Digital piano: Casio Privia PX-S3000 vs Casio Privia PX-S1000
The trend towards smart, inexpensive, space-saving, and easily transportable piano replacement, which also looks stylish, is increasing not least because of the increasingly scarce urban living space – the two Casio Privia models PX-S1000 and PX-S3000 are just right.
The outside is an eye-catcher: There are hardly any buttons and controls, instead, a smooth, shiny black surface defines the scene. With the dimensions of 132.2 x 23.2 x 10.2 cm, the two models have shrunk by more than 60% in volume compared to their predecessors – in height and depth they appear narrower than the competition, and with 11.2 and They are 11.4 kilos below the 12 kg lightweight limit. I ask myself: is that at the expense of the hammer keyboard and its weighting? To what extent can the speakers that take up less space still produce around sound? How is the ease of use given the tidy surface?
When contacting the instrument for the first time, it is positive that the keyboard has a good grip and offers sufficient resistance with the weighted hammer keyboard. The corrugated, roughened surface ensures a good grip on the keys – I liked that straight away. A new, shortened keyboard was also developed for these two models, so that even in the smaller housing there is still enough space for the two speakers that radiate to the rear, i.e. not up or down as usual. Two inconspicuous slots above the keyboard also allow additional sound to the front of the player. The arrangement of the speakers has advantages and disadvantages: If the pianos are used to provide sound to listeners, they will get the direct (optimal) sound, while the performing artist sits a little in the sound shadow. When the pianos are against the wall in the living room, the reflected sound waves are still “scalded warm” and even more authentic than when the loudspeakers irradiate a sound-absorbing floor. In addition, the Casio developers have given the two PX-S models an additional psychoacoustic sound enhancement in the form of “Surround”, more on that later.
Two headphone outputs (mini-jack) at the front and two jack sockets (line-out) on the back, as well as a mini-jack line-in, ensure further acoustic connections to the outside world – and those who want it without cables can use the speakers of the two Privia via Bluetooth (5.0) Control models – the Bluetooth interface cannot be used to establish a MIDI connection. Two USB sockets are available on the one hand for connecting to a computer / mobile phone/tablet and on the other hand for plugging in a USB stick for recording and playing MIDI or audio song data (WAV). A MIDI In / Out for the connection to other sound generators was saved, but that’s m. E. a feature that you would rather expect on a stage piano.
A damper pedal and an assignable / expression can also be connected. A simple sustain switch is included. Another connection is for a pedal unit with three pedals (including half-step detection). This can be ordered as a special accessory, as can a sturdy bag with two outside pockets, in which e.g. B. also fits the supplied music holder. A small external 12-volt power pack is included, alternatively, battery operation with AA batteries is possible (rechargeable batteries cannot be used).
How does it sound
A digital piano is m. E. First and foremost a piano, and that’s why the piano sound is of primary interest. It is available in different versions, the three main versions of the grand piano “Concert”, “Bright” and “Mellow” differ in terms of the brilliance and muted sound. The sound is appealing, balanced, and natural, the overall sound is transparent and clear even at full volume – nothing is distorted. A little caution is advised in the high registers, which sound a bit dominant. The sound can be played dynamically differentiated, and the volume is easily sufficient for a living room, it should also belong for small choir practice.
A little excursion into practice: As a complainer on duty, I had the impression after a while that the preferred concert variant sounds a little too muted, while the bright piano might sound a little too bright and sharp for certain applications. No problem for the PX-S3000: With the help of the brilliance parameter, the sound impression can be effectively changed by ± 3 units in the direction of light or muted. If you want more details, you can call up an equalizer for the DSP effects and select and adjust the uncomfortable or underexposed frequency if necessary – that is a special luxury in this price range. However, the brilliance parameter was enough for me, which can even be accessed directly by the player: there are two controls on the left above the small pitch wheel. to which various functions can be assigned, e.g. B. also reverberation and brilliance – very good! In addition to the DSP effects, there are eight reverb and twelve chorus types onboard. Many other effects are also available, including 100 DSP effects.
That is not all: The touch dynamics can be adjusted in five stages, and adjustable virtual parameters such as key, hammer, and key-off noises as well as string and damper resonance are available – you would not have expected that in this price range. That’s a decent amount of adjustment options, and it would be annoying if they all disappeared after turning it off. To prevent this from happening, all settings can be stored in 24 banks of 4 areas each (program memory) in the registration memory and are therefore available at the push of a button. The quality of the piano sounds in connection with the very good touch dynamics and the keyboard, which is also easy to play, belongs to m. E. to the best that is currently offered in this price range.
I had already discussed the indirect speaker arrangement: With the help of the sound mode switch, in addition to the reverb effect, which is also activated with this button, a surround effect can be called up «. The result is clearly audible and basically good – but there are “side effects” in the form of certain “sharp” frequencies, the brilliance may have to be reduced here, or you can call up the second, somewhat more subtle surround setting.
