Decrypting Keyboards

Here at Dural Music, we're always on the lookout for ways to help customers get the right product for them, and the one item that seems the most popular is also apparently the one people know the least about: Keyboards . So, we thought one of the best ways to help customers with their future piano purchases would be to do a write up on some of our most popular instruments, so you can have a solid idea of what to look for before you even get to the shop. And why not start with one of the most versatile  instrument families available, the keyboards and digital pianos?

If you're in the market for a keyboard more than a digital piano, there is no better place to start than our two favourites, the Yamaha PSRE343 ($239) and the Casio CTK5200 ($349).

Each model is jam-packed full of hundreds of tones, rhythms, and songs to satisfy the budding sonic revolutionaries of tomorrow. They both have all the features you would expect from a modern keyboard including:

- 61 velocity-sensitive keys

- USB output for computer recording and MIDI control,

- Aux input for playing along with your favourite songs. The CTK5200 also has the ability to sample sounds recorded through the aux input to use later by assigning them to keys.

- Multi-track recorder for capturing inspiration as it strikes (Yamaha: 2 tracks, Casio: 8 tracks), plus the ability to save and export your creations.

- Lesson functions to teach you the basics of playing a number of in-built songs, including finger positions indicated on the LCD screen.

- Split functions that allow you to split the keyboard into two separate instruments for self-accompaniment and duet playing.

- In-built metronome, and many more functions!

However, if you're looking for an instrument with a larger range and a more piano-realistic playing action, you'll surely find what you're looking for in our range of digital pianos. The first of which is also the most feature-packed model, which perfectly suits the keyboard player who is looking to upgrade to and instrument with more features and more possibilities - The Casio CDP-230 ($649).

The CDP-230 incorporates all the features keyboardists know and love (hundreds of tones; 8-track recorder; MIDI out; Aux in + sampling etc.) with a range of features otherwise unavailable on a standard keyboard, including a full 88-key range, weighted keys, and large speakers for better reproduction of low tones.

The next step in a more piano-realistic direction is the Yamaha P35, which is essentially a 'bare bones" version of the Casio CDP-230. It doesn't have as many technological features as the 230 (although it does still have MIDI/USB capabilities), however, it makes up this by being the most realistic digital piano available in its price range ($549).



It has a full range of 88 weighted keys, and by doing away with processing power for hundreds of tones it has the physical space to house large, more powerful speakers, which recreate the rich bass notes of a real piano even better than it's Casio cousin. It still has all of those handy features that any pianist needs, including a built-in metronome, a number of different piano sounds from which to choose, as well as a few additional sounds like organs and strings. It is the perfect option for any pianist who wants an affordable and space-saving alternative, or who is also looking to get into computer recording, but doesn't want to substitute USB capabilities for range and weighted keys.

If you love the multiple functions of the CDP-230, but also want the realism of the P35, the best way to get the best of both worlds is with the Casio Privia PX350 ($1249).

With 88 weighted keys and large speakers for an authentic piano experience, Casio have served up some icing on the cake by including a massive amount of additional functions including MIDI/USB capability, on-board multi-track recording, keyboard splitting at any point for maximum accompaniment/multi-instrument options, sampling options, hundreds of tones, and a metronome.

Now we get into the territory of ultra-realism with Casio's two "pride and joy" digital pianos. The first of which is the Privia PX760, which has been painstakingly designed to emulate an upright piano in both tone and playing action.


Naturally, it has 88 weighted keys, but it even does away with the typically plastic keys found on most keyboard instruments, replacing them with "ivory feel" keys for further authenticity. It also has an array of techie features to keep the tech-savvy amongst us happy, including a duet function which splits the keyboard into two separate but identical ranges (particularly useful for teaching purposes), 18 tones including 2 bass split modes for self-accompaniment, reverb and chorus functions, 2-track recorder and USB/MIDI capabilities. It  comes with two headphone inputs, great for silent practice and tuition, and also includes a wide range of demo songs to showcase the piano's tone. These can then be learnt using the accompanying score.

  PX760 $995


Finally, we have Casio's crowning achievement, the AP-460. With many of the same features as its little brother the PX760, the AP-460 seeks to recreate the tone of a grand piano.


However, the AP-460 goes to the next level with its additional features! Complete with lid level options, as well as a lid you can physically lift to further emulate the effects of a grand piano's lid movements. It also has numerous settings to control "hammer response" and "string resonance". It sports some of the biggest speakers available in a digital piano, and beautifully recreates the rich, booming tone of a real piano. Furthermore, both the AP and the PX pianos come with accompanying sheet music for their demo songs, so if you find one you particularly like, you can learn it yourself!

  AP-460 - $1399


We hope that this has given you a decent footing in the often-slippery terrain that is keyboard/digital piano purchase, and if you have any further enquiries regarding these, or any other products, please don't hesitate to contact us by phone on 02 9651 7333, or by email via the contact form below.

Happy shopping from the folks at Dural Music Centre.