With so many options and brands to choose, it might be overwhelming to pick your first digital keyboard piano. Lucky for you, I’m here to quickly guide you through that process.
This Beginner Guitar HQ guide will show you exactly what you need to look for in keyboards so you invest your money into a worthwhile product. More than that, we’re sharing 2020 reviews for the top 10 best beginner keyboard pianos.
I’m also reviewing and explaining MIDI keyboards, which are keyboard controllers for your music-making software.
As this is a guide for beginner musicians, we’re sharing mostly budget options. I’m guessing you’re not willing to break the bank when you’re just learning about this instrument.
However, I’m also adding a couple of mid-level options in case you’re looking for something that you can keep as you grow and hone your skills.
By the end of the article, you’ll learn the top things to look for in keyboard pianos; keyboard categories, and keyboard primary uses.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick keyboard piano tutorial:
What is a beginner keyboard?
A beginner keyboard is an ideal instrument to learn and compose music. It’s the more ideal instrument to start with, even more than acoustic guitars.
What I personally love about pianos in general, though, is how you can learn and understand so much of music theory by simply playing and practicing with this instrument. What’s best, a keyboard is a smaller, friendlier version of a piano you can use to play virtually any genre.
I have to say, though, it does require some skill to play the keyboard, as you would have to play independent rhythms with both hands (more on that later). So, although the learning curve is slower than a guitar, the result is most likely a multi-instrumentalist musician.
So, in essence, a good beginner keyboard is ideal for students starting their musical education. It’s light enough to carry around and has features that allow students to transfer the skills to full-size pianos and even other instruments.
You can imagine these beginner keyboard pianos are mostly for practicing, learning, and rehearsing, though. Even so, as we check your best options, we’ll find some alternatives you can carry to a live scenario whenever you’re ready.
Remember, you can be either an adult, a kid, or a teenager learning piano. It’s never too late to learn. If you can already play something else, that’s great; if you’re not playing other instruments yet, don’t worry, the keyboard is a great choice to start with.
You can learn a bit more about choosing a digital piano in this previous guide.
Piano keyboards are a great way to learn how to play acoustic pianos, which are heavier, bigger, and harder to learn.
Introduction to digital pianos
Keyboards are one of the most difficult instruments to buy. On the surface, they have many, many buttons and can quickly overwhelm you with the sheer amount of options most of them carry.
More so, they are so feature-rich and ship from such a varying degree of prices, we need to know the different keyboard” categories” there’re, as there’re keyboards for different purposes.
And yet, when we’re looking at them online, they all look the same: a bunch of keys with a bunch of knobs and buttons, and sometimes and LCD screen. It doesn’t help that there’s a lack of detailed info on the web, whereas you can find hundreds of guides about buying an electric guitar like, ironically, this one.
I don’t want you to take a random guess. I’m sharing some detailed information about keyboards so you can make the right choice.
How to choose a beginner keyboard?
The question depends on the student’s goals. Consider what I’m about to say either if you’re the student or if you’re buying the keyboard piano for someone else.
We can break down the needs into three simple categories:
- A keyboard to compose music, as pianos are probably the best instrument for songwriting;
- A keyboard to learn;
- A keyboard to eventually transition to a piano if you’re looking to have the piano as your main instrument (it’s important to understand the difference between pianos and keyboards).
Now that we know needs, we need to check the characteristics every beginner keyboard piano needs to have.
What do you intend to so with your digital piano keyboard? The answer will help you make the right choice.
Digital pianos vs. keyboards
A digital piano is a modern replica of classic acoustic pianos. The construction is either an upright cabinet, a back cabinet, or just a piano with a stand with 88 fully-weighted keys (more on that later).
Keyboards, on the other hand, offer portability and versatility. These are lightweight modern versions of the piano, feature about 61 to 76 keys. The keys are mostly soft and don’t ship with the same construction qualities as pianos. You can find some high.end keyboards with this feature, though.
