Alesis Recital Pro vs Casio PX 160: Which Piano Comes Out On Top?

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For a beginner’s piano, the Alesis Recital Pro offers a whole lot of functionality. In fact, in terms of features and usability, it can even surpass most of the competition in its price. But on the other hand, the Casio PX-160 is widely known as one of the top beginner’s pianos in the market today.

And in this Alesis Recital Pro vs Casio PX 160 comparison, the Casio PX-160 proved its worth. Equipped with a better range of tones, better feel, and a better tone engine, the Casio PX-160 easily beat out the Alesis Recital Pro.

With that said, this isn’t a criticism of the Alesis Recital Pro at all. When doing this comparison, I was pleasantly surprised by how close the Alesis Recital Pro fought in all categories. And while it couldn’t overcome the quality of the PX-160, the Alesis Recital Pro is still arguably one of the best options in its price range.

Alesis Recital Pro vs Casio PX 160: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Casio Privia PX-160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano with Power Supply, Black
The Runner-up (#2)
Alesis Recital Pro - 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Hammer Action Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 12 Voices, Record and Lesson Mode, FX and Display
Model
Casio PX-160
Alesis Recital Pro
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer Action
Progressive Hammer Action
Fully-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
3 Types, Off
Adjustable Touch Sensitivity
Tone Generation
AiR (Acoustic intelligent Response)
Sampling
Effects
Reverb, Chorus, Brilliance
Chorus, Modulation, Reverb
Duo Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
18
12
Recording mode
Speakers
Two 8W Speakers
Two 20W
Polyphony
128
128
Pedal included
Yes
Yes, single pedal only
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$379.00
The Winner (#1)
Image
Casio Privia PX-160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano with Power Supply, Black
Model
Casio PX-160
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Progressive Hammer Action
Touch Sensitivity
3 Types, Off
Tone Generation
AiR (Acoustic intelligent Response)
Effects
Reverb, Chorus, Brilliance
Duo Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
18
Recording mode
Speakers
Two 8W Speakers
Polyphony
128
Pedal included
Yes
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Alesis Recital Pro - 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Hammer Action Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 12 Voices, Record and Lesson Mode, FX and Display
Model
Alesis Recital Pro
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Fully-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
Adjustable Touch Sensitivity
Tone Generation
Sampling
Effects
Chorus, Modulation, Reverb
Duo Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
12
Recording mode
Speakers
Two 20W
Polyphony
128
Pedal included
Yes, single pedal only
What I Like
Price
$379.00
More Info

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alesis Recital Pro vs Casio PX 160: The Differences

When I compared each of the features of these pianos against each other, the final score was 3-1, in favor of the Casio PX-160. But in each comparison, the Alesis Recital Pro gave the Casio a run for its money. And considering that the PX-160 is the more expensive model by a significant amount, it speaks to the quality of the Alesis Recital Pro and its ability to compete with models in higher price ranges.

Feel & Playability

The winner: Casio PX-160

A digital piano that can accurately replicate the feel of an acoustic piano is a key feature for any beginner. And between these two options, the Casio PX-160 offered a more accurate feel with its scaled hammer action and textured keys. I completely expected the Casio PX-160 to have a better feel since it is the more expensive option. With that said, the Alesis Recital Pro was able to put up a fair fight, which was a pleasant surprise considering the price point of this piano.

+ Hammer Action

The Casio PX-160 sports scaled hammer action
The Casio PX-160 sports scaled hammer action

The Casio PX-160 sports scaled hammer action. Sometimes called progressive hammer action, this system replicates the slight differences in the weight of the lower piano keys compared to the higher keys. The Casio PX-160’s keys are significantly heavier on the left side of the piano and it gets progressively lighter as you move through to the higher end of the keyboard.

With the Alesis Recital Pro, you get a relatively uniform hammer action throughout. Since it’s the cheaper option, it’s easy to see why the Alesis Recital Pro doesn’t have a complex system such as the Casio PX-160. However, the Recital Pro does sport fully-weighted keys, so you get a decent weight when you play this piano.

In the price range of the Recital Pro, there are many models that sport a simpler semi-weighted hammer action. This drives down the cost of the piano, but it also takes away a lot of the realism, which is why the Recital Pro can easily beat out a lot of models in its price range.

