7 Best Digital Pianos for Classical Pianists – Elegance in Design and Sound (Fall 2022)

In this article, you will find the best digital piano for classical pianist chosen by keyboard quality and comfort of use, polyphony tones, volume and many more
By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: July 30, 2022
Play Piano Tips is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

If you want to become a classical pianist, a traditional acoustic piano may not be practical or feasible for you. Fortunately, there are some excellent digital pianos on the market today.

In our quest to find the best digital piano for classical pianists, we explored the features and functionality of each instrument. Although you may be interested in playing classical music, the benefit of a digital piano is that you can also experiment with various sounds and effects. We also checked the ease of use and layout along with the various built-in software. Finally, we looked at the aesthetics and construction of the instruments, which can be an important consideration for portability and whether the digital piano will look at home inside your living space.

Top 7 Digital Pianos for Classical Pianists Review 2022

?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 5578 people in the past 30 days
9.4
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
9.2
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
9.3
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.9
9.4
1
Editor’s Choice

Yamaha Arius YDP-184

Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 36.5 x 57.5 x 18.06 in
  • Polyphony: 256 notes
  • Weight: 123.4 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 24 voice presets, 27 effects, 3 pedals, LCD screen, bench included, 2×6.29 in speakers, USB flash drive storage

The Yamaha Arius YDP-184 is an affordable digital piano with a “Graded Hammer 3” or GH3 keyboard that has synthetic ivory and ebony keytops. These plastic keys have a textured feel which feels great, but they are not truly authentic because acoustic keys are smooth. Triple sensors supply a decent level of feedback for a simulated string and hammer piano feel.

This digital piano is a great entry point for beginners that want a good playing experience. There are split and dual modes that are fun for duets and to create deeper and richer sounds. The sound engine uses 24 sampled sounds which offer plenty of variety to keep things fresh.

Why did it make our list?

  • We liked the GH3 key action, it’s graded to replicate the heavier feel of piano keys at lower registers. The key surfaces may not be authentic but they are slip resistant which can be helpful for beginners and intermediate players. Choosing the various modes is easy thanks to a handy dot-matrix screen and the system is versatile. This piano also has USB audio support which is a nice feature to have on a less expensive instrument.

What is not ideal about it?

  • There are some aspects of the Yamaha Arius YDP-184 that could be improved. First, this digital piano is pretty heavy and you will need at least a semi-permanent location for it. There is no Bluetooth support which limits some of the piano lesson options found on alternative instruments. A lack of audio recording limits the functionality for people that want to play back their performances.
?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 4709 people in the past 30 days
9.2
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.9
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.7
Features & Benefits
Product Review
9.0
9.2
2
Best for Intermediate Players

Casio AP-470 Celviano

Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 33.1 x 54.2 x 16.8 in
  • Polyphony: 256 notes
  • Weight: 95.7 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 3 levels of touch sensitivity, USB flash drive storage, 23 effects, 22 tone presets, 3 pedals

The Casio AP-470 Celviano may be the best digital piano for classical music at this price point. Casio has done an excellent job at recreating the feel and touch of a real grand piano. This instrument has 256 notes of polyphony which is ideal for complex pieces and the decay of the notes is not inhibited for a more natural sound.

This is a great instrument for people that want realistic piano sounds and an attractive piano in their home. The cabinet features a lid that you can lift to create an elegant look for your playing room. But, there is a dual purpose, under the lid is the speaker system and when it’s raised the sound will surround the pianist.

What stands out?

