We all agreed that the keyboard action felt the most like an acoustic piano. It has what Casio calls “tri-sensor scaled hammer action,” which involves the use of three sensors instead of the usual two. This makes the keyboard more responsive with repeated notes because the key doesn’t need to return to its resting position before being struck again. In our testing, this seemed to allow more musicality than just the on/off trigger switch that most synthesizers use. In the transition into the second half of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, for instance, the tri-sensor action will allow you to better control the dynamics of the quickly repeated C-sharp.
In some styles of music, drummers use electronic effects on drums, such as individual noise gates that mute the attached microphone when the signal is below a threshold volume. This allows the sound engineer to use a higher overall volume for the drum kit by reducing the number of "active" mics which could produce unwanted feedback at any one time. When a drum kit is entirely miked and amplified through the sound reinforcement system, the drummer or the sound engineer can add other electronic effects to the drum sound, such as reverb or digital delay.
Over the decades, the possibilities of what a musician can do with a digital piano have grown tremendously. With technology advancing by the second, players are discovering new, innovative ways to manipulate their sound - even beyond the use of volume, expression and sustain pedals. MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was introduced in the early 1980s and allows digital pianists to connect their instrument to a computer so it can control (or be controlled by) other sequencers and instruments. MIDI digital pianos often have a disk drive to upload other MIDI data. Common effects and instruments that MIDI can offer are: tremolo, phasers, chorus, stringed instruments and drum sounds. Digital Pianos (including models with MIDI connection) are offered by many respected musical instrument brands, with Williams and Yamaha being among the most popular.
Three sounds (Grand Piano Concert, Grand Piano Modern, and Elec. Piano 1) have dedicated buttons on the control panel. Selecting any of the other 15 sounds requires the player to press the Function button and a corresponding piano key labeled with the name of the sound, such as Vibraphone or Jazz Organ. The keys used for instrument selection are in the middle of the keyboard, starting at middle C, for easy accessibility. Some other keyboards that use this selection method have the selection keys assigned to the bottom octave of the keyboard, which can make changing sounds a bit more difficult because you have to look and reach down to the far left end of the keyboard. If you have a library of sounds on your computer, the Casio Privia PX-160 can be used as a controller by connecting it to your computer via USB.
Just like the acoustic instruments they're derived from, digital pianos come in different sizes. They also offer dozens of options for your perusal, so you can weigh all kinds of factors to find the right model for you. For instance, if you're looking to pack a lot of piano into as small a space as possible, consider instruments such as the Williams Allegro 88-Key Digital Piano or the Casio CDP-120. These are fairly compact pianos, but that doesn't limit the breadth of their samples and sound settings.