30 Jul 5 Best Digital Grand Pianos – REVIEW | $5000 to $17000 | 2021
By: Professor Tim
5 Best Digital Grand Pianos – REVIEW | $5000 to $17,000 | for 2021 | Yamaha N3X, Roland GP609, Yamaha CLP-765GP, Kawai DG30, Yamaha CLP-795GP, and Samick SG500. When we do reviews, they are the real thing. We don’t talk about discontinued models that are no longer made and we don’t regurgitate other content from other web sites. I personally play these pianos for many hours (most people don’t do that and have little or no access to these pianos) and we analyze all the specs carefully to put out reviews and content that you can trust and will help you make the right buying decision.
After more than 40 years playing on acoustic and digital pianos and advising people on what piano will best fit their needs and budget, when it comes to digital grand pianos we are the experts. Currently when it comes to the main digital grand pianos out there, Yamaha has 3 of them, Roland has 2 of them, Kawai has one, Samick has 2 digital grand piano models, and Dexibell digital piano company from Italy just came out with a new one called the H10 mini grand.
Beyond all that, there are (what we call) the “PSO” digital grand pianos. PSO means “piano shaped object” because there are certain brands of much lower quality digital grand pianos that may have nice looking cabinets but they just don’t qualify at all in terms of actually playing like a piano. In other words they look good on the outside but they are not good on the inside. Those pianos have key actions that are noisy, clunky, and don’t have good key action movement, the piano sound is tinny and without expression with very uneven tone from one note to the next, and other playability issues.
The brands that we have played that have these PSO issues are Williams, Artesia, and Suzuki. The parts they use in those pianos to get the price to be lower may come back to haunt you with regard to being able to play piano in a satisfying way. Always stick to the name brands that people know and trust that will reliable and enjoyable to play.
– Yamaha N3X AvantGrand hybrid digital grand piano $16,599 store discount price – This model is an updated version of the original model than came out a number of years ago. The N3X has a new piano sound chip in it along with upgraded features and functions. The N3X is called a “hybrid” digital piano because it has an actual Yamaha acoustic key action with all moving parts like a real grand piano and is the only digital grand piano on our list to have such an action.
Regular acoustic baby grand pianos measure on average about 5′ deep. The N3X grand piano key action has been slightly modified to fit in its smaller 4′ deep custom cabinet and it really does feel and behave like a real acoustic grand piano and that’s the #1 thing that people look for in a piano…how realistic is the key action? How does it feel when you press down the key and play across the keyboard? Those are the questions piano shoppers ask and the Yamaha N3X passes the “stress test” when it comes to giving you the sense that you are playing a real acoustic grand piano.
As far as piano sound goes, the stereo piano sound chip in this model has 2 distinct grand piano tones…one of them from a 9′ Japanese Yamaha concert grand and the other one from a real 9′ European (Viennese) Bosendorfer concert grand. The 2 acoustic piano sounds are recorded (sampled) directly from these large concert grand pianos and the N3X has a huge internal speaker system inside of it to project that concert sound out of the piano in a way where the sound moves around you like it would on a regular grand piano.
The pedals work very well although not exactly like an acoustic grand because of the physical nature of having actual strings and dampers in a real piano whereas you don’t have those parts in a digital piano because that’s the who;e idea…there are no strings and no actual felt hammers touching strings. Everything is done by optical sensors with simulated hammers moving and the sensors are analyzing movement and velocity, etc in “real-time.” The result of all that technology is a satisfying digital grand piano playing experience that many people really seem to love.
– Roland GP609 digital grand piano $10,999 store discount price – This top-of-the-line Roland digital grand piano measures 5′ deep in cabinet depth from front to back which makes it not only the same size as a real acoustic baby grand, but it’s also the largest of all newer top name brand digital baby grand pianos out there today. The GP609 is not a real hybrid digital piano because its key action is only partially wood with the bulk of the key having a plastic interior.
Also, grand piano keys are much longer in total key length (20″ long white keys in an acoustic grand vs 9″ long keys in the Roland GP609) as compared to a real acoustic upright piano and also most digital pianos out there.
The Yamaha N3X or Yamaha CLP-795 have much longer, better balanced keys so the key action in this Roland GP609 is definitely not in the same league as the other 2 digital grand pianos. The key action in this Roland digital grand piano has no other moving parts in it (other than the keys) and it feels much more like an upright piano. Nevertheless, the key action is responsive and feel good to play…but do not expect the keys to play like a real grand piano because it doesn’t.
