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Keys & Synthesizers

Buy High-quality Music Keyboards and Synthesizers Online

Playing an instrument can be quite soothing for the soul and mind. Which is why most people love to spend their time playing a piano or a guitar. Apart from boosting your mood and relieving stress, playing an instrument can help in your cognitive and mental development. Children have an ability to pick up a new skill quickly. If you want your kids to embark on their musical journey and wondering which instrument will be an ideal one, we’re here to help you with just that. Music keyboards and synthesizers can help your kids learn the basics of music. This will also keep them entertained and happy. Playing a keyboard requires the coordination of multiple body parts. This helps in stimulating the brain and enhances its development. Thanks to online shopping, you can buy a music keyboard or a synthesizer from the comfort of your home. From a digital keyboard and a harmonium to an arranger keyboard and a shruti box, you can buy different types of instruments online. Trusted brands like Yamaha, Casio, Bluecart Online and Redbox have a vast range of keyboards to choose from. Once you place the order, the keyboard will get safely delivered to your doorstep.

A few keyboards that you can find online are:

a. Casio Analog Portable Keyboard

b. Yamaha Digital Portable Keyboard

c. Mahavir Casio SA-77 KM15 Digital Portable Keyboard

d. Kadence KAD-MID-KC-X3M MIDI Controller Keytar

e. Meher Enterprises 5407 keyboard with 6 AA batteries 5407 Bandstand Digital Portable Keyboard

Things to Consider Before Buying a Keyboard

If you’re planning to buy a good-quality music keyboard or a synthesizer for you or your kids, you might as well consider a few factors that will help you make a sound buying decision. Let’s discuss them here:

Action

This determines the response level of the keyboard. The action of a keyboard can be of different types, such as weighted, semi-weighted, hammer and synth. While weighted and semi -weighted keys respond like traditional pianos, synth action has no resistance, so you can play the keys quickly. Weighted keys are ideal for beginners.

MIDI Compatibility

MIDI stands for ‘musical instrument digital interface’. This allows instruments to connect to each other through signals. It’s an important feature if you like to interface the piano with a computer or you want to play electronic music.

Computer Connectivity

Keyboards can be connected to a computer through USB, FireWire, MIDI or mLAN ports. This option to connect your keyboards to a computer can help you compose your own music tracks using various programs. Digital keyboards usually come with a USB port or an MIDI port for easy and quick connectivity.

Number of Keys

Keyboards usually come with different numbers of keys that may range from 32 to 88. The number of keys determine the type of music you’ll be playing and your space restrictions. A 66-key keyboard is ideal for beginners, but if you want to play classical piano, you will need 88 keys.

Best-Selling Musical Instruments Online

Sours: https://www.flipkart.com/musical-instruments/keys-synthesizers/pr?sid=ypu%2Cnvg
The Best Budget Digital Piano for Beginners

My 38-year musical journey began the first time I sat down at my cousin’s piano. My parents were able to foster this newfound passion by picking up a cheap, upright acoustic piano for me to practice on, but due to its age it had issues that made playing challenging. This is why Wirecutter recommends a good, affordable digital piano for beginners. If you’re looking to begin your (or your child’s) journey with music, the Casio CDP-S150 is an excellent choice because it suitably replicates the feel of an acoustic piano but costs less and requires less space.


The Casio CDP-S150 is one of the slimmest keyboards available under $500, yet it still offers an accurate piano feel (aka its key action, which we’ll discuss below), as well as excellent sounds and useful student/teacher features such as a duet mode for playing a lesson together. This piano lacks a digital readout, but adjusting sounds and other functions is still easy enough. The only real drawback is the lack of Bluetooth for connecting it wirelessly to a mobile device to use Casio’s Chordana Play app, which provides access to additional controls and features; you have to use the less convenient USB Type-B port for a wired connection instead.

Some of our testers (including me) slightly preferred the Roland FP-10 over the Casio CDP-S150 for its more authentic piano feel and accurate sounds. It has Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to a mobile device running Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app, but its physical controls are far less intuitive than the CDP-S150’s. Still, the FP-10 would likely be our top pick if not for the fact that it’s scarce currently. Roland told us that it expected more stock to come but couldn’t give us a timetable for the model’s return to general availability. If you can find one, pick it up. Otherwise the Casio is a top-notch choice.

Although the Alesis Recital Pro doesn’t sound quite as good or play quite as well as our other picks, it’s clearly the standout value. It’s typically about $100 less expensive than the Casio CDP-S150, and that savings is somewhat evident in the quality of the sounds that this piano produces. But thanks to its intuitive button design and LCD readout, this keyboard is the easiest to use of our picks. It doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, so it requires an extra purchase of about $20 to make it fully functional.

Why you should trust us

I have been playing piano since the early 1980s, and I hold a Bachelor of Music degree with an audio production and piano focus from Ithaca College, as well as a Master of Music in keyboard collaborative arts from the University of Southern California. For the past 20 years, I’ve been a professional music director, and I’ve performed myriad musical styles on different instruments in concert halls and on nightclub stages. I also taught music for 10 years at a private Los Angeles middle and high school.

Since Wirecutter launched this guide in 2018, I’ve brought in several pianists to participate on our test panels. Liz Kinnon is a pianist/arranger/composer/educator from Los Angeles who has performed with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Andy Williams. She was an orchestrator on the animated shows Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Histeria. At the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, she teaches jazz piano and is the director of adult jazz workshops.

Jack Smith was an editorial assistant for Wirecutter for over two years. He is a lifelong musician and works with other musicians in production and mixing out of his own studio.

Wirecutter senior staff writer Brent Butterworth is best known for his journalistic work in the field of audio, but he is also an accomplished musician, having played gigs with jazz, rock, and folk groups in New York City and Los Angeles. He currently plays bass in four jazz groups in Los Angeles, regularly hosts jam sessions at his house, and owns two budget digital pianos.

Phil Metzler is a lifelong musician who plays keyboards (and occasionally trumpet) in the pop/rock band Just Off Turner, which has released five studio albums. He also composes music out of his home studio in Los Angeles.

Who should buy a budget digital piano?

These digital keyboards are perfect for any student, of any age, who is interested in learning how to play piano. They are inexpensive (by piano standards), they have built-in speakers so an extra amplifier isn’t necessary, and they include multiple piano sounds. These keyboards are relatively light—all our picks weigh under 30 pounds—so it’s possible for one person to carry the piano when necessary.

The value of these keyboards doesn’t stop at the beginner level. Professional pianists may find them useful for bringing to gigs or for connecting to a computer for recording. They’re also useful for practicing with headphones so that you don’t bother cohabitants.

The price of digital pianos can extend to many thousands of dollars, which buys you better sounds, an even more realistic feel, improved speakers, better build quality, and—with a digital console—a solid and attractive piece of furniture. The more expensive options can definitely be a better representation of an acoustic piano (at a fraction of the initial cost and continued maintenance), but they are far from necessary for a beginner and better suited as an upgrade many years (and lessons) down the line.

How we picked and tested

A digital piano should be as similar to an acoustic piano in feel and sound as possible. If you’re learning piano technique and piano music on a digital instrument, you should be able to transition easily to an acoustic piano. Although each digital piano’s sound and feel are our primary concerns, we also carefully consider each model’s extra features, which can be confusing and overwhelming for beginners.

Our bare-minimum requirements for a budget digital piano are that it has 88 keys (the same number as on traditional acoustic pianos) and internal speakers to facilitate practicing without needing to attach an amplifier. Beyond that, some amount of weighted key action (either semi-weighted or hammer action; more on this in a moment) and an accurate piano sound are the primary deciding factors for our picks. An included stand and sustain pedal are nice but not requirements, as third-party options are readily available and inexpensive.

In piano lingo, action describes the way the piano keys feel when you press them. With a digital piano, the closer the action is to that of an acoustic piano, the better. Semi-weighted action uses a spring to create the resistance you feel when pressing a key and its rebound when you lift your finger. Hammer action uses a hammer mechanism like that found in an acoustic piano to replicate the feel. Graded, or progressive, hammer action takes that a step further by increasing the weight of the action as you descend to the lower notes on the keyboard. Using a keyboard with weighted action is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, it helps you build finger strength while practicing (a spring-based action only minimally addresses this). Second, it allows for more variation and musicality in the way you play a note. Although an acoustic piano keyboard might look like nothing more than a bunch of on/off switches, in reality there’s a range of volumes and timbres that you can achieve depending on how quickly or strongly you depress the keys. Hammer action best replicates those possibilities.

Once we established the basic parameters, I reached out to colleagues who are piano teachers or musical directors to get a sense of what models were in highest rotation in the professional world. I also played several models at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show. From there I searched through Amazon, Musician’s Friend, and Sweetwater for available models and then cross-checked that information with manufacturer websites, adding anything that was missing. After considering all that information, I decided to cap the price at $500, which was high enough to include several quality keyboards that met all (or most) of our criteria without being too pricey. This step gave me a list of 21 models from nine different companies.

I then set off to a few Los Angeles music stores to get my hands on some keys, talk to the store employees—who work around these instruments every day—and whittle down the list. After contacting manufacturers to request samples and to get suggestions on pianos that might better fit our guidelines, we narrowed the list down to seven keyboards.

For our original 2018 tests, we evaluated all the keyboards in our Los Angeles office. After unboxing them and setting them up, I invited the panel testers to come in and try them out. I asked them to rate the key action and the sound of each piano and to evaluate features from the perspective of a beginner. After playing through all of them over a couple hours, we talked through the pros and cons of each keyboard, and our panelists gave me their top three choices.

In 2021, we brought in a few more keyboards that had been released since the initial publication of this guide. Due to pandemic restrictions, we could not conduct our testing with everyone together; instead, Brent Butterworth, Phil Metzler, and I individually played the keyboards at an isolated location, and I then conversed with them separately to get their opinions.

Our pick: Casio CDP-S150

Our pick for best beginner keyboard, the Casio CDP-S150.

The Casio CDP-S150 is an excellent keyboard for anyone in search of a light, compact, 88-key option for their home. The action feels similar to that of an acoustic piano, and the included sounds are very good—in particular, we love the grand piano sounds. The small size and light weight make the CDP-S150 easy to stow away when necessary.

In our most recent round of testing, all three testers ranked this keyboard first or second. The action on the CDP-S150—which Casio calls scaled hammer action—allows the keyboard to better emulate how the action feels across an acoustic piano’s keyboard, where the lower notes are a bit heavier than the higher notes. The keybed felt a little shallow, though, so overall I found the touch to be a bit light and lacking in the depth my fingers are used to, especially as my fingers got closer to the keyboard body (between the black keys). Phil said that the sound of the upper keys seemed a bit artificial and less natural compared with that of the rest of the keyboard, though still very acceptable, and both he and Brent thought the lighter touch felt great and suitable for their styles of playing (Brent ranked the Casio as his favorite).

The plastic keys have a texture that’s intended to mimic the touch of ebony and (synthetic) ivory piano keys and to be less slippery than a smooth surface. It took Phil some getting used to, but he ended up really liking the texture, as did I.

