Showing posts with label digital pianos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital pianos. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2017

REVIEW - Digital Pianos Under $2000 to $1000 for 2017 - Yamaha YDP181, Yamaha YDP143, Yamaha YDP163, Yamaha YDPV240, Roland RP501R, Roland F140R, Roland DP603, Kawai KDP90, Kawai CE220, Casio AP260, Casio AP460, Casio AP650, Yamaha YDP143, Kurzweil MP10, Kawai CN25, Kawai ES8 - "Furniture Cabinet Style"

UPDATED REVIEW - February 20, 2017 - BEST Cabinet Style Digital Pianos Between $1000US to $2000US - My name is Tim Praskins and I am an expert when it comes to playing, teaching on, and knowing about digital pianos. I have been working with all the brands and models for over 40 years and offer free, personal piano buying advice no matter where you live. Just email me with your questions and I'll be happy to get back to you, or you can call me if you are in the US. (International replies by email only and will take longer for me to reply). I do not have a store or warehouse, but I work out of a large music studio that I own and I play & teach on acoustic & digital pianos, keyboards, synthesizer, organ, and a variety of guitars. I understand what digital pianos are supposed to do and which ones that will give you a realistic piano playing experience (based on my vast experience with acoustic pianos including concert grands as well as all the name brand digital pianos). Unlike all the other so-called reviewers out there, I have actually played all the the pianos I talk about and many more that I don't talk about. I have literally played thousands of digital pianos and keyboards during my music career. All my reviews are my opinions and done by myself  for the public at large. If you want more info on me or my work, go to the following link: More about Me and my Work:)

There are many new model digital pianos being offered by the top piano manufacturers these days and sometimes it can be very confusing as to what the best digital piano is for a particular price range. So I have written this blog article (and others) to help out people looking for good cabinet model digital pianos between $1000US - $2000US. I also have done a review comparison of new digital pianos under $1000US which you can also read about on my blog at the following link: Digital Pianos under $1000US. I consider the top digital piano manufacturers in this price range to include Kawai, Casio, Yamaha, and Roland. In the $1000-$2000 price range, the Korg digital piano company makes one cabinet piano called the LP380 ($999 internet price - only $1 away from $1000:), which is OK but not up to the quality of the top brands in my opinion. Go to the following link to read my review on that model:  Korg LP380 review. The Kurzweil piano/keyboard company makes nice looking furniture style digital pianos and although they sound pretty good overall, in my opinion they just have too many deficiencies to be a real contender and are not very good when it comes to better quality key actions and pedaling system in the under $2000US price range. I have done a few reviews of Kurzweil pianos on this blog if you want more info.

Almost all other brands of digital pianos (with a couple of exceptions) that may be available in some piano stores, on-line web sites, or consumer store web sites (like Costco in the US) are what I consider to be off brands. I would definitely not recommend these brands (at least not in the models they have out now) by such names as Artesia, Suzuki, Williams, Adams, Adagio, and a few others that I have seen and played. Stay away from them regardless of how inexpensive the price may be or how attractive the piano may look if you want a good piano playing experience, especially in these mini/micro digital baby grands that are out there. Many of them are just plain bad when it comes to key action response, dynamics, key action noise, durability, etc. I have written reviews on many of these brands and models so if you want more info, take a look at some of my other blog reviews. In this blog article I will be referring only to furniture cabinet style models (including portable pianos with nice furniture stands & pedals) and only those that have an internet or regular store discount price for $1000-$2000US which is where most consumers want to be when shopping for a new digital piano.

Before I talk about my "recommended" brands below, there is a new piano company that most people have not heard of before which produces one digital piano model and it has an internet selling price of $1499, although it can probably be purchased for less money at a discount if you are interested. This digital piano is put out by a company called Wanaka and their new digital piano is called "The ONE Smart Piano." Basically this new piano is a furniture cabinet style digital piano that has just 1 sound in it...piano, and also has a digital metronome in it for timing. Another more interesting feature of this model is that it has little LED lights above the keys which show you what keys to play as songs are playing back. The way you get songs to play back through this piano and what makes this model unique, is that it relies on a special App to be used with an iPad or Android so that you connect The ONE Smart Piano to an iPad or Android tablet using the Smart Piano App, and then everything is done through the App (Application/program). I have played and examined this new digital piano and I think it's worth mentioning, so you can read more about it at the following link: The ONE Smart Piano REVIEW

Roland digital pianos are fine instruments and that brand traditionally offers most of their digital piano models for well above $2000 and are thought of as a "higher end" company. However, Roland does have 3 new model furniture digital pianos which sell between $1000-$2000 and they're called the F140R ($1199US internet price), the RP501R ($1499 internet price) which replaces the recently discontinued RP401R ($1599US internet price), and the new DP603 satin black ($1999US internet price) The RP501 is the identical piano as the RP401R with the exception that Roland replaced the WiFi technology with Bluetooth (but not Bluetooth audio streaming), and Roland changed the shape of the speakers in the RP501 and it's made in a different Roland factory. The RP401R/501R and F140R are identical models in different cabinets and have major upgrades over previous Roland pianos in this price range in past years and they take some of their technology from the higher priced Roland instruments. Roland is a great value for the money and these Roland models are better as compared to some other name brands in this price range such as Yamaha in my opinion) and a big step up from the previous Roland pianos in this price range. The Roland DP603 ($1999 internet price) is in a compact contemporary cabinet and I have done a recent review of the DP603 so look for it under my "search reviews tab." The thing that makes this brand a strong competitor is the realism of the piano playing experience. Although all three models have some unique and useful digital features, it's really the piano sound, key action, and pedaling authenticity they offer in this price range that gives them a few advantages that I like. I have played Roland home and stage pianos professionally for many years and have enjoyed playing them. Roland is not as well known outside of the electronic music business because they do not produce regular acoustic pianos like Yamaha or Kawai do and don't build many consumer products like Casio does. Roland concentrates on producing instruments for musicians and recreational (and beginner) players who want higher quality technology in a musical instrument that is generally easy to use and at a reasonable price range. As with my other recommended brands, Roland is a Japanese company but is relatively small (they are privately owned) compared to huge companies like Yamaha. But it's not about how big you are but it's about how good you are:). I have detailed blog reviews on all of these new Roland models here on my blogsite if you want to read more about them.