While digital pianos emulate the sound of classical pianos, keyboards are enjoyable instruments you can use to learn and practice. However, keyboards offer a more modern sound and can mix well in band playing.
Normally, you would play the rythm (the bass) with your left hand on the lower keys and the melody with your right hand on the upper keys. They do not, however, give you the authenticity of digital or acoustic pianos.
For the sake of the article, we’re using both terms, digital pianos, and keyboards. From now own, digital pianos are a sub-category of keyboards. Nevertheless, digital pianos are the most common category we will find in the market.
Digital pianos try to mimic the feel and sound of acoustic pianos whilst being more portable, lighter, and smaller.
Studio vs. home vs. live keyboards
Specific models have features for these specific uses. It means you need to ask yourself what’s going to be the main purpose of your keyboard:
- Studio recording or rehearsing;
- Playing live.
I’m making sure the items I’m featuring on my list clearly state their primary use. This info alone can help you to the right choice.
Things to look for in beginner digital piano keyboards
Now that we’ve seen keyboards’ primary use and categories, it’s time to delve into the things we should be looking for digital keyboard pianos.
These are the most common features available to almost all keyboard categories (more on that later). These are the basic terms you should know before making a desition. Probably, you haven’t heard of this before.
Number of keys
Keyboards ship with different numbers of keys, which alters the size of the instrument. It ranges from small 25 keys designed for MIDI controllers, up to 88 keys like a traditional acoustic piano.
It’s something you need to consider according to the space you have available and how portable you want your keyboard to be.
The right choice for someone looking to create music for a budget and whit a tight space would be a 25 to 49 keys keyboard.
If you’re a beginner practicing on your bedroom, or if the keyboard is a secondary instrument in your home studio, you can also go for a smaller 61 to 7 keys digital keyboard.
The action is about how well the keys respond when you push them down. Each keyboard model varies their keys firmness and resistance. Ideally, there should be a natural lag between the time you push the key and the sound it produces.
Unweighted keys are easier to push and play, however, the sound ironically comes to quickly, which might mess up your timing. Weighted wooden keys and dummy hammers respond much more like a piano, so they are probably better for beginners.
Most advanced setups use graded hammers that are progressively heavier the lower you go on the keys. It creates a very realistic feel.
So, typically, the weight of the keys is either:
- Fully weighted keys have the most realistic feel but cost a bit more;
- Semi-weighted keys are less realistic and usually cheaper.
Digital keyboard piano-size
A full-sized digital piano has 84 weighted keys and it’s the best learning piano for adults. These keyboards, as they try to stay more classical, have fewer sound options.
People interested in electronic music, pop, and urban or Latin genres can go for smaller, beginner keyboards with unweighted keys as they have many more functions.
Velocity sensitivity is how the piano creates volume changes according to the strength you push into the keys.
Better quality keyboards have this feature, which requires two elements to function:
- The keyboard senses how hard you push the keys;
- And then a sound engine records the “striking intensities” of the keys and delivers the according to volume.
Budget or low-quality keyboards have neither these options, so it means you will hear the same volume no matter how you play. It a sense, it will lack dynamics.
Mid-range keyboards often only sense how hard you press the key and deliver different volumes. And, lastly, high-end keyboards with advanced sound engines will give you variations on both volume and attack.
The velocity-sensitivity feature gives you much more volume control as you play.
The best keyboard brands offer computer connectivity. This is not necessary to learn, but it’s a great feature that allows students to use their keyboards with music composition software. Having this feature is great if you’re looking to be a songwriter, and will help you avoid upgrading to a more advanced feature in the future.
Today’s keyboards connect to a computer with USB cables mostly, but also FireWire, S/PDIF, mLan, MIDI, and other types of interfaces and connections, either external like an audio interface or built into a keyboard.
Others also offer iOS and Android compatibility, which furthers your capabilities to practice and record music with the keyboard.
