Casio Privia PX-160 Review 2021: Is It The Best Piano You Can…
When the Casio PX-160 came out, many people were excited to find out just how much better it is than the PX-150. The PX-150 is a crowd favorite and many wondered what features and improvements the PX-160 has to offer.
In this article, we will go through each and every unique feature of the Casio PX-160. Together, we will decide if this electronic piano does not only surpass its infamous predecessor but exceed the high expectations placed on it by many pianists who anticipated its release.
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As with every instrument, while the design is not the feature that makes the kit, we cannot deny the fact that a well-designed instrument does attract our attention. However, a good design is not just about pleasing aesthetics or wowing the crowd in public performances. It also covers how easy it is to reach the necessary controls and whether or not they improve or destroy the overall look of the instrument.
In this section, we will go through the different aspects of PX-160’s design.
The Casio PX-160 is an electric keyboard that is made to be compact and lightweight. If you are a gigging musician like myself, this is extremely good news because you can transport this piano with ease. It is also great for those who lack space to accommodate a grand piano.
The 52-inch full-size piano only weighs 25.5 lbs. Considering the fact that this is fully-weighted with Hammer Action, it is extremely lightweight compared to many of the same size.
This electric keyboard comes in three different colors: black, white, and champagne. If you are a pianist who is looking for a keyboard with slightly different coloration than the usual black then PX-160 has a few options for you.
Another thing to take note of is that the Casio PX-160’s controls are pretty simple and straightforward. The buttons are placed at the center of the console. These buttons are slim, giving the whole piano a modern and neat look. The console, despite the small number of buttons, has all the important functions ready for you to select. One thing to note though is that the PX-160 does not have an LED screen which can be difficult for people who want a more visual representation of their selected settings.
1.2 Feel & Sensitivity
As for the Casio PX-160’s feel and sensitivity, the full-hammer action of this electric keyboard makes it feel as if you are playing on an acoustic piano. This is extremely helpful especially for beginners as this will eliminate the difficulty you might experience should you plan to switch to an acoustic piano later on.
In order to provide us, the users, with this type of accuracy, Casio used a Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II. This means that unlike keyboards that only have semi-weighted keys, the Casio PX-160 uses actual hammers (like that of an acoustic piano) on each of its keys to simulate the same feeling. Due to this technology, this electric keyboard allows you to play soft pianissimos and loud fortissimos just like you would on an acoustic piano.
Another interesting thing to mention is that the keytops of this keyboard are made of simulated ebony and ivory. This is extremely helpful for those who tend to sweat from their hands. The matted texture of the keytops provides a non-slip surface that helps you with your accuracy whenever you are playing.
2. Sound Performance
The sound performance of a piano, especially an electric one, is the most important aspect of the instrument. This decides whether the piano is a fantastic instrument or barely usable. While you can make use of a piano with a terrible sound, I am certain that the overtones and twangs will get old pretty fast.
This section will go through the PX-160’s speaker quality as well as its ability to hold multiple notes and the pre-installed effects that you can use when playing.
For the PX-150, Casio used their infamous Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source to power their speakers and sound systems. This system allows for the audio compression of pre-recorded sounds and samples to be played without distortion. A similar but improved system is used for the Casio PX-160.
The storage for the sound technology is expanded by three times, ensuring a wider array of high-quality pre-recorded sounds. However, this is not all there is to the PX-160’s sound.
One of the greatest strengths of the PX-160 is its high-quality grand piano sounds as well as every user’s ability to tailor it to their preferences.
The PX-160 is equipped with two 8-watt speakers on each side which is a much better improvement from the PX-150’s speakers. Most users found that the PX-150’s speakers are rather mediocre when compared to other keyboards within its price range and Casio truly improved this feature on the PX-160.
While the 8-watt speakers are not as flashy and loud as the Alesis Recital’s 20-watt speakers (you can read my Alesis Recital Review here), it is loud enough to fill a small to medium-sized room. That and the fact that the sound system installed for the PX-160 far surpasses that of the Alesis Recital makes the sound quality of the PX-160 far clearer and crisper.
The PX-160 has two main effects, with four different variations each. Despite having only two main effects, users have the option to customize them even further. This expands the number of effects that pianists can use to personalize their own music.
The Chorus Effect is similar to a layering effect. When it is on, it sounds as if there are several sounds blended to produce a louder, richer type of music. Its four different variations are light, medium, deep, and flanger.
The Reverb Effect is the ability of the keyboard to imitate the echo that an acoustic piano would make in different rooms. For the PX-160, your options would be a small hall, a large hall, a room, and a stadium.
On top of these two effects, you can also adjust the overall Brilliance of the piano and shift the tone to one that is brighter, softer, mellower, or harder.
The polyphony of a piano refers to the number of notes it can play at the same time. The polyphony of the Casio PX-160 goes up to 128 notes. This amount of notes is average for many electric pianos in the same price range. However, if you are purchasing the PX-160 for its recording features, then this is more than enough to record studio-quality outputs.
