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AZ PIANO REVIEWS – The #1 Most Trusted Digital Piano Review & News Blog in the world! LOWER PRICES than Amazon and internet music stores! Free ship, no tax on most items. Don’t order anywhere until you check with Tim & Erik Praskins 1st! Email us at or call 602-571-1864

Digital Piano Key Actions - 2023 Report

UPDATED REVIEW – Nov 1, 2023 – Digital Piano Key Actions – Report | Graded hammer weighted, weighted, semi-weighted, and unweighted | What’s the difference and which key actions are best?! Roland, Yamaha, Kawai, Casio, Kurzweil, Korg, and more.

Question?...can digital pianos exactly duplicate acoustic piano upright & grand key actions in touch, movement, response, and overall playability? The simple answer is no…that is unless a digital piano has an identical organic acoustic piano wooden-key key action with piano weighted and graded keys for all 88 keys including all the connecting key action parts with weighted hammers moving towards and/or striking electronic key sensors. Anything short of that would be at best, a simulation, with some digital pianos manufacturers doing a much better job of that than others. 

Digital Piano keyboard

My name is Tim Praskins and I have played just about every digital piano model out there for many, many years including the latest ones along with having played literally hundreds upon hundreds of acoustic upright & grand pianos during my music career. Digital piano manufacturers will tell you in their advertising about how accurate and perfect their piano key actions are, but they are not exactly the same as real acoustic pianos…so don’t expect them to be that way, but with a couple of notable exceptions which are called called 100% fully “hybrid” digital pianos including the Yamaha AvantGrand NU1X, N1X, N2, and N3X (pricing from $10,000 to $17,800) along with the newer Kawai Novus NV5S and NV10S (pricing approx $8500 to $14,500). Those models have actual acoustic key actions taken from their acoustic pianos in their acoustic piano division and put into digital pianos. 

Fully “hybrid” digital pianos contain full blown wooden key actions (with the exception of the hammers because there are no strings in digital pianos). I have talked about those models in my Hybrid Digital Piano key action review so if you want to know more about those specialized key actions then you can go there: Hybrid Digital Piano Key Actions Review & Report

Famous Concert Pianist Van Cliburn
 Concert Pianist Van Cliburn

When it comes to playing  piano, there is nothing more important than the piano key action. It is the heart of any piano including both acoustic and digital pianos. Good, responsive graded hammer-weighted key actions give people an organic connection to the song they play and to the instrument itself. In other words…the feel, movement, response, and interpretation of the song that is being played is based on piano touch and key movement. Without a realistic, quality key action in a piano, nothing else really matters in my opinion. 

It would be like a transmission in a car...if it doesn’t operate smoothly and correctly and built to last, it doesn’t matter how good the engine or your multi-speaker stereo system is in that vehicle, because without a good transmission, the other stuff really doesn’t matter:). The same is true for the piano. Piano key actions is a complex subject and not necessarily easy to understand, but I am here to educate you in easy to understand language that hopefully will help you make the right buying decision.

upright piano felt hammers
 upright piano felt hammers

In a digital piano, with the exception of only a few models that I mentioned which have actual or modified acoustic piano key actions in them, all of the key actions in digital pianos use plastic, metal, and/or wood (in the keys themselves), or a combination, depending on the brand and model. Also, all of the connecting parts in a real acoustic piano including the felt hammers moving and striking a string are absent from a “typical” digital piano because there aren’t any strings in digital pianos so there is no need for those parts in most cases, except for a few models of digital pianos in higher price ranges that have most or all of the acoustic type action parts, but don’t have the strings and instead use a digital sound sensing technology. 

In place of acoustic piano strings there are digital key contacts or optical sensors in digital pianos that trigger the digital sound (stored in a computer chip) to be heard through speakers inside the digital piano.  Electronic key contacts are in all digital pianos and the quality and responsiveness from those electronic key contacts can vary quite a bit. This has nothing to do with the physical keys themselves, but it does have to do with the electronic key contacts that are inside the key action. 

You need a good key action but you also need precise piano sound and the key contacts make that happen.  When it comes to higher priced fully hybrid key actions, the Yamaha “N” series AvantGrand digital pianos are good examples of this (as I mentioned earlier) with full acoustic key actions but generating sound through digital electronics as the key hammer mechanism triggers the electronic sound sensors. 

The key action movement and feeling of the keys in the AvantGrand GRAND ACTION series are excellent, but those pianos are pricey (approx $10,000 and up starting with N1X grand key action) and the digital features, available sound library, and user interface control panel are very minimal compared to most other good digital pianos in lower price ranges.

weighted acoustic piano keys

Digital piano key actions can consist of or be called fully hammer weighted key movement, weighted key movement, a semi-weighted key movement, or an unweighted key movement. Another term used by manufacturers to describe piano key actions is graded key action (either semi weighted or fully weighted) which means whatever the type of key action the digital piano has, if it is graded then the weight of the keys themselves are slightly heavier on the left side and get progressively lighter as you go up to the right side keys. This is the way all acoustic piano actions are because the hammers inside the piano needs to strike different size strings (thick on the left and thinner strings on the right side) so the power of the key weight needs to be different for different keys. There are actual round weights inside the back of the wood keys of an acoustic piano (as you will notice in the picture above left), so the digital pianos try to duplicate this key weight on each key. 

Also in acoustic pianos, the key action needs to overcome inertia and move properly when the key is played repeatedly. This requires the key action to be built and setup in the proper way and is in addition to the actual weight in the key. Are you getting confused yet??:)…I am!:). I bet you didn’t think a piano key action could be so complex?! Have you ever studied car transmissions or engines and what makes them work correctly? A piano action is a similar thing compared to what makes one transmission or engine good while another transmission & engine might not be so good.

spring loaded key action
spring loaded key action

PianoAlmost all “keyboards” that have 61 keys & 76 keys (or somewhere in-between) have unweighted key actions (although a few may still be “graded).” Some of them have semi-weighted key actions, and a couple of them have fully hammer weighted (simulated acoustic piano movement) key actions. An unweighted key action is what it sounds like, there is no actual weight in the key…it is a spring loaded key movement (pic above left) which makes the key come back up very fast after you push it down and also much more difficult to press down like it would pressing down on a real spring. 

That’s OK for keyboards because most people don’t buy them to get a real piano playing experience. Also, some pro musicians are not as concerned with proper piano playing technique and they
want to play other sounds such as brass, woodwinds, guitars, etc on the keyboard which
can require a lighter, quicker movement which unweighted keys can do better. 
Unweighted keyboards generally are also significantly lighter in total weight because
they are made of lightweight plastic, are typically smaller, and therefore much easier to carry.
It’s important to note that nearly all digital pianos and keyboards
are touch sensitive in their key actions. That means when you touch the keys harder of softer you will get a different volume out of the sound depending on how hard you play the keys. 
This is obviously important and it is normal in pianos. Some keyboards under $100 are not touch sensitive and this is OK for a young child for a short while as they get used to playing. But it’s not something you would want to use for piano lessons or practice because that child (or adult) will likely get into bad piano playing habits if they use it too long.


