Compared to classical pianos, the electric piano is more compact and offers more functions that bring the sound of the concert halls and clubs home. The volume can be continuously adjusted and switched to headphones, so you can play and practice at any time. With countless features, sounds and technical details, it’s not always easy for beginners to choose the best electric piano. There is the right instrument for every technique.
Top 10 10 E-Pianos
Buy electric piano or acoustic piano?
Anyone who has ever sat on a 3-meter Steinway or Steinweg grand piano will hardly be able to compare this feeling to an electric piano or a compact keyboard. But even the most expensive grand piano produces only one piano sound. Not to be neglected is the logistics, which is accompanied by a heavy piano, which actually only fits in a big house or in a huge living room. Not every apartment has a solid piano. In addition, you can not practice at any time of the day or night, otherwise, you may be in trouble with your neighbors.
Price wise, the electric piano is often the cheaper choice, since the wings are not available under several thousand euros. A high-quality piano is only available in the price range between 5,000 and 15,000 €. Whereas the entry-level e-pianos are available from a budget of € 300 to € 500. Admittedly, the classical piano lasts for 100 years, when its mechanics and components are regularly maintained. Even the best electric piano in the world can not compete with the exclusive feeling we feel when sitting on a grand piano. The digital pianos score in price, sound, and flexibility.
Electric Piano and Keyboard: What’s the difference?
Beginners may wonder what the difference between a keyboard and an electric piano is. The keyboard is the evolution of the electric organ. It mostly has
- 61 unweighted buttons,
- an automatic accompaniment and
- different sounds.
The high-quality keyboards also bring along a sequencer and thousands of different timbres. This allows you to recreate other instruments such as acoustic stringed instruments, flutes, and grand pianos as well as strings. In automatic accompaniment, you can choose between various rhythms and profit from a variety of options. It is not uncommon for keyboarders to replace an instrument in a band or to play as an entertainer all evening without an additional musician.
The e-piano types in the overview
An electric piano is an evolution of the classic piano or grand piano. It has 88 keys with hammer mechanics to come as close as possible to the feel of classic role models. Basically, we can distinguish three categories: electric, electronic pianos and digital pianos.
There are hybrids in the trade, which in turn combine the advantages of electric piano and keyboard. The main focus is on the 88 keys with weighting and hammer mechanics. This creates a natural feel and stands high in the favor of the musicians. Nevertheless, fewer and fewer pianists want to forego the wide range of accompanying rhythms and sounds.
What is an electric piano with touch dynamics?
As we have already mentioned above, the touch dynamics have a positive effect on the feel of the game. In fact, you feel like you’re sitting at a piano. In addition, the electric pianos come very close to the natural sounds of their role models. Here, a piano player can bring in his own dexterity skills. You set the tone by hitting the keys more gently, sliding or tighter. Each stroke and movement has an effect on the sound.
That would not be the case with an electric piano without touch dynamics. Here it would not matter if you press down the keys gently or firmly. The sound would remain the same. So if you want to equip your piano playing with more melodic facets and variations in volume, should opt for the velocity of attack.
What is an electric piano with hammer mechanics?
If we take a look into the inner workings of a grand piano or a classical piano, we discover a technically sophisticated and complex mechanism, which goes back to traditional and years of mastery. What solution have the electric pianos found to meet these requirements?
In most cases, you will find in the product description of an electric piano the note about 88 weighted keys with hammer mechanics. This mechanics goes back to the acoustic pianos. When you press down a key, a hammer hits the string and produces the sound. With the hammer mechanics of digital pianos, we have no mechanical hammers and strings. Instead of these components, a special mechanism that cleverly mimics these classic models occurs. An electric piano with hammer mechanics always has weighted keys. This ensures especially natural conditions when playing the piano. If you want to play as realistic and sophisticated as possible, you should opt for hammer mechanics.
What are Graded Hammer keyboards?
Here the attack is distributed differently over the keyboard. If the view goes to the real piano, the resistance increases to the lower layers. So it is possible to play with the left hand, the bass stiff and produce in the heights with the right-hand airy light tones. The following are the most important abbreviations when buying electric pianos:
- GH / GHS – Graded Hammer / Graded Hammer Standard
- GH3 – Graded Hammer 3 similar to a concert grand piano
- NW – Real Wood or Natural Wood
What do the best electric pianos do in comparison?
If you do not want to lose track of the purchase, you should consider a few important criteria and tips. So there is the acoustic piano sound in different variants for example as
- Grand Piano
Today, the natural piano samples are in vogue. This gives you the opportunity to tailor the instruments to your wishes. In fact, the quality of all sampled sounds convinces even in the lower price range. They come as close as possible to the sound of a piano. At the end of a note, pay attention to how long it will be electrically prolonged or if it will break off all of a sudden. The piano sample should deliver as many details as possible in its sound data, the better these can be adjusted to your wishes. Sustain – the long-lasting clay – should sound as balanced and as lively as possible. In addition, the dynamics in the sounds at the same time optimize the joy of playing.