One of the things people look forward to when talking about the PX-160 is the features included in the piano. PX-150 already has a great number of useful features that many patrons absolutely loved. With Casio’s promise to bring a piano that surpasses the PX-150 into the market, the standards for the PX-160 have to be higher.
Surprisingly, the PX-160 was able to deliver and we are given a wide range of useful features that are truly a step above the PX-150. This section will go through each of them.
The Casio PX-160 has 3 different modes as is common in most electric pianos.
One of the modes available for the PX-160 is the Split Mode which allows users to play two instrument sounds at the same time. It also allows the user to select which key the piano will split on. Thus, allowing them to play more comfortably.
Another one of these modes is the Layering Mode. The Layering Mode is one that allows pianists to program two types of sounds in the piano. When played, the keys play both sounds at the same time, almost as if these two instruments were layered on top of each other.
Last but definitely not least, there is the Duet Mode. This mode is ideal for beginners, especially those who are looking to start piano lessons. Essentially, what this mode does is it divides the piano into two sections. One section is meant for the student while the other section is meant for the instructor. The split keyboard allows the student to follow what the tutor is doing a lot closer than it would be if the tutor was playing on a different piano.
While the PX-160 does not have too many extra functions, the functions it does have are more than enough for pianists of all levels. This electric keyboard has all the functions needed to match any vocalist or instrument or play complicated piano pieces with ease.
One such function is the Transpose function that adjusts the tuning of the piano to one semitone higher than the standard. This makes it easier for pianists to play pieces that are written in an unusual note. If you are a beginner and are not used to too many black keys yet but want to be able to play a specific song, you can also use this function to lessen the number of black keys you need to press.
Another notable function is the Octave Shift function which, much like the Transpose function, changes the tune of the entire piano. This time, however, it is changed one octave higher or lower than the standard. This makes it easier to adjust the Middle C to a higher or lower C to better match vocalists and other instruments.
On top of these awesome features, the PX-160 is also known for its Auto Power-Off feature, which is perfect for those who want to conserve energy. The piano automatically turns itself off after being idle for a few hours.
For connectivity, the Casio PX-160 is pretty standard. However, there are some features worth mentioning too.
For example, instead of a single headphone jack, the Casio PX-160 has two. While you usually would not need more than one, this option is great for duets or tutorials sessions as it allows the use of two headphones at the same time. The headphone jacks are also located at the front of the instrument so you do not have to reach around it just to connect your earphones.
The PX-160 also has a USB (type B) Port located at the back. This makes it easy to plug your keyboard directly into your computer and transfer songs to and from your instrument without downloading any drivers. Simply plug in an A to B USB Cable and you should be able to access the PX-160’s internal storage.
While this keyboard does not have MIDI In and Out ports, the USB connection option also allows you to transfer MIDI data and use the PX-160 as a MIDI Controller. This allows you to use it on several music-making software to further expand what this keyboard can do.
Another connectivity option for the PX-160 is the Line-Out R, L/Mono which allows it to connect to mixers and external sound systems and amplifiers to further boost the volume and sound of your instrument.
Last but not least is the port for a sustain pedal, which is crucial for every electric piano as it allows you to connect a sustain pedal to the instrument. This truly brings out the realistic feeling of playing an acoustic piano.
3.4 Additional Sound Features
A few more additions to the already teeming list of useful features on the Casio PX-160 is the Metronome function. While this is a common function on most electric keyboards, it is a very useful one as it helps pianists, especially beginners with their practice and timing.
Most notable of all, perhaps, is the PX-160’s modifiable Equal Temperament. This function allows you to change the tone of the entire piano to better suit different music styles and genres. This function provides you with 16 different settings to play around with and allows you to match any type of music whether it be Baroque, Classical, Arabian, Indian, and many others. The available styles you can choose from are the following:
- Pure Major
- Pure Minor
- Kirnberger 3
- Gurjari Todi
Another good feature of the Casio PX-160 is the Operation Lock feature. This allows you to preserve your current settings so accidentally pressing a button while playing would not mess up your current settings.
3.5 Recording and Playback
One of the most notable features of the PX-160 is the recording and playback. Technically, this feature should be a standard for electric pianos. However, a recording and playback feature is often found on pianos that are more expensive than the PX-160. Pianos such as the Alesis Recital which is in a much lower price range than the PX-160 usually forego this feature to keep their instruments at an affordable price.
Aside from the already amazing sound quality of this electric keyboard, many pianists would be glad to find out that they can record their own samples and play it on this keyboard. The Multi-Track MIDI Recording system allows pianists to record one song, play it on the keyboard while recording another on top of it. This kind of system provides pianists with a high-quality studio-level recording of their very own samples. For any musicians who are looking to produce and record their own music, this feature would be extremely useful.
