Korg LP-380U - REVIEW | 2022 Digital Piano | LOWER PRICE HERE


Korg LP-380U piano review
UPDATED REVIEW
- July 1, 2022 - The 2022 Korg LP-380-U (aka:LP-380) furniture cabinet model ($1349 internet price)  is a very popular digital piano from the Korg Music company. The LP-380U is the new version of the older model LP-380 which has been out for a number of years. Be careful that you do not purchase the older LP-380. The model number designation with the "U" is what makes this piano the new 2022 model. So be careful you get the "U" model and not the other one because there is a significant difference. The LP-380U now has direct USB MIDI connectivity as well as the brand new platform of USB AUDIO STREAMING connectivity which is in high demand these days. 

Korg LP-380U rosewood
It is interesting to note that the prior LP-380 (without the U) is an older model and has actually been on the market for more than 5 years without a change because when it came out it was way ahead of its time. So Korg really did not think they needed to change it now (except for adding the new USB audio streaming technology) and I agree.
This is because this model has the top of the line Korg pro key action that their current higher priced models have, a powerful internal stereo speaker system of 44 watts, good piano sound resonation, responsive pedaling and sustain, and their 5 year factory warranty. However, I think some people shopping for a new digital piano and find out the original LP-380 came out a while ago might be thinking, "why would I want to buy a model that has been lout for awhile with regard to technology when I can get a "more updated" digital piano from another brand in this price range with perhaps newer technology for about the same price?" 

Korg LP-380U full cabinet view
Actually, other brands have done the same thing in updating older models with a few things so Korg is not the only one doing this. You would be smart to ask that question because there is a good reason for doing it this way. What Korg did is take this older but yet very capable model LP-380 and make it "new" with the additional of USB MIDI and USB AUDIO STREAMING connectivity to external devices...especially the iPad, and this is what many people want to have in their new digital piano these days. So the new model number is the LP-380U, not the LP-380 anymore.  

USB MIDI and audio streaming technology
What this new USB audio streaming technology has done is to turn the otherwise very good LP-380 digital piano into an iPad driven super digital piano LP-380U.
With regard to the LP-380U itself, there is a relatively extensive library of  30 instrument sounds resident within the LP-380U (same as previous LP-380) including acoustic & electric piano sounds, strings, organs, harpsichord, etc, along with a huge 44 watt internal amplifier system driving a tuned, internally housed speaker system which makes those instrument sounds have a big sound output and better than any other digital piano in this price range with regard to the speaker system, but otherwise this model is somewhat basic in technology and features. It also does not have any on-board MIDI recording features like most other digital pianos do in this price range and in lower price ranges. But what makes the new LP-380U so special is that you can customize it and turn it into anything you want to be (so to speak) with the new USB AUDO STREAMING and USB MIDI connectivity

USB MIDI & Audio A to B cable & iPad lightning adapter
In other words, you can use all of the music related app power of your iPad (and there are some really spectacular music and instrument sound apps available) to drive the LP-380U to become a teaching piano, a recording piano, a professional instrumentation and orchestral piano, a drum rhythm piano, and a lot more when you take advantage of the power of your iPad and the extensive special apps available to you to do these things.
You can even add beautiful new concert grand piano sounds to the new LP-380U using the newer grand piano iOS apps that are available for iPad and stream those new stereo grand piano sounds directly into the LP-380U piano and being heard through that 44 watt internal speaker system of the piano as well as through stereo
iPad apps
headphones for private practice. In other words, when you play the keys on the LP-380U you would be triggering new grand piano and instruments sounds that you would select in the iPad piano apps and then hear them through the piano system, just as if they had been built into the LP-380U. 
Korg LP-380U rosewood-black
To be clear, almost all digital pianos these days have a USB MIDI output to external device. However, that output only sends a MIDI signal to your iPad which allows you to connect and communicate with that interactive MIDI app, which is good.
But...that USB output on all those digital pianos cannot receive any audio/sound signal from the iPad which means any instrument sound, video sound, recording, any audio from the external device will not be heard through your digital piano speakers or your headphones plugged into your digital piano for private practice, unless you happen to have a separate audio input on your digital piano which could work but that would not be digital communication.

If the digital piano does have a separate audio line input connector there still could be audio quality or interference issues when using an additional audio cable like that. But "USB Audio Streaming" changes all that and allows a clean digital audio signal/sound to come from your iPad/external device through the USB cable when also using a lightning adapter cable for your iPad (assuming you have a lightning port iPad) and then into your piano sound system instantly without latency delays and without interruption or distortion. 

It's actually a pretty big deal in technology for digital pianos. Android tablets and phones will also work but there are many more and much better music lesson, music technology, and instrument sound apps for iOS devices than there is for Android.