The CDP-S150 has 10 total sounds, and the three grand piano sounds—standard, mellow, and bright—were the best of the bunch. I preferred the standard sound, but I can see uses for the other two when you’re playing with other instruments, either to sit back a bit in the texture with the mellow sound or to peek out a bit with the bright sound. The electric piano and organ sounds were also very good. Brent particularly liked the B3 organ sound, and I thought the rotary-speaker sound effect added to the realism. Unfortunately, the harpsichord and string sounds were lackluster and disappointing, as the harpsichord’s note samples felt incomplete, and the strings sounded sterile and had a decidedly digital quality. But unless you’re experimenting with sounds, you’ll barely touch the harpsichord and strings, if at all.

The two 8-watt, 4.72-inch-long oval speakers can play suitably loud for a small to medium-size room without distorting, and we expect that they would still be audible during a gentle jazz jam (as long as it’s not a big band).

A close-up of some of the control buttons and volume knob on the Casio CDP-S150 keyboard.

The Casio has no digital readout, which isn’t unheard of for keyboards in this price range. Instead, the available adjustments (including sounds, reverb, chorus, and the like) are labeled above certain keys; by pressing the function button and the appropriate key, you can make that particular adjustment. It’s not the most ideal solution, as almost any adjustment requires using both hands (one on the function button and one to press the assigned key), but at least Casio makes it as easy as possible by stating what each key does directly above it instead of requiring you to reference the manual or a cheat sheet.

You can return to the grand piano sound with a single press of the function button, and the keyboard also has a dedicated button for starting and stopping the record feature. The volume dial feels firm and moves smoothly, with no chance of your changing the volume unintentionally. There’s also a metronome that lets you adjust the tempo up and down, or you can set a specific tempo between 20 and 255 beats per minute (bpm) by holding the function button and pressing the keys assigned 0 to 9.

To get a graphic interface, you can use the CDP-S150 with Casio’s Chordana Play app for iOS and Android. Through the app you can change everything that you can control with the keyboard buttons, but in a much more pleasing way. Changing the metronome tempo in the app is also far easier, and it includes simple beginner lessons, although some reviews have reported issues getting the app to read MIDI files (we didn’t experience this issue directly).

The CDP-S150 comes with the SP-3 sustain pedal, which acts like the rightmost pedal on an acoustic piano and controls whether the notes ring out after being played (when depressed) or are immediately dampened. This style of pedal, though it has textured rubber on the bottom, tends to move around the floor pretty easily unless you tape it down (not always ideal for a home floor). The optional SP-34 three-pedal add-on gives you the additional soft and sostenuto pedals found on an acoustic piano, and I recommend upgrading to it at some point.

A duet function allows the CDP-S150 to split into two sides so that a student and teacher can sit at the keyboard together, with each side covering the same range of notes. If you’re using the optional SP-34 pedal add-on, the duet function changes the assignments of the pedals so that the right-side pedal controls the damper for the right split, the left-side pedal controls the damper for the left, and the center pedal acts as a damper for the entire keyboard.

A close-up of the cable ports on the back of the Casio CDP-S150 keyboard.

The CDP-S150’s music desk (the holder where you place the sheet music) was the sturdiest among our test units. Its lower half is solid, which helps it hold a music book or sheets of paper better than a wire stand.

You can place the CDP-S150 on any keyboard stand or even a tabletop. We recommend a double-X stand like the RockJam Xfinity; since this type of stand has a total of four legs, it’s stiffer, stronger, and more stable than typical two-legged stands, and unlike Z-style stands, it’s collapsible for storage.

The back panel has a quarter-inch connector for the damper pedal, another connector for the optional SP-34 pedal, a USB Type-B port for connecting to a computer or mobile device, a single 3.5 mm audio out for headphones, and a 3.5 mm audio input. If you don’t have a power outlet nearby or want to use the Casio model outside, it can run on six AA batteries.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

In order to use the CDP-S150 with the Chordana Play app, you need to connect your mobile device to the keyboard’s USB Type-B port, as there is no Bluetooth connectivity. Although most people probably have a USB charge cable lying around, it’s likely a Type A (rectangle end) cable, not a Type B (square end) cable, so an extra cable purchase is required. Plus, the cable is an extra thing to carry (and remember) for that functionality. This sort of design is a bit behind the times, as other keyboards around this price (including the Roland FP-10) can quickly connect via Bluetooth for a much easier app experience.

The scaled hammer action on the CDP-S150 is a change from what we saw on our previous Casio top pick, the discontinued Privia PX-160. (Casio introduced this new action with the S-1000 line a couple of years ago.) In contrast to the tri-hammer scaled hammer action on the PX-160, the CDP-S150 has only two sensors for each key (likely due to the slim design), which together give it slightly less control and response. So there’s a bit less nuance than was available with the Privia line, but beginners likely wouldn’t even notice this.

We also wish that the CDP-S150 (as well as other keyboards in this price range) came with left and right quarter-inch audio outputs so that it would be more useful with external amplifiers. The CDP-S150 has only a single 3.5 mm audio/headphone output, which would then require an adapter or a 3.5 mm–to–¼-inch cable to connect to an amp. And since there’s only one output, a splitter would be necessary for both a teacher and a student to use headphones.

Runner-up: Roland FP-10

Our pick for best beginner keyboard for people who want a key feel closer to an acoustic piano, the Roland FP-10 keyboard.

If you’ve already spent time playing an acoustic piano, playing the Roland FP-10 will feel closer to that experience than playing the Casio CDP-S150, which might be why two of our testers (including myself) preferred its feel. It was the only keyboard in our recent test session that I regularly wanted to go back to and play for my own enjoyment, partly because its action was a bit firmer than the Casio’s, and partly because it had a bit more key travel (the distance a key moves from its resting position to fully depressed by your finger), more closely matching that of an acoustic piano. We all said that its piano sound was better than the Casio’s, although only marginally.

These improvements are due to the fact that Roland uses the same action (the PHA-4 Standard) and piano sound engine (SuperNATURAL) in the FP-10 that it uses in its more expensive FP-30. The action is some of the best you can find for the price and includes escapement, which on an acoustic piano is when the hammer drops away from the string after hitting it; the moment it happens is something you can feel on an acoustic piano, and Roland simulates the effect here.

The sound engine, which comes with 15 built-in sounds, also replicates all the noises a piano creates when you play it—not just the notes produced by the hammers hitting the strings. These noises include the string vibrations that happen as the player depresses the damper pedal and the damper moves away from the strings. All these little touches add significantly to the FP-10’s sense of realism.

A close-up of some of the control buttons on the Roland FP-10 keyboard.

It’s not as easy to make sound adjustments on the FP-10. It lacks a digital readout, and the volume and button controls are less intuitive than the CDP-S150’s. Photo: Brent Butterworth

A close-up of the cable ports on the back of the Roland FP-10 keyboard.

The FP-10 has connection options similar to those of the CDP-S150 but adds built-in Bluetooth. Photo: Brent Butterworth

Unfortunately, the physical controls for the FP-10 leave much to be desired (Brent disliked them quite a bit). Like the Casio, this Roland model lacks a digital display, but making adjustments manually is less intuitive on this piano. It displays volume via a series of lights that slowly get brighter and fill up as you press the button to make the volume louder, which is considerably less accurate and slower than turning the knob on the Casio. And although you can increase and decrease the metronome by 1 or 10 bpm at a time, there’s no way for you to know the exact value.

That is, there’s no way unless you use Roland’s Piano Partner 2 mobile app (iOS, Android), which is excellent. It connects to the keyboard via Bluetooth (no need for an extra cable as on the Casio piano), and through it you can easily adjust every parameter, including sound selection, volume, and metronome settings. Some of the app’s reviews indicate issues with Bluetooth connectivity (which I didn’t experience) and problems with the practice-diary feature and reading music on the app, but I found that it was the perfect complement for making any changes to the keyboard’s features.

The Roland FP-10 isn’t as low-profile and shallow as the Casio CDP-S150, but it is a couple of inches less in width. And at just under 28 pounds, the Roland is still relatively light, albeit a few pounds heavier than the Casio. The connections include a ¼-inch port for the included sustain pedal, a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, a USB Type-B port for connecting to a computer, a USB Type-A port for updates, and the DC power plug. It lacks the CDP-S150’s 3.5 mm audio input, but as we mentioned, it supports Bluetooth 4.0, whereas the Casio does not.

The main problem with the Roland FP-10 is its lack of availability. Roland has told us that the FP-10 is not “available for general distribution in 2021 because of a stock issue” (very possibly the same issue that’s affecting most electronics worldwide). The company’s expectation is that general availability will return, but we’re unsure of an exact date. In the meantime, if you happen to come across this piano online or in a local store, I recommend picking it up over the Casio CDP-S150.

Budget pick: Alesis Recital Pro

Our pick for best beginner keyboard on a budget, the Alesis Recital Pro.

The Alesis Recital Pro is by far the easiest to use of the digital pianos we tested, which may be especially important for beginners. Despite being the least expensive, it’s the only one of our picks that has a display, the button controls are simple, and it offers a duet mode for students and teachers to play together. It doesn’t sound or feel as realistic as our other picks, but it’s still a great choice for the price.

You handle all instrument selection with six buttons on the console (two sounds per button). Buttons for modulation, chorus, and reverb effects are provided, and the piano’s display shows all the settings and parameters. You can adjust the Recital Pro’s metronome function to any setting from 30 to 280 bpm, and the speed appears on the display.

In our tests, the piano sound was pretty good, but it was missing the depth and character that we got from the more expensive options. It never sounded particularly full, and the note decay (how long a note takes to diminish to nothing while the player depresses the sustain pedal) was much faster than that of an acoustic piano. The rest of the sounds were fine, and beginners are likely to have fun trying them out, but we didn’t find them particularly inspiring or useful.

The sound effects, on the other hand, are great, and the Recital Pro has a lot of them: eight different reverbs, eight choruses, and three modulation effects (tremolo, vibrato, and rotary speaker). The keyboard keeps your effect settings for each of the 12 sounds in memory, so it restores them when you choose that sound again or turn the keyboard off and then on. These effects are likely to be less important and useful for a beginner than basic sounds, though they might appeal to someone looking for an inexpensive performance piano.

This Alesis model’s duet mode, called Lesson, has an adjustable split point, which you can set for any key within a three-octave range. Like both the Casio and Roland, this piano has only one headphone output, and it’s on the back panel; using two headphones requires a splitter.

A close-up of some of the control buttons and volume knob on the Alesis Recital Pro keyboard.

Unlike our other picks, the Alesis Recital Pro does not come with a sustain pedal of any sort. We recommend getting a third-party pedal such as the M-Audio SP-2—this piano’s lower price compared with our other picks more than makes up for that extra cost.

The Alesis is on a par with our other picks in length and height, but it’s a bit deeper—almost 4 inches deeper than the Roland and 5 inches more than the Casio. It’s a little lighter than the Roland at 26 pounds. Like the Casio, it can run on six batteries, but in this case they’re D batteries, which add a bit of weight to the keyboard. Alesis offers no companion app for the Recital Pro.

The music desk is a wire-style stand. If you’re using a music book or folder, you shouldn’t have a problem, but if you have single sheets of music, they’re likely to bend and fall through the back.

