Jan 3, 2014

REVIEW - Casio AP250 Digital Piano - Recommended

Casio AP250 digital piano
Casio AP250
UPDATED REVIEW - October 1, 2017 - Casio AP250/260 Digital Piano - Recommended -  Both the Casio AP250 furniture digital piano ($849 internet discount price) and the AP260 ARE NOW DISCONTINUED and the replacement is called the AP270 which is a big upgrade to the former models. Read my new review of the Casio AP270 at the following link: Casio AP270 Review 

Even though the AP250 has been discontinued for some time, it may still be sold by a couple of places on-line (including Costco). The AP250 was (is) a good piano for its low price because it offered a nice piano playing experience in a low price range under $1000 for graded hammer weighted style key action movement, a full size 3-pedal unit for traditional piano pedaling, and acoustic piano tone realism in a smaller size traditional furniture style cabinet with a metal sliding key cover. The AP250 is also fairly lightweight with stand and pedals (only 87 lbs).

The Casio company itself is based in Tokyo, Japan (left pic) and has been producing digital pianos and musical instruments including digital keyboards, synthesizers, pianos, guitars, and other sophisticated musical instruments for over 30 years, which is a long time in my opinion. They are obviously also well known for their keyboards, watches, digital cameras, calculators, and hundreds of other digital products so technology is not new to them. Casio is generally thought of as a company that gives you a lot of "bang for the buck" in the lower price ranges and it's certainly true for the AP250 in my opinion. By the way, all Casio digital pianos come with a long 3 year parts and labor factory warranty, and are fairly reliable based on my personal experience as well as other people I know who own Casio pianos. Copyright  

Casio AP250 digital piano control panel
Casio AP250 digital pianoI have played the AP250 and like the way it plays and sounds in this price range. I have played other digital pianos that I like better in terms of key action, sound, and pedaling realism, but they are a bit more money. The main control panel buttons on the AP250 are easy to see and located in front of you across the top. The piano has 18 nice instrument tones including strings, harpsichord, organ, electric pianos, etc, five of which are various sounding acoustic pianos which is one of the most important features to have on a digital piano. A good variety of acoustic piano tones allows you to play and reproduce different types of piano music including classical, jazz, pop, country, etc. Also, the piano's ability to play higher levels of music is always better when there is more piano sound computer memory (called polyphony) and the AP250 has 128-note polyphony which is good in this price range, but the new AP270 has 192 notes of polyphony memory. (Yamaha & Roland also have 128-note polyphony). It's generally good to get more polyphony than less. Having more polyphony memory also helps with getting more realistic pedal decay time when sustaining multiple notes from the keys. Using the pedals (especially the right sustain pedal) is an important aspect of piano playing and this would include having good, resonate pedal sustain reproduction instead of just on & off sustain as is in many other digital pianos and keyboards such as Kurzweil, Galileo, etc which don't have variable length sustain. The more authentic pedal sustain reproduction is also known as "half-damper pedaling" and the AP250 has that feature which is important as your playing skill level increases. All regular acoustic pianos have a "gradual sustain" pedaling (the right pedal) so getting "half-damper" pedal sustain on your digital piano is a good thing, especially as you progress in your musical playing ability.

Casio AP250 digital piano
As far as key action movement and dynamic response goes, the AP250 is quite good for its low price and I was impressed when I played it. Key action is always the number one concern of piano teachers and those people who can play piano at higher skill levels. Many people ask me "does this digital piano feel and respond like a real acoustic piano?" My answer is that most brands and models of real acoustic pianos feel and play differently from each other including uprights & grands. There are different price ranges and qualities just like in anything you can buy, so the AP250 is not going to be replacing a Steinway grand piano anytime soon:) However, for its price range it is a good piano in being able to reproduce a fairly realistic acoustic upright piano playing experience with graded hammer weighted action, good tonal dynamics, and smooth volume response, although I have heard better.

Casio AP250 digital piano
Casio AP250 keyboard
As far as the piano keys themselves go, the various digital manufacturers have come out with new synthetic "ivory feel" keytops on many digital pianos which is a new material on top of the white keys that tries to reproduce the original real ivory keys that used to be on most acoustic pianos many years ago until it became illegal to use elephant ivory. The ivory substance provided a better playing experience for most people because it helped absorb the sweat your fingers would produce while playing the keys and this material also provided a smoother key surface as well. Also, the black key tops of acoustic pianos were made of ebony (have you heard the term ebony & ivory?) so the black keys also had a better playing surface. To get these new keytops (ivory only) instead of the regular plastic ones, you would need to spend more money in the Yamaha, Kawai, or Roland furniture cabinet brands. Beyond that, this new material is not the same on every piano brand because some are better than others. Casio has added a proprietary synthetic ebony and ivory texture to their keys that I personally like and it has a noticeable texture, although it may feel a bit different to people than regular new acoustic pianos and some people have a more difficult time getting used to this synthetic textured material on the keytops. 

