Manufacturers that had left their mark on the music work with acoustic pianos started experimenting with digital instruments in the 1980s. Today, digital pianos replicate the real deal, from the sound quality to the feel from the instrument's actions, in a more compact format that offers additional music-making features and the option to practice with headphones.
What's Different About Digital Pianos?
With a traditional acoustic piano, hammers and dampers are situated around the strings. As the player hits a key, the damper releases, and the hammer strikes the string to create a note. With grand pianos, gravity assists with this motion; with upright models, springs are part of the mechanism. In both cases, the instrument resonates, and the player feels a specific responsiveness when using the keyboard.
By contrast, a typical digital piano has no strings on the interior – and often, models don't use hammers and dampers. Instead, the sound the player hears when they hit a key is an electronic sample of a tone from an acoustic piano, which is then amplified with a speaker.
The exterior may be designed to look like a grand, baby grand or an upright. However, for conserving space, many digital pianos have a flat, platform-like setup that's easily portable.
Modern Digital Pianos
Beyond the space-saving design, digital pianos are relatively compact, making them ideal to take to gigs, and offer variable volume control – including silent playing – that an acoustic model can't achieve. As well, digital pianos don't require tuning and, long-term, need less maintenance.
Yet, the format has long had limitations. In turn, manufacturers like Yamaha, Kawai, Roland and Casio have sought through multiple measures to replicate the feeling of playing an acoustic. This aspect materializes as hammers for a natural feel, more responsive, touch-sensitive keys for a greater range of dynamics, and functional pedals.
Finding the Right Digital Piano at Alamo Music Center
As you can see, not every digital piano delivers the same attributes. Beginner digital pianos take into account that you're exploring the keyboard and its starter features, including effects and basic recording capabilities. A Casio or Clavinova may suit what you're looking for.
If you perform live, write or produce music, you may benefit more from a pro keyboard starting with traditional piano functionality and integrating with your digital audio workstation (DAW).
Alamo Music Center is the San Antonio area's premier digital piano dealer, offering new and used models from Roland, Yamaha, Casio and Kawai. Find grand, baby grand, upright and more compact designs for your home or music studio online or in one of our brick-and-mortar locations. We have two stores in San Antonio, in addition to two Kawai showrooms:
Digital Pianos in Austin, TX
Kawai has strived to bridge the sound of its acoustic pianos with digital technologies for multiple decades. The result has been grand and digital models developed in conjunction with each other, plus the emergence of hybrid pianos that present the best of both worlds.
Want to experience what a Kawai digital piano sounds like? Whether you're outfitting a music school's practice rooms with quality instruments or are contending with minimal space at home as a professional musician or advanced student, our Kawai showroom in Austin lets you try out all series for their sound quality and features.
Digital Pianos in St. Louis
Not every musician feels comfortable buying a digital piano off an online description - we understand. We recently expanded to the St. Louis area with a factory-authorized Kawai showroom. If you're thinking about one of these digital pianos for yourself or want to explore different models and features, make an appointment today.
Wherever or however you purchase a digital piano from Alamo Music Center, we offer multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month, no-interest options at times, plus trial lessons and an extended warranty.