Alesis Recital Vs RockJam 88: Which $200-Digital Piano Gives More Value?

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See why a lot of musicians lean towards Rockjam’s entry-level piece over the equally-popular Alesis contender in this Alesis Recital Vs RockJam 88 face-off. 

First-time piano players and musicians are somewhat luckier these days compared to those a decade or two ago because low-cost digital pianos are conveniently up for grabs. Brands like Alesis and RockJam are manufacturing outstanding pieces that could almost match the quality of Yamaha, Kawai, and Casio.

The Recital from Alesis and the RockJam 88 are two of the cheapest entry-level models in the market right now. And it’s hard to ignore these two when they are packed with functions and features and fairly priced at just a little over $200!

The question now is which of these two should keep you company in your piano journey?

Admittedly, the two are somewhat similar in basic features. And while Rockjam was able to incorporate so many more into their ultra-compact beginner piece, the efficient simplicity of the Recital is notably better. So in this Alesis Recital Vs. Rockjam 88 comparative report, the former comes out on top. 

Alesis Recital Vs RockJam 88: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Alesis Recital – 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Semi Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 5 Voices, Split, Layer and Lesson Mode, FX and Piano Lessons
The Runner-Up (#2)
RockJam 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard Piano with Full Size Semi-Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Sheet Music Stand, Piano Note Stickers & Simply Piano Lessons
Model
Alesis Recital
RockJam 88
Product line
Recital
RJ-DP
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer action
Semi-weighted keys
Semi-weighted keys
Touch sensitivity
Adjustable touch response
Adjustable touch response
Tone genaration
Sampling
Sampling
Effects
Reverb, Chorus
Reverb, Chorus
Duo mode
Dual mode
Split mode
Number of voices
5
10
Maximum Polyphony
128
128
Inputs
Headphones
Headphone, Microphone
AUX out
Yes, Stereo RCA
Yes
USB
MIDI
Type A, MIDI
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$221.00
$296.03
The Winner (#1)
Image
Alesis Recital – 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Semi Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 5 Voices, Split, Layer and Lesson Mode, FX and Piano Lessons
Model
Alesis Recital
Product line
Recital
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
Semi-weighted keys
Touch sensitivity
Adjustable touch response
Tone genaration
Sampling
Effects
Reverb, Chorus
Duo mode
Dual mode
Split mode
Number of voices
5
Maximum Polyphony
128
Inputs
Headphones
AUX out
Yes, Stereo RCA
USB
MIDI
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$221.00
More info
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
RockJam 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard Piano with Full Size Semi-Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Sheet Music Stand, Piano Note Stickers & Simply Piano Lessons
Model
RockJam 88
Product line
RJ-DP
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
Semi-weighted keys
Touch sensitivity
Adjustable touch response
Tone genaration
Sampling
Effects
Reverb, Chorus
Duo mode
Dual mode
Split mode
Number of voices
10
Maximum Polyphony
128
Inputs
Headphone, Microphone
AUX out
Yes
USB
Type A, MIDI
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$296.03
More info

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

Alesis Recital Vs RockJam 88: The Detailed Comparison

To be perfectly honest, the Alesis Recital and the RockJam 88 aka RJ88DP still lack the design and manufacturing finesse of some more prominent brands. Then again, this doesn’t seem to matter to thousands of beginners all over the world because both these models are selling like pancakes (and are even currently unavailable on popular online stores). At $200 a piece and crammed with features that could be very helpful for aspiring musicians, there is almost nothing to complain about. 

But intermediate and advanced piano players find these two wanting; and the RockJam 88 even more so. After reviewing the specs in full and playing these two side by side, I would have to agree. My final rating is 2:1 in favor of the Recital in the Alesis Recital Vs. Rockjam 88 review.

Feel and Playability

The Winner: Tie

As aforementioned, many have commented that the Alesis Recital and the RockJam 88 failed in this aspect. While the two have the complete 88 keys, these are made from plastic without making any attempt to add texture to it and are merely semi-weighted. Thankfully, both have touch sensitivity, which really helps add a bit of realism to one’s piano playing experience. 

+Hammer Action

The two companies didn’t specify the system they used for the weightedness of the keys for these models so I assumed that they use the most basic procedure: the use of springs with weights. 

