Pianos are an amazing instrument. They have remained relatively unchanged for over a century and a half. While the sound of a piano is one of the most satisfying sounds on earth, even a child can tell that pianos are not perfect.

Between Digital and Acoustic Piano, How to Choose Between Digital and Acoustic Piano, Days of a Domestic Dad

Choose Between Digital and Acoustic Piano

A piano’s strings vibrate freely in an almost chaotic way when they are struck by a small hammer (this is called ‘escapement’). It is the job of the piano’s design to mute this noise as much as possible by absorbing or diffusing it.

However, no matter how well designed a digital piano is, it will always sound different than an acoustic piano.

The percussive nature of the strings in an acoustic piano means that each time you strike a note, it will sound slightly different than before.

Because of this richer and more complex sound you get from an acoustic piano, most people prefer the sound of a grand piano (the big kind) to that of a digital or upright one (the small kind).

Choosing a good instrument based on sound quality and price is a tough choice for most beginner pianists. Fortunately, we’ve got some advice that will help you make that important decision.

Digital vs Acoustic: Which should I buy?

Choosing between digital and acoustic can be difficult and it’s an individual choice. However, there are some things to consider when making your purchase.

Because most people cannot afford the space for such an instrument and its corresponding space-filling sound, digital pianos have gained massive popularity in the last few decades.

They are made to reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano as closely as possible, but because they use a different mechanism for this reproduction (samples/modeling vs. string vibration). A great benefit of playing on the best Yamaha digital piano, for example, is the clean sound and variety of options for its modification. Now, lovers of classical music may not be as fond of such sound, the plethora of possibilities are fascinating. 

Another thing to consider is portability. While the sound may be slightly different, we believe that a good digital piano will always beat an acoustic one in this category. You can take them anywhere and they rarely need tuning or maintenance.

It comes down to taste

The difference in sound quality between a good acoustic piano and one of its digital counterparts is almost indistinguishable from the average ear. The deciding factor between the two should be your personal preference.

There are also many other factors to consider when buying a piano including price, brand, maintenance/tuning requirements, color, materials used in construction, etc. 

At the end of the day it will come down to you and what sound you prefer. 

Digital pianos with weighted keys vs other types of digital pianos

Digital pianos come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are easier to fit into a budget. Some manufacturers, like Yamaha, provide digital keyboards that do not resemble the shape or feel of an acoustic piano at all (most notably, the Yamaha P-series) – check out some Yamaha options here.

Others, like the Casio Privia line, provide digital pianos that more closely resemble the physical aspects of an acoustic piano (it would be easy to mistake one for the other). The Roland produces traditional upright and grand pianos with added features such as weighted keys and MIDI connectivity.

The keys to these digital pianos can be weighted or semi-weighted, meaning they are heavier than their unweighted counterparts. 
Why is this important? Well, if you’ve ever played on a keyboard without any weights in its keys, you’ll know that they feel quite different from weighted ones.

This difference will be especially noticeable when playing for long hours during strenuous practice sessions or live performances.

How to choose between a digital or acoustic piano based on your needs 

Because digital pianos are meant to replicate acoustic pianos, the sound quality of one is good enough for most people. However, if you’re looking for something with more authenticity or you play classical pieces regularly, then an acoustic piano (and even the space it requires) might be right for you.

An upright piano allows enough room underneath it to move around while playing and its percussive nature would be beneficial in some cases. 
A regular small piano requires space for its pedestal and soundboard. This space can be a barrier for many musicians, especially in small apartments or rooms.

But, if you are serious about your practicing sessions and plan on playing regularly, then an acoustic piano will probably be the better choice for you.

The best digital pianos indeed require very little tuning or maintenance at all, but there are times when they may need attention from professionals (just like with any other instrument).

If you’re someone who is constantly busy with work/school commitments and rarely has time for practice sessions, it might be better to go with a digital piano instead of setting up a space in your home for practicing.

This way you can carry the instrument wherever you go, and use headphones to hear the sound and not bother other people (which is an awesome advantage in a dorm room for example).

Between Digital and Acoustic Piano, How to Choose Between Digital and Acoustic Piano, Days of a Domestic Dad