Similarly, MIDI compatibility (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) allows you to use the keyboard in DAWs (music recording and making software) like FL Studio. MIDI compatibility can become more important if you get into electronic music or choose to interface your keyboard with your computer.
More on this: if you use your keyboard as a MIDI, you’ll be able to record music in a DAW software while using the DAW to turn your keyboard into any instrument via its options of the software. It means you can turn your keyboard (as a MIDI) into an organ, a synth, or a drum, and play the keys on the beat to record new tracks.
Check it out:
Sampler & recording features
Just like connectivity features, sampler and recording options are not paramount, but they can surely improve the versatility of your keyboard.
With a sampler, you’ll have access to different kinds of sounds for your keyboard, for example, a classical piano, an organ, or a flute. More so, you’ll likely have access to drum loops and rhythms to play around with.
Meanwhile, keyboards’ recording features means you can record your music right into the instrument on a MIDI format, mp3, WAV, or ACC. It saves the record on its internal hard-drive, and then you can take this recording into your computer with a USB cable.
Onboard storage allows you to download software updates, new keyboard sounds, samples and more into the keyboard. Additionally, it allows you to store recordings right there and then.
When a keyboard lists onboard storage, it refers to more than 100 different sounds and blank spaces to store new sounds and presets.
Otherwise, you would need extra micro-USB cards for these functionalities.
Input / output & speakers
Keyboards and digital pianos almost always use MIDI when available. The extra output is something special, though. This special feature allows you to use amps and other recording equipment.
Otherwise, the keyboard has speakers. It rarely has both speakers and output.
So, in essence:
- If you play at home, go for a good pair of internal speakers;
- If you’re recording, have a mix of analog and digital outputs;
- If you’re performing live, analog outputs are essential to plug in the amp.
There’re keyboard amplifiers you would need if you want to take the piano live. Once you plug the digital piano to an amp, you would further amplify the amp with a microphone.
Sound & tone
The keyboard sound is a very important consideration when choosing beginner keyboards.
Best keyboard brands like Yahama produce sounds similar to a true acoustic piano.
However, all digital keyboard pianos produce a ridiculous amount of sounds (other than a piano) you can choose.
These options include:
- Effects like chorus, delay, and reverb;
- Rhythmic instruments like congas, drums, and other percussions;
- Melodic instruments like organs, flutes, saxophones, synths, and accordions.
It’s very easy to be impressed with all of these options. I mean…look how many buttons it has! It must be awesome!
But! But, once you’ve spent some time with your instrument and got over the “new toy” factor, you won’t even use 98 percent of all sounds. To be honest, most of these sounds are cheap, so the vast majority of your playing will revolve around some 2 to 10 at most piano sounds with some reverb (if available).
An additional consideration is “polyphony”, which means the number of sounds a keyboard produces at any given time. It tells you how many keys you can play while hoping the keyboard reproduces. And remember a chord is at least two keys.
Many people are unaware of this limitation of digital pianos and keyboards’ sound engine.
Cheapest keyboards commonly have a 32-note polyphony. The number goes up to 64, 138, and 264.
It might sound excessive as you only have 10 fingers and you’re probably just learning. Because of that, here’re some examples of how you need polyphony:
- Accompaniments: the backing tracks you play as you play also take some space of your polyphony limit. And these backing tracks may use voices from various instruments.
- Sustain pedal: every note you play rings out for several seconds before it goes silent. It makes the sound feel more natural and less robotic.
- Synth: a single synth chord triggers dozens of voices because it has many effects and variations.
- Organ: a single keystroke brings up many voices at once. More so, organ notes take longer to fade out.
In summary, you should never go for a 34-polyphony keyboard because it will limit your possibilities. Unless of course you only want it to practice at home.
Either way, I recommend going at least for a 64-polyphony keyboard.
Lastly, voice options are something special on keyboards. Voice options allow musicians to customize the sound they generate with the keys, so the result is much more versatility.