Yamaha YDP181

Yamaha offers 6 current model furniture cabinet digital pianos starting at $1099 and going to just under $2000 and they're called the YDP143 ($1099US internet price), YDP163 ($1499US internet price), YDPS52 compact model ($1349US internet price), YDP181 ($1699US - below left pic), and YDPV240 ($1999US internet price). The Yamaha Arius YDP181 piano (left pic) has been one of the more popular Yamaha pianos under $2000 and sells at a US internet discount price for $1699. This piano is carried in many music stores and on-line internet dealers throughout the country and the piano key action is good, but not as realistic in my opinion as the Roland RP501R and Casio AP460. When it comes to comparing any digital piano including Yamaha to real pianos, acoustic pianos are organic instruments made mostly of wood parts so that's why many acoustic piano shoppers will try out two or three of the same model acoustic piano in a store as each one can be slightly different in feel or tone. The feel and tone is different from one brand to the next, so "true piano tone" is relative, but the YDP181 does have a very good piano tone although its a bit muffled and mid-rangy in my opinion because of the speaker system design (the sound is much better through a good pair of headphones). The YDP181 offers 14 instruments on a nicely laid out control panel with easy access buttons, and the acoustic piano tone is fairly realistic although the tonal dynamic range is somewhat compressed in my opinion, but all of the sounds are better through a goodYamaha YDP162 headphones. The YDP181 also has a layering feature but no split or Duo play. Unfortunately this piano does not have a high speed USB output which would have been a convenient option and is available on all the other Yamaha models. This is because the YDP181 has been around for many years and I am guessing it should be discontinued soon for an upgrade at this point. It does have a useful USB flashdrive input so basic MIDI song recordings can be saved and stored to flashdrive (it does not play General MIDI files). The YDP181 has a 2-track MIDI recorder for separate right and left hand recording and playback which is great. As far as looks, it might be slightly better looking than the Roland as far as furniture cabinet and is offered in the simulated dark rosewood finish only, as opposed to some models which also offer a black color. The new Yamaha YDP143 and YDP163 just recently came out and those 2 models are less money than the YDP181 and in some ways even better. The Yamaha pianos are quite good but in my opinion still don't compete with what Casio, Kawai, and Roland has to offer under $2000, especially in the key action movement and tonal dynamic range. The Yamaha Arius key actions, especially on the YDP163 and YDP181 are a too stiff/resistant when you press down the keys from a resting position (static touch weight), especially when playing lightly or softly. The Casio, Kawai, and Roland are noticeably smoother and move more easily in that way but overall the Yamaha pianos are very nice, are durable, and made well. 

Kawai CE220
Kawai produces four digital furniture cabinet pianos under $2000 called the CE220 (1899US internet price), the ES8 compact, portable piano ($1999US without optional furniture stand & pedals), the CN25 ($1899US internet price), and the the KDP90 ($1149 internet price), with the KDP90 in dark brown rosewood & CE220 piano in satin black finish being (by far) the most popular. The CE220 has real wood acoustic piano keys and great acoustic piano style key action movement. This is a feature not found on any other top name digital pianos under selling for $3000. The keys themselves are actually made out of real wood (direct from Kawai acoustic upright pianos) and are created to emulate an acoustic piano more closely in that way. The piano tone is, in my opinion, arguably the best of all the traditional upright furniture cabinet digital pianos under $2000 and it has a large 192-notes of polyphony piano sound memory which is plenty for nearly all
Kawai ES8
playing situations and skill levels, including for advanced players. The features that Kawai offers on the CE220 piano are impressive as well. All of the control buttons are across the front of the piano (where they should be) and they're easy to see and use. The CE220 is capable of layering and splitting two tones and it also has some other cools things like octave shift when layering two sounds together which none of the others can do.
The CE220 has duet 4-hand play which means two people can play the piano at the same time by splitting the piano keyboard into 2 equal keyboards playing in the same octaves which is very cool. It has 22 very realistic instrument tones (22 is good and better than Yamaha), has 100 realistic drum rhythm patterns for rhythm & timing practice, a layer relative volume balance slider control (the only piano to have that), and a 2-track recorder for separate right and left hand recording and playback. The CE220 also has a USB output to connect to computer for interfacing with music software and a USB flashdrive input for storing recorded songs as well as loading in MIDI piano song files for playback. And as far as looks, I think the Kawai CE220 is quite attractive and looks more substantial and more like a piano than some other pianos. I would definitely recommend the CE220 as a winner for what it offers.

Kawai KDP90
Kawai continued - The Kawai ES8 (above left pic) is an exceptional piano for the price. The ES8 had been upgraded from previous models for an even more authentic piano playing experience with a new key action, piano sound chip, and other new functionality. If you want to read my new review of the ES8 you can go to the following link:
Kawai ES8 Review. With its  256-note polyphony stereo piano sound chip, acoustic piano feel key action, automated accompaniment arrangements for ear training and interactive play, iPad connectivity, and a big full beautiful piano sound in a nice compact semi-polished ebony or semi-polished white cabinet, the new ES8 piano not only looks cool (it can be a portable instrument too), it performs great for any playing skill level and I would recommend it. The new CN27 ($1899) has a very good key action which is realistically weighted along with the "let-off" function (which simulates a specific grand piano feature). It also has a larger 192-note polyphony piano sound chip, ivory touch keys, and great tone with some other good instrument tones. Although the CN27 is a minimalistic designed piano, it still has some very cool functions and sounds & plays great through its 40 watt internal sound system. The KDP90 is similar to the newer CN27 in some ways but uses a different key action and piano sound chip (although still very nice) and it has a fairly large and smooth dynamic range of piano tone, and I do recommend it. If you just want a piano in a lower price range that focuses on mainly being a piano, I think many people could be happy with the KDP90. Go to the following link for my KDP90 review: Kawai KDP90 Review.

Casio has 3 cabinet pianos right now between $1000-$2000 including the newer Celviano AP260 ($1049US internet price), the Celviano AP460 ($1499US internet price - left pic), and finally the Celviano AP650 ($1899 internet price) that is my pick for "best bang for the buck" in this price range under $2000 for a cabinet model digital piano . I have played all 3 models many times, but with regard to the Celviano AP650, in my opinion the keyboard touch, response, and key movement is surprisingly good and provides a fairly realistic acoustic piano playing experience along with the keytops having a Casio proprietary synthetic ivory & ebony material for smoother finger movement and control. There are 250 instrument sounds utilizing 256 notes of polyphony for advanced piano sound reproduction, along with a wav file audio recorder and playback feature which you can save and load to a USB flashdrive. The pedal movement and sustain/decay time is good in this price range and the piano even has damper & string resonance which produces the natural echo and sympathetic vibrations found in a real acoustic piano when pressing down on the damper pedal or playing the notes and hearing the strings vibrate. Other features include duet four-hand play, layering, splitting, transpose, and many other cool things. The control buttons are across the front of the piano so it's user friendly and intuitive to use. Casio has also included some advanced tech features like USB CoreMIDI connectivity (very nice for plug & play connection to iPad and computer) as well as having audio outputs. The AP650 audio speaker system is surprisingly powerful at this price and includes four speakers going through 60 watts of stereo power with a lid opening feature which allows the sound to project more in an acoustic piano fashion. The AP650 gives you the sense you're sitting in front of a real piano and it looks attractive in its furniture compact cabinet with sliding key cover and front designer legs. So for its $1899US internet discount price, this piano is a very impressive package and a great "bang for the buck" as far as I am concerned. Go to the following link to read my Casio AP650 review: Casio AP650 Review Go to the following link to read my review of the Casio AP460: Casio AP460 Review

