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Casio PX-870 Review 

 December 7, 2021

By  Zen Chung

Casio Privia PX-870 Digital Piano - Black Bundle with Furniture Bench,...
  • 88 scaled, weighted hammer-action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures
  • Stunning new piano sound with detailed resonance, plus 18 other Tones
  • Powerful new Sound Projection 4-speaker system
  • Versatile recording, practice, and performance tools
  • Stylish, modern wooden cabinet with sliding key cover

Casio is, without a doubt, one of the leading digital piano brands in the world. Casio digital pianos offer some of the best key action and sound engines across. Over the years, the Privia PX line has become increasingly popular in providing an authentic grand piano experience, which brings us to their new flagship model: The Casio PX 870.

Flagship models are generally the cream of any manufacturer's product line, and the Privia 870 is indeed no exception. It's a successor of the PX-860 model with plenty of improvements to provide the natural feel, sound and power of a traditional grand piano. That includes a new 4-layer piano sound, a redesigned speaker system, plus some additional cool features never seen before in digital pianos.

What Can You Expect from the Casio PX-870?

Key Features

  • First-rate grand piano experience
  • 88 scaled, weighted hammer-action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures
  • Superb piano sound with detailed resonance, including 18 additional ones
  • Powerful 4-speaker system sound projection
  • Versatile recording, practice and performance tools
  • Sleek, modern wooden cabinet with sliding key cover

Specifications

Keyboard:

  • Number of keys: 88
  • Action: Tri-sensor scaled
  • Key size: Full
  • Aftertouch / Velocity: Velocity
  • Key Type: Piano-style

Sounds:

  • Number of Instrument Sounds: 19 (5 pianos)
  • Polyphony (max): 256
  • Acoustic SimulatorString Resonance, Key Off Simulator, Lid Simulator, Key On/Off Action Noise, Damper Resonance, Hammer Response
  • Modes: Split (Low-Range; only bass tone), Dual, Duet (Duo) Play
  • Layers: Yes
  • Split: Yes

Connectivity:

  • AUX input: No
  • MIDI connectivity: Over USB
  • Line output: Yes
  • USB Connectivity: Yes
  • Headphone jacks: 1
  • Pedal inputs: Connector for 3-pedal
  • Storage type: USB
  • Expandability available: No

Onboard Features:

  • Metronome, Transpose, Fine-tuning, Octave shift
  • Temperament: 17 types
  • Recording/Playback two-track sequencer
  • Accompaniment styles: N/A
  • Preset Songs: 60
  • Display: Panel
  • Effects: Reverb and chorus
  • Built-in speakers: 2-way, 4 speakers 2x20W
  • Pitch bend/Modulation: No

Other:

  • Width: 54.75 in.
  • Height: 31.5 in.
  • Depth: 11.75 in.
  • Weight: 76 lbs.
  • Power adapter: Included
  • Batteries: Not applicable
  • Stand or bench included: Stand

Who is the PX-870 for? 

Not all keyboards are made equal and for all pianists. Manufacturers build keyboards with specific players in mind. That said, the Privia PX-870 is mainly suitable for beginner and intermediate piano players; first, for the price range and second, for the premium features highly focused on the piano playing experience.

It's an excellent practicing and performing keyboard, thanks to the 4-layer piano sound, 256-note max polyphony, new instrument sounds and the stunning ivory/ebony keytops. However, it doesn't come with tonnes of sounds, accompaniment and rhythm models, so it might not be the absolute best for making music.

The question follows then, is the Casio PX-870 a perfect fit for you? Let's dive into the in-depth review to help you determine if this is the ideal instrument to bring out the great musician in you.

1. Design

The Casio Privia PX-870 is a furniture-style digital piano with a full-range 88 keys keyboard and 3 piano pedals. It comes in an outstanding and stylish design, which makes it match perfectly with your home decor. Both color choices, black and white, look spectacularly elegant, more so with the wooden texture finish. Moreover, the fiberboard pressed wood gives this digital piano a premium look.

The minimal modern design means it's much slimmer, with a depth of only 11.75 inches, so it can easily fit into tight spaces. As a result, it doesn't require as much room as a conventional acoustic piano. However, it's quite heavy, weighing around 76 lbs when fully assembled, compromising its portability.

The PX-870 has a slightly redesigned cabinet with fewer seams. Rather than an opening lid on top, this model comes with a long narrow speaker grill that forms part of the new sound projection speaker system. However, Casio retained the pull-out keyboard cover to protect the keys from dust and dirt. This sliding key cover also adds to the piano's overall minimal aesthetics.

This digital piano comes with 3 pedals: sustain, soft and sostenuto. The sustain pedal can also support half-pedal operation, meaning it responds even when the pedal is partly pressed down, the same as a damper pedal on an acoustic piano.