The competition

The Alesis Recital was the least expensive model in our original round of tests, and the corner-cutting was obvious—it was everyone’s least favorite model. It doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, and its keyboard felt more like that of a synthesizer than a piano. Brent commented that the simplistic piano sound lacked detail.

The Artesia PA-88H is a decent keyboard, but nothing about it stood out enough for us to put it above any of our picks.

Before the pandemic I tried a Korg B2 at a local music store and found that it offered a small improvement over the previously tested (and now discontinued) B1. It was a pretty good keyboard, but even though it was priced at $500, it didn’t match the quality feel and sound of our picks.

I took a look at the Roland Go:Piano88 as a possible substitute for our budget pick, the Alesis Recital Pro. But although this Roland model has nice-sounding samples, it lacks weighted keys, which are important for beginners to learn on so that the transition to an acoustic piano is easier.

The Yamaha P-45 was our previous runner-up pick, but when we pitted it against the Casio CDP-S150 and Roland FP-10 in our most recent test, it didn’t hold up. The P-45 is over six years old at this point, and due to its older technology it didn’t sound nearly as good as the other two keyboards. The Amazon-exclusive P71 is reportedly the same piano as the P-45, so we did not test it.

Yamaha’s YPG-535 offers 500 sounds. Some are excellent, but a huge number of its sound effects are more of a novelty (laughter, a roller coaster, a machine gun). It comes with its own stand, but in our tests the keyboard action was springy and didn’t feel like a piano.

About your guide

John Higgins
Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-budget-digital-piano-for-beginners/
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Best Piano Keyboards on Amazon for Worship

A piano is one of the most beautiful instruments in the world. It has an incredible range of tones, sounds, and styles. The right piano for a musician of any skill level could be the secret to musical success. With so many piano keyboards to choose from, how do you find the right one for your needs? We’re here to help! We don‘t accept products from manufacturers, so our recommendations are completely unbiased. We purchase and test products ourselves, listening to what customers have to say. And when we‛re done testing, we pass on all the information to you. In other words, our shopping guide is 100% free of bias. If you're ready to buy a piano, check out the product list above for our top recommendations. For more on what to look for to find a great piano keyboard, keep reading.

What are some tips for the piano keyboard?

Before you decide on a piano keyboard, here are a few key things you’ll want to consider: BPM (beats per minute), bass range, bore, neck, action (how the keys sit on the body), size, weight, and overall sound quality. Your ministry will require a high-quality piano that has all the right features. We did our best to narrow down our top recommendations, but if you want more information, continue reading to learn more about the factors that will make a difference in your experience.

What are things to consider when buying piano keyboard?

Before you buy a piano for a household with musical aspirations, ask yourself, “What kind of music do I regularly practice?” If you're a beginner, you'll want a compact, light, and responsive piano that sounds great to you. If your weekly jam sessions revolve around classical music a heavier, richer instrument is required. A piano with a unique, rounded sound will help you play in the key of A or B. Think about where you want to put your piano and what kind will fit it. While most people move their full piano from room to room, it’s worth considering a small, portable model that can go to the office or to a friend‘s house.

How expensive are piano keyboards?

Inexpensive

You can find a basic, decent piano keyboard that plays a few notes for around $50 - $150. That may be all you need for occasional use, but if you're looking for a full-on studio keyboard, you'll need to spend a bit more.

Mid-range

If you spend between $200 and $500, your options expand considerably. You'll find high-quality keyboards that can play multiple notes at a time, as well as ones with handy effects like a pitch bend and reverb.

Expensive

For $500 and above, the options multiply, giving you the ability to play a dozen notes per keyboard at the highest levels of performance. This may still be enough for solo practice, especially if your goal is to enter a band.

What are the features to look for in piano keyboard for worshipping?

Below we outline some features we suggest you consider before investing in your new piano keyboard.

Size

A piano that is too big will take up a lot of space in the room and also make it difficult for you to play. The best way to decide if a piano is a good fit for your space is to measure the available space before deciding on which one you want to buy. This will give you an idea of what kind of piano would fit comfortably and without creating too much space.

Weight

It’s not just about how much weight the piano puts on your back, it‘s also important that it is balanced, so that you can move easily. Also, the weight of the keyboard will affect the feel of your playing.

Quality

Choosing a quality piano can be tricky, but not impossible. Look at what type of materials the company uses and how robust the parts are. We also recommend you read customer reviews to see what other customers have to say about the quality of each product they've bought.

Design

There are many different designs for piano keyboards. Some have extra features like extra keys or different tonal options. Knowing the design of any piano you are considering will help you decide which will be more suitable for whatever music you intend to practice.

Effectivity

The piano effectiveness depends on the type and quality you choose. Digital pianos can produce a variety of sounds compared to the acoustic style. In order to make sure you get the best from your purchase, look at both the sound quality and the effectsiveness.

About Piano Keyboard

There are many reasons why the piano keyboard is one of the most popular instruments in the world. For many, it is a tool that can be used to make music. Whether you’re a professional musician looking to record or a musician just starting out, a piano can let you play any song you can think of. To help you find the best piano for your worship needs, we‘ve written this buying guide, which breaks down all the features, prices and tips you need to know.

Piano Keyboard FAQ

Q: What is a piano keyboard?

A: A piano keyboard is a lighter version of the traditional piano. It is electric and unweighted. The key features of a good piano are the piano sound box, the keyboard stand, and the pedals.

Q: Are all pianos electric?

A: No, traditional pianos are acoustic instruments.

Within the city limits of NOLA, you may find Camilla hammering away on her 88, playing anything from old jazz to modern country music. Camilla's goal is to one day open a piano studio in New Orleans where she can teach the black and whites and other common jazz instruments to enthusiastic students. Ms. Haywood hopes to bring instruments to old and new musicians alike, reviewing pianos, orchestral instruments, and other products that make her tap her fingers to the beats.
Sours: https://americansongwriter.com/gear-guides/best-piano-keyboard-worship/
TOP 5: Best Digital Piano Keyboard 2020 - on Amazon

Top 10 Best Cheap Keyboards and Digital Pianos Under $300

If you’re looking to get started playing piano or keyboard it can be easy to assume that you are going to have to spend a lot of money on equipment, but the best cheap keyboard piano can be both affordable and good quality, especially for beginners.

In this article, we run the rule over some of the cheapest 88-key keyboards as well as 49 and 61 key options which still offer plenty of quality.

Under $300, there are some very good instruments available, with plenty of features. There are even some good models under $200 and under $100 if you don’t mind making a few small sacrifices in terms of features.

cheap keyboard piano

If you are a beginner, it makes sense to not invest too much money until you know that piano is the hobby for you. Getting started on a budget means you can graduate to a better model or a digital piano with a more authentic feel in the future.

Why not start with a digital piano? Well, if you know you plan to eventually graduate to playing these instruments then you can opt for the best digital piano under $300, but these products are generally far pricier than keyboards.

We have included models of digital piano on the list which have 88-keys but to get a top quality option you might not find a great deal of choice on a budget.

Best Budget Keyboard Piano Options

Here are the 10 best cheap keyboards and pianos worth buying in 2021:

  1. Alesis Recital 88-Key Digital Piano
  2. Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  3. Alesis Harmony 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  4. Lagrima 88-Key Electric Piano Keyboard
  5. Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  6. Lagrima 61-Key Electric Piano Keyboard
  7. RockJam RJ761 61-Key Electronic Piano Keyboard
  8. Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard
  9. The ONE Smart 61-Key Portable Piano Keyboard
  10. Novation Launchkey 49 USB Keyboard Controller

Alesis Recital 88-Key Digital Piano

There aren’t many good 88 key digital pianos for under $300, but the Alesis Recital is exactly that.

It is marketed as a ‘beginners digital piano’ (and it really can be called a good beginner digital piano) so don’t expect to be playing big festivals with this as your only instrument, but for a full-sized and good quality product that won’t break the bank, the Recital can be a positive option.

It has 88 semi-weighted keys and is probably the best weighted keyboard under $300 in spite of not having a fully weighted action.

These aren’t as realistic as ‘hammer action’ keys but still feel better to the touch than keys which aren’t weighted, and give more dynamic options to your performing.

There are five voices included. This is a lot less than many of the keyboard options, but even the best digital pianos tend to focus on a few good quality sounds modeled on acoustic instruments, whereas keyboards may have lots of sampled ‘synthesized’ sounds.

The semi-weighted keys can be altered so that they are more or less sensitive, to suit your playing style. Other great options are included such as a split mode allowing the left and right hand to play different sounds, alternatively, layer two sounds across the whole keyboard such as piano and violin.

Inbuilt effects include reverb, chorus, and a pedal style resonant effect. The 20W speakers are also surprisingly loud and powerful, great for home practice. You can plug headphones in if you would rather practice in private.

Though some other, more expensive digital pianos may have more features and a more realistic feel, this is arguably the best digital piano under $300 and gives quality sounds and a full 88-key keyboard.

Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Portable Keyboard

Casio is a brand name you’re bound to associate with keyboards and pianos. The CTK-3500 is a good cheap keyboard under $200 which has many different sounds and features you would associate with more expensive models, backed up by the impressive Casio brand.

61-keys means not quite full size, but this is big enough to play some two-handed melodies and learn most of your favorite songs.

The touch-sensitive keys also allow you to play different velocities and volumes.

The CTK-3500 is advertised as an option for both beginners and musicians who need a solution for composing on the fly while they are touring.

As well as 400 different tones, this has 150 rhythms built into its memory. This is combined with ‘Dance Music Mode’ which has dance rhythms designed for playing along to or composing more electronic styles of music.

More features aimed at producers include a variety of different effects including chorus, reverb and flanger for altering the sound and adding a new dimension to the melodies you play and compose. This means far more options than some competitors.

This comes with the option to use either mains power or batteries, so you really can practice wherever you like.

Though the sounds don’t quite have the authentic feel of piano, this is a great option for people who like using synth sounds and keys to compose and learn songs.

Alesis Harmony 61-Key Portable Keyboard

Alesis is a brand synonymous with a variety of different types of music technology products. They make great audio interfaces, top quality MIDI controllers and many more music production and performance tools.

The brand is known for both quality and affordability so it is only natural that they have one of the best cheap keyboards on the market.

The Harmony 61 has some technologies that other keyboards don’t offer. The cleverest features include the LCD screen which can display chords and notation to help you with your learning.

There is also an AUX input, which means you can load songs from your iPod, phone or other device for playing along to. These features are very helpful for learning to play.

Other education functionality includes a lesson mode which can help to show you how to play using certain techniques. It also has split mode, meaning someone on the left and on the right can both be playing the same notes, great for lessons.

Other features which are more standard for keyboards of this size include 320 different instrument sounds that you can play and 100 drum rhythms for playing along to.

Another brilliant function is that you can record your own backing tracks to play along with.

True to form, Alesis offers plenty of compatibilities as you can plug this into a computer via USB or MIDI to control other audio devices and software. Play it as a standalone keyboard or use this to run your home studio.

Lagrima 88-Key Electric Piano Keyboard

LAGRIMA is a brand which offer some of the best cheap 88-key keyboards. To find a full-sized, 88-key model you will usually have to part with more money than $300.

This model has many of the features of a traditionally smaller keyboard, such as having lots of different sounds (480 tones in total).

This model looks great, is available in black and white and comes with a stand for more of an upright piano feel.

