Feb 4, 2016

REVIEW - Casio PX5S Digital Stage Piano

UPDATED REVIEW - September 10, 2017 - Casio PX5S Privia Pro Stage Piano ($999 internet price) - Recommended as an all-in-one 88-key weighted hammer action stereo digital stage piano synth, performance keyboard controller, and all around fun instrument to play. There really is nothing else like it at this point. 

Here's a thought; what if you could get a tasty sizzling hot steak for the price of a basic hamburger? Well essentially that's what a Casio PX5S is...it's an entire yummy steak dinner (see yummy dinner pic on left) for the price of one basic hamburger, if you can relate to that:) and the PX5S really does sizzle too! I have played the PX5S stage piano many times and it has an impressive weighted acoustic style piano action (same action as in their Casio Privia PX850 furniture cabinet model) in a lightweight 24lb package that combines fairly realistic piano playing with lots of higher quality instrument sounds and effects along with many user controllable features for a low price. It's not that this instrument is the best synth digital piano in the piano business, because it certainly is not. It's really all about the PX5S doing so much cool stuff at a really low price. It just cannot be beat for what it does, and its low price (as compared to anything else out there right now) is propelling this instrument past all other brands and models for what it does in its price range.

Casio PX5S Privia Pro Piano
Casio PX5S Privia Pro
Flexibility coupled with great sound is what everyone wants in a digital piano and when I play on a digital piano I not only want a high quality piano sound and key action (in a specific price range), but I want the other instrument sounds to be as good as possible too. On the lower priced portable instruments out there for under $1000, flexibility and high quality great sounds are hard to find when you are at a higher level of playing skill level. At best, the various digital pianos in that price range tend to be average or just adequate overall in terms of sound flexibility and control. Now comes along the Casio PX5S and the discerning person looking for higher quality playing experience for a low price in a portable piano can get noticeably upgraded features and functions. There are realistic vintage electric piano sounds, synths, brass, strings, great real-time sound editing controls, 4 impressive arpeggiators with the ability to use one on each of 4 individual sound zones, 6 layer presets with up to 14 different sound layers at one time and changing the sound while playing (wow!), live "key up" sound triggers which means that after you press a key down and then when the key comes back up, that upward key movement triggers another different sound! Yikes...all of that is incredibly cool considering you're not paying a lot for that technology:).

Casio PX5S Privia Piano
The PX5S also has a synth "phrase sequencer" with up to 1000 sound phrases. What I mean by a phrase sequencer is that you can access animated rhythmic sounds that move in different ways over time and you can play along with them, modify them with a vast array of assignable editing controls, and just make up your own music while paying along. It sounds like you are in outer space performing gigantic music scores and playing multiple instruments at one time and yet you are just
Casio PX5S Privia Piano
improvising and creating music you may not have ever dreamed of before and doing it all by yourself. In other words, you get rich, full, moving sound without doing much. It can put you in a creative musical place you have never been before and yet when you are through with all that, you can just revert the PX5S back to a piano and play traditional piano music without anything else but you and the piano with a fairly convincing piano style key action and acoustic piano sound. When you combine the grand piano sound along with the other cool creative sounds you made up or chose from a preset library, then the result is even more satisfying. Whether you like Jazz, pop, classical, country, oldies, or whatever, in my opinion the PX5S Privia Pro piano sizzles with excitement at its $999 internet price.

Casio PX5S Privia Pro
The instrument is quite versatile and really much more than a piano, and in reality is a synth performance controller keyboard that is also a surprisingly good piano. So what came first...the Casio chicken or the Casio egg? Is it a piano with stuff, or a keyboard with stuff that is also a very impressive hammer weighted action 88-key piano? Well, it is both, but really more the latter.  It is also important to note that the PX5S does not have piano "half-pedaling". Half-pedal is the ability to have medium length sustain (not just on & off) on the damper sustain pedal when pressing it down while playing the piano sound. The PX5S does not have this feature and I wish it did because although I do play synths, electric pianos, and organs and enjoy what they do, I am primarily a piano player. But as a piano player I want the digital piano to be as realistic as I can get it and not having the half-pedal feature is a bit disappointing to me. Oh well, can't have everything I suppose, especially at the $999 price. I can live with that because the PX5S is so cool otherwise and if I really wanted more of a pure digital piano playing experience without a lot of this extra stuff, I would consider another brand or model for more money like the Kawai MP7 (which is also nearly twice the weight:). See my review of that model here:
Kawai MP7 Review

Casio PX5S Privia Piano
The Casio PX5S is using a powerful 256-note polyphony processing chip and that polyphony memory is important in allowing for all those layers, arpeggiators, effects, and instrument sounds of the PX5S to work together all at one time without sound or note dropout. This is so important and no other piano in this price range comes close to that. If you are a musically creative person when it comes to layering a variety of sounds & effects together and playing them at one time (like I am), then having 256 notes of polyphony is critical to the best outcome possible when doing complex sound creation. The PX5S also lets you edit the grand piano sound and recreate it using an adjustable 4-band EQ (along with a number of adjustable effects) so that you are not limited in the sound of the main piano tone either. This is just another way that you can adjust and personalize the sound(s) of the PX5S.