The piano sound in the GP609 comes from a sound technology called “physical modeling” because the sound is “modeled” using mathematical algorithms in the virtual world instead of actually sampling (recording) it from a real acoustic grand piano like a Steinway or Bosendorfer grand piano. There are upsides and downsides to this type of newer technology.
The upside is that the piano sound doesn’t have to be recorded through a more expensive process. The downside is that with physical modeling the piano sound that is being heard is essentially “fake” when exclusively using the physical modeling technology. They are trying to make it sound real but there are definitely limitations with this newer technology.
Roland is trying to reproduce a real piano sound in real-time using mathematical algorithms and sometimes it works well and other times, depending on how you are playing and what you are playing, the sound is very artificial based on me having played it for many hours. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of different ways of playing a song depending on hard hard you play the keys, how fast you play, how you’re using your pedals, how much sustain you are applying to the sound, how many notes you’re playing at one time and where on the keyboard you are playing them.
Unfortunately, because there is so much for this newer technology to do in real-time when you are playing a song, the resulting piano sound can be very artificial (at least to our experienced ears) depending on how you are playing the piano.
As I just mentioned, based on our hours of playing experience with this model, sometimes it sounds great and other times it sounds like there is a feedback type over-processed sound coming from the piano through its speaker system and sometimes that artificial sound is more pronounced when your sitting at the piano or standing away from it listening in another area of the room.
So it just depends on what your experience is listening to real acoustic grand pianos and how you think this piano compares to the “real thing.” The 609GP has all kinds of very cool functions and features besides just being a piano and it is obviously has a very beautiful looking cabinet too.
If it was not for the somewhat disappointing piano playing experience we had on this model as compared to other top name digital baby grands and as compared to the “real thing,” especially at this price point, I would have given it an “A.”But I can only give it a C+ as far as my response to it as offering a realistic grand piano playing experience.
It looks great, has a loud volume, and it does have some very cool “bells & whistles, but as a baby grand piano, there are definitely other options out there that just are better for the same or less money.
– Yamaha CLP-795GP digital baby grand $7999 internet discount price – This model comes in a beautiful polished black or polished snow white (slightly higher price), measures 4′ deep, and is Yamaha’s top-of-the-line digital baby grand in the “Clavinova” series of pianos. This model is just coming out in late October or November and is a new 2021 model. It and has wooden white keys that are longer than the keys in the less expensive regular Clavinova models.
This extra key length gives the key action movement better balance from front to back of the keys as well as a more responsive key action with the additional of counter-weights in the key actions. In other words, this key action plays very nicely although it is a bit firmer than other digital pianos actions, but many people like it that way. The interior soundboard area of the piano has a beautifully finished polished wood-tone color which is a proprietary design from Yamaha that is on no other digital grand piano that we know of.
The internal audio speaker system in this model has a total of 300 watts going through 6 power amplifiers which puts that sound through 6 individual speakers and 2 new transducers so the sound system in this model is very powerful and projects a big piano sound with clarity and also the feeling of omni-directional sound like you get in a real acoustic grand piano.
The stereo piano sound chip inside has 2 different grand pianos in including a Yamaha 9′ CFX concert grand and a 9′ Bosendorfer concert grand and these brand new stereo sound samples that are improved over the previous model CLP-695. Also there are over 500 hundred instrument sounds in the CLP-795GP along with the ability to play General MIDI 16-track song files which helps with learning some of your favorite songs and just having fun listening and singing along.
We do recommend this model if it fits your musical needs and falls within your budget. Just so you know, Yamaha makes an upright style version of the CLP-795GP and that model is called the CLP-785 and it’s a bit less money too.
– Samick SG500 digital grand piano $5295 store price – This 4′ deep digital grand piano is unique and very popular and that’s why it’s in this top 5 best digital grand piano list. One of the reasons people like it very much is that it’s in the larger 4′ deep cabinet and has an attractive wood soundboard interior and comes in either polished ebony, polished white, or polished red with a matching duet size bench.
The Samick company is well known for producing acoustic grand and upright pianos for about 50 years along with having digital pianos that have also been popular over the years. So they are definitely not a “start-up” piano company and have their US headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.
