digital vs acoustic piano

Digital Piano vs. Acoustic Piano – Knowing the Difference

digital vs acoustic piano

Buying a piano is a pretty big deal. At the same time, you need to consider several things before taking a plunge. Of course, you do not want to spend money on a thing that you will regret buying at the end of the day.

Therefore, before going to your favorite instrument store, you need to sit down for a few minutes and think carefully. Your budget is always the number one thing to consider. Nevertheless, there is one more thing for you to decide carefully, digital vs. acoustic piano.

Acoustic and digital piano: What is the difference?

Piano was invented in Italy. The real name of the piano is “Pianoforte”, which means soft and loud. A piano can produce loud and soft sounds that make this instrument distinctive. There are two kinds of the piano—the digital piano and acoustic piano. But the big question, what is the difference between digital piano vs. acoustic piano?

When we say digital piano, it is electronically-powered. Actually, digital pianos mimic what acoustic pianos produce. They are producing sounds through its built-in speakers. If you have tried using digital piano, you will agree that there are certain benefits out of it.

On the other hand, there is an acoustic piano. We can refer to acoustic pianos as “real pianos”. You can easily distinguish acoustic piano from the digital piano because of its structure. The case of an acoustic piano is made of solid wood connected to the soundboard. It has moving parts including 220 strings and hammers.

I know you’ve come across weighing things out between digital piano vs. acoustic piano. Both are definitely good, but there are more things to know before you make a conclusion.

To find out which piano is the best to invest on, let’s know more about them one-by-one.

Digital Piano and Keyboards

Digital Piano and Keyboards

The Digital piano has no strings in it. In order for a digital piano to produce a sound, each of its keys is switching. Since digital pianos are electronically-powered (some are battery-powered), the one that produces the sounds is the electronic tone generator. It has a built-in speaker, which amplifies the sounds.

Just so you know, digital pianos are a mixture of an acoustic piano and an electronic keyboard. The good thing about digital pianos is that you can modify its sound variations.

Apart from that, you can also connect them to computers, which allows you to edit and record your playing. The primary reason for this characteristic is its MIDI output via an inexpensive interface.

Both digital pianos and acoustic pianos have their own types. But first, here are the different types of digital pianos.


A keyboard is a type of digital piano where it is more of a synthesizer having a built-in low-wattage amplifier along with small speakers.

What’s more interesting about keyboards is it has the capability to mimic sounds of different instruments such as Hammond organ, pipe organ, violin, and many more.

Keyboards are highly recommended for home users, beginners, or non-professional users. The major components of keyboards are the musical keyboard, user interface system, computerized music arranger, sound generator, amplifiers, speakers, MIDI terminals, and music stand.

  • Keyboards are much more affordable than real pianos unless you’re talking about high-end models.

  • When it comes to size, keyboards are very portable. You can always find a place for your keyboard since it does not need to occupy much space. At the same time, you can easily move it from one place to another.

  • Most importantly, the keyboards are very versatile. Most keyboards today are capable of producing different sounds. Actually, you can be a one-person band since you can make sounds you want.

  • It is very low maintenance. Tuning and tweaking are not required. You can just plug it and play.

  • You can connect headphones to play them quietly. In case you have neighbors or family members who demand quiet surroundings, you can just use headphones and play your heart out.

  • When it comes to complexity since most keyboards are loaded with a number of sounds, tools, effects, levers, and knobs, it requires time to learn all of these. At the same time, levers and knobs can possibly break in the long run.

  • Keyboards are electronically-powered, so it requires you to have electricity every time you’ll use it. Alternatively, you should have bunches of D-size batteries for you to play it.

  • Yes, it can mimic sounds of different instruments, but some can be unconvincing when recreating an acoustic instrument.

  • Most keyboards are not touch-sensitive, whether you press the keys hard or soft, you can hear the same volume of sound. There are keyboards models with weighted action, which tries to give you the feel of playing an acoustic piano, but unfortunately, some models do not have it.

  • Today’s keyboards would probably not be tomorrow’s desire. After years of using it, you might get bored and want to upgrade in the latest models. The downside is, only a few keyboard models can retain their value over time.

Digital Pianos

Digital pianos are the modern counterpart of acoustic pianos. Sounds are digitally-produced along with pressing the keys. As mentioned earlier, digital pianos have built-in speakers, which will playback sounds recreating what acoustic pianos can produce.

Actually, digital pianos are specifically designed to imitate and serve as an alternative to the traditional acoustic piano. Digital pianos want you to feel as if you are using an acoustic piano. However, digital pianos have some characteristics that the typical acoustic does not have.

  • In Digital vs. acoustic piano, the digital piano requires little to no maintenance. Modern pianos are always in tune. Once you decided to use it, just plug it, turn it on, and you are ready to go!

  • If you have a tight budget but want to have your own piano, a digital piano is the best choice for you. It is significantly cheaper than acoustic pianos.

  • You can adjust the volume of digital pianos to what you preferred. At the same time, you plug in headphones, if you do not want to disturb a quiet surrounding. With this feature, digital pianos are very ideal if you are living in an apartment or place that people need more silence.

  • Yes, digital pianos are low maintenance. However, too much use or using it over time can break or stop it from working. Finding a reliable and qualified piano technician to fix it can be difficult. In most cases, replacing the whole thing is the only solution.

  • Digital pianos are recreating the sounds of the traditional acoustic piano. But, it does not guarantee that it can mimic the sounds as is. You can expect that older models have lower sound quality. If the quality of sounds greatly matters to you, it might be hard for you to stay motivated and interested in playing it.

Stage piano

Aside from keyboards, digital pianos, there is also a stage piano. It is a type of digital piano, which is ideal for stage and studio use. Most musicians that are always on the move are using stage pianos. It is very portable that you can just move along with it.

