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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
Artesia AP8 digital piano

REVIEWArtesia AP8 furniture style digital pianoNOT RECOMMENDED
– Artesia is another one of those digital piano brands that I call a
PSO (Piano Shaped Object) which means that it looks like a piano but
otherwise isn’t good on the inside. The Artesia AP8 ($999 Costco price) digital piano is available in
the US exclusively at Costco on-line. These pianos look good on the
outside but are not good on the inside based on my playing experience
with the AP8. Costco has regularly offered the low quality Suzuki
& Adagio digital piano brands which I have previously reviewed,
but I would think by now that Costco would stick to name brands instead
of continuing to go down the off-brand road of trying to sell off-brand
ames that are not good, especially a name that no one has heard of like

Artesia AP8 & Artesia AG41 digital pianos
Artesia AP8 digital piano

is a brand belonging to a company called Virgin Musical Instruments who
imports a variety of different kinds of musical instruments from China,
which is a main source in the world for low price musical instruments.
Having musical instruments made in or imported from China is not a bad
thing as long as the products are high quality, reliable, have advanced
electronics, good design and construction, and works properly. Some of
the major piano brands like Kawai, Roland, Casio, and Yamaha have
instruments made in China and they are quite good because those name
brand companies know how to design & produce good overall
digital pianos. But when it comes to off-brand digital
pianos, especially those sold through Costco, I have not found any of
them to be good, and in fact, they are pretty poor overall when it comes
to getting a realistic piano playing experience. These off-brand digital
pianos typically have certain things in common such as poor key actions, unrealistic piano sound, improper pedaling, and are typically unreliable based on my
experience with them and the Artesia AP8 & AG41 are no
exceptions based on my experience with it.

Artesia AP8 & Artesia AG41 digital pianos
Artesia AG41 digital grand

I was really hoping that the Artesia AP8 console
furniture digital piano with matching bench in dark imitation rosewood
finish would be an instrument that offered a high quality piano playing
experience because of its attractive appearance and array of built-in
features, especially at the low Costco price of $999US which is a
very popular price range for most families. The impressive looking
Artesia AG41 4’1″ baby grand in polished ebony ($2399US
Costco price) is the identical piano in terms of functions and features
with an added docking port for an MP3 player and a much larger, more
powerful speaker system. Both models have 64-note piano polyphony
memory, 138 built-in instrument sounds which includes just 2 piano
sounds but has a large selection of instrumental tones, 99 drum rhythm
and auto accompaniment chord play for left hand including jazz, rock,
country, Latin, etc. The Artesia pianos have General MIDI playback
with SD memory card which is a nice feature, 3-track recording and
playback with 4-song memory, 9 setup memories, layering &
splitting of 2 sounds, 4-hand duet play, auto one-finger harmony for
right hand auto-chords, lots of special effects including reverb,
chorus, phaser, delay, brightness/EQ, transpose, touch response, and the
piano if fairly easy to use with a digital LCD display screen.

Artesia AP8 digital piano
Artesia connectivity jacks

Both pianos have a weighted key action and 3
functioning pedals along with lots of connectivity including audio
output, audio input, headphone jacks, USB output, SD card input, and
MIDI ports which are underneath the piano. Even some some the name brand
pianos do not have this much connectivity for internal and external
connection in this price range. The Artesia AP8 has two speakers going
through stereo 40 watt power (total) and the AG41 has 6 speakers going
through 120 watts of power. So really… what’s not to like about these pianos!?
They look great and have most of the functions & features
people are looking for in their respective price ranges. The Artesia specification sheet and internet product description is interesting because it says:

Artesia AP8 digital piano
Artesia AP8

“balanced Hammer Action,” “advanced, weighted hammer
action design,” “excellent response and smooth playability that will
satisfy even the most demanding teacher or professional performer,”
“incredible sound realism with its acoustic sound sample processing,”
“it records the actual acoustic instrument capturing their remarkable
depth, expression and essence,” etc, etc. This description would have you believe these
are the most wonderful digital pianos ever made and at their low prices,
will be impossible to resist! The Virgin Company warranty on these
pianos is only 1 year parts and labor which is a small warranty as
compared to the major brands, but when you buy it at Costco they
(Costco) have a very generous return policy in case you cannot resolve
issues with Artesia (Virgin Music Instruments) or the when the product
warranty is expired. Based on my experience with reliability on these
off-brand digital pianos, I would be concerned about this short 1 year
warranty as most name brands have a 3 year warranty. Also, off brands like Artesia tend to have very low resale values.