The keys are designed to feel like piano keys, but have come in for a little bit of criticism. If you want a cheap digital piano which sounds and feels like an acoustic option, this may not be the one for you.

The keys don’t quite have the intuitive feel you will be hoping for, and though the sounds are good, they don’t sound particularly ‘authentic’.

Other tech features include 80 inbuilt demo songs to play along with, as well as 200 different rhythm presets. The inbuilt speakers are decent quality but there is also a headphone jack for private practice.

Some users have criticized the piano keys, saying they need to be hit particularly hard to generate sound. Also, it only has 64 note polyphony so may struggle with more complex and quick melodies.

If you just want the cheapest 88-key keyboard to learn songs on something full-sized then this can be a viable option, plus the fact that it has USB and MIDI connectivity also means you can use this with virtual instruments and to control other sampled piano sounds.

Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard

The Yamaha PSR range has been around for over 20 years now. Yamaha manufacture such a huge number of instruments, but their good cheap piano keyboard options are some of the most popular products in their range.

As the PSR range has continued to be updated over the years, the brand has introduced more tech features, such as those in the PSR-E263.

This is a 61 key model. Though it doesn’t have hammer action, it does offer touch sensitivity to let you play with dynamics based on how hard you press the keys.

The keys themselves are full-sized, which is perfect for learning the right techniques for playing keys in the future, even on different models.

There are 100 songs built in, and the PSR-E263 is compatible with the Yamaha Education Suite, this means that the piano can help you to learn how to play without the need for a tutor. If you are learning with a tutor, the keyboard can be split for lessons.

Other tech features include the AUX input and headphone output. This connectivity allows you to play along to songs from your iPod or other device and also to listen through either internal or external speakers or on headphones.

There is a reason Yamaha is one of the first names you think of when it comes to digital pianos, and this is a good affordable keyboard piano.

Lagrima 61-Key Electric Piano Keyboard

Some instrument aficionados may be surprised to see two LAGRIMA models in our list of the best cheap keyboards.

Though the brand doesn’t quite have the same reputation as Casio or Yamaha, for instance, they do make some good affordable instruments. This is one of the top cheap keyboards under $100.

Though there are quite a few different keyboards on the market under $100, they don’t tend to have the best features and reviews.

Though there is always something of a trade-off when purchasing a cheap instrument, this does have plenty of great features.

This includes 128 different timbres and rhythms, 12 demo songs, a display screen for showing options and songs and even a microphone which is included to let you practice your singing as well as your playing.

Record and playback functionality is great for either starting to come up with your own ideas for songs or just recording your practice to review later.

This keyboard can be powered by mains power (the adapter required is included) or it can take AA batteries for playing on the go.

Though some of the inbuilt sounds on this model aren’t the highest quality, and the keys don’t feel particularly realistic, to be able to start playing at such a low price point is very appealing for those taking their first steps into piano. This is popular among children for the same reasons.

RockJam RJ761 61-Key Electronic Piano Keyboard

The RockJam RJ761 is one of the best keyboard solutions for beginners, and people who are in the market for a cheap electronic keyboard with accessories.

Though RockJam is not one of the elite piano brand names that everyone has heard of, they have created a very good option for what is almost a mini home studio!

As well as having 61 full-sized keys to get your fingers used to the techniques of playing keyboards, this has a lot of inbuilt sounds. There are 100 rhythms, 100 tones and 30 songs which can be played along with. The record and playback option gives you the chance to record what you are practicing or producing.

The accessories are truly one of the most impressive things about this keyboard, which costs under $200. It comes with a comfortable, padded stool which is perfect for use with the keyboard stand (also included). You also receive a set of headphones for private practice and even a sustain pedal for adding more tonal characteristics to your playing.

Numerous connections including MIDI and USB allow you to control other devices with this keyboard and even hook it up to your computer or laptop for recording straight into software.

The RJ761 is a good cheap keyboard piano for anyone needing a lot of accessories. It makes the perfect setup for a young aspiring keyboard player.

Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard

This is quite a different keyboard to the other options on the list, mainly due to the fact that it is very small and compact, and therefore probably more popular among kids.

That said, it has some great reviews and because of the fact it only has either 32 or 44 keys depending on which model you purchase, the portability can’t be argued with.

If you are a classically trained pianist, playing within a couple of octaves will be quite tricky, but for most of us who are just looking to play along to our favorite tracks, come up with some melodies or even trigger some sounds in a live show, the Casio SA-46 can work wonders.

Though it doesn’t have the same size as some of the other options, this can actually be a benefit for some users. The battery life is excellent, and because this is so small and has a headphone output, it can be perfect for coming up with new ideas on your travels.

Tough it is fair to say that most of the 100 inbuilt timbres are nothing more than ‘fun sounds’ to play around with, some of them are actually surprisingly good quality for something that is so small and almost feels toy-like. This is one of the reasons this model has such good reviews from customers.

This won’t be the best budget keyboard piano for everyone, but if portability is high on your priorities then the SA-46 could be worth looking into.

The ONE Smart 61-Key Portable Piano Keyboard

The One Smart keyboards are becoming increasingly popular among beginners. For an aspiring pianist, having a product like this can help you to explore piano at your own pace and build a good level of knowledge.

Though the Smart Keyboard isn’t cheap, it is compatible with the brand’s Smart Piano App which will guide you through hundreds of different songs and techniques.

This works with a wide range of devices including phones and tablets. The app displays lights on the keys to help you to work out which keys you should be playing.

You can learn via specific exercises or by going through your favorite songs to keep things interesting. There are even piano-based games to help you to learn the basics.

This keyboard has a good level of connectivity, with both Aux in and Aux out meaning you can plug this into other sound systems or play along to your MP3 player.

There is space for a microphone if you want to plug in a 6.25mm connector and sing along with your favorite songs, too.

In terms of the piano itself, it has 417 different tones and can be powered via mains power or 6 AA batteries. Weighing just 11 lbs, it is relatively easy to take out-and-about with you, should you need to.

Though this is pretty expensive, and only just comes in at under $300, it has a lot to offer in terms of learning how to play piano.

If you are an absolute beginner and want an instrument to hold your hand through the early steps, this could be a good choice.

Novation Launchkey 49 USB Keyboard Controller

Novation is a brand with a lot of innovative products for the bedroom musician. Though this is a keyboard controller, and requires a computer and DAW (specifically, Ableton Live) to work to its full potential, this is a perfectly acceptable way to learn and play keyboard if you wish.

Though it will need to be hooked up to a computer at all times, there are some benefits to this too. The Novation controller has drum pads, faders and knobs which you can assign to control different aspects of your software.

This can be the centerpiece of a whole home studio and even allow you to do incredible performances utilizing multiple tracks.

You don’t have to use it to control every aspect of your software. If you wish, you can just control virtual instruments including piano sounds such as ‘Addictive Keys’ which actually comes with this controller.

It works equally well on PC and Mac, and you don’t even have to buy any additional software. Ableton Live Lite is included in the box, so you can start to produce and experiment with a variety of different sounds just as quickly as you get your software installed.

Designed for use in studios, this is only really an adequate portable setup if you are using it with a laptop, but plenty of musicians take their laptop everywhere anyway!

The Novation Launchkey 49 is one of the best MIDI keyboard controllers and has a lot of power as a control interface, but keep in mind the fact that it doesn’t generate sounds without software.

Conclusion

As you can see from our list of best keyboards under $300, there is a lot of variation within this price range. To make the best choice for your own needs, you should work out the environment in which you will be using the keyboard (does it need to be portable?) and other factors including whether you are a beginner or an experienced player.

Some keyboards feel more like pianos, some have more of a ‘synthesizer’ vibe to them. Some can teach you to play, whereas others will allow you to assign multiple sounds and use them as a performance workstation.

Features can be surprisingly varied, and as technology increases, some brands are adding new and exciting functionality.

There are plenty of great instruments available under the $300 price point. Spending a little time researching the top cheap keyboard options can help to ensure you get the right model for you.

Sours: https://digitalpianojudge.com/best-cheap-keyboard-pianos/

Keyboard amazon piano

Amazon Prime Day 2021 Digital Pianos/Keyboard Deals

Amazon Prime day 2021 is upon us. If you’re looking for deals, you’ve come to the right place for every deal for digital pianos for this year’s Prime event.

I will be updating this article as more deals roll in. If you’re in a hurry, you can view all musical instrument deals on Amazon below.

Amazon Prime Day Digital Piano Deals

The keyboards I really recommend looking for deals on are:

  • Roland FP-30X
  • Yamaha P45
  • Korg SV-2
  • Roland FP-60X

The first deal for beginners is the Donner digital piano. It is marked down 45% and it is a solid option for beginners.

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is finally here! The 48-hour event will start on June 21 and end on June 22. This year’s Prime day is going to feature countless digital piano deals that you will not want to miss out on.

If you’re someone who loves deals, I urge you to check out the best black Friday and cyber Monday keyboard deals here.

My favorite retailer, Sweetwater is also running primetime deals until the 22nd of June. There are some amazing deals with up to 48 month financing. Check these deals below.

Here are the following deals so far!

What is Prime Day?

Similar in nature to Black Friday, Prime Day is Amazon’s membership-only deal event that happens once a year. Amazon Prime Members receive significant discounts on a big range of items from Amazon devices, musical instruments, speakers, headphones, and much more.

The Best Amazon Prime Deals For Keyboardists And Producers

As Amazon starts to list “early deals” I will be updating this article so that it includes every great prime deal for keyboards.

I highly suggest that you compare the Prime day keyboard deals to the prices from one of my favorite retailers, Sweetwater. While some of these prices for Prime Day will be absolute steals, some of them may not be as big of price drops as you would expect.

If you want to compare, you can do so by checking out Sweetwater here.

As deals come in, I will list next to the deal, just how could of a deal I think it is. I hope this will help you pick the right digital piano from Amazon!

Which Types Of Keyboards Are Typically Featured On Amazon Prime Day?

Digital pianos in that intermediate-range to beginner range are typically what we have seen with Amazon Prime Day. I would expect certain keyboards such as the Roland FP-30 to be present in the deals list.

Chris Senner

Chris Senner is a passionate keyboardist, songwriter & blogger from Milwaukee, WI. He's toured the country with Vinyl Theatre & now has developed a passion for writing about all things keyboards.

Sours: https://keyboardkraze.com/amazon-prime-day-digital-piano-deals/
I BOUGHT A PIANO! (Alesis Recital 88 key keyboard)

Best Cheap Portable Keyboard Pianos (Under $150)

Best Cheap Portable Keyboards

We’re always glad to see people enthusiastic about learning music. One of the most popular first instruments to learn is the piano, a versatile instrument with a wide dynamic and harmonic range.

This flexibility is why pianos find their way into everything from classical to modern pop. As with any instrument, practice makes perfect, and you can’t practice without owning an instrument of your own.

girl with a keyboard

Purchasing a real acoustic piano is likely out of the question for many of us, but digital pianos and keyboards are viable alternatives due to advancements in technology.

Regardless, the price will always be the biggest barrier. While the large range of options means there’s almost always a digital piano to suit your needs, it might not be priced to what you’d like.

