When playing to a live audience, a pianist or keyboard player needs a top-end stage piano that allows them to play with expression and character. Playability and sound quality are the two most important attributes of a quality stage piano.
With so many options available, it can be hard to identify the best stage pianos in this day and age. To simplify the process, I’ve created this list of premium quality keyboards so you’ll have no problem choosing the one which best suits your requirements on stage.
Best Stage Pianos - My Top Picks
Table of Contents
- Best Stage Pianos - My Top Picks
- What Makes A Great Stage Piano?
1. Nord Stage 3
The Stage 3 is the fifth generation of Nord’s acclaimed Stage Series, featuring an enhanced piano section, a newly designed effects unit, and the legendary lead synth with organ engines.
This premium stage piano is stacked with useful functions. Firstly, Nord’s signature weighted hammer keys give you complete control over the sensitivity. They’re so responsive and soft underhand that you could mistake them for a grand piano.
Not only is the Stage 3 extremely playable, but it also comes with three extensive sound engines. There’s a long list of authentic sounding pianos, organs and synth sounds to choose from. Another added bonus is this keyboard’s ability to load two of each instrument at once.
With over 2GB of memory dedicated to sounds from the Nord Piano Library, you won’t get bored of the array of sounds there is to choose from. You can customize the Stage 3’s arsenal of sounds or simply use the provided presets.
Another useful addition is the OLED displays for the program and synth sections. The illuminated controls make it easy to navigate even on a darkened stage, so you can quickly switch through the sounds.
With two high-power sound engines, smooth playability and detailed controller functionality, the Roland RD-2000 has everything a keyboardist could want from a stage piano.
The RD2000’s natural piano sounds are due to the latest V-Piano research, a highly sophisticated technology dedicated to the evolution of digital pianos. The result is a fully polyphonic keyboard which is crammed with authentic acoustic piano sounds.
The choice of sounds doesn’t stop there, though. There’s also a separate SuperNATURAL sound engine installed which provides you with over 1100 more sounds stretching across a variety of musical genres.
Roland has also been generous with the number of on-board processing effects. With a 24-bit USB audio/midi interface, you can hook the RD-2000 up to your favorite DAW and use it as a hub for production and songwriting purposes.
To top it all off, the keyboard is impressively playable. The authentic hammer action and escapement allow all of the slight nuances that are exclusive to you as an individual keyboardist shine through. There’s also an advanced sensor mechanism for added responsiveness.
The Casio Privia PX-3000 is a well-priced stage piano which has a fairly minimalistic design. With Casio’s renowned playability, the PX-3000 has many authentic sounding piano patches to choose from. In total, there are 700 onboard tones to keep you busy!
These sounds range from strings to vibraphones, so you won’t be short of options when playing this stage piano. Along with the extensive number of sounds, there’s also 200 rhythms installed into the PX-3000’s memory which sound realistic and studio-ready.
I’m usually skeptical of the drum sounds that are included with keyboards and electric pianos, but the quality of the Privia’s selection is surprisingly good. There’s a bunch of acoustic drum kits, vintage drum machine samples and other percussion instruments to choose from.
In terms of connectivity, you can link the PX-3000 keyboard up to a Mac, PC, iOS or Android device without the need for additional drivers. This makes it a great tool in the recording studio as well as the stage, as it can be used as a master controller for your DAW.
The advantage of a keyboard that isn’t crammed with additional controls is the less bulky size. The Privia PX-3000 is lightweight and compact, making it the perfect companion for a touring keyboardist. At less than 25lbs in weight, it’s not overly strenuous to transport.
It was only a matter of time before stage piano legends Korg made their way onto this list, with their truly beautiful Grandstage. The detail of this keyboard is astonishing, with seven sounds engines included.
As you’d expect from Korg, the keys have weighted hammer action and are responsive under your fingers. This produces a realistic, effortless feel that translates well from piano to keyboard.
There’s a master effects channel which can be used to add a touch of reverb, delay, or EQ to the sounds. With three organ sound engines, you get access to pretty much every organ related sound you can think of.
The Korg Grandstage is packed with a total of 500 sound programs. These range from analog synths to acoustic guitars, and are all samples of the highest quality genuine instruments.
The EP-1 electric piano engine is particularly noteworthy. It utilizes multi-dimensional synthesis which allows you to manipulate and customize the six electric pianos to your taste. This is great for musicians who prefer to add their signature sonic touch to the patches.
