The Casio CDP 130 Digital Piano is one of the best beginner options for digital piano from 2015. The digital piano provides samples or recordings of the “real thing” that sound and feels like an actual piano. It is touch sensitive and therefore responds actually like a real piano keyboard.
The instrument is light, compact, stylish and comes with a 5-year warranty. The keyboard is slim with weighted action. And in case you forget there is a timer that turns the unit off automatically 30 minutes after you wrap things up. It weighs only 11,4 kg (25lb), so transport is no big deal.
You’ve got the option of two stylish finishes – silver or black – and can add a matching stand (CS-44P0 for $119 if you so desire.
The Casio CDP-130 is available online for the price of $399, with the following features:
• The 88-key base piano unit.
• A switch function SP-3 sustain pedal.
• Music rest.
• 8-watt speakers (2).
• AC adaptor.
• User’s Guide.
On-the-Console controls are well-organized and unobtrusive so you can make adjustments quickly and easily during a performance. This makes it easier for the beginner to get up and running without a lot of confusion or fumbling around.
• On the back panel on the Digital Piano behind the sheet rock, you’ve got a headphone jack, input for the pedal damper, power connection jack and a USB port that allows for a MIDI connection with your computer.
• The main interface over the keyboard houses the two basic sound control buttons: the grand piano and electric piano. You also have a metronome with adjustments for speed and sound, a reverb button to simulate concert hall or smaller studio, the power button, volume control, demo mode and 5 chord functions.
• On the rail just above the keyboard, you’ll find additional functions that are activated in toggle-like fashion. This requires you to press the function button and then the note corresponding to the desired function. These functions include touch response, fine tuning with 440 hertz in the middle, and transpose syncing with another instrument.
• Another functionality relates to an additional array of sounds, including a 2nd grand piano, 2nd electric piano, harpsichord, vibraphone, strings, pipe organ, and jazz organ.
• The MIDI component opens up an array of additional sound options in addition to the 10 function options on board the unit itself. You have synthesizer and pad options.
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• If you’re concerned that the simulated keyboard won’t feel like a real piano, you can rest assured that the weighted keys give it the feel of a real piano.
• The string function produces a beautiful, lush sound.
• The 2nd grand piano option seems to be a little brighter, more vibrant than the 1st option.
• One of the most appealing features of the Casio CCP-130 is that the beginner is not overwhelmed by an “airplane control panel” of buttons and switches like some of the other digital products. The layout is easy to grasp and you have the option of creating shortcuts and adding accessories.
• There is a very large selection of quality sound effects and voices built into this instrument, making it a versatile choice in spite of the necessary limitations.
• The default touch control requires that you lean pretty heavy into the bass notes, so the beginner especially will want to adjust to a lighter setting. If it still isn’t satisfactory, you always have the option of return during the warranty period.
• When it comes to MIDI use you should be aware that a digital piano is only a keyboard. There is no modulation, pitch blend, or other controller options. However, you do have piano-centric controls like the soft pedal and the sustain features.
• Some users have detected an annoying clicking sound when lifting the keys.
• On a smooth surface, the damper pedal has a tendency to slide around and “get lost,” which can be a distraction for the beginner and a nuisance for the pro.
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While you can check out competitors on Amazon.com, one of the stiffest competitors for the Casio CDP-130 is a previously owned digital piano. The sound engines in newer models like Casio CDP-130 have demonstrated measurable improvement and functionality is greatly enhanced. So the choice really depends on your budget and how committed your beginning student is to mastery of the instrument.
As we have noted the new features Casio has added, make the CDP-130 a very good choice for the novice user. To make it an even better option for the beginner we’re hoping they will add some kind of lesson tutorial module as well as half-pedal support.