The choice between a digital and an acoustic piano can be a tough one. While acoustic instruments are widely regarded as superior to and more “authentic” than their digital counterparts, recent advances in technology have made the competition between the two a close one: if you’re still starting out as a piano player, the slight variations in sound, feel and atmosphere of digital and acoustic pianos can be difficult to detect. But there are other factors to consider when deciding between the two, including the price, volume, functionality, aesthetic appeal, weighting and portability.
The price entry-point is lower for digital pianos, making them a popular choice for beginners and families with children learning piano. For those dedicated to playing piano, investing in an acoustic piano is a fairly stable investment as pianos depreciate very little over time.
While the sound of the traditional acoustic piano is often regarded as superior by musicians, recent advances in technology make it difficult to differentiate between the two in many cases. A good digital piano can sound exactly the same as an acoustic piano, albeit by different methods. (Though, piano purists may disagree with this idea.)
Unlike acoustic pianos, the volume on a digital instrument can be adjusted. This makes them a preferable option for families with young children, schools and anyone sharing living space with others.
If your sole musical focus is on piano playing, then an acoustic instrument will cover your needs, but if you play as part of a band or ensemble, having the added functions of a digital piano could be worthwhile. Digital pianos often have built-in sounds like violin, drums and replications of other common instrument sounds, depending on the model. They can be very useful for rehearsing and filling in sounds when other ensemble members are absent.
There’s little doubt that acoustic pianos hold higher aesthetic value than digital pianos. Usually made from timber, they bring an old-time elegance to any room they inhabit. In cluttered or small spaces, though, digital pianos are great space-saving alternatives.
The weighting of the keys in digital pianos has improved so much in recent years that it rivals the feel of the traditional acoustic. However, it’s important to be aware that buying a digital piano with well-weighted keys could boost the price enough to match that of an acoustic, so it’s best to compare prices against the feel of the keys in person at your nearest piano retailer. Every piano and every musician is unique, so we recommend testing out the piano to make sure it matches your playing style.
Consider whether you’ll need your piano to be portable or not. Will you need to bring it to rehearsals or performances that don’t provide an on-site piano? If so, a good digital version is the way to go.
For more information about acoustic and digital pianos, or to try out our pianos for yourself, visit one of our three Sydney showrooms today.