The feel of real piano keys, built-in sounds, and USB MIDI so it’s a controller for triggering synths
Whether these (or any digital pianos) are MIDI controller keyboards that contain bread-and-butter sounds or v.v. is in the fingers of the beholder. But Alesis’ new Prestige series digital pianos are affordable, they’re light, and – as the title says – their weighted hammer action is graded. That means the action gets a little heavier as you go down the keyboard, just like a real piano.
Digital pianos are intended to be a substitute for acoustic ones – they’re less expensive, require no maintenance or tuning, take up less room, and are often light enough to carry with you. But most of them work very well as synth (and and instrument plug-in) controllers.
Alesis has two versions. The regular Prestige has 16 built-in sounds and 128-voice polyphony, and the Prestige Artist has 30 sounds and 256-voice polyphony.
Here are the other specs they have in common:
- 88 full-sized graded hammer-action keys with adjustable touch response
- 50W (2x25W) micro-array speaker system, touted as sounding loud, clear, and realistic
- Adjustable Reverb FX, five different types
- Lesson mode divides the keyboard into two zones with the same pitch and voice
- Record mode – a sequencer for recording and playing back
- Built-in metronome, 30-280 BPM
- Stereo 1/4″ outputs for connecting to a mixer, amp, or other sound system
- 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone outputs that mute the speakers
- USB MIDI output (which is what makes these instruments double as controllers)
- Sustain pedal, music “rest,” and power adapter included
Street prices: Alesis Prestige, $450. Prestige Artist, $600.