For the average piano player, a digital piano is more than satisfactory. But discerning classical pianists are quick to point out how different they feel under their fingers. After all, nothing will ever quite match the touch, feel, and sound of a grand piano.
Some get really close, though.
If you’re looking for an instrument you can bang out Chopin’s Etude No. 4 on, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our pick for the best digital piano for classical pianists:
Kawai CA59 (Our Top Pick)
Kawai has done extensive work on their digital pianos to the point they’ve won several awards for them. Their digitals are so good that other manufacturers license the technology in their instruments.
The CA series is their premier line of digital pianos. There are two main reasons why these instruments stand out:
- The keys feel and respond like a grand piano. This is because of Kawai’s Grand Feel hammer action inside each piano. Instead of weighted keys, they use actual keyboard hammers with wooden keys and ivory surfaces.
- They use authentic grand piano samples. Rather than using digital sounds, Kawai has meticulously sampled real acoustic pianos, including their own EX Grand Piano. They also use samples from other instruments like upright pianos, electric pianos, organs, and more.
These qualities lead to a superb digital piano that gives you the most accurate performance possible.
Plus, there’s an abundance of great features that make these pianos a joy to play. You can record, tweak sounds, and connect to other devices via USB, Bluetooth, or MIDI.
If you’re the person who says “spare no expense” and wants the top of the line model, go for the CA79 or CA99. They feature a touchscreen interface, ebony black keys, and higher-quality speakers. You’ll have to go to your local Kawai dealer to find those.
But if you’re looking for an excellent digital piano that strikes a good balance between authenticity and affordability, the CA59 is the way to go.
While we think the Kawai CA Series is the best digital piano for classical pianists, there are some worthy contenders.
Each of the following pianos excels at its touch, response, and sound quality. As a result, they’re more than adequate for the rigors of classical music.
Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 (Best Alternative)
Yamaha has produced some of the most beloved instruments of all time. And the CLP-745 is no exception.
This Clavinova piano faithfully recreates the grand piano sounds of Yamaha’s CFX Grand and the Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano. It also has a host of other keyboard sounds.
The touch and feel of the CLP-745 are exceptional thanks to the Real Grand Expression action. It almost perfectly emulates the feel of a Yamaha grand piano.
All in all, this is an exceptional instrument – easily one of the best digital pianos for classical pianists. And if you need a more budget-friendly Clavinova, you can check out the CLP-725.
Roland FP-30X (Best Portable Piano)
One of the best portable pianos out there. The keys feel super nice for a digital piano. Plus, it’s easy to transport to and from gigs if you need to.
The FP-30X has over 56 piano and keyboard sounds, which is much more than you typically get with pianos in this price range.
It also has a host of other features, like Bluetooth and USB connectivity. So you can get more use out of it outside of practicing and performing.
Nord Grand Stage Piano (Best Stage Piano)
We mentioned earlier that the action in Kawai digital pianos is absolutely superb. The same incredible hammer action is inside the Nord Grand.
If you’re a classical pianist who also needs a great stage piano, this is one of the best options out there.
The Nord Grand is loaded with over 2GB of sounds from the Nord library. You can also put a myriad of effects on your sounds like phaser, chorus, reverb, delay, and wah.
Kawai KDP120 (Best Budget Option)
If you’re on a tighter budget, the KDP120 is an excellent choice.
It’s trim, takes up little room, and balances quality with affordability.
And like most of Kawai’s other digital pianos, it features hammer-action keys that feel authentic to acoustic grand pianos.
Picking Out a Digital Piano for Classical Pianists
Classical music is very different from modern music. So pianists who play repertoire from Chopin, Mozart, Bach, or Liszt are going to need something very different from a synthesizer.
Nothing will ever quite match the feeling of playing on an acoustic piano. But some digital pianos get close to replicating it.
If you’re a classical pianist, you should look for these qualities in a digital piano:
Weighted keys simulate the hammer action of an acoustic piano. They’re important for a few reasons:
- Weighted keys provide enough resistance for learning proper technique
- They allow players to press down keys with different levels of control
- With better control, you can properly play soft or loud dynamics
Action, Touch, and Feel
Having weighted keys doesn’t guarantee a good piano. While they help, they’re only the first step.
“Touch and feel” refer to how the piano feels and responds under their fingers. Serious musicians will need a piano that feels smooth and responsive when playing.
The action should be fluid and seamless. Not stiff or spongey.
With good action, the touch and feel of the piano will allow the musician to play with passion and artistry.
Digital pianos are musical instruments. So it goes without saying that you need one with good sound qualities.
Some pianos are cheap and use crappy speakers. They’ll sound thin, tinny, and sterile.
Bad sound can partially be rectified with good external speakers. But that only solves half the problem.
A good digital piano comes loaded with high-quality sounds. Some use real audio samples from grand pianos and other acoustic instruments (like the Yamahas and Kawais).
Other companies like Roland engineer the piano sounds themselves, giving you a level of control and customization that sampled pianos don’t have.
Either one is fine, so long as the sound quality is what you’re looking for.