AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Casio CDP230 Digital Piano - Low Priced portable piano under $500 at Costco US - Recommended - Digital Piano Reviews

Aug 2, 2014

REVIEW - Casio CDP230 Digital Piano - Low Priced portable piano under $500 at Costco US - Recommended

Casio CDP230R digital piano UPDATED REVIEW - October 1, 2016 - Casio CDP230 Portable Digital Piano - Recommended piano under $500 - The Casio CDP230 (aka: CDP230R, CDP230CSPB, or CDP230CSCB) is an entry level 88-key weighted key action digital piano for beginners and for people who play recreationally.  The CDP230 and it's other model alternative numbers CDP230R, CDP230RCSPB, and CDP230CSCB are actually all identical, and the different model numbers simply denote that this piano has built-in interactive rhythms (R) and also comes with a stand, pedal, & bench (CSPB or CSCB). Getting confused yet?:)...I am:). Casio or Costco tends to change model numbers from one year to the next sometimes, even though the piano itself is the same. This particular piano is Casio's least expensive model with interactive auto-accompaniment features for people who also want lots of keyboard digital functions and is available at dealers around the world as well as at Costco US in the black color. Since Costco for the US is the only outlet for the CDP230CSCB ($449US regular Costco discount price incl furniture stand, pedal, & bench), this model is generally available to Costco members only during the Christmas holiday season starting around October. This model has been out for a couple years and since Costco is a powerful retail force, they have no trouble selling what they offer and usually run out of them.

Casio CDP230R digital piano The Casio piano company is a smart company because instead of "reinventing the wheel" the CDP230 is really just a combination of a couple of their popular lower priced 76-key unweighted spring action keyboards that sell for under $300 (with lots of digital features) combined with a their previous model entry level 88-key weighted action going through a more powerful internal speaker system. The CDP230 comes in a fairly lightweight and compact case weighing only 25lbs and although it's available to two colors (black or silver), only black is available in the US. Casio actually has two CDP models with one being the new CDP130 which is a stripped down basic version (with almost no extra digital features) of the CDP230 and  the CDP130 is available only at Guitar Center and their affiliates in the US. The other is this CDP230 at Costco in the US. The CDP230 is a significant upgrade over the CDP130 and the price difference is relatively so small the CDP230 is the much better buy if you are a Costco member or are in another part of the world where it is not limited to Costco.

Casio CDP230R digital piano The Casio CDP230 has so many digital features it is almost mind-boggling! But this is because those features are in their keyboards and Casio has always been known for stuffing more fun features in their keyboards than you could possibly use:). These fun features include having 700 instrument sounds (wow!), 200 drum rhythm chord styles, over 300 music presets to instantly setup the piano for you with the best sound combos, over 150 built-in playalong/singalong songs, 32 memories for customer storage of user settings, reverb and hall echos, a Casio CDP230R digital piano variety of editing functions, layer & split, transpose, auto arpeggio, auto harmony on right hand melody notes, and a multi-stage piano lesson learning system for playalong with visual lesson songs in a huge user LCD display. The piano teaching system includes a huge library of well known classical, folk, and assorted songs with a finger number display for both hands in the display screen along with treble and bass clef staffs for visual cues. The songs are divided into parts or phrases and you would learn that part one at at time and then put them all Casio CDP230R digital piano together to playalong for the entire song. It's a pretty clever system and is available in many of the low priced Casio keyboards. It's kind of fun and useful to a degree but it does cause the student or player to look down at the screen instead of up at music on the music rack where you should be looking. So it can cause bad habits if you use it too often or get dependent on it, but it is fun in the beginning and can make you think you can play, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Casio CDP230R digital piano piano also has a built-in voice sampler with the ability to plug in a mic (not included) into the piano and sing or talk through the mic while the Casio internal sample memory captures your voice and stores a portion of it in memory. You can then play back your voice phrase or singing note while playing the keys! It is super fun for the whole family and although this technology has been out for many years in their smaller keyboards, it is not normally found in their digital pianos.    Blog review &amp pics Copyright AZPianoNews.com

Casio CDP230R digital piano The CDP230 also has the ability to playback and record performances and store them to a SD memory card. This is a very cool feature and not available on any other digital piano under $500. Beyond that, the CDP230 can also playback General MIDI songs for playalong with lesson books used by music teachers. This playalong capability is quite useful when trying to understand the rhythm and timing of a particular song and also how it sounds overall. It is a good training device and I use that kind of thing in my teaching studio. The CDP230R also has a built-in metronome which can be set at different tempos and time signatures.

