Top positive review
216 people found this helpful
Great Keyboard for the Price
on October 2, 2015
Overall: I would give this 4.5 stars if I could. The PX160 is not perfect, but it is a solid keyboard, especially at a sub-$500 price point for intermediate/hobbyist players like me. It excels in sound quality, key weighting, and size/portability. But there are a few minor drawbacks, which are explained below. I was debating between this and the Yamaha P105, but I am glad I went with the Casio and (at least at this point) would buy again.
My background/skill level: I took lessons for about 10 years growing up and have continued to play intermittently for enjoyment/relaxation since then. I would say my skill level is intermediate to advanced, but I am lazy so I mostly stick to music I can sight read. I don't really perform. I grew up playing a Baldwin baby grand and a mid-90s Roland electric, so I am not accustomed to top-of-the-line acoustics and do not expect Steinway sound from a portable digital keyboard.
Sound (4.5/5): I think the sound quality is terrific for a digital. There are 5 grand piano voices that differ enough to make them distinguishable, but all sound great whether playing through the speakers or through headphones. The other voices (strings, vibraphone, electric, organ, etc.) are nice but for my purposes a feature that won't get used much (if at all), with the exception of occasional layering (discussed below). I wouldn't be able to confuse this with a Steinway or other quality acoustic piano, but I do think it has its own impressive quality that does not make me think cheap digital piano either. It is MUCH cleaner, clearer, and more accurate than the Roland I grew up with which cost (at the time) substantially more. There are youtube demonstrations (which I would recommend watching) that demonstrate the sound quality, and I have found that those demonstrations capture the sound accurately.
Layering (4/5): A feature of the piano is the ability to layer two voices (essentially hear both selected voices each time you strike a key). There are some pieces where this makes a really cool effect, such as a soundtrack piece with light strings layered behind a grand piano. Honestly more of a gimmick than a feature, but I thought it was interesting.
Selection (4/5): The five grand piano voices are really nice to have. I didn't think there would be much difference, and admittedly the differences are subtle, but all of them are unique and well suited to different types of songs. Some voices are more muted, others more striking. Really pleasantly surprised. As noted, I don't put much stock in the other voices (organ, vibraphone, harpsichord, etc.), but they are available and high quality if that interests you.
Key Weight (4.5/5): For such a lightweight, portable keyboard, the keys have terrific action. There is the slightest bit of cushion that doesn't snap the keys back quite like an acoustic would, but the travel and resistance when playing is pretty close to the real deal. Feels better than many older acoustics (especially stand ups) that I've played in the past. The lack of crispness is the only real drawback, but it doesn't affect my play at all.
Size (4.5/5): It's narrower than I expected (which is a good thing). The dimensions on the product page say it's 57 inches wide. That is the shipping dimension. The actual keyboard is 52 inches wide, 11 inches front to back, and 5 inches tall at the back (not including the height of the music stand). It's light enough to move easily but substantial enough to feel steady. I do wish it was about 5 pounds heavier so it would feel more secure on my X-style keyboard stand, but that is a minor qualm.
Simplicity (4.5/5): Easy to plug and play right out of the box. The functions are basic but intuitive. There are some dedicated buttons for certain voices, recording, volume, power, etc., but most of the functions require you to press a labeled piano key while holding the "function" key. Because my use is fairly straightforward (I just want to play piano music), this is a huge plus for me. I wouldn't want a ton of buttons cluttering up the panel.
Key Texture (3/5): I know this is supposed to be a selling point (they are supposed to feel like ebony and ivory), but I don't think they quite get there, and the result falls awkwardly somewhere between the smooth plastic of a digital keyboard and the feel of real acoustic keys. Honestly I would have preferred the traditional smooth keys of a digital keyboard than a fake option that only gets 80% of the way to the real thing. But that's a matter of personal preference.
Key Sensitivity at Speed (2/5): I play a number of pieces that require rapid repetition of individual keys. I noticed when trying to play those pieces that the individual key couldn't be played fast enough and still register distinct notes. Above a certain rate, the piano wouldn't register the next stroke and would not play the note. This shouldn't be confused with playing an arpeggio or scale rapidly (because you are moving quickly from one key to another). My point relates to playing the same key in rapid succession (which is probably a rare requirement). I haven't seen a problem with playing scales or arpeggios rapidly.
Low Quality Sustain Pedal (1.5/5): I have already ordered a new sustain pedal. The one that comes in the box is not piano style, and it is squishy and unreliable. It functions to an extent, but I got frustrated very quickly with it.
Casio Quality Reputation (2/5): This may be overly harsh of me, but I am very nervous about the reliability of the piano based on Casio's reputation and a number of reviews I've read here and on other sites about earlier models of Casio keyboards (including the PX150). Out of the box the piano is working great, but I will always have in the back of my mind a concern about the software shorting out or the tuning deteriorating or individual keys dying. Whether that is justified or not remains to be seen, but it is certainly something I think about and was the biggest hurdle for me when mulling the purchase. There is a limited 2-3 year warranty, which is helpful. I hope I don't need to come back with an edit in 6 months or a year.
All in all, I am very happy with the piano and would recommend it to others.