Semi weighted key actions

It is also good to know that there are now lower priced 88 key digital pianos that have what is known as “semi-weighted” key actions in them (which I previously mentioned) and those keyboards/digital pianos are typically under $500. I would prefer to call them “keyboards” because they play like typical keyboards and not pianos. Many of the top digital piano manufacturers produce these so-called semi-weighted key action models such as the Roland Go Piano 88, Williams Legato 3, Casio CT-S1, Alesis Recital, and many others. In reality, a semi-weighted key action does not play like any acoustic piano. The so-called “semi-weighted keys” really means you are getting a spring key action and not an actual weighted piano key action. These instruments can come with 61 keys, 76 keys, or full 88 key models

Roland Go Piano 88

A spring key action creates issues when the key returns to resting position after you press down the key. It is like an actual spring in that when you press down on a spring then that spring is pushing back on your fingers with very hard force and works against you instead of with you. On semi-weighted keyboard key actions, that upward force completely throws off your ability to control those keys in a normal way as you would on a fully weighted digital piano key action or regular acoustic piano. The “semi-weighted” name really means that it feels like there is weight or resistance to the keys and there is…except that it is not good and does not play like a piano at all, assuming that is your goal…to play piano.

a spring

Semi-weighted key actions may feel ok when you press down the keys, but it’s when the keys are coming back up with too much force (like springs will do) that it can cause playability issues because those keys react more like stiffer springs, and that is not good especially if your goal is to learn to play piano correctly and have it feel right and respond correctly. The advantage to semi-weighted key actions is that the entire keyboard is physically much lighter than fully weighted key action models and therefore that semi-weighted piano keyboard doesn’t weigh as much as a fully weighted portable digital piano. Also, because it costs quite a bit less money to produce a spring action semi-weighted keyboard, the cost for the entire 88-key keyboard is also less money than fully weighted key actions models, although some of them start at less than $500.

Some of the semi-weighted key action models have some cool digital “bells & whistles” such as different sounds, Bluetooth wireless, USB, etc, so you might like the semi-weighted keyboards for those features. But with regard to playing it like a piano and learning the “right way,” that is definitely not going to happen. So beware when it comes to these cheaper priced semi-weighted key action models. It is much better for most people wanting to get a more realistic piano playing experience to get a “good” digital piano (portable or furniture cabinet) with fully weighted keys that are good quality and that will come much closer to replicating a real piano playing experience. 
Unless money is a real issue for you and you cannot spend a little more for a better piano playing experience, assuming that is your goal, then a semi-weighted keyboard is certainly better than no keyboard. But otherwise I do not recommend semi-weighted 61, 76, or 88 key keyboards for piano learning or playing. 


digital piano key action

The graded hammer weighted digital piano key actions are closest to the feel of real acoustic pianos with some being better than others. They have some weight/counter-weight designed into the key actions (to simulate real weights in acoustic pianos as I described earlier) and do not use a simple spring mechanism. These key actions generally have a much more realistic acoustic feel and will give you the best reproduction of key actions in a digital piano without having to use 100% acoustic piano parts which is otherwise very expensive.  At that point the choice gets to be a bit subjective depending on your playing experience, skill level, and expectations. I would advise that a person should stay away from unweighted and semi-weighted key actions (found mostly in 61 and 76 key keyboards) if they want to learn to play the piano correctly. 

If you don’t have the budget for (cannot afford) a portable of stand-up cabinet digital piano with piano weighted keys (they start at about $450 for a recommended portable model), then an inexpensive keyboard with spring action is certainly better than nothing, although as I just mentioned, you will likely get into bad piano playing habits if you play on it long enough which I recommend you don’t do, especially when it comes to your kids. 

Carbon fiber acoustic grand action
 Carbon fiber grand action

Real acoustic pianos are divided up into two basic categories…vertical & grand. The vertical pianos have different names due to their height and they consist of spinet, console, studio, & upright pianos. Depending on which one of those vertical pianos you play in the same brand, the key action may feel differently from each other. To make matters even more confusing, different brands can feel different from each other with some key actions being harder to play, easier to play, slower to respond, quicker to respond, etc. Then there are grand pianos (digital & acoustic) in several different depths from about 3′ deep to over 9′ deep which consists of micro grand, mini grand, baby grand, grand, concert grand, etc. 

Beyond that, there are brands like Kawai which use special composite material in some of their acoustic grand pianos (ABS carbon fiber material) as opposed to all organic wood parts so they can strengthen certain parts that otherwise would be wood. The pianos with these carbon fiber parts will (according to the manufacturer) be more consistent over time, not wear out, and not be subject to weather conditions in areas with more dryness or humidity, which can adversely affect the acoustic piano key action’s ability to operate correctly. Wow…so many variations in key actions that it can make your head spin!

acoustic upright piano hammer weighted key action
acoustic upright key action

People constantly say to me all the time “I want a digital piano that feels & responds like a real acoustic piano.” When I hear that I will inevitably say to them “have you played many different acoustic pianos? Do you know what an acoustic piano should feel like?” It is rare that I speak with someone who really knows what they are talking about when it comes to piano key actions and what they should feel like when playing them and that’s because unfortunately there really is no standard where all acoustic pianos feel one way. It’s like saying that all vehicles should feel the same when driving them but that’s just not the case. 

Cars, SUV’s, van’s, sports cars, etc, ride differently, move differently & behave differently, and that does not mean that any of them are necessarily bad or something you should stay away from. So it is with piano key actions…and that’s why there is such a wide variety so that people have choices based on how they want to play and their musical goals.

digital piano

So how does somebody decide on what is right for them, their kids, their school, their church, their band, etc? It’s obviously not an easy task and there is no “one size fits all” answer. The manufacturers try to make you believe their key actions on their brand & models are the best…but you wouldn’t expect them to say anything less…would you? After all, they are in business to make money. A variety of digital piano companies say things like “our piano feels just like a grand piano,” or “moves just like a grand piano,” or “simulates a grand piano nearly to perfection,” or “has a superior grand piano experience,” or offers a “comfortable playability of a grand piano,” or “you can enjoy a grand-piano experience at a fraction of the size and price,” or offers a “mechanical
acoustic grand piano
design that closely resembles that of our grand pianos’ actions,” or that “you can enjoy the playing response and expressive capability of a concert grand piano,” etc, etc. 

It’s a wonder that regular acoustic grand pianos sell at all anymore given that the digital piano manufacturers claim their pianos can do just what an acoustic  grand piano can do, and your enjoyment will be just as great! With that being said, they would have you believe there is no reason anymore for anyone to want a Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, or other respected acoustic grand piano apart from looks, cabinet style, and the volume/loudness of sound since grand pianos are larger and louder. But other than cabinet, getting an even louder piano sound in a digital piano is no problem because you can connect a larger and better external speaker system to most digital pianos. 
So why do Yamaha & Kawai (as examples) continue to produce thousands of great acoustic pianos worldwide if their digital pianos are so great with regard to reproducing the grand piano key action movement & response along with realistic piano tone and cool functions in nice looking cabinets?! You can figure that answer out for yourself:). It’s because digital pianos (depending on brand and model) can simulate the acoustic piano playing experience but in reality, not replace it.