As of now, you can record and store up to 10 songs on your piano. Should you want to record more, you can easily transfer and replace these songs through your computer.
While the Casio PX-160 does not come with a stand, Casio offers a couple of options for them. Unfortunately, you have to buy them separately. Still, despite the absence of a stand, the Casio PX-160 come with other accessories.
The PX-160 comes with an AC Power Adaptor complete with a cord. This allows you to simply plug the device and start playing after unboxing it.
Along with this is a User Manual that explains all the buttons and functions of the instruments. This is extremely useful for those who are not familiar with electric keyboard functions or beginners who bought the PX-160 as their first instrument.
The package also comes with a Music Stand to prop your music sheets, workbooks, and tablets on, as well as an SP-3 Sustain Foot Pedal.
Personally, I do not like the plastic feel of the sustain pedal that comes with the package. It feels far too synthetic for my taste. However, it works well if you just want to play for fun or if you are just a beginner trying to grasp the basics of the piano. If you do find yourself wanting a more realistic one, however, it is fairly easy to find affordable ones online.
While many professional pianists will say that they do not mind the price, many others believe that the price of an instrument is extremely important if they were to make their purchase. Of course, everyone is always concerned whether or not they are getting a good value for their hard-earned money. In this section, we will compare the PX-160 with other pianos of its price range so we can see if the features it has made it a worthy investment.
As you can see, of all these pianos listed above, only the Casio PX-160 has the highest polyphony and a decent amount of unique voices. Most notably, the PX-160 is the only electric keyboard with a recording and playback function despite being one of the cheapest on the list. This simply proves that the PX-160 provides incredible value for its price even when compared to other big names in the industry. It is definitely one of those instruments that seem simple but pack quite a punch.
6. Existing Reviews
For this section, I have gone ahead and gathered several reviews from other people who have previously used the Casio PX-160. This section will be filled with completely honest reviews that will hopefully help you choose as to whether or not the PX-160 is the perfect piano for you.
6.1 Unbiased Text Reviews
First, we will go through a few text reviews. I have scoured forums and review sections for helpful statements from people who have used the PX-160 extensively. Here is what they have to say:
Based on a Reddit User from this thread. (3)
Based on a couple of Reddit Users from this thread. (4)
Based on a Reddit User from this thread. (5)
Finally, let us finish this section off with a couple of reviews from Amazon. (6)
As we can see here, despite the complaints on the Casio PX-160’s keys being a little squeakier than many would have liked, there are no complaints about its sound quality and effects. In Casio’s defense, the PX-160 is listed as an entry-level beginner piano.
6.2 Helpful Video Reviews
Here are some more helpful video reviews that allow you to see how well the Casio PX-160 sounds and plays.
7. Final Verdict
The Casio PX-160 deserves an incredible score of 4.5/5 stars.
This instrument is perfect for pianists of any level. The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II ensures that you get a close simulation of an actual acoustic piano. Basically, playing on this piano is like playing on an acoustic piano on steroids. This is because aside from the basic piano sounds, the PX-160 also provides you with a decent array of piano voices and various instruments that you can play or layer on top of the standard piano sound. Furthermore, the basic but useful set of effects can further change the tone of the music you play.
The speakers may seem weak, especially if you are comparing it with something like the Alesis Recital. However, it is just right for a small to a medium hall. On top of that, you have the option to connect it to an external amplifier to further boost your volume.
Despite the few options for instrument variation, each pre-recorded instrument on the PX-160 is studio quality. So you can enjoy clear and crisp sounds whether it be practice or recording that you will be using this electric piano for.
I do not like the quality of the sustain pedal that comes with the box. However, this is easily replaceable. The whole setup would also be perfect if there was an LED screen on the console but with the price of the unit, I really do not have any complaints.
The recording and playback feature, as well as the hefty 128-note polyphony of this electric keyboard, proves that the quality of the PX-160 far surpasses many among its price range and even some that are above. On top of that, the incredibly easy connection and file transfer options make it extremely simple even for beginners to record and play their own samples.
These features are a standard on keyboards that are much higher in price. With Casio being a pretty big name in the music industry, rest assured that this electric keyboard is made durable and will last you for many, many years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Casio PX-160 is meant for pianists of every level. However, it will be most appreciated by beginners to advanced pianists. Expert pianists might want to go for something of a higher quality.
Yes, the Casio PX-160’s keys are fully weighted. Furthermore, you can adjust the weight of the keys from soft to hard to fit your preferences.
Yes, the Casio PX-160 comes with a sustain pedal. However, the sustain pedal that comes in the box is more of a cheap clamshell type of pedal. You would find it in your best interests to buy better quality, piano-style sustain pedal.
Yes, the Casio PX-160 works with piano apps. Using the USB type B port installed at the back of this instrument, it can serve as a MIDI controller and you can use it for many music software and piano applications.