In this guide we’ll be taking a look at the best digital pianos under $2000. These machines will ideally suit the more advanced and experienced piano players who are looking for a digital piano that they will be using on an almost daily basis.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pianos We Look At
- 2 Factors We Consider
- 3 Casio PX-560
- 4 Roland FP-90
- 5 Yamaha YDP-143
- 6 Roland RD-2000
- 7 Yamaha P-255
- 8 Korg C1 Air
- 9 Kawai ES8
- 10 Korg G1 Air
- 11 Conclusion
Pianos We Look At
Factors We Consider
The first and foremost thing we consider when it comes to these digital pianos is the quality of the keys and the key action.
By now advanced players will be able to easily tell the difference in quality when it comes to the different pianos they play and there is a certain calibre of instrument that they will demand.
As such, we take time to narrow in on this and we discuss the materials used to make the keys as well as how they feel in comparison to other digital piano models in this price point.
We also take into account various factors such as the sensitivity levels that the different digital pianos have to offer.
Most advanced players spend hours every day playing and practicing on their digital pianos.
As such, sound quality plays an important role when deciding which machine to add to your collection.
We therefore look at the overall quality of the sound, the speaker system, the polyphony and also the sound engine used by the various digital pianos in this list.
Given the price point and range of the pianos in this guide, we will also be judging the different models based on the extra features that they offer.
As these are advanced digital pianos, we expect them to offer more to the users in terms of sound customization, innovative functions etc
Weight and Portability
We take into account how portable the various digital pianos in this guide are.
Without a doubt most advanced players are looking to invest in an instrument that they will be playing often, and this includes at shows and various live performances.
So we will also keep the gigging musician in mind as we explore the various options presented before us.
As these are relatively costly digital pianos, we look at whether or not pedals are included on purchase of the machines and we also take a close look at the quality of the pedals.
Whilst the pedals may not necessarily be the defining factor when choosing a digital piano, the fact is that we expect value for our money in terms of the build quality of the accessories that come with the different digital pianos.
Many advanced digital pianos come with their own in-built piano stands in a variety of styles, such as cabinet style digital pianos.
In this guide we also take this into account as the overall design will truthfully play a role in the instrument we pick.
Truthfully speaking, nobody wants a poorly designed machine.
With a rather hefty budget to splash on our digital piano of choice, we closely scrutinise the various digital pianos in this price-range to ensure that we are getting value for our money.
Simply because an item is more expensive than the other does not guarantee that it is a superior item.
As such, we take into account whether the digital pianos in this guide justify their asking prices or not.
Aimed at the more advanced piano player, the Casio PX-560 is an excellent digital piano for a variety of reasons.
Featuring an 88-key fully weighted keyboard, the keys are made of simulated ebony and ivory keys and covered in textured material to provide a realistic playing experience. Most digital pianos make use of glossy finishes which in turn results in poor moisture absorption. The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II on the Casio PX-560 makes use of real hammers instead of springs to mimic the graded action on real pianos.
The Casio PX-560 features the use of Casio’s award winning Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR (Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator) sound source which allows for greater dynamic range while playing. The use of multi-layered samples creates a rich and realistic tone that advanced users will appreciate. The AiR sound source guarantees that the 650 different in-built tones will be heard at high quality.
If portability is something you’re considering, then Casio PX560 is the ideal instrument for the gigging musician due to the light-weight nature of this digital piano. Weighing in at 26.5lbs. It is very easy to transport and move around without tiring yourself out between different shows and performances. The design of the Casio PX-560 also makes use of a digital display with a touchscreen that makes navigating the different options extremely easy.
Some of our favourite features on the Casio PX560 includes the in-built EQ options. Advanced players will without a doubt appreciate this feature as it allows you to fine-tune the different tones to your preference.
The Roland FP-90 is an award winning digital piano and for good reason. With 88 fully weighted keys, the keytops are made of wood and molded materials with a matte finish texture. This allows for better moisture absorption, not to mention that grip is also better. The Roland FP90 also makes use of the PHA-50 (Progressive Hammer Action) keyboard which means the keys are graded for a more realistic playing experience.
With 300 different instrument sounds to choose from, the Roland FP90 offers a great deal in times of variety. You can rest assured of fantastic audio clarity thanks to the famous Roland SuperNATURAL sound technology which makes use of physical modelling rather than sampling. The effect of this is that the Roland FP-90 produces sound which is rich and detailed.
