Alesis Recital 88-Key Review: The Beginner’s Dream Digital Piano

Attending a concert with friends, watching their favorite band on television or watching a musical instrument being played in a movie inspires a lot of people to take up music. There is something inherently peaceful and happy about the sounds made by the keys, hitting the right note. This is what attracts a lot of youngsters to take up piano lessons, but the reality is, buying and maintaining a grand piano is a huge time and energy consuming effort.

Which is why the digital pianos are preferred, especially for friendly gigs. But a full functionality digital piano can be daunting for a newbie. And the high costs make them inaccessible even for those willing to make an effort to use one. This is where Alesis has come up with a great offering for all those aspiring new musicians.

The Alesis Recital 88-key Beginner Digital Piano is the best bet for anyone wanting to take up learning the piano and moving on to the professional level quickly. This keyboard takes care of addressing the two most important inhibiting factors for a new entrant – features and cost. 

Alesis Recital makes sure the important features are all available so that a beginner as well as a pro can use the product. The aspect where it stands out in is the quality it delivers in the minimum price band, making it a great choice for those buying a new keyboard as also those looking to upgrade their original ones.

Specification

  • Keys: 88 full-sized, semi weighted with velocity sensitivity
  • Polyphony: 128 Voices
  • Sound/Voice: 5
  • Metronome Tempo Range: 30–280 beats per min (BPM) 
  • Speakers: (2) 10W Woofers & (2) 20W Tweeters
  • Weight: 15.7 lbs (7.1 kg) 

Keyboard

The most important aspect of any keyboard is the keys. The feel, the ease of use and the output that one gets from the keys can make or break the buying decision. This becomes even more important in a model that aims to be the one-stop destination for the beginners. Let us review the keys of the Alesis Recital on a few parameters that are important, especially for a beginner.

Aesthetics

One of the first things a newbie would consider is the aesthetics of the keyboard that they are going for. Even if not extraordinary or outstanding, the Alesis Recital delivers amply in this regard. 

To begin with, it is a keyboard containing a full set of 88-keys, bringing it at par with the professional ones and allowing to make up to 128 notes.

The glossy finish of the white keys and the matte finish of the black keys make it appealing for anyone. The overall minimalistic design enhances the playing experience, without scaring off a player with a load of controls. The ergonomics of the model received great reviews from our panel of experts.

Feel & Sensitivity

Once you are familiar with the size of the keys and are comfortable playing around, the next critical experience is the feel of the keys. The Alesis Recital for Beginners is a semi-weighted keyboard meaning while playing the pressure required on the keys is the same as that required in a grand piano. However, the keys also have spring attached, which helps them come back as soon as you release the key.

The bounce associated with the keys of an actual acoustic piano is however due to the fully weighted keys. This model is close to the experience though not the complete one of a grand piano, which is designed keeping in mind the target audience of the new learners, as familiarization is the motto.

The keys of the Alesis recital have an excellent adjustable touch responsive keys as well as velocity sensitivity allowing the user to find their comfort zone with a few minor tweaks. The adjustable key sensitivity refers to the adjustment of the key volume according to the pressure applied by the player.

Sound Quality

For a keyboard designed to cater for beginners, the Alesis Recital boasts of not one or two but five distinct voices and manages to deliver them excellently. The highlight feature of this model is the different sounds that it allows the users (Acoustic Piano, Organ, Synth, Electric Piano and Bass).

As is evident, this range is something that can cover most of the requirements of beginners as well as professionals, although a professional may expect more than five sounds. Our panel of experts especially recommends checking out the Organ mode which comes as close to the realistic sound.

A major highlight of the Alesis Recital is the Layer Mode that allows the user to use not just one but any combination of the above sounds by layering them, to create music seamlessly. It does so by splitting the keyboard into sections to create different sounds on the different sections.

The advantage of using the Alesis Recital model is that it not only allows you to create music in different voices or mixing them but also settings like reverb and chorus to synthesise your sounds to your liking. This is a feature that makes this model liked by experts and novices alike.

Alesis Recital comes with two built-in 20W speakers that are good enough for practice as well as intimate gatherings. The sound can further be amplified by connecting external speakers with the stereo RCA outputs available. In case you want to have a silent learning lesson all by yourself, the model also caters to your need with the ¼" (6.34mm) stereo headphone output.