When you look at the voices, make sure the keyboard has the different voices you want (like a bass, a horn, an electric guitar,…).
As a beginner, you might want to take fewer voices to reduce the price. For example, 30 voices is an excellent choice.
As I said, practice and learning keyboards differ for a keyboard you want yo play with your rock band or to compose electronic music.
While the best beginner keyboard for adults might be a small, light and portable alternative, children and teenagers can feel more motivated if they have an instrument that can help them easily play and create popular music like pop, electronic, trap, hip hop, or reggaeton (for example, a synth).
Let’s understand, then, the different keyboard kinds we can find:
Digital pianos are keyboards that imitate the sound and feel of acoustic pianos. It’s the best option for people focusing on their musicianship and looking to transition to classical pianos. It’s a budget and a more convenient way to learn piano for adults.
Digital pianos have 88 weighted and graded keys and speakers built into the keyboard. If you want to amplify digital pianos, you would need a PA system.
Digital pianos don’t have the sound range of synthesizers, neither can they produce samples and loops. They are meant for serious practicing rather than musical composition and experimentation. Either way, they carry hundreds of tones, rythm patterns, and effects to play with.
Digital pianos might be for the stage or for the studio. Let’s take a look:
- Digital stage pianos: they often offer the best sound quality and feel money can get, and they are the standard choice for professionals going to live performances. These areas light and compact as possible. For amplification, as I said, they need a PA system, or an audio interface. Some of these carry outputs, so amps are sometimes a choice.
Many times, to minimize the weight, stage pianos eliminate the internal speakers. So, instead, you would find an output in these models.
Roland, Casio, Yamaha, and Korg produce amazing stage pianos. One model I really like is the Roland RD-2000.
- Console digital pianos: console pianos are a good alternative if you’re planning to keep the instrument at home because these have less portable designs.
These are also more aesthetically pleasing and resemble traditional acoustic pianos with upright furniture. These are great for family rooms.
They may also ship without extra furniture or optional furniture. However, these are definitely heavier, and their options lean heavily towards recording music.
Additionally, they feature high-end internal speakers.
If this is something you’re looking for, here’s a great model:
- Digital keyboard pianos: keyboards are smaller, portable versions of digital pianos with less keys and more sound options.
They are better suited for the studio and home practice and offer much more versatility than a digital piano.
- Digital portable pianos: lastly, I list the third alternative of digital pianos, which are portable options. However, I don’t consider this as an “category” on its own. Simply put, some digital pianos are portable, and some are not.
These items prioritize portability over everything else, this they often feature lightweight keys and are not full-sized.
- They feel like traditional pianos
- Transitioning to an acoustic piano becomes easy
- They offer the most sound quality and feel
- It gives you plenty of volume control
- It’s cheaper than acoustic pianos and needs no tuning or replacing broken parts
- It’s ideal for practice and solo performances
- These pianos are expensive
- They offer none or few sound options
- They are not very portable. Plus, the absence of 8mm input jacks makes it harder to set it up for gigs.
How portable do you want your digital piano to be?
Arranger keyboards are built to provide auto-accompaniment. It means you can select simple options and then the keyboard lays down backing tracks, rhythms, loops, and samples.
The primary use of arranger keyboards is helping solo performers replicate the sound of a full band. It helps people mix well with a band and ease their time rehearsing, although it takes some time to understand these options. More so, it gives the students some great options to practice at home.
These keyboards come with accompaniment styles that can react to chord changes and other musical cues just like a real band would.
The sounds of arranger keyboards focus on pianos, guitars, horns, flutes, basses, and other real instruments. More so, instead of sound-shaping and adding effects, these keyboards prioritize making the sound as authentic as they can.
Additionally, these tend to have MP3/WAV editing and recording as they ship with built-in sequencers and editing functions. They can work as a recording studio and a band-in-a-case.
Common uses of arranger keyboards are karaokes, party bans (because these are often few members, so the keyboard player “plays” a bunch of instruments at the same time), singers, songwriters, and frontmen.
