Casio AP-710 - REVIEW | 2021 Digital Piano | 6-Speaker Sound



Casio AP-710 review
UPDATED REVIEW - Nov 15, 2021
 | Casio AP-710 Celviano Digital Piano for 2021 | LOWER PRICE HERE - The Casio company produces a line of digital pianos under $3000 called the Celviano Series traditional digital pianos. The top of the line in this series is called the AP-710 ($2699 internet discount price) which is what I am reviewing here, and under this model is the lower price AP-470 and AP-270 which I have reviewed elsewhere. The AP-710 is only available for sale at selected Casio piano stores and internet dealers in the US. This is a very interesting model in my opinion because it gets its piano "sound engine" and functionality from the higher priced Casio Grand Hybrid GP-310 ($4199), but the AP-710 is in a much different cabinet with a different internal speaker system and user interface.

INITIAL THOUGHTS


Casio AP-710 piano
What surprises me the most about this mid-range Casio digital piano is how good it is with regard to the "piano playing experience" you get out of it. I have played all of the new top name digital pianos out there from Kawai, Roland, Yamaha, and Korg under $3000 and in my opinion this Casio AP-710 offers the "best bang for the buck" in terms of being the best digital piano as compared to a high quality acoustic piano  I am definitely not saying it has the most or best "extra bells & whistles" out there in this price range, because it does not. It has a number of very cool extra features (bells & whistles) for most people but there are other digital pianos under $3000 which surpass it in that way.

Casio AP-710 digital piano
However, when it comes to how this piano plays in terms of overall  piano playing realism including key action movement and response, realistic stereo piano sound, dynamic range, and tonal articulation, pedaling authenticity response, and sustain-decay time, along with the way its impressive internal speaker system projects the sound and the design and looks of the cabinet and bench, I can tell you that right up front, the Casio AP-710 is a big winner between $2000 and $3000 if your goal is to mainly focus on "piano playing" and have a very enjoyable experience doing that.
  
Casio AP-710 piano
The important features in the AP-710 include an upgraded triple sensor synthetic ivory & ebony very responsive key action, an intuitive LCD display screen placed in the center of the piano above the keyboard to make it easier to see, and an adjustable matching bench. In addition to those things, the internal speaker system in the AP-710 is also the upgraded and includes 6 speakers (far more than any other brand under $3000) going through a total of 60 watts of stereo power. This newER model also has a new matte black cabinet finish with a beautiful texture to it that gives it a more elegant appearance than any of the Celviano models below it.

Lower price than Amazon or Internet


Casio AP-710 At $2699 internet selling price, the Casio AP-710's biggest competitor is the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 which has an internet discount price of $2899 based on the Yamaha advertised web site price. I mention this because the Yamaha company certainly has a Casio AP-710 great name in pianos as they are famous for acoustic upright and grand pianos as well as digital pianos. In fact, the Yamaha name would be more popular than Casio for that reason alone...that they make real pianos and have done so for years.

However, Casio is also a famous company for the millions of high quality digital products that it makes including watches, calculators, cameras, professional and home keyboards, and large line of digital pianos which they've been producing for well over 40 years. So when it comes to digital pianos, Casio knows what they are doing and based on my experience with them I believe they offer at least the same if not more overall "bang for the buck" in the their digital pianos in similar price ranges under $3000 than does Yamaha and some of the other brands out there right now.

GRAND PIANO SOUND TECHNOLOGY


Casio-Bechstein AP-710 The Casio AP-710 has a custom piano sound chip built in with over 12 different acoustic piano sounds including the same high quality sound samples from their more expensive Grand Hybrid digital pianos which start at $4199 price. Those piano sounds come from 3 distinct grand pianos which include the German Steinway Hamburg Concert Grand Piano, the Bosendorfer Viennese Austrian concert grand Piano, and the Bechstein Berlin, Germany concert grand Piano. The Bechstein piano company in Germany, in conjunction with the Casio company, helped to produce the new piano sound samples in the AP-710 including the very impressive European Bechstein 9' concert grand piano which no other digital piano has.