Casio CDP230R digital piano As far as instrument sounds go, with the availability of 700 of them, you are bound to find something that you like. You name it and this piano has it like pianos, electric pianos, horns, woodwinds, brass, strings, choirs, synths, drums, percussive instruments, specialty instruments, and the list goes on. The drum rhythms include all the keyboard type patterns like rock, Casio CDP230R digital piano Latin, jazz, blues, waltz, march, country, big band, swing, 50's, 60's, etc, and more. The auto-chord feature allows for playing a single or 3 finger chord and automatically puts in the accompaniment instrumentation so that you just play chords on the left hand and melody on the right hand while the piano chords fill in the left hand. This is a good system for adult training but not necessarily appropriate for kids learning to play piano.

Casio CDP230R digital piano The fundamentals in playing or learning to play piano always boil down to key action authenticity, piano sound realism and dynamics, and pedaling realism. These three piano playing fundamentals should always be the center of any buying decision making because when all the "cool stuff" on the piano becomes a bit boring after using it for awhile (that happens frequently), it's really all about playing piano because that is what really counts and what most people want to do. If you want all that fun stuff you could instead simply buy a lower price keyboard between $200- $300 to get it. It should always be about getting the best piano playing experience first and then the other digital features should come in below that. I always advise families to not making the mistake of buying a fun "toy" disguised as a piano if the piano portion of it is not that good.

Casio CDP230R digital piano When it comes to the CDP230, the fundamentals of piano playing overall, are good for its price range. If you are truly limited to spending under $500US, then the CDP230 is about as good as it gets when it comes to having something you could take piano lessons on or just play for fun. When you consider that it comes with a matching furniture stand, music rack, a/c adapter, and folding bench (the bench is definitely a cheapy), at $449US, there is not a lot to complain about. No other brand can compete with this model in its price range. With that being said, there are some things I noticed about the fundamentals of piano playing that are lacking or on the cheap side of things.

Casio CDP230R digital piano Key action: It is good, but it can be noisy. Some of the keys make a noticeable knocking noise when going down although some keys are quiet as they should be, others are not. It is somewhat random as to which keys are effected, but it's especially noticeable when the piano is be played at lower volume or with headphones on. I don't know if that key noise would get worse over time or if it would effect other keys, but it is something of a concern to me. The key weight and overall feel of the keys is actually pretty good and much better than you might expect at this price and certainly good enough for a beginners, although I wouldn't recommend it to serious students who want to progress to intermediate level and beyond. The key action feels much more like a piano than a keyboard with the heavier piano weighted feel as compared to the cheap spring action in keyboards. The keytops are white plastic as opposed to the new synthetic ivory material on the white keys that are offered on the better Casio digital pianos.

Casio CDP230R digital piano Piano sound: The piano sound realism is pretty good overall for an instrument in this price range. Although the bass section (left keys) has a piano sound that is fairly realistic, on the middle to right keys the piano sound is unfortunately quite digital sounding, like on the cheaper keyboards. The CDP230 has 48-note polyphony which is the processing power as to how many notes that can be played at one time using the pedal and playing the piano. Although 48-note polyphony is the maximum note power that can be had and that can be sufficient for beginners, the piano sound is in stereo and stereo only generates 24-note polyphony (mono is the full 48 notes) which is very weak but still sufficient for basic beginner students. However, as the student progresses, then the higher note polyphony processing power is much better and will become necessary to play at a higher skill level. The polyphony power on the slightly higher priced Casio Privia digital pianos is 128-note polyphony and you would not need to upgrade to another piano near as quickly if you got one of those better models instead. Also the actual acoustic piano sound sample of the CDP230 has a very short "loop" to its sound. This means that in almost all digital pianos, the sound is recorded from a real piano and then that original sound is cut or sliced into a small part and looped together so it can continue to play (continually repeat itself) while you hold the key down or sustain pedal down. This is done because of the limited sample memory in this lower priced instrument. The CDP230 has a very tiny piano sound loop and the loop point of that sound (where sound is spliced together) is very noticeable, especially on the lower bass notes. It's almost like a wah-wah sound attached to the piano sound when it loops playing over and over. In other words, the piano sound is not natural or smooth and if you appreciate good quality piano tone, you would probably become dissatisfied with the CDP230 piano sound after awhile. The piano sound and other organic aspects of an acoustic piano are much better on the Casio PX Privia digital pianos as well as some of the Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai digital pianos. You generally do get what you pay for when it comes to a good, realistic piano tone.