Bluetooth Audio will not work
A digital piano with "Bluetooth" wireless audio connection (which some digital pianos have) can be a cool feature. But it won't help with audio streaming when playing the keys in real time and wanting to hear your iPad interactive music, lessons, and/or external instrument sounds. This is because of inherent latency/lag-time" audio delays in the Bluetooth audio technology at this point. The latency/delay problem makes the sound from your iPad come in and be heard slightly after you press down a key on your piano which would very very distracting to your playing, so that does not work in terms of hearing real-time audio from an external device (iPad or iPhone) using an interactive piano learning educational app or instrument sound. When you press a key on the piano to play along with it, there would be a delay. So Bluetooth is not the solution there, unfortunately. Only USB audio streaming will work and that is what the new LP380U has inside of it.  

Piano Maestro iPad app
So for me, it's not all about the digital functions and features in this particular piano, although they are certainly more than adequate for many people, families, and students. In that way the LP-380U is still very viable by itself as a piano without external app technology. But in my opinion what it is really all about these days is utilizing the enormous possibilities and power of your iOS iPad, iPhone (or computer) to move further into the 21st century of taking "on-line or virtual piano lessons" and/or adding literally hundreds of high quality musical instrument sounds, drum rhythms, interactive accompaniments, digital-visual metronomes for timing, and other exciting technology to your music and have it all seamlessly streamed (heard) directly into the LP380U speaker system (along with coming into your headphones for private listening) from your iPad with a simple USB cable connection. 

Again, most digital pianos in this price range do not have this new technology coupled together with a top of the line piano key action and powerful internal speaker system. Don't have an iPad or iPhone? Well I know a lot of people lately using their new digital piano as a good excuse to get an iPad, and the fact is that you don't need the latest brand new iPad model because a used one a few years old or a basic new one will do fine as well.

Korg LP380 control panel
The Korg keyboard & pro music products company of Japan has been in business since 1962 and their products are especially popular with professional keyboard players and recording studios for many years and I do like many of the products they make. I have also personally play them professionally over the years as well. There are many Korg keyboards and digital pianos on stage and in a variety of venues all over the world and they make great synthesizers, keyboard workstations, and a bunch of cool pro audio, drum, guitar, and studio production products. However, they have not been much of a "player" (haha) in the home digital piano world until about 4 years ago. They used to make a number of home digital furniture cabinet pianos in the past about 30 years ago or so that were quite impressive and I remember playing them. 

But then Korg got out of that business and instead concentrated on professional stage keyboards, stage digital pianos, and studio production gear and they are a powerhouse in that category.  But now in the last 5-6 years with their new digital piano line-up, the the LP-380U with advanced integration to external devices like iPad, Korg is a big "player" again in the home digital piano market.

Korg LP-380U digital piano
Korg LP-380U
As I previously mentioned, the Korg LP-380U has the top of the line pro quality RH3 balanced and piano weighted key action which offers great balanced weighted key movement and response. The Korg RH3 hammer weighted key action is one of the main reasons I like Korg digital pianos so much along with a big, full piano sound through their powerful speaker systems. When it comes to the fundamentals of piano playing it is really about 4 things: key action response and key-weight, piano sound realism, pedaling sustain response, and how it all comes out of the internal speaker system. 

lower price than Amazon or internet


Korg LP-380U control panel
As far the piano sound goes, the LP-380U has a big stereo piano sound along with 120-note polyphony which is more than enough to play at advanced skill levels without any note drop-out.
It is true that some digital pianos from other brands have up to 256-note polyphony in this price range which is good. But this is generally only necessary with layering 2 sounds sounds together and playing lots of sustained chords together at one time or recording multi-track songs playing several tracks. Plus, when you use external iPad grand piano apps and have those sounds coming through the LP-380U using the USB audio streaming technology, the polyphony of the LP-380U has no effect at all on other stereo grand piano sounds coming into the LP-380U from acoustic piano apps in the iPad such as CMP grand or iGrand apps because their piano polyphony power is independent from the Korg piano and visa-versa. 

The main stereo acoustic piano sound in this new LP-380U is big and full and has good sustain decay time (with half damper control) when using the piano sustain pedal. Many digital pianos in this price range don't have good sustain time and also cannot trigger the half-damper (variable sustain time). 

iPad CMP piano app
The LP-380U furniture cabinet model with the advanced RH3 key action does offer more control over the sound dynamics and is noticeably more enjoyable to play because of that key action. Also on the LP-380U, if you want to add to and improve upon the piano sounds that are already in the piano then you can just connect one of the newer acoustic piano apps in the app library on an iPad and stream that new stereo grand piano directly into the LP-380U so that when you play music on that piano you'll be hearing new stereo concert grand piano sounds coming into your piano speaker system from the iPad which lets you utilize a new library of brand new sounds...all courtesy of the new Korg USB audio streaming technology in the LP-380U.

