Many people think that the Digital piano is a relatively new creation, but it was first produced back in the 1920s. The first such piano was the Bechstein Electric Grand Piano. It was an instrument that was to take a back seat for a while, though. Because whilst the idea was good, technology had to catch up a bit to make it possible to produce them in enough quantities.
There were some other efforts but then along came a Mr. Harold Rhodes.
After the second world war, Harold set up his own company which began to attempt to produce these ‘different’ sounding pianos. And Leo Fender, who has been known to recognize a good design when he sees one, bought his company.
CBS then bought Fender instruments which to many started the decline of Fender guitars for a while, but it also saw the first manufacture of an instrument that became indispensable and spawned a whole new music industry…
To this day, an iconic instrument and sound. Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, even bands like Jamiroquai and many others have all featured it. The Rhodes and subsequent pianos and synthesizers invented off of the back of it changed what was possible in music, forever.
The Fender name was removed in 1974, and it simply became the Rhodes, but no one took any notice, and we all still call it the ‘Fender Rhodes’. Raise a glass to Harold Rhodes, the man who changed it all, with a bit of help from Leo Fender.
Today the choice of Digital pianos is endless, and these pianos are commonplace and come in all shapes and sizes. So let’s take a look at some of the best Digital Grand Pianos currently available and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 8 Best Digital Grand Piano For The Money 2019 Reviews
- 1 The ONE Smart Piano, Weighted 88-Key Digital Piano
- 2 Suzuki Musical Instrument, 88-Key Digital Pianos – Home (MDG-300-BL)
- 3 Casio PX-870 BK Privia Digital Home Piano, Black
- 4 Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series
- 5 Williams Rhapsody 2 88-Key Console Digital Piano
- 6 Korg 88 Key Lifestyle Piano
- 7 Kawai CE220 Digital Home Piano
- 8 Yamaha DGX660 Digital Piano Education Bundle
- Best Digital Grand Piano Buyers Guide
- Grand v Upright piano
- But What’s The Best Digital Grand Piano?
Top 8 Best Digital Grand Piano For The Money 2019 Reviews
1 The ONE Smart Piano, Weighted 88-Key Digital Piano
This is a piano that seems to be attracting a lot of attention. And is what you might call an interactive piano. It has an App compatible with iOS and Android devices, that may well make a lot of piano teachers redundant if it catches on, as it allows complete beginners to start to learn to play very quickly.
Made for beginners it might be, but there are enough features on board to make the serious, experienced player take a close look.
This is an upright digital piano, so it is not really that portable, with 88 keys that have a graded hammer action and 64 note polyphony. There are over 120 sounds to select from, and it includes percussion instruments. It has 3 foot sustain pedals as is usual with most pianos, and built-in speakers.
Connections are simple with an audio jack and USB mini port, and it has a metronome and volume and tempo controls.
The design is quite basic as it is for most instruments of this nature, but it is well-built with quality materials giving it a solid, sturdy frame. It is finished in an elegant matte black.
The sound quality is good, and whilst a digital piano will never replace the sound of the real thing, the sound of this piano is authentic and with a rich tone. It doesn’t possess some of the more intricate adjustments to key weights and personal playing styles. But we must remember this is designed for the beginner.
Another point to make is that the 64 note Polyphony is half of what some pianos offer, but as it is for beginners, we don’t expect the pieces they play will be too complex.
Makes learning a breeze…
The big advantage of this piano is the interaction with the App. There are video lessons, practice sessions, and even games to play that test your developing skills. There is also access to hundreds of pieces of sheet music which may interest experience players. Each key has an LED light-up and works in conjunction with the app.
So much more tech on board, but not enough space to discuss it all. For beginners a great piano, for experienced players a nice piano and a bit of fun. It is sensibly priced and a contender for the best digital grand piano.
- App connections provide an interactive learning experience.
- Nice sounds and sound options.
- Lacking a few basic additions that other pianos have.