Since this is a piano-focused site, we’ve got lists of digital pianos and keyboards from multiple price points to help you make informed purchases.

Our previous lowest price range was an article covering keyboards that cost less than $300. Back then, we struggled to choose stand-out keyboards in this price range due to our expectations.

If your goal is to learn the piano (not necessarily master it), we’d say the ideal digital piano needs:

  • Full-sized, weighted keys that emulate the look and feel of a real piano
  • Pressure and velocity sensitivity that reacts to how hard you press on the keys
  • Good sounds that allow you to hear subtle nuances
  • 88 keys to handle all musical genres

These characteristics are ideal, as they give you a solid foundation to build correct playing techniques and habits, which are in turn transferrable to other pianos, acoustic or digital.

portable arranger keyboard

If you’ve read our $300 article, you may have found that none of our selections include all these ‘must-haves.’ At this budget level, sacrifices are a necessity and may end up stunting your learning process.

Of course, it’s still possible to learn the basics of piano playing on these models.

There are even official accredited courses built around arranger keyboards and their capability for ‘one-man-band’ playstyles (like the Trinity Guildhall, for instance).

Jump to Reviews

“But Lucas, What If I Don’t Want to Spend That Much?”

Shopping for a keyboard piano

If you find yourself asking this question, then this article is for you. We’ve sliced our price limit in half and chosen a few cheap sub-$150 keyboards we find acceptable.

We’ve been a little more lenient this time with going slightly over, but these are our personal best picks for budget-conscious people.

We must state clearly that these keyboards aren’t great for learning piano, and we still recommend a sub-$500 digital piano for the best learning experience.

Even going up to $300 gives you significant improvements in sound quality and feel. That said, the sub-$150 category is a viable option for people who aren’t willing to go all in.

kid learning to play piano

That’s not a slight when it comes down to it since for most of us music is a hobby rather than a career, so it’s hard to justify spending too much as the first step into a hobby.

Hence, these budget choices work in the short term and allow you to understand the fundamentals of piano playing, while also helping you decide whether the piano is the right musical instrument for you.

Younger kids don’t necessarily need premium, in-depth features, and parents will be happy to know that they’re not paying too much in case of accidental breakage.

The following list includes best budget keyboard pianos that can serve as a stepping-stone for further endeavors down the line.

These budget arranger keyboards are also ideal for familiarizing yourself with a variety of sounds and genres. After all, a hobby is meant to be fun, and I can’t deny that I enjoyed mucking about with these keyboards, no matter how basic.

As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” So, let’s discuss the compromises we chose to accept.

What We’re Looking For in a Portable Keyboard

For these options, we favored keyboards with the following characteristics:

  • Full-sized keys
  • Pressure or velocity response
  • Decent piano sound
  • At least 61 keys

These aren’t difficult prerequisites to satisfy, though they are compulsory if actual transferrable piano skills are the end goal.

The recent trend of mini keys is fun for portable setups, but they feel like toys. The same goes for the lack of pressure sensitivity, as dynamic control is a must for any aspiring piano player.

While nothing substitutes the feel of weighted keys and hammer actions, being able to vary between pianissimo and fortissimo is a must-know. With good samples, you’ll also be able to hear the difference in dynamics.

Portable Budget Keyboard

The key count matters too. 25 keys give you 2 full octaves, but that’s not enough to practice both left- and right-handed. The more keys the better, with the ideal number being a full-range 88-key keyboard.

The absolute minimum key count we’d accept is 61 keys, letting you practice most beginner classical pieces and pop songs.

Now, let’s dive straight into the list.

Here are the best budget keyboard pianos your can get in 2020:

Best Portable Keyboards Under $150

  • Model

  • Keys

    Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most digital pianos and keyboards have 88, 76, 73, or 61 keys.
    In reality, 73 keys are enough to play most modern pieces. Some advanced pieces require a full set of 88 keys.

  • Graded Keyboard

    Some digital pianos come with a simulated Ivory (white keys) and Ebony (black keys) key surfaces, which gives them a nice textured feel, helps absorb excessive moisture and prevents your fingers from slipping off the keys.

  • Full-size Keys

    There are 3 most common types of key actions:
    1) Non-weighted - most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
    2) Semi-weighted - often used portable keyboards and workstations. Spring-loaded mechanism adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.
    3) Fully weighted (hammer action) is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers (rather than springs) attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements and resistance similar to the acoustic piano action.

  • Touch Sensitivity

    The volume produced by the instrument changes depending on how hard or soft you play the keys.
    Touch Response, Velocity Sensitivity, Touch Sensitivity are the same thing .
    Many digital pianos allow you to adjust touch sensitivity (make the keyboard more or less sensitive to the force of your keystrokes) to better suit your playing style.

  • Tone Generator

  • Polyphony

    The number of notes a piano can play at once.
    The more polyphony the better, especially when layering several sounds or using backing tracks, etc. When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for the new ones, which affects the sound and its fullness.
    It’s desirable to have at least 64 notes of polyphony.

  • Built-in Tones

  • Modes

    1) Split - divides the keyboard into two parts, allowing you to play a different instrument sound in each of them.
    2) Dual (a.k.a. Layer Mode) - allows you to layer two different sounds so that they sound simultaneously whenever you press a key.
    3) Duo (a.k.a. Duet Play, Partner Mode, Twin Piano) - divides the keyboard into two halves with identical pitch ranges (two middle Cs) allowing two people to play the same notes at the same time.

  • Lesson Function

    The ability to use built-in/user songs for practice by turning off the left- or right-hand part of a song and practicing it along with the playback of the other part.

  • MIDI Recorder

    Allows you to record and playback your own performances.
    A multi-track recorder (2 and more tracks) allows you to record several musical parts on separate tracks and play them back as a single song.

  • Auto Accompaniment

    Auto accompaniment function will enrich your playing with a full backing band (rhythm, bass, harmony) making you performance a fully-fledged song.

  • Transpose,Tuning

    1) Transpose function allows you to shift the overall pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps.
    2) Tuning function (aka Fine Tuning, Master Tuning) allows you to shift the pitch from the standard A440 tuning in 0.1Hz or 0.2Hz steps.

  • Metronome

    A useful tool for practice that will help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills by providing a steady beat to play along with.
    Some pianos allow you change the conventional click sound of the metronome to various drum rhythms.

  • USB Type B

    This port enables you to connect the keyboard to a computer/smart device and use it as a MIDI controller with VST plugins and music apps like GarageBand, Flowkey, Synthesia, FL Studio, etc.

  • Bluetooth Connectivity

    Allows you to connect your piano to a smart device wirelessly and exchange MIDI data with various music apps (e.g. GarageBand, Flowkey, Simply Piano, etc.). This can be used as an alternative to a USB type B port. Note that some pianos can only transfer Audio data via Bluetooth, others can only transfer MIDI.
    Some pianos support both MIDI and Audio data via Bluetooth.

  • Battery Operation

    Dedicated 1/4" line out jacks (R, L/Mono) allow you to connect the keyboard to an external amplifier, PA system, mixer and other audio equipment.
    If you're planning on performing on stage or working in a studio, it's preferable to have these ports, even though a headphone out jack can also be used in most situations.

  • Speakers

  • Weight

  • Yamaha PSR-E273

  • Check Price
    (Best Sound)

  • 61

  • AWM Stereo Sampling

  • 32 notes

  • 384 + 17 Drum/SFX kits

  • Duo Mode, 15 Dual Presets

  • 112 songs

  • 1-track, 1 song

  • 143 rhythms

  • 2.5W + 2.5W

  • 8.8 lbs (4 kg)

  • Casio CTK-3500

  • Check Price
    (Best Arranger)

  • 61

  • 2 types, Off

  • AHL Sound Source

  • 48 notes

  • 400

  • Dance Music Mode

  • 60 songs

  • 100 rhythms

  • 2W + 2W

  • 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)

1) Casio Casiotone CT-S300 – Best Practice Keyboard

Casio Casiotone CT-S300 review

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
Sweetwater Guitar CenterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4music Thomann


Casio recently rebooted their old, popular Casiotone line. The Casiotone series was last seen in the 1980s, with the initial model (the CT-201) marketed as the “first electronic keyboard with full-sized keys anyone can afford.”

The new upgraded line continues that legacy by offering the same promises. New models include the CT-S100 (available in certain regions), CT-S200, CT-S300, and LK-S250.

These are clearly marketed at beginners, and the price point fits well into our listings, too.

Casio Casiotone models 2019

Casio made a decent showing in our previous budget-focused $300 article with their arranger keyboards, namely their CTX-700 arranger keyboard. It lost out vs. Yamaha, with sounds slightly behind its competition.

However, the new Casiotone series, particularly the CT-S300, feels just right for an absolute beginner. Here’s a quick comparison table.

CT-S100 CT-S200 CT-S300 LK-S250
Metronome Yes Yes Yes Yes
LCD Display No Yes Yes Yes
Key Count 61 61 61 61
Touch Sensitivity No No Yes Yes
Speakers Dual 2W Dual 2W Dual 2.5W Dual 2.5W
Light-up keys No No No Yes
Audio Input No Stereo Mini TRS Stereo Mini TRS Stereo Mini TRS
Chordana App Compatibility No Yes Yes Yes
USB-to-HOST Connectivity Yes Yes Yes Yes
Colors Black Black, White, Red Black Black
Dimensions 36.6 x 10.1 x 2.9" 36.6 x 10.1 x 2.9" 36.6 x 10.1 x 2.9" 36.6 x 10.1 x 2.9"
Weight 7.3 lbs. 7.3 lbs. 7.3 lbs. 7.5 lbs.

 

Our personal favorite of the bunch is the CT-S300. The lower models lack pressure sensitivity, which makes them less viable for practice. If you’re looking into the Casiotone line, go for the CT-S300.

The LK-S250 is something we didn’t choose for a few reasons. The most important thing of note is that it’s basically a CT-S300 with light-up keys, which may not appeal to everyone.

That said, an extra $20 for visual stimulus-based learning might be just right for visual learners.

The CT-S300 itself is light, built completely out of plastic. It ends up feeling portable and surprisingly solid for the price. Scratches and bumps will inevitably happen, but I get the feeling that it will stand the test of time.

The controls are streamlined, which is a plus for beginners. I like the use of an encoder knob for sound selection though, which is something I hope to see in future budget Casio keyboards.

So how does the CT-S300 play? The 61 velocity-sensitive keys are passable, and they feel close enough to the premium CTX arranger keyboards to feel nice once you’ve gotten used to the pressure contour.

Casio Casiotone CT-S200 color options

48 notes of polyphony are also more than enough (remember we’ve only got 61 keys in total).

The included sounds aren’t anything to write home about, but they react to your playing intensity, which makes it possible to practice dynamic control.

Sounds include pianos, horns, guitars, and a few synth sounds ripped from the CTX keyboards.

Since this is mainly a beginner practice keyboard, getting 400 sounds is impressive. The piano sound will be your mainstay, and it’s functional.

After getting used to the unweighted keys, I could knock out a few passable chord progressions and classical pieces, though playing strength will take some getting used to if you’ve got experience with a real piano.

Do note that playing on unweighted synth-style keys is quite different from true piano keys, especially for the pivot point and the points of actuation.