+ Key Texture

Another area where the PX-160 excelled is in the key texture. In fact, the Casio PX-160 can beat out a lot of models in its price range because it has textured keys. While the keys are still made of plastic, they are finished with a coating to simulate the texture of ebony and ivory keys. The black and white keys on the PX-160 have different coatings, since there is a slight difference in the texture of the black and white keys on an acoustic piano. Most models in the PX-160’s price range don’t care to coat the keys, since this is a tiny detail that most beginners won’t notice anyway, but it’s still a nice feature to have.

Since the Alesis Recital Pro is designed for beginners, there wasn’t much attention paid to the key texture. In fact, the Recital Pro sports plastic keys without any coating at all, so they feel slippery and look glossy. While it would’ve been nice for the piano to sport some sort of coating, it’s not a necessary feature for a beginner’s piano, so this is an easily forgivable flaw.

Tone

The winner: Casio PX-160

The Casio PX-160 has the AiR tone generator that is much better than the standard samples on the Alesis Recital Pro
The Casio PX-160 has the AiR tone generator that is much better than the standard samples on the Alesis Recital Pro

One reason it’s good to invest in a more expensive model is that they usually come with more robust tone engines. This rings very true for the PX-160 as it has the AiR tone generator that is much better than the standard samples on the Alesis Recital Pro. On top of that, the Casio PX-160 has 18 different voices, which is significantly more than the simple 12 voices on the Recital Pro.

+ Tone Generation

The AiR tone engine is a signature of many Casio models. It stands for Acoustic Intelligent Response and is designed to replicate the sound of real acoustic pianos. It does this by using high-quality stereo samples that better simulate the way a piano’s sound waves travel through the air.

At its heart, the AiR tone engine is basically sampling. However, the difference is that this model incorporates 4-layered samples that include much more sonic detail compared to the other pianos on the market today. This is the main reason the Casio PX-160 had much better tones than the Alesis Recital Pro.

Since the Alesis Recital Pro is a basic digital piano, it doesn’t have a complex tone engine like the Casio PX-160. Instead, it uses the basic sampling method for its tones, but since it’s loaded with fairly high-quality samples, it does give off a pretty realistic tone. But compared to the PX-160, the Recital Pro admittedly had much more digital tones, which is the main reason the Casio PX-160 took this point.

+ Sound Library

The Casio PX-160 comes with 18 different voices
The Casio PX-160 comes with 18 different voices

Another way the Casio PX-160 beats out the tone of the Alesis Recital Pro is with its sound library. With digital pianos, you can’t expect that many different tones since the focus is on quality instead of quantity. But with 18 different voices, the Casio PX-160 does offer you a fair amount of versatility compared to other digital pianos on the market.

For comparison, the Alesis Recital Pro offers 12 voices, which is already a bit more than other models in its price range such as the Yamaha P-45, which only has 10 different voices. While both the Casio PX-160 and the Recital Pro offer the same kinds of tones such as organ, piano, synth, bass, and strings voices, you have more choices on the PX-160 which is a big reason it was the winner in this category.

Piano Features

The winner: Tie

To my surprise, when I was testing out this model, I found that they were tied when it came down to the piano features. Since they both have similar playing modes, connectivity options, and even additional effects, it was almost impossible to declare a winner in this comparison.

+ Playing Modes

The Alesis Recital Pro features both dual mode and  duo mode
The Alesis Recital Pro features both dual mode and duo mode

Both of these pianos come with dual mode and duo mode. Sometimes, these modes are called layering and lesson mode, respectively, which is important to keep in mind. With that said, these two modes are incredibly useful for students, teachers, and performing musicians alike, which is why it was great that both pianos featured these playing modes.

Lesson mode divides the piano into two equally tuned mini-keyboards. As the name suggests, this mode is for piano lessons so that the teacher and student can play alongside each other and produce the same pitches without needing two different pianos.

Layering mode allows you to play two different voices at the same time. If you’re performing with another musician, this allows you to add a lot of depth to your tone, which is a huge plus. On top of that, it opens a lot of room for experimentation, which is another plus for pianists looking to find their own unique sound.

