9. Quick Questions
A litte advice from your favorite music store:
Many customers appreciate help from our specialist department when purchasing a new instrument. And when you look at the instruments in our exhibition you'll understand why, the first thing you'll notice is how many there are, the second is the price tag. There are digital pianos that cost 300, 4000, or even over 15000 Euro. Therefore we have put together a few questions (and answers) that our experts hear most often, to help you make a decision. If you need more help though, don't hesitate to contact us!
Why is there such a range in price for digital pianos? What justifies the price of a 15,000 Euro instrument?
Digital pianos attempt, above all, to simulate a real piano. Extra functions like effects and displays only play a small role in the price. To make it short and sweet, the higher the price of a digital piano, the higher the quality and authenticity of the keyboard, sound and feel.
Who should buy a digital piano?
Generally digital pianos are good for any piano player. But the quality of sound they produce and the feel of their keys is what will differentiate a professionals model from a beginners. Digital instruments are a great option for families with less space and are also generally cheaper than their acoustic brothers, making them ideal for beginners. In addition, you don't have to pay attention to things like humidity and temperature, which affect the frame of acoustic instruments. There is also no need to worry about the cost of keeping a digital instrument tuned. Of course, some of these advantages for casual players are negatives for professional pianists, they appreciate the flexibility in sound offered by different tunings.
My kid is already learning to play the violin but saw someone playing a piano at school and wants to try that out too, which price range should I be looking at?
For beginners it is best to start with an instrument between 350 and 1600 Euro. The investment isn't too high and you can still get a very good instrument for the money. But even within this price range there is a lot of variability. Instruments between 350 and 700 Euro for instance are the absolute beginning level, which effects the quality of the keyboard and sound.
Compare them to instruments between 800 and 1000 Euro. The sound reproduction and sensor technology quality in the keyboard here is far better than in the lower category. Manufacturers usually install a good piano sample and often higher quality keyboards at this price level, affecting the way the keys play and the level sound control. In addition, beginning around 1000 Euro the keys are coated with a synthetic ivory, which has and absorbent effect and makes the keys non-slip.
If we take another step up we will find ourselves in the midrange of digital pianos. Many manufacturers use an additional sensor in this class, making it possible to repeat a key faster as well as making it possible to strike an already oscillating string like you could on a grand piano. In addition there is the inclusion of pressure point simulation, which is installed almost as standard at this price range. It brings a digital piano a lot closer to the real deal in terms of play feel. Another difference you'll notice in pianos up to 1600 Euro is the sampling technology used. Where previously only high-quality recordings of real pianos were made, here other sounds that are decisive for the character present in real pianos are recorded individually. For example, the overtones of each sound or the vibration of the strings. By this point the manufacturers have done a lot of work to emulate a real piano authentically. Something your daughter or son will appreciate when they come home from piano lessons and are able to play something similar to their teachers real piano.
If, after 3-5 years, your child still has interested in playing then you should look into buying a "real" piano again. But for the first steps as a pianist, electronic instruments are a great option due to their low price and maintenance costs. At some point, however, there will be a need to play either a real piano or a high-quality digital piano, as not only the sound but the playability are different.
Is a digital piano a worthy piano replacement??
- The Sound
In the case of acoustic instruments, sound is generated by the impact of the hammer against the strings and transmission of vibrations to soundboard. On a digital piano, the sound is generated electronically. To achieve this the sounds of high-quality grand pianos are recorded and faithfully reproduced by the sensors and electronics of the digital piano. How faithfully depends on the strength of the strike and the instruments manufacturer. If done correctly it allows for a very authentic sounding and even attractive instrument for a lower price.
A piano uses a very complex and precise mechanism to produce sound. The goal of a digital piano is to reproduce the physical feel of this mechanism. The deeper you dive into the world of electronic instruments, the more differences you'll find in how this is attempted. But almost all digital pianos have a dynamic (strong strike = loud sound / weak strike = quiet sound) keyboard. However, with increasing price comes a finer and finer sensor system, ending with the installation of actual piano mechanisms in a digital instrument, these are called hybrid instruments.
What are the advantages of a digital piano over an acoustic one?
Besides being cheaper, there are a few other advantages of the digital format.
- Headphones and Practice
All digital pianos have one or more headphone jacks, so you can practice at any time of the day or night without disturbing your neighbors. Plugging in headphones will mute or turn off the speakers in almost all cases.
If you've ever had to move a piano, you know they're heavy, really heavy. In contrast, digital pianos do not need a frame of iron, making them much lighter. In addition, most electronic devices can be dismantled, so you can move them in a normal car. Finally, not only are they lighter, but smaller, they can be put in many places a normal piano could not be placed.
- Variety of Sounds
Something more for children or those who want to play more than just a piano without switching instruments, the ability to select different sounds is an important consideration. All digital pianos offer a choice of various historical and modern keyboard instruments, as well as strings, and in some cases even guitars, brass sets or synths.
- Important Help
In addition to a good keyboard and a realistic piano sound, digital pianos also offer some functions that are important for practicing and learning. They have built a metronome, as well as a recording function (recorder) which can be used as a control or to hear a teachers playing again. Some instruments even offer a guide that shows the notes on the display, allowing for step-by-step lessons without a teacher.
- No Maintenance Needed
A conventional piano needs to be tuned about twice a year by a piano maker and after 5 to 7 years, the mechanics need to be overhauled. Of course this isn't an issue with digital instruments, the only thing that could happen is that a new, better sample comes out.
What should I keep in mind when purchasing?
First, you should feel comfortable when playing. An authentic keyboard and a good piano sample are often the key here. This depends on you though as everyone has different preferences and thus a different perception in terms of the sound and keyboards quality. With the number of manufacturers and instruments we have on offer though, there is something for everyone.
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