We all know Korg and we’re pretty sure you have a high expectation of the Korg SP170s which we are set to review today. Will your expectations be met? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out. Our unbiased review will lead you into our opinions on all the features of the Korg SP170s and then you can make your choice.
But rest assured, Korg isn’t a noob in the industry of digital instruments. The brand has an impressive track record of giving us some of the best keyboards the industry has ever seen. Contending with fellow market giants like Yamaha and giving them a pretty good run for their money too.
Come on, let’s get this review started…
An Overview Of The Korg SP170s
For every piece of invention, even the most stunning ones, there will always be room for improvement. So, it’s no surprise that Korg worked on an already amazing keyboard – the Korg SP170 – to produce an even more amazing model – the Korg SP170s. But hey we aren’t complaining – more value for us!
It might just be a tiny “s” that differentiates the nomenclature of the keyboards but don’t let that deceive you. There is a significant level of improvement made on the SP170s, even though there are still a few areas where both keyboards are completely identical.
For one, Korg retained the same design on the newer model. So, it still looks as smooth and beautiful as its older brother the SP170. And plus, it also features the wooden legs and music rest as optional accessories just like the SP170.
However, there is a small thing to note, it might or might be important, depending on your tastes. It only comes in the ivory white and black finishes. The red color that you saw with the SP170 was, unfortunately, discontinued.
Korg SP170s Specs
- 88 keys with Natural Weighted Hammer action.
- Touch Control: Three level touch control: Standard, Light and Heavy.
- Sound system: Stereo sampling.
- Max polyphony: 120 notes (stereo: 60 notes.
- 10 sounds in total: 2 pianos, 2 electric pianos, harpsichord, electric clavichord, vibraphone, pipe organ, strings, electric organ.
- Sound Effects: Reverb and Chorus (each sound comes with its effect depth preset.
- 10 demo songs, 1 for each sound.
- Connectivity: 2 headphones/line outputs, MIDI OUT, Damper pedal connection.
- Amplifier: 2 speakers: 9W + 9W.
- Dimensions: 51.65 x 12.8 x 5.67 inches.
- Weight: 26.45 pounds.
Features Of The Korg SP170s
Controls And Interface
We don’t know if you knew the SP170 but if you did, you’d notice that the SP170s now comes with buttons. Well, not everyone might be exactly excited to hear that there are now buttons. But Korg might actually be on to something here.
For one, it could be that they decided on more controls for the sake of the customers. What do we mean? Well, apparently, so many people found it hard navigating the mechanisms for controlling the piano’s functions.
So, while Korg didn’t completely make this “buttony”, it sure made the interface of the SP170s different from the button-less interface of the SP170.
So, what exactly did Korg do? Well, it’s actually simple. The makers of the SP170s just added a new avenue. So, no, it’s not like the surface is cluttered with buttons, there are only four buttons actually. But they just retained the same functions and then assigned buttons to them.
So, here are the buttons you’ll find: the button for power and the volume knob. These controls used to be at the back in the previous SP170, by the way. But now they are on the interface. The remaining two buttons are the Sound and Piano Play buttons.
And these buttons make things a whole lot easier. So, instead of pressing A#7 and C8 together and then pressing the corresponding button just to get to a particular function, you now have a choice. If you need any of the tones, simply, press the Sound button till it gets to the one you like.
Piano Play, on the other hand takes you to default sound which is the Piano 1.
Also See: Korg SP280 Digital Piano Review
Acoustic Piano Sound
There is some solace in familiarity. And one thing that Korg didn’t change at all on the new and improved SP170s is the sound. The concert piano tone, especially, is absolute bliss. In fact, we can easily say that when it comes to the acoustic piano sound, Korg almost easily takes the cake.
The brand does know how to generate high quality acoustic piano tones that we love.
When you play this keyboard, you’ll easily see that Korg took its time to generate each sound. You can hear the effort Korg made to ensure that each of the tones for each of the notes on the SP170s was painstakingly sampled and mastered.
Now, whether you’re a beginner or you’re a pro player, this has a huge benefit for you. Now, you’ll never have to worry yourself to death wondering whether you’re building bad keyboard habits or not. Your ears will learn to be tuned to authentic (or very nearly authentic) piano sounds which will help you make a smooth transition to a real acoustic piano when the time comes.
And yeah, the ten tones you loved on the Korg SP170 are back, by the way.
The Korg SP170s features ten sounds. Here they are:
- 2 Grand pianos.
- 2 electric pianos.
- 1 harpsichord.
- 1 clavichord.
- 1 Pipe organ.
- An electric organ.
- A string section.
The grand piano tones are excellent with the first tending towards a warmer and more elegant sound than the second. The second, on the other hand, gives more of a bright, clear sound.
As for the electrical pianos, they are also great and they both have their individual nuances as well. So, the first tone sounds a bit more authentic and smooth. But if you’re looking for a more modern tone, then you want to go for the electric piano 2.
Other tones are pretty much standard and high quality as you’d expect from Korg.
Stereo Speaker System
If you ever played the Korg SP170s you must have realized one thing, there were no speakers. So, most people who bought the SP170 must have been forced to also get amplifiers or speakers in order to boost sound.
However, things are pretty different with the SP170s. It now comes with two oval speakers which measure at 10 centimeters by 5 centimeters. In fact, you’ll observe that Korg did a bit of work to make the entire build of the piano better able to enhance tone and resonance.
But if it’s your ultimate ambition to have your neighbors screaming when you play, then you might still decide to get speakers. But thankfully, the vast majority of humans don’t want that. And to make sure you can also achieve a quieter and more private practice, this piano comes with two headphones jack.
Two headphone jacks on a piano is a rarity among most pianos in the market – the normal standard is one. But this nifty idea comes with great benefits.
At least, for one, you know that two people can play together on this keyboard and still practice quietly. This is fantastic for times you have to practice a duet performance or for tutors and students. Not many pianos offer this.
But besides headphones, these jacks can also support digital recorder or in cases where it is absolutely necessary, external speakers.
All entry-level keyboards from Korg come with Korg’s Natural Hammer action. So, naturally, they usually present a pretty solid response when played. In all, Korg keyboards give an excellent touch response, oftentimes much better than those of their rivals.
So, of course, expect this same response from the Korg SP170s. The graded weighting on the keys makes them feel high quality and realistic. And this is the point where we have to hand it to Korg. It is an industry leader when it comes to simulating an acoustic feel and sound even in entry-level keyboards.
You’d hardly find a Korg keyboard without an excellent keyboard. It’s almost an aberration. Bravo Korg!
Pros Of Korg SP170s
- Comes with excellent touch and high quality sounds.
- Lightweight, compact, and portable.
- Quite affordable.
- Ideal for people managing a tight space and tight budget.
Cons Of Korg SP170s
- The sustain pedal is sold as accessory rather than coming together with the package.
- The housing of the piano isn’t included either.
What’s In The Box?
- An 88 key keyboard
- AC power adapter
- Music stand
- Pedal switch
The best thing about the Korg SP170s is actually its price. Especially when you consider all the functionality and features this keyboard offers, this keyboard comes at a pretty good deal. In fact, there are some more expensive models that do not offer as many features as the SP170s. Well, except maybe more sounds.
Now, if only Korg had worked to give us a sustain pedal as well as the corresponding housing. That would have made this keyboard package the best deal ever.
But either way, we all know Korg makes some of the best keyboards. And the Korg SP170s is definitely a fine specimen of some of its best works.