The Best Digital Pianos under $500
Digital keyboards come in all sizes and shapes with each one of them promising to offer the best features than the previous keyboard. Of course, this is a good thing because as competition gets stiffer, manufacturers are forced to make even better keyboards for lower prices. Unfortunately, the prices can only go so low but at the end of the day, these brands in a business to make profits and hence they are still going to charge something that to keep their doors open.
In the digital keyboard market, the $500 mark is probably the lowest possible price where you will save on cash and still manage to get a unit good enough for your music needs. This price tag may look so low but surprisingly, there is still a lot of good machines that you can get with it.
In this review, we will be looking at the best keyboards that go for $500 or less. We can already tell you that you need to control your expectations when purchasing these keyboards. Don’t come out of a live acoustic piano concert and pass by your nearest stockiest and splash $500 on a digital keyboard and expect it to sound like the magic you have just witnessed. You’ll be disappointed. At $500 a keyboard can’t really match what other big dogs do in the industry. This is why we would also like to point out that the keyboards within this price range are more suited for beginners.
With that said, here are the best digital pianos under $500:
1. Yamaha P71 88 Key Digital Piano
The Yamaha P71 is a popular entry-level digital piano that has a very simplified but comprehensive design. This keyboard isn’t fitted with any unnecessary gadgets. It comes with the basic features that every learner needs in a digital keyboard. Of course, this will be a disadvantage in the long run because as your skills develop you will need more advanced features that aren’t here. On the plus side, the exclusion of unnecessary features also means that the keyboard is simple for everyone to navigate with ease. Additionally, it means that its slim nature makes it compact enough to be stored almost anywhere without taking up much space.
The surprising thing is that with all this designing the keyboard has managed to come out really good-looking. In fact, anyone who doesn’t know its price can easily mistake it for one of those high-end digital keyboards.
The Yamaha P71 doesn’t just perform well on the looks department, it also does a great job when it comes to sound. This keyboard doesn’t sound cheap in any way. Its users will have the privilege of enjoying rich sounds that most other keyboards within the same price range cannot offer. You also get a variety of sound selections to choose from. These range from piano sounds, organs, strings to the harpsichord.
The keyboard also comes with weighted action keys. These are designed to replicate the touch and response of other grand pianos. The keyboard doesn’t really pull off the exact response of acoustic pianos, understandably so, but it does a great job helping learners get a feel of playing a grand piano. The low notes sound differently from the high notes just like you’d expect from a grand keyboard. Also, the harder you press the keys the louder the sounds. The keyboard, therefore, provides an ideal platform for full expression with all the 88 keys onboard. While on the subject of expression, the Yamaha P71 features 64-note polyphony which is relatively high for a keyboard within its price range.
Did I mention that the keyboard can also be connected to a sustain pedal? Yes, it can and this doesn’t just offer a learning opportunity but also makes melodies even more interesting. Yamaha has also gone further to include the pedal with the unit thus you won’t have to incur extra costs for purchasing it separately.
The Yamaha P71 88 Key Digital Piano comes packed with a music rest, power supply and a sustain pedal.
2. Yamaha DGX230
The Yamaha DGX230 is here for all the learners that want dozens of voices to practice with. This keyboard comes with a whopping 489 voices! Which another keyboard within this price range comes anywhere near that number? And these voices aren’t just here for the sake of it, Yamaha has enhanced the voices giving them a touch of a grand keyboard that makes them sound really amazing. From the 489 voices, you will find all genres to play with. This is a great opportunity for learners to diversify their skills into different kinds of melodies. In the end, you will come out as an all-around pianist with expertise on all melodies from classical, pop, rock, jazz to EDM.
Unlike the P45 above, this particular keyboard comes with only 76 keys. This isn’t an issue because as a beginner 76 keys is still quite a good size to start with. Of course, when you finally graduate to a full keyboard you will take some time to readjust but it should not be too much of a problem.
The Yamaha DGX 230 can also be connected to a PC through USB connections. You can use this connection to extend the keyboards functions to enhance your skills even further. This connection also allows for external storage of all the melodies you make and you can even try out some productions.
3.Casio Privia PX160
Casio has been one of the leading manufacturers of great equipment that retail at very affordable prices and the Casio Privia PX160BK is a clear evidence of this.
The Casio Privia PX160 is meant for the adventurous learners who want to understand as much about grand pianos as possible. This keyboard comes with quite a number of features that you don’t see in entry-level machines so often. You will, for instance, get a test of the split/layer mode. This allows you to either split or layer two voices within the same performance. You can, for example, play the piano on the left-hand side while playing some strings on the right-hand side. This spices things up boosting your creativity in the early stages thus laying a good foundation to become a great pianist in the future.
This is an 88-keys digital keyboard that comes with 128-note polyphony. This a lot more than what most other keyboards within this price range offer. The keyboard is also designed with incredible touch sensitivity that tries to mimic the touch and response of grand keyboards.
This keyboard also comes with built-in speakers and a metronome. For less than $500, the Casio Privia PX160 offers great value for your money and that is why it is a popular and recommendable entry level keyboard.
To expedite your learning process, the keyboard provides a teaching mode that helps you to continue learning even when your tutor is not around. Learning with a teacher has also been made easy thanks to a button on the keyboard which allows you to move the lower end several octaves to the right. This way, your tutor will be able to sit towards your left as he/she demonstrates and guides you on how to play the keyboard. This eliminates the struggles of tutors leaning to reach different notes of the keyboard thus giving the learner space and more independence of playing as instructed.
The keyboard comes with a duet mode with 60 preset songs and 50 accompaniment patterns. You can practice by playing along with these songs and with the sustain pedal capability, your learning experience should be fun. You can also use the recording mode to compose and save your creations to an external drive.
The Casio Privia PX160BK is a full 88 keys-keyboard featuring hammer action. This gives the keyboard an acoustic touch and response. You can also connect this keyboard to a computer through USB/MIDI.
Just because you have $500 doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a poorly made and underperforming keyboard. From the above keyboards, it is evident that $500 is enough to get a decent machine that is easy to learn with and develop your skills. Lots of people already use these keyboards and they have had decent experiences with them.