The other sounds on a digital piano are ranked in order of importance. The expectant user may play no more and no less than 700 sounds. With the close relatives of the piano, the electric pianos, the basic sound is e.g. For example, the Dynamic EP or 60’s E-Piano is good, but I lack the dynamic leeway that inspired me with the piano sounds – only when you reach into the keys quite firmly does a second sample switch on, which has the hoped-for change in sound brings.
The choice of sounds is varied and lush, but not a few sounds seem to come from old libraries, and these correspond to m. E. Only partially the current standards – a critical selection is necessary. When viewing the sound, it is helpful that the individual sound groups within a category can be stepped through quickly by pressing the instrument switch again.
When it comes to organ sounds, I would like to give you the tip to work with the somewhat simpler organs like Click Organ and then pound and save them yourself with chorus and / or vibrato.
The pitch wheel, the two editable controls, and the large volume wheel are the only bumps on the flat surface – the lettering and virtual switches only start to glow on the black surface after power is supplied and reveal their identity – it looks stylish, especially in the twilight. And the whole thing also has a benefit for the player: depending on the selected operating mode, only the information and parameters that are currently relevant are illuminated. Pay attention: Do not tap on the names, but on the respective input fields with the two lines. The values and names of the instruments are shown on the display.
The operating modes are set as follows: The left button (Rhythm) next to the volume wheel switches between the settings for rhythm (drums), Accompagnement (automatic accompaniment), and song for recording and playing audio and MIDI songs. The second toggle switch is in the Exit and Function column: Here the following four modes can be stepped through: sound selection, rhythm selection, controller (see below), and registration.
Example: If a layered sound is to be called up, the function switch is tapped twice and you are in controller mode. Where the names piano, e-piano, etc. shone, you can now read DSP, Transpose, Knob, Arpegg., Split, and Layer. After pressing the Layer switch, the function button returns to the illuminated instrument names for the sound selection. After a little getting used to, the operation is clear – the Chordana app opens up another operating option – see below.
It should also be noted that the two switches “Sound Mode” and “Function” do not just serve as toggle switches: If you hold them down for a little longer, they lead directly to the settings for reverb and surround or to the virtual piano sounds.
The sounds can be organized as “Whole”, “Layer”, “Split” and “Layer + Split”, and there is also a “Duet” mode with a split keyboard for educational applications. With over 200 drum rhythms, 200 auto-accompaniment styles (six chord input modes), and 100 arpeggio presets, a rich arsenal of fellow players is available. Intros, endings, fill-in, and variation switches ensure that the PX-S3000 can also perform the tasks of a keyboard.
Five songs with three tracks each can be recorded on the MIDI recorder. The audio recorder can manage 99 recorded WAV songs on a connected USB stick; Registrations and MIDI songs can also be transferred to these. And with that, all the little goodies are fully mentioned …
The PX-S1000 has to do without functions such as automatic accompaniment, drum rhythms, and arpeggiator. The 18 sounds are selected by holding down the grand piano key and playing one of the lower piano keys, which immediately reproduce the desired sound. The grand piano sounds slightly different than the PX-S3000, which is probably due to a slightly different basic equalizer setting because the keyboard and speaker system are identical. Layer and Duet Split are possible, but there is one limitation with the regular split: only a bass sound is available for the lower sound.
Audio recording is not possible here, but there is a two-track MIDI sequencer for a song as well as the ability to playback songs via Bluetooth via the speakers. The five velocity settings, the surround mode, and the virtual sound effects correspond to the larger model. The PX-S1000 is therefore primarily aimed at the “pure” pianists and editing enthusiasts.
The Chordana For Piano app for iOS and Android, which can be downloaded for free, is another interesting application option. Installation and connection went smoothly on my Android tablet. In the »Piano Remote Controller« menu there are convenient editing options for the selection, volume, and octave of the main, layer, and split sounds – from here you can also control the effects, pedal assignment, and much more. The changes are immediately passed on to the PX-S models via USB and can be saved there in the registrations (PX-S3000). A second application concerns the songs: the MIDI player can be used to play the many MIDI demo and practice songs; the tones are visualized on a music roll and using illuminated piano keys. By switching off the tracks for the left and right hand, There are useful practice aids for setting A and B markers for practice loops, changing the tempo and pitch (transpose). The grades are also available as PDFs, so this app becomes a virtual music book with useful educational options. I don’t want to leave unmentioned a little icing on the cake: In the app, the connected pedal can be used to turn the pages of the notes – clever!
The audio player enables the playback of audio data (including MP3s). The speakers of the PX models can be used for listening via Bluetooth or mini jack cables. The songs can be changed in pitch and speed by ± 3 units, and practice loops can be defined by setting A and B markers. Last but not least, the app displays the operating instructions, which are also included in printed form.
The PX-S3000, in particular, is extremely flexible in terms of equipment (including automatic accompaniment and rhythms), editing options, various connections, and registration memories. Both models in this price range are convincing in the two main criteria of piano sound and keyboard. Those who are only interested in the piano sound and the basic layer and split options are well served with the PX-S1000, especially since the operation of both models benefits from the free app “Chordana For Piano”.