Casio tri-sensor key action
Casio Tri-sensor key action
The PX5S 3-sensor (Casio calls it Tri-sensor) key action is also impressive and really does feel like a realistically weighted acoustic piano with enough resistance and bounce to make you feel as if you are not playing a digital piano. The 3 sensors are also a big deal because they allow for noticeably quicker repetitive sound response which is and not normally found on instruments in this price range. The key tops have a synthetic ivory and ebony material giving the fingers a sense they are playing on an organic material like real ivory and ebony and that allows for a smoother playing experience on the keys while helping to absorb sweat from the fingers. I have played on this keyboard a number of times now and it really does feel that way, at least it does to me...and that makes it more enjoyable to play.

Casio PX5S Privia Piano
The PX5S looks contemporary in its custom cabinet with easy to use buttons and a cool looking LCD display screen for easier navigation. There is an audio USB wav file recorder (using a USB flashdrive) on-board so that you can record yourself and save it as a real audio recording including singing or playing another instrument through the piano or import recordings directly into the instrument for play-along...very cool. There are also lots of ways to connect things including having high a speed USB output direct to iPad, etc and being able to control four independent devices through the USB output at one time while also having access to traditional MIDI input & output for those devices that require standard MIDI ports. There is also an 1/8"audio input jack to run audio sound back through the PX5S such as from an Ipad audio output into the PX5S audio input...also very cool. I don't want to forget that the PX5S is a real live controller piano keyboard in that you can control multiple aspects of the sound and functions with 4 independent knobs and 6 sliders to assign independent effects, sounds, and other parameters for live sound mixing and creation at the touch of a finger or the turn of a knob...easy to do and the results are impressive.

Casio PX5S Privia Piano
Casio also has additional sound libraries which you can load into the piano from a USB flashdrive and save into as many as 220 user presets along with having 340 built-in sounds already in this keyboard. So when you consider what this new piano controller synth can actually do, what it has, how it works, how it feels to play, what it looks like, and how it actually sounds, there really is little reason not to buy it if you think it fits your needs. The PX5S can be super fun to play for a large majority of people although there are other great digital stage pianos out there but most of them are significantly more money and don't necessarily have the features of the PX5S. It is also worth noting for people who are not familiar with "stage
Casio PX5S Privia Pianopianos" that there are no built-in speakers in this instrument although it still can be used anywhere including home, church, school, studio, etc. You'll need an external speaker system (stereo monitors are best) and a good keyboard stand, although Casio does make a furniture style stand for this piano which is nice for people who want to use this instrument in a more formal setting. The Casio stand sells for about $100. Also, the PX5S can also work on regular AA batteries (8 of them placed in an internal compartment in the back of the piano) so you do not need electric power if you are somewhere that doesn't have it like a park, beach, indoor facility, or your electric power just goes out! Then all you need to hear it is to plug it into a stereo battery powered keyboard amp like the new Roland KC110 and then everything is powered by batteries and sounds great...how cool is that from a pro sounding piano synth keyboard at this price?! Copyright AZPianoNews.com 2014

Casio PX5S Privia Piano
The bottom line is if you want to buy a very flexible piano-synth instrument with a satisfying graded hammer weighted piano key action for a low price, this would be it. The PX5S offers an amazing sound creation experience along with having some realistic built-in sounds such as electric pianos, acoustic pianos, synths, organs, etc, in a cool looking lightweight cabinet that you can easily take anywhere you want. It is important to note that for some people this model may be too complex to navigate as there are many functions and features that can be confusing to understand at times...so this model is not for everyone. But this is also true for some other brands as well when it comes to digital piano/keyboard controllers. Still, there is nothing else like the Casio PX5S stage piano right now in this price range, and for $999 it's pretty impressive:). It's fun to play it, create on it, and enjoy some incredible sound coming out of it. All you need to do is attach some nice stereo monitors to it and away you go! When hours of time go by and you are still wanting to play more than you already have, then you know you have an instrument that is too good to put down, and that's what the PX5S is like:). I would suggest that if this model sounds like it would be a good one for you, then you should buy it.

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.


