Electric pianos for live performances! These pianos have top notch sounds and an easy-to-use interface which makes them ideal for performing onstage. An electric piano keyboard usually comes with synthesizer features & are quite portable. perfect touring piano that provides a perfect blend of authentic sounds, piano action, and features for live onstage performance.
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Use the Electric Piano in Studio or on Stage
A electric piano is basically a portable digital piano with a collection of piano sounds suitable for stage performances, such as vintage electric piano, organ, acoustic piano and many more sounds.
These are fully loaded – both, in terms of the collection of sounds, as well as their ability to provide the cleanest and clearest noise-free sounds.
That’s why you will find a lot of stage pianos for both – studio as well as stage use.
You get the most authentic piano sounds, and its rich expressiveness comes alive as you play on its graded hammer action keyboard. The sound is big enough to blast through a full band onstage – yet expressive enough to work magic in a smaller club.
If you are looking for a professional digital piano…something that packs power and is compact enough to carry in your vehicle, then you need an electric piano!
Synthesis Technology on Electric Pianos
Long back, when sound synthesis technology was not in existence, electric pianos use to produce sounds mechanically and the sounds were turned into electronic signals by pickups. And since the tone was quite different from a usual piano tone, these instruments became quite popular.
Now, with sound synthesis technology becoming available in almost all the digital pianos and keyboards, it is easy to produce sounds that depict the sound of an electric piano.
In fact, the high-end portable digital stage piano, which is commonly used by gigging pianists, is now referred to as the electric-piano.
These instruments usually have sound synthesis features, and give you various variations of the electric piano sound.
Also Read: Electric & Digital Piano Reviews
Designed for Performers
Electric pianos have been so popular because it gives you all the flexibility of a digital instrument. Issues like Space, Maintenance, and Portability, that were commonly associated with acoustic pianos does not apply to an electric Piano.
A top-of-the-line electric piano will use the best sound samples, will incorporate the best digital effects, will have pitch bend / modulation wheels, and will have graded hammer action which emulates the action on an acoustic piano.
The layout of the piano itself will be quite intuitive so that you can easily change settings and parameters on the fly while performing. Some of the most commonly used digital effects with the electric piano sound are the Tremolo, Chorus, Phaser, and EQ
Some of the models will have Lock-on features to prevent accidental changes, whereas others may have lots of knobs and sliders so that you don’t have to depend on the screen for making the selections.
Comes With Several Pro Features
Electric (stage) pianos give you many other useful features which you can use to light up your performance when onstage. Here are some of them!
Piano sounds that cut through
If you are going to play a lot of stuff that focuses on your instrument i.e. the piano, you can make your presence known with this feature.
The Yamaha CP series has a special Mono Piano sound, designed specifically for live performances. This sound utilizes a compression effect, which gives it the punch and power to stand out, even in full band situations.
Locking facility so that you do not accidentally touch the panel controls and change any settings – very useful when performing onstage since you need to make sure everything goes smoothly
All the settings are fixed and secure, until you are ready to change them yourself.
Professional Quality Outputs
This is an absolute must if you want the cleanest and the best possible output. The Yamaha CP pianos feature professional quality balanced XLR output connectors that give you the cleanest and the clearest noise-free signal.
Whether you are doing some serious recording stuff in the studio or playing onstage, the XLR output gives you the cleanest sound compared to those long unbalanced cables, which may compromise your sound.
Go For More Polyphony
Though most of these pianos do come with 128 note polyphony, and it is sufficient for most uses. Things can change as you start combining patches and if you like to play with sustain. With sustain, the existing patches may sound excellent for a few seconds, but then will lose most of its beauty. It then becomes obvious that you are listening to a “patch” rather than a true string vibrating in a wooden piano body. So, if you really want to hear true sustain and natural decay in the sounds, you should probably consider the more expensive digital pianos / grand pianos from other series.
Sturdy & Built for the Road
The pro ones are definitely built for the gigging musician! And that is why besides the top quality sounds and features, the manufacturers ensure that they are robust (some of them are almost built like a tank).
And because they are built for the road, and if you add on factors such as the weight of 88 weighted keys (some also have built-in speakers), some of them can really become heavy.
But if you really like a specific brand or make, there’s not much you could do but live with it. After all, you need to perform well when onstage (there are some players who buy a spare pro keyboard for smaller and lesser important venues).
But over time, even the toughest of them do go through wear and tear and instances such as plastic on the keys chipping off, or losing springs/keys are quite common and are easily repaired.
Irrespective, well known keyboard/synth brands and models continue to do well in the second-hard market, so in case you decide to upgrade to a new one and want to get rid of your existing one, you should get a good price for it.
Touring / Performing Piano
Though we have highlighted mostly the positive aspects till now, the challenge that you may face, especially if this is going to be used as a touring piano is concerning its weight. But then if you have a big vehicle to carry all your gear, it is not much of a concern.
Remember you’ll need a couple of amps to get a stereo sound, and that sound is way better than what you would get from a single amp. So basically we are talking about moving the electric piano, couple of amps, stool/ bench, piano stand, microphones and cases of electronics.
Software vs Hardware Pianos
There are many who want to get into the software vs hardware debate when it comes to piano sounds. Those of you who have a computer based recording setup at home might feel that software pianos are more powerful, compared to the sounds in hardware keyboards. They prefer a controller and use a computer to host a software piano library which gives them access to all the sounds they need.
Though it is definitely a viable option, it also has its limitations when you perform on-stage, since you will need the complete setup. Besides, there are many who feel that a hardware sound is much more powerful than software.
Even though this is subjective, the point is that portable pianos do have their uses and anybody who has played the piano for a long time, and can play it really well is more likely to use an excellent electric piano as opposed to a controller.
Buying the Best Electric Piano
Pro keyboards are expensive instruments, and if you are going to spend around 3000 dollars, then there’s no doubt that it’s going to sound good. However, which is best out of the lot is something that only you’ll be able to decide.
After all, everybody has a different need!
As you can see, the permutations are many.
And because each of us has a different preference on what should be the perfect piano sound and feel, it’s a bit difficult to reach a consensus of which piano is the best.
Also Read: Electric & Digital Piano Reviews
The Best Brands
So long as you go for an expensive model and something that is from Yamaha, Roland, Nord, Kawai, Korg or Kurzweil, you are in safe hands.
If you are piano player, it’s actually a good idea to focus on the ‘piano’ instrument sounds when evaluating a product. For the sounds that you are missing you may get a separate board.
Or If you are still not happy with the overall piano sounds on these boards, you can also consider using software piano like Galaxy or Ivory, and play it using the piano or synth that has the best keys (as per you).
As you can see, most of the time you have to find a happy trade-off between the piano sound and the piano action.
So it does make sense to spend as much time as possible in a music store, and take along your headphones as you check out the various models of electric pianos & keyboards.
If you are a professional looking for an electric piano that can be used either in a studio or for on-stage performances, electric pianos is what you should be looking at (such as the Yamaha CP pianos). Though there are other big players out there that make cutting-edge keyboard instruments, what makes Yamaha preferred by most musicians is there authentic piano & instrumental sounds as well as realistic a piano action. That means anybody who has grown up playing an acoustic piano is in all probability going to like these pianos. An electric piano gives you the perfect combination of authentic & powerful sounds, and other powerful features that makes it apt for both studio-use as well as for live onstage performances.
- Read more on Yamaha Digital Pianos
- Under (around) 500 dollars – 5 Best piano keyboards with more than 61 keys
- Under 1000 dollars – 5 Best digital stage pianos with rich piano sounds & authentic feel
- Under 1500 dollars – 3 Best digital stage pianos for on-stage performers