Casio CDP230R digital piano The piano sound dynamic range is fairly wide when you press the keys lightly and add more finger pressure until you're playing the keys hard. The dynamic range is the volume and tonal changes that occur over time while increasing playing pressure on the keys. The dynamic range is surprisingly good on the CDP230 and competitive with or better than digital pianos I have played in other brands that cost $200-$300 more including a couple new Yamaha's, all Korg models, all Williams models (not good), Artesia (not good), Suzuki's, and some others. So Casio has done a very good job with the dynamic range of piano sound...also known as expression capability which allows the player to express themselves with even dynamic changes in volume and tone, closer to what a piano actually does.

Casio CDP230R digital piano As for the pedaling and pedal sustain tone and duration, it is just barely acceptable, but I am not surprised by that. The very small plastic sustain pedal that comes with this model does not allow for any kind of realistic pedal playing and is just a waste of money in my opinion if you really wanting to learn how to use the pedal correctly. It would be better to invest in an upgraded after-market piano type sustain pedal which would do a better pedaling job and would be easier to use. The pedal sustain time of the CDP230 as well as sustain time when holding down a key (how long the piano sound will continue to be heard before it fades out) is on the weak side (fades out pretty quickly) and depending on the song you're playing it makes the song sound somewhat dry because the sustain time is so limited. It's definitely OK for a beginner and a beginner would likely not notice this deficiency until they progress further and start playing music that needs more realistic pedaling and response. Also, the CDP230 cannot reproduce what is known as "half-pedaling" function which allows for a more gradual amount of sustain instead of just on & off. This half-pedaling feature of pedaling is important as you progress in your playing skills and is found on some (not all) digital pianos that are over $500. But on this model, you just get on & off and nothing else. Also, you cannot attach a 3-pedal unit on the CDP230 like you find on pianos over $500. So if you should ever want the full 3-pedal playing experience, you won't be able to get that on the CDP230.

Casio CDP230R digital piano Some nice connectivity features of the CDP230 include being able to connect an iPad or computer to the piano by using its class compliant USB output for the connection. Connecting to an external device like these can be very helpful and there are some great iPad teaching apps and computer piano lesson software available that can be fun to use. The CDP230 also has an audio input mini jack for connecting an external device to hear through the piano speakers such as an iPad, iPod, computer, and any device you would want to connect in this Casio CDP230R digital piano way. Other connectivity features include an SD memory card input, microphone input with volume control, sustain pedal input, and headphone output/audio out, and of course an a/c adapter input. The on-board speaker system is actually fairly loud as compared to other digital pianos and keyboards in this price range and the piano can easily be heard in a regular size room. The speakers don't seem to distort at louder volumes and the two internal speakers face upward so they are easy to hear. There are no good digital pianos that I know of in this price range that have all these connectivity input and output features along with the audio output power. This is important assuming you would want to use these features.

Casio CDP230R digital pianoThe user display screen and control panel buttons are fairly intuitive and there is a lot of info displayed in the very large light up LCD screen. The buttons on the control panel are laid out well and seem to be of high quality, are quiet when pushing them, and easy to use. As I said earlier, when it comes to stuffing in a lot of technology in a digital keyboard, Casio offers a lot of bang for the buck and they certainly have not skimped on the CDP230. It does much more than most people will ever use Casio CDP230R digital piano and based on all my years of experience as a piano teacher, pro musician, and digital piano expert, I would be surprised if the average digital piano buyer would use more than 25% of what this piano-keyboard is capable of. For me personally, I know how to use most all of it. I can make this piano do things that few other people can do, except maybe the people at Casio:). But if you won't ever take advantage of most of the fun "toys" that are in this piano (and many people won't), that's OK, as long as you enjoy it for what you want to do, then it's worth the money.

