To replicate the sound of a real piano in a keyboard is actually possible. Have you ever given a thought to the 88-key weighted action keyboards?
They can mimic the sound of a grand traditional piano in real life, trust me. Don’t know much about it?
Then let us do the honor of getting everything in a place that you need to know when buying the best 88-key weighted keyboard.
But first, let’s understand what a weighted keyboard and what function does it serve besides reproducing the original piano sounds.
Some digital pianos and keyboards are built with weighted keys that help to deliver a similar acoustic piano sound. With the graded hammer action technology these keys can almost create those subtle nuances that can be heard in a grand acoustic piano.
You can even create the authentic effect of a traditional upright piano anywhere with these weighted keyboards. An acoustic piano takes much effort to transport it and can only be kept in a single place.
But the 88-key keyboards are full-sized electronic machines that are designed to clone the sounds of a real piano with as much portability as possible. These are made with lightweight plastic material so you can easily carry it around with yourself.
Thus, the weighted keyboards are smaller versions of a traditional piano with digital technology and high-portability.
However, in a weighted keyboard, you can easily make the adjustments to your music while in a piano you can’t really go far beyond the set patterns.
Hence, it’s an ideal option for effective practicing and developing your agility and finger strength.
There are mainly two types of weighted keyboards – fully weighted and semi-weighted. Fully weighted action keyboards have hammer action or graded weighting that can give the feeling of playing an actual piano with resistance.
On the other hand, a semi-weighted keyboard uses a sprung-action key with a more responsive touch and combination of weights to bring out authentic synth sounds. These do not have full resistance and thus, an absolute favorite of beginners.
It all depends on what type of sounds you want to play. Both fully-weighted and semi-weighted keyboards are best in their fields.
But when it comes to offering resistance, most players back out from buying a fully weighted keyboard. The intensity you use to hit a key on a fully-weighted piano determines the volume of the sound.
Though keyboards don’t work exactly the same as a piano, a fully-weighted hammer-action enabled keyboard goes the closest in producing identical sounds.
Semi-weighted ones offer light to moderate resistance and are generally used in synthesizer keyboards.
Due to the twin-action of spring-load and lightweights, these give out a sound somewhere in between a keyboard and a piano, thereby attracting a lot of entry-level players.
So you think you can pull off a weighted keyboard, especially an 88-key? Then look before you leap. There are quite a lot of things to take care of before buying a good weighted keyboard.
Firstly, you should have some determined goals as a musician. In case you really need distinct acoustic piano sounds, only then you should opt for a weighted keyboard.
Then if you can bear the cost of a weighted digital piano but not of a real one, you can prefer to have it. Weighted keyboards are more expensive than semi-weighted or unweighted ones.
If you don’t have the budget and can carry on with synth sounds, then don’t go for a weighted one.
Finally, if you are committed to playing the piano at your home or school but can’t travel with it, then probably you should buy an 88-key weighted keyboard with a portability feature.
Also, if you want to explore the world of keyboards and increase your finger dexterity then we recommend using a higher weighted keyboard.
Ultimately, you need to decide whether you want a weighted keyboard only if any or all of the above requirements checks off your list. This needs a little thinking.
Weighted keys, as said already, are for a more distinguished acoustic piano sound with many other significant benefits.
In terms of resistance and ease of playability, weighted keyboards don’t lead the road. Beginners who are used to playing acoustic pianos can easily shift to digital pianos with weighted action keys.
But if they are completely new learners, semi-weighted or keyboards without any weight are suitable choices.
An experienced pianist can better manage a weighted keyboard than an amateur. It increases the resistance level and the controlling power of the fingers by putting more strength.
This is the first and most important step towards a successful pianist career. The more you can feel the sensation of a key being put down, the more will be the control.
But, all of these are not important if you are on a budget and can’t really afford a weighted keyboard. Don’t worry, there are many portable, featureful entry-level weighted keyboards available in the market which are a little cost-effective than the premium ones.
So you can always prefer to have one but first, make up your mind on playing a digital piano that creates acoustic sounds and needs more patience and effort to master.
No wonder, 88-key keyboards are the best in this case. But, before jumping into any conclusion, let’s have a look at the best 88-key weighted keyboards that are currently creating a buzz among professionals and beginners alike.
Our top pick on the list is the Roland RD-2000. It is a famous stage piano among modern-day artists and performers.
This 88-key weighted stage piano has dual independent high-tech sound engines – the V-Piano for acoustic voices and the SuperNatural Piano for electric voices. To integrate completely with your VIs and DAWs, the keyboard comes with a USB/MIDI interface that route synths from the former through the zero-latency RD-2000 processor.
