Digital Pianos vs. Acoustic Pianos – Six Reasons Why They’re Better

The digital piano versus acoustic piano debate has raged ever since the first digital piano was released onto the market in the 1980s.

To start with, and well into the 2000s, there was no question of the winner: the feel, sound, and look of acoustic pianos was far more sophisticated than the electronic-sounding, plastic-feeling digital pianos of the time. However, in the last decade, digital pianos started holding their own against acoustic pianos and we reckon that – in the last few years – they’ve actually overtaken at least the cheaper acoustic pianos out there in terms of sound quality, and pretty much any acoustic piano in terms of versatility.

It pains me to say this; I grew up with a piano in the family home and I am a keen piano player. Indeed, until not that long ago, I’ve been adamant that there is no way some digital circuitry and a set of speakers can improve on a massive reverberating piece of wood and metal. But with advances in processing power – and hence the technology used to recreate a piano sound by digital means – it is now very difficult to tell digital and acoustic apart

So we know that digital pianos can sound and feel as good as acoustic pianos, but what makes them actually better?

As I see it, there are four reasons:

1. They are more versatile

The Yamaha Clavinova can sound exactly like not only a Steinway, but also a Bosendorfer, or even that battered old piano in the local pub. Once you’ve bought an acoustic piano, it can only ever sound like one thing, but digital pianos can sound like pretty much any piano you can imagine. And, what’s more, they often come with other sounds too – strings, choirs, and more – that offer all sorts of creative playing possibilities.

2. You never need to tune them

This is a massive plus point. Acoustic pianos are the instruments that just keep on taking: if you don’t spend around £150 a year on tuning, they’ll basically be unplayable. Digital pianos never need tuning, and can even be transposed to play in a different key at the touch of a button (makes playing in C# a whole lot easier!).

3. You can play in silence

This is an important one for me – with two small children, I can’t practice the piano at night unless I want them to wake up and come and join me (which generally I don’t). With a digital piano, you can just plug in a set of good quality headphones and play into the small hours with nary a care in the world.

4. They don’t take up so much room

Although there is something magnificent about a huge grand piano, most of us simply don’t have the room. Digital pianos have the capability to offer the same big sound out of a surprisingly compact unit that’ll slip into your front room without dominating it.

5. They can act as a home entertainment system

One of the key features of decent digital pianos is that they have extremely high quality speakers built in. This means that, not only does the piano itself sound amazing, but it can act as a very high quality (and LOUD!) speaker system. Higher up the series, many models also incorporate Bluetooth technology, meaning you can play music from your phone through the piano’s speakers on the other side of the room. Try doing that with a Steinway grand!

6. They can be controlled by MIDI and used as a MIDI controller

At home my laptop and audio interface sit neatly on top of my digital piano with a single USB cable joining the piano and the computer. What does this mean? It means 1. I can record myself playing the piano and correct any mistakes, and 2. I can use the piano to play the 50 gazillion other sounds that my laptop can make. Amazing!

So that’s it: finally digital pianos have overcome acoustic pianos. They sound at least as good as all but the most expensive acoustics and they do loads more besides. Don’t believe us? Come and check out our digital piano selection in our stores and you may be surprised.

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