There are numerous entry-level digital pianos that are equipped with weighted and graded keys. However, most of these are already at the $500 mark. For those who have budget constraints, these two are passable. 

+Touch Sensitivity

As noted earlier, adding pressure sensitivity to the keys is a huge plus point for these Alesis and RockJam models. This feature refers to the intensity of the sound produced depending on the pressure placed on the keys – when the key is hit hard, the sound is louder; when the key is gently pressed, the sound is softer. 

The Recital and RJ88DP both have four levels of touch sensitivity; making these two yet again equal in this aspect.

+Key Texture

Alesis Recital vs RockJam 88: Key texture
Alesis Recital vs RockJam 88: Key texture

The ebony and ivory keys of both Recital and RJ88DP are made of untextured plastic which causes the fingers to accidentally slip, especially when more complicated pieces are being played. 

Although the choice for material for their keys is dismal, it is also expected. Even the entry-level digital pianos of Yamaha and Korg (which are way more expensive, I have to add) are made of this disappointing material. 

Tone

The Winner: Alesis Recital

The tone for these two models are decent at best and, to be frank, there is still room for improvement in this aspect.

At first glance, the sound library of RockJam 88 has more offerings than the Alesis Recital. While that is enough for some to consider the former a better option, the latter’s overall sound has more clarity and depth. Since that matters way more in my book, this point definitely goes to the Recital.

+Tone Generator

No specifics were provided when it comes to the sound engine used by Alesis and Rockjam but they do use the most basic system for capturing sound – Sampling. For those who aren’t familiar with this process, it involves recording different tones of one note, combining all samples into one, and then ‘uploading’ that to the digital piano’s tone generation software. 

Alesis did pretty well with their sound engine, creating clear and rich tones that almost matched that of big named brands. RockJam isn’t too bad either but the tones can be a bit muddy at times, especially at top volume which is unfortunate.   

+Sound Library

RockJam 88 beats the Alesis Recital in this aspect as it has ten voices and demo tracks compared to the latter’s five voices and two demos. 

Aside from the usual grand piano and electric piano, the voices included in the RJ88DP can create a full band sound since it has bass, guitar, and drum kits. I still appreciate that the Recital has strings as an option which can be nicely mixed with the grand acoustic voice to come up with that splendid orchestral sound. 

Piano Functions and Features

The Winner: RockJam 88

This is the facet where RockJam really put in the extra effort, beefing up their 88-key digital piano with so many features and functions that many popular companies seem unable to do. Granted, Alesis Recital does not lack the basic functions and accessories. But because RockJam has packed so much in their compact piece, it wins here big time. 

+Polyphony

This particular feature is the maximum number of notes which can be played simultaneously. Surprisingly, both the Recital and the RJ88DP have max polyphony of 128. I’m amazed and incredibly pleased that the manufacturers can do this and price their models at $200, since some top brands have the same offerings for much steeper prices.

+Playing Modes

The two digital pianos are quite similar here since they have Layering (combination of two or more voices), Lesson Mode (dividing the piano into two 44-keys of the same octave), and Dual capability (bisecting the piano into two 44-keys that play different voices).

All these playing modes are truly beneficial to beginners. The Lesson Mode makes piano lessons easier and the Layering and Dual modes allow them to experiment a bit with their practice pieces and compositions. 

However, I’m giving an additional point to RockJam because the volume of the voices, especially for the Dual Mode, can be adjusted independently. So if you want the grand piano to rise above the guitar or the synth sounds, it’s possible!

+Effects

The Alesis Recital and the RockJam 88 also share the same digital sound effects: Reverb and Chorus. Although the RJ88DP has more settings (five each for every effect) compared to the Recital (four each for every effect), I feel the two are still evenly matched here since four settings are enough.

+Speaker System

At first glance, it may seem that the RockJam 88 has beaten the Alesis Recital in this aspect. The latter has more formidable 24W built-in speakers while the Alesis only has 20W. The truth is, both are so powerful that external amplification isn’t needed when performing in a small room. 

However, the sound output of the RJ88DP isn’t rich enough and actually lacks warmth compared to the Recital. With that considered, Alesis did better because sound quality is more important in my estimation than volume. 

