AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW! Yamaha P155, Kawai EP3, Roland FP7F, Kawai MP6, Yamaha YDP162, Yamaha CP5, Casio PX350, Kawai CE220, Kawai ES7, Korg LP380, Casio PX850 - REVIEW & TOP Digital Piano Picks for 2013 - Digital Piano Reviews

Jan 21, 2011

REVIEW! Yamaha P155, Kawai EP3, Roland FP7F, Kawai MP6, Yamaha YDP162, Yamaha CP5, Casio PX350, Kawai CE220, Kawai ES7, Korg LP380, Casio PX850 - REVIEW & TOP Digital Piano Picks for 2013


Casio AP250 Digital Piano
Casio AP250
UPDATED REVIEW - June 30, 2014 - My picks for best digital pianos under $2000! I am a an expert digital piano consultant to pro musicians, teachers, churches, families, and others throughout the world. I enjoy helping people figure out what digital piano will be right for them and their needs. I've been doing this a long time and understand the electronics of the digital pianos as well as which pianos actually plays and feels like an acoustic upright and grand piano. I love all kinds of music so I look for what will also work for the kind of music you'll will be playing.

There are SO many choices when it comes to new digital pianos these days. People obviously want the best piano tone and touch they can get for the lowest price possible along with some other cool features that make piano playing even better and more exciting. That's what we all want and that's something I look for in a digital piano. The variations of digital pianos also can make it confusing because they can come in a variety of configurations with nice full furniture cabinets, smaller slimline modern cabinets, lighter weight portable pianos with built-in speakers and optional manufacturer built stands & pedals, and lightweight portable pianos with no built-in speakers or stands built in.

Digital pianos are played all over the world in the home, church, school, stage, recording studio, for gigging, and other venues and places. However, if you are in the price range that most people are in which is under $2000, and want the very best possible acoustic grand piano tone and touch you can get in a digital piano regardless of its configuration and cabinet design, for me the choice would be the Kawai MP6. The MP6 is just the piano keyboard alone without a built-in speaker system, stand, pedals, or bench. All those things have to be purchased separately or in a package but do not add a lot of extra cost.

The Roland, Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, and Korg digital pianos are very good with some being better than others in different price ranges under $2000. Some of them are in furniture cabinets, some are portable with built-in speakers and come with optional furniture stands, and others are just the piano keyboard itself with no built-in speakers or optional furniture stand. However, as I already mentioned, I'm giving 1st place to Kawai for their MP6 portable piano keyboard (above & below left pics - $1349 base price). The reason this piano is my top pick is because the MP6 plays very smoothly and evenly with a baby grand piano feel and organic grand piano tone that even a pro can appreciate. I would consider the key action touch weight on this piano to be medium or slightly firm (as opposed to light) which gives the player better control with progressive key touch dynamics from very soft tone to loud aggressive playing and everything in between. The MP6 is fairly easy to operate and has enough cool features & flexibility for making music in ways that will enhance your overall playing experience, but it is definitely not a toy. 

Kawai MP6 Portable Piano
The MP6 does not have automatic chord arrangement styles or general midi playback accompaniments like a few of the other pianos do such as Roland or Casio. It is mainly built for superior grand piano tone and touch along with some very impressive vintage electric pianos, symphonic strings, B3 jazz organs with digital drawbars, guitars, brass, flutes, synths, and more amazing instrument tones. I am very particular when it comes to some of these sounds and the Kawai MP6 certainly passes my test with flying colors. If you are an experienced piano player, advanced student, very particular in wanting the most realistic piano tone & touch you can get in this price range, or are a beginner and want the best pure piano experience (and don't care about cabinet and built-in speakers), this would be the perfect digital piano in that "under $2000 price range." Below is a link to a review I wrote about the MP6 with more details on this fine piano.
http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2011/01/kawai-mp6-digital-piano-awesome-piano.html