My 1st choice in this digital piano comparison for overall winner in piano playing realism along with some cool features in the lower price range under $2000 would be the newer Kawai ES8 (left pic) at $1999 discount internet price (not including stand and triple pedal unit which adds another $500 to the price). With a very impressive, realistic graded weighted key movement and resonate acoustic piano tone with better tonal dynamics & color along with its other useful educational features, this one is definitely worth the money and it's out in front of other digital pianos under $2000 in my opinion when it comes to the piano playing authenticity. However, the ES8 is at the top of the price range and the piano is a contemporary "small footprint" portable model with optional furniture stand and triple pedal lyre (left picture) and is not in a "traditional" furniture cabinet. So spending a bit less money on a few other selected models in a traditional furniture cabinet may be more to your liking and be more affordable for some people, but you do normally get what you pay for. My 2nd choice and what I consider to be "best bang for the buck" would be the cabinet model Casio AP650 at $1899 discount internet price (including furniture stand & 3-pedal unit) or Casio AP460 ($1499US internet price) followed closely by the Roland DP603 ($1999US) in 3rd place, followed by the Kawai CE220 ($1899 internet price) in 4th place.* I will also say that Yamaha makes some very nice digital pianos and they have a number of different models including the new YDP163 at $1499US internet price and I would put that model in 5th place.  

***Please make note that in reality all of these top models are interchangeable in their rating order because they are all from each other in a number of ways and all very good. So for some people what I call #1 on my list could be #4, and what I call #4 could be #1, it really just depends on your musical goals, abilities, uses for the piano, and your budget. As I said, it really is difficult to objectively rate digital pianos because their prices and features are so diverse and that's why I believe the top 5 models can be switched around in order depending on your needs and budget. The Kawai Kawai ES8 key actions are perhaps more authentic than the Casio AP650 in my opinion, as well as their acoustic piano sound, but for most people they may have a difficult time discerning those differences, so could likely be happy on any of them depending what kind of cabinet they prefer...but the fact is that there definitely are differences. The Kawai KDP90 ($1149 internet price) in the lower price range is also a very good choice as is the new Yamaha YDP163 ($1499 internet price for satin finishes). The YDP163 is a good choice but the Kawai, Casio and Roland pianos do offer more bang for the buck right now based on what you get for the price paid in terms of a more realistic piano playing experience, in my opinion. There are really no bad digital pianos out there as long as you get a good reputable brand such as the ones I've mentioned. Also, price obviously has some bearing on the order in which I rated these pianos, so depending on what can afford, if you can spend more money then in many cases you will get >more
for that extra money. Even though I rated the Kawai ES8 as my #1 pick under $2000, the Kawai CE220, Casio AP650, Roland DP603, and Yamaha YDP163 offer a lot of quality and piano playing realism if you can get into those price ranges. It just depends on what YOU like and how much YOU can afford to pay.

*Just so you know, there is no precise or totally impartial digital piano rating system (like stars, check marks, numbers, etc) as some people on the internet would have you believe...and that's why I don't do it. There are just too many variables in piano touch, tone, pedaling, features, and looks. In fact there are some so-called "reviewers" out there who have no idea of what they are talking about, they say things that are just not true at all, they rate cheap keyboards along side of digital pianos which is ridiculous (keyboards are not digital pianos), and what they report is only so they can link you to an Amazon site to make THEM money if you buy something. These "reviewers" are as impartial as bees are to other words, they are not impartial and they only will say things that gets you to buy a piano on their Amazon links. If you see something like that (Amazon selling links), then run away from those people as they are not there to help you, regardless of what they say. In fact, I have noticed that many of these "fake review sites" steal my content and then post a version of it on their web sites. I know this because they would NEVER have been able to test out the pianos that I have and come up with the conclusions that they state in their reviews. This is because they have never played those digital pianos and in fact may not even know how to play a piano at all. It is true that imitation or downright coping is the sincerest form of flattery so people stealing (coping and reusing) my blog content does not bother me...much. Unfortunately on those sites it is done solely to make money off of you, and that does bother me! I always recommend that you do your homework before you buy because as I said, ultimately any of these pianos may be a good choice for you. However there are definitely some models that offer more for the money, depending on the price range you can be in, and if you would like my help in making your decision, please contact me as I do not charge for my advice and I do this as a labor of love:)

If you want more info on these pianos and lower prices than internet, Amazon, Bundles, or store discounts in the USA, please email me at or call direct at 602-571-1864

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DIGITAL PIANO REVIEWS for 2017: Pianos UNDER $1000 - GO HERE for the latest info!

Digital Piano Reviews - Best Digital Pianos of 2017

UPDATED REVIEW - February 1, 2017

Best Digital Pianos under $1000US

UPDATED REVIEW: February 1, 2017 - Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Casio, Suzuki, Korg, etc...which one is best and which one should you buy?! Hello to everyone shopping for a digital piano. My name is Tim Praskins and I am a digital piano expert and have been teaching & playing on them for over 40 years (started teaching as a young teen:) and have taught 1000's of students during my extensive music career. I play acoustic concert grand pianos, digital pianos, and pro keyboards professionally (as well as play and teach guitar & organ) and do free digital piano consultations for schools, churches, piano teachers, studios, and families all over the world to help you decide what piano might be best for you in your price range. There are some people out there who say they specialize in digital pianos or have had some experience on them, but that does not necessarily mean they know what they are talking about because most of them don't. However, I do know what I am talking about when it comes to hundreds of different models of digital pianos now and in the past, and my older son Erik and I (Erik is also a very talented guy and knows his digital piano stuff) are willing to share that info with you at no charge and explain it on your level and give you free personal advice. I work with my son Erik in our own music studio and as I said, Erik is quite knowledgeable about digital pianos and likes to help answer people's piano questions. We do not have a retail store or warehouse and do not link you to Amazon sites trying to get you to buy a digital piano that you don't need or should not own. I am an experienced teacher & pro musician and offer digital piano advice without needing to "sell" pianos like other so-called reviewers try to do with Amazon links to digital pianos so they can make money regardless of how poor that digital piano may really be. All my reviews are my opinions and done by myself  for the public at large. If you want to know more about me and my work, please go to the following link: More about Tim Praskins and AZPianoNews

