The Casio company is well known for a lot of high quality products including watches, keyboards, calculators, computer products, cameras, commercial electronics, etc, but they are also well known for their home and pro digital pianos. In my opinion the new PX160 portable digital piano is the first Casio portable digital piano that has finally risen above the rest of the brands and models under or near $500US when it comes to offering the "best bang for the buck." In fact, it really does not make sense to me for someone to purchase a lower priced digital piano under the PX160 or even at the same price as the PX160 because the PX160 is so much better. In other words, unless you absolutely do not have more than $300US or $400US in your budget for a digital piano and you just cannot scratch up the extra dollars, then I would understand not being able to purchase this model. However, if you are low on money but may be able to beg, borrow (not steal), or save up for a little while longer, then I would recommend you do so and look into purchasing the PX160.
So why am I recommending the Casio PX160 portable digital piano so strongly in this low price range as compared to the other brands and models? There are a few very good reasons: Firstly, has the only key action in this price range with 3 sensors under each key as opposed to two key sensors in the other brands. Three key sensors allow for better sensing of the key movement for repetition. Also the tonal dynamic range of the stereo grand piano sound is noticeably wider and more expressive than any other model or brand in this price range and the piano sound now includes hammer response, damper noise, and damper resonance sound reproduction which adds to the authenticity of the piano sound by introducing these natural organic piano elements. The key tops have a synthetic ivory and ebony material on them in trying to recreate the original acoustic piano feel that was once available on real acoustic pianos. The look and feel of the the PX160 keys are more substantial and realistic because of this and the synthetic ivory/ebony material helps absorb sweat from the fingers when playing for longer periods of time. So when it comes to the actual piano sound and key movement, the Casio PX160 is noticeably more authentic than anything else under or near $500US. With regard to the weight and physical movement of the keys, they are graded in weighting from left to right getting incrementally lighter as you move up the keyboard. I personally find the key movement more satisfying to play than the other Casio pianos below this price range as well as many of the Yamaha portable digital pianos under $1000. Key action movement is the number one most important aspect of any piano and is something which cannot be altered or changed. Some key actions are noisier than others depending on brand, models, and price range. The Casio key action has fairly quiet keys when going down but are somewhat noisier when coming back up. When the volume of the piano is at low levels you can hear this key movement noise more easily but key noise is "relative" and I have heard much noisier key actions on other digital piano brands. This "key up" noise on the Casio pianos is typically not an issue for most people and also not an issue for me, and in fact I have played regular acoustic pianos with much more noise than that, but acoustic pianos are always so loud that you cannot hear the key noise as easily:). So overall I like the Casio key actions for what they do and how they allow me to express myself musically.
Most every new and older digital piano has additional instrument sounds including extra acoustic piano tones, strings, choir, harpsichord, organs, brass, woodwinds, guitars, etc. Some digital pianos have over one hundred or more different instruments, but most digital pianos in this price range have approx 20 or less. It's really not the number of instrument sounds that count but it's the realism of that instrument which is most important because it costs more money to produce higher quality instrument authenticity. The new PX160 has upgraded new sound samples beyond what previous models have had and it's especially noticeable with the more traditional instruments such as strings, organs, choirs harpsichords, electric pianos, etc. Those sounds are the best they have ever been and far outshine the other brands and models in this sub $500 price range. You can play the sounds by themselves, layered along with another instrument tone, or splitting two sounds on either side of the keyboard. With 128-note polyphony it's very difficult to run out of notes when playing solo or with two sounds combined together.
As far as the sustain pedal of the piano goes, Casio includes one small plastic pedal with the piano which allows you to control the sustain on & off. Like many of these low priced portable pianos, the small plastic pedal can slide a bit on the floor because it is so light in weight, so if you are using the pedal, it works fine but it can have a difficult time staying in one place. Also, the plastic sustain pedal does not trigger half-damper effect which is what real acoustic pianos actually allow you to do with the right pedal and the half-damper feature allows for a middle amount of sustain instead of just on & off. So the down side of the pedal (and this is true for Yamaha as well) is that it's small and light in weight and that it also does not trigger half-damper effect. However, Casio has a couple of pedal options and one of those options is a heavier, larger and more authentic metal piano pedal which sells for about $30 and it stays in place on the floor better but still does not trigger half-damper. The other option is the triple pedal pedalboard unit at approx $75 which attaches to the PX160 optional furniture stand. The advantage of the optional triple pedalboard is that it has all three pedals built in and it attaches to the Casio furniture stand and permanently stays in place. The right sustain pedal also triggers half-damper sustain effect which is useful for students and players who can play at a higher skill level. The downside of that triple pedalboard is that it cannot be used apart from attaching to the furniture stand, so if you need the PX160 to be portable and want to take it with you or don't need a permanently attached pedalboard, then the triple pedalboard may not work for you.