32 comments:

  1. Very nice review! I just have a word now: Sold!

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  2. Wish it wasn't white

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    1. you can't have everything...Casio wanted it to look different and they certainly achieved that

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  3. Hi Tim, i've read your review of the kawai mp6 and of the px5s. I play at church and i'd like to make some beats or even use kontakt for playing with some extra sounds like rhodes samples and so on... I was about to buy the mp6 but now i don't know. Thank you

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  4. The MP6 is the better digital piano in terms of key action and piano sound as well as some other instrument sounds. The Casio is the better instrument in terms of creating rhythmic music. The pianos are completely different from each other in many ways but are both controllers for external sounds and devices.

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    1. After your well done review and videos on youtube I`ve ordered for one of these very nice stagepianos.
      Thanks a lot!

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  5. And the Casio is cheaper. So if i want to sacrifice a lil bit of key action for creating better rhythmic music i should take the casio because if i'm using external sounds, i'm not really losing great sounds. That's fair. So what i'd be really losing is the perfect piano player experience (i read again your article) because of the half pedal medium lenghth thing (no disrespect, i'm a french native). Thanks great advicen thanks a lot

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  6. Hi! Nice review!
    What's the best hammer action keys: Casio PX-5s or Yamaha CP33?
    Thanks.

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  7. casio px350 keybed action verses px5s keybed II action. Is there a difference? Thanks for any info.

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  8. Change the photo of mechanic scheme (previous model): in the new Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II has been revised the sensor positions
    R.Gerbi

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  9. good catch...I had missed that...Thx

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  10. Hai Sir. I am looking for a digital piano with best grand pianos and other sounds and USB functions as well. Can you please tell me the best digital piano I can get under 1000$ price range?.

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  11. Hi Tim, I have a question: When you comment "...with enough resistance and bounce to make you feel as if you are not playing a digital piano", are you saying the keyboard weighted action is on the "light side"?
    I have played the PX-350 (good weight for me, a little bit on the "heavy side") and I need to know if PX5-S keys feel the same weight.
    Thanks for your support

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  12. All new Casio digital pianos have the identical keyboard action. As for the weighted key feel, I would suggest that you get a better idea of what a real acoustic piano key action feels like by going to a piano store (if possible) and play some new higher quality acoustic pianos. Then you will know what key actions really feel like and how much strength it takes to press the keys down. The Casio PX series is actually on the slightly lighter side of some acoustic pianos. The heaviness you think you feel is likely due to your own personal experience and not necessarily reflective of what keyboard weighted actions should feel like.

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  13. hi TIM,
    Much thanks for the you take to review these pianos giving your honest and experienced view!
    For a beginner how important is it to have the half-pedal? versus an off/on sustain pedal such as the px5s - is it really going to be that much of an issue when learning? .... i really love the px-5s features eg synth stuff.
    Thssnks agai, Jas from OZ

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  14. half-pedaling (as it is called) allows for partial piano note sustain when moving the pedal with your foot about half way down from the bottom. This feature allows for a more natural piano sound sustain like an acoustic piano. Without that feature, the pedal sustain is much more abrupt being that it is only on with full sustain or completely off. If you don't really care about getting the most authenticity out of your piano playing experience or are at a basic skill level, then half pedaling may not be important to you. However, there are few digital pianos these days that do not have half-pedaling and I am surprised the PX5S cannot do that given its other abilities and price.

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    1. Thanks Tim for your response and so quickly - much appreciated! Yes from what you said its strang they'd go part way, you wonder how much cost or complexity it would really have added? Anyways thanks a lot for your advice it is very helpful!
      Jas from OZ

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  15. Hi Tim,
    Does the px-350 resolve issue around the sustain pedal?
    Ireally like the px-5s but can see the 350 might be a better option - players are a 10 year old beginner and a 5 year old run-a-muc and a 40 year old IT nerdy dad who likes the idea of learning to but likes synth side but wants connect to PC and ipad.
    Jas from Australia

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  16. The PX350 does allow for half-pedaling as long as you get the optional PX350 3-pedal unit and use those pedals. The PX5S cannot support a 3-pedal unit

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  17. Hi Tim, I saw you recommend the Roland stereo keyboard amp KC110 for sound system. But would you recommend any good stand? Sebastien

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  18. Quicklok T10 or T20 stand, or On-stage KS7350 stand