Beyond the piano playing experience, having some useful digital features in the piano that can help with music education and/or playing skills, etc, is always welcome as far as I'm concerned. As a piano teacher & musician I enjoy having these features on my digital pianos and like to see students and recreational piano players get them too. The AP250 has a class compliant USB MIDI connection to computer or iPad device which is very useful for interactive play and learning for both children & adults. I use iPad piano & music learning apps in my studio all the time for students because the visual interaction between the piano and the iPad app is really cool and can help get the point across that I am trying to make to the student in ways that nothing else can. There are great iPad/tablet apps out there for both kids & adults (left pics) to take advantage of this new technology as well as useful piano music notation programs for laptop computers so that you can have a fun interactive time in learning, composing, on screen notation & music creation.The AP250 can also electronically split the keyboard into 2 equal parts for duet play for teaching and learning having both sides of the keyboard be the same octave, and there are functions that allow for the layering or splitting two different sounds at the same time like having an acoustic piano sound & string sound together playing at the same time or selecting a different sound on the left hand and a different sound on the right hand, which is pretty cool. The piano also has a 2-track 1-song recorder for recording left & right hand independently for playback separately or together so you can hear how you did...some people don't want to hear themselves but it really is a good thing to do:). The AP250 also has a key transpose feature to electronically put your song in any key no matter what key you're actually playing it in (great for singing) as well as a number of other useful functions including metronome, key sensitivity control, brightness control, and other useful features.

Casio AP250 digital piano
Overall for the money, the Casio AP250 is a digital piano which most people will enjoy while keeping the price down to under $1000 in a traditional cabinet design along with a sliding key cover, headphone jacks, fairly realistic acoustic piano sound, graded weighted key action, and useful on-board digital features. I recommend you do your piano research and homework because spending around $1000US is a lot of money and you want to be sure you are making a good buying decision and that you are getting the most for the money. You will likely have the piano for many years so sometimes just spending a bit more money on a next model up can be a better long term investment and the extra dollars spent now can take you further into your musical future. Please contact me before you spend your hard earned money and I will be happy to give you some helpful advice.

*By the way, as I mentioned earlier, there is a new 2018 model called the Casio AP270 which is a much better instrument with noticeably better piano playing authenticity for not much more money. At just $1049 internet discount price, the new AP270 is a better long term piano investment over purchasing the AP250 in my opinion because the key action feels better, the cabinet has been redesigned with better construction, and ultimately it just sounds much better like a real piano because of technology upgrades. This piano is definitely worth consideration and based on a special introductory price for this new model that is less than internet discount price right now, it's nearly the same price as the AP250! However this is not an advertised intro price so please contact me first and I can give you info on this limited event and how to order one factory direct. So be sure to read my review of this new model before you buy the older AP250. Casio AP270 Review   

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

16 comments:

  1. Great post. Do the Celvianos have the same key action and sound engines as the Privias?

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  2. The new Casio Privia's and Celviano's have identical key actions

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  3. do you recommend the PX780 to the AP250?

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  4. that's an easy one to answer...aside from cabinet, the Casio PX780 would be my personal choice. If you want more detailed info on why that is, please email me directly.

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  5. Tim, thanks for your review. I need to decide between Privia PX750, Celviano AP-250, and Yamaha YDP-162. Price is similar for these models. What do you recommended?

    Thanks in advance.

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  6. Hi Tim, thanks for this excellent review. Would your personal choice still be the PX780 over an AP650?
    Thank you,
    Gerardo

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  7. yes it would, especially for the cost savings

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  8. Very helpful review for the beginners thinking of purchasing a lower priced piano. Thanks for the detailed explanation.

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  9. Great post. How different is this from the previous discontinued model Celviano 220 BK? Costco has the Celviano 220 BK on sale this week for $700 with the stand and bench, so I was just wondering. It seems like a great deal, but I'm not sure if it is not as good as the 250 model.

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  10. Casio has a new piano called the PX750 which has an internet discount price of $799 and this model is much better in piano sound realism and key action movement than the discontinued Casio AP220. The new AP250 is the direct replacement of the discontinued AP220 and the AP250 is also much better in terms of key action and piano sound realism (and also ivory touch keytops) than the AP220. It depends on how long you intend to keep the piano and if you want the better piano playing realism.

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  11. AP 720 for $999 or PX 850 for $1099 - based on your review I think the latter would be the best choice

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  12. Your reviews are extremely helpful and I was hoping you could assist me further in guiding me towards the best piano for my needs as I am still completely undecided. I have never played the piano before and am now looking to take it up now that I have some spare time in my hectic life. Given that I am only starting out I have been drawn towards a digital piano, predominately for cost, and secondly as I can practice quietly once the kids are asleep. I don’t have a great budget and was drawn towards the Casio AP-245. Do you think this would be a wise investment given I’m only starting out or would you suggest I pay that bit more for the PX750 or more again for the PX780. Is there enough difference between the AP245 and PX750 (or PX780) to justify the extra cost at this early stage.

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  13. Tim, do you have review of AP450 and AP650? so hard for me here to find PX 850 in my area, types left only AP250, AP450, PX150 and PX350.

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  14. Would you recommend Casio AP 260 or Kawai CE 220?

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