  • What we liked about this instrument is the resonance of the simulated strings as they are virtually struck. This is achieved with the Casio “AiR” sound engine which adds plenty of depth and body to the notes as they are played. A USB port on the right allows you to record performances on a USB drive. The instrument functions can be controlled on the left side of the piano or you can use your favorite mobile device.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • There are some things that could be improved to take this digital piano to the next level. First, the shortcuts to activate certain features such as the reverb settings are on unlabelled keys and they are virtually impossible to remember without the manual. The other minor annoyance is the size of the music holder ledge which cannot accommodate a larger music book.
RELATED: 12 Best Digital Pianos for Advanced Pianists – Path to Pro Level (Fall 2022)
?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 2305 people in the past 30 days
9.1
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.7
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.7
Features & Benefits
Product Review
9.0
9.1
3
Best for Beginners

Roland RP102

Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 32.1 x 54.3 x 16.3 in
  • Polyphony: 128 notes
  • Weight: 83.37 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 4 piano and 11 instrumental tone presets, 200 onboard songs, 3 pedals

Uses the well regarded SuperNATURAL sound engine which sounds fantastic. There are three built-in metal pedals to help the player master their pedaling techniques with sustain, soft, and sostenuto settings.

This digital piano is ideal for beginners and intermediate players that want a beautiful and durable instrument to play. The RP-102 is finished in a classic black color and the case is aesthetically pleasing. This is a sturdy and heavy instrument at 83 lbs and some assembly is required with the supplied screwdriver and screw set.

What stands out?

  • What we liked most about this digital piano was the quality of the construction and the sound engine. The free Roland “Piano Partner 2” app for Android and iOS devices expands the functionality at no extra cost to the user. The ivory feel keys are fully weighted, it has Bluetooth MIDI connectivity and there are more than 200 songs onboard.

What cons did we manage to find?

  • There are a couple of things that could be improved and the main issues are related to the interface. The four button interface works fine, but it’s not easy to reach the deeper settings without the app. The speaker system could be more powerful and there are not a lot of built-in sound effects or customization options.
RELATED: 8 Best Digital Pianos for Intermediate Players – Time for Proper Instrument (Fall 2022)
?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 7779 people in the past 30 days
9.0
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.7
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.9
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.6
9.0
4
Best for Advanced Players

Kawai CA49

Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 36 x 53.5 x 18.2 in
  • Polyphony: 192 notes
  • Weight: 128 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 19 voice presets, 19 demo songs, 3 pedals, 2×5 in speakers, 4 key sensitivity levels

The Kawai CA49 is one of the best keyboards for classical pianists at a more advanced level. The is an 88-key digital piano with an authentic sound, a well designed amplification system, and wooden keys. It has a premium feel, a powerful Onkyo motherboard to deliver richer sounds and the case has an attractive satin black finish.

This is an ideal digital piano for intermediate to advanced players that want access to phenomenal sounds. The CA49 is built to high standards and the wooden keyboard action has a grand feel for a superb playing experience. The sound engine uses sounds sampled from the Kawai SK-EK and EX Concert Grand pianos. A low volume balance feature allows the pianist to play at lower volumes without losing sound consistency.

Why did it make our list?

  • What we really liked about the Kawai CA49 was the upgraded cabinet design and the OLED display to access the various functions. The sounds are authentic and well rounded and there are eight preset tones to select. The tonal quality has been improved with the new motherboard and the wooden keys and metal pedals deliver a real piano feel.

What is not ideal about it?

  • There are a couple of drawbacks to consider but they are to be expected when you purchase this type of digital piano. First, this is a heavy instrument at 150 lbs and you will need a permanent location for this piano. Next, as you might expect this digital piano is a premium grade instrument with a matching price tag.
RELATED: 6 Best Kawai Digital Pianos — The Manufacturer You Can Trust! (Fall 2022)

?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 3882 people in the past 30 days
8.8
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.6
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.7
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.7
8.8
Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 51.65 x 13.23 x 29.53 in
  • Polyphony: 120 voices
  • Weight: 84 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 3 key sensitivity types, 12 piano/organ presets, 12 song playbacks, 2×3.9 in speakers, 3 pedals

The Korg B2SP is our best value pick and it may be the best portable digital piano for classical pianists. This instrument weighs just over 46 lbs (21 kg) excluding the stand and it’s pretty easy to assemble when you’re ready to play. The controls are basic with most functions requiring a combination of key and/or button pushes.

This is a great digital piano for budget conscious beginners and casual players. This instrument looks like a standard piece of black furniture and it will match most decors. It has the basic but functional NH (Natural Weighted Hammer Action) velocity sensitive keybed with three presets (light, normal and heavy). This is a more portable instrument than the other digital pianos on our list.