There are 4 brands of 88-key digital pianos that I recommend right now which, in my opinion, are quite good in the lower price range under $1000US. Those brands are Yamaha, Casio, Roland, and Kawai. There are other name brands offered under $1000 including Korg and Kurzweil that you may see advertised out there, but at this point I really do not recommend them near as much as I do Casio, Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland for a number of reasons. Typically I don't recommend a brand or model if there are noticeable deficiencies in key action, piano sound realism, or pedaling as compared to a real acoustic piano and that is why some brands or models that you may see advertised on the internet are not recommended by me. It may not be necessary for you to spend more money (over $1000) on a digital piano, even if someone else (like a store salesperson or someone on the internet) says that you need to spend more money to get a proper piano. However, if you do have the budget to spend more than $1000 (up to $2000 or more), the quality of piano sound & key action reproduction in many of those models are very good and can be even more enjoyable to play, especially if you have a higher playing skill level or just want a piano that sounds and plays more like a real acoustic piano. *If you would like to learn about my recommendations for best digital pianos between $1000-$2000, go to my review of those pianos at the following link: New Digital Pianos between $1000-$2000 

  Casio PX5S Digital PianoCasio now offers 9 models of piano type weighted key digital pianos to the general public under $1000US internet discount price including the basic CDP130 ($449US), the brand new Privia PX160 ($499US), Casio PX350 ($699US), the new CGP700, the new PX360, PX760 compact cabinet model ($699US - lower left pic), PX780 compact cabinet model ($899US internet discount price), and the top of the line Privia PX860 ($999US internet price). Casio also offers a Pro Digital Stage Piano called the PX5S at $999US internet price which has no built-in speakers and is for people who want to perform on stage or create special music in a studio, etc, and will be using their own powered monitors or speakers, but want something a bit more flexible in terms of live instrument sound and effects along with controlling capabilities. Go here for my full PX5S review: Casio PX5S Review. Finally, Casio has a top of the line model portable digital piano called the PX560 ($1199 internet discount price) which is the first lightweight self-contained (with internal speakers and music rack) portable keyboard instrument to straddle the worlds of pro digital pianos, pro synthesizers, and home digital pianos all in one instrument. I have played this new model many times already and recently published a review of this very impressive instrument. Although it is sold on the internet for more than $1000, it is worth consideration if it is within your budget and you're looking for a feature packed portable digital piano. Go to the following link to read my PX560 review: Casio PX560 Review

Yamaha currently offers 4 models of 88-key digital pianos models under $1000 including the P45 ($449US internet price), P115 ($599US - left pic), DGX660 at $799US, and the new YDP103 at $899US internet discount price. Yamaha had some older models including the P35, P105, P95, and DGX650 and even though the new models have taken the place of the old models you might still see some of the older models for sale on-line including used ones for a bit less money. I would recommend you focus on the newer models because they are better and upgraded in some important ways. I have reviewed all of the Yamaha models under $1000 with the exception of the new 2017 model DGX660 which has replaced the DGX650 at the same internet selling price of $799US, so stay tuned for my review on it soon although I have played it many times and you can always ask me about it. It looks and acts similar to the DGX650 but with improved piano sound, user interface selection, and some other features. I do recommend all of the Yamaha's mentioned here, and although the least expensive Yamaha P45 portable model is somewhat basic in what it can actually do, it's still a good beginner piano for those people who need to stay under $500 cost. Many of the digital pianos that Yamaha produces sell for over $2000 whereas most of the digital pianos produced by Casio and Korg sell for under $1000. So when it comes to Yamaha, especially in a furniture cabinet style, you'll need to spend a bit more money in some cases, but it can be worth it. It just depends on the piano itself and what you actually get for the money. 

Korg SP170S
Korg offers 4 models under $1000US including the SP170S which is now replaced by the new B1 ($499US), The next model is the SP280 ($699US), the new LP180 ($699 internet price), and the LP380 ($999 internet price). I really don't recommend the Korg models, except for the LP380, and maybe the B1 because I just don't like the key action, dynamic range, and velocity sound response of the lower priced NH key action as compared to other brands in this price range (although the regular piano sound itself is good). These are the most important aspects in picking out digital pianos. The SP280 is the replacement of the older SP250 but unfortunately Korg changed the key action in that model and downgraded it while putting the prior (better) key action on its higher priced LP380 model. So the overall best piano options in the lower price range under $1000 are either the newer Yamaha or Casio pianos. Some of the Yamaha & Casio pianos I recommend are portable so you would need to purchase an optional furniture style stand (or cheaper metal stand), pedals, and bench to make it more complete. But even that expense should not put you over (or much over) $1000 if that's where you need to be.

Kawai ES100 w/opt stand & pedals
Kawai offers 1 model under $1000US which is called the ES110 portable digital piano at $729US internet discount price (not including optional 3-pedal crossbar unit and furniture stand). This is the only model that the Kawai piano company (which has a very prestigious reputation in the world of acoustic pianos) has had in a digital piano available in the US for under $1000 and I must say that it is very impressive. The ES110 hammer weighted action and acoustic piano sound is excellent in its price range and just may be be the best in its class. The ES110 is designed to be a lightweight portable piano replacement because of its minimalistic design and lack of some of the "bells & whistles" other pianos have. But if you don't need or want much in the way of extra features and just want a great piano playing experience in a low price range, the Kawai could be the one to pick. It is better overall in my opinion than the Casio PX160 & Yamaha P115 as far as key action, piano sound realism, and pedaling go for a low priced portable digital piano. But the ES110 is also $100 - $200 more than the Casio PX160 and Yamaha P115. But as they say, you don't get something for nothing in this world (unless you're the U.S. government:). Go to the link below to read my ES110 review.

