Can A Digital Piano Sound Like An Acoustic Piano?

By Kanyi M

The idea of owning a digital piano might be more appealing than it was ten years ago. You can bring one with you on the road, and it doesn’t require tuning or wooden parts that can fall apart and need to be replaced. Digital pianos also sound incredibly realistic, and some people say they’re even better than your average acoustic piano. High-end models have weighted keys, realistic hammer action and are capable of recording your playing. How do digital pianos compare to acoustic pianos?  

Image: Shutterstock

The most obvious difference is the sound. A digital piano can produce any sound associated with an acoustic piano, including the low-pitched sound of an acoustic grand. But there are more differences than just analog versus digital sound. Digital pianos work by modeling or sampling the sounds they produce, and the more samples, the higher the quality of sound.

The piano keys on a digital piano trigger sound that is stored in memory. This means that recorded playing can be saved, edited, and recorded over. Some people believe that digital pianos can’t sound or feel like acoustic pianos. They might be right if they’re comparing a mid-range digital piano to an acoustic grand. Still, they would probably change their mind after trying out decent piano VSTs like Pianoteq 7, Ravenscroft 275, or Embertone Walker 1955. These plugins are excellent when used with other sound sources like an acoustic piano, so you can play your favorite songs or styles on acoustic piano instruments to get the real feel.

Photo credits:

So, is it worthwhile buying a digital piano to become the next great pianist? We would say yes if you want to take your compositions with you. By taking advantage of sampling and editing capabilities that come with digital pianos, one can record their own music and then edit it into any song they want.