The piano is a wonderful percussion instrument, suited for nearly everyone, no matter the age or talent. It’s something that takes practice and patience, but the results definitely pay off. It’s a tool that produces great joy and happiness, and if you’re seeking to start up some piano lessons, you’ll want to find the type of piano that fits you best.
As many of you probably know, there are several key differences between an acoustic and digital piano. Although both are capable of producing sound and being played, you’ll want to properly consider them before making your final decision.
Sound Quality in General
Primarily, the main difference between an acoustic piano and a digital piano is simply the production of sound. That’s the main point. An acoustic piano would be considered the “traditional” one, as sound is produced through the actual vibration of the strings with the use of hammers. These sounds are bright and clear- the beautiful sound of music.
Meanwhile, a digital piano emits sounds that can only mimic a real piano using speakers and amplifiers. They’ll never be able to achieve the true ringing of piano strings.
Still, there are added components to make the digital piano seem more like the original creation. For one thing, instead of an electric keyboard, the keys of the digital piano are actually weighted to make the pressure more authentic. In this way, you would have to exert about the same amount of finger pressure as if you were playing an acoustic piano.
Electronic sensors within the keys gauge the speed and dynamics of your playing adjust the sound to suit these subtleties. If you were playing quickly and heavily, the sound would be loud and strong. If you were playing lightly and melodiously, the music would naturally be softer and sweeter just like an acoustic piano.
In addition to that, a digital piano often has the option to produce sounds that stray from the typical acoustic piano. Organ sounds and harpsichord noises are playable through most digital pianos.
Although the digital piano may never truly accomplish the sound of the acoustic piano, it can become pretty close to the point of being nearly exact. To the average human ear, it’s almost impossible to notice a difference. Being able to play other instruments at the same time is pretty cool too.
Pros of a Digital Piano
Generally, the sound quality is the biggest aspect of buying a piano. In this instance, people would generally buy an acoustic piano. However, there are many advantages to the digital piano, which is why it more than outsells the acoustic counterpart 2:1.
First, the digital piano is definitely lighter than the acoustic piano. Without all the hammers, strings, and extra wood, the digital is easily two or three hundred pounds lighter. In some instances, it’s only 12 pounds, making it much more convenient to move around.
Then, there’s the size as well. Whereas your huge seven foot grand piano may take up the entire living room, the digital piano can be placed in any area that has a couple square feet to spare.
After, there’s the care. Digital pianos are simply functioning on electricity. There aren’t any specific mechanics involved (like the hammer and strings), so they’re relatively easy to take care of. The occasional cleaning and dusting is pretty much all you need to do. Naturally, you need to do this for the acoustic piano as well.
However, unlike the acoustic piano, you never have to tune a digital piano. Since the sounds are produced electronically, they can never stray from the original set pitches, so there is no need to ever tune or hire someone to tune the piano. Most people believe that the acoustic piano needs to be tuned every 6 months or so.
However, the piano really doesn’t stay in perfect tune for more than a week or so. In that instance, you can see why the digital piano is infinitely more convenient.
As stated before, having a variety of different instrumental sounds in one instrument can be pretty awesome. Using a digital piano, you might even be able to set the tones to that of a violin or cello, and soon, you could be playing with the powerful sounds of an entire orchestra. Of course, it’d take a bit of work to get to that level, but nonetheless, achievable.
Lastly, there’s the noise aspect. Many times, you’ll find that the constant piano-playing may disturb another housemate’s work. It can be your parents, children, neighbors, friend, etc. No matter how gorgeous the music sounds, it might sometimes disturb them. The digital pianos allow you to plug in your headphones, which makes it so that only you can hear the noises.
Cons of a Digital Piano
Going back to the actual sound quality, remember that no matter how amazing the digital piano seems, it can never truly replace an authentic acoustic piano. An amazing amount of passion and character can be expressed through the varying string vibrations of the acoustic piano.
Although the technology of digital pianos has come far to emulate it very closely, it can never be exact. In this instance, the acoustic piano clearly has the advantage (assuming it’s not out of tune).
Another disadvantage of the digital piano is the feel of the piano. Like the sound, digital pianos attempt to duplicate the feel of an acoustic piano. With the use of technology like “touch sensitivity” and weights, they feel very similar to the acoustic piano, but they merely simulate the whole mechanism behind it. They don’t have the actual strings and hammers.
In the end, both types of pianos have their advantages and disadvantages. Whereas the digital piano can create the sounds of different instruments, can be more convenient, and is generally cheaper, the acoustic has the pure sound and feel that cannot be truly duplicated.