Thus, you can give an immersive performance on stage and break a leg. Moreover, it offers onboard electric piano sounds like RD-100 and MKS-20 besides recreating vintage analog effects like Roland Dimension D and BOSS CE-1 Chorus. Over 1000 non-piano sounds of orchestra, synths, and brass are also included in the device.
The keyboard features a PHA-50 progressive hammer-action keybed on a hybrid wood or molded construction having an advanced sensor mechanism.
It is highly detailed with 8 knobs and faders with LED indicators for real-time control. There are a total of 8 assignable zones for internal and external source combinations.
For loading supplementary sounds from Roland’s Axial website, it has got 2 wave expansion slots and 100-scene memories for saving your pieces for one-touch set up recall.
Configuration for damper and expression pedals with two other pedal inputs are also present in the instrument. Therefore, it’s a perfect solution for all your problems on the stage.
Roland RD range has some best quality keyboards in the market geared towards solo performers but the RD-2000 model provides you with the finest and world-class performance on stage or in a studio.
It’s Roland’s next-gen Stage Piano with a dedicated acoustic piano sound on full polyphony.
Yamaha always stands first among the best-weighted keyboard manufacturers. Their CP88 model is no different.
With synthetic ebony and ivory keytops, this Yamaha 88-key weighted keyboard is a triple-sensor Natural Wood Graded Hammer(NW-GH) action enabled that allows for a fast and accurate response.
Besides the AWM2 tone generator and 128-polyphony, the keyboard features over 55 voices of pianos, EPs, organs, pads, synths, and strings. For each section, there’s a dedicated effect and control and a 3-band EQ with real-time controls.
The graphical LCD display on the front panel with direct sound control on the one-to-one user-interface lets you go for a tension-free stage performance.
Also, you can change the sounds while holding onto the notes without cutting it off, and the Soundmondo social sound sharing lets you access thousands of free sounds.
The 2-channel USB audio/MIDI interface allows for a better recording and playback motion. The balanced XLR and unbalanced stereo outputs with dual aux line inputs make this instrument a fit for a seamless experience.
Thus, created especially for on-stage performers, the Yamaha CP88 aspires to be one of the best keyboards with the best onboard effects.
With some amazing features and powerful functionalities, the next pick on the list is the Alesis Recital Pro 88-key digital piano. You cannot ignore the beauty of this instrument.
The 88 hammer action keys of the Recital Pro have a sober, classic look with adjustable touch response. It consists of over 12 premium realistic voices like a church organ, acoustic piano, strings, fingered bass, and many more.
You can customize these voices by combining any two at a single time in the Layer mode for a fuller tone. This is one of the powerful educational features of the keyboard that also includes the split, standard, record, and lesson modes with 128-note polyphony.
Furthermore, you can use the adjustable modulation, reverb, and chorus effects to trim down your sound.
With the powerful 20W in-built speakers you can listen to the high amplifications whereas the stereo headphone output gives you a total secluded feel by muting the internal speakers.
Besides the sustain pedal input for which the pedal is not included with the keyboard, it also features stereo outputs to connect it to a sound system for recording, mixing, and amplifying.
Also, it acts as a MIDI controller. But, to top it all, it comes with a 3-months Skoove premium subscription for in-depth piano learning sessions, beneficial for beginners.
Thus, the Alesis Recital Pro keyboard can be the ultimate option for the beginner level players.
Requires six D cell batteries or power adapter for charging.
Among the highest-level quality weighted keyboards, Nord will always have a competitive spot. Their keyboards are mainly designed for professional musicians. The Nord Piano 4 is their fourth attempt.
This is a sophisticated red and greyish weighted keyboard with an 88-note triple sensor keybed featuring the highly acclaimed Virtual Hammer Action technology from Nord for a smoother performance.
You can easily select, play, split or layer the grands, uprights, and EQs from a huge collection of over 100 high-quality instrumentals from the Nord Sample Library.
For a more realistic feel, the Nord triple pedal is attached to the device that includes a dynamic sustain pedal creating damper noises. Also, the efficient stereo effects designed on the device is modeled after classic stompboxes.
For an immersive experience, while playing inside a studio or on a stage, the keyboard comes with great performance features like seamless changeable program transitions and seven split points with voluntary crossfades besides the numeric program pad for direct access.
There are dedicated knobs and buttons present on the OLED user panel display board for easy navigation in dim light on stage. So now you can confidently carry out your performance on stage without waiting for the lights to brighten up.
This flagship piano from Nord is purely meant for experienced working players. So, if you have completed your basics and aiming for a professional career as a serious pianist, then you should definitely give it 4 a try.
When we talk about the high-quality 88-keys weighted keyboards that have the most powerful and efficient features, the Kawai has always stood on the leading position since 1927. Therefore, their MP11SE naturally deserves a spot on our list.