2 Suzuki Musical Instrument, 88-Key Digital Pianos – Home (MDG-300-BL)
We think it is fair to say that this is a beautiful looking instrument. And it does something that many instruments struggle with, in that it combines great looks with a stunning performance. It has the look of a grand piano but not the size, but it is the standard width of most digital pianos of about 60 inches, but only has a depth of 23 and a half inches. Therefore, it will fit any room of a reasonable size.
It has a lot of tech on board. Bluetooth connects to any wireless device and will allow you to load up demos and lessons from the internet, and a color LCD gives you all the information you will need about its status. While 128 note Polyphony will give you the ability to play the most complex pieces without dropping sounds or notes.
The piano voices use a 3D sampling technique that gives depth and authenticity to the sound. You can even do some basic composing via the three-track sequencer built-in. Your compositions can then be saved if you wish to the Digital memory card.
The MDG-300 has a sound system boasting six speakers delivering a powerful sound. And you can use the USB port to plug straight into your computer for extra functionality. It has 128 different voices creating endless options and over 100 rhythms to play along with. Effects are included – EQ, Chorus, and reverb, letting you create exactly the sound you want.
The playing style is easy, and there are hammer action keys that are touch-sensitive promoting the feel of the real thing. Plus there is a split keyboard layering facility if you are playing with someone else.
What was it people used to say, ‘you don’t get beauty and brains in the same package.’ This has. But sit down when you look at the price because this sort of quality is never cheap. Great design, some great tech, a fantastic piano, and certainly a contender for Best Digital Grand Piano. Could it be the best digital grand piano on the market? Read on to find out…
- Great design and look.
- Includes just about everything about it really.
- The price will preclude some.
3 Casio PX-870 BK Privia Digital Home Piano, Black
Some companies have come a long way, not only with their public persona but with their product lines. We can remember a time when Casio was famous for cheap watches, calculators, and low-quality mini-keyboards. But now they make products like this…
…The PX-870 Digital Piano.
One of the well-known Privia line of Casio digital pianos.
Just the visual look tells you that this is going to be a quality product – a great design and nicely finished in black. When we tell you that the build quality, which in our opinion is very high, might be the worst thing about it, then you will get the picture.
On the subject of the build, it is made of pressed wood, and the foot pedals are plastic, but that is similar to many other digital pianos. Pressed wood and some plastic it might be, but it is solid, is going nowhere and has a secure feel.
The keyboard is designed with a hammer action that generates an authentic feel when you play it. And its design will demonstrate the dynamics of your performance with every note you play. The piano sounds utilize the AIR engine which delivers a sweeping grand piano with a rich, warm, and expressive sound.
There are 19 different instrument tones, all featuring great sounds, and you have the option to split or layer them as you choose. It really scores points with its polyphony, having 256 notes which is twice as many as the normal 128 seen on most digital pianos. The result will be that even when playing the most challenging of piano pieces, you will not lose any notes, and the transitions will be seamless.
A powerful 40-watt speaker system gives you a big sound, and the Synchronised EQ will give you sound balance across the frequencies. It has a USB port that can be used with Windows or Mac computers without the need to download drivers and if you are learning there is a sixty song music library.
A stunning Digital piano in performance and looks and an awful long way from watches and calculators.
If you want to find out even more about this keyboard then check out our Casio PX-870 review.
- Well-built with a great design.
- Many sound options onboard.
- Only 19 instrument tones, so could have had a few more.
4 Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series
For this model, Yamaha has produced another version of the popular Arius. This is a basic upright piano that is suitable for both beginners and experienced players. They have not gone for anything that elaborate in its design, but have kept it simple and efficient. It is well-made from Rosewood, as is the bench seat which gives it an impressive look
The Arius range has a graded hammer action for the keys as is usual across all the models. The YDP103 might not quite have the realism of the top of the range pianos in the Arius range. But it still gives an authentic feel to the playing experience, by making the response of the keys heavier on the bass side end than the high end.
Included are ten voices, including strings, organ, and harpsichord, and these have the benefit of Yamaha’s AWM sampling technology. This is a stereo sampling system where original sounds are captured by two microphones and the waveforms blended. This sampling method gives you a rich ambient sound.