+Connectivity

Fortunately, the two models are equipped with all must-have inputs for headphones, pedals, and USBs. They even have AUX outs for amplifiers, mixers, or recorders. 

This is where the RJ88DP garners a lot of points because they added more to those basics. First, they have two headphone ports – one at the back and one in front. Next, they have two USBs – one type A and a MIDI. They also have an AUX in for a phone and a port for a microphone. 

+Accessories

Out of the box, the two digital pianos have power adaptors, music rests and free subscriptions to their individual music apps. RockJam 88 (yet again) added more extra with phone or tab clips and keyboard details stickers that can help beginners find where the middle C is. Sadly, the two disappoint in the most important digital piano must-have: a sustain pedal. Both do not have this in the set which means users will have to buy this separately. 

RockJam 88: Piano Functions & Features
RockJam 88: Piano Functions & Features

Alesis Recital Vs RockJam 88: The Similarities

Barring all the extras RockJam added to their RJ88DP, it matches up well with Alesis’ Recital in so many aspects. 

Physically, the two are compact and portable – important for digital pianos. I like the no-nonsense, more organized appearance of the Recital better but I can live with the RJ88DP. 

The two are impressive in several facets under the hood, from playing modes to free music app subscriptions. The two also fell short in the same aspects such as the playability and the sound engine. Even the good trait of battery-operability is marred by the fact that it requires 6D batteries – the type that is so hard to find. 

But here’s the truth: it would have been near impossible to find a low-cost digital piano which feels and sounds like an acoustic grand many years ago. Luckily for many beginners, newcomers Alesis and RockJam have found a way to make music more accessible to everyone. 

Quick Rundown of Alesis Recital

Alesis Recital – 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Semi Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 5 Voices, Split, Layer and Lesson Mode, FX and Piano Lessons
  • An Electric Piano That’s Tailored to You - Feature-packed Electric keyboard with 88 premium full-sized semi weighted keys with adjustable touch response to suit your preferred playing style
  • Premium Sounds - 5 voices (Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synth, and Bass), built-in FX: Chorus, Reverb, and two built in 20W speakers that deliver crystal-clear, room-filling sound
  • All The Right Connections - ¼” sustain pedal input (pedal not included), ¼” stereo headphone output for private practice and stereo RCA outputs for connection to speakers / amplifiers
  • Play the Keyboard Wherever You Go - Power via the included power adapter or 6 D cell batteries (not included) for professional piano performance anywhere
  • Powerful Educational Features - Standard, split, layer, and lesson modes with 128-note max polyphony and Skoove 3 month premium subscription for expert interactive online piano lessons

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

Pros
  • Great for beginners on a tight budget
  • Has a full 88-key keyboard with 128 max polyphony
  • Good enough sound engine
  • Lightweight, compact, and portable
  • Comes with a 3-month premium Skoove subscription
Cons
  • Non textured plastic, semi-weighted keys
  • Five voices are too little, two demos are dismal
  • No sustain pedal

Quick Rundown of RockJam 88

RockJam 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard Piano with Full Size Semi-Weighted Keys, Power Supply, Sheet Music Stand, Piano Note Stickers & Simply Piano Lessons
  • This RockJam 88 digital piano keyboard has 88 full-sized, semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys that closely replicate the feel of a real piano.
  • This weighted keyboard piano is packed with modern features including ten unique voices (upright piano, electric keyboard piano, grand piano, strings, synth, bass, guitar, percussion, Hammond organ, and church organ.)
  • The inbuilt stereo speakers on this electric keyboard deliver a powerful 24 Watts of sound.
  • This full-size keyboard piano includes a headphone input so you can practice in privacy and without disturbing others.
  • This piano keyboard with weighted keys includes a USB input so you can play along to your favorite songs.

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

Pros
  • Incredibly cheap digital piano
  • Has a full 88-key keyboard with 128 max polyphony
  • Has ten voices which can create a full band sound
  • Packed with additional features, functions, and accessories on top of the usual essentials
  • Comes with ultra powerful 24W built-in speakers
Cons
  • Slightly muddy tones, especially the bass at full volume
  • Non textured plastic, semi-weighted keys
  • No sustain pedal

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Reference

5/5 - (1 vote)