Top 5 digital piano brands 2021
Updated: Jan 26
In this article you'll find the best piano brands of 2021. There are many more than just 5 piano brands, but we decided to just cover the top 5 digital piano brands.
This review is supposed to easily guide you to your next piano purchase. We thought writing an article about the most popular brands could help you throught the journey.
Yamaha is probably the most popular digital piano brand today. They offer a wide range of all kinds of pianos, acoustic, digital piano and keyboards. Everything from entry level pianos to advanced acoustic pianos.
Their journey started back in 1887, when their founder Torakusu Yamaha from Japan repaired a broken reed organ. That was also the first reed organ to be built in Japan.
From producing upright pianos at the start of the 1900-century, til today, one of the leading music suppliers on the entire market with high quality sound systems we never would have thought of back in 1887.
Back in school these pianos are very popular. Either as a grand, upright or digital. You have probably once in your life played a yamaha piano, that was probably in school. They’re affordable and come with quality samples which the schools like.
If you ever been at a concert and someone is playing on grand piano. Then the odds are high that it was a Yamaha grand piano.
They’re literally being used all over the world in different places.
Yamaha has also built their reputation with quality sampling technology. With the aim of constantly developing better realistic piano sound, Yamaha's designers realised using analog tone generators wouldn’t achieve the maximum sound quality.
So they switched their focus to sampling technology, which resulted in an AWN tone generator with real samples from authentic acoustic pianos.
AWM sampling is one of yamaha's most basic technologies. It’s used in their entry levels pianos and other affordable keyboards. Still maintains a good quality, no needs to doubt that.
Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer sampling is their most advanced sampling system, the samples are taken from Yamaha CFX grand piano and the Bösendorfer imperial, which is also their own pianos. Luckily, we can experience this technology in the Yamaha P 515, which is a more affordable piano than the Bösendorfer.
The company has also dedicated themselves to ensure their customers' experience. Not only with the sampling technology, but also with a wide range of key actions.
The Key action can be the most important aspect on a piano. With that said, Yamaha decided to make a wide variety of key actions.
In the semi-weighted keys we often see the graded soft touch. No weights and no hammer mechanism. Can be found in entry level pianos like the YPG-535.
In fully-weighted keys, we are very close to get an authentic feeling of an acoustic piano. And there are more than just one fully weighted key action from yamaha.
GHS - Will be found in pianos for beginners and intermediates.
GH/GH3 - Better version from the GHS, Heavier touch and more resistance.
GH3X - Stands out with an escapement mechanism, a feature which is supposed to allow the note to be repeated quickly before the action returns to its resting position.
NW-GH - An old Yamaha wood action, can be found in the CP4.
NWX - Stands for natural wood X, Can be found in the newer yamaha pianos. Comes with an escapement mechanism.
GRANDTOUCH - Also a wooden action. It's used in the higher Yamaha pianos with an expensive price. The goal is to replicate the most authentic grand piano sound.
When you hear about casio, chances are that your first thought is about watches. That’s totally fine because casio is well known for making watches.
But you’re not reading this text because of watches, you’re reading this to educate yourself more about casio pianos.
Casio has been around since 1946, founded in japan just like Yahama.
But it took until the early eighties to start making keyboards. Casiotone 201 was the first portable keyboard ever made, and therefore they just kept going.
But the modern Casio we’ll have to wait 20 more years for. It was at the beginning of the 2000-century they actually made a name for themselves at the market.
When they first launched the Privia series, that’s where it took off.
In the beginning of the privia era. Casio’s sound system wasn't the best on the market. Other companies had much more money to spend on developing the best sound quality. And Casio didn’t.
But in later years they also manage to compete about the best sampling system. We’ve covered the systems below.
AIR sound system - Stands for Acoustic intelligent Resonator and can be found in the privia series.
AIR GRAND SOUND SOURCE - Air grand aims to replicate three different pianos. Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg. Can be found in the Celviano hybrid digital pianos.
AIX sound source - Main focus is not only on digital pianos, but also keyboards and arrangers. (Acoustic Intelligent multi-expression)
AHL sound source - An old sound engine developed by casio, but still can be found on budget keyboards. (Acoustic & Highly-compressed Large waveform)
AIF Sound source - Can also be found on older digital pianos and keyboards. They’re not in use in today's pianos. (Acoustic & Intelligent Filtering System)
Acoustic simulator - Is used on modern pianos, that use modeling.
Casio like Yamaha also provides a large selection of key actions, which can be an important aspect when you choose a piano.