Casio PX780 digital piano In the final analysis, I do recommend the Casio CDP230 in this price range as long as you are aware of and comfortable with its shortcomings. As far as being an 88-key digital piano it is actually pretty good, but certainly not at a level that you can progress with for very long as far as playing piano is concerned. If you want to get a digital piano that you can likely keep for awhile, then you may want to look at the Casio Privia PX160, PX360, PX760, PX780 (left pic), and AP260, all under $1000. Also, the newer Kawai ES100 and Yamaha DGX660 & P115 would be good options between $500-$800. All of these models are noticeably better pianos with regard to more realistic piano playing experience, so if that is really important to you then you should also consider those options. Also it is important to note that many of the better digital pianos come with a 3 year factory parts and labor warranty whereas the CDP230 has only 1 year.

Casio CDP230R digital piano When you consider the fact that at $449US for the CDP230 you are getting all kinds of built-in "goodies" that make it sound like a whole orchestra, a big synthesizer, and a fun playalong and singing machine, plus 88 weighted keys in a sleek cabinet with stand a bench, it's a good deal. By the way, the bench that comes with the piano is also pretty good, has 4-legs, and is fairly durable. It's good for one smaller person and has one sitting height level. Casio CDP230R digital pianoPersonally, I'd rather see someone buy a better digital piano for a bit more money along with built-in digital features, or a better playing more authentic digital piano with a few built-in digital features. I always tell my students, especially school age students, that in the long run most of them will be playing piano and not messing around too often with all those hundreds of other features that in the short term make it fun, but in the long term may simply become distracting and/or get old after awhile. Besides, you can always connect an iPad to pretty much all the latest digital pianos for extra interactive technology as well as some very cool music/piano lessons. But if all you have to spend is approx $500 (and for some people that's all the money they can afford or want to spend), then you can get the Casio CDP230 or the newer Casio Privia PX160 or PX760 ($499US and $699US respectively, internet price) because they're definitely about the best thing out there in that price range and you get a lot of "bang for the buck." It's also good to remember that with a Costco purchase in the US, you'll likely need to pay local sales tax and definitely you'll need to add the shipping cost which is another $50. So when you go to buy the CDP230, the total price could easily be about $550, depending on where you live in the US.  At the end of the day, it's all about playing music and enjoying the experience and that's what really counts! If it were me I would spend just a bit more money and get a Casio PX160 or better yet, the Casio PX760. I have reviews of both models so take a look at them.

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.

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for all detail.
    This was very helpful for me.

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  2. Thanks, Tim! Enjoyed the comprehensive review and now know much more than I did before about this keyboard. I appreciate your help.

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  3. Thanks for the comprehensive review, though I have some queries on it. Do you think this keyboard can be used to practice piano skills as a beginner and benefit from being able to create our own soundtracks in the future for games etc.? I'm fairly new in playing a piano and have a really tight budget(approx. SGD1000) so I'm trying to find out more on what I can purchase for the long-run. Thank you!

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  4. Thanks very much for all the info. I just bought this piano and didn't know a lot about it other than I liked the feel of the keys and the grand piano sound. I'm so glad to know so much more. I do have questions about it and I need to know if there are additional music books like that came with the piano and if Casio makes an SD card that would add to the internal music that I can also play along with and learn from. I want to learn a number of pieces for next Christmas. I've set a goal of leaning one new song every month that would be I'm guessing in Casio's B - C section. Can you help me with this? Thanks Janet

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  5. I bought this keyboard and sold it within 2 months. Id been playing guitar for 6 years so maybe it was that but the sound quality was so bad to me. A beginner probably wouldn't notice the difference. It sounded great with headphones. But when i wasn't wearing headphones the speakers buzzed sometimes when i hit the lower notes and the keys would clackle ALOT.

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  6. I bought the 230R and want to learn to play on my own. I too didn't like the clicking key noises. (I need all the help I can get!). I had some small round stick-on felt drawer bumpers (Home Depot) and I put one on each white key as far back to the pivot as possible using tweezers.
    The felt cushions eliminate some of the noise but doesn't solve it completely, maybe by half.

