There are many quality digital pianos to choose from for around or under $500. Our favorite pick is the Casio Privia PX-160 because we feel that, for the price, the customer will receive high quality sound and design with a variety of fun and helpful features; particularly for beginning piano players. We will analyze all the features of this digital piano and compare it to some other pianos in the same price range.
What Is the Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano?
The Casio Privia PX-160 is a compact digital piano with 88 weighted keys that have the look and feel of real ivory. The piano comes in one of two color choices: champagne gold or black. It offers 128-note polyphony, 2 onboard amplifiers, and 2 rear-ported speakers as well as speaker openings on the front. It includes a music stand and a basic damper pedal. The customer can purchase an optional stand which will give it the look and feel of a more traditional upright piano.
We find that the controls on the Casio Privia PX-160 are simple to learn and use and that the sound quality is authentic to a natural piano tone. It is a solid option for beginning players because of the 2-track MIDI function which allows users to learn how to play with each hand independently and then put both parts together. There are several built-in songs for users to practice playing along with, and users have to ability to record/add up to 10 additional songs.
This keyboard includes 88 weighted keys and three levels of hammer sensitivity, all powered by Casio’s “Morphing AiR Sound Source” tones. It comes with 18 different tones for sounds that range from a concert grand to an electric piano, as well as organ, bass, and strings.
The hammer response allows for damper resonance, and it is also possible to simulate the reverb of a chorus or concert hall. The music library comes with 600 songs and allows you to add on another 10 of your choice.
You can transpose up to two octaves and also play in duet mode. The MIDI recorder will take about 5,000 total notes at a time, and the piano comes with a built in metronome that will play from 0 to 6 beats at tempos ranging from 20 to 255.
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Most online music retailers seem to have the Casio Privia PX-160 available for right around $400. However, some stores ask $500 or more.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar digital pianos on the market to see how they compare to the Casio Privia PX-160.
- The AiR engine provides highly-accurate grand piano sounds with seamless dynamics for a remarkably expressive and...
- The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard has an incredible feel and captures the dynamics of a performance with...
- Features a chassis designed for an elegant look and to house a 8w x 8w speaker system that delivers the PX-160's...
Ease of Use
The Casio Privia PX-160 is an easy digital piano for both beginners and teachers. We are excited about the 2-track MIDI recorder. This allows users to record the left-handed piano parts separately from the right-handed parts and then combine them later into one song. One of the challenges of learning to play the piano is learning to play with each hand, and this feature will allow students to learn each hand and how the sound of the left and right parts work together to create a full song.
The Casio Privia PX-160 includes 60 songs that are built-in for practicing the left-handed and right-handed parts. The user can add an additional 10 songs for practicing the same way. The piano also features a metronome for learning to keep time and has a headphone jack to allow for quiet practice sessions as well as transpose and tuning functions and duet mode. We find all the controls easy to use and understand.
Sound & Connectivity
There are 5 different piano sounds available on the Casio Privia PX-160, plus the ability to play 13 additional instrument sounds. The piano sounds were sampled from a 9-foot grand piano, and the AiR Sound Source allows for more natural piano tones. We enjoyed the jazz organ, concert grand, and harpsichord as well as the strings. This digital piano also feels more to the touch like an actual piano rather than a plastic keyboard. It features weighted keys with a simulated “ebony & ivory” feel, which makes playing a delight.
Our main issue with the Casio Privia PX-160 was the connectivity, but even here the concerns are minor. The Casio Privia PX-160 has no modulation or bend wheels, which limits its functionality. The rear panel connectors are not hard-wired to the external case, but rather they are directly mounted to the inner circuit board. They wobble somewhat, but research suggests that this has not been a problem or concern for most users.
Despite our minor concerns about the instability of the connectors, we are very much impressed overall with the design of the Casio Privia PX-160. We’ve already praised the weighted keys and their ability to make the user feel like they are playing a real ivory keyboard. Casio’s Tri-sensor Hammer Action Keyboard II uses a 3-sensor detection system which allows for faster note repetition. We are impressed with the array of features, particularly the 2-track MIDI recorder but also the number of pre-recorded songs and the quality of the speakers.
Casio offers a 3-year warranty on the Casio Privia PX-160.
- Start playing professional keys today - the ultimate beginners digital piano loaded with 12 expertly crafted voices and...