It has its own speaker system built-in with stereo 6-watt speakers and its own amplifier. They have also included four different reverb sounds. It has a rather limited Polyphony though at only 64 notes.
There are the standard three damper pedals allowing you to create sustain and dictate the length of the note. Other playing features include a split keyboard facility for teaching and the layering of two sounds.
Yamaha provides access to an App for iOS to make sound adjustments, and the USB allows connection to a laptop or other device. Controls are very basic on the piano with just a power button and volume control.
It might be a bit limited in some respects, but it is a nice-sounding piano with some good features, and it is very well-constructed.
For even more information on this great digital grand piano please check out our Yamaha YDP103 review.
- Well-made from Rosewood with a nice basic upright design.
- Reasonable price point.
- A bit limited in some areas.
5 Williams Rhapsody 2 88-Key Console Digital Piano
Williams is a company who produce entry-level pianos at a very cost-effective price. They have several ranges of piano with different price points, all of which are made in China. The Rhapsody range fits in the middle price-wise and is a surprise package. It has an elegant style with its concert piano finish and is well-made and feels quite solid and sturdy.
There are 88 hammer-action weighted keys and Sustain and Sostenuto pedals. The built-in sound system has twin speakers that have a ten watt per channel capacity. This is quite ample for home use.
There are a variety of sound options with two grand pianos and two electric. Also included are electric and upright bass and a nylon guitar. Two different organs, strings, vibraphone, and synth make up the options which give a nice balance of choices. There is a modulation control that will operate on selected instruments.
Extra functions include split keyboard and instrument layering options, transposition and a metronome. It has twelve demo songs that allow some practice and a two-track recorder. An LCD display keeps you up to date on the operational status. A USB/MIDI port offers connectivity, and there are further connections through ¼” output jacks, and headphone sockets.
Not for more advanced tunes…
If there is one downside, it is that it only has a 64 note Polyphony, which is half of what many other pianos offer. Depending on its intended use that might not be a problem. This is an entry-level piano, and therefore for beginners, 64 notes are probably ok. It is when the music becomes more complex, that a higher number is needed.
For the price, it represents good value as a beginners instrument. It is well-made, has a decent sound with a few other options, and looks attractive. Want to know more? No problem, please check out our Williams Rhapsody 2 review.
- Attractive looking well-made piano.
- Some good features at a very good price.
- Only 64 note polyphony.
6 Korg 88 Key Lifestyle Piano
When choosing a piano for the home, there are a few questions that are often raised, and a digital piano is usually the best answer. It takes up far less space and will generally be cheaper than the real thing. If you are going digital, then it’s a case of deciding which piano. And when you see the name Korg, you know you are buying quality.
Founded in 1962 and still based in Tokyo, they are an iconic brand whose instruments have been used by many of the worlds most famous keyboard artists of recent times.
The LP180 has a slimline design with an elegant black finish that will suit any home decor. It has a hammer action keyboard that is naturally weighted and feels like a real piano with the lighter touch on the higher notes which becomes heavier as you move down the register. Keyboard response and feel are enhanced by a key touch control which gives three options, light, normal, and heavy.
Korg gives us ten different instrument sounds produced with their usual excellence. Grand piano and electric piano, of course, but also organ, vibes, and strings. Built-in are some reverb effects to enhance your sound and give it more atmosphere.
It goes without saying that the piano sounds Korg have put into this piano are rich and warm and have a depth of sound we have come to expect from the company and which are included in many of their more expensive instruments. They know exactly what they are doing when it comes to producing digital keyboards.
It has 88 keys and a Polyphony of 120 voices, 60 of which are in stereo and a three-pedal unit. Other features include transposition and MIDI out and two speakers. There is a range of demo songs which are selected by one of the three basic controls, the others being off/on and volume.
A great piano from an established manufacturer with a reputation for quality and at a reasonable price.
To find a fault, even though it’s a very minor one, there is no metronome which would have been an advantage, especially for learners. Even so, still a contender for best digital grand piano.
- Quality piano from a good manufacturer.
- Great piano sounds.
- A metronome would have been nice.