Roland PHAIII key action
Roland PHA key action

A question many people ask me at that point is “why would I need a regular grand piano when I am being told by the manufacturers through their advertising and marketing that their digital pianos can replicate what a grand piano can do?” In my opinion many of the digital piano manufacturers are just making this stuff up (is like, sounds like, plays exactly like, is just like, etc) when it comes to comparing any digital piano they have to a real top name and expensive acoustic grand piano. Perhaps the exception would be the more expensive Yamaha AvantGrand “N series” digital pianos which feel great and are very authentic because they have real acoustic piano key actions in them.

Yamaha AvantGrand N3 digital piano
Yamaha AvantGrand N3X 

But even they have their drawbacks in other ways. It is fair to say that the good digital piano manufacturers do try to produce the highest level of piano playing realism they can, given the constraints of technology and price points. But at the end of the day if they were really honest about it, the manufacturers would tell you that their pianos are certainly not identical to acoustic piano key actions. However, in most situations a person can have a very satisfying piano playing experience with many of the new digital pianos out there. 

Since most people play for recreational purposes for themselves, for their school, church etc, playing and listening to a good digital piano can be beautiful and exciting and can come “close enough” to the key action and sound of an acoustic upright or grand piano where the average person. including many experienced players, could not tell the difference…and isn’t that what counts? It’s about you not being able to tell the difference and also knowing a particular digital piano is good enough to play the music you want to hear in a very enjoyable (and proper) way.

Kawai ES8 digital piano

Kawai ES8 digital pianoKawai ES8 digital pianoKawai ES8 digital pianoI personally know of pro piano teachers and musicians who prefer playing on digital pianos because touch sensitivity velocity curves, voicing, and other key action attributes (left pics) can be easily & electronically adjusted which you cannot do on an acoustic piano (plus good digital pianos don’t go out of tune). You can also change other parameters of digital piano key action response (such as how the “hammers” behave) as well as aspects of the piano sound. These kinds of changes can give you the feeling that you are playing on a real organic acoustic piano and allows you to personally “connect” with your music. Ultimately, the music you hear coming from a piano is subjective (and personal), and to prove that point, I have had people tell me they enjoy listening to and playing a digital piano they bought that in my experienced opinion was a really bad digital piano (a piano that I know is very sub-standard). 

But these people thought their piano was good. In fact, they were so certain they had a great instrument that they bragged about it and gave those digital pianos good internet reviews…Yikes! But…it is really no surprise to me this kind of thing happens from time to time because it just depends on your point of view and what kind of music experience you have had in your life. This also means that some (but not all) of these consumer reviews you see on-line cannot be trusted because of who may be reviewing the particular piano and their actual music experience…so you gotta be careful when reading personal consumer reviews!

who can you trust

So what is a person to do who does not have piano playing experience and is looking for a good digital piano and knows they should get a good piano key action? Can you trust local piano stores, music stores, piano teachers, salespeople, piano technicians, internet amazon consumer reviews…what & who can you trust for you to make an informed decision on key actions? In just looking at the

Casio Privia piano key action
Casio Privia piano key action

variety and complexity of 88-key digital piano weighted key actions from each of the good digital piano companies, you will see (as far as I know) that Roland has 3 different key actions, Korg has 2 different key actions, Kawai has 7 different key actions, Yamaha has 7 different key actions, Kurzweil has 5 different key actions, and Casio has 4 different weighted key actions. 

Some of these actions simulate more of an acoustic upright piano and others come closer to simulating a grand piano action. As I mentioned earlier, each digital piano manufacturer tells the consumer that each of their key actions is superior to any other brand in their price ranges. What else would you expect them to say:). However, there definitely are some key actions that are superior to other key actions, and depending on what your musical goal is, the key action can be the most important component in any digital piano as far as I am concerned.
Digital Piano wood keys
Digital Piano wood keys

Just be aware that some digital piano manufacturers also say that their key actions are realistic in just about every way and very reliable…but again, what else would you expect them to say?:). They are all in business to make money (as I mentioned before) so they think they need to say these things…even if these statements are not actually like that. I know of some manufacturers who knowingly make up stuff about their products in their ads just to sell them and get you to buy them. When it comes to special names piano manufacturers give their piano key actions, Roland calls one of their digital piano key actions “progressive hammer action,” Kawai calls one of theirs “Grand Feel,” Yamaha calls one of their digital piano key actions “Graded Hammer 3,” and Casio calls one of their key actions “Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II (that’s a mouthful!).” There is no shortage of key action names but they are only names, and names in my opinion are irrelevant and mean nothing if the key action does not play in a realistic way!

Kawai digital piano ivory feel keys
Kawai ivory feel keys

Some of the brands have come out with a synthetic ivory & ebony material that is supposed to duplicate the feel & texture of older acoustic pianos that used real ivory & ebony on their keytops during the days when that was allowed. Many years ago various world governments set up laws forbidding the use of ivory on pianos to save elephants where the ivory was coming from. If you have ever played an older upright or grand piano with real ivory keys on the keytops, an elephant gave their life (or tusks) for you to have that! Real Ivory on piano keys is a sweat absorbing material and also can help with finger movement smoothness. But…the real organic ivory also had a tendency over time to dry out, crack, break off, and to have yellowish discoloration. The newer synthetic ivory keytop material used on some of the digital piano models has a non-stick, non slippery feeling to them and can make it more enjoyable to play. 

These keys will (as far as we know) not have the dryness or discoloration problems of organic ivory, but durability of this new synthetic material has not been proven yet over time so no one really knows. In fact, on one of the major brands, the synthetic ivory they first came out with had a few negative issues which I think have been resolved at this point. But the overall synthetic material “feeling” is subjective and not necessarily something you need to have, especially considering most current model name brand acoustic pianos do not have ivory keys… they have the regular white plastic keytops. 
So if regular shiny white key tops are good enough for some of the best grand pianos out there, do you really need this new synthetic ivory material? That question is fairly subjective and therefore ivory feel keys may or may not be important to you.

Fatar weighted key action
Fatar weighted key action

When it comes to the design, construction, and installation of digital piano key actions, some of the key actions out there are done by the actual manufacturer such as Roland, Kawai, Yamaha, & Casio whereas other key actions are made by someone else for them (such as Fatar key action company in Italy). In some cases “off-brand” digital piano actions do not even meet the most key action basic standards (typically designed and made in China, but not always) so I tell people to stay away from them. A good key action moves smoothly and helps the piano sound to come out incrementally with minimum key force but with enough downward key weight and upward key weight & resistance to build good finger muscle strength without causing fatigue and soreness in your hands, wrists, and fingers all the time. 

A good key action must have proper “hammer style” graded key weighting, proper key travel depth, key pivot point, proper key width & length, static & dynamic downward & upward touch-weight, and good solid key movement with minimal noise levels. 
Unlike almost digital piano key actions, acoustic piano key actions need to be adjusted from time to time by an experienced piano technician, just like the alignment on your vehicle has to be calibrated and aligned by an experienced auto mechanic. Digital pianos (without acoustic piano key actions) have a big advantage over acoustic pianos with needing no key action maintenance, which is obviously a money and time saver if you plan to own the piano for many years.