The SG500 has a 160 watt internal speaker system which makes the piano sound beautiful and it also has Bluetooth audio wireless music streaming capability as well. With hundreds of high definition instruments tones, interactive accompaniments, 16-track General MIDI recorder-player system, and a number of other very cool features, the Samick SG500 comes highly recommended and people throughout the USA are enjoying it very much.
Also, the Samick USA headquarters has just told us that they are having a special upcoming “Black Friday” discount price on this model with some very big savings including free shipping and no tax.
– Yamaha CLP-765GP digital grand piano $5999 discount price – This 39″ deep mini grand piano model has been out for a relatively short time and it already is the most popular digital baby grand in the world. It’s basically a smaller, slightly stripped down version of the higher priced CLP-795GP with the Yamaha plastic key action (vs wood keys) that also has the normal length keys as compered to the CLP-795GP longer wooden keys.
The key action is a bit lighter than the CLP-795GP band it plays nicely and has a very good stereo piano sound chip in it. The piano is available in polished ebony and for more money is available in polished white with matching bench. The CLP-765GP has a very impressive 184 watt, 4 amplifier, 4 speaker internal sound system that really produces impressive “live tone” and the piano offers a total of 38 instrument sounds. It has a couple of different player-recorder features including 16-track MIDI a 1-track audio recording.
The CLP-765GP also offers Bluetooth wireless audio streaming (which sounds great through its hi fidelity speaker system wirelessly streamed from your personal device) among some other cool features such as its more minimalistic looking user control panel that is off to the left side of the keyboard.
Overall this elegant digital mini baby grand piano does have a very impressive appearance and sounds great filling up nearly any size room. The interior of the piano soundboard area is all black as opposed to the natural wood-tone in a few of the other models, but the black color does look good and is elegant as well.
– Finally, there are two more digital grand pianos that need to be included in this list which would bring the actual total to the 7 best digital grand pianos. These new additional digital grands include the Samick SG-120 and the new Kawai DG30. They did not get on the original Top 5 list only because these 2 models are more “micro-size” in depth under 3′ and we had initially included models that were over 3 feet in depth in this Top 5 review-report.
One of those smaller size digital grand pianos is the Samick SG120 at $4395 store price and we would rank it #6 because it’s really the same instrument as its big brother the SG500 but in a much smaller “micro-grand” cabinet at 32″ deep with a smaller internal speaker system and a different cabinet design with less hardware on it.
It does look great in polished ebony (the most popular finish) as well as in polished white (pictured above) and polished red! This model can be perfect solution for those people who have a small space in their room but prefer the “look” of a small baby grand with a lot of great features. This one is a very impressive smaller size digital baby grand is quite popular out there offering a quality Italian piano weighted key action and realistic sound. I have played it many times and like it.
If you want more info then please ask us. There is also a special direct factory discount price on it right now which puts in in a much lower price range while they last so be sure to contact us asap if you are interested.
Kawai DG30 digital grand piano
The other “micro-size” digital grand pianos is the new Kawai DG30 at 34″ in depth so it’s on the smaller size just 2″ deeper than the Samick SG120. Store discount pricing on this new model is $5499 internet price so it is a reasonable price in my opinion for a Kawai digital piano with a mini grand shape, but it is still over $5000. The Kawai DG30 just recently came out into the marketplace and is considered a 2021 model.
It is not only very attractive for its smaller size but the proprietary Kawai stereo sound chip, Kawai fast-action piano weighted keyboard, and responsive pedaling add a noticeably more authentic playing experience to the model than you expect from this smaller size piano and as compared to other name brand digital grand pianos. It’s really amazing when you play it and the only thing holding it back from being even better than its smaller size would suggest is its internal speaker system.
The speaker system output is 40 watts going into 2 amplifiers and 4 speakers which actually sounds pretty nice for being on the lower side of power output. If you compare that to the new Yamaha CLP-765 mini grand which is 3’9″ deep and sells for $5499, that piano sound system is 184 watts going into 4 amplifiers and 4 speakers…so quite a bit of difference there. However, you can also add an external sound system to the DG30 (if you feel you need it) that could put it on a more even playing field with the Yamaha.
f you want to know more and are looking for even lower discount prices, be sure to contact us before doing anything.