Digital Piano for Beginners: What You Should Know

What is a digital piano? This is a guide to digital piano for beginners.

A digital piano is, at its most basic, a combination of an 88-key weighted action keyboard, a tiny onboard computer, and a pair of speakers.

What’s amazing is how simple electronic components like this can replicate the rich acoustic piano sound.

Digital Piano vs Keyboard

digital piano vs keyboard

To find a digital piano for beginners, it is crucial to know the basics before you decide which one suits your goals and preferences.

Before delving into the basic functions of a digital piano, it’s vital to distinguish between keyboards and digital pianos.

People frequently confuse keyboards and digital pianos, assuming they are the same, but this couldn’t be further from the reality.

Keyboards

Most keyboards will have plastic keys that may not be touch-sensitive. They are unweighted keys.

Cheaper keyboards will often lack full-length, 88-note keyboards. They are also nearly always less expensive than digital pianos, and you may even find them at toy stores.

Keyboards frequently include a variety of other sounds, such as strings, organs, percussion, and other sounds that are unique to each instrument.

Sometimes, keyboards may also come with touch-sensitive keys. These keyboards are often referred to as keyboard pianos.

Digital Pianos

A digital piano is similar to a keyboard in that they both produce sound using digital technology and electricity. A digital piano, on the other hand, sounds and looks extremely different.

Several different sizes and types of digital pianos are available.

The larger consoles can be made to seem like plain wooden upright pianos in lower-cost versions. On the other hand, the higher-priced variants can be indistinguishable from an acoustic concert grand piano.

These instruments have full-sized 88 weighted keys, making them ideal for performing expressive music. Because of the extra space in the console, it can accommodate huge speakers.

The digital piano will lack the numerous instrument sounds that are usually available on a keyboard and instead focus on replicating an authentic and appealing piano sound.

You may wish to record your work, or you may compose music for a forthcoming project. Whatever the cause, this will influence how you record your music.

Digital piano scores may be recorded as MIDI and/or audio files for a variety of applications.

roland-rp102_pedals

Nowadays many digital pianos have a recording facility built-in. Others may have a USB connection for this purpose.

Most digital pianos come with pedals. The console types, usually, have the 3 built-in pedals, and the portable types have a pedal jack for you to connect an external pedal(s).

Some pianos come with both built-in pedals and pedal jack, such as Casio PX 870.

How Does a Digital Piano Produce Sounds?

A digital piano is a type of computer.

When you touch a key on a digital piano, it sends a signal to the computer within, which then replies with some form of action, like when you push a key on a laptop.

Instead of a letter appearing on a computer screen, a recording of an acoustic piano is now played back over the built-in speakers.

The great majority of digital pianos operate in this manner! The top brands in the digital piano market are always competing to provide the finest quality recordings of the best pianos. These recordings are known as “samples.”

The Keys

piano keys

The touch sensitivity and feel of an acoustic piano are replicated by a digital piano with weighted keys.

Digital piano 88 weighted keys will have the feeling to which you’ve become used whether you’re transitioning from an acoustic piano to a keyboard, or back and forth from one to the other.

The weighted keyboard is designed to help the human feel at ease when playing a digital piano.

Digital pianos do not require weighted keys to achieve this level of expressiveness since the computer automatically determines how hard and quickly we push the keys, producing the appropriate sound.

However, moving from an acoustic piano to a digital piano with weighted keys might throw off conventional playing methods.

Digital pianos include a complete keyboard of 88 weighted keys and many models have graded hammer action keyboards. This is the most noticeable difference between digital pianos and keyboards, which typically have 76 or 61 unweighted or spring-loaded keys.

The Speakers

Digital piano speakers

Acoustic pianos have a sound bouncing about the interior of the piano, which affects the sound. This is difficult to recreate precisely on a digital piano.

There are several different types of digital pianos that have insufficient room for speaker systems. Some are very compact stage pianos that must be portable, hence they frequently feature small speakers.

In comparison, digital upright or grand pianos feature a spacious cabinet with room for additional and bigger speakers.

Many digital pianos may be connected to external speakers, which is something that people frequently do with stage pianos during concerts and other musical events.

Using the piano’s built-in speakers for private use at home is generally sufficient.

Connectivity

digital piano connectivity

A digital piano for beginners will have many technology-related features including external connectivity that does not exist in acoustic pianos.

Stereo Jacks

Nearly all digital pianos feature stereo jacks for headphones or external speakers.

Some argue that utilizing a good set of headphones at home provides the best sound quality. It also allows you to play quietly anytime without disturbing your roommates or neighbors.

USB Connectors

There are two types of USB connectors – Type A and Type B.

  • Type A is a “USB to Device” connector that allows direct connection to a variety of external memory-storage devices such as a USB flash drive.
  • Type B is a “USB to Host” connector. This port connects to a computer to exchange the MIDI data. You can also transfer the songs to the computer using this port.

If you plan to use these connections, you need to check the type of USB connections available on the instruments.

Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity

In recent years wireless technology is making its way into digital pianos. The Bluetooth wireless function will allow you to connect to your cell phone or headphones.

In Summary…

In respect of the keyboard vs piano, it is in the weighted keys or unweighted keys.

When compared to an acoustic piano, digital pianos are more durable and can withstand a lot more abuse.

Digital pianos never go out of tune, and as a result, they never require tuning. This will save you both time and money.

Some technology-related features are also great for younger pianists who want access to learning programs on their computers or use headphones to block out distractions.

For more information about music and piano history, check out A History of Western Music and A Piano Story.

Additionally, check out this beginner piano for under $500: Donner DEP-20.

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