Peripherals

Best 88-Key Keyboards To Buy In 2020

88-Key Keyboards have become quite popular and appeal to many beginner pianists out there, and for many reasons. They are far more convenient as compared to full sized acoustic pianos as they are highly compact and portable, have a smaller price tag and they provide much more functionality than just playing notes and hitting the keys.

Speaking about functionality, digital keyboards come with a number of features to help you polish and improve your playing skills, such as preset tunes, various sound effects, reverb and chorus effects, polyphony, different instrument voices, on-track sequencing and much more. Most importantly, these keyboards are equipped with MIDI technology which allows you to connect it to your computer and record and compose your music on-the-go.

If you are a beginner pianist inspired by Vinheteiro from YouTube, or looking to impress your friends by playing that classical ‘Turkish March’, or the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song (or even the Coffin Dance) on the piano, then you might want to consider buying an 88-key keyboard that’s feasible for you and provides you with the complete functionality required before embarking on your journey to becoming an expert pianist.

Therefore, we have compiled a list of five of the best 88-key keyboards out there, and we’re sure you’ll find one that fits best for you.

1. YAMAHA DGX-660

Best Choice

  • Numerous features
  • Exceptional design
  • Touch-sensitive keys with GHS technology
  • Included LCD screen
  • Lacks portability

Dimensions: 55.1 x 30 x 17.6 inches | Weight: 61.7lbs | Polyphony: 192 notes | Amplifiers: (2 x 6 watts) | Speakers: 12cm x 2 + 5cm x 2

Last Update on 2020-07-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The best one on our list is the Yamaha DGX-660, the flagship model of Yamaha’s Portable Grand lineup and the successor of Yamaha’s previous DGX-650. It is truly an impressive digital piano with a wide range of outstanding features.

The DGX-660 has a pretty good-looking and classy design. The side panels and stand are made out of nice wooden material, and there are two color options: white and black. There are dozens of buttons on the control panel that let you access the various features within a few presses. Most notably, there is a 320×240 LCD screen, which enhances the overall look of the keyboard. The screen displays the current settings as well as notes or lyrics for any particular song.

It comes with 88 fully weighted, highly responsive keys. It makes use of the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) technology, which basically helps it to replicate the look and feel of an acoustic piano. Moreover, the keys are also touch-sensitive, which means that the harder you press a key, the louder the sound produced.

The detailed functionality of the keys gives you the perfect kind of versatility while playing, and you can create some really expressive tunes with it. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the keyboard as per your preference. The overall experience will help you develop a good playing technique, and you will not find any difficulty when moving from a digital piano to an acoustic one.

The part that produces all the magic is Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine. It certainly produces a convincing yet amazing sound. Apart from the 10 different piano sounds, there are a plethora of instrumental sounds to choose from (554 to be exact). Moreover, there is a vast library of preset tunes and sound effects to help you improve your music and give it a polished touch. Once you are thoroughly familiar with the ecosystem, you will be able to create some high-quality and impressive work.

This digital piano comes with a sufficient 192-note polyphony, which means that you can layer multiple sounds without having to worry about running out of notes.

The DGX-660 is equipped with built-in speakers and two 6W amplifiers, thus producing a clear and well-balanced sound. It is meant to replicate the sound produced from an acoustic piano. The speakers make use of Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) technology, which adjusts the bass and treble to produce a steady, clear sound.

The drawback of this keyboard is that it comes with a larger form factor than you would expect from a regular digital keyboard. Thus, it does not give you that portability as it becomes extremely difficult to carry it around with you. However, if portability is not your top priority, you should definitely consider the DGX-660 as it is quite simply one of the best of its kind.

2. YAMAHA P125 Digital Piano

Best Design

  • Impressive build quality
  • Easily portable
  • Offers a Quad-Speaker System
  • Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
  • Cheap quality sustain pedal

Dimensions: 52.19 x 11.63 x 6.56 inches | Weight: 26lbs | Polyphony: 192 notes | Amplifiers: (2 x 7 watts) | Speakers: 12cm x 2 + 4cm x 2

Last Update on 2020-07-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The next entry on our list is, again from Yamaha, the P125 Digital Piano. The P125 is part of the ‘P series’ lineup and the successor of the P121. It is the ultimate budget option provided by Yamaha and it comes with all those important features that you’d expect in a digital piano.