CASIO AP-710 VS YAMAHA ARIUS & CLAVINOVA


Grand Piano
The competitive Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 offers 2 distinct piano samples from the Japanese Yamaha Concert Grand and the Bosendorfer Austrian concert grand both of which are great pianos.
Although I do like the Yamaha acoustic concert grand  and Bosendorfer sampled grand quite a bit, the Casio Celviano AP-710 Steinway, Bosendorfer, and Bechstein stereo sampled grand piano sounds are just as pleasing and realistic to my ears and I like them a lot as well. The Steinway piano sample in the Casio AP-710 is excellent and very expressive. Yamaha does not use a Steinway or Bechstein piano
Casio AP-710 Berlin Grand
sample because the Steinway and Bechstein grand piano companies are its competition, and instead Yamaha has their own Yamaha grand sampled sound which I like. Also, the Yamaha company coincidentally owns the Bosendorfer grand piano company so that's why they do not mind putting that piano sound in their digital pianos. Makes sense to me.

However, in my opinion the most realistic grand piano of them all in these digital pianos is the famous custom Bechstein concert grand of Germany.  That grand piano sound is really amazing and unlike any grand piano sound reproduction you have heard in a digital piano. Casio is the only digital piano company that has this custom German Bechstein stereo grand piano sound in any of its models, which impresses me and that Bechstein piano sound is amazing in my opinion, and I have had the pleasure of playing those acoustic grands before.. So when it comes to the ever important grand piano sound, I like a few different digital piano brands & models but in this price range the AP-710 is unbeatable for their stereo grand piano tone as far as I am concerned. Also, The Casio AP-710 has a lot more to offer in terms of a realistic piano playing experience over all of the Casio pianos below this model.  

POLYPHONY


256 note polyphony The Casio AP-710 has 256 notes of polyphony processing power as does the Yamaha CLP-735 and a few other piano brands and models, which is the most polyphony power offered in a sampled sound digital piano. the 256-note polyphony sound chip is more than enough to handle complex musical scores and passages and also allows the player to combine 2 sounds layered together such as piano &strings, etc for an even more beautiful piano playing sound experience. 

CASIO AP-710 COMPARISON TO YAMAHA - Continued


Casio AP-710 internal speaker system
Other similarities between the Casio AP-710 and Yamaha Clavinova CLP-735 include both having a 60 watt audio power sound system although Casio has 6 speakers with 4 separate speakers below (2 on each side underneath) and 2 speakers pointing towards the player under the adjustable lid on top. Yamaha has just 2 speakers in the CLP-735 although total power is the same for both models. The Casio and Yamaha both have USB audio wav file recording and playback which is good, both have USB flashdrive input for saving and playing songs, both have good connectivity with audio input, audio output, USB output to external device, dual headphone jacks, string resonance and damper resonance, and a few other features. 

Casio AP-710 But one of the things that noticeably separates the Casio AP-710 from the Yamaha CLP-735 and all other vertical cabinet style digital pianos in this price range is the adjustable open top lid and the 6-speaker system. If you look closely at the pictures of the AP-710, you'll notice that the lid can open and be propped up to allow the piano sound to also come up and out towards the player as opposed to the sound staying
Casio AP-710
more inside the piano like in the Yamaha CLP-735. In fact, the Yamaha internal speaker system only has 2 speakers, although they are slightly larger than the main speakers in the AP-710. But the AP-710 has 6 total speakers with much better sound dispersion as I mentioned (4 mains and 2 tweeters) along with the lid opening system like a little mini grand piano, so the sound disbursement in the AP-710 is very impressive in its price range and it sounds great based on all my playing experience time on it. If you do not want the top lid to be opened then it can remain flat like it would be regular digital pianos. Of course none of these piano cabinets in this price range or even in higher price ranges for all of the top brands are actual solid core wood or have actual wood veneers. All cabinet surfaces are imitation wood grain over MDF board which is how almost all digital piano cabinets are made these days. 

