In this guide we’ll take a look at the best stage pianos.
We’ve compared build quality, responsiveness, performance and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Stage Piano?
More Detailed Stage Piano Reviews
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Nord Stage 3 Piano Review
The Nord Stage 3 Piano wins first place for the best stage piano on the market. It has an abundance of professional features that makes it the suitable choice for professionals and hobbyists alike.
I really like the look of this piano, it has very professional appearance and it features an intuitive display that is very user-friendly. The display is crystal clear and it’s easy to change the settings even on a dark stage.
It has 88 keys that are not only weighted, but has hammer action, so it feels like playing an acoustic piano. The keys don’t have to be completely raised before you can press them down again, so you can play fast percussion patterns quicker. It also makes it easier to play pianissimo.
This is the best stage piano if you want to create expressive music whilst playing on a highly authentic instrument, with excellent sounding voices to match. You can download samples from Nord’s sample library.
You can also add effects like vibe, overdrive, and delay, to really get the exact sound you’re looking for.
This makes this piano perfect in a band situation, and it’s great that you don’t have to get extra pedals for these effects.
With Nord Stage 3 Piano you can layer sounds as well as split the keyboard. This is an amazing feature that is very useful for pianists in bands as it allows you to create a plethora of sounds and play a combination of live music parts that allows you to be versatile. In my honest opinion, this makes the Nord Stage 3 Piano the best stage piano for pianists in bands.
Overall this is the best stage piano for all manner of pianists and musicians looking to take their performance to the next level.
- Innovative technology
- Lots of on-board effects
- Authentic feeling weighted keys
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Kawai MP11 SE Stage Piano Review
If you want a stage piano that feels as close to a grand piano as possible, then Kawai MP11 SE is the best stage piano for you!
I think that what makes it feel so real is that the keys are made of wood. They also have ivory-feel tops that are soft to the touch.
To make the playing experience as well as the sound as authentic as possible you can add hammer and pedal sounds, like the ones you would hear from a grand piano. This is another high quality feature that makes this one of the best stage pianos on the market.
There are actually 12 different piano sounds, most of them sampled from grand pianos. They are multi-sampled, so they have recorded every key several times to get a natural sound no matter how you press them.
There are also a bunch of other voices, like strings, bass, and a few electric pianos. But choosing different voices is far from the only thing you can do to customize your tone. There are 100 different effects, like reverb, drive, and many others that you can use to get exactly the sound you’re after.
You can also change microphone and other little things that make a big difference. I really feel like they’ve thought of everything when they made this piano.
Kawai MP11 SE is a great MIDI-controller as well, perfect for your home studio, allowing you to record MP3 and WAV-files.
There is just one thing about this piano that I would like to warn you about, and it is the weight. This is a heavy piece of equipment, and if you’re going to move it around a lot you might want to find something lighter.
I think this is the best stage piano for advanced players or professionals who need the very best piano they can possibly find!
- Incredibly authentic keyboard response
- Endless possibilities to customize your tone
- Feels unbelievably like a grand piano
- Quite heavy
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Korg Vintage Stage Piano Review
Do you, like me, love vintage keyboards? It is very impressive that Korg created the SP280. It features 30 of the greatest vintage keyboard sounds ever, and 6 different vintage tube amplifiers. If you love vintage sounds this is the best stage piano for you.
The sounds are highly detailed, and the funny thing is that it doesn’t really feel like playing a new piano that’s trying to pretend to be something that it isn’t. It feels like you’re playing a vintage keyboard and it’s remarkable how they have managed to pull that off!
The design of the keyboard really helps as well. It’s simply timeless. It doesn’t have a display, and that makes it look a bit older too. It also makes it easier to change your settings while on stage with the intuitive controls.
When you’ve managed to find the perfect sounds, it’s easy to save them so that you don’t lose them when you turn the piano off.
This piano is available with 73 or 88 keys. Which one you should go for depends on your needs. If you’re strictly going to use it as a stage piano and prefer it to be extra light and portable, then 73 keys work.
I absolutely love this piano and all the incredible sounds that comes with it. It’s definitely one of the best stage pianos available on the market.
- 36 Fantastic keyboard sounds
- Unique vintage inspired design
- 6 Vintage tube amplifiers
- Good value for money
- No display
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Yamaha CP88 Stage Piano Review
There are four things about Yamaha CP88 that are special; the sound, the feel, the weight and the user interface. This stage piano is versatile and lightweight, and it’s also packed with a number of excellent sounding instruments. If you’re a gigging pianist this might be the best stage piano for you.
Let’s start with the sound. There are three different piano sounds that are sampled from Yamaha’s own acoustic pianos. My favorite is the one that is sampled from the CFX concert grand piano. It’s a very expressive sound.
