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Privia PX-130 Digital Piano
Type: Digital Audio, LeisureTech, Music
From: Casio
Usage: Macintosh, Windows PC, Hardware, iPad
Privia PX-130 Digital Piano
While the calming qualities of a harpsichord are forever lost to history, if they ever existed, Shaun Conlin otherwise finds the Privia PX-130 a pretty good digital piano.
Posted February 22, 2012
Casio's Privia PX-130 Digital Piano makes a great beginner or casual player's instrument for several reasons. First, it's relatively inexpensive, so even if no one ends up playing it, you'll still be able to impress house guests with your implied musicianship. That said, inexpensive is relative and depending on where you shop: it could mean $400 and it could mean $900. Markup on this (or any digital piano) varies wildly not just store to store, but month to month. Crazy. Shop around.

Anyway, secondly, while technically a "synthesizer" that sounds like a full-sized 88-key piano, the Privia keyboard features "tri-sensor scaled hammer action," which means it gives the sensation of "weighted" keys like a real piano but without the weight.

Thus, whether you're banging off the Boogie Woogie or tickling out Tchaikovsky, the keys are responsive to the touch - or "feel" as they say - unlike the mere squishiness felt in regular synthesizer keyboards.

But it is a synthesizer, one that happens to feel like a piano and sound like one, too, though the PX130 does come chock-a-block with dorky, wannabe niceties like a built-in drum machine and alternate instrumentation - yeah, you really wanted a harpsichord but can't afford the time machine to take you back five centuries to the time when people thought the harpsichord sounded "awesome."

But best of all, as a digital instrument (that happens to feel like a piano), the PX-130 is also a MIDI device, a Musical Instrument Digital Interface contraption that is innately cross compatible with other digital instruments, recording devices, PCs and Macs - and now tablet computers, too.

Thus, using USB, you can plug the Privia into a laptop or, better still, an iPad or Android tablet placed where sheet music would otherwise go.

While the PX-130 comes with its own embedded (questionably useful) teaching software (among other things), having visual and interactive lessons plans from Apps like Piano Tutor for iPad ($2.99) or 50in1 Piano HD ($1.99), can save you a bundle on piano lessons... or, at the very least, earn you more cred with the guests who will think you're both artistic and tech savvy.

That said, somebody needs to make a comprehensive piano lesson program for iPads and Android tablets. Until then, real piano teachers need not worry about being replaced by a two-dollar App.

And try as it might, the built-in stereo speaker system of the Privia PX-130 isn't quite up to snuff with its more expensive contemporaries. It's certainly adequate for beginners and the uninitiated, and even letting the thing play its pre-loaded tunes like a music box does offer some nice, FM radio-quality "all piano all the time" listening from another room. But pay more for a more serious digital piano and the sound will be a lot more concerto-conducive. Just sayin'.
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3.5 (out of 5)