Korg SP-280 Piano Review, 88-keys NW Hammer Action

The Korg SP-280 is a fantastic 88-Key weighted hammer-action digital piano, with a responsive grand piano sound & touch, and the on-board speakers are wonderful as well. Korg SP-280 is a nicely designed digital piano that combines authentic sound, natural feel, and eye-catching style. The versatile 88-key home/stage piano can be used at home or even on stage. It uses top quality piano sampes and has keys that closely resemble that on an acoustic piano. Grand piano sound plus 6 authentic vintage electric pianos, it comes with a Stand. See PRICE on Amazon.

Korg SP-280: At a Glance (Highlights)

  • You get thirty rich, and expressive sounds (grand piano, vintage electric piano sounds, strings, organs to fuel your creativity).
  • Powerful built-in stereo speaker system
  • Full-featured Stage piano that is great for gigging, has inputs and outputs for audio for connectivity to other equipment.
  • Is also perfect for home practice and lessons

Korg SP-280: Pros & Cons

  • Pros – Looks sleek and is sturdy. Powerful on-board Speakers. 3 levels of touch sensitivity. Main piano sounds are nice and well rounded, has Rhodes Sounds. The EPs are also okay (better than most in this price category). Realistic Piano Sound & Responsive Action.
  • Cons – Action is okay (a bit lighter). No built in recording system. No USB connectivity

Who Is It For?

  • Piano players of all skill levels
  • Gigging keyboard players

Korg SP-280: Review

The SP-280 is a nice improvement over its earlier version, looks more stylish, has a natural weighted hammer action, and provides the experience of playing a much expensive acoustic piano. With an excellent collection of electric piano sounds & lightweight design, its ready to be used for gigs as well. Its ideal for home or stage use, has a powerful built-in stereo speaker system and comes bundled with a stand.

Korg SP-280 Piano review

About the Keyboard Touch
The graded Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) keyboard mimics the action on an acoustic piano (heavier action in the lower register and a lighter response in the higher register).

Is it Ivory? No? Its very good though.

There are many piano players who don’t really like the NH action on the Korg SP280 because they feel its lighter (they prefer the RH3 action instead). If you have played a Yamaha before, this action is somewhat similar to the GHS, and not exactly like the GH or even the Privia action. I think they have made the action suitable for performance / gigs.

The Key Touch Control function offers three levels of adjustments to the touch, lets you customize your performance to suit your own playing touch. 3 levels of touch sensitivity will appeal to a wider range of players.

Nice Sounds
Rich, dynamic acoustic piano sounds. Authentic vintage electric piano sounds, suited for live performance.

It comes with 30 high-quality sounds, including grand piano, electric piano, organs, clavs, harpsichord, strings, and more.

The sounds are rich and full, especially in the bass. You can layer the piano sound with strings or choir. While layering, you can adjust the level of each sound to achieve the desired balance.

Reverb and chorus effects are also quite good.

Powerful Speakers
The speakers are among the best and it also comes with a brilliance setting which makes it sound even better, although the unit is a bit heavier. Delivers 2 x 22 Watts of output power, perfect for practicing without setting up monitors or an amp.

MIDI connectivity
The Korg SP-280 lacks USB connectivity, which is a shame (you find it on most modern digital pianos). But this model has been around for some time now and that is why it has the older midi slot.

If USB connectivity is a concern, you can always get a MIDI to USB converter.

it comes with other inputs and outputs for audio connectivity to other equipment.

Korg Sustain Pedal Included
You get a nice sustain pedal so that’s very nice of Korg. The SP-280 comes with an included sustain pedal with half-damper support, in which you can vary the damper effect by how far you press the pedal.

Want a 3-pedal unit? You can use the Korg PU-2 pedal unit (you need to buy it separately), which effectively replicates the three-pedal system that you commonly see on acoustic pianos — Sustain, soft and damper pedals (recommended for the serious piano student or performer).

Korg SP280 Piano

Korg SP280 vs SP250

Korg’s older SP250 used the Korg RH3 key action, which has been replaced in the newer SP280 with Korg’s basic NH key action. Of late, Korg has been using the NH key action in other models as well. I guess, Korg introduced the NH key action because it wanted to eliminate the clikcing noise; this versio is physically quiet and doesn’t make much noise when the keys move up & down, so that’s a big improvement. But many players feel there is a noticeable difference in the two key actions (NH vs RH3). The Korg RH3 hammer weighted key action was one of the reasons the older Korg SP250 model did so well, even though it had limited features (sound volume, polyphony) compared to the new SP280.

