A common dilemma most people, who are willing to invest serious time and effort face, is which piano to buy, an acoustic or a digital one. Though the choice might be strongly governed by your budget, it is better to take an informed decision as technological advances have caused an explosion of pianos of different capabilities and features to be available in the market.
This article gives a detailed description of both pianos, their features and uses and then compares the advantages and disadvantages between the two in various scenarios.
The main benefits of a digital piano are the fact that it is portable and versatile as well as much cheaper compared to the equivalent acoustic piano.
The digital piano might contain 49, 61, 79 or the complete 88 keys, depending on the model. The slightly professional and high end models weight around 12-25 kilos and contain amazing features.
Below is a brief description of the features a digital piano in the range of 300 USD to 10,000 USD and can contain:
Besides the above points, the aesthetics of the digital piano can appeal to the minimalist lover, as the design is usually classy with a matte finish and can fit very elegantly into a room.
Nowadays, brands like Yamaha, Casio etc. are coming up with digital models with the design of a grand piano so that, the look and feel would be that of a grand piano and the touch and music would be digital. This happy marriage can also be considered as an alternative to buy. The Yamaha Arius series is an example of this type of hybrid, “TransAcoustic” pianos.
The form and design of an acoustic piano has been perfected in the mid-19th century. They are intricate and complicated instruments whose design has been one of the major accomplishments of humankind.
They have 88 keys and 230 strings that are struck by tiny felt covered hammers, so that they are excited when the key is pressed, causing resonance and sound across the piano’s wooden soundboard.
There are different categories of acoustic pianos as well.
The console, spinet, upright and studio are all examples of pianos that contain the strings vertically Grand pianos contain the soundboard and the strings horizontally and can range from a 4.5 feet to an impressive 9 feet length, depending on the type of grand piano.
Acoustic pianos as also usually very heavy, and can weight upto 350kgs. Owning an acoustic piano is actually a serious commitment as it is heavy, large, and difficult to maintain. As you might have inferred by now, it is not portable.
The acoustic piano can come in a variety of ranges, some as cheap as 200 USD, but these pianos do not tune well, do not have a guarantee on the sound quality and consistency and have a much smaller life than a costlier one.
Also, even high end acoustic pianos require regular maintenance and care. Atleast yearly. Also moisture and damp air can affect the tuning of the piano seriously and hence, the atmosphere around the piano much be strictly controlled. A standard high end acoustic piano can cost upto 100,000 USD.
Though heavy, costly, and difficult to maintain, the aesthetic value a concert piano adds to the room is not comparable to the digital one. It is simply beautiful, a marvel to look and feel and a feast to the eyes and soul, if played by a practiced hand.
Also, for study of classical music or a serious live performance, most people still prefer an acoustic piano to a digital one, though many modern day performers do use the digital piano too.
To conclude, producing wonderful music largely depends on the creator and then on his tool. But as tools go, the piano market is flooded with all sorts of different features and offerings and depending on what the pianist wants, one must do careful research and review before deciding on an instrument.
To create value and produce wonderful music is the endgame and there are a plethora of pianos available to enable you to do so.
There are also several brand names like Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Casio, Nord etc. to choose from so it is an tough task to make a wise decision.
I'm the lead researcher and content manager at PianoNadu. I test various different digital pianos and share our unbiased reviews here. We test them on various different aspects and make sure it passes our quality criteria. During my college years, I was a part of my college band known as DMT. I was the Pianist in our band. My love for playing the piano grew during middle school. Read more about me here