Artesia AP8 digital piano

Artesia AP8 & Artesia AG41 digital pianosI just got though asking the question “what’s not to like about these pianos” and the answer is… A LOT!
Yep, all is not what it seems on these pianos from their appearance and
specs and unfortunately Costco has done it again…decided to carry
off-brand pianos that in my opinion don’t even get up to the quality
piano level of a new $450 Yamaha or Casio portable piano in terms of a
good piano playing experience. Before I start (unfortunately) tearing
these pianos apart in a negative way, I will say that some of the fun
features on these pianos including left and right hand chords, drum
rhythms, accompaniment SD card playback, and additional instruments
sounds do work and are fun. In fact some of the intro’s, ending’s, and
left hand chord arrangements sound good and when I played the AP8 I had a
real enjoyable time using those features. But that is not why
most people normally purchase digital pianos. People tell me all the
time that they want the piano to have the best and most authentic
weighted piano hammer key action with minimal action noise, best piano
dynamics and resonate sound, realistic quality pedaling, and full clear
piano sound out of the speaker system. On all these fundamental piano
functions, the Artesia unfortunately falls very short.

Artesia AP8 digital piano
Artesia control panel

At first when you play this piano it seems like the
piano sound, key action, and pedaling might be good. The keys are
weighted pretty nicely, there is a piano sound and some dynamics, and
the pedals work overall and sustain is OK. But the more I played this
piano the more I disliked the piano playing experience. First and
foremost is the fact that the keys are noisy and bottom out like plastic
hitting wood over and over. In other words when I pushed down on the
keys with minimal strength, they made considerable knocking noise like
there was no felt under the keys. That was not enjoyable and a big
deficiency. The keys are also stiff when playing lightly and softly.
They don’t push down easily like a regular acoustic piano and the key
movement is also uneven amongst the various keys. Physically the keys
have weight and resistance to them but in all other ways they are not
like playing a real acoustic pianos or even the pianos from Casio,
Yamaha, and Kawai starting at $450. So the Artesia piano key action
fails my tests and I am not surprised because all of the off-brands I
have played from Costco or anywhere else have key action problems.

Artesia AP8 piano

Artesia AP8 pianoAs
far as the piano sound and the response of the sounds to key pressure
across the keys, I give this piano a big F (failure) for the piano sound
in this price range. First of all, believe it or not, the piano sound
is out of tune with itself…yes you heard me right, notes are out of
tune! How do I know this?…well when you play some octaves together (2
notes at a time) the notes are not in tune (unison) with each other and
are noticeably “off pitch.” If you have ever heard a tuned acoustic
piano or played another brand of digital piano where the notes are in
tune, then you would know what I am talking about when you hear them out
of tune. The Artesia piano keys/notes are definitely out of tune and
this is also obvious when you layer a different instrument sound along
with the piano sound because that 2nd instrument sound is out of tune
with the 1st piano sound when played together which is also not good. In
addition to this, when you play the piano sound on the right hand along
with using the auto-accompaniment left hand chords, the piano sound
is out of tune with the left hand accompaniment chords. The out-of-tune
problem is not limited to the piano sound of which there are only two
piano sounds on this instrument. The other sounds like harpsichord,
trumpet, strings, etc, are also out of tune with themselves when playing
octaves, fifths, fourths, and chords in various keys. I tried using the
master tuning function to raise and lower the tuning pitch but that
just changes the tuning for all the notes at one time and it did not
help the
situation with individual notes. On the Artesia product description it
says “The AP8/AG-41 is a
digital piano and therefore never needs tuning.” Well
if this is true as far as never needing tuning (and normally it is
true), then Artesia has designed and produced a piano sound chip that is
permanently out of tune on various keys because digital piano notes
cannot be tuned individually like an acoustic piano. This simply makes
the Artesia piano unacceptable to me just for this reason alone not
counting the physical problems with the key action.

Artesia AP8 digital piano
LCD display screen

With regard to the quality and consistency of the
piano sound across the keyboard, this too is also not very good. Some of
the notes sound as if they are a different piano from the notes (keys)
next to them. The recording of that note was not good and it shows when
you play one key at a time going up or down. Also, some notes when
playing the keys come in noticeably louder than other notes (keys) next
to them, so the piano volume and sound is inconsistent across the
keyboard and this is also not good. When you combine all of this with
the issues I described above, you have a real “PSO”…piano shaped object
that resembles a real piano but does not really play like one, even at
some more basic levels.