My 2nd place pick goes to Casio with its PX850 Privia furniture cabinet piano (left pic - $1099). This new model is amazing in this low price range for its realistic piano tone & key action in a much lower price range along with some new digital features that makes this piano a compelling choice. Take a look at the Casio PX850 blog review I did at the link below for more info on that model: Casio PX850 reviewMy 3rd place pick is a tie which goes to Kawai for its CE220 furniture cabinet piano (left pic - $1899) and also the Kawai ES7 compact digital piano. The CE220 has an actual acoustic piano wooden hammer key and solid action producing a very realistic acoustic grand piano sound with some useful educational features in an attractive satin black cabinet. The wood key action is really an amazing feature in this price range and no one else has this until you get above $3000. Both of these Kawai pianos are really fine instruments overall and with their built-in speakers, lots of great instrument sounds, MIDI playback and record as well as MP3 & wav file audio recording on the ES7, and very nice piano tone all in attractive cabinets. The reason I gave the Casio 2nd place over the Kawai is that its low price range makes it much more affordable for more families, but if you have the disposable income to invest in the Kawai pianos, those instruments would also be even better choices. Go here for my reviews of the Kawai CE220 & ES7: Kawai CE220 review  Kawai ES7 Review

Casio PX780
My next pick would be the new Casio PX780 ($999 internet discount price - left pic). Yes, it's another Casio but I have to say for the the low price it's also an amazing instrument. I have played this new model and it has a great full size piano sound and hammer weighted smooth key action, but in a  compact digital piano cabinet with many useful educational features (more than any other digital piano under $2000) at a very low price. Go here for a detailed PX780 review: Casio PX780 Review. The Kawai ES100 and Yamaha P155 piano in that order would be next in line with both having good key action although the Yamaha key action is a somewhat heavy touch in my opinion (especially on the upper octaves), but it does have realistic and resonate piano sounds with nice dynamics ($799 & $999 base price).

The Korg keyboard company still produces three fairly nice digital pianos with its LP380 ($999) being the best of the four.  An optional factory made wood stand makes for a more complete package on the ES100 and P155 (the Korg is already in a self contained cabinet) but both the Kawai & Yamaha are still definitely worth the extra difference over the Korg in my opinion. Casio also has a furniture cabinet model AP250 for just $999 (very top left pic) that is quite impressive at it's lower price and in fact is the lowest price of any top manufacturer to offer what it does in an attractive furniture cabinet with the fundamental piano features that many people want plus additional interactive technology. That model is also a good value.

By the way, the link below is a more in depth review of both the Yamaha P155.  Check it out when you have time:

http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2011/06/yamaha-p155-vs-kawai-ep3-digital-pianos.html

Besides the P155 portable digital piano (left pic - $999), Yamaha also has its new YDP162 which is a very nice model ($1499 internet price) but I just wasn't as impressed with it as compared to a few of the others, especially the Kawai pianos. Although all of the top brand digital pianos are good, this rating is my personal opinion based on piano touch & feel, action movement, piano tone, price point, and what many people are looking for in the respective price ranges. Yes, there are various models I have left out of this list, but the ones I've listed here cover what people are generally ordering throughout the country. As far as the various features in each one of these pianos and their detailed specs, you can go to the manufacturer web site to get that and they usually give a good description. I am just letting everyone know that after personally playing each one of these instruments as well as others not listed here, I believe that certain ones just stand out as "best overall" in their category and what people are wanting for under $2000.

Roland LX15 Digital Piano
Roland LX15e
A person can spend much more than $2000 and have some other nice piano choices such as the Roland LX15e (left pic), Kawai CA65, Roland HP506, Yamaha CLP440, and others. So there certainly are plenty of very nice digital pianos for more money (up to $20,000 and more for digital Grand Pianos). But most families want to be under $2000, and in many cases closer to or even under $1000. 

I am happy to help anyone who wishes to contact me and answer their questions about what might be best for them. Even though the choices I have made here for my top digital pianos are good ones, they may not be the right choice for you depending on your musical needs and goals, and that's where I can help.  

Samick SG310 Digital Piano
Samick SG310 Digital Grand
Finally, I also get people asking me about digital Grand Pianos in smaller cabinets for near or under $2000. The brands of those pianos that are typically selling in that price range are off-brands I absolutely don't recommend such as Suzuki & Adagio that are frequently sold by Costco or some of the bigger music store chains. You'd be much better off with one of the pianos that I have talked about here in this review. However if you just have to have a smaller baby grand shape, the piano brand that I would most recommend in the lower price range close to $2000 and up to $4000 would be the Samick piano models (they are very nice) that I have reviewed at the following link: Samick SG Digital Grands

If you want more info on these and other pianos and lower prices than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864 

18 comments:

  1. Since the AP420 is available in black, do you think the AP620 is worth the (usually) $300 difference?

    Great blog and thanks!

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  2. I can answer that question if you'd like to email me directly. But generally speaking, yes.