What are our favorite features?

  • We really liked the five grand piano sounds on B2SP which deliver a good simulation of string resonance with dampening. The dual 15-watt speakers use “Motional Feedback Technology'' that adds some gravitas and depth to the sounds. An audio in jack allows the player to play along with external audio sources. This digital piano delivers a lot of features for a relatively low price.

What could be better?

  • Despite the low price of entry, there are a few areas where the Korg B2SP could be improved. First, the sound selection is limited and this is exacerbated by a lack of polyphony when certain tones are selected. As you might expect at this price there is no Bluetooth connectivity which limits the potential for absolute beginners. Finally, there is no recording feature to create your own melodies or to review your progress.
RELATED: 5 Best Korg Digital Pianos for Any Level of Skills (Fall 2022)

?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 7606 people in the past 30 days
8.7
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.4
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.6
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.6
8.7
6
Best for Home Practice

Alesis Virtue

Features
  • Keys: 88, weighted
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 55.9 x 18.9 in
  • Polyphony: 128 notes
  • Weight: 64.8 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 360 preset voices, 4 key sensitivity levels, LCD screen, 3 pedals

The Alesis Virtue is a simple 88-key touch sensitive (not weighted) digital piano that we believe is a good option for home practice sessions. This instrument is made of substantial plastic and it weighs just over 64 lbs. It takes around 30-45 minutes to assemble this digital piano which could make it an option for occasional movement. The Virtue looks attractive and it will match a wide variety of home decors.

This is an ideal digital piano for beginners that require regular practice at home on a tighter budget. A centrally located display screen and an extended control panel at each side give you easy access to the functions. The sampled sounds are smooth and the transitions are realistic for a digital piano at this price. There are 360 voices that can be combined with a wide variety of effects to create new and interesting tones.

What makes it stand out?

  • What we liked most about the Alesis Virtue is the 3-pedal unit and the included dust cover. The pedals add an extra level of realism with an accurate acoustic piano setup that can really help a beginner to hone their pedaling skills. The dust cover is a nice touch because it protects the piano when it’s not in use and it looks great. The control system is easy to use and Alesis has included a chair to get you up and running quickly.

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • There are a couple of drawbacks that are worth mentioning. First, the Alesis Virtue stand could be more durable, but that would add a lot of weight to the instrument. Next, the headphone output is not on a ¼ inch jack and you may need an adaptor if you’re using studio headphones. Finally, the keys feel pretty light and they can be a little noisy.
RELATED: 6 Best Beginner Keyboards for Adults – What to Look for When Buying Your First Keyboard (Fall 2022)
?
Consumer Engagement
Chosen by 6458 people in the past 30 days
8.5
Customer Feedback
Customer Feedback
8.0
Brand Reputation
Based onweb analytics
8.3
Features & Benefits
Product Review
8.0
8.5
7
Best Portable

Donner DEP-10

Features
  • Keys: 88, semi-weighted
  • Dimensions: 52.3 x 11.6 x 29.9 in
  • Polyphony: 128 tones
  • Weight: 48.17 lbs
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: 30 demo songs, 8 tone presets, MP3 control, dual voice, 3 pedals

The Donner DEP-10 is a compact digital piano that is the most portable option on our list. The metal pedal unit is fairly well built and robust and the entire keyboard is constructed with plastic. The 88-keys feel sturdy, there is a headphone port at the front of the piano and all other connections are located at the rear.

This is a great digital piano for beginners or musicians that like to play live with a decent sounding instrument. The sound engine uses sampled recordings from a wide variety of acoustic pianos and other instruments, including bright acoustic, electric grand, acoustic grand, chorus piano, church organ, vibrating harp, string ensemble, and harpsichord. These sounds are more than acceptable when the keys are struck at different velocities.

What do we love it for?

  • What we like most about the DEP-10 is the layout of the controls that are pressed in various combinations to access the settings. This system has a steep learning curve, but with time it will not be necessary to refer to the manual. The half weighted keys feel better than we expected on a beginner instrument with a relatively low price.