Roland F20 with optional stand
Roland has 2 portable digital pianos with weighted key action in 2017 under $1000US and one of them is called the F20 ($799US current internet price) with an optional furniture stand that's not included. The F20 is an older model at this point and comes in two colors which are black & dark walnut (not available in the US) and also has a minimalistic control panel design with function buttons on the left side above the keys. The new FP30, which is Roland's first truly portable self-contained digital piano with piano weighted key action under $1000 ($699US internet selling price) is offered in either satin black or satin white and is a brand new model recently released. I have played the FP30 and was very impressed and I have already posted a review of it. The Roland F20 is loosely based off their now discontinued F120R/RP301R digital pianos and the F20 has many of their features including the same key action and piano sound, same USB output and flash input, many of the same cool functions including wireless capability, but in a compact portable cabinet with a smaller internal speaker system including a nice metal damper/sustain pedal. At $799 the F20 has been Roland's lowest price digital piano up until the FP30. However, I do not personally like the F20 key action which Roland calls Ivory Feel-G keyboard. I have played that key action many times in other Roland models and it feels sluggish, a bit unbalanced, and the key action is noisy when the keys hit the bottom as you press the keys harder and play more forcefully. The knocking noise that it creates when the keys hit bottom is quite distracting, especially at lower speaker volume. To me a piano key action is the single most important thing to be concerned about and that's where the F20 piano primarily falls short (as well as falling short with piano sound fullness and realism), but the F20 does have some very nice features otherwise. However I do recommend the new FP30 because of its more authentic and better playing key action and piano sound among other things.

Adagio digital piano
All of these brands & models I mentioned here are the piano style weighted 88-key digital pianos, although the key action movement will be slightly different from one brand & model to another. They all have built-in speakers although the power & quality of the speaker system vary, and generally all of my recommended pianos are acceptable depending on your musical goals and experience. However, there are other brands and models out there in the lower price ranges that I DO NOT RECOMMEND because they are of much lower quality and do not play like a piano for student practice or recreational playing with regard to key action, piano sound, and pedaling. These pianos are what I call "off-brands" and they include (but are not limited to) Adagio, Suzuki, Williams, Adams, Robson, and Artesia, as well as any spring action (non-weighted/semi-weighted) digital pianos such as the Yamaha YPG535, Kurzweil SP4-7, Yamaha Piagerro, etc. So be careful when looking for inexpensive pianos because the attractive cabinet or low price you see on the outside may not reflect what's actually on the inside. Artesia is one of those lesser known brands that you can find in the US at Costco. They are an example of pianos with a very nice cabinet and lots of cool digital features, but in most cases they have a fairly unrealistic piano reproduction in key action, sound, and pedaling, and that's one of the big reasons they are quite a bit less get what you pay for so I recommend you stick with the well known brands as much as possible. It's interesting to note that I have seen some positive piano owner recommendations/reviews on popular music store and Amazon web sites for these "off-brand" pianos, but in my opinion these pianos are only a PSO's (piano shaped object) and other than cabinet design, do not resemble what an acoustic piano should play and sound like. If you have little experience playing real acoustic or digital pianos and purchase one of these off-brands, you may not discover or realize what you actually bought (how bad it is) until it's too late. Another example of a low priced 88-key digital instrument with poor piano playability is the Williams brand which is a private label brand made in China and belonging to the Guitar Center company and its affiliate stores of which there are many. Go to the following links to read my reviews on a couple of recent Williams models:
Williams Legato Review   Williams Allegro 2 Review

Artesia AP8 digital piano
Many of the off-brand digital pianos will create and foster bad playing habits in piano students because of the deficiencies in these pianos concerning their key actions, piano sound response, pedaling, and other aspects of piano playing. Nice attractive exterior cabinets in digital pianos do not always mean those digital pianos are good for playing music correctly...even at minimum standards. Just because a digital piano is attractive on the outside does not it good on the inside with regard to key action, sound, realism, electronics, reliability, etc. In fact, some of the more basic looking pianos for less money in the good recommended brands do a much better job than some of the more attractive deluxe furniture style cabinet brands in the off-brands such as Artesia (as I already mentioned) available at Costco US. You should never judge a piano by its appearance or even the hyped up sales & marketing info you get from a manufacturer. You just should not believe everything you read from a manufacturer because their goal is to sell you their piano so they often times exaggerate their claims of how good their pianos are...and I have seen this many times. So be careful.

Casio PX760
Of the four brands mentioned in the lower price range here, I believe Casio overall offers a noticeably better piano playing key action experience than Yamaha or Korg, although Yamaha has some very nice models at $1500US and above. The lower priced Yamaha P115 & DGX660 are also quite fun to play and certainly worth looking at and I do like them, but the new Kawai ES110 portable piano key action and piano sound is definitely superior to Roland, Yamaha, Korg, and Kurzweil portable pianos under $900 in my opinion. But ultimately, all of these models I mentioned here would be fine, although everyone I talk to pretty much wants the closest reproduction a regular piano as they can get for the least amount of money. For many beginner or recreational piano players and students, it can be difficult for them to determine which piano actually does do the better job in terms of the piano touch, tone, and pedaling realism because sound and touch are normally a subjective thing. Also, to make matters more difficult, it's not likely you'll find all of these pianos in one place at one time to try them out, or even find some of them locally at all. One of the best things to do in my opinion is to your research and then listen to an experienced expert like myself and then you'll get a better idea of what might work best for you and your family.

With regard to beginner piano students and their music education, as a long time private & group piano & keyboard teacher, this is something I know a lot about. It is never too early or too late to start piano lessons and enter into the exciting & rewarding world of playing music. I teach and have taught thousands of students from 4 years old to 94 years old. Whether you play piano as a recreational hobby, or go on to do it professionally as many of my friends and some students have done, it's always a tremendous blessing for me to see people at any age enjoy the piano playing experience and bring music into their lives in a very personal way. The little girl in the left picture (she's my granddaughter:) is involved in piano lessons and she loves it whether she's playing on a big concert grand piano such as the Steinway 9' grand she is sitting at (above left pic), or whether it's at a digital piano utilizing iPad apps to further enhance the learning and playing experience.

If you want important info on the best way to proceed as far as lessons and learning go as well wanting to be sure you're getting the right instrument for your needs and budget, please contact me and I'll be happy to answer your questions. Also, click on the links below to read my reviews on these pianos under $1000.