Kawai digital piano key action
Kawai digital piano key action

Wear & tear and long periods of time can also change the characteristics of key action feel, movement, and response, for digital as well as acoustic pianos. Action changes over time can also occur due to internal lubrication (or lack of it) of action parts, and outside high humidity (as well as dryness) in the air at different times of the year can affect acoustic piano key actions as well as some digital piano key actions. The list of differences in the way key actions behave due to inside & outside conditions plays a part in the overall playing experience a person will have with a piano. 

Due to the numerous variations of piano key actions in acoustic pianos & digital pianos, I have known some very picky people who have shopped acoustic & digital pianos for months and even years until they finally found their perfect key action that was adjusted and regulated (for acoustic) and it played in a way that was perfect for that particular shopper. Some of that pickiness is usually due to a person’s finger muscle strength, type of songs they play, personal expectations, piano playing experience, and playing skill level.

Korg digital piano key action
Korg digital piano key action

So, will it be like that for the average digital piano shopper in needing to spend months or years shopping for a digital piano with a good key action?…definitely not!:) As an example, the Casio digital piano company, which offers 4 key actions, does a good job in my opinion for many digital piano buyers and players who want to be in the “under $1000 price range.” Kawai has some very enjoyable key actions in furniture cabinet digital pianos for over $1000 as does Yamaha, Roland, and others, as I mentioned earlier. Are all models and their key actions in those brands (and other brands) all good?…not necessarily. A few key actions in those brands have noticeable deficiencies which in my opinion may get in the way of your playing success and enjoyment, and that would not be good. This is because there are some key actions that have bad volume/velocity response, noticeably unrealistic key movement, loud mechanical noisy movement, and/or other deficiencies.

There are definitely some brands out there who do not produce more accurate, playable key actions, especially in furniture cabinet digital pianos based on my playing time on those models. 
I like very few of the key actions in furniture cabinet digital pianos by the “off-brands” including Suzuki, Williams, Kurzweil, Donner, Alesis, and a couple of others.  A few of the top brands also have a couple of their key actions that I am not a big fan of the such as the Yamaha GH3 key action in many of the Arius pianos (YDP-S55, YDP-165, YDP-184) because the key movement is so heavy, especially when trying to play lightly (they’re unreasonably heavy). The action physically is not bad in the Yamaha Arius models, but it just takes too much touch-weight (force) for my liking to get the keys to go down from a resting position and can be fatiguing to play…just too stiff.

The Kurzweil digital piano company also has a couple of poorly made key actions in some of their their digital pianos which are sluggish, harder to push down (especially the black keys), inconsistent, etc. However some of their other key actions (a few made by the Fatar key action company) are more enjoyable to play. 

Casio Grand Hybrid Key Action

Some of the key actions I like include the Yamaha Grand Touch-S wood-key key action in their Clavinova CLP745 digital piano along with the Kawai Grand Feel key actions are some of my favorites. The Casio-Bechstein Hybrid Grand key action is also very impressive and not something found in any other digital piano under $6000…and those Casio model digital pianos which include the new GP-310 and GP-510 start at $4299 retail price. The Casio-Bechstein key action has actual individually cut wood keys from the forests of Austria which are also used in European German Bechstein acoustic grand pianos. The moving hammer system in the newer Bechstein key action gives the feel and look of real moving acoustic hammers. Check out my review of the Casio-Bechstein at the following link: Casio-Bechstein acoustic feel key action REVIEW

Casio PX-S5000, S6000, S7000 hybrid key action

A brand new fast action “hybrid” key action was just introduced by Casio in 3 new models between $1200 and $2500. These models are called the PX-S5000, PX-S6000, and PX-S7000. This key action consists of actual spruce-wood combined with resin to give this key action the “feel” of wood keys along with a stronger key structure and a very quick key movement similar in weight to an acoustic grand piano key. The keys are not the same length as grand piano keys but the movement of these keys are surprisingly good and very enjoyable to play…even for someone as picky as me! Go to the following link to read my detailed review of these 3 new Casio models. I think you will be impressed. Casio PX-S5000, S6000, S7000 Review

Korg G1B key action

When it comes to nicer playing digital piano key actions I also like the Korg RH3 key action very much which is found in their home cabinet piano models called LP-380U, C1 Air, and G1 Air. Kawai has some very impressive key actions in some of their digital pianos including the RH3 (yep…same key action name as in the Korg pianos I listed, but definitely not the same key action) and also their Grand Feel key actions as well. Roland has a couple key actions that I like including PHA-50 and their Hybrid Grand Keyboard action. Casio also has their tri-sensor scaled Hammer action II which I like very much and is quite responsive. I would look for the models I just mentioned as giving you the top of the line best key action playing experience in those brands, although there are a couple of others in the much lower price ranges under $1000 such as the Korg NH piano style key action. But please stay away from those off-brands when it comes to key action playability or reliability. You can ask us more about those brands and models if you contact us.

Roland  digital pianoI would advise that when doing your digital piano research and trying to figure out what model has a good (acceptable) key action and you want some specific advice, that you contact me first I will be happy to give you more detail about what you should know concerning key actions and what would best fit your particular needs and budget. I can also help you find good new digital pianos (with the proper key action) for quite a bit less money that internet, Amazon, and store discount prices. At the end of the day you can be happy playing on many of the quality key actions that are manufactured today by the name brand digital piano companies including pianos for under $1000 as well as in the higher price ranges. However, just because a digital piano costs a lot of money does not necessarily make its key action good as I can personally attest to in my own professional playing experience. Please don’t buy any digital piano anywhere before you ask me about it:). Better to be safe than sorry:)

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at or call direct at 602-571-1864.

0 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I am so impressed that your article is so clear to let me learning about the keys of digital piano. Thank you.

    Do you know if the Kawai CA600 with the hammer weighted? I know it's a old generation digital piano, and we cannot find the related information.

  2. The CA600 uses a much older generation key action that did have a few playing issues/problems in those days. I would not recommend it and instead recommend newer models. You can email me directly for more information on newer models

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for your article. Would you be willing to give me some advice? I have stayed completely away from any digital pianos my whole life, being captivated by acoustic pianos solely since the beginning. Recently though, it has become clear to me that having my own digital to bring to gigs that have no piano or an unsatisfactory digital is essential for me now. Could you help me, I am feeling quite lost in the digital world of pianos, but I know what I am looking for in one: 88 Keys, as weighted as possible, only interested in it having a beautiful piano sound, no other sounds needed or wanted, I would just like the most beautiful, full, grand piano sound available for professional use, and easy portability. Any ideas where I could go to find it? Any direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. I'll weigh in. For me, the Roland FP-7, which is now an older model, played through really good quality studio monitors or otherwise accurate speakers, is about the best I've played and heard. The action feels really good. The onboard speakers are a bit anemic.

  5. Hi Tim,

    I'm looking at purchasing a digital piano and am a bit undecided between the Yamaha CLP 430 and the Roland FP-50 or maybe the FP-80. I'm not concerned with the speaker output as I'll either be using high quailty head phones or external powered speakers. I'm just concerned with the touch. I previously played on a Yamaha Upright Acoustic (Not sure which model).

    Thank you for your time.

  6. Hello I am wondered about Kawai Grand Feel stage piano MP11. It is the only stage piano with "Grand Feel" keyboard. Would you recommend this one?