The entire control panel is at the left end of the piano, giving it a neat and uncluttered look. There are eight buttons for sounds and functions, and you can access various functions with key+function action. However, it lacks a display, so you only hear a beep sound when changing the functions.

The music rest is consistent with the piano's style, equally slim and modern. It's detachable and can also be folded or adjusted at different angles. The music rest is fairly wide and can hold around three pages at a go. However, it's relatively short, which can be challenging when you want to hold up printed sheet music. As such, an A4 paper tends to fold on the upper half when placed on the music rest.

Finally, it comes in a large box with all the parts (keyboard, base, music rest, etc.) stacked inside. Assembling the PX-870 is relatively straightforward; all you need is a screwdriver and the instructions manual. The entire process should take you around 30 to 45 minutes. While you can assemble the whole thing on your own, it would be easier with a helping hand considering the weight.

2. Keyboard

Like all the other digital pianos from the Privia series, the PX-870 features Casio's trademark Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II with 88 full-size keys. That means the keyboard employs actual hammers to fully recreate the touch and feel of an acoustic piano.

This new digital piano features an accurate triple-sensor key detection system. This feature allows for faster note repetition and delivers an incredibly smooth and responsive playing experience. The keyboard is also graded, which means the keys are weighted differently. They feel heavier on the low-end and gradually become lighter on the higher-end, like an acoustic piano.

Furthermore, the keys are touch-sensitive. Therefore, the volume changes depending on how hard or soft you hit the keys. It has 3 preset touch-sensitivity settings so that you can tweak around the level of sensitivity to suit your playing preferences:

  • The soft setting does not alter the sound too much when you hit the keys.
  • The hard setting offers a broader dynamic range, from incredibly soft pianissimo to thunderous fortissimo, meaning you'll have to hit the keys pretty hard to produce the loudest sound.
  • The medium setting is the default and comes off as the more natural piano sound.

But you can also turn off the piano's touch sensitivity so that the volume remains constant regardless of how soft or hard you hit the keys.

The keys are made of plastic with ivory and ebony texturing on top. This surface offers significantly better grip and moisture absorption to give you more playing control. Therefore, you don't have to worry about sweaty fingers spoiling your notes.

3. Interface

The Casio PX-870 interface is pretty simple and easy to access. It has eight switches to access the sounds and features such as the metronome and recording. That also includes a master volume knob.

And each key goes with its own tags to render the interface, making it even easier for you to navigate. However, the interface does not include a display, which can be a downside for some people. But it produces beep sounds that inform you which choice you have chosen or the function you are on at the moment. You can hear one, two, three, or four beeps, depending on the specific choice.

4. Sound

The sound quality on the PX-870 is a massive upgrade from its predecessors. It uses the Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source, which provides realistic, high-quality sound samples from a concert grand acoustic piano. In addition, the increased memory capacity and lossless audio compression feature allow for rich, detailed sound with excellent accuracy.

The PX-870 doesn't come with hundreds of sounds, but each of its 19 built-in sounds sound perfectly natural and authentic. These include:

  • 5 Grand Pianos (Concert, Mellow, Bright, Modern, Rock, Jazz)
  •  4 Electric Pianos
  •  4 Organs (Pipe, Jazz, 2 Electric Organs)
  •  2 Strings
  •  Harpsichord
  •  Vibraphone
  •  Bass (Lower)

But more significantly, the PX-870 comes with the all-new 4-layer piano tone. It's impressively rich and smooth with natural decay, making this piano an absolute pleasure to play. Plus, the sound engine also includes flagship features such as string resonance, lid simulator, damper resonance, key-off simulator, and adjustable hammer response.

String Resonance simulates resonance for each of the piano's 88 keys. This is aimed at producing an authentic piano sound to make it richer and fuller. The PX-870 allows you to adjust string resonance to your musical preference with up to 4 different settings: Suppressed, Slightly Suppressed, Reverberation and Strong Reverberation.

Lid Simulator simulates the changes in sound associated with opening and closing a grand piano's lid. Similarly, there are four settings to choose from: Lid Closed, Lid Slightly Opened, Lid Fully Open and Lid Removed.

Key-Off Simulator changes the tone of the sound depending on how fast your fingers leave the keys. As such, slow key release produces longer reverberation than fast key release. The PX-870 can also reproduce Key-On and Key-Off action noises.

Adjustable Hammer Response settings allow you to change the time variation between when you play a particular note and how it actually sounds. You can also tweak the sound further using other available audio effects, such as reverberation and chorus.

Hall Simulator allows you to recreate the acoustics of playing in different performance venues, like the Dutch Church, French Cathedral, Berlin Hall and Standard Hall. How cool is that?