What were we disappointed with?

  • There are a few things that could be improved on the Donner DEP-10. First, the sustain pedal has a polarity switch that can cause issues if it’s not engaged properly. Next, this digital piano does not come with a stand or bench as standard which should be factored into the purchasing price.

Things to Consider

With so many instruments on the market today, it can feel a little overwhelming when you’re trying to find the best digital piano for classical pianists. So, here we’ve compiled a buying guide with features to consider and answers to frequently asked questions to help you.

How a Digital Piano Can Work for Classical Music?

7 Best Digital Pianos for Classical Pianists - Elegance in Design and Sound (Fall 2022)

Digital pianos might look and sound different, but they have all the features that fit classical melodies

A digital piano is a fantastic instrument for beginners because they are available at a wide variety of prices to suit virtually any budget. These instruments are generally lighter and smaller than an acoustic piano which makes them a good fit for a smaller room. In recent years, digital piano technology has improved, the keyboard action, sound quality, and speaker systems are at a level where they are a viable alternative to a traditional piano. Of course, purists will still want a fully acoustic instrument, but for most players with less lofty goals, a digital piano is a solid choice.

For people on a tighter budget, it’s fair to say that a traditional acoustic piano is likely to be out of their reach. Even if they can afford to purchase this type of instrument it will require regular professional tuning which will increase the cost of ownership. This is represented in the decreasing sales Trusted Source Number of acoustic pianos sold in the United States from 2005 to 2020 Unit sales of acoustic pianos in the U.S. 2005-2020 www.statista.com over the last decade. As an alternative, you can purchase one of the digital pianos on our list and still have a great playing experience. A good digital piano can cost up to $1,000 and they don’t require tuning.

A digital piano can be a lightweight and portable instrument which makes it a great option for practice sessions and concerts. The best models have plenty of connectivity with MIDI ports to connect to your computer and headphone jacks. Certain digital pianos have a USB port or Wifi connections to work with piano teaching apps. The built-in speakers may be sufficient for casual playing but may be able to amplify the instrument to play live. The ability to play with headphones is a real advantage for players that want to practice without disturbing other people in the home. This is simply not possible with a traditional piano but some acoustic details such as the natural room reverb are lost.

Is digital and classical incompatible?

Most professional players would probably agree that the best digital pianos cannot be as good as an acoustic piano. But, most players are not professional and a digital piano Trusted Source Number of digital pianos sold in the United States from 2005 to 2020 Unit sales of digital pianos in the U.S. 2005-2020 www.statista.com has a number of clear advantages over a traditional piano. Aside from the advantages mentioned earlier, it’s important to mention the playing action. The keys on the best digital pianos have an action that is very similar to an acoustic piano, the same as Casio AP-470 Celviano features. So, it’s entirely possible to learn and practice on a digital piano at home and move up to an acoustic piano later.

How to Pick the Best Digital Piano for Classical Pianists

There are a number of things you’ll need to assess to choose the best digital piano for classical pianists.

Polyphony tones

The minimum polyphony for a good digital piano should be 100 notes but most modern instruments tend to be in the 120 up to 200 note range. This will ensure that you can achieve a deeper and more detailed sound that should be sufficient to perform most pieces.

Keys quantity and type

7 Best Digital Pianos for Classical Pianists - Elegance in Design and Sound (Fall 2022)

Digital pianos for classical music feature reliable keyboards with fully weighted hammer action keys

A standard digital piano is likely to have 88-keys with a traditional piano layout for an easier transition to other pianos. There are digital pianos with fewer keys, this does make them more portable, but they are unlikely to satisfy more serious players. The quality of the keybed is extremely important for an authentic feel when those softer notes are struck. The best digital pianos have a simulated hammer action that can give the player a real sense of feedback that was hard to replicate on older models.

Semi-weighted keys like in Donner DEP-10 can be good for common practice.