So, although these are not aimed for beginners, they still represent a great way to experiment for people wanting to learn more about music, melody, harmony, and overall songwriting. And, who knows, you might end up as a multi-instrumentalist because you started with an arranger keyboard.
- Professional industry standards.
- Good for composition
- The auto-accompaniment feature encourages students to practice and play.
- It offers pro-features and advanced options for playing live.
- Starting prices are not budget-friendly
- Beginners can find these options overwhelming, especially when they don’t have a grasp on rythm elements like bpm, time signatures, and meter.
These are popular keyboards for beginners and designed for electronic music. They can create a wide range of sounds and can imitate many instruments and sound effects. It’s also a great choice for playing in bands or small ensembles.
Synthesizers share the same layout as a keyboard, although they are different beasts. They offer a myriad of options for sound creation, mostly oscillators: oscillators use electrical signals (either analog or digital) to create specific sounds. Then, it sends this sound into various stages of a signal path, which affects the final effect and feel of the sound.
I personally recommend this one:
- You can play with other musicians
- It has an output to plug in your amp or recording equipment
- It offers plenty of sound options.
- There’s is a wide range of quality so it’s hard to pick the right model and the right brand.
- You may outgrow its keyboard capabilities as synth are often small and lightweight
- It makes transitioning to a full-sized piano more difficult.
MIDI Controller keyboard
These have lower prices than most keyboards because they can’t produce any sound. Instead, these transmit MIDI data to other hardware or software.
MIDI has no sound on its own, it’s only a map of notes, volumes and tones other software can translate into sound.
These are great choices for people looking to create computer-based music or program music. It’s not suitable for learning, playing or practicing, though.
In summary, MIDI controllers are used for controlling outside sources of sound or external musical software.
- Great for computer music and composition
- Outputs send MIDI information to synths and computer software.
- Needs to be plugged into a computer or laptop to work
- It has no onboard sound
- It’s the poorest choice for beginners.
For example, you may find digital pianos with synth capabilities or a synth with aspects of controller alternatives.
For this category, I must recommend the Akai brand again:
You must know there are many modern keyboards that blur the lines between MIDI, controllers, arrangers, and synths and other digital piano categories, so a simple controller keyboard is no longer a common item.
Because of this complexity, it can be hard to compare keyboards. Even on keyboards with identical qualities, the sound can vary from brand to brand. The best thing you can do is try out the keyboard on the local store, search YouTube demos, and talk with your friends that have digital pianos.
These are the most expensive options as they include advanced features for recording music as well as an onboard computer to control the instrument.
These are popular for hip-hop, R&B, pop, and Latin music genres to program beats and other parts of the song to play automatically.
Workstation keyboards are built to play and record easy musical genres. They feature weighted keys, so they are a great choice for beginner musicians with some budget to invest.
However, for an experienced composer, a keyboard controller and a laptop can offer the same tools for a lower price.
- Great for songwriting
- Allows programming loops
- Has weighted keys
- It offers pro-features and advanced options for playing live.
- They are expensive and high-end
- The sheer number of features is intimidating
- They are complex.
There’re, of course, some amazing budget options that are worth your time. The options become better and better the more technology advances.
Here’s an amazing budget choice from Casio:
Top 10 beginner digital keyboard pianos
Let’s start our 2020 reviews for the top 10 best digital keyboard pianos. As I don’t know your specific needs, I’m going to share keyboards of all the categories I’ve listed, and I’m making sure I clearly state the use of the category of each item.
Best overall digital keyboard piano
The Casio Workstation 6600 is a piano-style keyboard with a touch-responsive LCD screen to control its extensive features. Its capabilities are varied as they include USB MIDI interface, SD card storage, over 700 editable tones, performance registration memory, and music presets. And, what’s best, it’s both portable and cheap.