Its key feature is its very handy. You can take it with you wherever you go, from your house to your gig venue or from studio to your home. When it comes to sound quality, stage pianos use digital sampling of each note to mimic the sound of the traditional acoustic piano.

  • Stage pianos weigh much less than other digital pianos. That’s why it is perfect for musicians on performance or gigs.

  • It is very handy. You can take it with you anywhere and you’ll always find a spot for it in your home.

  • Stage pianos come with portable and detachable stand. At the same time, no need for amplifiers or speakers since there is an output jack provided. For that reason, you can plug it into the keyboard amplifier along with a detachable pedal connected into a jack.

  • One common factor about digital pianos today is its price. Just like keyboards, stage piano is also budget-friendly, unless you prefer high-end models.

  • The downside of stage piano is they can only provide a smaller number of sounds, unlike other digital pianos.

  • Just like any other modern pianos, design and versions evolve over time. Maybe today, you’ll like it so much, but tomorrow, you might want to upgrade to the latest model.

Since digital pianos are the modern version of traditional pianos, we can say that it suits perfectly to our modern world today. As people want convenience, digital pianos are a good choice to purchase. You can choose from different types depending on your taste and preferences. Most of the things today are digital, so why can’t our piano be?

But, this does not end here, maybe you’ll want to consider another kind of piano. If you are the type to appreciate classical and traditional sounds, you might want acoustic pianos.

Acoustic Pianos

Acoustic Pianos

Acoustic Piano is the traditional and old-school kind of piano, which inspires digital pianos today. It can give you a direct feeling of sounds while playing it.

Classical music, jazz or pop, or even an orchestra cannot be completed without the presence of acoustic pianos. From its name “acoustic”, sounds produced by acoustic pianos are very relaxing and can produce the full range of musical expression.

Acoustic pianos consist of hammers and steel strings covered by a wooden case. All the keys and hammers are connected, so when you press a key, the hammer moves to strike the strings. It causes vibration and eventually produces a sound.

However, this kind of piano is much more costly or expensive than digital pianos. So, make sure to allot a budget when purchasing an acoustic piano. You can choose from its three types: Grand, Baby Grand, and Upright piano.

Grand or Concert Grand Piano

The most interesting thing about grand piano is it can perfectly recreate the music and sound that you hear. It offers a wide and dynamic range of sounds. At the same time, grand pianos have rich resonance with diverse tonality and very responsive touch.

If all these characteristics combined, you can clearly deliver the sound expression that you want to incorporate while you’re playing it. in addition, grand or concert grand pianos are the biggest acoustic piano, which is very popular in music halls, concerts, and mostly used by famous musicians.

  • Grand piano has rich and varied sonority along with dynamics, starting from pianissimo to fortissimo.

  • The sounds produced by grand pianos are well-balanced and uniform because of their long strings.

  • It has the ability to add subtle expressions to your notes.

  • Grand pianos are capable of note repetitions.

  • Using grand piano can smoothly sustain the sounds while you’re playing it.

  • Sounds from grand pianos can add more vibrancy, emotion, and expression to the music.

  • The case of a grand piano can help to protect the piano itself.

  • Grand pianos are expensive.

  • If you have tight space, the grand piano is a bit off for you since it requires much space. It can be difficult to pass through doorways.

  • Aside from its expensive price, it can also cost you money to move.

  • It requires regular maintenance.

  • You cannot minimize its volume.

Baby Grand Piano

Just like grand pianos, the baby grand piano is one of the types of an acoustic piano. Baby grand pianos are very popular for home use. From its name “baby”, it is smaller than grand pianos. It can also produce the same sound quality as a grand piano at a lower price range than grand pianos or other larger models.

  • Baby grand piano has excellent sound just like the grand piano.

  • It is less expensive than larger models.

  • Since the baby grand piano is much smaller than the grand piano, it will also occupy much less space in your place.

  • Though baby grand pianos can give similar sounds like a grand piano, it has the tendency to generate less volume. Aside from that, it can probably have sharper overtones.

  • Baby grand piano cannot produce a greater volume of sounds, unlike grand pianos.

  • Over time, you might want to upgrade to a grand piano, so you’ll need to invest again.

Upright Pianos

From its name “upright”, the soundboard and plane of the strings are vertical and perpendicular to the keyboard. With that, it only takes less space than grand pianos. Most upright pianos have strings upward starting from the bottom of the piano case, near the floor.

  • Upright pianos are less expensive than grand and baby grand pianos.

  • It depreciates quickly, which allows you to replace it for young, good, and latest piano at an affordable price.

  • Upright pianos with high quality have rich sounds that age well.

  • It occupies less space in your space than grand pianos.

  • Uprights piano has the tendency to depreciate quickly than other acoustic pianos.

  • Because of its soundboard position, upright pianos are very sensitive to fluctuations when it comes to temperature.

  • The upright piano’s soundboard is significantly smaller compared to grand pianos.

Based on the characteristics of an acoustic piano, all of its types can produce powerful and great sounds. Acoustics pianos’ big structure can relatively affect how it produces sounds and music.

Acoustic piano expresses classics and tradition since it is the first to be invented. Their value increase over time and that’s the reason why it is one of a good investment.

Conclusion – Which Is The Best To Own?

The answer is definitely based on you. Both digital piano and acoustic piano are good musical instruments. Before purchasing your own piano, make sure to consider your budget, place, taste, and long-term view.

If you are the type to go to places, then a digital piano could be suitable for you since it is portable. You can choose acoustic piano if you are the type who loves classical sounds, but make sure you enough space in your home to put a grand piano or an upright piano.

Whichever you would choose, think of it as your precious investment. So the question is, digital piano vs. acoustic piano, what would be your choice?!

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