Synth action is the most budget option on casio keyboards, they’re unrealistic and unweighted. Will suit small childrens and beginners for the most part. If you’re not used to playing on these, then it might feel a bit weird for the first time.
The Scaled Hammer Action I can be a good choice if you plan to buy a used model. It’s an older hammer action we usually don’t see in new digital pianos, fits beginners for the most part.
In the modern digital pianos you’ll likely be playing with the Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II. For instance the px-160 features this hammer action. This key action detects keystrokes accurately, with three sensors, ensuring that repeated key presses get accurately triggered.
The Smart Scaled Hammer Action is used on the PX-S3000 for instance. It’s a new innovation from Casio and is designed to be short to fit smaller chassis like the PX-S3000.
The Scaled Hammer Action II is designed to be slim, short and more compact than the competitors. It’s featured on the CDP series and is similar to the Smart Scaled Hammer Action, just a little bit more fully-weighted keys.
Natural grand hammer keys can be found on the celviano series and is Casios most exclusive keys. Marketed as wooden keys with an exclusive feeling of touch.
Likely to Yamaha & Casio, Roland is also a Japanese company. Grounded back in 1972.
Many people recognize Roland with a realistic sound and realistic key touch. Well the sound is sampled from an acoustic steinway concert grand piano, and is being used in their digital pianos.
At the stage, Roland ranks among one of the best performance digital pianos at the market, quite impressive.
Rolands engineers put an extreme effort to ensure the customers with high quality pianos. They are responsible for the innovations of the sampling technology and other features.
Something positive with Roland is that you will always find a piano that suits your needs. They provide budget pianos like the Roland go to expensive high quality pianos.
Many people also recognize Roland with the Roland FP-X series. It’s a generation with 4 portable pianos. The entry level FP-10 to suit the beginner to the flagship FP-90X with the pure acoustic sound modeling.
Roland also features different sound engines, for instance we got the Super Natural Sound Engine which was used for the first time ever in the Fantom-G workstations. Can also be found in the Jupiter-80, made back in 2011.
They use a synthesized sound layered with samples to capture the tones of an authentic recorded sound.
Roland has some interesting keyboard actions, the synth action, which don’t focus on making a realistic key touch but instead focus to give the player the synth feeling.
Ivory feel G - Fully weighted key action, tho outdated in today's era. Can be found on the 88-key Juno DS. These keys are good on the workstation keyboards, but you won’t likely come across them. Nothing to brag about.
PHA 4-standard - Stands for Progressive Hammer Action and emulates the graded feeling of real pianos. This action is used in the entry level pianos, for instance the FP-10.
PHA-50 - Featuring real wood to produce the most realistic touch, it’s a big upgrade from previous action and you'll find them in the high end Roland pianos.
Hybrid Grand Keyboard - Similar to the PHA-50 action, but features longer keys and can be found on the LX700-series.
Kawai is well known for only maintaining focus on acoustic pianos and digital pianos. Unlike Yamaha where they have a wide range of other electronics, kawais only business is the piano industry.
Because of that, they can produce realistic sounds and authentic key actions.
Everything started back in 1927 in Japan. Just like the other piano manufactures. Koichi Kawai was the man who was struggling to build an upright piano just by himself.
As the brand kawai, they manage to get a reputation that provides a lot of variety to their customers. Their pianos come in different price ranges, colors and size. They have managed to keep prices down, unlike yamaha and roland.
They’ve taken the components of tone and sound from their authentic pianos. To then use these samples in their digital pianos, which is the most common type of piano nowadays.
Similar to the key action. Replicates the authentic piano touch from an acoustic piano into the digital piano.
If you decide to buy a piano from kawai, you’ll then be guaranteed a successful sound expression. They always put the customer experience as the top priority when producing new pianos.
It must be something special with Japan. This company just like the 4 other companies is also founded in Japan. This time back in 1963 by Tsutomu Kato
They state that their goal always has been to create new experiences in the music industry. I totally agree.
Similar to Roland, Korg is also a piano company well known on the stage with high-end keyboards.
But their digital pianos have an outstanding point, they’re actually made by real musicians. Which could be an advantage for korg over other suppliers. Because these musicians have for sure used their creativity to make quality pianos with extraordinary sounds.
Because they are on the toplist. We don’t need to doubt their quality. They offer a wide variety for all pianists, also especially popular among touring musicians. These pianos are lightweight and easy to handle.
The korg G1 air is called the flagship over korg. It produces an astonishing sound, and is relatively cheap and compact. Check out more korg digital pianos here