Additionally, it has built-in speakers with enhanced bass and a reflex sound system that delivers great quality for its price.
It has 76 Piano-style keys (weighted and graded) with a 48 note polyphony. Its polyphony limit is just enough to avoid dropping notes, for using the sustain pedal, and for playing big chords. However, once you start adding rhythms and layering sounds, you will actually deplete the polyphony, which results in losing notes.
If you forget about its confusing features for a bit, you’ll find a great tone right on the get-go and a great option to learn how to play the piano seriously. Then, when you add the options, you get an amazing extra that will indeed take some time to master.
It features 700 different tones, 210 rythm loops, various digital effects, and a rythm editor. You may then combine instruments with the built-in rhythms to create your own rhythms and record a sample loop, an arrangement.
The tone editor lets you expand these 700 tones with effects like reverb, vibrato, and chorus. The built-in effects include 10 reverbs, 5 choruses, and 1000 DSPs. You have the option to create your own effects as well. Furthermore, it has USB MIDI functionality plus an SD card slot.
The 16 track song sequencer feature supports recording up to five songs, each one with 16 different tracks you can record with your keyboard, and each one featuring a maximum of 12,000 notes.
Your choices for editing music include insert, delete, copy, quantize note locator, and a step recording function. It also has a 23 channel mixer, 5 EQ settings, and a touch-sensitive backlit LCD to control everything.
Lastly, you can use this workstation keyboard with Mac and Windows computers without downloading drivers. You can easily carry your work to a computer with the USB MIDI connection.
If you’re looking for an easier option and not so feature-heavy, the next article might be for you…
Joy JK-63M Electronic Piano Keyboard
Best overall beginner digital keyboard piano
This is a 61 light keys keyboard that is portable, light, ad suitable for beginners wanting to learn. Although Joy doesn’t have the brand reputation some other manufacturers have, they certainly create great budget products. I would say this is a digital portable piano.
It can get you started with 255 sounds and rhythms to play along with. Beginners will love the demonstration songs it carries because they can practice better. And it has over 50 demonstration songs.
More so, you can play along to MP3s you can load with a USB stick and hear through the keyboard’s onboard speakers.
As for sound, it delivers a fair-enough quality, however nothing you can take to a live stage.
I choose this for beginners because it’s a straightforward digital keyboard piano that ships with everything you need to start playing: a stand, a stool, a power supply, and headphones.
Lastly, it features a LED screen to see your keyboard settings. Additional controls include percussion, master volume, tempo control, and more.
Maybe you’re looking for an option exclusively for learning how to play piano, so here’s a more suitable option for you…
Best beginner digital keyboard piano for learning
This is a beginner keyboard designed for learning. Its aimed for people that known nothing about music and just want to play some songs right away.
It has 61 keys and, what I personally love, is that these have velocity-sensitivity, so the feeling is great and natural. On the downside, the max polyphony is just 32 notes, which albeit is enough for the learning stage, is something you can outgrow.
Lucky for you, this is a very cheap portable keyboard that can serve the purpose of being your first digital piano very well.
Regarding its features, the Yamaha YPT-260 packs 384 voices which include pianos, organs and orchestral sounds. Furthermore, it has over 100 rhythms to play with, which includes drum kits and complete drum patterns.
It’s a lightweight, portable keyboard that’s very versatile and has enough voices and choices for someone learning and discovering new sounds.
The best feature it has available for learners is their interactive lessons. These are tutorials you can access via a dedicated app. More so, you can split the keyboard right in the middle to create to sides for student/teacher playing at the same time.
Lastly, it has USB connectivity so you can plug in different devices and play along with its built-in speakers.
In summary, it over-delivers for its price range, especially for its educational features. It will get you from A (I know nothing) to B (I can play some songs) while having some fun.
If you’re instead for a more portable option, here’s a little something for you…
Best portable digital keyboard for beginners
The Casio LK-190 has a lot to offer for beginner musicians.