The synthetic ivory keys of the Kawai keyboard sports a genuine wooden hammer action technology on a black polished sturdy metal chassis with wooden sidearms.
The device is integrated with triple sensors and let-offs including the triple pedal assembly with the half-damper support to have a complete and authentic piano feeling.
As it offers the beautiful Shigeru Kawai SK-EX, SK-5, Kawai EX concert piano sounds with vintage EPs accompanied by Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging XL technology, you have all the more reason to buy it.
Furthermore, Kawai’s own manufactured brand new GFP-3 triple pedal unit with triple pedal assembly, pitch and moderation wheels, and expression pedal input hold your attention to the top.
With an uncomplicated, easy-to-use layout, the device has some dedicated control sections including 40 distinctive sounds of a concert, pop, jazz grand pianos along with 6 reverb and 129 adjustable and tweakable onboard effects.
The dual MIDI and USB connectivity options let you access any virtual instruments. The well-built 4-channel MIDI master controller is used for advanced zone/split creation.
Although it’s a heavy keyboard, it can still be moved with little effort in exchange for amazing sound delivery. To top it all, the device comes packed with a music rest, a manual, and a power cable.
Hence the Kawai MP11SE is a suitable option for those who are serious about their career and don’t mind having an enormous keyboard. It really symbolizes the weighted action keys by itself being heavy-weight!
The next best 88-key weighted action keyboard is the Yamaha DGX660B. It is greatly suitable for students or learners and also for experienced players having a distinct taste ranging between acoustic and digital versions of a traditional piano.
The keyboard has a crystal-clear LCD display and GHS weighted action keys that are heavier in the low end and lighter in the high giving a real acoustic piano feel.
There’s an assignable pedal that can be connected to any compatible footswitch and you can then easily configure it to control several functions on the keyboard. The attached microphone input calls for special attention to private performers.
You can now sing along your tracks while you play it out on the instrument. Moreover, the new Piano Room feature lets you select and perform from a wide variety of piano and acoustic settings for a more personal atmosphere.
Besides the fruitful interactive features, the keyboard highlights the wireless audio and MIDI connectivity that uses your Wi-Fi to stream any sound and MIDI file from an iOS.
Also, the USB audio drive inserted on the side panel lets you record, capture, and playback a soundtrack.
Be it soft, hard or moderate acoustic piano sounds, the Yamaha DGX-660 can play it all for you. It’s actually the latest version of the popular Yamaha DGX-650 model.
Sporting a black finish on an advanced design structure, the keyboard comes with a furniture stand.
Another well-known keyboard manufacturer, Korg has some of the best-weighted keyboards in the market. Their SV2-SP 88-Key stage piano is a classic choice among beginners and working professionals.
Based on the classic vintage design of the RH3 hammer-action weighted Korg SV-1 keyboard, the SV2-SP sports some upgraded and amazing features. The most significant of them is the high-quality K-ARRAY in-built speakers that will fill the room completely without needing a PA system or an amp. With that, it brings along ten times more sample data from its predecessor. There are almost 72 stunning onboard sounds with a large collection of different electric and acoustic pianos, strings, synths, and organs among others.
With 128-voice polyphony, you get to have a set of ergonomic knobs and buttons for control on a sleek chassis having a retro look. There is a comprehensive FX section with 6 individual stages that lets you process studio-grade signals. You can even create and save your split and layered programs in Favorites using the SV-2 Editor software. It ships with a music stand, a DS-2H damper pedal, a quick manual guide, and the power cable.
The SV-2S 88 is an upgraded full-sized version of the obsolete Korg SV-1 model that still rocks with an identical vintage look. So if you have been a fan of Korg keyboards for a long time, then you must fall for this model.
For the next trustworthy pick on our list, we have the Hammer 88 model from M-Audio. It’s a great device for studio professionals.
The M-Audio 88-Hammer action USB MIDI controller offers some highly-efficient features with a stunning look for an appreciative performance. The velocity-sensitive keys deliver a natural piano sound applying those little subtleties.
For a more convenient and immersive performance, the pitch bend, modulation, and volume controls are perfectly placed on the user panel. There are three expanded controls present for sustain, expression, and pedal inputs which are included here. The dual keyboard zones are used for layering, splits, and 4-note chords on a single press.
For the advantage of beginners, the keyboard comes in a comprehensive performance software package with Ableton Live Lite 9, Sonivox ensemble, AIR Mini Grand, AIR DB 33 compatible with any MAC or PC, besides a 3 months’ Premium subscription from Skoove like a cherry on the top.
You can even edit your recordings like a professional with the help of the Hammer 88 Controller Editor.
This attractive keyboard boasts each of the essential functions and features which are needed to rock the stage or your home performance.