  7. None of them. They are all deficient in a number of ways and completely different pianos and you obviously know they are older discontinued models. As for key action the Korg would probably be most realistic to me but the piano sound of it was just OK. There are much better option in the newer pianos these days and they do not necessarily cost that much.

  8. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the valuable information you share.

    I am thinking to buy a Casio PX750 for my 5year old daughter. She is having piano lessons for couple of months and her teacher advising to have a piano to progress faster.

    In your "DIGITAL PIANO REVIEWS for 2014: Pianos UNDER $1000" you mentioned as "Casio overall offers a noticeably better piano playing key action experience".

    I will be glad to receive your opinions for Casio PX-750.



  9. Thanks Tim for your excellent article. I am thinking to buy a digital piano. I am choosing between CLP 535 or CLP 545. The big different between both is the action keys, the 535 keys are made in plastic and de 545 in wood, what is your opinion about.

    My budget is around 1.500€ more or less can you give another suggestions. What about Roland, HP 5XX

    Many Thanks.

  10. Those specific models have not come out in the US yet but when they do I will be reviewing them. From what I can see the key actions are still GH3 but with the escapement feature like Roland & Kawai have. I am assuming that otherwise the key action is the same as the previous GH3 without escapement. If this is so then the wood key would be the primary difference in the 545 vs the 535. Since the 545 wood key itself is not installed as a regular acoustic wood piano key is, then I see little advantage in the Yamaha wood key as opposed to the Kawai CA65 wood key which is a full length wood key installed individually over a steel pin like real pianos. As for the Roland all plastic key actions on their new HP pianos, they are very realistic in my opinion, especially the Concert Keyboard model, even though they are not made of wood. I like the Roland weight, movement, and feel very much. I think you can be happy on any of these pianos but I have personally found that both Kawai & Roland key actions move more naturally than Yamaha's I have played.

  11. What are the top five digital pianos on touch/feel?

    I have played on the Casio Privia line and the Yamaha line of digital pianos and feel like the Yamaha line is a bit too light. I am not familiar with any of the newer models in either lines other than a mere touch at the music store of the latest Yamaha digital pianos.

    I cannot afford a decent grand piano and I perform on a very heavy/stiff grand (haven't met any piano that required more effort!). I find that a transition from my digital piano to this grand piano to require superhuman effort. Instead of enjoyment, I feel frustration at the end of the performance!

    Is there any digital piano that I can upgrade to that may make the transition to the grand smoother? I have no idea why they like such an awful touch for the grand piano, but there's nothing I can do about it other than try to figure out a way to practice on something better! Please help!

    I am in love with the resonance of a grand. If only they could make a digital piano that feels and sounds like one! One day… Yeah, I know. My piano tastes have always been too refined for my budget. Why can't I have normal ears or be of more money?!

  12. You ask for the impossible. Since most grand piano models and brands play differently from each other, there is no standard piano touch. Also, some acoustic grands have action regulations that can cause issues one way or the other in the touch response and downward touchweight. You have a very specific situation and there is no easy solution. You would need to play every digital piano in your price range and then determine if any of them would suffice for your needs. Apart from that, I could not give you any objective answer including a "top 5" list of key actions, since that is also subjective. There are key actions I like and that I don't like but they are not in any specific order. Also, piano pedals and they way they operate are important and there are notable differences in that area too.

    It is possible that your stiff grand piano action can be modified and adjusted by a capable piano technician, which in my opinion would be the best solution to the transition issue from a quality digital piano to the acoustic grand.

  13. Hey Tim,

    So I'm a little confused on one thing and would appreciate your help.

    In this article, you mention that key action is very important, and then go on to say that for key action, you essentially can get a piano with semi-weighted keys, fully weighted keys, or not weighted at all.

    You then go on to show us how the different manufacturers have different "marketing names" for their key action: Casio has Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II, Roland has "progressive hammer action," Yamaha has "Graded Hammer 3."

    But my question is there–how do you cut through the marketing spin? In other words, how do you tell (especially if you're thinking about buying online) that a Casio piano with a Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II key action is semi-weighted or fully weighted?

    How do I know if a Yamaha digital piano that boasts "Graded Hammer 3" action is semi-weighted or fully weighted?

    What about the other brands and their "marketing names?" And what if the piano doesn't have a "marketing name" for its key action–does that mean it's not weighted whatsoever?

    And then lastly, regarding touch sensitivity like you mentioned before–is this just essentially a "yes" or "no" situation when it comes to digital pianos? In other words, unlike key action which can be fully, semi or not weighted at all, does a piano either have touch sensitivity or not have it–like, is there a "tier" level of touch sensitivity? And do brands have "marketing spin" for touch sensitivity, as well?


  14. Wow, good questions, Brian. All of the major digital piano brands have hammer weighted keyboards on their 88 key models. Some are more noticeably authentic than others and it would take much experience to know and understand the differences. That's why I write reviews, to help people understand specific models. With regard to touch sensitivity, all new digital pianos are touch sensitive going from soft to loud sound when playing the keys at different velocities. However, due to the quantity or lack thereof of the key electronics including sensors and recorded piano sampling among other things, the touch sensitivity can vary in different brands and models from toy-like to very natural. There are big differences in the smoothness and natural response in sensitivity from the keys, just as the ride is better in a Mercedes or luxury auto as compared to a bumpy and less smooth ride in a cheap auto. You generally get what you pay for.

  15. Hi Tim. What do you think of the casio privia px 150 in terms of key action and similarity to an acoustic piano. My budget is 500dollars and I don't think I can do better at that price. Thanks

  16. You simply cannot be picky with a budget of $500. With that in mind, the PX150 at that price has the most realistic piano key action there is.

  17. Assuming you absolutely need to have a portable digital piano with built-in speakers, for key action the Yamaha P255 would be noticeably better than the Roland FP50, in my opinion. If you do not need a portable digital piano, then there are other good options.

  18. Hi Tim,
    Did you have a chance to try Kurzweil new MP-10 with Fatar keyboard?
    Could you compare it with Kawai KDP90?

  19. Yes, I have played the MP10 with the Fatar action and for some strange reason, although the key action moves better, it is unusually stiff to push down (especially on the black keys) as compared to the previous action. It is an improvement overall but unfortunately the piano is still lacking in polyphony upgrade, piano sound upgrade and pedaling upgrade to include half pedaling. The MP10 needs to have new technology to be a real competitor of the other pianos. The Kawai KDP90, Roland RP401R, and Yamaha YDP162 would be much better choices. If you want more details on those other choices and prices that you should be paying for them, please contact me by email.

  20. Hi Tim!

    Thanks for the informative article.
    I've just started playing piano for half year, was using a 88 semi weighted keyboard before, I then sold it and looking for a fully weighted alternative.

    I have two questions:
    1. Would you suggest buying a new digital piano for pricing around 770 USD or a used digital piano (5 years+) for around 380 USD? In which they have similar to same specs, feels, everything.

