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The Casio Privia PX-850 is the most advanced digital piano in Casio’s Privia line. It’s also arguably the best electric piano in its price range, including three times the memory as other electric pianos, enabling it to produce all the subtle tonal decay and nuanced echo. You may not want to use it for a classical piano concert, but for small gatherings at home or paying gigs on the road, it’s got more than enough realism and features to make you glad you bought it.
To begin with, it has 256-note polyphony, so you can play not only realistic piano sounds, but bass, horn, guitar and synthesizer sounds as well. It supports splitting the keyboard into sections so that you can play the lead part using a synth sound with your right hand and the accompanying part using a bass sound with your left hand. The PX-850 includes speakers that do its voice justice, or you can play it silently by plugging in a pair of headphones. You can connect your own speakers to the piano through an amplifier, of course, but the included speakers work extremely well for playing out loud without an amp.
The PX-850 is a complete departure from earlier Casio Privia models. It has a much more powerful processor and more memory for processing audio. It uses a processor technology called AiR, which stands for Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator. The large amount of on-board RAM gives each key strike a long, resonating, convincing tone. The piano has 88 weighted keys, and the AiR processor is able to handle incredibly fast and subtle movement on the keyboard. Playing the weighted keys has a realistic feel, and the damper pedal sounds and feels realistic as well.
For an added bit of realism, you can lift the lid above the keyboard and set it up, down or halfway between. The Lid Simulation feature mimics the acoustics of playing the piano with the lid in various positions. The piano takes up about the same amount of space as an upright piano, and it looks more or less the same as one, too. The tri-sensor hammer action of the weighted keys allows you to become lost in playing the music and forget that it isn’t an acoustic piano.
One of the main differences between acoustic and electric pianos is the ability to digitally record your performances on a USB stick, and the PX-850 provides seamless USB integration through the front-side USB port. The stereo recording capabilities make your audio files even more realistic and high-quality, and you can drop them right into your favorite audio editor for mixing with other instruments. In other words, you don’t need separate audio cables or sound cards to transfer the recordings to your computer.
The piano sounds of the PX-850 are probably the most impressive feature, although Casio customers already expect the grand piano samples to blow them away. The sounds have four layers of high-quality stereo digital samples, and there are dozens of sounds to choose from. The PX-850 is a good investment for piano teachers, gigging musicians and music lovers.
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