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For under $400, it’s difficult to have any complaints with the Alesis Recital Pro. Let’s be clear from the start; it’s a budget digital piano, not a high-end one, so have to judge it as such.
With that said, the Recital Pro over-delivers in almost every sense. Both acoustic piano sounds are excellent and surprisingly articulate. The keys feel good, not high-end, but more than your money’s worth. Alesis did a fantastic job with this one.
Alesis Recital Pro in use
Let’s take a look at some different situations where you might use the Recital Pro.
At home – 7/10
It’s a digital piano, but it’s a portable keyboard piano, so it doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture in any one place. You have the option of keeping it stationary, moving it around the house whenever suits, or even putting it away after every practice. It weighs just 26 lbs, so getting it around isn’t an issue. The downside is that if it’s purely for home use, it won’t look as good as a nice digital piano cabinet.
On stage – 8/10
The Recital Pro is the perfect name for this digital piano because it’s ideal for any recital situation. Whether you are putting on a performance for friend/family, at school, or a small venue, the Recital Pro fills the room well.
It has two built-in 20 W speakers and two 10 W tweeters. In a small to medium-sized room, the built-in speakers will provide more than enough power for a piano recital. If it’s a band situation with a rowdier venue, then you can go through a mixer via two available 1/4-inch line outputs.
The thing that makes the Recital Pro so good for the stage is that it’s very light with a great piano sound. If you have experience gigging as a keyboard player, then you’ll know carrying heavy workstations around isn’t always fun. The price, weight, and sound make it a suitable stage piano for beginners or even a pro who wants a portable, lightweight option.
Portability – 8/10
Although the Recital Pro is a modern keyboard piano, it’s slightly square in appearance, like an older model would be. Obviously, it’s not a square, but it’s not as sleek or refined as it might be. For some, that could be a negative when it comes to carrying it around.
Ultimately, it’s just a bit clunky, it’s not massively oversized. So, with that in mind, and the fact that it’s so light, there are no complaints in this area.
For beginners – 9/10
There are some great features that make the Alesis Recital Pro fantastic for beginners. But, before we get to those, let’s cover the three most decisive aspects. It has hammer-action keys, it has a good piano sound, and it’s cheap!
Having the chance to get used to hammer-action keys and a good piano sound is rarely available at such a low price. As a beginner, it’s hard to say how things are going to go, and dropping huge amounts of cash on a piano can be a mistake. The Recital Pro solves that problem.
It also has Lesson Mode, which splits the keyboard into two identically pitched zones. The idea is that both students and teachers have the same range during lessons.
Record Mode lets you capture everything you did right and wrong for critical assessment. Another simple yet extremely useful feature is the built-in metronome; timing is everything, and it’s good to learn that from day one.
There are 22 demo songs in total, and that adds a little value for newbies. Lastly, it’s very easy to use and navigate as a complete beginner, thanks to simple buttons and a useful LCD screen.
Intermediate to advanced players – 6/10
There are two ways to look at it. As mentioned above, the Recital Pro is a suitable option for a pro who wants a lighter keyboard for gigging. For example, let’s say you use a Roland RD-2000, an excellent but relatively heavy stage piano. Taking that from one gig to the next can be challenging at times. So, if you have a gig where you only need a good piano sound, having the Recital Pro as a substitute instrument would be incredibly beneficial.
If you are an intermediate to advanced player and you are considering the Recital Pro as your only instrument, chances are you will outgrow it. In that sense, it’s more of a beginner’s piano.
Sound quality – 7/10
Like many keyboard pianos, the flagship piano (128-note max polyphony) sounds are considerably better than the rest. However, it’s a very tough one to score, because you have to remind yourself how much this piano costs. The sound quality is far better than the price suggests, so it’s easy to start comparing it to higher-end pianos and finding flaws. Instead, we should be talking about the fact that it massively over-delivers.
Both acoustic piano voices are lovely to play and reasonably expressive. The midrange to highs is where it does its best work. That’s not to say that the bottom-end is terrible, but it doesn’t quite have that thump and clarity of a more expensive piano.
There are six voice types in total with two variations of each. The voices types are piano, electric piano, organ, harpsichord, synth/strings, and bass. Sounds can be split and layered; the classic piano and strings combo works a treat.
There are also some onboard effects with modulation along with the more typical reverb and chorus. Modulation is great with the synth and clav sounds. It comes with a sustain pedal input and headphone output.
How it feels – 7/10
We may have been a little generous with our score here, but we go back to the price again. If we were to blindly audition the Recital Pro against a high-end stage piano, there’s no comparison. The weight of the keys is decent, and it offers enough resistance for a beginner to develop touch and pro to be expressive.
However, the more advanced players will notice the subtle nuances of performance that you lose in comparison to a real piano. Our score is mainly based on the fact that you get good hammer-action keys for under $400 – ideal for beginners.
Build quality and looks – 7/10
We will start with the build quality and say that everything feels robust. It doesn’t feel like a slight bump would do any real damage if you were moving it around. Furthermore, the buttons don’t feel too flimsy, and the keybed is definitely value for money.
When we talk about looks, it’s a bit of a plain Jane. It has the slightly bulkier look of an older stage piano; it’s not what you would call sleek anyway. Although, to be honest, that’s what you’d expect from any budget keyboard piano with weighted keys. It’s not ugly, nor will it wow you.
Alesis Recital Pro vs. The competition
It’s hard to find competition that offers the same value for money.
Alesis Recital Pro vs. Roland Go:Piano88
There’s the Roland GO:Piano88 that’s only just cheaper than the Recital Pro. In some ways, the Roland has more interesting features, like Bluetooth speakers, that can be a lot of fun for streaming. But it doesn’t have weighted hammer-action keys, and in the long run, the Recital Pro will make you a better player.
Alesis Recital Pro vs. Casio CDP-S150
A bit up in price is the Casio CDP-S150 compact digital piano. The CDP-S150 has the look of a streamlined MIDI controller because it’s so slim. What’s most impressive is that it has scaled hammer-action keys, so on touch, it beats the Recital Pro. The piano sound is fantastic, too. However, the built-in speakers aren’t as powerful as the Recital Pro, and it’s around $100 more expensive.
- Very good piano sound.
- Battery-powered (or AC).
- Fully-weighted hammer-action keys.
- Non-piano sounds aren’t great.