    Reason behind:
    I don't have enough current money to purchase a digital piano price above 774 USD, BUT I could use VISA and make it twelve months, if thats necessary.

    for used digital piano,
    I have my target on :
    – P-140 for around 387 USD (seller bought it in 2008, looks new though)
    I'm considering it because of the GH key action it have at this price range that I could afford.
    – Roland HP 203 for around 580 USD (bought in 2010)
    – Yamaha ARIUS YDP-140 for around 490 USD(bought in 2009)

    for new digital piano:
    -Kawai CL26 – for around 825 USD (I really liked it, but it has no usb port, i might need to buy an extra midi interface.)
    -P-105 – for around 645 USD, im not sure about it, because the GHS key action doesnt feel good as GH (P-140) did. (Which I could already buy a used P-140 with lesser money, yet here comes the other question)

    2.Is it cost efficient to use a fully functional used digital piano? in terms of durability? Or would you suggest to buy a new digital piano no matter what because they normally last for 10 years tops? OR, would you even suggest that in my case, I should buy a budgeted used digital piano just with fullly weighted, then buy a new and expected one while i could afford?

    *sound's ok is fine to me, i could connect it to computer to do the trick.

    Above all, In terms of: cost, durability, touch
    what would you suggest?

    I know it's kind of long.
    I know it's more than two question actually, i apologize.
    But I would love to hear your advice Tim! Thank you in advance!

    p.s. sorry for my bad English.
    Greetings from Hong Kong!


  21. A top name brand good used later model digital piano is fine as long as you are confident it works and all is good. I would recommend the Yamaha P140 as an acceptable used piano based on the price you mentioned. It is fine for beginners through intermediate. The YDP140 and P105 have the same GHS key action, which I don't recommend as much as the others. I hope this info helps you.

  22. Hi Tim – My Roland FP-8 is on its last legs – I love the sound, especially through my Roland amp, but always thought the action was a little stiff. For under 3000.00 what would you recommend for a portable piano for playing gigs with a small band?

  23. Hi, Tim.
    I'm looking at YDP-162 and CE220 for my 10 yrs old daughter. What would you recommend between two?

  24. Although both key actions would be good, I much prefer the Kawai CE220 because it has full length wood keys with counter balance weights for a much more authentic key action movement and response. There really is no comparison between these two piano in that way. Also, the Kawai CE220 has larger 192-note polyphony processing power and individual note piano sound sampling which allows for more authentic piano sound reproduction as compared to the Yamaha YDP162. If you want more info on these and other pianos as well as info on lower buying prices in the US (lower prices than internet , Amazon, etc), please email me directly.

  25. Hi Tim,

    How would you grade the Grand Feel Wooden-Key Action feel that Kawai offers on the CA65 digital piano? Could you please help me with an opinion on this as I am considering buying this for my girlfriend that has about 6 years practice on an acoustic piano? Is there a similary priced model on the market that you would recommend instead of the CA65?


  26. Hi Tim
    Great article. I was taken with the Yamaha P35 but wondered what else you c like as well it better in that price range. I have owned and played some excellent acoustic grand and also owned and played several digitals. Like features but love a good action and sound. Thank you.

  27. this is very helpful article. I am looking to purchase one digital piano for my 3 and 5 year old children to start. My budget is around 1000-1200$. Looking at the Kawai KDP 90 or Yamaha YDP142R..which will be better for my children? My concern is something not too stiff, and as natural as possible in case they progress to Acoustic later in their life.

    Thank you.

  28. Hello Tim

    Thank you for the article.

    Could I ask you what you think of the Kawai VPC keyboard with its RM3 Grand II action? Is there an interesting alternative I should be looking at up to and including the same price point? The only thing I am interested in is the keyboard – no sounds required.

    Many thanks,

  29. Hi Tim,

    I have been playing acoustic pianos for more than 40 years from steinway, yamaha, kawai, etc. And looking for my first digital one as close as possible to acoustic.

    Reading your article about key actions, I feel like –

    Yamaha – NW or GH3
    Kawai – GF or RM3ii

    are best fit for me at minimum. I want to this to be portal if possible with built-in speakers (though I couldn't find exact this spec as most of better key actions don't come with built-in speakers?) along with close to full length (or depth) i.e., >400mm

    And I found followings –

    Yamaha – CP4/CP5
    Kawai – MP11/MP10/VPC1

    And as most of these are stage pianos without built-in speakers, do you have any suggestion or thought I might be looking at?

    Best regards,

  30. Hello tim,

    I would like to thank you for the article about key actions that I enjoyed reading it.
    can u help me choose a portable digital piano with a budget up to 1000$
    what do u think about yamaha p105 or casio px 350.
    thank u

  31. Hi,

    I want to buy a digital piano, therefore, I wonder what the piano you think is best for me. I will use "Soft Mozart" software with the piano.
    The piano has to be general midi compatible, includes a sound system and needs to have 88 keys. It’s a plus if the piano have touch-sensitive piano keys too.
    I found one piano that was general midi compatible and it was AP-650. But it must be other piano that has general midi? So can you help me to choose a digital piano?
    Many thanks,

  32. they are all nice to play and all different, just like acoustic pianos are different from each other. However the YDP162 key action is more authentic than DGX650

  33. The Casio key action is good to play and many people enjoy it more than yamaha because of better/easier downward key pressure (called static key weight movement)

  34. Hi Tim,

    May I know which digital piano is better for a beginner? Thanks!

    1) Roland F-20
    2) Yamaha P105
    3) Casio CDP-130

  35. Hi Mr Praskins.
    Complements of the season.
    I am a piano beginner player, I have practiced on an upright acoustic grand a while ago and am looking for anything that best simulates it esp in terms of sound and weight under $1000 for home use. All I know about digital pianos is based on reviews and videos, I had chosen to select anything from Casio PX 150 to PX 850 until I came across a Kawai ES100 review.

    How does a Casio PX850 compare with a Kawai ES100 for my needs?

  36. I enjoyed your article very much. After happily playing on a nice old Swiss upright and an early Clavinova (CLP-300, perhaps) for years, I decided to get something new and bought an Arius YDP over the Internet without trying it beforehand. Thinking, digital pianos must gotten even better since 1985, right? When I had the Arius up, the disappointment was enormous. Sound was great, etc. The keyboard felt fine at first, maybe a bit heavy. After a few weeks, I couldn't play anymore because of the pain in my fingers. After googling a while, I discovered the terms "downweight" and "touchweight" and did measurements with stacks of coins. Result: about 50g at the top, 70g in the middle, 90g at the bottom. My upright has 50g pretty well across the whole keyboard. All reviews for the CLP were enthusiastic, so was I the only one with the problem? In any case, I opened the piano and took out the keyboard, which looks like your picture of the CP1 keyboard. Then I sawed off all the U-shaped metal pieces to the same length as the highest key. After I had everything assembled again, the piano felt pretty good and it still does.

    People should be aware of the touchweight issue when they go shopping for a digital piano. For one thing, Yamaha had this idea of a "graded keyboard" and they laid it on much to thick. Second, touchweight generally seems to be heavier in the USA then here in Europe. Finally, some people/manufacturers seem to consider pianos as body-building equipment, the heavier the better. Personally, I think weight graduation is a gimmick and irrelevant compared to the other differences between acoustic/digital keyboards which you mention. Bottom line: if I had read your artice before buying my second digital piano, it would have saved me a lot of effort!

