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Digital pianos have taken the musical world by the storm. While they come in many sizes and ranges, the best digital pianos are the ones sounding precisely like classic pianos and offering you the full musical versatility of their non-digital counterparts. Today, we will speak in detail about three branded models dedicated to professional artists.

Why are 88-keys Pianos the best for Dedicated Musicians?

Depending on the musical experience of the player, digital pianos come with a different number of keys. As you can easily guess, the 88-keys digital pianos are top of their class, allowing people to make music as they never made before – these devices can imitate perfectly the sound of an acoustic or grand piano even, creating an unforgettable live performance.

The technological advancements of today also allow for excellent key-weighting, providing the seasoned musician with a superb hammer action you only hear in acoustic or grand pianos.

If you are serious about your musical career, you should start looking for the best 88-keys digital pianos on the market. Before we begin, we recommend you analyze the best 88-keys digital pianos under $500 databases and reviews to find models, brands, tech systems and piano capabilities that best suit your tastes and finances. Some of them work great for advanced players, while others will meet best the expectations of beginners.

Keep in mind that cheap digital pianos are not poor-quality pianos. You will find true technical wonders if you search thoroughly. Nevertheless, let’s discuss the three best makes and models regarding brands, sounds, and features that you will find listed everywhere as the Olympians of digital pianos.

Best 88-Keys Digital Pianos Reviewed

1. Roland RD-800

Roland is a name only a selected few know what it truly means. On the higher-end of digital pianos regarding specs and price, Roland never stops innovating.

The Roland RD-800 features Roland’s proprietary SuperNATURAL technology, which gives the term “live performance” a new meaning. Roland’s tech is terrific regarding novelty: instead of recording individual notes for the digital piano (as every other brand does), Roland manages to recreate the acoustic sounds of a classic piano from within.

The RD-800 is on a par with a high-end acoustic piano regarding sound and feel, and the audience might never sense the difference between digital and acoustic. The ivory-feel hammer action keyboard offers the listener a unique emotion. Therefore, the musician has plenty of reasons to take action up a few notches and invest in this 88-key digital piano.

Sound – Best Features

  • The RD-800’s keyboard (88-note keyboard with hammer-action design) delivers the most authentic rendition of a grand piano sound on the market;
  • It features a concert grand piano tone to go through live performance and achieve sound modification immediately;
  • It gives you the choice of adjusting tonal elements;
  • It features five acoustic piano types with 34 variations;
  • You have access to over 1100 additional sounds;
  • It comes with adjustable parameters, such as damper noise, nuance, string resonance, hammer noise, key-off resonance, and more;
  • You can assign sounds to different keyboard zones, add and route the effects, etc.;
  • It features a Rhythm/Song area with over 180 drum patterns, which you can use for piano practice and songwriting;
  • Offers incredible versatility to the seasoned musicians who want to play and make music, not only piano music in their solo gigs.

Connectivity – Best Features

The Roland RD-800 digital piano makes playing and recording the easiest job in the world for the performing musician. The Audio Record feature allows the musician to record full performances as a 16-bit, 44.1kHz WAV file straight to a USB flash drive, and enjoy the playback start and stop only with a keystroke. Other connectivity features of the RD-800 are as follows:

  • Reliable internal memory;
  • Offers storage for 200 live sets;
  • One-touch buttons provide instant access to an acoustic piano and electric sounds;
  • LCD screen with a user-friendly interface.

The Verdict

The SuperNATURAL sound engine is probably the best Roland has yet offered the music world. Besides technological innovation, however, the RD-800 is a powerful instrument, a versatile and intriguing one, perfect for live performance or studio recording. It does sound like a grand piano, and that says a lot for a digital device.

The only – and probably the most prominent – downside of this piano is its price. It will probably not make the list of digital pianos to train your music-loving children for the school Christmas concert this year. It is a masterpiece, in looks, sound, utility, and power, and therefore is exclusive, expensive, and rare.

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2. Kawai ES 8

Kawai makes some of the most elite stage digital pianos on the market, dedicated to seasoned musicians who split their careers between live performances and studio recordings. The brand makes some of the most exclusivist 88-keys digital pianos on the market, but the ES 8 seems to stand out from the crows and its other Kawai peers for its state-of-the-art technology and features.

Keep in mind that this is an over $2,000 device so you may want to think again before you purchase it for your music hobby or the children’s newfound love for taking part in school musicals. Kawai, just like Roland, Nord Stage, Kurzweil, and others, is one of the big professional brands you need to consider for your next gig or solo album.

Let us see next why Kawai ES 8 is one of the best 88-keys digital pianos for professionals on the market.

Sound – Best Features

First and foremost, the ES 8 attempts to recreate the sound of an acoustic piano – and it does to some extent. Experts say that some Roland and Nord Stage 88-keys varieties can give the ES 8 a run for its money, but the Responsive Hammer III (RHIII) action is a force to be reckoned with.

