If you are in the market for a piano, your options are nearly limitless. Of course, your time is not. Ready to be done shopping? You can’t go wrong with our top pick for beginning piano students: The Yamaha Arius.
Yamaha Arius digital piano – Hoffman Academy’s top pick
A beginning piano student needs a good instrument. Think about it. If you wanted your child to play soccer, would you send your child out on the field in a pair of cheap flip-flops, or would you make sure your child had a good pair of shoes? Shoes, of course! On the other hand, does your child need professional-quality $100 soccer cleats? Maybe not on the first day.
As a parent, you want to make sure your beginning piano student has a good experience while learning to play, but you’re probably not ready to go out and buy a baby grand. That’s fine. To help you decide what will be best for your child and your budget, let’s talk about the options.
There are three basic categories of keyboard instruments available. The largest and most expensive, and also the best when it comes to developing piano skills, are the acoustic pianos. There are also many good digital pianos, which are smaller, less expensive, and do a decent job of mimicking the sound and feel of an acoustic instrument. A third category, the electronic keyboard, is the least expensive option, but an electronic keyboard may not have the right touch to develop hand strength for a beginning pianist, or enough keys to play a wide range of music.
Digital pianos are designed to sound and feel as much like an acoustic piano as possible. Keys are weighted to provide the right resistance to touch, and are sensitive to speed and pressure to give a range of dynamics (loud and soft). They come installed in a cabinet-style console, and are smaller and less expensive than an upright piano, usually $1,000-$2,000.
The first important distinction to be made among the different types of preamps available is an aesthetic one: whether they’re designed to add color or deliver a transparent signal. You’ll usually find both types in most studios to meet a range of recording needs. A color preamp can add body or character to a thin voice or instrument, whereas a transparent preamp strives to reproduce the original instrument or vocal sound as accurately as possible.
Some preamps are designed to enrich the overall sound or timbre of your signal. This can be useful if your signal sounds dry and thin. Adding color with a preamp can make your recordings sound intimate or over the top and larger than life depending on how you apply that color. Audio engineers who prefer color in their preamps subscribe to the philosophy that whatever helps you achieve the sound you are after should be employed in the process.