7 Kawai CE220 Digital Home Piano
And suddenly it gets very serious with the arrival of one of the stars of Digital Pianos. Established in Japan in 1927, they now have a worldwide reputation, and whenever their name is mentioned, there is an understanding that you’re talking quality.
If you want to buy a digital piano that feels just like the real thing, then let us introduce you to the CE220.
The keys are not made of plastic like just about every other digital piano you will find; these are long acoustic keys made from wood as you will find on a real piano. The weight and the feeling on your fingers as you play says authentic. Kawai realized that while people wanted, and in many cases needed to buy digital pianos, they also loved the feel of the real thing, so they make their pianos as close to the real thing as possible.
Players will also want the sound to be as close to the real thing as possible, so Kawai included the sound of their own Concert Grand Piano. This was very carefully sampled to create the sound of a world-renowned piano in your home. We would say without fear of contradiction, that after you hear the Concert Grand sound, and it was the only sound the piano produced, you’d still buy it.
Kawai has included 22 other options. Electric pianos and organs, vibes and a harpsichord and even a choir. They also included strings. Not ordinary strings but orchestral strings, and just for good measure a little bit of Reverb, Delay, Chorus, and Tremolo.
A quick look at some of the other features includes 192 notes of polyphony, options for splitting the keyboard and layering sounds, 30 rhythm options with a two-track recorder. USB ports and easy to operate controls.
We could go on and on. A wonderful instrument in every way. Expensive? Not for what you get. The best digital grand piano? It will take some beating.
- Great design and look and well made.
- Beautiful sounding piano, other voices, and good effects.
- The price might scare some away.
8 Yamaha DGX660 Digital Piano Education Bundle
If you are looking for a digital piano but maybe something that also offers a bit more, then Yamaha’s DGX660 will make you sit up and take notice.
It’s a simple design, and they haven’t gone overboard with the way it looks. You will have to assemble it yourself, as you do with many we have looked at, but it’s not difficult, and it feels secure when it is built.
There is a full 88 key keyboard with a matte finish for the black keys, and it uses graded hammer key technology. This means they are lighter to the touch on the high notes and heavier at the bass end. It has a touch-sensitive control which can be adjusted to suit your style of playing.
The sounds are generated by Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine using as its base samples, those taken from Yamaha’s CF111S acoustic piano. The sound is quite impressive. Included in the design are two sets of speakers on each side, each containing a 12cm drive and 5cm tweeter. Not powerful enough for a live concert, of course, but the 6 watts generated is enough to comfortably hear what you are playing.
As we mentioned earlier, there is a bit more to this piano than just piano. Yes, there are piano sounds, ten of them to be precise but that only scratches the surface of what is hidden away under the lid. When you look at the control panel on the front of the piano, you get the feeling that something is going to happen.
There are over 500 varied sounds and dozens of effects to make this more like a full orchestra than a grand piano. Loaded with effects to compliment the sounds, you can have virtual players play with you, create harmony lines, and there are over 100 songs in the lesson section.
Fancy a sing-along?
There is also a microphone jack socket so you can sing along and a volume control dedicated to that output. Polyphony is good at 192 notes.
We could take up space for another review to finish the other features, but if you want to learn more, check out our Yamaha DGX660 review. Suffice to say it comes with a bench, sustain pedals, learn to play booklet and dust cover. As we said more than just a piano, but be prepared for a long learning curve.
- Good piano and hundreds of other great sounds.
- So many good features included.
- Going to take some time to master it.
Best Digital Grand Piano Buyers Guide
A Lot Of Choices When Buying A Great Digital Grand Piano
Since Mr. Rhodes gave us his iconic electric piano, the world has become inundated with keyboards. They were there already, of course. Beethoven played one, and contrary to common belief, Mozart didn’t.
But then the opportunity to combine the two, the acoustic and the digital version arrived, and since then the results have been staggering. They will never be as good as the originals of course, and even the samples and add ons you can buy for recording studios are not quite the same, but with some of these Digital pianos, it is close. Very close.
Buying a digital piano is now in many ways, a more attractive option than getting a real piano.