  37. The PX850 has now been replaced by the PX860, If you need a portable digital piano then the Kawai would be better. If you can have a more permanent furniture cabinet digital piano then the Casio would be better in my opinion

  38. Thanks for your comments. Most Yamaha digital piano models, even in the higher price ranges) have unusually heavy touch-weight (down-weight) in the key action. Yamaha has solved this key action issue in their new CLP585 with a new improved action and it is noticeably better. But unfortunately that piano is approx $6000US so it is expensive. Kawai, Roland, and even Casio has a much better (easier to play and less fatiguing) touch-weight in their digital pianos even in the lower price range under $1000. No one should have to take apart their piano to solve a manufacturer issue. It is nice that you could do that

  39. Great post.
    I was checking Yamaha P-105 and Korg SP-170S, now I'm lost.
    I've never played piano before, so it won't really make a difference to try them on the store…

  40. Great Article.

    The local shops in my area have the following to choose from – which do you recommend for the most realistic piano key action: Roland F-130R, Roland RP-400, Yamaha YDP-162, Casio AP-650, Casio AP-450, or Korg LP380

  41. wow, I'm so impressed with your generous responses. Here's my problem. I play a p200, and find the action sluggish, slow repeats, despite all the ravings online about how great the action is. I like the *weight* of my p200 action, just ot the sluggish repeats. I want to replace it. There's a used p140 for $600 (Canada…prices are higher here) I just can't get any info on how the p140 action compares to good digital piano actions. Does it compare to a p255? Will it be faster than my sluggish p200? I'm happy with the *sound* of my p200, and I wouldn't want a lower quality grand piano sound. Thanks.

  42. The P140 and P255 use the same key action (Yamaha GH). I prefer either the new Roland PHAIV Standard key action, the Kawai RH2 key action for more accurate and realistic key action and piano sound dynamics along with a quicker key movement than the Yamaha GH.

  43. ok, I need a little more specifics. I read that Roland has two PHA actions. They are:

    1) a full-size action (PHA, PHA 2, PHA 3, Ivory Feel S, PHA 4 Premium/Concert), and
    2) a lightweight action (PHA Alpha, PHA Alpha 2, Ivory Feel G, PHA 4 Standard (??)* )

    i.e. there's a PHA Iv S and a lighter PHA Iv G

    which is the one you prefer? Inquiring minds would like to know!

  44. The key actions currently being made by Roland are PHAIV, ivory feel S, ivory feel G. I have made it clear in my reviews that I like all of the new PHAIV key actions which include Standard, Premium, and Concert and they are significantly upgraded over the others.

  45. Hi Tim,
    Great article!!!
    I'm trying to find a graded hammer weighted digital piano for a beginner (price range 1000-1500€. I've tried some of them in the music shop and my question is whether Roland F-130 R has the same "Ivory Feel-G" key tops like Roland F-20 because I really don't like it. I'm trying to choose between Roland F-130 and Yamaha P-255 or Yamaha CLP525. The most important thing for me is to choose the best key action piano, sounds are not so important.
    Thank you for your help.


  46. Hi Tim,
    I am looking for a digital piano for my 5-years old daughter. She has piano lessons for two months. We live in Germany. Would you give me some advice to buy a suitable digital piano with a budget up to 800 EUR?
    In my area, i have two scecond hand pianos and two new pianos to chose:

    1) used Yamaha P 95 price 300 EUR
    2) used Casio AP-250 price 600 EUR
    3) new Yamaha YDP-142 price: 800 EUR
    4) new Casio AP-260 price: 800 EUR

    Thank you for your help


  47. Hi Tim,

    I have read your article very often, I want to buy a digital piano but in my experience I am interested with Korg LP series which the sound and keys are more realistic and purely brilliant close to Acoustic Grand Piano, but I confused between LP 180 and LP 380, LP 180 has realistic and clearly grand piano sound with Natural Wood Keys, but LP 380 has dual layer sound which is can play Grand Piano with Strings and etc with RH3 keys, do you think what should I choose? thank you Tim God bless.

  48. Dear Tim,
    Thanks for this great article.
    Can you compare the kawai aha IVf and the yamaha GHS mechanisms, in terms of durability and performance? I want to buy a DP, and I can't spend too much. In my budget are the kawai es100 or the yamaha p115.
    Which would you recommend me?
    Thanks a lot.

  49. durability is likely the same based on my experience with them. As for performance, I would much rather play the Kawai key action over the Yamaha, but a person could enjoy both of them depending on their piano playing skill level

  50. Hi Tim, great article. How do you compare the two entry level models kawai es100 and yamaha p115, in terms of keyboard ( aha IVf and GHS respectively) and sound? What about the durability of the mechanisms? I cant spend too much money, but i would like to buy the best in that price range. Your opinion will be very helpful!

  51. Hi Tim, could you please tell me whether I should go for a Kawai KDP 80 or Yamaha YDP 161? I'm an intermediate level player and would like to finally buy a lasting piano. Your suggestions would make things easier, thanks!!

  52. Hello Mr. Praskins,

    I am ready to buy a digital piano to resume playing after a long interruption (10 years). My top priority is the touch response of the keys (I grew up practicing on a keyboard which did not have this feature and it was awful). After reading your reviews, I narrowed down my choices to either the Yamaha P115, or the Casio PX160. Both are prices at $500 right now (Yamaha has a promotion). Which one would you recommend? Many thanks in advance!


  53. Hi Tim,
    I am wondering about the best keyboard with regard to key action considering weight of the entire keyboard. I have played piano for over 50 years and I am a working musician playing a lot of jazz. I have a Kurzweil SP 88 and a Korg Kross (88 Keys). I agree with you that the Korg action is mushy and not enjoyable to play. What would you recommend in terms action based on the following: sounds for B3, Piano and Piano/strings weighing under 30 lbs? Money is not a consideration in this decision. Thanks for your help

  54. Hi Tim,

    Great article, as always. I really need your advice now as I'll purchase a digital piano soon. My budget is tight and for other reasons so here come my last choices: Casio CDP-120 or Yamaha P35. They're in the same price range and affordable. Unfortunately in my region they only have new, unbox pianos; I can't test either of them before buying. So with your experience, which one is better, in term of key actions (I understand it's not possible to have a digital piano with key action as good as an acoustic one; just as close as possible). I also concern about the durability, I prefer a long lasting piano without small issues. Hope this is not too much.

    Looking forward for your reply.

    Thanks a lot.


  55. Hi Tim, could you please suggest what to choose from Kawai KDP90, Roland F140R and Roland RP401R, considering only the key action parameter?

    Is Roland HP504 much better in key action than the above 3 models, to worth the extra money?

    Thanks for your help and your will to share with us your valuable knowledge and experience!!!

  56. Hi Tim,
    Your kindness is a bless.
    My doubt is very simple.
    I will start playing piano after buying one.
    My options in Portugal at the moment are:
    Roland F-110 = 500 Euros
    Yamaha P-70 = 360 Euros
    Yamaha CLP 560 = 400 Euros
    Roland Kr 3000 = 200 Euros

    Which one you advise.
    All.. of course , second hand.

  57. Hi Tim, could you please suggest what to choose from Kawai KDP90, Roland F140R and Roland RP401R, considering only the key action parameter?

    Is Roland HP504 much better in key action than the above 3 models, to worth the extra money?

