Today's Digital Pianos
They’re not your parents’ digitals… or even your older cousin’s!
I started with Kawai in 1995. At that point, digital pianos using sampled sounds had been on the market for a little more than ten years. The improvement in digitals from the ‘80’s to the ‘90s had been steady and significant. Of course, it was easy to say that, as the tone and touch of those early instruments left a lot to be desired.
I can honestly say that, to me, the improvement in digitals is even more impressive from my early days at Kawai to now. Technology and methodology in both keyboard actions and digital sound have taken some very dramatic steps forward over this time, including some big improvements as recently as a year or two ago (see Kawai’s actions and sound technology).
The cumulative effect of these improvements is that top quality digitals, such as the ones made by Kawai, are truly viable alternatives to their acoustic piano counterparts. In some cases, the tone and touch of a good digital now can be better than a lot of acoustic pianos of similar size and cost.
What does this mean for someone shopping for a digital piano today?
For starters, when you get one, get a good one from a top company. And, if you’re looking at a used digital, don’t go too far back in time. The drop off in performance from a new model to even its 5 year old equivalent may be significant. (You wouldn’t purchase a 5 year old cell phone or computer, would you?)
There are a lot of used digital pianos on the market these days and some of them are getting pretty old. Definitely compare any used instrument to its new equivalent. Compare performance, features and price. In some cases, you might be able to get a much better new model (with a new warranty) for a very modest increase in cost over a used one.