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  19. Hello, mr. Tim! Thank you for interesting and helpful reviews!
    I read comments, and in the bottom line I think that PX-350 even better for piano experience? Because PX-350 has half-pedaling as you wrote in one of your comments (action and sound the same, as I understood). Also PX-350 has 17-track sequencer, but PX-5S doesn't have one. Only phrase sequencer… And PX-350, if I don't mistake, has accompaniment styles which can be helpful in practice for improvisations? And at the same time PX-350 is even cheaper! So, I confused and don't understan why PX-5S can be better for me. The most improtant for me Piano Action, Piano sound and USB Audio Recording. Both have USB-Audio Recording, which is also extremely important for me (KAWAI in addition have MP3 recording/playback, not only WAV, which is even better and unique).
    Regards,
    Alex

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  20. The PX5S has the 256-note polyphony memory chip which offers a better piano sound along with the PX5S offering more flexibility in creating many different acoustic piano sounds with real time controls for EQ, decays, release, attack, and other analog characteristics. The PX5S is a completely different animal than the PX350 and they are for different musical needs and uses. Also wav files can be converted to MP3 files if necessary using off-board software. One piano is not better than the other...they are just different. I would suggest you purchase both of them:)

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  21. Yerstaday I've watched one video on YouTube. And I found there comments from CASIO. They've wrote the next about piano sound:

    «The differences [between PX-5S and PX-350] go FAR beyond reverb and EQ. The PX-5S offers full control over the damper resonance simulation. On the PX-5S , you can control things like the sound of the dampers themselves lifting off the strings as well as the damper resonance amounts. In addition the PX-5S offers strings resonance (sympathetic resonance), so notes will virtually simulate others as you play the PX-5S. The PX-5S also offers release velocity, providing better control over legato staccato passages. The PX-5S also has insert effects which provide a "lid simulation" so you can control if the grand piano lid is open or closed».

    Of course, after that I do not have any doubts about PX-5S. For piano playing experience its objectively better, than PX-350. And that's what I've asked about. Hope, this will be helpful for other people too.
    Regards,
    Alex

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  22. most people playing recreational music on a digital piano like the Casio PX350 find the piano sound quite pleasing and the editing controls more than enough for their needs. The PX5S is a stage piano and inherently different than a recreational fun piano and a person needs to be at a higher skill and musical experience playing level to understand and appreciate the differences between the two Casio models. That is why Casio makes them to be different...

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  23. Hi Tim
    Very comprehensive revue. What would you recommend as an amp for home situation i.e. tone more important than outright volume

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  24. Hi Tim! Looking for digital piano I found korg kross, same price, which one should you recommend, considering flexibility, easy to use, sound? Thanks

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  25. Hi Tim, great site and info! I know they are different beasts but could you give me a quick comparison between the Casio PX5S and the Yamaha DGX-650? It's for my daughter, she wants to play piano/keyboard in a rock band. She is prob between beginner-intermediate. From what I've read, there will be much more of a learning curve to the Casio, but I'm thinking in the long run this will be a better choice for her once she does figure it out. Is there anything major she would be missing out on, if choosing the Casio over the Yamaha? I'm under the impression the Casio can do everything the Yamaha can and more, as far as sounds/effects/voices that kind of stuff but I also don't really know what I'm talking about as piano is not my thing. Thanks for your time! :)

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  26. I've had my PX-5S for a week now. I LOVE IT. I've owned a Yamaha DX7, Ensoniq SD1, Zurzweil PC88, a Yamaha YPG635, and a Yamaha P-155S. I'm a public school music teacher, I give private lessons, I play keys and lead worship at our church, and I gig on the weekends. My Zurweil had been my gigging board for years, but it's HEAVY (75 lbs in the case) and I'm not getting any younger! It was time for a new keyboard. Required: SOLID piano sound and feel, lots of useful quality sounds, lots of polyphony, 88 weighted keys, and something that didn't weigh as much as my Kurzweil. I found it—the Casio Privia PX-5S! At just 24 lbs I sling it over my shoulder in a bag. Great touch, textured keys, AWESOME! Over 256 voice polyphony . . . I like to layer sounds, now I don't run out of notes! You can customize EVERTHING; I've created my own set-ups for my gigs. You can control EVERYTHING about a set-up: sounds, layers, key-splits, EQ, effects, etc . . . and I'm REALLY pleased with the sound. I've had a few people raise their eyebrows when I come in with a Casio. But they're blown away with the performance. I'm not a wealthy man, but Casio's made it possible for me to have a keyboard that rivals everything the "big guys" offer. I've always been a Yamaha and Kurzweil guy, but not anymore! Be sure to check out the Casio PX-5S instructional videos on YouTube; they are a wealth of help and information.

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  27. Hi...my daughter's music facility recommends the roland fp-50 at $1500..is that a large step up in quality vs this Casio Px-5s?? In your opinion better bang for the buck? She is a 9 year old going on 4 years of playing whom seems to really enjoy piano. Thanks.

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