Pedals

The pedals on a digital piano should mimic the action of the pedals on an acoustic piano. These pedals are used to dampen the sound as you play to add more expression to a performance. A more portable digital piano may have separate pedals that can be plugged into the instrument. On a more substantial digital piano, they are often built into the case.

Construction and materials

The materials used in the construction of an acoustic piano can have a major impact on the sound characteristics. This is not true for a digital piano that uses a sound generation engine to create the sound. For this reason, the choice between wood or plastic is a matter of budget, portability, and preference. If you need a more portable digital piano wood will add a lot of weight to the instrument. Plastic digital pianos tend to be less expensive, but they may not look as impressive as a wooden case piano. The main consideration is the material used for the keys and if you have the budget wooden keys are superior.

Sounds and voices

Although polyphony affects the quality of the sound, it’s still important to consider the quality of the sound engine. A cheap keyboard may produce the same sound no matter how hard you strike the key. A slightly better option is a keyboard that will vary the volume depending on how hard you play that note. But, the best sound engines will replicate the dynamic range of a real piano to improve the sound quality. Early digital piano models used samples taken from real pianos that lacked the dynamic range that makes a piano sound authentic. The best modern digital pianos have complex sound engines that are extremely accurate. Many instruments have multiple piano sounds to choose from along with other instruments, including organs, choir sounds, harpsichords, and more. If you have a dual-voice and split keyboard feature it’s even possible to play two different sounds at the same time.

Durability and warranty

Digital pianos with a wooden case tend to cost more, but they are more durable in the medium to long-term. It’s also worth checking the length of the warranty and the cover that it offers for that instrument. A long and comprehensive warranty demonstrates that the manufacturer has confidence in their product.

Volume

7 Best Digital Pianos for Classical Pianists - Elegance in Design and Sound (Fall 2022)

Digital pianos for classical music offer better sound than regular models and a variety of effects

As we mentioned earlier, it is possible to play many digital pianos with headphones. But, if you don’t enjoy playing this way, it’s easy to turn down the volume without altering your playing style.

Accessories

The most common accessory for a digital piano is a stand to keep the instrument stable as it’s played. Some manufacturers supply a chair or bench to sit on and you may get a bundle deal that includes headphones, MIDI cables, piano lessons, and more.

Extra features

Some digital pianos allow you to record your performances and store them for recall and review. This is a great way to gauge your progress as a player and it may be possible to interface with learning programs. There are usually some preloaded pieces to play along with and it may be possible to use the piano as a MIDI controller for other hardware and software instruments.

Prices

A good digital piano is less expensive than an acoustic piano but it can still represent a significant investment. But, it is possible to find a digital piano that feels and sounds great without breaking the bank. You can expect to pay $800 up to $1,000 for an instrument that will satisfy most beginner to intermediate or casual players. If you desire a more authentic experience the price rises can go up to $2,000 or more. A premium digital piano is likely to cost at least $4,000 and this would be a significant investment for a professional player. The best way to choose a good digital piano is to find a balance between your available budget, the quality, and the features that you need.

FAQ

In our opinion, the best portable digital piano for a classical pianist is the Donner DEP-10. It can be easily taken apart and assembled, as well as taken in a car trunk.

Our Verdict

As we’ve shown there are some excellent digital pianos on the market today. From the Korg B2SP with its impressive grand piano sounds and motional feedback technology speakers to ensure fantastic depth of sound to the simulated string effects of the Casio AP-470 Celviano that is achieved with Casio’s AiR sound engine.

However, the stand out pick as the best digital piano for classical pianos has to be our editor’s choice, the Yamaha Arius YDP-184. This is not only an affordable digital piano, it delivers a great playing experience. The key action of the graded hammer 3 synthetic ivory and ebony keys is fantastic. It can replicate the heavier feel of acoustic piano keys, but the keys remain slip resistant for smooth playing.

References

1.
Number of acoustic pianos sold in the United States from 2005 to 2020
Unit sales of acoustic pianos in the U.S. 2005-2020
2.
Number of digital pianos sold in the United States from 2005 to 2020
Unit sales of digital pianos in the U.S. 2005-2020
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.