The Digital vs. Acoustic Piano Showdown
Tuesday December 5, 2017. 12:56 AM , from Music Think Tank
Not unlike everything else around us, the world of piano has been shifting away from analog to digital. The ease and convenience of digital pianos has shifted the market from the expensive, heavy, loud acoustic piano, to the lightweight, inexpensive, volume controlled digital piano.
Are they all they’re cracked up to be? Or is there still room for the “oldfashioned” analog piano?
Let’s find out!
If you’re considering buying a digital piano, this guide will give you everything you’ll need to know.
The Case For The Acoustic Piano
How many of you have listened to a skilled pianist while sitting in the adjacent room? The beautiful, balanced tones of a baby-grand piano drifting through the walls and doorways.
How many of you have sat down behind your grandmother’s 30-year-old acoustic piano and played the worn-down, chipped keys?
I know they’re big. I know they’re loud. I know it takes a team of burly men to move them. I know how grating it can be to listen to 8 bars of the Harry Potter theme song being looped for hours.
But there is also something they’re not. They’re not replicas of the real thing.
No matter how big your “Pros” list is for digital pianos, acoustic pianos will always have one thing digital pianos don’t: acoustic tone.
It’s the tone that has made them one of the most widely played instruments that have ever existed. It’s the tone that has spanned every genre of music we have come up with - and digital pianos will always only be replicas of this tone.
No matter how long you play your digital piano, I bet you will still be dreaming of the day you can own your first baby-grand. I’m willing to be that’s something that digital pianos won’t be able to touch for a long time.
The Case For The Digital Piano
Nostalgia and ideals aside, digital pianos are fantastic. The first piano recommendation out of my mouth is always a digital piano. They’re game changers.
For starters, you can move them by yourself. No gang of burly men needed. They also have a headphone jack. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Thinking of buying your child a piano for Christmas? The first question you ask should be: “does it have a headphone jack?” You’ll thank me later!
Most of the sounds produced by digital pianos are actually quite good (considering they usually come from two small, built-in speakers). Companies these days have finally figured out how to cram high-definition samples into the onboard soundbank.
The hammer action keys are getting very close to the real thing. Keys on the lower register are heavier, and lighter on the higher octaves.
While I usually stick to the main piano samples, I would admit that a few of the other additional effects (reverb, etc.) can be quite pleasing. Especially if you’re playing in an acoustically unfriendly environment.
And finally, price. This is something where acoustic pianos can’t even come close. You can pick up a half-decent digital piano for around $200. A total game changer.
This development has allowed for many more people to enjoy the process of learning and playing the piano. No complaints here.
It’s for these reasons that digital pianos are the right choice, more often than note. Just remember, you haven’t really played the piano until you’ve sat behind a grand.
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