4.1 Polyphony

Polyphony represents the number of notes a digital piano can produce simultaneously. The PX-870 has 256-note polyphony, a range that's unmatched by any of its competitors at the price range. This is more than sufficient to play the most complex music pieces, including those with fast passages and multiple layered sounds, without exhausting notes.

Generally, most pianists require 128 to 192-note polyphony for most cases. Therefore, with up to 256 notes, you can play and progress on the PX-870 without ever needing to upgrade for years to come.

4.2 Speakers

The PX-870 features a new 40W sound projection system comprising four speakers (2 x 4 cm + 2 x 12cm). This allows the sound to come from different angles; the top, above the keys and under the keyboard. The powerful speaker system can deliver sounds nearly as loud as a grand piano, giving you a natural and realistic listening experience.

The piano also delivers an incredibly vast dynamic range, from very soft pianissimo to extremely loud fortissimo. In fact, the sound projection system fills a large room effortlessly, meaning you can put up a performance for your family or friends without using external speakers. Suffice it to say, the sound system and quality are amazing and unmatched by any other digital pianos at the price range.

5. Play Features

Unlike many of its competitors, the Privia PX-870 mainly focuses on the piano experience. As such, its resources are meted out to the features that actually matter and make a difference. What does this entail?

5.1. Modes

There are three main playing modes on the PX-870:

5.1.1 Dual Mode

This digital piano allows you to layer two individual sounds so that they sound at the same time. For instance, you can combine an electric piano with a harp or a piano tone with strings. Bass (lower) is the only sound that can't be layered. Furthermore, you can adjust the volume balance between the sounds to achieve various effects.

5.1.2 Split Mode

In some digital pianos, Split Mode allows you to divide the keyboard into two sections and play a different sound from each. The PX-870 lacks this feature, but when you apply the Bass (Lower) tone, it's automatically assigned to the left side (lower range) of the keyboard, allowing you to choose other sounds for the right side (higher range).

5.1.3 Duet Mode

Duet mode divides the keyboard into two equal sections with similar octave ranges and two middle C's. Essentially, it's as if you are using two pianos. This mode is quite useful when two people are playing the piano. For example, a teacher can play tunes on the left side, while a student seated next to them can follow along on the right side, practically playing the same notes simultaneously.

5.2 Concert Play

The PX-870 also features a unique and amazing feature known as Concert Play. It allows you to play your music along with actual recordings of a live orchestra. On the surface, this might come off as a gimmick, but the ten available tunes sound incredibly beautiful and realistic.

Before using this feature, you can start practicing the piano part of Concert Play. You can practice each hand separately, say, play the right-hand part while listening to the left-hand's playback. More so, you can find the piano part scores in the sheet music book that comes with the piano.

5.3 Music Library

The PX-870's music library includes 60 built-in songs. You can use them for practice, where you play along working at the left and right-hand parts individually. Furthermore, the improved internal memory allows you to load up and record up to 10 MIDI songs (SMF format 0 or 1) and use them in the same way.

Alternatively, you can also download free MIDI songs from sites such as FreeMidi, MidiWorld to your music library and use them for practice.

5.4 Recording and Playback

The audio recording function on the Privia PX-870 lets you record your performances onboard in two ways:

5.4.1 MIDI Recording

This records the MIDI data (note sequence, velocity, etc.) rather than the sound itself. The piano enables you to record one 2-track song in its internal memory. You can then listen to the recorded track's playback while recording the other one.

For instance, you can record the left and right-hand parts on separate tracks then play them back together as one song. Alternatively, you can also turn off one track to practice each hand's part individually.

You can also turn on the playback of the first recording when you're recording the second track. However, the PX-870 can only store a single song at a time, so the next recording deletes all the previously recorded data. Therefore, you'll have to save your recordings externally, say on a flash drive, if you want to keep more songs. Then, you can load them back into the piano when necessary.

5.4.2 Audio (WAV) Recording

Audio recording captures the actual sound of the digital piano. The PX-870 enables you to record performances in WAV format (Stereo, Linear PCM, 16bit, and 44.1 kHz). Furthermore, you can save these recordings to a flash drive without the need for any special equipment. This allows you to play the recordings back on virtually any smart device, share them with your friends and even burn them to a CD.

It's worth noting that both formats, MIDI (SMF 0/1) and Audio (WAV), can be played directly

5.5 Other Functions

The PX-870 also comes with two new features on the Privia line: Headphone Mode and Volume Sync EQ.

  • Headphone Mode enhances the piano tone to create the spacious sound field of an acoustic piano. This gives you a more enjoyable and immersive sound experience.
  • Volume Sync EQ balances sound at low volume levels so that notes in both low and high registers are clean and sound perfectly natural.

5.5.1 Metronome

This PX-870 includes a metronome with time-signature, adjustable tempo and volume. It's a massively useful tool as it'll help you practice playing at a steady tempo while also improving your time-keeping skills.