Nevertheless the Casio AP-710 cabinet looks especially attractive with its new textured matte black finish and is sturdy while resisting warping over time and this is true of a lot of home furniture out there made in this way. I have not heard of any negative issues with any digital piano cabinets on any top brands. The Casio AP-710 cabinet has a very nice footprint and really looks like a piano in my opinion 

AP-710 KEY ACTION


Casio AP-710 Key action is very important in a digital piano and in fact is the most important feature in any digital piano in my opinion, followed by piano sound and pedaling. The key action in the AP-710 allows for a more natural piano playing experience with regard to key weight, resistance, response, and overall key movement as compared to other piano key actions. I like the AP-710 key action very much and it also has new upgraded synthetic ivory & ebony Casio AP-710 keytops which simulate the old grand piano key feel when the keys were made from real elephant ivory and real ebony wood many years ago before those materials were banned from being used on consumer products like pianos. The synthetic ivory and ebony key surfaces also help absorb sweat from the fingers, and that's a good thing especially if you have sweaty fingers.
Casio AP-710 Review
One of the main reasons I like the more natural key weight and key movement better on the Casio AP-710 is because it takes less effort to press the keys down as compared to many of the other digital pianos in this price range. In fact, this AP-710 is very close to the faster moving and more responsive up and down key movement of a real acoustic grand piano, and I have played hundreds of top name acoustic grand pianos so I know exactly the way keys should work and how they should move. 

Casio AP-710 key action
As an example, on the Yamaha Arius YDP-184 which is $2399, the key action movement is noticeably heavy and stiff (almost 90 grams of touch/down-weight), especially when playing the keys a bit softer and more lightly. In contrast the Casio AP-710 is 58 grams of touch-weight. A real top name acoustic grand piano averages around 55 grams of touch-weight when pressing down the key (measured at middle C). 

When I play that Yamaha key action on the Yamaha Arius YDP-184, it feels noticeably fatiguing to me on my fingers, wrists, lower arms, etc after awhile of playing, most people, especially beginners/novice players, will be uncomfortable playing it after any period of time. That extra finger force needed to push down the keys on the Yamaha and the extra force pressing against your fingers when the keys come back up simply is not normal or enjoyable for most people. The Casio AP-710 just feels so much better when the keys move and allows for much quicker and more natural key action movement with little or no playing fatigue along with having more accurate repetition with Casio's triple sensor electronics under each key. 

The AP-710 key action expression is very good, especially for a plastic key action, which most of these pianos have in this price range. You would think that the Yamaha key action in this price range would be superior because they make acoustic pianos, but that is not the case here. Casio has done an outstanding job in recreating a superior key movement.

PEDALING


Casio AP-710 pedals Piano pedaling is also an important aspect of any good piano and the Casio AP-710 is no exception. The pedaling offers half-damper control for variable sustain amount and duration of time. The piano pedaling also triggers damper resonance which is when the dampers in a real piano are off the strings and there is natural resonation of the strings occurring along with the note that is played. Casio has recreated this experience in the much lower priced Celviano AP-470 and it certainly is nice to have for those who are used to a real piano. The middle sostenuto pedal and left soft pedal also work like a real piano and give people the added benefit of reproducing the functionality of those pedals as well, although the right damper sustain pedal is the primary pedal used more than 90% of the time for most recreational piano players.

Piano sustain and decay resonantion
What really impressed me about the AP-710 pedaling was how rich, resonant, and long the sustain-decay time was on this model. On prior Casio digital pianos as well as other brands and models, the amount and length of the sustain was fairly short as compared to a real piano. NO so on the AP-710. The amount of sustain you get and the way it decays and the richness of that sustain when you are holding notes down or using your sustain pedal is very impressive and definitely added to the beauty of the piano playing experience that I had on it. The sustain effect was similar to what I get in a real grand piano. That was a very nice surprise and one that made me appreciate this piano even more than I already did.

