In our review today, we will be taking you on a journey through the features, pros and cons of the Alesis Recital. If you’re not a newb in the piano community, then you probably already know of Alesis. You also probably already know of the kinds of pianos it makes.
Alesis opened shop in the mid eighties and since then, has manufactured all kinds of electronics. Among these electronic offerings are also digital pianos.
In addition though, this brand also carries a range of other electronic musically related instruments like digital audio interfaces, recording equipment, drum machines, alongside other percussion and audio products.
Contending with other more elite giant brands in the industry, this brand has gone ahead to carve a niche for itself despite the odds. And now, Alesis is mostly known for making good beginner/entry-level keyboards.
We are going to look into one of them today. So, buckle down as we take off.
The Alesis Recital At A Glance – The Bottom Line
The Alesis Recital is a great entry-level keyboard and a good place to begin if you’re a beginner. The fact that it is so affordable also earns this keyboard a soft spot in our hearts. This is because it puts the keyboard within the easy reach of many beginners who might not have hundreds of dollars to spend on a keyboard.
Alright, let’s do a quick run through of the features of this keyboard…
It’s an 88-key keyboard. All the keys are full-sized. However, they are semi-weighted which means that they lack the heft of fully-weighted keys. We always prefer that beginners start with fully-weighted keys from the get-go but semi-weighted keys are also somewhat manageable.
Anyway, furthermore, this keyboard also features layer and split functions which allow you to customize the built-in voices a bit. Plus, it also comes with sound effects such as reverb and chorus to help you dress your sound up a bit.
Of course, there is a learning mode here that is quite extensive. And, in fact, you can even take your learning to the next level if you wish. You can subscribe to the Skoove Premium. Purchasing the Alesis Recital gives you an automatic 3 months free sub.
Lastly, the Alesis Recital comes with a lot of connectivity options like USB/MIDI, headphone jack, and sustain pedal jack. So, as your skills advance you have the option of connecting your keyboard to a computer.
For a sub-$500 keyboard, the Alesis Recital isn’t so bad, don’t you think?
And now, for the full review…
Features Of The Alesis Recital
A Very User-Friendly Alesis Recital
The Alesis Recital is a very user-friendly instrument, and there’s no doubt about that. In fact, one of the reasons we really love the Alesis brand is the fact that it never feels pressured to add useless features. The brand manufactures its instruments only with features that it feels are important and in high demand.
This is so easy and user-friendly. It’s a compact unit so this can easily stay anywhere in your home or even in your dom. It doesn’t require too much space as its footprint is quite small.
Its power source is actually a power adaptor. So, all you need to do is to plug into a power source to begin playing. However, if you ever need your keyboard on the go, this operates on batteries too. This means that you can take this with you on road trips (in a bus) and never have to stop the music.
Overall, we like the layout of the Alesis Recital. It’s not too intimidating as to make the beginner feel overwhelmed. Any beginner just starting out will definitely feel inspired rather than scared to explore playing the piano with the Alesis Recital.
The keyboard feels really great and the user interface is also quite user-friendly as well. You’ll find it very easy to navigate all the voices and sound effects on this keyboard.
There’s the Split function which allows you to divide your keyboard into two parts. So you can have one half of your keyboard playing a particular voice while the other plays a different one. With this function, you can greatly increase the number of voices available to you on this instrument.
Because the truth is the number of built-in voice on this instrument is quite limited. Come with us, we discuss that in the next sub.
Built-In Voices – Very Limited And Limiting
The Alesis Recital comes with only 5 different voices. Of course, this is quite limiting. But then again, there’s the Split and Layering functions which help to make things a little better. With these functions, you can multiply the sounds you get from this instrument ad get a more versatile array of sounds.
And now to the sound samples… We have to admit that we were somewhat disappointed in the quality of sound samples Alesis uses here. They sound really low quality and we’ve definitely heard a lot better.
When you hear them, they tend to wash out sort of. And this is made worse when you begin to move down the keyboard toward the bass ends. If you’re going to salvage this situation, then you’re going to pound the keys something fierce.
Now, while this actually does fix the problem, the truth remains that you’re not supposed to play a piano that way. It’s a poor way to build good piano techniques. But oh well, it’s what we have to do.
The speakers are decent generally. They only provide a wattage of 20Watts altogether, though. So, don’t expect pounding sound from your keyboard. Thankfully, there’s a headphone jack which allows you plug in your headphones when you need to practice.
We are also quite happy that Alesis included a stereo RCA option on the back panel of the keyboard. So, with this port, you can hook up some quality speakers and enjoy the great sound.
Which brings us to our nest point – the sound quality of the Alesis Recital. Generally, we would say that we are impressed with the sound quality from this keyboard. Especially since this is a beginner keyboard, we’ve got to say that Alesis nearly outdid itself.
It sounds quite close to the real thing.
We are quite impressed with the Alesis Recital’s wide range of connectivity. There are different connectivity options from headphones to adaptor and even to USB connectivity. We’ll begin with the USB connectivity.
Most digital pianos these days come with a USB connectivity. However, we have seen higher end models that did not feature any USB connectivity. So the fact that a sub-$500 keyboard comes with USB connectivity is a really big deal.
So, what does this feature benefit you?
Well, as your skill grows, you might decide to dabble into music making. With the USB connectivity, you’ll be able to hook your keyboard with a nice digital audio workstation. And then you can easily lay the MIDI straight into your track. And this will make writing your tunes really smooth and hassle-free.
In fact, the USB/MIDI port will also make the keyboard really great for live performances as well.
This keyboard does validate the saying that great things come in small packages.
Keys – Light But Velocity Sensitive
The Alesis Recital comes with 88 keys making the keyboard a full-sized unit. This is good but we have a small problem with the action.
Now, Alesis parades this as a semi-weighted action. But from our findings, this is more of a spring action than even a semi-weighted keyboard. This makes the keys of this keyboard feel somewhat light like those of a synthesizer.
But at least, they are velocity sensitive which means that you can vary the sound you get from the intensity and speed of your play. However, we’re going to be upfront with you, this will not give something even remotely close to the real feel of an actual piano.
Pros Of The Alesis Recital
- Piano sounds on this keyboard are quite natural and well balanced. The lower notes are on the left, the higher on the right, and the middle is also well centered as well.
- Keyboard is velocity sensitive, so you can vary volume and pitch based on the intensity of your play.
- The lesson mode is extensive and obviously well thought out. Any beginner would find it very easy to follow even if they’ve never seen a piano before.
- Of the built-in voices, the organ is absolutely amazing. One of the best out there for sure!
- Compact, lightweight, portable and can run on batteries which facilitates portability even more.
- Speakers are decent enough for an entry-level keyboard.
Cons Of The Alesis Recital
- It comes with the basics but don’t expect any off the more advanced add-ons you find on higher end models.
- Keys are sensitive quite alright. However, the action is quite poor. They feel quite springy and not even semi-weighted as they are advertised to be.
- Now, when you use the speakers of this keyboard beyond the 60% volume level, the keyboard starts to mangle the sound. The highs sound distorted and the lows just bottom out.
However, with a good speaker system or quality headphones, you can avoid this problem.
The Alesis Recital is good if you’re a beginner. And to us, its most impressive feature is its lesson mode. It’s so extensive and obviously well thought out.
Now, the Alesis Recital does come with its limitations quite alright. But we’ve got to say that for the price, you’d hardly find a keyboard as good as what Alesis offers in the Alesis Recital.