    Thanks for your help and your will to share with us your valuable knowledge and experience!!!

  58. Hi, I want to purchase a piano with budget around $2500. I am confused with Yamaha and Kawai model. Can somebody tell me which one is good and which has let off keys? Also is let off keys really required?

  59. Hi Tim,

    Great article and kudos on the comments section – it's even more informative than the article itself.

    I read the similar negative comments on the older Roland mechanisms elsewhere, so I'm relieved to see some consistency. As you indicate, finding reliable reviews on the internet is a challenge…

    Glad to see that Roland produced a better mechanism with the PHA-4. Their newest pianos (HP-603, HP-605) contain a new mechanism, the PHA-50. Did you get a chance to try this one out yet and what is your opinion?

    (choosing a digital piano for 11-year old son, so feel is definitely more important than sound at the moment, to develop correct finger movements without causing overstraining injuries)

  60. Yes. Take a look at look at my review of the new Roland models incl HP603, HP605, LX7, LX17. I discuss the new key action in detail. If you are in the US then you may also email me and I can tell you about lower prices than you can find anywhere else on these new pianos and where to get them.

  61. Hi Tim,

    I want to buy a piano for my 9 years old child, she is a beginner. I have two options, a used Roland RP-101 for around A$600 and new Yamaha RDP-162 for A$1500. Can you please let me know which one you recommend?


  62. Thanks for this article Mr Praskins. We are looking to buy a digital piano for my girlfriend after a year of renting an acoustic stenway and sons essex. She doesn't play very complex music, but would like something that wouldn't get in the way of inproving when she get's back on an acoustic piano. Our budget is limited, we are looking for second hand mainly. I am wondering about choosing old discontinued piano like the Kaway CN290 which are cheaper now, but maybe since that time so much progress was made that it would be better to buy a recent model. You wouldn't recommend the YAMAHA ARIUS YDP-142 R if I read correctly?
    thanks for any advice you can provide

  63. There are many good new digital pianos available now in low price ranges. Used digital pianos are always a risk to buy because there is no warranty and you would need to be certain the piano works and will continue to work because repairs can be expensive should they be needed and sometimes parts on older digital pianos are difficult or impossible to get. I personally enjoy playing the new lower priced Casio PX860, Kawai KDP90, and Roland F140R digital pianos. Please read my reviews of those models and if you have further questions and/or want to know about even lower prices on these and other other new pianos, please email me directly.

  64. Hi Tim, I'm a classical pianista and I'm facing a difficult choice. Currently I own a Yamaha P140 and an old Chickering baby grand, wich I love and bought with great effort, but I know that I should at some point upgrade to a new baby grand.
    I'm currently looking for a new home for my family and it's being hard to find a place where I could fit both pianos.
    I'm thinking in selling both pianos and buying the best digital I can get with the money. It feels like a crime to me, but could be a solution for my situation.
    What do you think? I believe the best instrument I can get with the money I'd get selling everything is a Kawai CA17, there isn't so many choices in my country. Is it worth? What would you do? Regards,

  65. Dear Tim, great article, just as your other reviews by the way. Very very informative. What would you like most: the Kawai GF2 or the Roland PHA-50 ?

  66. Hi Tim

    Thank you for your thorough review. I am an intermediate classical piano player. I played for more than 10 years, but haven't played for around 10 year also. I am looking for digital piano to replace my old deteriorating upright acoustic piano. I would like to ask if you would recommend to buy Roland HP203. The new one is available in my country (Thailand) at discounted price of $1285. It was originally $2430. I know it is an old model, but I like the feel and the sound. The only thing I am worried is if the keys produce loud thunking/thumping sound when played like the you mentioned for HP302. Please suggest.

    Thank you very much.

  67. Hi Tim

    Thanks for your article
    Really impressive
    My dauther will be a student next year, with the constraint of playing on a portable numeric piano
    Key action is for her the firt and only argument to be able to practice every day in quite good condition.
    She spent 8 year in conservatory and use to play at home with a wonderfull Schimmel 121, but far to heavy and not compatible with silent playing in a student room !
    Can you advise, independently of price for a selection of portable piano she can enjoy and keep for a long time as second piano.
    Electronic piano and other effects really not mandatory. Only the key action and a good gran piano sound.
    For sure, she has to make her onw test, but there are so many models…and advises ! a short list would be great
    Thank you in advance for your advise
    Looking forward to read from you

  68. Greetings from Brazil!

    I would like to say that the quantity and quality of information posted on your blog are really impressive. Even being a long-time student, I was able to learn a lot from your blog. Congratulations. 🙂

  69. hi tim
    what about studiologic piano and kurzweil. are they competetive let's say with yamaha or kawai?
    what models do you suggest for under 1000$
    thank you!

  70. HI Time- I have played the RD-2000 at a local music store but they don't have the FP-90 to try. From a feature point of view the FP-90 seems more what I need for jazz solo and combo work, but my top priority is action and sound. Do the two pianos use the same actions and sounds? This is what I am gathering from reading online.

  71. Which model has a more authentic key action Casio PX-870 (scaled trisensor hammer action II) or Yamaha YDP S54 (GH3)? Does Casio scaled trisensor hammer action II compare more closely to GHS or GH3 from Yamaha?
    Thank you.

  72. The Yamaha key action in the S54 is noticeably heavy and because of that not as realistic as the Casio PX870 key action compared to a real acoustic piano.

  73. Thanks for the article.

    I am looking for the best digital piano on the market. I am less cost conscious and more interested in quality. My hands are beginning to feel a little wear and tear so I will move toward a slightly lighter action

    I am looking at the Kawai NV5s and Kawai ca99. These are virtually identical instruments aside from key bed. I am classically trained on upright pianos but I have been using digital controller keyboard for the past 31 years. (Korg Concert 3500 midi into Kurzweil PC3)

    A couple of questions
    1) do you have an opinion on the two boards? I have played both and honestly have a hard time differentiating them
    2) what do you think of the future reliability of these two key beds?

    I live in an area where humidity fluctuates seasonally and widely

  74. H there.I agree with everything you said.I want to buy the KAWAI VPC1 but i cant get my hands on it.The only wooden action i know and like is the Grand feel-S of Yamaha on yamaha 745.Do you know if the KAWAI ACtion is similar?Thanks

  75. Although both key actions in those 2 models are good, the VPC-1 key action is somewhat heavy. That model uses an older Kawai key action called RM3. The best, most responsive key action in a digital piano under $4000 these days is the one used in the Kawai CA501 model called "grand-feel compact." That key action is lighter, more responsive and more balanced from front of key to back of key.

    The Yamaha Grand feel-s action has much shorter keys than the Kawai CA501 and the black keys in the Yamaha are plastic, not wood. The Kawai keys are longer, all keys are wood, and the installation of each key at the Kawai factory is most like a real acoustic piano key installation.

  76. Hi there.Very nice article.I agree with everything you said.I m thinking of buying the KAWAI VPC1 because i need a quality controller, which has a woodwn action called RH3 Grand II,everybody says its great,but i cant get my hands on one,the only wooden action i have tried and really liked is the Grand Feel-S on the Yamaha 745,which you also liked.Do you know if the KAWAi is similar to that?thanks.

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