The Kurzweil is another notable keyboard manufacturing company that offers a stylish design with loads of features. Such a feature-packed elegant piece of art is the Kurzweil 88-key SP6 Keyboard.
Featuring the famous Kurzweil String Resonance or KSR technology, the SP6-8 keyboard can produce the Japanese Grand and German D Grand piano sounds quite efficiently and in a more defined way than others.
Powered by the new LENA processor with 32FX units horsepower, the keyboard is modeled after classic organs having real-time controls. It offers all the sample sounds that are available in Kurzweil Forte SE along with a wide collection of tailored sounds including clav, EP, celeste, etc.
You can activate up to four different Arps, one per program with a dedicated switch and tap-tempo buttons on it. A switch, two dual-switch pedal inputs, two wheels, and one control pedal unit for continuous management are also present.
It comes with 2GB of onboard effects with zero-loading time and a heap of powerful Digital Signal Processing. Thus you get to have an ultrafast performance by selecting and throwing some award-winning reverbs, choruses, delays, distortions, flangers and phasers into the mix.
But, most importantly, this is so lightweight that you can carry it around and play wherever and whenever you wish. It also comes with a power cable, a quick lock keyboard stand, a bench, and a set of headphones.
Kurzweil sometimes stands neck to neck with Yamaha and Roland. With powerful high-end quality features, their SP6-8 keyboard is a great value for money.
Comes with a boatload of tempos and effects activated on a simple yet powerful user-panel.
Casio’s Privia Series digital pianos have the latest upgrades under budget price. The Casio Privia PX-S3000 is by far the cheapest entry-level keyboard that comes with the highest portability.
Boasting a simple yet sleek and compact design, the new Privia PX-3000 is meticulously engineered with Casio’s pioneering AiR sound engine. It features a charismatic polished top panel with illuminated touch-sensor controls.
Not only that, but the keyboard also has the smart scaled hammer action keybed with 88 simulated ebony and ivory keys. It offers around 700 tones and 200 astonishing rhythms with additional songwriting tools.
The string resonance and the damper helps to deliver beautiful piano sounds through the powerful inbuilt stereo speakers beside the two output jacks.
Moreover, the Bluetooth connectivity and the USB port let you play the keyboard while a song is being played in the background and that, too, without any drivers installed. The keyboard can be controlled using Chordana Play app on any iOS or Android device.
Having a compact and slim design, the keyboard weighs only 25lbs which makes it the ultimate portable device for players. It can be powered both with six AA batteries and an AC adapter.
Under $900 this Casio weighted keyboard is a bang for the buck for beginners and needy professionals alike.
Our final choice is a lesser-known model from Dexibell, the VIVO S7 Pro digital piano. It deserves the place only because of its powerful sound engine and the freedom to use up to four sounds simultaneously with two multi-digital effects for each part.
Crafted in Italy using standardized measures and quality materials, the Dexibell VIVO S7 Pro sports a cool look with its Fatar TP/40 Graded Hammer-action keybed and a high-contrast organic LED graphic display.
It features 7 rotary encoders, two assignable switches apart from the obvious pitch-bend and modulation wheels. Boasting a Human interface designed after the S9 model, it also has cosmetics and wooden side panels.
There are over 110 internal sounds, 8 independent EXF, 79 presets, 24 reverbs, EQs, and 12 effects besides unlimited polyphony with up to 320 digital oscillators.
That’s the power produced when constructed with a T2L hybrid sampling/modeling sound engine. The continuous sustain pedal makes the job more efficient.
But the best part is the 4 MIDI zones and 4 pedal inputs attached to the device. In fact, you can both audio stream on Bluetooth or USB to Host and USB to device ports.
There are a 5-pin DIN and 2 balanced and unbalanced outputs present with dual headphone jacks and a stereo aux input. Now you can enjoy your own music while playing it out on the instrument.
It is iOS compatible through the VIVO Editor and XMURE apps. You can directly download and play the free tracks from Dexibells’ website, too. A 24V DC power supply is included with the device for charging.
Hence you get the best looks, features and the best sound quality all rolled into one in this Dexibell 88-key Pro digital piano.
It lets you connect and control it on your iOS device through the compatible VIVO editor and XMURE app.
Based on the quality, key sensitivity, functional high-tech features, the inclusion of necessary accessories, cost-effectiveness, and portability, we have curated the list of best 88-key weighted keyboards from the biggest and most trustable brands like Yamaha, Kurzweil, Nord and many more.
We hope it hasn’t failed to bring out that one keyboard that perfectly suits your needs.
We always recommend investing in a good quality instrument for long-term usage.
Then again, you are smart enough to tally the pros and cons of the keyboards that were on the list before buying one. Wish you good luck with your musical endeavor.