5. Kurzweil PC4
The PC4 by Kurzweil boasts a huge 6-operator FM engine, a 16 track sequencer and an updated version of the respected V.A.S.T synthesis technology. With 256-voice polyphony and built-in synth workstation, it’s a great option for performers and songwriters alike.
The PC4 promotes hands-on control in real-time, thanks to the intuitive user interface. The controls are visible and clear, illuminated by a 4.3 inch color LCD display which is positioned above six soft keys.
If you’re the kind of keyboardist who loves to tweak the tones and sounds of your instrument, you’ll love the 36 programmable physical controllers provided by the PC4. There’s a tone of effects and processing options for you to choose from.
With a total of 2GB factory sample content and the potential for the same amount of user storage, there’s a deep reservoir of sounds to incorporate into your songs. The 16-track sequencer caps off this brilliant stage piano.
6. Yamaha CP300
The CP range has been one of Yamaha’s most loved groups of instruments since the first production back in 1976. In the decades that followed, they’ve consistently improved the line, and the CP300 is the result of those years of experimentation and learning.
The acoustic piano sounds you get with the CP300 are incredibly realistic sounding. There’s something about Yamaha’s sound library that sets them apart from the majority of other manufacturers, and that is especially apparent on this model.
To go along with the classic instrument library, Yamaha meticulously recorded samples of certain musical subtleties to make the sounds even more authentic. These include string resonance, stereo sustain, and key-off samples that reproduce the dampened effect of muting the piano strings.
Another thing that makes this keyboard a perfect stage piano is the panel lock feature. If you’ve ever been in that awful situation where another musician changes the settings in your keyboard, you’ll be comforted by the CP300's ability to lock all of the controls to avoid this from occurring.
The Privia Pro PX-560 is a compact stage keyboard with ebony and ivory-textured keys. Featuring many of the sounds of its highly popular predecessor the PX-55, Casio have taken the Privia range to new heights by making some useful additions.
With built-in speakers that allow you to play with no amplification, this stage piano is a great tool for practicing and songwriting in an intimate setting. When you take it onto the stage, it has all of the capabilities needed to put on a show.
Featuring 256 note polyphony, damper resonance control and hammer response, the PX-560 provides a good level of playing comfort. There are 220 presets and 30 user rhythms, furthering the keyboard’s impressive output. It can also be connected to a PC or MAC via USB or standard MIDI.
It wasn’t until recently that I was made aware of Studiologic, with a few of my musician friends speaking highly of their affordable keyboards. The appropriately named Numa Compact 2 isn’t covered in controls and knobs, but there’s a charm to this simplicity.
One thing that this stage piano doesn’t lack is built-in sound presets. With 1GB of high quality patches powered by two studio-grade audio engines, you get basically any acoustic piano tone you can imagine, and more.
The 88-note keybed provides a nice touch and good sensitivity, with semi-weighted keys instead of hammer action alternatives. This characteristic will suit keyboardists who have learned playing predominantly on MIDI keyboards which aren’t fully weighted like a standard piano.
The built-in speakers are ideal for quick jams or laying down an idea while on the road. There’s also a TRS headphone output so you can practice your scales in silence without disturbing anyone.
If you are multi-talented and like to produce music alongside playing live shows, the Numa Compact 2 has great MIDI controller credentials. The two programmable zones allow you to split and layer sounds with ease, perfect for building beats in the studio.
For such an affordable, compact keyboard, it’s remarkable how many features are included. To top it off, there are a pair of interesting metal stick controllers which control pitch bend and modulation too.
The Nord Stage 3 Compact is a 73-key stage keyboard which crams all of the extensive controls you’d expect from a Nord instruments into a smaller housing. This instrument produces outstanding sound quality and is wonderful to play.
With Nord’s semi-weighted waterfall keybed, you will struggle to prize yourself away from the Stage 3 Compact. The sound quality is provided by the highly respected Nord C2D Engine with an advanced piano section and a bunch of interesting effects.
You get access to a selection of piano, organ, and synthesizer sounds which can be edited using the individual controls. With two independent instrument slots, you are able to load two pianos, organs, or synths simultaneously to create huge-sounding layers.
The extensive Nord Piano Library is also at your fingertips with the Stage 3 Compact. With 2GB of memory dedicated to these high quality presets, you can load up the keyboard with your preferred sounds and have great fun identifying them.
