When it comes to learning to play piano, usually people think of getting a big great hunk that is a grand piano for absolutely real learning experience with authentic sounds and feel. But many a times, this option may not be a feasible solution for you. This happens when you don’t have ideal amount of spare space to install your acoustic piano and you don’t have resources to spend around 10,000 to 100,000 USD or more for purchasing. When an acoustic piano is not an option, two most convenient and affordable options are either opt for a digital piano or a keyboard. Even when these two types are in the picture, you may still have to spend some time and compare features and options available with these two types in order to make a wise decision.
Some Questions to ask yourself!
Before we move on to find differences between a digital piano and a keyboard and compare them, it is important for you to ask yourself some questions. Answer to these questions and the discussion to be followed will enable you to make a better choice according to your needs:
- What is your budget for buying?
- What kind of technology are you looking for?
- What range or style of music you would want with your instrument?
- Are you a beginner or have learned before?
- Do you want to become a casual piano player or a pro pianist?
A look at differences between Digital Piano and Keyboard:
In order to make a better find for your learning and practice sessions, it is imperative to understand the basics of a digital piano and a keyboard.
Digital Piano – A good quality digital piano will give you close replication in all aspects to an acoustic piano. It may be a furniture model upright or with a cabinet or just a piano with a stand having a complete 88 key fully weighted keyboard offering you touch and action similar to what you get with an acoustic piano.
Keyboard – A keyboard on the other hand is designed with a focus on offering complete portability for musicians. These instrument are extremely light weight and thus are easily transferrable. You can keep them in your car trunk and travel without any hassle. This is the reason why many travelling musicians prefer portable keyboards. But with a keyboard, you may not expect a range of full 88 weighted keys and these instrument are just not designed to give you complete touch, feel and action of an acoustic piano.
Let us compare these instruments and have a look at their differences that enables musicians to make their choice:
|1. Budget||500 – 5,000 USD||100 – 1,000 USD or more|
|2. Space||Consumes less space than an acoustic piano||Consumes less space than a digital piano|
|3. Portability||Fairly Portable with light weight||Very light in weight, extremely portable|
|4. Quality of Sound||Sounds like a real piano |
(Depends upon model)
|Authentic piano sound would be missing|
|5. Keys||Full 88 keys (weighted)||Less number of keys depending upon model|
|6. Pedal||Pedal included in most models||Pedal needs to be purchased additionally|
|7. Recommended for||Learners at varied levels |
(beginners, intermediate or advanced)
|Learners at beginner levels|
Understanding Differences between Digital Pianos and Keyboards:
When it comes to prices, a digital piano is the most cost-effective solution for those who wish to learn like a pro and would like to experience an authentic touch and feel with authentic sound of an acoustic piano. If you don’t have a budget to buy a grand piano, then digital piano is definitely a right choice. But when we talk about a keyboard, it is the least expensive among an acoustic, upright or digital piano. The cost of a keyboard makes it a perfect choice for parents or teachers who want to introduce piano to young children. So if you are looking for something more affordable than a digital piano, you can choose to buy a keyboard but you would be compromising on some aspects that we will discuss soon.
Space and Portability:
There would be nothing like it if you have the budget and space in your house for an acoustic piano. If you have some space in your house and can custom-fit piano at a space, opt for digital piano. You can even move them and transport easily. But certainly a keyboard is more portable with its lighter weight in comparison to a digital piano. Keyboards are absolutely perfect choice for travelling musicians. These instruments are designed for durability and they will survive even with frequent loading and unloading.
Sound Quality and Feel:
These areas where quality of sound and feel like an authentic piano is concerned are the most important areas of discussion when it comes to comparison between different types of pianos. Digital pianos are designed to give you authentic feel and sound quality of an acoustic piano. However you can certainly not term a digital piano to give you a perfect simulation to acoustic one but some modern good quality digital pianos would do well in these areas.
The quality of sound with a digital piano is ensured by taking sound samples from some of the best concert pianos with impressive recording technology used. Apart from the main piano sound, a digital piano would give you varied voices from different instruments along with a set of effects to make performance and practice even more versatile.
Keyboards are a lot of fun for learning and experimenting. Though you should not expect them to give you authentic concert quality classical music but you can customize sound with variations and addition of effects to it.
Feel is all related to keys of an instrument. Digital pianos today are appointed with latest technology called Graded Hammer or Scaled Hammer Action that makes keys of a digital keyboard more sensitive offering a quite solid feel. Most of the digital pianos are appointed with fully weighted complete 88 keys keyboard. With a keyboard, mostly you will find reduced number of keys or scales like 76 or 61 keys. Some really expensive keyboards may give you 88 keys but it would be difficult to find a complete weighted keyboard.
Pedaling is essential for players to inculcate their expressions and feelings in their musical performance. This crucial aspect is not covered with a keyboard. High quality digital pianos nowadays have incorporated impressive 3 pedal system enclosed with them that enables user to enhance expressiveness in their music.
Digital pianos are a great option when piano learners or players do not have budget or space but are really concerned about realism. Digital pianos at an affordable price give them value in the form of high quality sound and feel that brings them close to playing on an acoustic piano. You will be able to witness a great learning and playing experience on a digital piano no matter what level of pianist you are?
While keyboards are a good option for casual learners who just want a piano like instrument to have fun learning with. These could be a good choice for young children or beginners who do not have any learning background with any musical instrument or for particular with any piano like instrument.
Both digital pianos and keyboards offer you numerous options in the form of technology which includes built-in lessons, songs, music recording, layering, effects, EQ adjustments, computer connectivity and much more.
Now that we know all the differentiating and common factors between digital pianos and keyboard, you must now have understood that these instruments are unique with different functions and benefits in their own way. In order to find out which type would fit your needs best can only be determined by analyzing what you need? Opt for the instrument that offers all the features that you need. Even in the field of digital pianos and keyboards, you will be able to find a wide range of models ranging from cheap-priced to excellent quality high-end instruments. Which model you opt for specifically would be determined by budget that you have for buying these instruments. If you are just a beginner/starter in the field, you may do well with a reasonable quality keyboard whereas for professionals or advance level learners, a digital piano would be better option.