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    1. nice job:). However it is likely felt bumpers may come off at some point. It's a good temporary solution but the piano is low priced so you get what you pay for.

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  7. Hi Tim, I've been looking for some time now for a midi controller with hammer action, but I also like capturing an idea in the moment without having to wait for the PC to initialize, so a controller with a good piano and a small sequencer would had been enough. To find that little three things shouldn't be very expensive, but it is, because keyboards with those things have tons of other stuff which I didn't really needed.
    I came here and read your reviews and I enjoyed them very much because I could see you know your stuff. Recently, after researching a lot, I was aiming for the PX-350 because it was the lowest price for the things I wanted and I tried the ivory feel keyboard and I loved it! Still I felt it was to much for what I needed, and last week I saw the CDP-230 at the price of the CDP-130, even lower compared to other stores! So I came here again and read your review a few times during the week and I took the chance. I ordered it and got it today. First surprise was that I loved the action. Maybe is not as good as the Privia's one, but feels a little bit heavier, which I prefer. Then everything were good surprises, like the sounds, the auto accompaniment,etc. I wont make my review here, but I should tell this keyboard is better and sounds better than what you can see in any videos around the web.
    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your reviews, you transmit confidence in what you know and they influenced me in choosing this keyboard. I've never had a Casio before and today I'm amazed I wated so long. I'm pretty sure that there was nothing even close as good as this for the price.
    Cheers!

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  8. Hi! Thank you for your reviews and answers. I really like your blog.
    I live in Canada, have a 4 year old daughter just started piano lessons. My budget is limited and I found a second hand Korg SP170S for $350 (cad) and there's this "Compact" Casio CDP 230 on Costco's website for $399+ tax. (http://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-CDP230-Compact-Digital-Piano.product.100159272.html) I read your reviews on both brand/models (don't know if the "compact is different than the R model) but can't decide which one would be a better option for a beginner (such as my daughter or even me). I'd appreciate your input. Thank you in advance and best regards.

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  9. Casio CDP230 and CDP230R are the same model. I would recommend the CDP230 over the Korg.

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  10. HiTim.bought this unit, based almost exclusively on your review and love it. Also, live your always-detailed and informative reviews. You are "the source " when it comes to unbiased, comprehensive reviews.

    Thank you!

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  11. Hello,comparing to the Yamaha P45, what do you think?
    thank you for your reply

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  12. can't play the pianoSeptember 30, 2016 at 9:43 PM

    Is there any difference between the 230CSCB and the 230CSPB?

    http://www.costco.com/Casio-CDP-230CSCB-88-Key-Keyboard-Bundle-.product.100312514.html

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    1. They are the identical piano but the included accessories can be slightly different. This year the full model name at Costco is the 1st one you mentioned.

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  13. How long is the Casio 230 -- I am trying to figure out if it will fit in the space I am planning for it.

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  14. A very comprehensive review. Thank you very much. Just wondering, some websites said it supports half-pedal e.g.: http://www.digitalpianoreviewguide.com/casio-cdp-230-review/
    I got my CDP-230 with the included pedal with me, do I need to buy another more advance pedal to do half-pedalling or the function simply doesn't exist?

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    1. The CDP230 does NOT support half-damper with any pedal and this is true for all other Casio portable digital pianos. The only way half-damper is supported is on the Privia series and only with the furniture style triple pedal option.

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  15. I've been playing the Piano since I was 8 (stopped for 3-4 years) and then continued it until now. I didn't really take any formal lessons, just workshops, and certain mentors/friends, and then on my own. I have a basic knowledge of music theory, the chords, and all that jazz (tho I'm pretty slow on reading music sheets) but yeah... do you think I'm still a beginner? Because I'm afraid that I won't be able to enjoy this model but I'm kind of a tight budget right now too. If the sound of each key (when you hammer it with your fingers) is noticeable, is it also annoying as you continue playing? I also want to record my playing by using the audio input or whatever you use to do it (sorry, I've never done that before so I don't know what it's called).

    Thanks for this comprehensive review by the way! I've learned a lot. :)

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