One playing mode that was missing with these models is split mode. This is a fairly premium feature, so it’s a let-down that it wasn’t present on the Casio PX-160, which is significantly more expensive than the Alesis Recital Pro. But aside from that, both of these pianos give you a whole lot of versatility with a variety of different playing modes.

+ Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, these pianos offer all the basic outputs you’ll need for private rehearsals and performing in different venues. You can plug in a pair of headphones when you really want to immerse yourself in the sound while the output to an external speaker allows you to try out a variety of amps and different sound systems.

The Alesis Recital Pro offers all the basic outputs
The Alesis Recital Pro offers all the basic outputs

While neither of these pianos have dedicated MIDI ports, they come with USB outputs so that you can still connect the pianos to a computer and control virtual instruments or hook up to piano learning apps.

It would have been a cool extra feature to include BlueTooth connectivity, but sadly, both pianos don’t come with this feature.

+ Effects

The PX-160 comes with reverb, chorus, and brilliance effects. The Alesis Recital Pro also comes with reverb and chorus, but instead of brilliance, it has modulation. Both brilliance and modulation aren’t exactly necessary effects, but they do provide a fair amount of extra versatility.

However, the reverb and chorus effects are arguably the most important and widely-used effects for pianists. These effects allow musicians to add a lot of custom depth and texture to their tone, which is a big reason they are some of the best pianos in their price range today.

Alesis Recital Pro vs Casio PX-160: The Similarities

Despite the fairly different price ranges and features, both these pianos do share some similarities. As we covered earlier, they come with the same playing modes, which honestly speaks to the quality of the Alesis Recital Pro to hold its own against more expensive models like the PX-160.

Another similarity is that these are both portable pianos with 88-key keyboards. If you’re a beginner or a performing musician, this is a great option for you. While both pianos offer the same functionality as any console digital piano, you can easily move these pianos around, which makes it much easier when you need to bring your piano with you to gigs or piano lessons.

But that’s about where the similarities end. These are two very different pianos and while the Alesis Recital Pro is a great budget-friendly option for beginners, the Casio PX-160 comes with a bunch more useful features that justify the higher price tag.

Quick Rundown of the Casio PX 160

Casio Privia PX-160BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano with Power Supply, Black
  • The AiR engine provides highly-accurate grand piano sounds with seamless dynamics for a remarkably expressive and powerful performance
  • The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard has an incredible feel and captures the dynamics of a performance with unparalleled speed and accuracy
  • Features a chassis designed for an elegant look and to house a 8w x 8w speaker system that delivers the PX-160’s remarkable sounds with total richness
  • Features newly developed string ensemble sounds that sound wonderful by themselves or layered with the PX-160's grand pianos, electric pianos, harpsichord and more
  • Provides split and layer capability allowing you to play bass in your left hand and have two layered tones in your right

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Comes with a wide range of piano tones
  • Premium hammer action and key texture
  • Comes with a reverb, brilliance, and chorus effects
  • Great tone generator
  • A great portable digital piano for beginners
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Doesn’t have split mode

Quick Rundown of the Alesis Recital Pro

Alesis Recital Pro - 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Hammer Action Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 12 Voices, Record and Lesson Mode, FX and Display
  • Start playing professional keys today - the ultimate beginners digital piano loaded with 12 expertly crafted voices and powerful educational features
  • Universal responsive feel - 88 premium full-sized hammer action keys with adjustable touch response to suit your preferred playing style
  • Connectivity covered - built-in 20W speakers, ¼” Sustain pedal input (pedal not included), ¼” stereo headphone output for private practice, included power adapter and ¼” stereo outputs
  • Powerful educational features - standard, split, layer, record and Lesson modes with 128-note max polyphony and built in FX: chorus, reverb, modulation
  • Learn piano today - Includes skoove 3 month premium subscription for expert interactive online piano lessons

Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Affordable and ideal for beginners
  • Comes with reverb, chorus, and modulation effects
  • Offers USB MIDI connectivity
  • Comes with dual and split mode
  • Comes with a 3-month premium Skoove subscription
Cons
  • The piano doesn’t have the best feel and key texture
  • No BlueTooth connectivity available

Product Videos

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References

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