  • 88 Responsive Hammer III with Ivory Touch keys;
  • The ES 8 features Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging XL sound technology – meaning you will enjoy the sound of exceptional instruments contained inside the ES 8, such as the Kawai SK-EX, the SK-5, and EX grand pianos;
  • It features 256-note maximum polyphony and 37 sounds;
  • It comes with six reverb effects, 15 additional effects, and more than 100 accompaniment rhythms;
  • It features the dual mode and the split mode of Kawai’s digital pianos series;
  • It offers the Virtual Technician function, which allows performers to customize and tailor their playing experience and adjust settings with the touch of a single button (string and damper resonance, hammer, damper, and key release noises, reverberation effects, and so on);
  • A rich selection of instruments to improve live performance and composition – digital pianos, church organs, string and mallet instruments, and more;
  • For the live performer, the Rhythm Section allows plenty of creativity and innovation –professionally arranged backing accompaniment ranging from power rock ballads to soft Latin music;
  • The One Finger Ad-Lib function enables the performer to have full control of the performance while continually improving on the repertoire.

As a part of its connectivity features, the ES 8 makes it easier for the musician to use the instrument on smaller or larger stages and auditoriums, depending on the needs.

Connectivity – Best Features

The ES 8, in comparison to other makes and models of its level, offers you a USB to Device function. In other words, you can record and store your music in the internal memory and transfer it for posterity preservation.

  • You can use MIDI files (SMF) downloaded from the Internet for playback playing without needing additional hardware;
  • You can make the best out of the Line-level output jacks to use in larger performance settings;
  • You can also use the Line-in jack to mix your audio files from other digital devices, as you can connect the ES 8 to a computer for MIDI use;
  • The piano features the possibility for the musician to playback MP3 or WAV audio files for rehearsal and practice, as well as saving and sharing their work via e-mail and smartphone.

The Verdict

The Kawai ES 8 is a massive piece of equipment – not as portable as you might like – coming with a hefty price and outstanding features. The design offers you a unique acoustic piano experience, as it looks and feels like one. Among one of the most revered musical instruments to date, this 88-keys professional digital piano is a dream came true for the performing artist.

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2. Casio Privia PX 860 BK

The Casio Privia series of digital pianos make it to almost any list, top, and database when it comes to 88-keys digital jewelry that rival acoustic pianos. This Casio Privia PX 860 BK is currently the flagship item of the series and a huge step for Casio to capitalize on the weighted 88-key digital piano market.

If you take a look of the piano, you will probably feel overwhelmed at first: it impresses with its fiberboard structure in a black or white finish and a realistic wooden texture, its grand piano size, and a design that astounds you.

When you want to buy a digital piano of this magnitude (and price), you have to look at its specs, sounds, and connectivity. Let’s understand better the PX 860 BK!

Sound – Best Features

  • The Casio PX-870 features Casio’s Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II;
  • Touch sensitive keys with three levels of adjustability;
  • The keys’ hammers offer the feeling you play an acoustic piano;
  • The piano comes with three pedals: sustain, soft, and sostenuto;
  • The PX comes with 256-note polyphony; this means you can elaborate and create complex musical pieces and sound layers;
  • It features 19 authentic and rich tones (you may not use them all, but they are here to offer you a wide range of music creation opportunities): 5 grand pianos (concert, mellow, bright, modern, rock, jazz), 4 electronic pianos, 4 organs, 2 strings, harpsichord, vibraphone, and bass;
  • It has three modes: dual, split, and duet, allowing you to experiment with sound balance, simultaneity, splitting, overlapping, and more.

Connectivity – Best Features

  • With the PX-870, you get 60 songs in your music library and an upload capacity of up to 10 MIDI songs (internal memory);
  • You can also record WAV files and save them to a USB drive;
  • It connects to any Mac, PC, iOS, or Android device, as long as you have the compatible USB.

The Verdict

Even if the Casio Privia PX 860 BK is a flagship product and, without a doubt, a piece of art and technology that will please the most sophisticated of the digital musician, it also comes with its flaws. One drawback for advanced musicians is the lack of a digital screen where you can follow what you create. The second is the relatively low level of internal memory.
However, the verdict is favorable: the Casio Privia PX 860 BK is a masterpiece regarding looks, feel, sound, and usability. It may not sound 100% as a grand piano, but seasoned musicians and even music students can make the best of it for a very long time.

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Conclusion

As you know, you have plenty of options to choose from when you want to buy an 88-keys digital piano. Our recommendation is to use the reviews, forums, and databases at their maximum potential. Just as you need to do your homework thoroughly when you want to get your hands on one of the best acoustic guitars for your small budget, so you should research the best 88-keys digital pianos for your musical experience, career intentions, and pocket depth.


This blog post was written by Jason Antoon. Jason Antoon is a personal Music Teacher for adults and children. He runs DigitalPianoExperts, one of the best online resources for digital pianos reviews and tips. Jason has a Keyboard Performance Certificate from California College of Music.



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