Again, the LP-380U put out a much more balanced, better dispersed sound with more volume control dynamics so the piano playing experience on that model is a lot more enjoyable for me than many other digital pianos in this price range. The LP-380U is the only digital piano in this price range with a separate enclosed speaker box/chamber mounted under the keyboard and this system allows the sound to be positioned so that it comes out towards you (the player) rather than the speakers be in the bottom of the piano pointed down to the floor like many of the other brands do on their furniture cabinet pianos. So not only do you hear the piano sound in the LP-380U better, you also feel that sound as well as it comes out towards you like a real piano, and that makes it more organic and natural. 

The LP-380U compact cabinet piano is also very nice with its flat closing top and out-of-the-way buttons located on the left side of the top control panel. It's a simple but elegant look so does not appear to be unnecessarily cluttered with buttons. The cabinet takes up a small footprint and the key cover acts as the sheet music rest, and when you are done playing the piano and want to close it up, the key cover is a special "slow-close" type of cover that comes down more slowly so that it cannot slam down and then it folds up flat  

Korg LP-380U closed key coverThe LP-380U offers 30 very good instrument sounds including electric pianos, strings, organs, choirs, etc, it can layer two sounds together, has reverb echo efx, transpose modulation ability, 3 key touch sensitivities, adjustable metronome for rhythm timing, stereo audio output, and other useful features including duet partner mode. Partner mode is the ability of the piano to allow to people to play the same song at the same time. It's useful but only when two people want to practice the same song at the same time dividing the 88-keys electronically into two 44-note keyboards. The LP-380U does not have a recording feature (which is too bad). I would have preferred to have some sort of recording and playback feature built into the piano. However, you can record via an iPad using a recording app and send the piano sound to the app with that USB audio streaming technology. 

Korg LP-380U red digital piano
My general assessment of the LP-380U piano is that if you are wanting to spend under $1300 and mainly want to focus on a quality piano playing experience with the ability to customize and add brand new beautiful stereo grand piano sounds coming from your external device (ie: iPad), then this model is a great choice from Korg.
 But if you just want to mainly play piano and you are not going  to external devices because you don't want to do that, then the Korg LP-380U is more than sufficient all by itself. There are also other choices as far as key action and sound is concerned such as what Yamaha, Casio, and Kawai have to offer with their digital pianos including the popular Casio PX-870 furniture cabinet model at $1199, Casio PX-S3100 portable digital piano at $879 price, and the Kawai ES520 portable digital piano ($1299 internet price).  

The new Korg LP-380U really shines for its price in my opinion with the additional "U" especially when you compare that model against some of the other brands & models in that price range. This would include the Roland F701 ($1749 internet price) with just 24 watts of total power through a small speaker system or the Yamaha YDP-145 ($1299 internet price) with just 16 watts of total power through a small speaker system. In my opinion the Korg LP-380U furniture cabinet model at 44 watts audio power with its very impressive piano key action along with USB audio streaming
Korg LP-380U closed key cover
technology is the much better buy and is the "best bang for the buck" in that price range, especially when it comes to using external iOS app piano lessons and other iPad app technology to customize and add to the capabilities of this model, which is a lot of fun and very enjoyable to do. 

The very popular Casio PX870 at $1199 follows right behind it and also offers a lot of great piano sound and options and we have done a review of that model as well.  The LP-380U has a special textured finish on its matte black cabinet although it does come in other color finishes such as dark rosewood, matte white, and a couple of limited customer colors. As for the textured matte black color, you can see this better when the key cover is closed flat (see left photo) which gives the LP-380U a very sleek, contemporary appearance.

Korg LP-380U is made in Japan
I have always enjoyed playing Korg pro digital stage pianos and keyboards because that is what this company is especially known for and the quality and durability of their better models are very reliable and it is no different with these home style digital pianos. In fact, Korg is the only brand out of all the popular digital piano brands to have their cabinet digital pianos manufactured in Japan in their own factories as opposed to being made in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc as many of the other famous brands will do. So when it comes to a very good value, you really don't have to look any further than Korg, especially with regard to the new LP-380U. 

Even if you never use an iPad to tie in for further piano technology in the LP-380U, as I already mentioned, it is still a fairly impressive piano with regard to its key action, piano sound, pedaling response, and internal speaker system for its price. Korg also produces some more home digital pianos with even better internal piano sounds, more advance internal speaker systems, and other features. Those pianos are called the Korg C1 Air ($1599) and Korg G1 Air.($1999). Check out my reviews of those models and then contact me for more info and lower prices than on the internet for any and all digital pianos.

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.

23 comments:

leopold said...

