The piano keyboard is certainly an interesting breed of musical instruments and it can be a great substitute for a traditional or an acoustic piano. Conversely, it is crucial to always bear in mind that whichever instrument you acquire, it will generally be only a substitute compared to a conventional piano. This is almost 100% true – even though piano keyboards habitually have the upper hand when it comes to practicality, especially if you look at aspects like volume control, tuning, lighter in weight, they do not however, offer the tones or touch that acoustic pianos offer. Even piano keyboards that are considered the best on the market would always be a compromise to acoustic pianos.
Things to Look Out For in Piano Keyboards
When a customer asks me what she should look out for in a good quality keyboard piano, I always say that there are plenty! In this article, I share a number of essential things that you should look for when you are shopping for piano keyboards:
Is the piano keyboard easy to navigate? Are the buttons self-explanatory, accurate, and clear? You should try pressing a couple of the buttons and make sure that they do what you want and expect them to do. You do not want to go through the manual each time you decide to change the speed of the metronome or when you want to change a tone or sound. You should choose a unit that is user friendly and very easy to navigate without causing you any headaches.
When you test a few units, pay close attention to how each unit actually makes you feel. Does it feel akin to a conventional piano when you play it? Are you able to play softly and loudly without any problem, or is it relatively difficult to control? The instrument should be straightforward to control and allow you to play it with no difficulty.
I always advise my clients to initially test a few different piano keyboards, because it is essential that they feel comfortable when they play the instruments. At all times, I inform them to play the piano keyboard at different velocities. They need to play it very loudly and very softly, and at the same time, pay attention to how the piano responds.
Does the dynamic range distort at any time when the piano is being played? A good quality piano keyboard can be played at the same level evenly. This is therefore, something that you should consistently look out for when you are testing the pianos.
Test each note loudly and listen to every note carefully. Does the tone sound similar to an acoustic piano? Does it sound artificial or natural? Thereafter, you should do the same with the chords.
Do you think it is important to have a lid to cover all the keys? Keep in mind that not all piano keyboards come with a lid. This is purely an aesthetic choice, because whether or not there is a lid, it does not influence the piano keyboard in any way.
Make sure that the instrument comes with a pedal and that it is a sustain pedal. Additionally, you should find out if it has a half-damping capability or if it simply has an on/off feature. With acoustic pianos, when a player half presses the sustain pedal, he obtains only half a sustain style. A number of piano keyboards come with this function, which is rather useful.
How important is it to have additional features or functions, such as a metronome, recording facilities, amplifiers, and various styles/voices? Would you use all of them? Additional features or functions normally affect the price, thus, if you have a limited budget, you should consider what is important to you before you make a decision.
How much are you prepared to spend on a piano keyboard?
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