CASIO COMPANY HISTORY


Casio company The Casio company has its worldwide headquarters in Tokyo, Japan (left pic) and has been producing digital pianos for over 40 years. They also produce keyboards, pro synthesizers, as well as being famous for calculators, advanced digital cameras, sports & consumer watches, advanced digital technology for communication devices, and some very impressive new digital computer technology. Casio produces their own computer chips and proprietary micro technology and is able to do it at a fraction of the cost of some of it's biggest competitors and that is why Casio tends to have lower prices than many competitors. 

Some people equate lower prices with lower quality and think you need to spend a lot more money or get a "name brand" in pianos to get something really good. However, in my opinion, this latest model Casio AP-710 is very impressive for its lower price and easily competes with the other popular digital piano brands including Yamaha (as I mentioned), Roland, and Kawai for features, cabinet construction & style, and overall piano playing experience realism.

 AUDIO WAV FILE/MIDI RECORDING & PLAYBACK


wav file recording Another impressive feature to me is the fact that Casio has included "wav file" audio recording in this model. What that means is that you can record yourself as an audio recording (CD quality) and save it to a USB flashdrive in the piano. Then you can take that recording in the flashdrive and plug it into your computer and email that song to your friends and relatives to let them hear it on their computer just as you played it! 

Beyond that, you can import that music into computer music programs for music education, composing, song arranging, etc for further musical interaction and even turn the wav file recording into an MP3 to play as an iTune on your iPad or iPod. The other major brands such as Roland, Kawai, or Yamaha does not have this feature in this price range. Another recording feature that is very useful and I use it in my teaching studio, is the ability to record right and left hand playing independently on 2 separate MIDI recording tracks and then play back both hands simultaneously. 

This feature is very helpful in allowing piano students to practice and record one hand and then play that recording back while they play the other hand "live" along with the recording. It's like having your teacher there playing along with you to give you help in understanding your rhythm and timing better and it's also more fun to practice this way. 

You can also save this recording and other song recordings you have done to a USB flashdrive for storage so you can come back later and work on and play along with those pieces again.

USER DISPLAY SCREEN & OTHER FEATURES


Casio AP-710 The Bechstein-Casio Grand Hybrid pianos, which are the next models up, have their exclusive full length wood key action that are quite a bit more money and they start at $4199 with the GP-310 model. But those pianos offer this actual all wood "grand piano" hammer action with real moving synthetic resin hammers that move up & down like grand piano hammers do. The AP-710 offers the identical digital digital features and grand piano sounds as the higher priced GP-310 does with the exception of the GP-310 having a larger display screen, more audio power, the wood key action (very expensive to produce) and a different cabinet. Speaking of LCD display screen, I Casio AP-710 personally like the control panel and display screen of the Casio AP-710 over the Yamaha and Kawai digital pianos because f you notice the photos of these pianos, the Yamaha and Korg display screens are over to the left side of the keyboard and are a bit more difficult to use and see because of their location because to have to reach over the keys to get to the buttons...assuming you are right-handed like me. The AP-710 control panel and display screen is above the keys in front of the player for easy use, easy to see position of the display screen, and intuitive buttons which better access the piano sounds and functions of the AP-710.

Casio AP-710 A few other very cool features of the AP-710 include a new music library that consists of 10 full orchestra classical songs (plus more you can download from an internet site) which you can play along with using the piano sounds in the piano. The 10 orchestral songs are in an audio wav format (recorded from live orchestra) and Casio AP-710 sounds just like a real recording of the instruments as you would find on a regular CD recording of an orchestra. These new songs are independent in their sounds and format (the piano itself does not have these sounds) but you can interact with them by playing along live with the music. The 10 songs are standard classical music and although they are fun to play along with and do sound good, you would need to be able to read music (or play by ear) and play along at the song skill level so that you could interact with the music properly. 