Today, the string resonances are simulated, which makes the entire sound space grippier and more colorful. Bringing a damper pedal with a stage detection, at the same time improves their control over the string resonances. In some cases, the resonance effects can also be individually adjusted via the pedal effects. If you listen carefully, you can even hear the noises of the high-end models, which in turn make the hammers when they snap back. In the middle price range, the individual components of a sound can be adjusted in their intensity.
The most important effects of e-piano
The absolute must-haves in the sound include Wurlitzer and Fender Rhodes. Add to that the sounds of Yamaha’s DX7 or CP80. If you want to give your own piano sound a floating and spatial character, you benefit from string and synth sounds. Among the most important effects include
Only an equalizer can process the frequencies in one tone in their fine gradation again to quickly adapt them. For the bass, midrange and treble, use a three-band equalizer, also known as EQ. To best match the sound of the electric piano, you can also use a Reverb Reverb effect.
Which electric piano is suitable for beginners?
Especially for beginners and beginners, it is not easy to decide on the right instrument. On the one hand, it should not be too expensive and on the other hand, it should bring the most natural feeling possible. The good electric pianos provide a touch response so that the sound continues to sound when you release the key. This is an indispensable technique in playing the piano.
So the instrument should also bring the damper pedal. At first, connecting a keyboard to a PC is enough to find out if piano playing is right for you. Good exercise tools have a high-quality keyboard and a nice sound that is easy to play.
Electric piano with learning function
There are now digital learning systems that make it possible to learn piano at home without a teacher. The learning function has many advantages. For example, it integrates a MIDI function, allowing pre-installed demos to be played back. In addition, these instruments also score with rhythms and accompanying mechanisms. You can, therefore, be accompanied by different chords and, for example, connect a metronome to play songs and keep a rhythm. All tracks can also be saved and played back later. Countless different learning programs are designed to turn a beginner into a practiced piano player.
The learning functions are varied and can be adjusted to individual needs. Some of the educational e-pianos feature more than 170 hours of learning, ranging from easy songs to popular pop songs and classical pieces. The melodies can be stored in the library and are displayed in notation. It is recommended to learn from the beginning not only the playing techniques but also the theoretical framework of a song. This refers to the notes that allow you to play any song later. Make use of the wide variety of settings for the left and right hands, hide the accompanying possibilities and develop your piano playing.
Electric piano with automatic accompaniment
If the electric piano comes with automatic accompaniment, you can be accompanied by a virtual band while playing. You choose the right instruments from the fellow musicians. The following options are often available:
- Piano or organ,
- Electric bass, electric guitar or acoustic guitar,
- Strings or wind instruments,
- Drums or percussion.
How to connect your electric piano to the computer?
There are various ways to connect your electric piano to the computer to compose your own songs and to file the sounds.
- Actually, every electric piano has a jack output or a headphone output. This can be used to transfer analog audio materials.
- In the modern e-pianos, we find next to the synthesizer a USB port for the transmission of audio and MIDI files.
- Actually, there is the MIDI input and the MIDI output since the 80s to be able to play from the sequencers.
If the electric piano has a jack output, you will need an adapter cable or a jack cable. This cable connects to the blue marked line-in on the laptop or PC. Turn up the volume level. The next moment the sound of the electric piano is transmitted to the PC. In some cases, the sound must be re-activated starting from the line-in.
How to connect an electric piano to the iPad?
For the connection of electric piano and iPad, you need a USB-MIDI interface. To connect this interface to the iPad, you still need the Camera Connection Kit from Apple – CCK for short. When buying, make sure the interface is compatible with the Apple system. In addition, the pad must be connected via mini-jack with the audio output to the system and the mixer.
The right e-piano for advanced players
Whether after a break, on re-entry or after parting with a beginner’s piano, advanced players expect a lot more from your instrument that was the case in the beginning. For starters, we barely speak of the electric piano today, but in most cases of a digital piano. The original requirements go far beyond classical piano playing.
- The sound,
- the setting options,
- the functions and
- the extras
form the criteria for the purchase of electric pianos for advanced. The offer is huge and based on your requirements.
Even if you turn up the electric piano fully, the bass should neither tug nor roar and the height should never sound too pointed. We arrive in the upper price range if we expect an outstanding sound at all volume levels.
Convincing are manufacturers, such as Kawai, Roland, Clavinova or Yamaha, who create modern solutions in the upper price range. These e-pianos work with multiple amplifier units and subwoofers. These are powerful speaker pairs. The instrument creates an impressively room-filling sound through an effective arrangement of the speakers and partially separate equalizer power. In the case of the professional equipment, it should even be possible to achieve a positive effect on the sound box and to make the entire instrument vibrate under the impressive sound.
Purchase recommendation E-Piano: What should you pay attention to?
First, you should ask yourself what you want from your electric piano. It makes a difference whether you are looking for a beginner’s instrument that remains primarily as a practice piano in your own home or whether it pulls you on the big stage and you make an evening together with other musicians or as an entertainer. Classical concert pianists seek in a high-quality professional instrument as realistic as possible, the compact counterpart to the expensive grand piano.