To add the finishing touches to this premium quality stage piano, Nord has included 2 LED displays for clear visibility and a pair of physical drawbars to control your organ tone and a set list-saving song mode for live performances.
10. Yamaha YC61
Based upon charismatic vintage combo organs, the YC61 brings those retro instruments into a modern, gig-ready format. This analog organ emulator is filled with additional instrument voices and a great selection of onboard effects.
Where playability is concerned, the YC61 doesn’t disappoint. With a 61-key waterfall-style keyboard and a rounded front edge design, you can really get into the keys and play aggressively without it sounding mechanical.
At the foundation of the YC61 is Yamaha’s Virtual Circuit Modeling. This organ engine produces a realistic representation of Yamaha’s classic organs for razor-sharp tonal accuracy. The overall sound is filled with vintage character and authenticity.
The intuitive drawbar controls can be used to invent your own sounds by manipulating certain elements of the presets. When you combine this feature with the built-in effects controls, you can create some truly unique tones with the YC61.
11. Kurzweil SP6
If you’re looking for a stage keyboard which is focused on producing the best feel possible, the SP6 by Kurzweil might be the option for you. Whether you’re playing intimate acoustic piano pieces or heavy lead-synth lines, this instrument will suffice.
The 88-key hammer action weighted keys make chord playing effortless. You have complete control over the emotion and expression of your playing with this stage piano. On top of the playability, the quality of the built-in sounds is also worth mentioning.
With a selection of acoustic concert pianos such as a Japanese C7, German D and Triple Strike, you get natural sounding tones across the board. There’s also a range of electric piano, celeste, harpsichord, and clavinet sounds installed in the SP6’s internal memory.
The onboard multi-FX engine allows you to add touches of reverb, delay or chorus to your preferred sounds. The eight arpeggiators can be used to create distinctive rhythmic patterns with the 2GB of high quality sounds that are included with this stage keyboard.
The SP6 has dynamically allocated polyphony, meaning there’s no danger of the notes dropping off when maximum polyphony is reached. Say for example, when you’re playing layer upon layer of sounds with multiple effects added on, the SP6 chooses which voices should be negated in order to preserve the overall sound structure.
12. Dexibell VIVO S1
The VIVO S1 by Dexibell is the final stage piano on our list. This slimline keyboard is powered by Dexibell’s patented T2L modeling sound engine which delivers the authentic responsiveness of a grand piano.
With a set of 68 light-weighted keys, the VIVO S1 makes a great MIDI controller in the studio in addition to its on-stage capabilities. Its studio-ready nature is furthered by the addition of 4 MIDI zones and 3 pedal inputs.
The S1 really shines when it comes to the finer details of acoustic piano. Thanks to the CORTEX-Quadcore T2L technology, you can layer accurate resonances that are brimming with articulation.
The powerful CPU is capable of processing an impressive total of 320 digital oscillators. This means that the polyphony is pretty much unlimited, and all of the characteristics of an individual sound can be expressed with the VIVO S1.
As I mentioned eariler, the detailed response of this stage keyboard is top quality. This is down to the high-end Italian design by Dexibell, and the high resolution T2L sound engine which produces waveforms that are about 3 and 15 times longer than those of a typical digital piano instrument.
What Makes A Great Stage Piano?
A top quality stage piano needs to have an extensive number of quality effects built in so that you can create atmosphere on stage. Some models come equipped with a limited number of reverbs and EQ controls, whereas others a filled with more extreme processing options like chorus, phasers or flangers.
The great thing about investing in a premium quality stage piano is that it doubles up as a highly valuable tool in the recording studio. With USB and MIDI connectivity, you are able to use the keyboard to play VST plugins, with all of the expressive qualities that a stage piano offers.
High Quality Processor
It’s important to look out for a stage piano that has powerful processor and is powered by a good number of audio engines. This is especially necessary if you like to add a lot of effects to your tracks, or layer sounds on top of each other. The Polyphony rating is a good indicator of the keyboard’s capabilities.
In my opinion, a new keyboard is one of the most rewarding instruments you can purchase. This is because the period of discovering all of the built-in functions can really inspire you creatively, as each model is unique in terms of layout and capabilities.
This list of reviews was written to provide you with all of the information required to make an informed choice. In truth, all of the options are highly recommendable, so I’m sure you’ll be happy with whatever decision you make.
Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy experimenting and creating music with your new instrument!