This is a very portable keyboard with 61 keys and 48-note polyphony. It has a distinctive feature, which is the reason why I chose this as the best portable digital piano for beginners: the key lighting system.
The key lighting system is a visual experience that allows you to see which notes you should play next, or which notes make up a chord. It depends on the song you choose to play from a selection of 60 built-in songs from the Step-Up lessons.
Furthermore, it features 400 tones and 150 rhythms, so you’ll be able to explore and discover new sounds.
It has a Dance Music Mode that allows you to create and remix electronic music easily. For this mode, you have at your disposal different drum beats, synth parts, bass lines; and you can add effects like flanger, gate, low-fi, roll, and others.
Lastly, it allows you to connect the keyboard to iOS or Android devices and use the free Chordana Play app to display the tabs of your favorite songs.
This is a great choice you can carry from your home to the piano lessons to the rehearsal and back.
Let’s keep going into a more studio oriented keyboard if you’re trying to launch your own home studio. Something that can grow with you as you get better…
Yamaha PSR-EW300 Portable Keyboard
Best overall budget digital keyboard piano
Yamaha’s PSR series is known all over the world for the quality it offers. They have models for beginners with all sorts of abilities, from inexpensive options to high-end to mid-level options like this one.
The PSR-EW300 is a 76 keys, weighted keys digital piano, and 48-note polyphony. It has a whopping amount of 574 different voices; 165 accompaniment styles which serve as intelligent backing tracks; and 154 preset songs.
Another feature is the Yamaha Education Suite that helps you learn how to play and take things at your own play. You may also connect a mobile device or other portable music players and play along with the music.
Improving the quality further, you’ll find the keys have velocity-sensitivity, so it feels more like a real piano and has the dynamic of acoustic piano keys.
I love how you can hook up the EW300 to a computer’s musical software and record your musical compositions. Furthermore, is has USB MIDI connectivity to easily transfer your compositions to the computer.
In summary, this is a beginner’s keyboard that has a quality level that will serve you well once you start using this as a studio digital piano keyboard, which is its primary use.
Furthermore, it’s very affordable and definitely tops competitors on its price range. Even better, it ships with a bundle that includes the keyboard, the stand, and the power supply.
Let’s move on into something more suited for the stage, something you can plug into an amp and serve you as you rehearse and go live with your band.
Best stage digital keyboard for beginners
The Alesis Recital is an Amazon exclusive. It’s an amazing beginner’s keyboard as it serves two purposes perfectly: it has educational features coupled with just the right amount of sound options to avoid confusing you, and features and amazing sound and output connections to go live. This is a rare beast: it features built-in speakers and outputs as well.
This is a 88 fully-sized semi-weighted keys digital piano with 128-note polyphony and 5 premium voices. These voices include acoustic piano, electric piano, bass, organ, and synth. Furthermore, it has various effects including chorus and reverb.
As for connectivity, it includes a ¼ -inch sustains pedal input (the pedal is not included), a ¼-inch headphone output, and RCA outputs for connection to amplifiers or speakers. More so, it carries 20W speakers delivering crystal clear sound.
Additionally, it has USB-MIDI connectivity, so you can also connect the Recital to a Mac or PC with the on-board MIDI output and install virtual instrument plugins (VSTs), updates, or digital audio workstations.
As for the educational features, it includes lesson models with Skoove, a premium subscription service offering interactive online piano lessons (3 months of subscription included).
You also get 2 months of unlimited live classes from the site TakeLessons.
In summary, the Alesis Recital is a full-featured digital piano that introduces you to the world of playing live with these instruments.
The Alesis Recital ships with the power supplier.
Let’s go into something more suited for kids…
Casio SA-76 44-Key Mini Keyboard
Best digital keyboard piano for children
The Casio SA-76 44 is suited for kids and a great option for children first engaging with music. The keys are too small for adults, so only children will have any fun here!
