Acoustic vs Digital or Electronic- Which One You Should Buy?

acoustic vs digital

Many beginners find it difficult to choose between an acoustic and a digital piano. Choosing the right one is not easy. You have to think about the cost, maintenance, sound and much more. Therefore, this article would help you in making the right decision between the two.

What is an Acoustic and What is a Digital piano?

Acoustic piano

On seeing an acoustic piano, you would remember of old school days. With the hammer and string enclosed in a wooden case. Every key is connected to the hammer and on every press, the hammer moves by striking the string that causes vibration, and thus a sound is produced.

There are two variants in this category- the grand and an upright piano. The grand piano comes with a frame and strings extended horizontally. Its longer body engulfs a larger area. Once you press and release the key, gravity persists on the key and brings it back in its resting position.

The upright piano runs vertically and has a compact body than a grand piano. When you release the key, they come in their resting position at once due to the spring mechanism. But this subjects the piano to easy wearing and tearing.

Digital piano

A modern counterpart of an acoustic piano. It comes in three variants- the brad, upright, and a portable piano. The grand piano offers a higher quality sound than the rest and with a better key mechanism. Thus, this makes it a costlier instrument and is offered by only limited manufacturers.

An upright piano is the one seen in the houses of almost every piano lover. It weighs less as compared to the acoustic upright piano.

Portable piano is the lightest of all. The exterior and keys of this variant are made of plastic. Thus, it comes with a stand rather than any legs.

Which is better?

Below are some factors discussed and on this basis, you can decide the best one for yourself.

1. Sound

This is the most important factor to look at in any instrument before purchasing. Unsurprisingly, acoustic pianos are better at producing high-quality sounds than digital ones. It gives authentic and warm music. Also, it offers great control over the expression and articulation of a musical note.

Whereas, a Digital piano only mimics the sound of an acoustic piano. The sounds being produced from a digital file lacks in producing the same acoustic nuances. However, a costlier digital piano would obviously be better than a low-quality or affordable acoustic piano.

2. Versatility

A good digital piano is way more versatile than the acoustic piano. With digital, you can produce a number of instrumental sounds that suit your music. Thus, with a keyboard, you can turn your room into a small ensemble.
The recording is another feature offered only by digital piano. For upcoming pianists, this is an advantageous option to manipulate their recordings using the software.

You can even control sound with help of a volume controller and also a headphone port is available to practice without disturbing others. All this is lacking in an acoustic piano.

Although digital pianos vary in size they are far more convenient to port than an acoustic piano.

3. Maintenance

Being a luxurious instrument, the acoustic piano requires high maintenance. The steel strings, wooden exterior are all delicate features and must be kept under proper care. Even more, it requires once or twice tuning annually and that too by a professional. All this increases the expenses and also wastes time.

Check out our article on the best digital piano brands

Furthermore, wood is sensitive to weather changes thus should be kept in a suitable environment. Whereas the digital piano does not require such high maintenance it only demands cleaning with a damp cloth to remove the dirt.

4. Touch sensitivity

The weight of the keys is the factor that creates a difference of feel between both the pianos. In an acoustic piano, a certain amount of strength is required to press the keys whereas ad digital piano requires only a gentle press to produce sounds. Some pianists thus turn down digital pianos due to a lack of weight in keys.

Nowadays, many manufacturers have introduced weighted keys in digital pianos to give an acoustic feel.

5. Pedals

Acoustic pianos are manufactured with three kinds of pedals- soft, sostenuto, and sustain pedal. Some digital pianos have the sustain pedals but some don’t offer this option. An add-on option is available but only for sustain pedals.

6. Price

Overall, an acoustic piano costs more than a digital piano. A low to mid-range acoustic costs between $1000-$3000 whereas a digital cost onwards $200.

As it goes, the resale value of an acoustic piano is higher than a digital one. although, it is difficult to gauge the resale value as it depends upon the condition and model of the piano. A digital piano depreciates quickly because many advanced models are released every year.

Therefore, if the acoustic piano is higher in price but it is a good investment option for the long run.

Difference Between an Acoustic and Digital piano

A comprise the difference between acoustic and digital piano is recorded in the following table:

Point of comparison Acoustic piano Digital piano
Sound quality (of the same grade) Warmer and authentic sound Sample sound. Not authentic
Tuning Requires tuning by a professional once or twice in a year No tuning required
Maintenance Needs to be placed in a suitable environment No maintenance
Price Expensive Less expensive
Resale value Higher resale value. A good investment Value depreciates at a fast pace
Touch sensitivity Better control for musical tones Lack sensitive to touch due to low weighted keys
Pedals 3 pedals 1 or no pedals
Extras No extra features Availability of recording output and volume controllers
Space Requires a large space Requires less space
Portability Difficult to port Easily ported to places
Power source No power source required Runs on batteries or plug-in adapter

We hope that you now have understood which one you should buy, an acoustic or digital piano. Especially, If you are a learner and want to buy a piano for learning, then I will suggest you go for the digital piano. They are easy to understand and affordable as well compared to the acoustic pianos.

Good Luck!

Related Readings:

  1. What kind of Piano Should You Buy – Digital or Acoustic?
  2. How to clean the piano keyboard?
  3. Review of 5 digital pianos for stage performances 
Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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