Features

Alesis Recital Features

Lesson Mode

As the Alexis Recital model is geared towards beginners, the USP of the piano is the Lesson Mode it provides. Using this mode, the keyboard can easily be divided into two sections – one for the student and one for the teacher, thereby eliminating the need for both to use different instruments. This is one feature that endears the model to lesson and teachers alike.

By far, this is most favorite educational features I've in any digital pianos! 

Skoove Subscription

The commitment to learning of music for the beginners with the Alesis Recital is further accentuated with the bundled 3-month free Skoove premium subscription, allowing the users to take music lessons from the experts.

Pedal Resonance

This effect simulates the resonance one gets when pressing the sustain pedal on an actual piano. The Alesis Recital model has a provision to enable the pedal resonance for generating the reverberation in the sound without actually using a sustain pedal.

Auto Power Off

Alesis Recital comes with a provision to automatically turn off the power after 30 minutes if the piano is not in use. This setting can be enabled or disabled by following some simple instructions as outlined in the User Manual.

Connectivity

Alesis Recital model although targeted at beginners, provides all the features required for professionals regarding connectivity. There are ports to attain the following connections.

The USB port can be used to transfer MIDI data with a desktop or laptop. So one can keep all their lessons as well as compositions stored in a desktop as they use this digital piano.

Alesis Recital Connectivity

Although the unit does not come with a sustain pedal as well as has an internal mode to simulate the effect of one, in case required one can connect a sustain pedal using the ¼” (6.34mm) input

As this is a common requirement, the Alesis Recital comes with a provision to connect with multiple external audio types of equipment such as a mixer, amplifier, recorder etc. These can also be used for both stereos as well as mono outputs.

As may be sometimes required, the practitioner may want to practice in isolation with the headphones on. The instrument takes care of this requirement with a ¼" (6.34mm) headphone output.

Pros of Alesis Recital

  • Affordable Price – The first and foremost advantage of this instrument is the number of features it provides for a fraction of cost as compared to its competitors. This one factor in itself makes it attractive for beginners
  • Design – The compact, lightweight design is another reason for making it a choice of beginners. It is easy to use as well as store, whether you are at home, a college hostel or at a sleepover with friends.
  • Portability – The ease of carrying it around, coupled with the battery operability make it an attractive option for beginners as well as professionals.
  • Sound Quality – The awesome sound quality as recommended even by experts ensures that beginners get the full experience of an actual piano even with a low-cost digital piano.
  • Keys – Undoubtedly, the highlight of the instrument - the full size, semi-weighted keys ensure that even as a beginner one gets the true experience of playing an actual piano. Also, the practice on this helps one to familiarise quickly with an actual piano when they progress to it.

Cons of Alesis Recital

  • Key Sensitivity – This functionality comes in as a negative, especially for a self-taught novice who does not understand what is happening and why the volume suddenly gets changed as they are playing. This becomes especially problematic with little kids who like to play around more than reading instructions. However, you'll get adapt as soon as you start to play and probably love it!
  • Sound Distortion in the Built-in Speakers – If the piano is being played with the built-in speakers above 80% of their volume, the low and high sounds tend to get distorted. This can easily be rectified by connecting external speakers, but still works negatively for the model.
  • Lesser Built-in Voices/Tones – While as a beginner you may appreciate the fact that this model contains only five voices with an option to mix and add a few sound effects like reverb and chorus; the same may disappoint professionals waiting to experiment with a whole variety of sounds. 

Conclusion

Whether evaluated independently or compared with its competitors, there is one point that completely stands out – the Alesis Recital 88-key Beginner Digital Piano is one of the best options available for beginners and that too at an unbelievably low cost. The design team at Alesis has taken a lot of care to ensure that they are catering to their target audience.

Every feature has been designed keeping in mind that the model will be operated by a novice more than an expert and hence should not be overwhelming. This leads to leaving out some features that will be desired by professionals and make them consider alternatives.

Yamaha has many pianos with similar pricing and features such as Yamaha P71 and P115.  

But, if you are stepping out into learning the piano, this has the potential to be your dream digital piano. However, the team does not stop at just that! Rather, they have created the features ensuring a smooth transition of a newbie to professional with some of the critical design elements like the full-sized keys.

It is these well thought out features coupled with the price that make the Alesis Recital 88-key Beginner Digital Piano, a force to reckon with amongst its peers and its competitors.

Our Score

About the Author Wendell A Wiese

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

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