Casio AP-710 concert play
You can slow down the songs, mute either right or left hand playback sound for live playalong and do a few other things with the orchestra accompaniment which are all quite fun to do, sound great, and helpful for learning. 

It's a very nice feature and certainly sounds great. All songs are in the "classical category" which I would expect given the orchestra nature of this concert system. The sound is impressive and it really motivates you to want to play along because it makes you sound way better than you really are...and that is always a good thing in my opinion. It definitely musically motivates you.

Casio AP-710 side view
Casio AP-710 side view
It is important to note that the AP-710 piano does not have built-in drum rhythms, automatic chords, music styles, hundreds of instrument sounds, multi-track General MIDI recording & composing, etc. The AP-710 is focused primarily on piano playing and is a very satisfying instrument for its price that can handle many playing skill levels. However, it does have some useful "fun features" that I like but if you want even more additional interactive fun and educational functions/features, then you can easily connect to an iPad and experience some very cool interactive piano technology which both adults and children will enjoy. 

EXTERNAL TABLET-IPAD CONNECTIVITY


I use many iPad music/piano educational apps in my music studio to teach from and enhance the piano learning experience for both kids and adults. But as far as piano playing goes, this digital piano has a big, loud, bold piano sound which can replace a regular upright piano along with enough digital features to make the learning and piano playing experience fun and gratifying for most people seeking a quality instrument in a lower price range under $3000.

Casio AP-710 Speaking of fun features, you can connect an external device directly like an iPad or laptop computer using the AP-710 high speed class compliant USB MIDI connection which allows for instant connection with external computer devices without the need of downloading drivers or having to convert a MIDI signal to USB. Since kids are growing up in the "iPad world" I recommend to all piano students that they utilize the exciting Apps available for tablets (and iPad in particular) to enhance their playing and practice experience which will make them better students and better musicians overall. Besides that, it's super cool to do this and when you've experienced the interaction of the Casio AP-710 with an iPad (or Android) tablet and what it can musically and educationally do for you and your family, you'll be amazed at all the possibilities!

INSTRUMENT SOUNDS, LAYER, SPLIT & HALL EFFECTS


Casio AP-710 Other features of the AP-710 worth mentioning is more realistic instrument sounds (26 of them) which are taken from the higher priced Casio GP-310 Hybrid digital piano including noticeably improved strings, harpsichord, organs, and electric pianos which can be split into two parts on the piano, layered/mixed together, and you can also
Casio AP-710 Hall effects
use the "duet" function that allows 2 people to play piano at the same time. Another interesting feature is call Hall Simulation which gives the stereo acoustic piano sound more spacious surround effects such as you would hear in a large concert hall or church where there is natural echo that occurs when playing an instrument. 

There are a variety of "hall" simulations and it adds to the sonic presence of the acoustic piano sounds and makes the piano more enjoyable to play depending on the kind of music you like. I have heard these kinds of effects before in other higher priced digital instruments and the AP-710 has them which is a bit unusual in this "lower price range" and they can make the piano sound even fuller and richer than it already is. These "hall effects" do add to the realism of piano playing which is always a good thing.

HARDWARE CONNECTIVITY


Casio AP-710 audio inputs & outputs
The hardware "connectivity" on the AP-710 is very good. I incudes 1/4" dual audio inputs and audio outputs as well as USB port to external device and also a thumb-drive port so that you plug in a USB thumb-drive to load and save audio wav files along with 2-track MIDI files. There are two 1/4" stereo headphone jacks on the front
Casio AP-710 USB connectivity
left side of the piano for easy access. 

This model does not have "Bluetooth" wireless connectivity for midi of audio like some of the other brands do, so you won't get that feature on this model. However, you can still easily connect your external devices using one of 2 generic USB and/or audio cables and using cables can give you a more secure connection. But the bottom line of connectivity is, this piano has what most people will need and if your focus is on the most realistic piano playing experience you can get for around this price, then that's what the AP-710 is all about.