Casio PX350 Review

Casio PX160 Review
Casio CGP700 Review
Casio PX360 Review
Casio PX780 Review
Casio PX760 Review
Casio PX5S Review 
Korg SP170S Review
Korg SP280/LP380 Review
Yamaha P45 & P115 Review
Yamaha DGX650  Review
Roland F20 review
Kawai ES110 Review
Artesia DP150e Review
*Williams Overture 2 Review
*Williams Rhapsody 2 Review
*Suzuki SD10 Review
Yamaha YPG535 Review
* means not recommended

Of all the digital pianos out there under $1000 I would say overall my favorite cabinet piano under $1000US right now is the Casio Privia PX860 at $999US internet discount price (left pic). This piano really surprised me for its low price after I played it because it has a nicely designed compact cabinet with the 3 built-in full function pedals and slide out key cover, and it had a pretty big sounding acoustic piano tone with a wide dynamic range. The key action has a 3-sensor key technology not normally found in less expensive cabinet digital pianos until you get above $1200 in other brands (the Yamaha Arius series does not have this in any model). The Casio PX860 also has the synthetic ivory & ebony keys (normally found on pianos in higher price ranges), 256-note polyphony piano memory (which is a lot), half-damper recognition (a good feature for piano students and players), fairly realistic acoustic piano hammer (graded piano weighted) key action, direct USB output for instant connectivity with laptop and iPad (go to the following link to learn more about iPad apps: iPad Apps and learning piano), and some useful built-in educational features. 

iPad app
There are some people who equate the name Casio and its lower prices with lower quality, and it is true that sometimes lower price can mean lower quality (especially in key action & piano sound) such as what I have experienced with the Williams, Artesia, and Suzuki digital pianos. When it comes to recognizable & respected brand names in the acoustic piano world, Yamaha & Kawai pianos have always been known to be in that recognized group and many pianists, piano teachers, churches, schools, and families do own Yamaha & Kawai acoustic pianos. But some competitive Yamaha & Kawai digital pianos right now cost more money than the new Casio pianos depending on the model. Casio actually is a respected Japanese technology company which has been in business approx 60 years (that's a very long time) having produced millions of electronic products including keyboards & digital pianos for about 30 years. Casio is not necessarily my favorite digital piano company because I don't actually have a favorite. Kawai, Roland, Yamaha, & Casio are all my favorites but each one does better in different price ranges and it also depends on your musical goals and budget as to which brand and model will be best for you.

In my opinion any of these name brand recommended pianos I mentioned under $1000 would be fun to own and play, but the Casio company has really outdone themselves with their PX860 furniture cabinet model at $999US internet price. This model is definitely a "home run," but even with all that being said, the Casio PX860 still may not be the right instrument for you. There may be a better option depending on your particular needs & musical goals so contact me before you make a piano purchase anywhere and I will give you free expert advice. You may even want to spend a bit more than $1000 and there are some good options in that range as well. Go to the following link to read my review on the Casio PX860: Casio PX860 review

IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE ABOUT MY REVIEWS - Just so you know, there is no precise or impartial digital piano rating system (like stars, check marks, numbers, etc) as some people on the internet would have you believe...and that's why I don't do it. There are just too many variables. In fact there are some so-called "reviewers" out there who have no idea of what they are talking about, they say things that are just not true at all, they rate cheap keyboards along side of digital pianos which is ridiculous (keyboards are not digital pianos), and what they report is only so they can link you to an Amazon site to make THEM money if you buy something. These "reviewers" are as impartial as bees are to other words they will say things that gets you to buy a "recommended" piano off their Amazon web site links. If you see something like that then run away from those people as they are not there to help you, regardless of what they say. In fact, I have noticed that many of these "fake review sites" steal my content and then post a version of it on their web sites. I know this because they copy some of my blog review sentences would they would otherwise NEVER say and they could not have been able to test out many of the unique pianos that I have and then come up with the conclusions they state in their so-called reviews. It is true that imitation or downright coping is the sincerest form of flattery but unfortunately on those sites it is done solely to make money off of you without regard to what is actually true, and that does bother me! 

I always recommend that you do your homework before you buy because as I said, ultimately any of these pianos may be a good choice for you. However there are definitely some models that offer more for the money depending on the price range you can be in, and if you would like my help in making your decision, please contact me as I do not charge for my advice and I do this as a labor of love:)

If you want more info on these and other digital pianos and lower prices than internet, Amazon, Bundles, or store discounts in the USA, please email me at or call me direct at 602-571-1864

* I recommend eMedia educational software. If you decide to make a purchase after clicking on link below, I have arranged a big discount for you direct with eMedia for their educational software and that discount price is displayed through this link only! I want to see everyone learn to play and enjoy piano!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

REVIEW - Artesia DP150e, AG30, AG50 Digital Pianos - Semi-Recommended - New Pianos at Costco - Low Price

REVIEW - Artesia DP150e, AG30, AG50 Digital pianos- Semi Recommended - The new Artesia digital pianos at Costco include the vertical upright style DP150e ($999US discount price) at 34" tall and 20" deep and 121 lbs, the 32" deep micro grand AG30 ($1499US discount price, and the 48" deep mini grand AG50 ($2399US discount price). These 3 specific Artesia digital pianos are only sold at Costco in the US and only available as an on-line purchase. The Artesia brand is part of the "Virgin Musical Instrument" company in the US and the pianos themselves are designed and made in China by a Chinese are other piano brands. Artesia themselves is not a piano manufacturer, unlike Casio, Kawai, Roland, and Yamaha who are digital piano designers and manufacturers.

I have not been favorable to past Artesia digital pianos because simply put, they have not been good. The key actions, piano sound, and pedaling were a poor excuse for a piano. They suffered from toy-like sound, unrealistic, clunky key action, as well poor pedaling response. The secondary digital features and functions were OK but certainly no substitute for poor piano performance even at the beginning level. The good new about these new models of Artesia is that they have gotten better and are almost acceptable...almost! Again, when it comes to digital pianos, for me it's not what the outside cabinet looks like nor is it any of the extra "bells & whistles." It's all about the piano playing experience and whether or not a particular digital piano can replicate or come close to being like a real acoustic piano. Although these new models have definitely been improved in some ways, the DP150e, AG30, and AG50 are just not there yet, although the manufacturer who makes these pianos for Artesia is getting closer, so I do appreciate the fact they are trying to make that effort.

So where do these pianos fall short? Well it has to do with key action, key sensors under the keys which control the repetition response, piano sound realism and response, and pedaling. One of the first things I noticed was even though the weight of the piano keys was better and more realistic than past Artesia key actions, the physical action movement was a bit too light for me as compared to real pianos or better digital pianos, although it still is acceptable, especially compared to poor playing digital pianos such as the Williams brand. However the key action was a bit noisy when the black & white keys were moving, and if you are a better, more enthusiastic player and playing with some force in the fingers, the keys made a noticeable knocking sound when they went down and hit bottom, almost like there wasn't padding below the keys (in the key bed). Past models of Artesia pianos have had this issue and it is especially noticeable when playing at low volumes or when wearing headphones where other people in the room can hear the knocking sound when the keys go down. So that's an issue for me personally, but maybe you will be OK with it.