Apart from a decent sound bank, you also get 77 accompaniment rhythms with a button-triggered variation. This isn’t as fully-fledged as you find on the CTX-line, but it serves as an alternative to metronomes in practice.

It also gives newcomers a taste of more exotic rhythm styles, like Latin beats such as Bossa Nova.

The rhythm section won’t be adequate for the dedicated arranger keyboard courses, but they’re quite fun when used for practice.

The dual 2.5W speakers aren’t the best sounding speakers, though they’re stereo and relatively clear, which is really all I want from a practice keyboard.

Casio Casiotone CT-S200 back

If you’re aiming to use the CT-S300 (or any other model from the Casiotone line) as a gigging instrument, the output mini TRS jack will be used. This connects to external amplifiers and doubles as a headphone output for practicing in private.

As a side note, the CT-S300 can be powered off 6 AA batteries and has a pretty good quoted battery life of 20 hours. Of course, the provided AC adapter can be used as well.

Something that might be taken for granted is the inclusion of a sustain pedal jack. Depending on where you purchase your Casiotone keyboard, a sustain pedal may be a separate purchase, so be sure to factor that into your budget.

Casio Casiotone CT-S200 controls

For MIDI connectivity, you’ll rely on the micro USB port. This allows you to connect to a DAW to use the CT-S300 as a MIDI controller, or to connect to Casio’s Chordana Play app.

The Chordana Play app allows you to control the parameters and selected sounds off the CT-S300, but its true power comes when integrated with the LK-S250. You can load your own MIDI files to sync your songs to the light-up keys.

Finally, the CT-S300 features a pitch bend wheel, a nice bonus for practicing synthesizer leads.

It also makes the CT-S300 a viable USB MIDI controller that’s affordable. Note that the CT-S100 and CT-S200 lack a pitch wheel.

All in all, the CT-S300 is a top value buy under $150. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but that would require an increased price tag.

If you want a good, cheap keyboard that plays and sounds alright, get the CT-S300, or the LK-S250 if you want light-up keys.

Pros

  • A wide selection of sounds
  • Keys are good for the price
  • Well thought out controls
  • A pitch bend wheel
  • USB connectivity
  • Chordana Play app compatible

Cons

  • Sounds aren’t that great
  • Fewer rhythms than in classic arranger keyboards

2) Yamaha PSR-E273 – Best Sounding Budget Portable Keyboard

Yamaha PSR-E273 review

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
Sweetwater Guitar CenterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UKGear4musicThomann


Our sub-$300 list featured the Yamaha PSR-E363 as an option, and the Yamaha PSR-E273 finds itself in this list as our best budget arranger keyboard for beginners.

The PSR-series is one of Yamaha’s cheap arranger keyboard lines, and the Yamaha PSR-E273 is one of the cheapest models you’ll find in this product range.

In many ways, this feels like a very similar instrument to the PSR-E363, but with a few downgrades.

Yamaha PSR-E273 keyboard

The body of the PSR-E273 is made of black plastic, though it feels cheaper than the Casiotone CT-S300. It is also slightly bulkier, at 37” x 16” x 0.5” and 8 lbs.

The biggest omission here is pressure sensitivity, and that’s a huge blow, as the keys emit the same sound no matter how hard or soft you press them.

In practice, this means you won’t get the auditory feedback from dynamic control, which is detrimental for a keyboard geared towards practice.

This would normally mean immediate removal from our list, but Yamaha’s AWM sound engine saves the PSR-E273. It also helps that the PSR-E273 isn’t marketed as a beginner’s practice keyboard.

The PSR-E273 is an arranger through and through, so for that purpose, constant velocity keys are fine.

When it comes to piano practice, the PSR-E273 is alright once you get around the lack of dynamics. The 61 keys are full-sized and resemble those found on the PSR-E363. As with its bigger brother, we found these to be functional, but little more.

Cheap plasticky keys are the norm for this price range, and these are very similar to those found on the previously covered Casiotone keyboards.

The Casiotone seemingly feels better though, and the PSR-E273’s 32-note polyphony limit leaves a lot to be desired.

Yamaha PSR-E273 Front Controls

While keys are lackluster, the sounds are pretty good and come courtesy of Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory sound engine, also from the PSR-E363. The lack of dynamics hurts the sounds, but they are still pleasing when played through dual 2.5W speakers.

The sounds on offer here also clock in at 401 total, and I’d say some sound better than the Casiotone. Yamaha has always excelled at sounds, so it’s no surprise the PSR-E273 does the same.

The sounds include most of the usual suspects, like pianos, strings, synths, basses, and guitars. These are seemingly identical to those on the PSR-E363, though they’re less expressive due to a lack of pressure sensitivity.

The demo below is for the PSR-263 (predecessor) but the sounds haven’t changed much, so it applies to the PSR-273 as well.

As an arranger keyboard, the main draw is the inclusion of accompaniment styles and rhythms. The rhythms include intro, fill, variation, and outro buttons, making the PSR-E273 a one-man-band.

The arranger functionality also enables you to practice arranger keyboard course content. As previously mentioned, these rhythms are also quite helpful for spicing up practice sessions.

The auto accompaniment function plays left-handed bass parts based on your keypresses, and at this price point, it’s the only instrument that offers this functionality to such a degree.

The sound selection occurs using the basic LCD screen, and a numeric keypad alongside the printed-out list on the front means navigation is straightforward.

Yamaha PSR-E273 Keys

As an arranger keyboard, the PSR-E273 ticks all the necessary boxes.

The only unfortunate omission here is the absence of a USB port, so you can’t record MIDI directly into your computer, which is a shot against convenience and shows the relative age of the PSR-E273.

Overall, the Yamaha PSR-E273 is a good choice for beginners. The only glaring issue is a lack of velocity sensitivity, which hampers the learning experience.

In terms of sounds and features, this is a hard keyboard to beat and is worth checking out.

If you want to get the benefits of pressure sensitivity, you might want to consider the Yamaha YPT360, which includes an upgraded keybed, higher polyphony count, and a USB MIDI port.

This retails for slightly more than our set budget, but the upgrades you get are worth it in our opinion.

You may also stumble upon the YPT-270 model”, which is basically the same keyboard as the PSR-E273 with a slightly altered finish and targeted at different markets. The same is true for the YPT-360 and PSR-E363 models.

Pros

  • 401 good quality sounds
  • Accompaniment features and rhythms
  • Easy-to-use user interface
  • 112 built-in songs
  • Built-in MIDI recorder

Cons

  • No pressure sensitivity
  • No USB connector

3) Casio CTK-3500 – Best Arranger Features

Casio CTK-3500 review

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
Sweetwater Guitar CenterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4music Thomann


Casio strikes again, this time with a keyboard more focused on arranger functionality. This resembles the CTX-700 we covered in our sub-$300 article, and most of our comments there apply.

Much like the previous entries in this list, you get a cheap-feeling 61-key arranger keyboard (touch-sensitive) with accompaniment features and 400 built-in tones, 100 rhythms, and 48-key polyphony.

This seems like a good deal compared to the CT-S300, which costs a bit more, so what gives?

Casio CTK-3500 box

It all comes down to sound. Yamaha’s PSR-E273 wins out with the AWM sound chip, and Casio’s AHL engine lags.

This isn’t helped much by the stereo 2W speakers either, despite being driven with almost the same wattage as the CT-S300, there’s some muddiness that makes the CTK-3500 feel a bit worse.

The keys themselves resemble previous entries on the list, but they’re velocity-sensitive, with 2 preset levels. This isn’t a lot, but the default settings are enough for training dynamic control, which is a plus.

The problem, again, is with the sounds. Casio’s slightly older version of their sound engine holds the otherwise decent CTK-3500 from taking a higher spot.

Pianos don’t sound impressive, and the speakers feel like they overly compress the output, which minimizes the positive of pressure sensitivity.

The sounds themselves are varied, and quite nice when heard through the headphone/output jack. You get decent pianos, keys, strings, synths, and so on. It’s too bad Yamaha’s PSR-E273 sounds better.

I’m somewhat disappointed because Casio has the edge when it comes to arranger functionality, making this the better one-man-band machine, with the downside of inferior sound.

Casio CTK-3500 front

48 notes of polyphony mean you can sustain notes for long periods of time without worrying about sound cut-offs (especially while using rhythms and accompaniment).

The included rhythms are pretty good and include 2 fills, a variation, a synchro, and an ending option, which is more than you get on the PSR-E273.

The accompaniment bass parts are also more flexible and varied. Readers of our CTX-700 coverage should be familiar with this sentiment.

Finally, you get a pitch bend wheel and USB connectivity. It’s not much, but opens up options like the ability to record on computers and use of the Chordana Play app for lessons and control.

In terms of portability, the CTK-3500 is close enough to the CT-S300 to not make much of a difference. The keyboard itself measures 37.2” x 12.1” x 3.6” and weighs 7.5 lbs.

In terms of raw numbers, it gets the victory over the PSR-E273 if using this on the go is a concern. You can also choose to use the included AC adapter or batteries, too.

Casio CTK-3500 keyboard

If you’re considering the CTK-3500, check out the Casio LK-265, which resembles the CTK-3500 but comes with light-up keys.

Below are the main differences between the two.

CTK-3500 LK-265
Light-up Keys No Yes
Pitch Bend Wheel Yes No
USB to Host port Yes No
Mic In port No Yes
Weight 7.5 lbs. 7.9 lbs.

 

I’ll conclude this section saying the CTK-3500 is a good budget pick, held back by its sound engine and speakers. However, I’d say it ties for 2nd place with Yamaha’s PSR-E273 rather than being a step below.

Sound quality is a must for keyboards and digital pianos, but a good practice keyboard needs touch sensitivity, so we’re at odds when comparing the Yamaha and Casio budget arrangers.

In the end, it comes down to what you need.

Pros

  • A more fully-fledged arranger keyboard than the PSR-E273
  • Touch-sensitive keys
  • A pitch bend wheel
  • USB connectivity
  • Chordana Play app

Cons

  • Sounds are on the weak side
  • Speakers are muddy and compressed

4) Nektar GX61 + VST – The Drastic Option

Nektar GX61 review

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
Sweetwater Guitar CenterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4music Thomann


Since we’re on the topic of cost-saving measures, we decided to include a more ‘exotic’ option in the mix. Bear in mind, this option requires a computer and a bare minimum of technical knowhow, though the results are worth it.

Basically, we’ll use a combination of MIDI controller, VSTi, and host software running on our computer.

The MIDI Keyboard

Nektar GX61 Controller

The Nektar GX61 is a USB MIDI keyboard with 61 keys, which feels pretty good for the price. There’s a springiness that other synth-action keyboards on this list can’t match, and I’d say this is my favorite keyboard on the list.

Sacrificing an octave or two is alright in my books, but people who want classical training may be disappointed.

(As a side note, the same keys are found on the Nektar SE-series, featuring a 49-key model, which is even more affordable, though the key count isn’t much to write home about).

Since the keyboard connects straight to your laptop or desktop via USB, it’s bus-powered, which means batteries and AC adapters are not needed at all.

The thing about dedicated MIDI keyboards is that they can’t produce sounds on their own. These need to be connected to a sound module, which will then have their samples triggered upon keypresses.


