The classic grand piano is an instrument beloved by music enthusiasts everywhere. Its finely tuned, harmonious music floats through the air and captures an audience with its elegant sounds. However, in modern times, the digital variation of this instrument has become a valid instrument in its own right—in fact, it can produce many of the same tunes we enjoy. This leads us to ask the important question of how these two devices differ from one another, and which is ultimately the better option. These are the differences between a digital and acoustic piano.
Sound is generated from an acoustic piano when the tumblers attached to each key strike the corresponding internal string. As the string vibrates, it produces a specific tune that melds with others in the form of a song. This process requires the instrument to be appropriately tuned and its advanced inner workings to be regularly cleaned and maintained.
The digital piano, on the other hand, consists primarily of speakers that release sound in relation to which key is hit on the keyboard. Each speaker can be programmed to release specific sounds that were previously recorded from a live acoustic piano. This is what allows the digital models to create similar sounds to a grand or upright piano without needing the inner strings.
Being similar in sound, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the two pianos sound the same to a trained musician. In fact, because the digital sound is only a piano file, it can’t replicate the subtle nuances that are present when playing an acoustic cord. For this reason, the acoustic will always be the more loyal and authentic option in terms of sound quality. This doesn’t mean though that the digital piano can’t produce wonderful sounds. Its level of performance is actually quite high, depending on the piece.
Another important difference between a digital and acoustic piano is the versatility they bring to the stage. While acoustic pianos are ideal for producing traditional piano music, the digital models can be played differently depending on current needs. With a few minutes to reprogram its internal speakers, the digital piano can perform as a one-instrument band, replicating the sounds of several different devices. So, to conclude, either of these instruments could make a wonderful addition to a musician’s collection—it all depends on what they’re looking for.