|PX160 champagne gold - speaker port|
Speaking of connecting to other speakers, one of the downsides to the external audio connectivity in the previous Casio PX model was that there was no separate audio outputs...you had to connect using one of the headphone jacks and that does not always translate well to external speakers and it cuts off the internal piano speakers, and when you do that so you cannot monitor your sound through the piano speakers. That issue has been taken care of on the PX160 with the addition of separate right & left channel audio outputs built into the back of the piano. Now the connectivity to other sound systems is easy and works correctly and that's the way it should be. Another connectivity upgrade are the stereo headphone jacks. In the previous model the headphone jacks (which were 1/4" connectors) were on the back of the piano and were difficult to find, difficult to use, and made for the headphone cord having to be stretched out over or under the back and front of the piano...very inconvenient. On this new model, Casio put in two standard mini stereo jacks on the front of the piano where it should be for convenient headphone connection. This is a welcome and needed improvement which shows that Casio was "listening" to people about their prior connectivity issues. Casio continues to include a USB/MIDI "plug & play" output for instant connection to computer, iPad/Android tablet, etc for use with software programs and useful educational and music apps, which I have had much experience with and use them to teach students in my studio.
The PX160 has a very impressive array of digital features for this low price range including being able to layer any two of the 18 different instrument sounds together, split two different sounds with one on the left hand and one on the right hand, record two parts one at a time (left & right hand) and well as two different sounds and then play them back simultaneously, transposing the key up or down into a different key for singing or play-along purposes, change the octave up or down, access a duet mode so that two people can play and/or practice a song at the same time while playing in identical octaves, being able to modify and change thebrilliance control for a more overall mellow or brighter sound coming through the speakers, selecting from a variable digital metronome for adjustable follow along to help with timing & rhythm training (great for students), as well as selecting from 17 scale temperaments. One of the newest digital features the PX piano has which previous models did not is to include some impressive Concert Hall reverb/echo effects to reproduce the large natural echo sound you get from an acoustic concert grand piano when playing in a concert hall. The reverb sound effects are quite convincing and definitely adds to making the stereo piano sound more life-like than found in other digital pianos. If that's not enough there is also two different song libraries built into the piano including 60 classical solo piano songs along with another ten fully orchestrated classical music songs in CD quality reproduction, although all of the songs are on a bit more advanced playing level so some people may not actually be able to play along with the songs from the included music...but the songs are certainly beautiful to listen to and play along with if you can:). The control panel of this piano is fairly simple and intuitive and allows for direct button access to the main piano sounds, recording features, and metronome along with a a power button and big master volume knob instead of a small button or slider. Accessing the other sounds, effects, and digital features is also fairly easy using a function button and specified key on the keyboard. Other digital pianos work the same way although some models have more or less direct push buttons than others. But overall, this model is pretty easy to use.
In the final analysis, for some people even the low price of $499 for this PX160 piano (not including adding stand, 3-pedal unit, or bench) may be a bit of a financial stretch. However, if there is any way for you to move up in price to the PX160, you would find a tremendous difference and improvment in your piano playing experience compared to anything below it whether you are a beginner or more advanced player. The key action and piano sound differences in this upgraded model are vastly superior to the lower priced options so I would encourage anyone to try to stretch to this new PX160 if at all possible because it's definitely worth the difference, even if you cannot discern the difference yourself right away because you are a beginner. You will be glad you made the choice for the PX160 and it will likely last you well into the future.
|Casio CGP700 portable digital piano|
One other final consideration that I recommend for digital piano shoppers who are considering the PX160, is to also consider the all new Casio CGP700 educational portable super digital piano. With the PX160, when you add a basic furniture stand to the PX160 price, that additional cost brings the approx PX160 price to $600US. The new 2016 model CGP700 ($799US internet discount price) already comes with a furniture stand, but it is no ordinary stand. Enclosed into the stand itself is a full range 2-speaker bass sound system which connects to the piano keyboard of the CGP700. With this special speaker stand, the CGP700 has an incredibly big, deep, and rich sound coming through a total of 6 speakers that can fill up very large rooms with plenty of volume and bass response. In my opinion, the stand alone is easily worth more than $250 added to the price of the piano, although it's important to note that the CGP700 stand cannot work on any other Casio model. But the impressive speaker stand is just the beginning of the amazing things the new CGP700 can do so I recommend you read my review of that model at the following link and then decide for yourself if you think the new CGP700 is worth the additional cost to you. Casio CGP700 Review. Do you homework and research and then contact me for free personal assistance.
If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 602-571-1864.