The Sound Source

Our sound source will be a Virtual Studio Technology Instrument (VSTi) plugin, which runs off our laptop in a host program.

In this case, we recommend Addictive Keys for its low cost, though there will be a free (and arguably better) option provided near the end if you don’t mind a bit of extra setup.

Addictive Keys Studio Grand

Specifically, we’re targeting the Addictive Keys Studio Grand, which will match the standard grand piano sound found on most digital pianos.

Addictive Keys is a plugin covered in our piano VST roundup, and it was the best budget pick.

The interface is simple, but in-depth editing and mixing are available in the advanced view. Sound-wise, there isn’t too much to complain about either, as these are radio-ready samples and presets.

You can pretty much tailor your sound to fit any scene with the built-in reverb and mixing tools. Try playing around with the sliders and presets to see what you can come up with.

If the price tag seems a little excessive, try looking through the KVR Forum Marketplace for legal serial keys.

XLN Audio has bunded free copies of Addictive Keys with any Focusrite product and considering how Focusrite’s preamps and interfaces are the industry standard, there are a lot of wayward copies looking for owners.

We’ve found keys going for as low as $15, so go for it!

Free VST Plugin Options (Bonus)

If a free option is preferred, Ivy Audio’s Piano in 162 is one of the best sounding piano libraries out there. It’s available for free in the SFZ format! Just bear in mind that this is a massive download.

To load SFZ files, you’ll need an SFZ-compatible sample player. My recommendation is the freeware sforzando by Plogue.

You load the player the same way you would Addictive Keys, but you’ll then need to load the ‘Piano in 162’ SFZ file.

The huge file size means a lot of time spent loading the piano library, but it’s worth it.

Piano in 162 sounds gorgeous, and I’d argue it’s better than fully-fledged paid-for piano libraries such as Native Instrument’s the Grandeur and certain Keyscape instruments.


The Host Software

So, we have our controller and sound module. The problem now is getting them to communicate with each other. This usually requires a host, which in most cases means a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

Thankfully, Addictive Keys comes as a standalone program that’s plug-and-play. Boot up the Addictive Keys executable like you would any PC videogame, and you’re good to go.

MIDI Keyboard DAW control

Plogue’s sforzando player is also available as a standalone application.

This limits you in terms of effects though, so you might want to consider a DAW like the freely available Cakewalk by Bandlab (which some might know as Sonar). This comes with very good build-in effects and might be worth the hassle of setting things up.

Also, if you don’t mind working with something more basic, most MIDI keyboards come with bundled software too. The GX61 comes with Bitwig 8-track, which is a basic performance-based DAW that might be worth looking into.

For more information on how to use virtual instruments with a MIDI keyboard/digital piano, check out our in-depth guide.


“This Seems Overly Complicated”

You’re not wrong. A good digital piano will always beat out this option by virtue of simplicity. You flick the ‘on’ switch and you’re good to go.

However, we’re aiming to get the best bang for your buck. This option, judged purely on playability and piano sound, is better than the other entries on this list.

Nektar GX61 keys

The other keyboards on this list don’t aim to feel good and the keys feel like cheap plastic. The GX61 might also be plastic, but it aims to feel premium, with springy responsive keys and better build quality.

(The GX61 might be our choice, but other MIDI controllers are also viable options. We were working with a limited budget after all.)

While the Casiotone’s and Yamaha’s piano sounds are passable, no one will mistake them for real pianos. With VST plugins, you get significantly better sounds for around the same price.

One might find the laser focus on piano sounds to be a bit limiting, but no one said you were limited to just a piano sound, either.

VST instrument libraries

While you might need to search for other sound libraries or synthesizers, your sound palette is only limited by what software you’ve installed.

If you want guitars and bass, check out Ample Sound’s AGML and ABPL for crazy realistic sounds. Want synths? Synth1 is a powerful option that rivals paid plugins.

The sky’s the limit here, though again, the hassle of downloading and installing might throw people off.

We’re not going to say this option is for everyone, but if you’re feeling adventurous (and thrifty/stingy), it might be worth a shot.

If you’re interested in learning more about what can be achieved with software instruments, you may want to take a look at our How to Write a Song article where we use several different instrument libraries to create a song arrangement.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Feels and sounds the best
  • The sound library can be extended
  • Great for beginning sound designers/producers

Cons

  • Complicated
  • Can’t practice without a computer
  • The sound comes from your computer rather than the keyboard itself

5) The Used Market – Yet Another Drastic Option

If you’ve ever tried hunting deals on the internet, you know that used products are an untapped goldmine. eBay, Craigslist, even Amazon. These are all websites you should go through for purchases.

A quick browse on eBay at the time of writing shows a few 88-key Casio digital pianos (with weighted keys) for sale for less than $150, which is cheap considering these beat out other options on our list.

With that said, pitfalls like bad cosmetic condition, loose/clunky keys, and other defects are possible.

Buying a Used Keyboard Piano

We can’t provide straight-up recommendations, because you could theoretically find just about anything for sale.

If you see a nice keyboard or digital piano from brands you trust (Roland, Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, etc.), try searching our site to see if we’ve got a review.

As a reminder, look for these characteristics and features to get the most bang for your buck.

  • 88 keys for full range play as required for advanced classical pieces
  • Weighted hammer action keys for an acoustic piano-like response
  • Well-sampled piano sounds
  • No glaring defects such as non-functional buttons and keys

The web-based marketplace is fickle and unpredictable, so be cautious. However, wear and tear shouldn’t be a big issue.

Unlike the mechanical parts in acoustic pianos, chips and printed circuit boards aren’t as susceptible to decay and rust. Even something from 5+ years ago should be fine.

What digital piano to choose?

We can’t offer suggestions due to the constantly changing online market, so we’ll give you a few tips.

1) Avoid keyboards marked as ‘organs’. These are likely older keyboard models running off synthesizer-based sound chips. These won’t sound realistic, and touch sensitivity is often omitted.

2) Take care to avoid deals that are ‘too good to be true’. If you see a Yamaha Clavinova (their flagship line) going for less than $1,000, something fishy is going on.

3) Check out seller reviews if possible to work with reputable users only.

4) When possible, only pay after confirmed delivery. Amazon does this by default, but eBay doesn’t.

5) Test your product before purchasing it. Listing sites like Craigslist are well-suited for this, and going into music stores to test out similar or identical products work, too.

This option may seem like a cop-out, but again, we’re working on a tight budget here. If we can save some cash while getting a good keyboard, it’s a win in our books.

Sustain Pedal

Most of our sub-$300 options didn’t come with sustain pedals, and it’s no surprise that the same omissions occur with half-priced counterparts.

If you’re serious about playing the piano, a sustain/damper pedal is a must. Learning to control sustained notes with your feet is a must-have skill for classical and modern pieces.

Since this is considered an additional purchase, you might need to factor this into your budget.

Our favorite budget sustain pedals are the Nektar NP-2 and M-Audio SP-2.

Nektar got our recommendation for their good build quality on the GX61 MIDI keyboard, and the same quality can be seen with this pedal. It’s cheap, but feels good and durable.

You can even use this on other keyboards or digital pianos.

If you really do want to spend as little money as possible, you could consider the no-name brands often seen in music and online stores.

Honestly, build quality is the only major concern here, as cheap pedals easily fail due to dust and faulty contact points.

Casio SP3 footswitch

A typical box-style footswitch included with many entry-level keyboards

If you go this route, avoid block-style pedals, named for their square shape. These are functional but not ideal for piano players in the long run as they train a different kind of muscle memory.

Choosing The Best Affordable Beginner Keyboard – Buying Guide

I know, choosing your first keyboard piano is not an easy task, especially considering the variety of options available on the market.

What can make this even more daunting is the countless amount of terms that you may have never heard before.

To make things easier for you, here’s a quick list of terms and phrases used in describing keyboards and digital pianos.

KeysAction TypesTouch sensitivityPolyphonyModesLesson FunctionMIDI recorderAudio RecorderAccompaniment Transpose, Tuning USB type A USB type B

Modern acoustic pianos have 88 keys. Most keyboards and digital pianos have 88, 76, 73 or 61 keys.
73 keys are enough to play most (99%) modern pieces. Some advanced (classical) pieces require a full set of 88 keys.

how many keys acoustic piano

There are 3 most common types of actions:

1) Non-weighted – most organs, synths and entry-level keyboards are not weighted.
2) Semi-weighted – common action for budget portable keyboards (usually cost <300$). Spring-loaded mechanism adds more resistance to the keys compared to the non-weighted action.
3) Fully weighted (hammer action) is designed to replicate the action of a real piano. It uses small hammers (rather than springs) attached to each key to recreate the mechanical movements found inside a real piano.

hammer action

If your main goal is to play piano that you’ll definitely want a keyboard with hammer action keys.

It’s the key action that feels close to the real piano keys and will help you build proper finger strength and technique, making it much easier to transition to an acoustic in the future (if you decide to).

Touch sensitivity (a.k.a velocity sensitivity or touch response) is a very important feature of any keyboard or digital piano, which ensures that the volume produced by the instrument will change depending on how hard or soft you play the keys.

It’s not a big deal nowadays as almost any $150+ keyboard have touch-sensitive keys regardless of its action type.

Much more important is whether the keyboard is weighted or not. Keyboards with fully weighted action often have adjustable touch-sensitivity so you can adjust it to your playing style.

polyphony digital piano

Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.

These days, most digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.

You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all together.

First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two notes for each key played.

Furthermore, using the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), dual-mode (layering), and even the metronome ticking sound takes up additional notes of polyphony.

For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.

In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for the backing track.

When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for new notes, which in turn affects the quality and fullness of the sound.

You’ll rarely need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limits, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.

For an intermediate player it’s desirable to have 128 notes of polyphony or more.

Along with the standard “Single” keyboard mode, digital pianos often offer additional modes that allow you to use two instrument sounds at the same time or playing four hands.

Here are the most popular modes that digital pianos have:

1) Split Mode – divides the keyboard into two parts, allowing you to play a different instrument sound in each of them. For example, you can play guitar with your left hand and piano with your right hand at the same time.

split mode
2) Dual Mode (Layering) – allows you to layer two different sounds so that they sound simultaneously whenever you press a key. For example, you can layer strings with the piano sound or combine whatever sounds you like to get some new interesting combinations.

Sours: https://www.pianodreamers.com/best-cheap-portable-keyboards/

You will also be interested:

Piano Keyboards for Beginners (2021) – 10 Best Keyboards for the Money

Young Man Playing a Piano Keyboard

If you’ve been looking for the best piano keyboard for beginners on Amazon, you’re in the right place!

There are two types of piano keyboard manufacturers who sell on Amazon:

  • Established keyboard manufacturers like Yamaha and Casio.
  • What we call “made-for-Amazon” keyboard manufacturers

The made-for-Amazon manufacturers produce a number of piano keyboards that are inexpensive and great for beginner players.

Male Piano Teacher with Male Student - Beginning Piano Instruction

For a small amount of money, you can try out a keyboard, see how you or your child likes playing, and potentially open the treasure chest of what playing the piano can do!

But before we dive in, let’s answer the most common questions about Amazon piano keyboards:

How much is a piano keyboard on Amazon?