Korg has increased polyphony on the SP280 to 120 notes (60 notes on the SP250), which is a nice upgrade. The SP280 also utilizes a much powerful speaker system (44 watts of total power – 22W+22W), which will appeal to lot of players.

Competition Check/Alternatives, Piano Comparison

Here are a few portable digital pianos that you may consider, besides the Korg SP-280.

You may also consider the Yamaha P115 (its a great piano) or the Casio PX360 (better action). However, the sound on the SP280 is a lot better overall.

  • Korg SP280: 88 keys of Natural Weighted Hammer Action, 42 pounds (including stand). ($$)
  • Williams Allegro 2: 88 hammer-action weighted keys, 29.8 pounds. ($$)
  • Yamaha P115: GHS weighted 88-key action, 37.7 pounds, ($$)
  • Casio Privia PX-360, 88 Keys Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard, 21 pounds ($$)
  • Kawai ES-110, 88 Grade-Weighted Keys, 38 pounds, ($$)
  • Korg B1SP: 88 keys with natural weighted hammer action and touch control, 46.3 pounds (includes stand), ($$)

In case, you are looking for exceptional electric piano voices, you should checkout the more expensive SV-1.

Korg SP-280 Video Demo / Review

Here’s video review of this piano:

Click here to Buy Korg SP-280 on Amazon

Korg SP-280 Specs

Here are the key features of this piano:
Korg Digital Piano

  • Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) keyboard for acoustic piano like feel
  • Touch Response: Heavy, Normal, Light
  • 30 Instrument sounds, including organs, clavs, harpsichord, and strings.
    Sounds: 30 (10 x 3 Banks)
    x6 – Electric Piano, Electric Grand
    x5 – Acoustic Piano
    x3 – Acoustic Guitar, Jazz Organ, Marimba, Choir, Vibraphone, Pipe Organ, Strings
    x2 – Clavi, Harpsichord)
  • 3 Effects (brilliance, reverb, chorus) for rich, spacious tone.
  • Polyphony: 120
  • Pitch: Transpose, Fine Tuning
  • “Layer Mode” lets you play two sounds together, helps you come up with more creative sounds
  • “Partner Mode” divides the keyboard into two parts, allows two players to play and practice simultaneously.
  • Two headphone outputs for two players, who can play without disturbing others in the surrounding.
  • Amplifiers: 22 Watt x2. High-output amp section (Powerful built-in speakers) produces good volume
  • Built-in metronome with adjustable time signature, tempo, and volume
  • Functions: Piano Song (Songs: 30), Transpose, Touch, Metronome
  • MIDI I/O, Stereo audio input for playing along with external audio sources
  • Inputs/Outputs: MIDI (In and Out), Pedal Unit, Pedal, Line In, Line Out (L/MONO, R), Headphones
  • Includes AC adapter, Music Stand, Damper pedal. Includes folding metal stand that is lightweight and easy to attach
  • Available in black and white finish.
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 53.58 x 15.98 x 30.91 inches. Weight: 41.89 lbs
  • Power Consumption: 15W

Korg SP280: Buying Links & Prices

The Korg SP280 is an excellent piano with a better key touch compared to the Korg sp-170, and also comes with powerful on-board speakers. Its great for practicing and learning the piano. Overall, the SP-280BK is a good digital piano for the price with several useful features.

Buying Options
If you are looking for something in the mid-range, all in one unit and not a console, than do consider the Korg Sp-280.

The weighted hammer-action keyboard and authentic piano sounds make Korg SP-280 a joy to play.

Have any views on the Korg SP-280? Please share it below. You can check out more Korg pianos here.

  1. Reply
    Ian February 8, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Where can I find the user manual for the Korg SP-280. I want to read all the instructions to further explore the piano.

  2. Reply
    Ron November 8, 2016 at 6:29 am

    How does the Korg SP-280 compare with the Yamaha P-115 digital piano? I like the SP280, but see a lot of positive comments for the Yamaha piano. Is there lot of additional features on it?

    • Reply
      Dana January 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

      The Korg 280 has the NH action, which is also used on the SP-170. I played the 280 recently and thought it felt better than what I remembered of the 170. It was comfortable to play, though sort of mushy/spongy. The main piano sounds seem okay, but I thought the other EP sounds sucked. If I needed a digital piano (or something with weighted action) in this price range, I may probably choose something else. However, there are many who prefer the Korg.

      • Reply
        David January 8, 2017 at 6:44 am

        In fact, I think the electric piano sounds are the best part of the SP-280. I do not use the organ sounds much, though there are some fat cathedral sounds. The SP-280 has an excellent vibraphone, and the guitar sound is also fun to play. I also don’t play the voice and string sounds much.

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