When it comes to the electronic key sensors under the keys and the piano sound generating electronics in general, these are things you cannot see but do make a big difference in the way the piano sound behaves. As an example, when you are playing a real piano or a good digital piano, when you press down a key it makes a piano sound and that sound sustains naturally until you let go of the key. As soon as you let go of the key the piano sound should immediately stop, assuming you are not using the sustain pedal. In other words, if you play a key quickly, when the key is coming back up the piano sound is supposed to immediately stop playing (being heard) on any key that is being played that way. This kind of piano playing is called "staccato" piano playing and it is very important that the piano can do this so you can replicate the music as it should be when you are playing. Unfortunately on these new Artesia models, the piano sound does not stop immediately when the key is let go and then coming back up, and the sound lingers on for about a second or so after the key is released. This is something that is not acceptable in my book and there is no way that I can find to change it on these pianos. This has nothing to do with reverb or any special effects because this happens by itself without any effects or sustain pedal. It is simply a problem with the piano and its inability to behave normally with regard to staccato playing. I don't think it is something any beginner would notice, but as you progress in your playing ability it will become an important aspect of your music.

Another piano sound issue for me on these models is when you play a key and it goes about half-way down, you can hear the piano sound come in softly which is not supposed to happen. In other words, the piano sound volume is triggered (although its at a low volume) when you press a key down half-way, whereas on a real piano and good digital pianos you should not hear any sound triggered at all until the key is all the way down and touches bottom. For a beginner this will likely not be an issue, but as you progress in your playing ability you'll want the piano sound to come in like it does in a real piano, and these Artesia models will not do that and there's no way to change it. Another thing I noticed about playing the keys was the dynamic volume and tonal response. What I mean by this is that is when the keys go up and down the tonal dynamics (piano sound) are mellow when pressing the key down softly and slowly and the piano sound is supposed to brighten up when you play the keys harder. The volume response also should work the same way at the same time with the tonal dynamic range with less volume when playing the keys lightly and more volume when playing the keys harder and it needs to be even and gradual for best response. On these Artesia pianos, the volume response and tonal control (expression) is noticeably uneven and jumpy to me going from one key (note) to the other. So while you are playing a song, there may be one key you are playing that has a much brighter piano sound and the next key over has a more mellow sound...or you may hear one key/note be louder and the key next to it may be quieter using the same finger pressure. Also, when playing one key softer to harder, the dynamics also tend to be a bit jumpy. These kind of piano sound anomalies generally do not happen on good acoustic and digital pianos because the tone, volume, and overall dynamics (expression) are even from one key to the next up & down or on the same key whether playing softly or harder. This kind of uneven tone/volume and lack of tonal "color" out of the key action and cheaper quality key sensors is quite annoying to me and definitely does not inspire me to want to play on these pianos. But for beginners and non-players, it won't matter and they should be fine for awhile.

With regard to the piano sound itself, it definitely sounds mostly digital to me and not organic or natural, especially if you know what a real acoustic piano sounds like or a good digital piano with a more realistic piano sound chip. These Artesia models do sound more realistic than previous models so that is good, but in real pianos there are natural, organic, resonate elements of the piano sound that a person can hear and that kind of thing gives a piano its character and personality with many expressive "colors" of music. The DP150e, AG30, and AG50 have none of the natural, organic qualities of an acoustic piano other than some uneven tonal dynamics which Artesia calls "3-layer and 3-D instrument sound samples." Yes there are definitely 3 layers of piano tone per note (mellow, medium, and bright when playing softer to harder) but as I said, that sound is very uneven & somewhat jumpy and not at all like a real piano. The so-called "3-D" sound samples are not really "3-D" as far as I am concerned. The classic definition of the name 3-D is "an object that has height, width and depth, like any object in the real world." The piano sound in the Artesia's has no actual sonic height and no depth. It just has width because the piano sound uses stereo sound samples which is nice, but nothing out of the ordinary as far as digital pianos are concerned.

Sonically, for a lot of uninitiated people who don't play piano, the Artesia piano sound is OK and in fact, you may even like it and it is noticeably better than previous models of Artesia. But to equate it with a real acoustic piano or a good digital piano by famous brands such as Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, or Roland, is like saying a McDonalds hamburger tastes as good as a quality cut of prime's just not possible...and so it is with the Artesia DP150e, AG30, and AG50. They "look good & smell good" and they may even fill you up for a short time, but these pianos are definitely not "pianos" in the sense of playing and sounding like any high quality acoustic upright, grand, or digital piano I have ever played. When it comes to Artesia pianos, that company states the following in their advertisement for these pianos: "Its (their) advanced hammer action design offers excellent response and smooth playability that will satisfy even the most demanding teacher or performer." There is no way that I know of for a "demanding teacher or performer" (I am one of them) to be interested in playing these Artesia pianos to perform or teach on unless, for some reason, there are no other options available to them, which is unlikely. Most of these digital piano companies exaggerate the reality of their pianos (they almost all do that) so that you will buy it, and that is not unusual. So don't be sold on something just because the maker of the product says you should be, because it's all about sales for them. Just understand that you get what you pay for and that is true with these Artesia pianos. Just because it looks good does not mean it's near as good on the inside.

As far as the pedaling goes, it is OK and just average, not great but acceptable. The pedals are full size and nice looking, but do make a noticeable amount of knocking noise each time when they come back up after pushing them down with your foot. That can be a somewhat annoying especially if you have played acoustic pianos or some good digital pianos with a quieter pedal movement. The pedals work appropriately and the sustain decay time is actually quite good so I do like that. However the piano sound when sustaining it with the damper pedal sounds very digital and does not any organic, natural character to it. This is due again to the fact that the piano sound elements of pedal and string resonance are not present in the piano sound chip so all that is heard is a linear digital type of piano sound when being sustained. But for the average person who knows little about piano sound and what it is really supposed to be like, they may not notice this issue and in fact like the sound. But for me, it is not at all something that I would personally enjoy and it just sounds like sustained noise to me. But hey, most of you out there are not at my skill level of piano playing nor have you likely been playing real pianos for any length of time, so again, you may not notice the sound being as unnatural as it is when using the damper sustain pedal.

OK...on to the fun stuff, and this piano has plenty of it! These pianos have lots of instrument sounds, interactive accompaniment styles, along with a variety of rhythm patterns. Rock, Latin, jazz, waltz, march, country, and so on. Electric pianos, harpsichords, strings, bells, brass, woodwinds, horns, reeds, special effect sounds, etc with some that sound good and some not very good. Some of these overall features are useful and some not very useful, but that is to be expected, especially in these price ranges for an Artesia piano. However overall the functions are plentiful, useful, and fun to use and I enjoyed them. There's no doubt that many families will also enjoy many of these features which includes 136 instrument sounds, 99 accompaniment patterns and drum rhythms with variation, intro, and ending on each one along with being able to easily control tempo faster/slower, auto harmonize, and layer & split any two instrument sounds. There are adjustable special effects such as reverb & chorus for the piano and other instrument sounds along with a duet feature which digitally splits the 88 notes into two 44 note keyboards so that 2 people can play the same notes at the same time with the lower part of the keyboard being electronically converted to the same octave piano sound as the upper portion of the keyboard. useful for 2 people playing the same notes in the same music at the same time. I must admit that does not happen too often but it is useful when needed. Many other digital pianos have these fun and educational features as well so Artesia is not the only one.