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  3. Looking for a digital piano for my wife- she played more than 10 years ago and wants to pickk it back up again. I have looked at the Yamaha P95 based upon performance and price and it would seem to meet her needs. What are your suggestions for other options under $1,000. I am a little skeptical about Casio because their features are always so complicated to figure out. I dont believe she is interested in lots of bells and whistles , just a nice sounding piano. Look forward to your comments.

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  4. I have a couple of suggestions for you and can share more info on the P95 as well if you contact me directly at my email at tim@azpianowholesale.com.

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  5. Hi Tim,

    My kids are learning piano and we want to buy a digital piano. Based on your reviews, we would like to know which one of the following is a good buy: Yamaha CLP320, Casio AP620, Kawai CP67.

    We are looking for a sound and feel that is close to an accoustic piano,ease of use, accompaniments so the kids can experiment. We are looking for a piano at home on which they practice daily and when they go to take the professional exams and play on the accoustic piano in the exam hall, the feel of the piano keys and sound is not much different from what they have practised at home.

    Also, we are looking for a piano under $2000.

    Your advise is greatly appreciated.

    thanks and regards

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  6. Hi, Tim.

    I'm wondering if I buy a Yamaha CLP 440, a Roland FP7-F or a Kawai MP6.

    I'd like to play on an authentic piano sound and feel. Which reflects on my inclination for the Yamaha model.

    But I also want to get more for the same money I would invest. And Yamaha will bring me only 14 tones against 300s of the other ones.

    Here in Brazil, the models have equivalent prices. What do you recommend?

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  7. Hi Tim...I´m writing from Argentina. I´m interested in buying a new piano for my kids who have studied for 5 years. According to the offers in our local market and the prices, I am in between the Korg Lp-350 and the Kawai cl 36. Which one do you recommend? is there any significant difference between them to decide? Thanks a lot in advance. Kindest regards.
    Lucas (ARG)

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  8. Hi Lucas,

    The Kawai CL36 is a much newer and better digital piano than the Korg LP350, especially for authentic upright piano touch & tone. The Korg LP350 is good, but somewhat outdated now and is not up to the abilities of the Kawai.I would recommend the Kawai in this case.

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  9. Hi,
    I have narrowed down to Kawai CE 200 and Kurzweil MP10. Which one has a better piano sound?

    THanks,

    S.

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  10. Both instruments are very nice but very different. I can talk to you about those differences if you email me at the address on my blog

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  11. Dear Tim,

    Which piano, in your opinion, is more rewarding: The Yamaha p 155 or the Korg SP 250? I am leaning toward the Korg although "common sense" dictates otherwise. Much appreciated,

    Bill.

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  12. Hi Tim,

    I am interested in P95 and P155. Which one do you suggest?

    Many thanks
    Nam

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  13. These two pianos are completely different from each other including price, but you already knew that, right? Either one is fine and will (overall) play and sound good. However, the P155 has a more powerful internal speaker system and sounds bigger and fuller.

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  14. Hello Tim.. I am having a hard time trying to decide between P155 and YDP135r.They are priced the same. YDP135r looks great though. However, compared to P155, YDP 135r seems to have low volume. Is that the case?

    I am looking for a piano that can produce a good grand piano sound and would produce good sound at home.

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  15. The P155 is a much better piano in terms of sound, dynamics, sensitivity response, and features than a YDP135R. However, the key action on the P155 is a bit stiff/heavy in my opinion as compared to the 135R, but otherwise the P155 is a very nice instrument. The obvious advantage of the YDP135R (depending on what you need) is that it is a more traditional furniture style cabinet which is important to some people.

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  16. Hi Tim, I'm currently looking at buying a digital piano. I'm currently looking at the Kawai cl-26, kawai cl-36 and roland f102. The cl-36 and f102 currently go for the same price of 888 euros and the cl-26 goes for 698 euros.

    Can you tell me how the cl-36 and f102 stack up to eachother. And if the cl-26 would lack a lot compared to these 2 models in lack of playability?

    Most important for me is a authentic piano feel (as close as one can get, with this small budget). I have the ability to connect with steinberg grand 3, so the sound is less important.

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

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  17. Hi Tim, do not know which is better the yamaha CP50 or mp6 Kawai, greetings and thanks for your time and dedication

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  18. Hi , iam a beginner pianist from argentina, i have a yamaha P95 for 5 years and i would like to update the model , i 'd like to buy the P155, ? what is your opinion? or i would buy a model more advanced?.Thanks in advance.Best Regards.

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