One of the great features of the Roland FP-90 is the Piano Designer function that allows for players to edit different parameters that affect the overall sound. This allows you to change how the overall tone sounds. You can adjust the lid position, string resonance and even the cabinet resonance to get the perfect tone. Advanced users will appreciate these options due to the detailed changes they offer.
With 384-note polyphony the Roland FP-90 is the perfect companion for the advanced piano player as none of notes will be cut off while playing. This digital piano would therefore suit the virtuoso piano player.
Boasting up to four speakers with a total output of 60W, the Roland FP-90 has a powerful sound system for a digital piano and is loud enough to be heard when played alongside to a 12-person choir. The maximum volume of 107dB is extremely impressive and very few digital pianos within this price range can come even close to this output.
The next advanced instrument we look at on this guide is the Yamaha YDP-143, cabinet style digital piano with a contemporary yet classic look to its design. There is a 3-pedal bar that is integrated in the design and this mimics the Sostenuto, Sustain, and Soft pedals that are found on an acoustic piano. These also allow for half pedaling, a feature that is rare on many digital pianos.
Offering 88-keys and graded hammer action, the Yamaha YDP143 which allows users to adjust the sensitivity of the keys. The keys feel realistic and they do not have the stiffness and resistance found on some other competing digital piano models. Worth noting is that the keytops have a glossy surface.
Advanced piano players will appreciate the tone of the Yamaha YDP-143 as it uses Pure CF Sound Engine sampling. It samples the Yamaha CFIIIS 9’ Concert grand piano which takes into account the different dynamic ranges thus allowing for more expressive playing. The piano samples used are rich and robust and the YDP-143 sounds quite realistic.
One of our favourite features of the Yamaha YDP-143 is the Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC). This function allows for the digital piano to automatically adjust parameters such as bass and treble automatically while you play. This ensures a clean tone and sound throughout your playing. Without a doubt a stand-out feature for any piano within this range.
For a truly immersive playing experience, advanced users will appreciate the Stereophonic Optimizer feature on the Yamaha YDP-143. This is unique to Yamaha devices and it adjusts the spacing of the sound and separation from the piano which results in amazing surround sound quality.
Another Roland makes our list and this one is the impressive Roland RD-2000, a premium 88-key digital stage piano that is aimed towards the professional gigging musician. With a rather hefty price-tag, it is geared specifically towards advanced players.
The Roland RD-2000 features two independent sound engines, this in itself is quite remarkable and impressive for several reasons. One sound engine is dedicated to piano sounds to ensure authentic sound quality, while the other is dedicated to the rest of the tones thus providing an unrivalled listening experience in comparison to other pianos.
The keys on the Roland RD-2000 are made of a mixture of wood and ivory simulated plastic. These provide a realistic and authentic piano feel for the user and they offer great grip so you do not slip during performances. It also features the spectacular Roland PHA-50 hammer action keyboard for a graded effect in the keys.
The Piano Designer Function of the Roland RD-2000 is a great feature which allows for users to edit details such as string resonance, lid position etc to get the ideal tone for their performances. Most advanced users will be able to tell the subtleties between the different piano lid positions, so this is a welcomed addition in terms of features.
Featuring a staggering 1100 sounds and tones, the Roland RD-2000 quite literally blows away its competition in this department. The best aspect of this is that it offers you greater control over the various tones as you can tweak effects on the fly by using the faders and knobs.
The first thing one notices about the Yamaha P-255 is the stylish design that it features. Yamaha take on a contemporary twist and move away from the traditional box shape approach by putting curves on to the Yamaha P255. Reinventing the wheel is no easy fete but Yamaha manage to pull this off to an almost perfect level with this design.
The Yamaha P255 not only looks good but it also feels good to the touch. Thanks to the synthetic ivory keytops, the absorption on the keytops is good and users are assured they will not slip while performing. The Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard is also featured on the Yamaha P-255 and it mimics the graded action on acoustic pianos.
With 256-note polyphony and the use of Yamaha’s Pure CF Sound Engine, the Yamaha P255 has managed to recreate the variation and nuances of their rather famous CF concert piano. You are therefore guaranteed realistic sounding tones with this digital piano as there is a clear attention to detail.
Loaded with a variety of features, users can control the Yamaha P255from a handy app. This allows them to layer and split sounds as well as applying effects to existing sounds. It offers several options for sound customisation thus allowing you to refine your sound to your preference.