- Universal responsive feel - 88 premium full-sized hammer action keys with adjustable touch response to suit your...
- Connectivity covered - built-in 20W speakers, ¼" Sustain pedal input (pedal not included), ¼" stereo headphone output...
Alesis is a lesser-known brand in digital pianos than Casio or Yamaha. However, it offers many similar features, including a weighted keyboard, additional instrument sounds, metronome, tuning, and 20W speakers. It doesn’t have as many instrument sounds as some other brands and there are no pre-recorded songs for practice. It is superior in the number of connectivity features and assorted options for the price, so it could be a good choice for bargain hunters.
Ease of Use
The Alesis Recital Pro has a simple-to-understand interface and performs similarly to the other digital pianos in this review. It has a battery compartment, which allows it greater portability for musicians on the go. However, it doesn’t have all the beginner-friendly features of the Casio Privia PX-160.
Sound & Connectivity
The sound is pretty average. It doesn’t sound better or worse than most of the other digital keyboards on this list with the exception of the Casio Privia PX-160, which we believe has superior sound quality to the other options. The Recital Pro’s keys are made of glossy plastic, and while they are fully weighted, it still feels like a plastic keyboard instead of a real piano.
Where the Alesis shines above the other pianos on this list is connectivity. The piano has a USB type B port, which will allows users to connect to a computer for use with software like GarageBand and Flowkey. There is a pedal input, a headphone output, and there are 2 line outputs which can be used to connect the keyboard to external speakers, a mixer, or a PA system.
We find the design quality to be average among other digital pianos on the market.
It was difficult to find warranty information, but it appears that most sellers offer a limited 1-year warranty, and in some cases an additional warranty can be purchased.
- GHS weighted action is heavier in the low end and lighter in the high end, just like an acoustic pia
- Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling recreates natural instrument sound in stereo
- 64-note polyphony allows the player to perform moderately dense piano passages
Yamaha is a highly trusted brand name in musical instruments, and the P-45 is a great digital piano for beginners. It features 88 piano keys that are weighted and graded and that offer a high quality sound. It is lightweight, affordable, and compact. However it lacks basic functions, like a MIDI recorder and output jacks. However, it can be connected to a computer for use with musical software via the USB type B port.
Ease of Use
The Yamaha P-45’s basic functionality and beautiful tone make it easy and fun to play.
Sound & Connectivity
While the P-45 achieves beautiful sound quality, we still feel like it is not quite on par with the rich, authentic tone of the Casio Privia PX-160. Still, it features 64-note polyphony and AMW stereo sampling technology, and the weighted Graded Hammer Standard keys are a pleasure to play.
We are disappointed that there are no output jacks, and the only means of any sort of connection is via the USB type B port. While a beginner might not need output jacks or split mode, they would be nice features to have considering that the other options in the same price range do.
When it comes to quality, Yamaha digital pianos are hard to beat, which is why they are such a popular brand among beginning and more accomplished musicians. The P-45 is no exception.
Yamaha offers a limited 3-year warranty on all P series digital pianos.
Korg is another popular brand name in the music industry. This model is their most basic of their digital piano offerings. We feel that out of the pianos on this list, it has the second best sound quality to the Casio Privia PX-160. It features 18W speakers, 120-note polyphony, and Motional Feedbac; all of which helps more accurately produce lower frequencies.
Ease of Use
One reason this digital piano is so easy to use is because it is so basic. Without a lot of extra features, it is relatively uncomplicated to play.
Sound & Connectivity
As mentioned previously, we enjoy the sound on this model second only to the Casio Privia PX-160. However, the keys do not feel as realistic.
The Korg B1 has the least connectivity out of all the pianos featured in this article. While it does come with a realistic sustain pedal, it has no USB port and no MIDI compatibility whatsoever. This gives it a big disadvantage considering that all of the other options do offer at least one or more types of external connectivity.
The design quality is solid. Even though this keyboard has minimal functionality, it does perform solidly.
Korg offers a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
Compared to the other digital pianos on this list, we were most impressed by the 2-track MIDI functionality and the realistic weight and feel of the piano keys. It offers the widest variety of quality instrument sound and is a great option for beginners and more advanced players alike. We feel like it is well worth the price compared to the other models we reviewed.
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