Yamaha P45B 88 Key Digital Piano with Knox Z Style Keyboard Stand and Piano Bench
Like the perfect pre-owned car, a person knows it when they see it! The Yamaha P45B Digital Piano however, is light years beyond trying to decide the best of the worst. It is a certainty that even the most affordable Yamaha Pianos are made with precision, and have unmatched lifespans.
Yamaha tends to eschew frills for sound and design quality. The P45B is no exception. Whether it’s a first piano for someone wanting to start lessons, or a versatile piano for a touring professional, this model is a remarkably solid investment.
Selecting a Budget Friendly but High Quality Electric Piano
Buying a quality electric, or digital piano on a budget is very much like buying a great pre-owned car. The idea is to find a model that suits every need, but has in-built features that sets it apart from the lot. The biggest difference between a good digital piano and a used car however, is a well-engineered digital piano will not lose a large percentage of its value the moment it is taken out of the box.
There is a disappointing trend in modern digital piano manufacturing to produce models with unending technological options. There is nothing wrong with being versatile, but people shopping for great pianos on a budget should be aware that every included on-board technological tool will add significant costs to a piano model. The truth is, quality affordable digital pianos offer many of these options without redundancies like animated LED screens, multiple ports, instrument sound settings, and trendy body designs. Even things such as bundled extras including lamps, bags, stage stands, and copyrighted methods books will increase a piano’s cost significantly.
To further the pre-owned car analogy, it is best to weigh the need for an electric piano against cost options. If a person’s main reason for buying a budget car is mileage, it would be really unwise to purchase a luxury model simply because the mileage is good, but air conditioning and a skylight are included. Similarly, it is unwise to break the bank on a piano that looks trendy and has more “bells and whistles,” when all that is needed is a model that has a reputable manufacturer, a great sound, and mimics a real acoustic piano in the most important ways.
When choosing an electric piano that costs less than $500, think about these important categorical needs.
Purpose of Owning the Instrument
Does the primary need for this instrument have to do with learning to play? If this is the case, the piano must have realistic touch sensitivity in the keys. Graded keys mean that higher notes have a lighter touch, and lower notes have a heavier touch. This is consistent with the feel of an acoustic piano that is controlled by hammers and strings with varying densities. Under no circumstances should a digital piano meant for instruction be without this feature.
Tone Quality and Production
Digital pianos that are produced for the job of mixing and sound design, or have the roll of layering in band settings, do not need to have polyphonic capabilities. Polyphony, as it pertains to digital pianos, means the ability of the instrument to sound multiple keys at once. Extremely expensive electric pianos are made with the ability to layer up to 128 tones, or more without any cancellation. Good models under $500 should meet the standard of 64 tones.
Along with polyphonic capabilities, a good budget piano should produce a sound that is life-like. The tones should be balanced and free of “tinny” higher sounds, and dull and “wobbly” low tones. It is also a very inexpensive option for the piano to have a corded damper pedal that is attached with a standard ¼ inch plug. There is rarely a need for the full spectrum of orchestral sounds on an electric piano, unless mixing and orchestration is needed. Because a good piano will have the ability to interface with computer programs that provide these sounds, there is no need to pay extra for having them on the piano itself. A good universal model should have grand piano, antique piano, organ, and string settings to work with.
Technology and Accessories Options
There are certain features of good digital pianos that are now standard on reputable models. One is the full 88-key range. Any piano with fewer keys indicates that it is intended for light use, or is of low quality. Another standard is midi and speaker ports. Most good models will have the ability to connect with computer, mobile device, and amplifier hardware.
Many manufacturers will compound the price of a digital piano by including things like benches and stands. If these options obviously add to the overall cost, choose those that have minimal designs, but are as sturdy as the piano itself. If the piano is to be mounted on a table, or used with a chair, try to find the best model that doesn’t include these options. Again, why pay for new chrome rims on a vehicle that is to be used exclusively for affordable transportation?
The market for digital pianos makes manufacturing them extremely competitive. Manufacturers learn from each other about what consumers want most out of their instruments. This has resulted in an extremely diverse number of pianos from an even more diverse universe of manufacturers. The truth is, there are very few terrible digital pianos out there. Technological innovations in electronics, acoustic design, plastics compositing, and ergonomics makes it very difficult to produce an electronic piano that performs extremely poorly. This is true even for less expensive models.
Two brands have become the leading manufacturers of affordable digital and electric pianos that serve multiple purposes. They are Alesis and Yamaha. Both brands concentrate on accurately mimicking the feel and sound of acoustic pianos, while providing opportunity to use them in modern ways.
Many manufacturers have popular models of electric pianos that sound great, have life-like key sensitivity, and are affordable. Most of them are also perfect for using in multi-instrument settings like band set-ups and studios. Overwhelmingly, most of these models have instrument and play-back controls that tend to be extremely complicated. The latest generation of most of these pianos have also not had the time on the market to produce significant and meaningful consumer feedback.
The Best Affordable Electric Piano
A standout electric piano under $500 is the Yamaha P45B 88-Key Digital Piano with Knox Z-style stand and bench. This model/package is made by what is perhaps, the most widely trusted electric piano company in the world. Is has extremely sensitive key touch sensitivity, and retains the classic Yamaha concert black color that looks great in home and professional settings. Along with these characteristics, the Yamaha P45B Digital Piano also has these features.
- Commonly used instrument sound selections that are very precise.
- Sturdy, quiet button controls for voices, metronome, and power on/off.
- Stereo-quality speakers that make the instrument sound bigger than it really is.
- 64-note polyphony for moderately dense musical passages, recording, and playback.
- Ports for midi, phone devices, headphones, microphone, and optional damper pedal.
- Z-style stand that is adjustable vertically and horizontally.
- Padded concert-style bench made from faux leather and solid wood components.
- Smooth, even surfaces that are easy to clean, disassemble, and transport.
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