It is important to note that there are only 2 acoustic piano type sound selections on these pianos with only the first one called "grand piano" and sounding more like an acoustic piano, although to me not a grand piano sound as claimed, even though they may have sampled the sound from a grand. The 2nd piano sound selection called "bright piano" is, in my opinion, a very poor sound sample which has some noticeably poor stretch tuning problems that causes the piano to be noticeably "out-of-tune" sometimes when using that piano sound and playing a variety of chords on the piano. There's also some noticeably poor tonal/volume dynamics as well and I would never use the bright piano sound because of these issues. What's interesting is that I don't hear any of the stretch tuning issues on the 1st piano sound like I do on the 2nd piano sound, although there are still erratic dynamic tonal and volume issues when playing the keys using either piano sound, as I have previously discussed. Many other digital pianos in this price range have more variety of acoustic piano sound samples which are noticeably better and also not out of tune. The piano sounds are the main reasons people buy pianos and everything else is secondary. So when it comes to acoustic piano variety and quality using preset buttons or through the menu on these pianos, there are only two of them and the 1st one is the only one worth playing at all when it comes to a piano sound. But some of the other non piano instrument sounds are nice and can be fun to play.

To access the many functions on these pianos there are direct access buttons on the control panel above the keyboard for the instrument sounds in groups and the instrument sounds in groups, as well as a small but useful LCD display screen to see what you're doing, which I like. There is also a small knob called a "data wheel" on the right side of the display screen, which you can turn to move through the selections at a quicker rate or you can move through them with +/- buttons one at a time, so when it comes to controlling the features such as accompaniment or keyboard volumes, etc, overall I do like what these pianos have to offer. There is also 3 large knobs on the left side of the control panel which give you instant access to the master volume of the piano including bass and treble control of the sound. All digital pianos have a master volume control but not necessarily treble and bass control knobs although they may have treble and bass adjustments in the functions of the display screen. So I do like the quick access knobs for these volume and frequency adjustments and they have been on past Artesia piano models and are useful to have to make the adjustments to master volume along with the bass & treble tone of the piano.

With regard to the digital features there are also other ones including adjustable digital metronome, 16 track recording & playback, transpose, octave shift, tuning, 36 registration memories to store your own favorite settings that you created, and many more. One of my favorite things to do on a digital piano is to be able to play General MIDI song files on the piano through a USB flash drive and play or sing along with them. These Artesia pianos can do that and some of the song data (title, etc) is taken from the USB flash drive and displayed in the blue LCD piano display screen. So when it comes to playing along with and listening to favorite songs, this piano can do that very well assuming you have the necessary MIDI song files that you like It is also useful for learning new songs because you can adjust tempo with the tempo control on the piano along with muting out different tracks. As I mentioned before, the Artesia pianos do have some useful fun features but unfortunately at the expense of the piano key action and overall piano playability. To get a better playing key action piano and better and more realistic piano sound, you can still do that along with having these fun features for about the same price, but you'll need to give up the nicer cabinet to do that or spend more money...and that's because you don't get something for nothing:).

Underneath the left side of these Artesia pianos is a connector box which includes two 1/4" headphone jacks, a MIDI output, USB output to external device, stereo audio in and out RCA jacks, a volume knob to control line level volume, and a Bluetooth connector for a Bluetooth adapter provided with these pianos. Basically the connector box has everything you would need to connect just about anything you want including being able to stream audio files from your external Bluetooth device (phone, iPad, etc) through the piano speaker system.Most pianos in this price range do not have all those connectors so the Artesia pianos do a very good job in this area and I wish more companies would have this kind of connector variety.

The internal speaker system of these pianos are more than adequate with the vertical style DP150e having four speakers (2 larger/2 small) going through 80 watts of power (although each of the 2 larger speakers is only rated at 20 watts/6 ohms), the AP30 micro grand having 6 speakers with a total of 120 watts of power, and the AG50 mini grand having 6 speakers at 150 watts of total power. So when it comes to volume in these pianos, there is plenty of that, however volume does not necessarily equate to quality tone and the speakers and amps in these pianos could be a little better in that way, especially on the DP150e. The sound on the DP150e is a bit muddy (dark) to me and makes the piano sound have a much more digital (fake) tone and not near as good as listening to it through a good set of stereo headphones. If the internal speaker/amp sound was as good as listening through a good pair of headphones, then that would be a lot better, but the frequency response and dynamic range of the internal speakers/amps have a lot to be desired, but for the average person they may be fine.

The best thing about these pianos is the way they look. There is no question that they are quite attractive in their polished ebony cabinets, sliding key covers, with matching benches, and that's something many people like to have. Speaking of the benches, although they are nice looking and comfortable, they definitely are not wide enough to be considered real "duet" size benches. Duet size benches are typically about 30" wide and the Artesia benches are 24" wide...definitely not enough room for 2 average size people or one adult and one child to sit on comfortably together so they are really single size benches. The factory warranty on the Artesia pianos is only one year whereas other digital piano brands in these price ranges are anywhere from 3 years to 5 years in length. So if you are wanting a good, long warranty, Artesia pianos don't have them like other brands do.

In the final analysis, these Artesia models DP150e, AG30, and AG50 are fun to play, look good, and have many fun features built in, but as pianos go they are just barely average (or below average) as far as piano playing authenticity goes compared to any of the more well known piano brands. You definitely do get what you pay for and with that in mind, I do semi-recommend these pianos (just barely) because they are OK when it comes to the piano playing experience and better than previous models which I did not recommend at all, as well as looking good and doing a lot of fun things. If you are a beginner and don't know how real pianos play including the more authentic digital piano brands and how they behave musically, then you could likely be happy with your purchase of any one of these Artesia models because you just aren't at a skill or experience level to notice it yet. That is really the issue...what is most important to you and how much money are you willing to invest to get it? Once you make a purchase you will likely be keeping it for a very long time so be sure you make the right decision because once the fun of the drums, automatic chords, recording, and song play start wearing off and getting a bit old (and it can do that after awhile), what you will have remaining is the piano and the way it acts and behaves as a piano, and I believe that is the most important thing to consider when spending your hard earned money:). There are other brands and models to consider as well, and if you have questions about what else is available out there, please contact me for more info.

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at or call direct at 602-571-1864.