Within this Yamaha stage piano there’s lots of really nice vintage keyboard voices that you can have fun with. The sounds are multi-sampled, which makes it sound very authentic when you play. I love these sounds!
There are many other instruments as well such as clavinets, organs, strings, you name it!
Let’s talk a bit about the feel of this Yamaha stage piano. CP88 features graded hammer action, so the low keys are heavier than the light keys.
But the best thing about the keys is that they are made of wood. It really gives the piano an organic feel and enhances the experience. And what happens when we enjoy playing? The music gets better and more expressive!
The third thing I want to mention is the weight. This Yamaha stage piano is a true stage piano that is very light, which makes it easy to transport. It’s unusually light for a piano with 88 keys!
I want to finish this review off by talking a bit about how user-friendly the CP88 is. It’s very easy to layer sounds, split the keyboard, and change the split point. You can save your different layers and splits and access them easily with the touch of a button.
This Yamaha stage piano is great for any pianist who needs to bring the piano with them often. It’s the best stage piano for everybody from beginners to professionals. I would guess, however, that it’s mostly advanced players that buy it since it is in the higher price range.
- Portable stage piano
- Vintage keyboard sounds
- Modelled on Yamaha's CFX Grand
Stage Piano Buying Guide
Many pianists remember the good old days when there were more pianos in the world. They could just show up at a venue and expect that there would be a somewhat tuned piano there.
But today, things are different. As everything, including music, is being digitalized, heavy acoustic pianos are getting rare.
It’s a good thing there are stage pianos that can tackle these problems! But what exactly are stage pianos, and who uses them? Let’s straighten out those question marks!
What Are Stage Pianos?
Stage pianos are digital pianos designed for performances. It’s not the same thing as a keyboard, but these instruments replicate the sound and feel of an acoustic piano.
Sometimes, it can be hard to say for sure if an instrument is a digital piano or a stage piano. All stage pianos are digital pianos, but the other way around is not necessarily true.
Stage pianos need to be easy to bring with you to different gigs and to fit in your car, so they are often very light. They’re also quite slim and aren’t attached to a stand that you have to unscrew every time you move it.
Having the best stage piano will definitely make your life easier if you often bring your piano with you to gigs and rehearsals.
They are also good if you don’t have much room at home and need a piano that is easy to store under your bed or on top of a closet.
The best stage pianos don’t have built-in speakers, because there is no need for them. If you’re going to play at a loud concert, you’re going to plug it into the PA system anyway.
This doesn’t mean that you can only use it for concerts, you can plug it into an amplifier at home when you practice or use headphones.
Stage pianos without speakers work very well in a studio situation as well, since you’ll connect the piano to a computer and don’t need sound through speakers to produce music.
But if you know that you will use the piano often at home as well, it’s best to get one that does have built-in speakers.
The best stage pianos are sampled from real pianos and they have very realistic sounds. This means that every key of an acoustic piano has been carefully recorded so that you get an incredibly authentic sound.
Most stage pianos will also feature a range of other voices, such as organs and strings. If you are looking for something with more voices, you’re probably better off with a keyboard, which will feel less like a real piano but has perhaps a few hundred different sounds to choose from.
Another thing that will affect the sound, but also what the piano feels like to play, is the keys. There are semi-weighted keys, which are a bit lighter than on a real piano, and then there are weighted keys that feel more like an acoustic piano.
The best stage pianos, best stage keyboards and digital pianos feature graded hammer action keys. This provides a highly realistic playing feel.
The hammer action part refers to how on acoustic pianos, little hammers strike strings when you press down the keys. The harder you press, the harder the hammer will strike and the sound will be louder.
This effect is very important in order to get the right feel when you play and to get the best sound possible. It allows you to shape the music in any way you want.
But what does it mean that a piano has graded hammer action? If you’ve ever played an acoustic piano, you’ll know that the low keys are heavier than the high keys. This is the effect that graded hammer action provides. The keys feel like they naturally would if you were playing an acoustic instrument.
The Right Stage Piano For You
Ok, so now you know what a stage piano is and if you’re still reading you have probably concluded that you need one. But how can you know which one to go for?
The most important thing is to think about your needs. Here are a few questions that you can think of before you come to a decision:
- How much can I afford to spend?
- Do I have a favorite brand?
- How much do I want the piano to weigh?
- How big or small do I want it to be?
- Do I need built-in speakers?
- How many sounds, or voices, do I need?
If you still find it impossible to choose, I’d like to recommend Kawai MP11SE, which is a piano that is hard to go wrong with!
Hopefully, you feel like you know a bit more about stage pianos after reading this article. They are an excellent alternative to big acoustic pianos and will make it easier for you to play with other musicians and in places where there is no piano.