This is a fairly straightforward instrument. It’s a small 76 mini-keys keyboard with 100 built-in tones a 100 songs to play along with. It also has percussion pads kids can use for a good, fun “finger drumming” session.
More so, this is such a small and compact you can easily take it out for a ride and keep your kids entertained in their journeys.
So, without complicating this too much, this in an affordable and easy-to-use children-aimed piano keyboard. Even better, it can spark your kid’s interest in music.
This also ships with the power supply
Let’s now look for beginner synthesizers…
Korg Minilogue XD
Best beginner studio
The Korg Minilogue XD offers so much I personally believe it’s a steal for its price.
Its 37 mini keys offer a fair-enough range to play with. The meet is on the effects, sounds, and waveforms it offers.
The XD gives you a wide range of presets and user programs, plus a vast selection of flawless effects thanks to its advanced 32-bit floating-point DSP sound engine.
It has an analog sound generator plus a multi-digital sound generator. It delivers up to 500 voices and up to 4 polyphony voices. It doesn’t sound much but it’s more than enough coupled with the sound engine of the Korg.
With the Korg’s Software Development Kit, you can also create your own programs for total control, a particular feature that I love.
You’ll find that with this synth you’ll be able to create from fat basslines to powerful lead lines. It means this Korg keyboard serves to create, for example, bass lines for trap music, electronic music, BPM, hip hop, and such. Or, for instance, you will be able to create melodies for most pop music.
So, yes, this is a studio keyboard synth. And if you’re entering this world for the first time, the Minilogue XD is a great choice.
You will quickly recreate every non-experimental sound you hear in the songs and movies you like, and that says a lot. Plus, the factory presets are very diverse and give you a great starting point to create your own unique pads, basses, and leads.
In summary, you’ll get an insane amount of control regarding sound design.
If you were thinking of MIDI controller for your DAW software, take a look at the next item…
Best MIDI keyboard for beginners
The Alesis Q is a minimalistic beauty for home studios. It has everything you expect from a keyboard MIDI controller, which includes USB bus power, sustain pedal input, USB-MIDI and 5-pin MIDI outputs, and pitch and mod wheels.
It doesn’t have many fancy features. Instead, it keeps it simple and beginner-friendly. However, its also very well regarded for professionals as you probably won’t even use the advanced, complex features of more expensive MIDI controllers.
Furthermore, it gives you a great quality of sound and feel with velocity-sensitive keys.
You can get this model with 25 keys, 49 keys, or 61 keys. I personally recommend going for the 49 keys mode, which is four full octaves. That will be more than enough for your home studio.
If you’re unsure about how to use a MIDI controller, here’s a tutorial video:
Let’s go into the last item, an arranger keyboard…
Best arranger keyboard for beginners
I’m closing with another member of Yamaha’s PSR’s series. The Yamaha PSR-E263 is a beginner-friendly arranger keyboard with 61 keys and a really portable design.
Its piano-style keys are light and easy to press, and when it comes to sound, it gives you unique options with 400 voices.
More so, if you want to play over other songs, you have 100 song options built into the keyboard, and you can download more anyway.
Beginners will love the Yamaha Education Suite which lesson feature available on this model.
It has built-in speakers plus and aux-in jack to increase your amplification options.
As for recording music on this keyboard, you can create layers to give your music more depth. Once you record the layers, you can play them back together and check the sound you’ve created.
How to choose the right digital keyboard piano for beginners?
Choosing the ideal digital piano for beginners ultimately depends on your playing experience and the use you intend to give the piano.
If you’re going for a digital piano, then, most likely, you’d want to replicate an acoustic piano as closely as possible whilst having an easier, more portable instrument.
For the rest of the options like arranger keys, MIDI controllers and so, I recommend you go for the ones that look simpler to you. Simple doesn’t mean underwhelming, at least not in the world of keyboards.
Finally, if you’re a total beginner, go for a keyboard that has piano lessons as one of their features. This also means going for digital pianos with built-in speakers.