5.5.2 Temperament

This digital piano allows you to change the temperament from Standard Equal Temperament to any of the 16 temperaments on the PX-870. Standard Equal Temperament is the default tuning for most modern instruments. The option of changing temperament allows you to switch to so-called historical temperaments, making the PX-870 more suitable for playing classical, Arabic, Indian pieces, etc., than other digital pianos.

5.5.3 Transpose, Tuning, Octave Shift

The PX-870 comes with three functions for changing the pitch of the instrument:

  • Transpose allows you to raise or lower the pitch of the whole keyboard in semitone increments. This comes in handy when you are playing a song written in a challenging key, or you simply want to hear a song in a different key while still playing the same keys, i.e., without changing your fingering.
  • Tuning lets you adjust the piano's pitch in 0.1Hz increments from the standard A440. This comes in handy when you need to match another instrument's or singer's pitch.
  • Finally, Octave Shift allows you to change the pitch in octave units across the entire frequency range.

6. Connectivity

The PX-870 comes with the following connectors:

6.1 Phone Standard Stereo Jacks

The front of the piano houses two 1/4" stereo jacks that you can use to plug in headphones and practice at whatever time of the day without being a bother to others. These jacks can also double as Line Outs to connect the PX-870 to external speakers, amplifiers, etc., whenever you want to get a more powerful or higher-quality piano sound.

Unlike the previous digital pianos in the Privia lineup, the PX-870 doesn't come with dedicated Line Out jacks.

6.2 USB to Host Terminal

The USB Type-B port connects the piano to a computer for transferring MIDI data. That means you can use the PX-870 as a MIDI controller, whereby you send MIDI data to music apps such as FL Studio, Sonar or GarageBand running on your computer.

You can also use this port to transfer songs and files between the piano and computer. However, the package does not include a Type A-B USB cable needed to connect to a computer, so you'll have to buy it separately.

6.3 USB Flash Drive Port

This USB Type-A port lets you plug a flash drive into the PX-870 to exchange files easily and quickly. For instance, it allows you to load up MIDI songs into the piano's internal memory for practice or playback. On the other hand, you can play back both MIDI and WAV files directly from the drive without loading them into the piano's internal memory.

Just as crucial, you can save your performances recorded on the piano to the flash drive and load them back when necessary.

6.4 Chordana App

The Chordana App, available on App Store and Google PlayStore, allows you to control various settings of the PX-870 using an intuitive on-screen interface. Furthermore, it includes 198 built-in songs that you can practice and play at your tempo, as the interface displays the keys you need to play next.

7. Accessories

The PX-870 already comes with a music rest, an AC power adapter, owner's manual and even sheet music for Concert Play songs. As such, there are not many accessories you'll need to buy on top. But, you'll need to get a comfortable bench and a good pair of headphones.

8. Alternatives

At the moment, there are three digital pianos competing with the PX-870 that you may want to look at:

Pros

  • Compact, slim and design
  • Comes with 3 piano pedals, plus half-pedal function support
  • Excellent keyboard with great hammer action and ivory/ebony keytops
  • 19 authentic-sounding built-in tones
  • Improved, authentic piano sound
  • 256-note max polyphony
  • 40Watt sound projection speaker system
  • Concert Play feature
  • Comes with Audio and MIDI recorder.

Cons

  • Lacks a screen interface
  • Quite heavy, thus limiting portability
  • Few built-in sounds and sound effects are not so
  • The key action is a bit noisier than other digital pianos

Final Verdict

If you are looking for digital piano focused on the playing experience without breaking the bank, the PX-870 is an excellent choice. For starters, it's a significant improvement on the PX-860, which was equally a solid piano. The PX-870 comes with the latest premium features in the industry, some only seen in much higher-priced pianos.

It delivers a close enough acoustic experience, with detailed sound and high-quality samples of a concert grand piano. This digital piano reproduces piano sound to the finest of details, including string resonance, key on/off action, damper resonance, etc., making it sound truly authentic.

It has a much more sophisticated keyboard than its predecessors, including ivory/ebony keytops to give you a responsive and realistic feel. These are features that piano players across all skill levels will relish. And to cap it off, the powered speaker sound system offers richer, fuller sound with a wider dynamic range.

However, if you’re looking for a piano that will inspire music production, the PX-870 might not be the one for you. It comes with only a few built-in sounds and sound effects, which is quite limiting.

Overall, the Casio PX-870 is the most advanced unit from the Privia lineup when it comes to proper piano playing. It's arguably the closest you get to the touch, feel and sound of an acoustic piano. In a nutshell, the Casio PX-870 is the ideal instrument for every pianist who wants to craft and play the finest music with crisp detailing on intricate nuances.

                                                                             Image Source: guitarcenter.com

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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