Hi there, I'd really appreciate your input :-) what's your verdict on the korg LP350 at £699? I'm not interested in the digital stuff, different instruments etc, only in the key action, the colour as you said - having the keys respond well to different touch, the pedals etc and a real piano sound. I know its older technology but is it good value for money and usable for someone who wants to play grade 6/7 pieces. I loved playing it and would like one for myself. Thankyou for any advice.

Unknown said...

Here is the link that will take you to my blog review of the Korg LP350. Hopefully this will help you: http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-korg-lp350-sp250-digital-pianos.html

Anonymous said...

Are LP380 sounds worst?

Anonymous said...

I think that Casio PX-350/850 are not even close to Korg SP-280/LP-380.

Unknown said...

I hope you enjoy your Korg as ultimately it is about enjoyment and expression

Anonymous said...

Hi, I appreciate your reviews and would like your advice...
Last year i gave my daughter a Casio PX 850.. I like it, and now it is my wife's turn, for a new piano, and this one I will play on as well..
question 1: is there anything better today (or coming up shortly) than the PX850 in the same price range (± 200$)?
question 2: does the Celviano range feel and sound any better?
question 3: I already have a decent sound system ( marantz etc).. will I gain quality if I play the piano through a sound system?
Thanks

Unknown said...

my answers are

1. no, not yet
2. no, it does not in the same price range
3. it might...you can only know for sure by connecting it and seeing what happens

If you want more specific info on these pianos & lower prices, please email me directly.

hamlet said...

Hi! Here (in PerĂº) i found a Korg LP380 for 460 $. For this price, it would be a good option? Thanks!

Unknown said...

The Korg LP180 is basically just a repackaged version of the Korg SP280 for the same price, but in a "furniture style" cabinet with less sounds and less powerful internal speaker system. It would have the same key action, dynamic range, and piano sound of the SP280. Although I have not played this model yet, I would give it a low rating because Korg is using the main functionality of the SP280 in the LP180 which I find not to my liking. You would be better off buying a Yamaha or Casio piano in this price range when it come to key action and piano sound realism.

HB said...

Hi there from Greece. There is a Kurzweil M1 (not the MP10) which I played and found good but the keys feel funny when compared to the Kawai KDP90, the Casio PX-850 ivory and the Korg LP380. I prefer the Roland F130 but it's 200 euros more expensive. The question is: If somebody GAVE YOU FOR FREE the Kawai KDP90, Roland F130, Korg LP380, Casio PX860, Yamaha S51, Kurzweil M1 and (if you know it) the German GEWA DP120, how would you RANK them (meaning first, second, etc)? Thank you and sorry for the provocative question!

Unknown said...

I am not willing to rank all of them. I would personally take the Roland 1st followed very closely by the Casio, then the Kawai, and the rest of the pianos behind that.

HB said...

Thank you Tim!

Unknown said...

Which digital stage piano then you would recommend after Korg SP280 where you actually can get the dynamic nuances you were talking abt in the review? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Have you played the Korg Havian yet? If so, how would you compare its action and dynamic range?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review! I almost bought the Korg LP380 but tried the Kawai ES100 and was blown away by the difference. However, the downside is that the Kawai does not have an aux out. I know that one can use the headphone jack as a line out but this would be in stereo and I need to plug into a mono board. If I buy a stereo to mono converter, will it compromise the sound quality?
Thanks.

krekker said...

We tried both the Yamaha P115 ($599 CAD) and the Korg LP380 ($1250 CAD) at the store, and liked the key action on the Korg a bit better. However, when trying to compare cost, the Korg comes with 3 pedals (P115 has only 1) a built-in stand (pretty nice), and a built-in cover (very handy). So, if we bought those things for the P115, there'd still be a $300-$400 difference.
Tim, in your opinion are we getting that much better of a piano? The bells and whistles of dual headphone jacks and different instrument sounds don't matter a lot; we just want good (and lasting) quality. Thanks!

Patrick Rushton said...

What is the speaker like on the LP380? Considering it's positioned beneath the keyboard, is it not a bit muffled? I often hear the best arrangement is to have speakers at ear level, but that's clearly unpractical on a digital piano.

Patrick Rushton said...

Tim, does your concern about the dynamic range also apply to the LP380, or is it specifically the SP280 that does not respond softly when played with a light touch?

Unknown said...

Thanks for your reviews. I am hoping you might soon review the new Korg C1 and G1 Air - which seem very promising.

GG

Anonymous said...

Yes please! I'm considering purchasing the Korg C1, but I'm hesitating because the lack of reviews.

MOLA said...

Second yes please, a review of the C1 would be great

Unknown said...

With Korg C1 Air on the market now can you compare and contrast this to the Casio PX 870? I would be interested in knowing which one you would rate higher. Thank you for your time and reviews.

pR said...

In my country LP380U and C1 Air is the same price so I don't think there are any doubts that Air is way better (especially for piano samples)?