Artesia AP8 digital piano

are 3 full size pedals on these pianos. They look good, function
properly (soft, sostenuto, sustain/damper), but there are some
deficiencies. The sustain pedal (right pedal) does not have the
half-pedal feature which allows for a medium amount of sustain when you
would press the pedal about half-way down and this can be important as a person progresses in their playing skills. The Artesia sustain pedal is
just an on & off pedal which is OK but not great and even the
inexpensive name brand digital pianos have the half-pedal function. The
pedals themselves seem to be physically cheap and not made well because
of the metal clicking noise I heard when pressing the pedals down as
well as
Artesia AP8 digital pianoside-to side lateral movement which should not
be there. That looseness in the pedals themselves (I have seen this on
other off-brand Chinese digital pianos) can and probably will cause
problems in the future and that would not be good. Even the pedal height
off the ground was too high compared to most other pianos I have played
and that extra height makes pushing on the pedals more difficult. The
piano stand assembly is fairly easy to do but a couple of the screw
holes on the AP8 did not line up well with the screws and two screws
could not be tightened all the way down during my experience with it.
Also the pedal connector port in the piano did not hold the pedal cable
too well and was loose so that it is possible for the pedal cable to
fall out and the pedals not work. All of these issues can be attributed
to cheaper materials, parts, and/or poor workmanship and not necessarily
shipping issues, although that is possible too, However the Artesia
piano should be able to function and operate well regardless and that
was a disappointment to me.

Artesia AP8 digital piano
SD card input slot

I do like the control panel layout, the buttons that
light up, the display screen, and the fairly intuitive functionality.
However there were some simple things that this piano should have done
that it did not do including being able to slow down a playback MIDI
song from the SD card playback. When the song is playing back I found no
way to reduce or increase tempo of the song. It is important to be able
to use that tempo feature when trying to learn songs but the tempo
control was disabled during song playback with no apparent way to use it
and that was a big disappointment to me. The speaker system in the AP8
is quite weak for what it is and the piano sound is generally muffled
through the speakers. If you try to use the built-in EQ brightness
control to correct for the muffled
sound, then the piano tone is tinny or thin through the speakers which
is odd because the AP8
has two speakers and 40 watts of power which should be quite good as compared
to some name brands in this price range, but it is not. Actually the sound of these
Artesia pianos are much better through a good pair of stereo headphones
and if the internal piano speaker system actually sounded like that,
then it would be a big improvement in sound quality through speakers. Copyright 2014

Artesia AP8 digital piano

I mentioned before, some of the instruments sounds in these models are
pretty good and it’s fun to play along with the drum rhythms,
accompaniments, recording, and general song playback using the SD card
slot and functions. But as for the fundamentals of the Artesia pianos
including key action (most aspects) piano sound realism, and pedaling
realism, they just aren’t good and that’s where the quality really needs
to be. The 64-note piano polyphony sound chip is OK but compared
to most pianos in this price range,128 note piano polyphony (piano
memory sound chip). would be better. The cabinet on the AP8 vertical piano is finished 
Artesia AP8 digital pianowith a
thin layer of imitation rosewood veneer contact paper which is glued to the cabinet. I found that this rosewood veneer was
starting to become unglued on one of the front corner edges of the
piano. This situation caused a very sharp corner where it was possible
to actually scape or cut your skin if your fingers, hand, or arm was to
move across this corner. I have not found this issue occurring on the
name brand digital pianos because they use different materials or have
better installation and product quality. The control panel is slanted
and easy to see and I like how they did that. However that panel is made
of black plexiglass (plastic) and not only can scratch easily but it
picks up fingerprints easily when touching and also shows smear spots
when putting your fingers on that plastic when touching the buttons.

Artesia AP8 digital piano
Artesia AP8 with closed key cover

I have been a piano and keyboard teacher as well as a pro musician for many years and it never surprises me when a person plays a piano like this and actually likes it.
This is because there are people out there who don’t know if a piano is
out of tune or not because their ears do not know what to listen for.
These people cannot tell when a key action or pedal function does not
respond correctly because they have little experience playing a good
piano…or any piano, and I have seen this happen many times. So with
all that being said, there are some individuals who will like these
pianos because they cannot see, feel, or hear the deficiencies and that
can be bad for piano students who really should play on a digital piano
that can respond like a real acoustic piano as much as possible in their
price range such as models from Casio, Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai.
Because the Artesia pianos look good and have fun features
along with their low prices and they’re available at Costco, people
will probably take a chance and buy them because they can easily return
them to Costco, although packing them up properly is not a small job. I
would advise that you look at the name brand models instead of Artesia
and you will get a much better piano playing
experience and then you won’t need to worry about returning the piano. It should not
matter what extra digital features are in a digital piano if that
instrument has difficulty just being a piano. Do it right the first time
and get something good. Go to the following links to see my
recommendations: Digital pianos under $1000  Digital pianos under $2000.

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.

If you decide to make a purchase after clicking on link below, I have arranged a big discount for you direct with eMedia for their educational software and that discount price is displayed through this link only! I want to see everyone learn to play and enjoy piano!

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