The P125 has a quite solid build quality, considering it is made out of mostly plastic. It features an impressive design which is further enhanced by the elegant curve on the front panel inspired by the classical Yamaha CFX Concert Grand, as well as a red felt ribbon accent running across the keys. The best part is that unlike the DGX-660, it is highly compact and lightweight, which means that it can easily be carried around. The only downside is that the sustain pedal which is also made of plastic is of relatively poor quality.

Just like the DGX-660, the P125 comes with an 88-key keyboard which makes use of the Graded Hammer Standard to recreate the feel and vibe of a classical acoustic piano. The keys are, again, of premium Yamaha quality with a matte texture to avoid your fingers from slipping off due to sweat. They are highly responsive as well, so the volume of the sound produced will depend on how soft or hard you press the keys.

At the heart of the P125 is the premium quality Pure CF sound engine. It packs a 4-layer sampling as compared to the 3-layer sampling in the P115. The extra layer helps to add detail and to enrich the overall quality of the sound. In addition, it also comes with a stereophonic optimizer which optimizes the sound quality while you are wearing your headphones for a more immersive experience.

Speaking about polyphony, the amount of polyphony on the P125 is 192 notes, which is much more than what most pianos provide at this price point (64-128 notes). Hence, you can create as many layers as you want without worrying about running out of notes on it.

The best part is the quad-speaker system which produces amazing sound quality. It is almost as if the sound is coming from an acoustic piano, hence creating an authentic and immersive experience for the pianist. The P125 also includes features such as IAC, split mode, duet mode, instant recording and playback and much more. One disappointing is that it does not support MIDI or Bluetooth connectivity, but performance matters more and the it certainly does a good job at it.

So if you are looking for an option that’s cheaper than the DGX-660 and does not compromise on the features, then the P125 is worth considering.

3. Casio Privia PX160BK

Best Value

  • Budget Friendly
  • Compact and Light-weight
  • Extremely Responsive and Velocity-Sensitive
  • Relatively Poor Sound Quality
  • Fairly Cheap Build Quality

Dimensions: 11.53 x 52.05 x 5.55 inches | Weight: 25.5lbs | Polyphony: 128 notes | Amplifiers: (2 x 8 watts) | Speakers: 12cm x 2

Last Update on 2020-07-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Next up on our list is the highly compact and budget-friendly PX160 from Casio’s Privia lineup. It is the successor of the highly popular PX150 and offers a bundle of new features as compared to its predecessor.

The Privia PX160 is a highly compact digital piano with incredibly small dimensions which means that it does not take up much space, and you can even keep it on your table. Weighing only 25.5lbs, it is quite lightweight so you can carry it with you to rehearsals, gigs or concerts, making it an ideal option for anyone looking for that portability.

Although it is made entirely out of plastic, the build quality is quite decent; however it is recommended that you buy a padded bag to avoid causing any damage to the keyboard. It comes in three color options: black, white and gold (champagne). The design is not too flashy and looks classy at the same time.

It has a fully weighted 88-key keyboard which uses Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II technology. This type of mechanism ensures a realistic experience and gives you a great dynamic range, from the softest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo. The keys are extremely responsive and velocity-sensitive, meaning that the harder you press the key, the louder the sound produced. The system also detects the velocity of each key press and adjusts the volume accordingly. All of these characteristics are inspired from an acoustic piano to ensure a realistic and authentic experience for the player.

This keyboard makes use of Casio’s Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source and there are 18 instruments that you can play, including 5 grand pianos. Thanks to the Morphing AiR technology, the sound is top quality and well-balanced, almost the same as that produced by any grand piano. In addition, there are tons of effects such as Reverb effects, Chorus effects etc that allow you to add extra detail and variety into your music.

The keyboard has 128-note polyphony which is more than enough to allow you to overlay your notes without cutting out the most recently played ones.

