sensitivity. You’ll just have to look carefully at the different models if this is a feature that you require.
They’re Not Ideal For Classical Performances
Sure, digital pianos can be great for practicing classical pieces, but when it comes to showtime, you’ll usually always be performing on an acoustic piano.
This means that if you plan on performing, you may want to dedicate some time to practice on an acoustic piano. The fewer variables you have to worry or be concerned about, the more consistent your piano performance will be.
While all the notes are still the same on a digital piano, there are some quirks with acoustics that you might need to adjust to. Other than that, it’s really just a formality thing.
It’s Not The Real Deal
This section somewhat ties into the last one, but it will go into more specifics. As close as a digital piano can get to replicating an acoustic one in terms of feel and sound, it will never be the same thing.
Although an electric piano has a very clear sound, you also miss out on the organic sound being produced by the hammers and strings as well as the vibrations that come from it.
Some may argue that this is an integral part of the piano experience because these aspects are all things that contribute to its sound quality. To the pianist who is loyal to an acoustic instrument, some of the magic is gone when playing on a digital one.
Even though a digital piano may lack some of the things that make its acoustic counterpart special, they are an extremely viable way to play the instrument.
The convenience that comes with them is hard to beat, and it even offers some things that you can’t get with a traditional one.
Being able to practice around the clock without disturbing anyone and creating high-quality, crisp recordings without any microphones, are just a couple of these exclusive benefits that you’ll get by going digital.
Acoustic pianos do have their time and place, but for general multi-purpose use, you’ll more than likely be happy with a solid digital piano as your everyday work-horse.