Prices for the best-value beginner keyboards on Amazon range from $39 to $210. Keyboards that cost in the $39 – $120 range are good for beginners. These keyboards usually have 61 keys, which is a good number of keys for a new player (a full keyboard has 88 keys, which is the same as an acoustic piano). The cheapest Amazon keyboards with 88 keys and “weighted” keys (like the keys on an acoustic piano) cost from $210 up.

Is a 61-key keyboard enough?

Yes. According to piano teachers, 61 keys are enough for a beginner.

What is the Best Keyboard Piano for Beginners?

The best keyboard for a beginner depends on your budget and the keyboard features that will motivate the beginner to learn (this is especially the case if the beginner is a child!)

Piano Teacher pointing to Sheet Music

Two key things we recommend in a beginner keyboard are (a) features that motivate learning, and (b) features that allow a beginner to “grow into” the keyboard.Features that motivate learning include:

  • Lighted keys
  • Good selection of “voices” (a “voice” is any sound that a keyboard makes)
  • Handful of “styles” (a style is like a back-up band that can be activated with the push of a button)
  • Features that allow a beginner to grow include: minimum of 61 keys (or even better, 76 or 88 keys); touch-sensitive keys (when the keys are pressed hard, they make a louder sound); and weighted keys (like an acoustic piano – the keys spring back after they’re pressed).
Keyboard Piano for Beginners

The most popular beginner keyboards on Amazon include:

RockJam 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard

RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard SuperKit

Alesis Melody 61 MKII

The ONE Smart Piano Keyboard

​What is the Best Piano Keyboard on Amazon?

For our ultimate list of the best keyboards (including Yamaha and Casio models), check out our piano keyboard reviews and buying guide.

Here’s our list of the top 9 piano keyboards produced by the made-for-Amazon manufacturers:

Best Amazon Piano Keyboards

Now here’s our guide to the best made-for-Amazon piano keyboard brands, including their best models:

alesis

Alesis was established in 1980 with the idea that they wanted to make good sound quality music studio products available to the world. This includes complete beginners and so using their innovation and technical knowledge, Alesis designed keyboards for beginners to and also keyboards for professionals – all at an affordable price.

Young girl marking up sheet music during a piano lesson

Alesis have continuously focused on improving the musical experience and developing creativity for musicians. They’ve now branched out from not only piano keyboards, but also other musical technical equipment such as synthesizers, iPod recording and playback equipment, amplifiers, electronic drums, effects units, mixers, speakers and hard disk recorders.

Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Keyboard

Alesis Recital - 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano/Keyboard with Full-Size Semi-Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Built-In Speakers and 5 Premium Voices (Amazon Exclusive)

Check Price on Amazon

The Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Keyboard has 88 keys that are full-sized and semi-weighted – giving the “touch” of a real piano, as well as allowing for sensitivity.

The Recital has in-built speakers which not only provide good sound quality, but also will save you space as they can be easily stored away when not in use – or left out to make a quick 5-minute practice more likely!

There is a headphone socket which allows for silent practice, and a built in metronome (a timer) to help you to get your timing just perfect.

Two Adults Learning Keyboard by example

The keyboard has 128 max polyphony, which means that 128 notes can be played at the same time (that’s just the notes, plus extra `voices` on drum tracks or `choral` effects, for example) – making it much more realistic for that full piano sound. The Alesis Recital beginner`s keyboard also has built in effects – chorus and reverb, to enable you to get different sounds.

Alesis Melody 61 MKII Keyboard

Alesis Melody 61 MKII - 61-Key Portable Keyboard with Built-In Speakers, Headphones, Microphone, Piano Stand, Music Rest and Stool

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The Alesis Melody 61 key keyboard has 61 weighted, responsive keys – which, although fewer than some other models, is sufficient for beginners.

The Melody is easy to use and comes with a height-adjustable stand. The keyboard also comes with a microphone and in-built speakers (although of course, headphones can be used for practice until you`re ready to show off to the world!).

The Melody 61 MKII keyboard also comes with a range of different voices, rhythms and 40 built-in demo songs which you can play along with, and also enables you to record your final masterpiece.

This is a great piano for children, giving them the power to really enjoy learning the piano and making music.

RockJam

rockjam

RockJam is part of the parent company PDT, which is a company that believes that musical instruments should be accessible to everyone. This is why they started to design and create instruments for learners at affordable prices. They believe everyone should have the opportunity to play piano. Their keyboards and digital pianos are modestly priced.

RockJam is the part of the company that produces electronic instruments such as keyboards and electric guitars, helping to inspire the next generation of electronic instrument musicians around the world. Check out some of the keyboards for beginners below:

RockJam 61-Key Superkit Keyboard

RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard SuperKit with Stand, Stool, Headphones & Power Supply

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The RockJam ​​61-Key Electronic Keyboard SuperKit has 61 keys at a standard size, as well as 100 keyboard sounds and 100 rhythms to play along to.

The keyboard features an LCD screen that can help with learning, telling you what to play with the demo songs and helping you to keep in time with the metronome. You can use headphones for private practice and there is also an entry socket for an electronic microphone if you want to sing along.

This is a great keyboard for developing both the technical and creative side of a keyboard learner. The LCD screen means that it can be visually useful in the learning process which can be very beneficial to some people.

RockJam 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard

RockJam 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard with Interactive LCD Screen & Includes Piano Maestro Teaching App with 30 Songs

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The RockJa​​m 54-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard also has an LCD screen. It is easy to pack away, put up and move, and the full-size keys give a `real` piano feel.

The 54 keys are fine for young children, and the keyboard has multiple teaching mode, 100 different voices and 100 different rhythms to make practice more exciting.

Keyboard Piano for Beginners. Two Young Women Practicing the Keyboard

The RockJam electronic keyboard has built in speakers to save room, a headphone socket and the ability to connect to larger, external speaker for larger performances and a stand where you can put your sheet music.

The array of fun learning features on the LCD screen make this keyboard an affordable and fun way for children to learn to play the piano.

The ONE Music Group

the one smart piano

The ONE Music Group are based in Silicon Valley in California and use the latest technology to develop keyboards and learning techniques. Their aim is to make learning the piano fun through developing games and creating instruments which allow these games to be played. Their keyboards for beginners are fun to use, and not just for kids.

Initially designed by a father who wanted to keep his son enthusiastic about learning the piano, The ONE keyboards and learning methods are very accessible for both children and adults.

The ONE Smart Piano Keyboard (61 Keys)

Smart Piano Keyboard 61-Key Portable Light Keyboard,Electronic Keyboard Digital Piano Music LED,Great for Beginner-Kids/Adults Learing/Training (Black)

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The One Smart Piano K​​eyboard with 61 keys is a MIDI keyboard which has over 128 different voices and built in speakers, a music stand and sustain pedal socket.

This keyboard is light and portable, but its real strength is its ability to be used with apps offering over 4000 pieces of sheet music and over 100 videos which will help you to learn. It can be used with both iOS and android phones and tablets.

The MIDI output means that your work can be recorded, and the keyboard has LED lights on the keys to help guide students and help you to learn your favourite pieces in minutes.

There is also (of course!) a headphone socket for private practice to perfect your show and hear the piano sound before performing it to your friends and family.

The ONE Smart Digital Piano (88 Keys)

The ONE Smart Piano, Weighted 88-Key Digital Piano, Grand Graded Hammer-Action Keys Upright Piano-Matte Black

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The ONE Smart Di​​gital Piano has 88 weighted keys and looks like a standard upright digital piano. It is specifically designed for beginners, but looks great, has a professional sound and also comes with the three common pedals.

 The ONE Smart Piano, however also comes with the interactive LED keyboard which can be used with apps on iOS and android phones and tablets, giving you access to over 4000 pieces of sheet music and over 100 video lessons and games, making learning the piano interactive and fun. There are also 128 MIDI voices available and full dynamics control.

Hamzer Portable Electronic Keyboard

Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano with Stand, Stool, Headphones & Microphone

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The Hamzer portable electr​​onic keyboard has 61 keys – sufficient for beginning learners – and has built-in speakers and an output which can be used for headphones or external speakers.

This keyboard gives you a choice of 255 different voices, 255 different rhythms, 61 different individual percussion sounds and 24 demos. The keyboard comes with an LCD display to help with control and settings and also has a detachable music stand for sheet music.

Being lightweight and portable with a wide range of different voices, the Hamzer portable electronic keyboard is great for getting kids hooked on playing (and learning) the piano – at a reasonable price.

LAGRIMA Digital Piano

LAGRIMA Digital Piano, 88 Key Electric Keyboard Piano for Beginner/Adults with Music Stand+Power Adapter+3-Pedal Board+Instruction Book+Headphone Jack(Black)

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The LAGRIMA D​​igital Piano is an 88 key digital piano which is perfect for beginner adults – and of course, also suitable for children. The digital piano looks like an upright digital piano at a much lower cost than comparable upright models, with a genuine sound, conventional three pedals, sheet music stand and LCD display screen.

 The digital piano has 64 polyphony (more than enough for a beginner pianist), 480 different tones and 200 pre-set rhythms as well as 80 demo songs. The LAGRIMA digital piano also allows for recording and playback as well as giving you full tone control, has a MIDI and USB port and headphone jack.

Plixio 61-Key Electric Piano Keyboard

Plixio 61-Key Electric Piano Keyboard with Music Sheet Stand – Portable Electronic Keyboard

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The Plixio 61-Key ​​Electric Piano Keyboard is a decent choice for little learners and beginners, mostly due to its excellent combination of features and low price.

The Plixio is portable and easy to store and can be used with either a power source or batteries. It comes with 40 different tones, 100 rhythms and 60 demo songs, making playing fun and interesting.

Piano Teacher with Young Student

 This model has a sheet music stand, built in speakers and is easy to take to lessons or practice as it is lightweight and easy to move around. It also comes with a headphone socket, so you can practice without disturbing others – or them disturbing you!

Joy JK-63M-KIT Keyboard

Joy JK-63M-KIT With USB 61-Key Keyboard Set Including Headphone,Stand,Stool and Power Supply

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Despite its industrial-sounding name, the 61-key Joy JK-63M-KIT is another keyboard with an excellent combination of price and features.

The Joy includes an MP3 function, 255 different tones, 255 different rhythms and 50 demos as well as sensitive keys for a more realistic piano experience. It has an LCD screen which can help with control of the keyboard`s functions as well as notes guides with the demo songs, making learning easy, fun and interesting.

 The Joy keyboard has a sheet music stand, has in built speakers, as well as a headphone socket.

Buying the CHEAPEST piano on AMAZON for $50 – is it any good??

Even the least expensive modern keyboards and digital pianos can be quite useful for a beginner player, and can provide a surprising amount of value. Enjoy Playing!

Learning the Keyboard on a Piano Keyboard for Beginners

Wrapping Up

Getting set up for learning the piano has never been easier or more affordable!

Keep in mind these made-for-Amazon keyboards are not going to be adequate as a beginner player graduates to the intermediate stage of skill – for that we recommend buying one of the excellent Yamaha or Casio keyboards.

 But if you’re looking for a beginner keyboard at an amazing price, these models will be more than sufficient for beginners and children to jump in and get started.

Sours: https://piano-keyboard-reviews.com/amazon-piano-keyboards/


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