FINAL THOUGHTS


Casio AP-710 piano
AP-710 with closed key cover
The bottom line is...this top of the line Casio Celviano AP-710 is a piano for people who want to focus on the piano playing experience in a medium price range (under $2700
) without too many "bells & whistles" to get in the way. With a very attractive cabinet design that looks great and has a full back privacy panel, sounds big through its impressive internal speaker system, and uses a proprietary piano sound engine designed in part by the Bechstein grand piano company in Germany, the AP-710 is right a the top of my  recommendations in its price range under $3000, especially given the fact that i's just $2699. Along with a big factory warranty of 5 years parts & labor with in-home service and a matching Casio height adjustable bench, which no other manufacturer offers in this price range, it's a complete package that would be excellent for anyone looking for a more upgraded digital piano at a very reasonable price. 

Casio digital piano
Finally, don't let the name "Casio" fool you into believing that this model cannot compete and surpass the traditional piano names of Yamaha and Kawai with a digital piano in this price range. Casio is a premier developer and producer of innovative and high quality digital computer technology for many, many decades. The people who work for that company's "digital piano & keyboard division" are top notch musicians and piano players so they definitely know what they are doing. Plus, the Casio company has produced this model in conjunction with the European German grand piano company Bechstein, which is no small thing. I think the biggest problem you'll have in getting one is hopefully being able to find one available since they are in demand.  

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 before you buy anything anywhere.

5 comments:

Sam Y. said...

Hi Tim, I am in the process of moving out of my parents house and into a new condo which means I have to make the transition from my Yamaha T118 Acoustic Upright to a digital piano. I spent a couple hours at a local piano dealership today and I absolutely loved the new Casio DP603, especially since my new condo is going to be tight on space. What are your thoughts on the new Roland DP603/HP603/HP605 versus the Casio AP650/AP700. I like the idea of being able to open up the top of the Casio but I have a feeling that I'm going to be using headphones 95% of the time. I was not a fan of the new Yamaha Arius 163 and I even preferred the Roland over the Yamaha CLP 535/545. It seems like the Roland's are all identical when using headphones as the differences are all in the speakers and cabinetry and I'm assuming that is the same case for the Casio AP650/700. I'm going to try and find a local dealership that has the Casio's to test out but I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me your opinion since you've had the opportunity to try out so many different brands/models. I would say that I play classical music 80% of the time (Chopin/Beethoven/Debussy are my favorite).

aceifc said...

Although, I’ve never been serious about learning to play the piano, I owned the Yamaha DGX 202 portable keyboard years ago and really enjoyed it. Having recently decided to take learning seriously, I purchased the relatively new Casio AP-710. For digital pianos in this price range, the AP-710 offers more premium features than its main competitors. With gorgeous looks, great sound, and a powerful speakers system, the AP-710 is truly worthy of its flagship status. Although not perfect (and what digital piano is?), this piano is the ideal companion for anyone desiring to become a serious player some day. I hope Casio releases a compatible Chordana App for this digital piano soon to make learning even more fun. I’m sure the time will come when my improving skills will outgrow this piano. Until then, I absolutely love my Casio Celviano AP-710 and highly recommend it to anyone looking to invest on a quality digital piano. My thanks to Tim for his expert advice, which was crucial in my decision to purchase this particular model.

Laetinusa said...

If you could only get one between the following, which one would you get (I’m aware some are more affordable so that’s something to take into account as well).
- Kawai CA49
- Kawai CN39
- Yamaha Clavinova CLP 735 (or possibly 635?)
- Casio AP710 (which to my husband is the least aesthetically pleasing and considering this will also be a major furniture piece in our living-room, that’s also important.
- Roland HP702
- Casino AP470 (much cheaper option and wondering if it’s still good and maybe not worth spending the additional $1000 to get the above pianos)

Thanks in advance.

Unknown said...

how will you compare casio ap650 vs ap710

thanks in advance

Dylan said...

I got clp 735 when I had the same questions as you.