In the speaker area, the PX160 features a major revamp from its predecessor, the PX150. The speakers produce a well-balanced sound, however there are other digital pianos out there at the same price point offering better speakers.

All in all, PX160 is highly portable and comes with hundreds of features to help you improve your playing skills. Thus, it proves to be an impressive device overall and earns the third spot on our list.

4. Kawai ES110

Best Sound

  • Offers great portability
  • Comparatively Superior keys
  • Superb speakers
  • Lacks connectivity options
  • Single-Track MIDI recording instead of Multi-Track

Dimension: 51.65 x 11.26 x 5.71 inches | Weight: 26.5lbs | Polyphony: 192 notes | Amplifiers: (2 x 7 watts) | Speakers: 12 cm x 2

Last Update on 2020-07-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API

This list would have been incomplete without Kawai. It has been a leading light in producing high-quality digital pianos, and has recently introduced the Kawai ES110 digital piano, which is the successor of the ES100.

The ES110 inherits its design from its predecessor, the ES100. It is quite compact and can easily be transported from place to place. The control panel consists of very few buttons which gives it an incredibly simple yet sleek look. It comes in 2 color variants: black and white. The stand, made specially for it, can also be bought separately.

Like any other piano on this list, the Kawai ES110 is a fully weighted 88-key keyboard equipped with Kawai’s Responsive Hammer Compact (RHC) mechanism. It makes use of little, graded hammers that replicate the function of the keys in an acoustic piano. The keys are touch sensitive, and there are four preset options of sensitivity to choose from: Light, Normal, Heavy or Off (off means that the keys become insensitive and produce the same level of sound).

The RHC technology feels more realistic than Yamaha’s GHS action. It comes with Harmonic Imaging sound source and there are 19 playable instruments available including 8 different pianos, so there are plenty of instruments to choose from. It is equipped with 192-note polyphony, which makes it possible to layer multiple tunes without worrying about the notes being cut off. The ES110 is one of the very few pianos offering 192-note polyphony at this price tag.

The speaker system is undoubtedly one of the best sounding speaker systems on any digital piano. The speakers produce high-quality, detailed sound with extremely accurate frequencies, bass and treble. If you want to take the experience to another level, just put a pair of headphones on and play away! One area where the ES110 lacks is connectivity, as there are no USB ports and only one-track MIDI recording instead of two.

All in all, the ES110 is a great value for the buck and the perfect starting point for most new players out there wanting to polish their piano-playing skills.

5. Artesia PA-88W

Best For Beginners

  • Very cheap
  • Impressive sound system
  • Considerably cheap keys
  • Offers only a 32-Note Polyphony
  • Not for advanced piano players

Dimension: 55.5 x 14 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 20lbs | Polyphony: 32 notes | Amplifiers: N/A | Speakers: 4 x 10watts

Last Update on 2020-07-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The Artesia PA-88W is an entry-level digital piano and it is the cheapest, most affordable 88-key keyboard on this list. Unlike other digital pianos on this list, the PA-88W comes with a semi-weighted spring action keyboard, which does not accurately replicate the feel of an acoustic piano. However, the keys are both touch-sensitive and velocity-sensitive.

The built-in dynamic sound system is quite solid considering the price and produces rich, detailed sound. There are eight playable instrument voices, and the most interesting one is the Grand Piano. The voice is created by a triple-layered sample and the sound is impressively close to a grand piano.

In addition, the PA-88W also includes features such as reverb and chorus effects which enable the player to customize the sound and volume of the instrument being played. There are 12 demo songs provided for practice so that players who are just starting out can learn to play their favorite songs and enhance their playing skills.

This keyboard comes with 32-note polyphony, which might not be impressive, and certainly not sufficient for advanced piano players, but it’s quite enough for beginners.

In conclusion, the Artesia PA-88W is an ultimate bargain and an excellent value for the buck. If you are a beginner or intermediate player that does not mind the low amount of polyphony and is looking for an affordable digital piano that won’t cost a fortune, then the PA-88W is the perfect 88-key keyboard for you.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is a hard working student with a great passion for writing. He likes to express his deep interest in tech gadgets and latest PC hardware through valuable writeups.

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