Korg C1 Air
Presented as a cabinet style digital piano, the Korg C1 Air is part of the Korg ‘home’ range of digital pianos. As such, the design features a built in stand and pedal board and when full assembled it weighs in at 77lbs thus meaning it may not be easy to transport around due to the logistics involved in such a process.
With graded hammer action, the 88-key fully weighted keyboard will suit advanced players due to the lifelike feel of the keys. Within this price range we expect all the digital pianos to feature weighted keys and the Korg C1 Air does not disappoint. With the high-range RH3 – Real Weighted Hammer Action 3 being part of this digital piano, the keyboard has a fast response and also medium weight.
The Stereo PCM system used in the Korg C1 Air provides a rather realistic sound. Although Korg do not have a specific acoustic piano that they sample from, they use multi-layered samples to allow for greater dynamic expression depending on how hard or how soft one strikes the keys.
The Korg C1 Air offers users a decent selection of piano voices and tones to choose from. The grand piano sounds are impressive and can further be improved on via organic elements such as the use of the different pedals as well as the velocity that you use to strike the keys.
Users can add various effects such as reverb to the different piano tones and sounds. However, these effects are somewhat limited and advanced users may feel the need for having more options at their finger tips.
Featuring Responsive Hammer 3 (RH3) keyboard action, the Kawai ES8 features one of the most realistic keyboards under the $2000 mark that we have played. The triple sensor system provides unparalleled accuracy and responsiveness while playing. Featuring simulated ivory keytops with a matte finish, the keys prevent slipping due to the fantastic moisture absorption they offer.
The Kawai ES8 makes use of the Harmonic Imaging XL sound engine found in the high-end digital pianos offered by Kawai. The sound engine replicates the important nuances found in acoustic pianos such as the string resonance, damper resonance etc. Few digital pianos mimic this as well as the Kawai ES-8.
Advanced users will appreciate the fact that they can edit various parameters of the piano sound in the Kawai ES8 so as to get the ideal tone. This includes damper resonance, decay time, half-pedal adjustment, temperament etc. This is one of the few digital pianos available that gives users this much control over the sound of their instrument. Users can also apply reverb effects to their desired degree.
With a total output of 30W, the Kawai ES8 speakers offer loud and clear sound when played through. One of our favourite features when it comes to the sound of the Kawai ES-8 is the Wall EQ setting which allows automatic optimization of the digital piano.
Korg G1 Air
Right off the bat, the Korg G1 Air is an impressive digital piano as it makes use of Korg’s Real Weighted Hammer Action 3 (RH3) keyboard, the most realistic keyboard that Korg has to offer. It is extremely responsive to the touch, and uses a graded hammer action along with two-sensor technology for faster playing.
The different piano tones of the Korg G1 Air offer real attention to detail thanks to the use of multi-layered stereo samples from three different grand pianos as well as the use of the PCM Sound Generator. The sound engine takes into account the damper resonance, string resonance and the key-off simulation found in acoustic pianos.
With a total output of 80W, the speakers on the Korg G1 Air are amongst the loudest in this price range and they very easily beat out the competition. While you can easily connect to external sound devices, there is no pressing need for this unless you are playing a relatively large venue.
The overall cabinet design of the Korg G1 Air means that it comes with its own in-built stand and pedal board. This not only saves you money from buying external equipment, but they are also good quality builds that will suit advanced players. Furthermore, the pedal board supports half-pedaling for a more realistic playing experience when it is in use.
At this price point, most evident that advanced users will generally have a solid idea of the kind of digital piano they want to buy. They have already identified the features they prefer and they know if they will be using the digital piano for gigs, jam sessions or simply have a home piano.
With that in mind, it is difficult to narrow down just one digital piano from this guide because they are all truly remarkable instruments. However, the two stand out pianos, in my personal opinion and suitable for my preferences, would be the Kawai ES8 and the Roland FP-90.
The Kawai ES8 offers a lot when it comes to sound customisation and gives you so much room to tweak and edit tones to your exact preference. The keyboard is also b and it blows away its competition in this department. The Roland FP-90 is a stunning instrument that also allows for detailed sound customisation.
With the criteria we have set out in this guide you can shop around to find an instrument that fits your exact needs without breaking a sweat.
Go ahead and drop us a comment and let us know which one of these you would personally pick and also tell us why.