What Is Best For You?
What you buy will depend to a great extent on your budget and to a slightly lesser extent what you expect to get from the instrument. We are not saying that the quality of the sound is not important, it is, and many of the top digital pianos have great sounds. It is a case of how good do you want them to be, and that will be dictated to a certain extent by how much you are willing to pay.
The very best can be very expensive, but the mid-price range pianos, whilst not quite reproducing the quality of sounds of the top of the range models, do very well. They are all very similar in size, so space isn’t usually a problem, something that puts the digital piano way ahead of its acoustic rival if space is limited.
And let’s be honest, there aren’t that many of us who have a spare room in our house capable of comfortably taking the real thing.
What Will You Use It For?
Are you a piano teacher looking for a first or a new piano for your work? In that case, you need to get a simple to operate and easy to play model that has a split keyboard to allow you to play with your student when necessary. Some have lessons built-in, some have recording capabilities which might be an asset for a teacher to playback your student’s efforts. Some have internet links, another asset for teaching.
Maybe you are an experienced player who wants to upgrade. If so, there is a wealth of potential products that are suitable, some delivering excellent piano sounds, but also having other sound features.
Maybe you are a first time piano user who has just decided they want to learn to play. Great. The more music in the world, the better. There are some we looked at that will fit the bill perfectly for you, at a very reasonable price.
Whatever your reason, a clear picture of what level of piano you want is important, its capability, its extra features, and the level of sound you want.
They are are all very similar and designed to fit just about anywhere in a home. Some are stunningly beautiful in their build quality, others plain and simple, but there is no flamboyance and flashing lights. They are far too elegant for that.
Whatever you decide, you need to set yourself a budget and go close to sticking to it. You can spend a lot of money and get a great digital piano, or you can spend somewhat less and still get a very good sounding instrument with good features and a nice look.
Grand v Upright piano
Yes, there is a difference, a big difference that is more than just the design shape. The Grand Piano keeps the shape of its predecessor the pianoforte with a large volume soundbox with long strings that deliver a big resonant sound. The upright piano is strung vertically to make it smaller, but that impacts the depth of the sound.
There are many fallacies about grand pianos. Beethoven played the piano, Mozart did not, it hadn’t been invented then. In any case, Mozart’s first instrument was the violin, but he played a clavinet to compose.
A Bit Of History…
The first pianos are credited to an Italian, of course, one Bartolomeo Cristofori in the late 1600s. It is probable he also developed the grand piano in about 1700. Upright pianos arrived at a similar time, but took a different route of usage and received an unfair stigma.
While Grand Pianos were being played by the great musicians of every decade at concerts around the world, the upright became recognized as the instrument that was used to knock out tunes of the day in music halls in the UK and in western saloons in the US.
Not Exactly Accurate, Of Course…
They were also played in more serious environments, but there is an element of truth about it. Few mention that the great musicians of the modern-day, not the classical ones, learned on upright pianos. Elton John, Billy Joel, etc., and the image of Jerry Lee Lewis knocking seven bells out of his upright will stay with us forever. Canadian great Oscar Peterson played and recorded with both. Today both grand and upright are widely used.
So, What’s The Real Difference?
The upright is cheaper, usually by quite a bit, takes up less room, and is easier to move. Repairs, maintenance, and tuning services are also cheaper.
The grand piano has a deeper resonance, the playing action is better than an upright by virtue of the hammer action that an upright cannot have, and the sound is far superior.
There are a lot of reasons to support both instruments and just as many negatives for each. It will depend to a certain extent on how much room do you have in your house? And can you afford the cost of a Grand piano?
Upright or Grand, it’s a tough choice, but individual circumstances tend to dictate the decision.
But What’s The Best Digital Grand Piano?
We love the sound of a concert grand. There is very little that can compare with it. Therefore we are looking for a digital piano that will give us as close a sound as possible. But we also want it to feel right to the hand. We also realize that if you are going to buy a great product, it’s going to take a little money.
Therefore, we have chosen as the Best Digital Grand Piano…
Just a stunning instrument and for us clearly the best digital grand piano.