People of all ages desire to learn how to play the piano, but many times purchasing a full sized instrument is not a cost effective option. Instead of giving up on their dreams to skillfully play the classic instrument, many turn to digital versions of the piano instead. Here are ten of the top versions of digital keyboards that fit the budgets and performance requirements of most budding musicians.
This Akai midi controller is completely portable, yet it has numerous features that are similar to full sized keyboards. Akai portable midi controller users connect their instruments to laptop computers to play, compose, record and edit music. The controller comes with the necessary production software that is preloaded and easy to use immediately after system setup. The midi controller is compatible with a variety of operating systems and digital audio workstation (DAW) software. Performance enhancing features include 25 miniature keys, a joystick for controlling modulation and pitch, controls for repeating notes and eight assignable knobs to expand the system’s functionality. Consumers noted that the Akai miniature midi controller worked as expected, but they claimed that the small size of the keys hampered optimal performance.
The Casio Premium Portable Keyboard is compact enough for easy transport but large enough to provide an adequate playing surface for both novice and advanced players. The keyboard comes with a set of quality headphones for private listening, a steel crafted stand, a built-in microphone and an integrated sound sampler system. The unit’s Step Up Learning System which allows users to play songs with guided key prompts is the most valued feature by beginner players according to consumer reviews. The Casio keyboard is USB-enabled, and it can be connected to computers that have either Mac or Windows operating systems for professional styled music recording sessions.
The mini keyboard by Casio comes with 44 small keys, large signal identification sound source, 100 tones and 50 rhythms. The instrument is completely compact, and it is considered to be good for children and adults who are learning how to play the piano without the bulk or expense of purchasing a full sized piano or organ. An integrated switch allows users to toggle between piano and organ modes for added functionality and enjoyment. Users can connect headphones to the Casio mini keyboard so that they do not disturb others while they learn to play, and the digital piano comes loaded with 10 practice songs. The instrument can be powered by either an AD-E95 adapter or six AA batteries.
The Williams Legato keyboard is a full-sized instrument that allows users to produce a variety of professional quality keyboard sounds like those from organs, pianos, electric pianos and synthesizers. The keyboard is portable and can be played using battery power from six D-cell 1.5-volt batteries. Users can also purchase AC adapters separately when they want to use their instruments in fixed locations that are near electric outlets. The Williams Legato 88-Key Digital Piano comes with internal speakers as well as input and output jacks for headphones and USB midi connections.
The Yamaha 76-Key Portable Grand Piano attempts to mimic the sound and play of a real piano. Its full sized keys feature Graded Soft Touch action that has varying resistance levels. Subsequently, users can control the level of volume that results from each keystroke. The integrated features of the Yamaha digital grand piano allows music enthusiasts of all skill levels to both play and record music. The keyboard is touted as good for music students, and it comes with 30 practice songs. Yamaha is known as an industry leader, and it continues to support its customer base with user-friendly features. For example, users can connect their keyboards to Mac or PC-based computers via USB connections and the product’s one button start up feature. Once online, music students have access to the Yahama Education suite where they can get step by step instructions on how to play their keyboards.
The AKM320 midi keyboard controller by Midiplus has 34 keys and a small footprint that makes it ideal for musicians on the go. The midi controller is compatible with both Mac and PC operating systems as well as many DAWs that are on the market. It comes with pitch and modulation wheels as well as octave and transpose buttons.
The Yamaha PSRE253 keyboard is easy to transport, and it features full sized keys for enhanced beginner play. The unit also has a function that allows users to virtually split the keyboard in half so that students and their teachers have “middle C” keys for easier instruction. The Yamaha PSRE253 keyboard has input and output jacks for connections to all types of computerized devices. The unit’s 32-note polyphony feature ensures sustained notes of beginner and intermediate level pieces.
A music student who has a passion for wind instruments and keyboarding will find an asset in the Hohner 32B Piano-Style Melodica. The instrument has 32 piano-styled keys and a mouthpiece for creating sounds that are similar to accordions, pump organs and harmonicas. The compact instrument comes with its own zippered carrying case.
The Keystation 49 midi keyboard controller by M-Audio provides the functionality that users of all skill levels need to play and produce quality sounds. The keyboard has 49 keys that are sensitive to the velocity of play. It comes with pitch and modulation wheels as well as buttons to control octaves. The Keystation 49 can be connected via USB cable to Mac or PC-based computers.
The Yamaha PSRE253 keyboard is designed for the novice player, and it includes closed cup headphones and 100 preset practice songs. This particular Yamaha model has 61 keys for greater playing versatility. It also comes with a keyboard stand, a power adapter and input lines that allow users to connect to external computerized devices.