Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro Comparison: Two Great Pianos Designed for Beginners

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Since these are some of the best beginner’s pianos out there, creating a Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro comparison was almost a no-brainer. And while it was a very close fight, the Donner DEP-20 eventually came out on top.

So, why is the Donner DEP-20 a better piano?

The main reason is the tone and sound library. With the AWM Sampling method originally developed by Yamaha, Donner has created a great beginner’s piano with surprisingly good tones and an incredibly wide and vast sound library. On top of that, I found that the Donner had a slightly better feel when compared to the Alesis Recital Pro.

With that said, the Alesis Recital Pro does come with better piano features and a simpler interface, which still makes a great choice for beginners. Find out all the specifics of why the Donner is the better piano in this in-depth review.

Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
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
Donner DEP-20
Alesis Recital Pro
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer Action
Progressive Hammer Action
Fully-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
Adjustable Touch Response
Adjustable Touch Response
Tone Generation
AWM Sampling
Sampling
Effects
Chorus and Reverb
Chorus, Modulation, Reverb
Duo Mode
Layer Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
238
12
Polyphony
128
128
Headphone input
AUX out
MIDI
Two 6W Speakers
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$403.99
$379.00
The Winner (#1)
Image
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
Model
Donner DEP-20
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Progressive Hammer Action
Touch Sensitivity
Adjustable Touch Response
Tone Generation
AWM Sampling
Effects
Chorus and Reverb
Duo Mode
Layer Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
238
Polyphony
128
Headphone input
AUX out
MIDI
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$403.99
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 Response
Tone Generation
Sampling
Effects
Chorus, Modulation, Reverb
Duo Mode
Layer Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
12
Polyphony
128
Headphone input
AUX out
MIDI
Two 6W Speakers
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$379.00
More info

Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro: The Differences

The best way to compare two different pianos is to put their features up head-to-head. That way, you can figure out which areas a piano excels and what areas are in need of improvement. And when doing this for the Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro comparison, the Donner model came out on top with a score of 3-1. While it might seem like the Donner knocked the competition out of the park, the real story is very different. The Donner had better tones and a more realistic feel, but the Alesis Recital Pro was close behind in every single feature.

Feel & Playability

The winner: Donner DEP-20

The Donner DEP-20 simply had a more realistic feel
The Donner DEP-20 simply had a more realistic feel

While both of the pianos have fully-weighted keys, the Donner DEP-20 simply had a more realistic feel. Additionally, the Donner DEP-20 has more accurate touch sensitivity for better playability. With that said, the key texture of both models was significant letdowns.

+ Hammer Action

The Donner DEP-20 is equipped with graded hammer action. This means that the action on the left side is heavier than the action on the right side. This is how an acoustic piano is set up and the Donner model is designed to replicate just that.

While it doesn’t use the same system as the sophisticated Yamaha pianos out there, it still provides a very realistic feel. When testing out the Donner DEP-20, the action was on the slightly heavier side, but it still felt very realistic. On top of that, there are some pianists who might actually enjoy heavier action.

The reason I found the hammer action of the Recital Pro lackluster is that it isn’t graded. While the keys are fully-weighted, it has roughly the same action throughout the same keyboard. This is about what is expected from a keyboard in this price range. However, since the Donner DEP-20 features a graded hammer action system, it was the easy winner when comparing these features.

+ Touch Sensitivity

Using the Donner DEP-20, you can tweak the sensitivity to your liking
Using the Donner DEP-20, you can tweak the sensitivity to your liking

The Donner DEP-20 has adjustable touch response. So, when using this piano, you can tweak the sensitivity to your liking. If you have a lighter touch, you can set it to “light”, and if  you have heavier hands, you can set the sensitivity to “hard” and the piano will adjust accordingly.

If you’re a beginner, adjustable touch sensitivity can be very important. It makes it much easier for you to tailor the piano exactly to your playing style and needs, which is a very useful feature.

The Alesis Recital Pro also features adjustable touch response. However, many users have complained that this feature doesn’t work that well. In fact, for some pianists, the difference is so subtle that you don’t even recognize it. So, while the feature exists on the Recital Pro, it could have been done much better.

+ Key Texture

One area where I was let down by both pianos was the key texture. However, since they are both entry-level digital pianos, it’s kind of understandable. The keys on both these pianos have very glossy keys made out of plastic. Now, plastic keys are completely fine, as even some of the more expensive models on the market use plastic keys.

However, the keys don’t have any coating to resemble the texture of real piano keys. If you’re a beginner, this flaw isn’t that glaring, however, as you start playing more complex pieces, you’ll start feeling the need for slightly textured keys.

Tone

The winner: Donner DEP-20

When it comes to tone, I wasn’t expecting much from these pianos, especially since they’re entry-level options. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the robust tones that these pianos could generate. And in the end, the Donner DEP-20 also won out in this comparison because of a more complex tone generation system and a vast sound library.

The Donner DEP-20 has a more complex tone generation system and a vast sound library
The Donner DEP-20 has a more complex tone generation system and a vast sound library

+ Tone Generation

Both of these pianos use samples to generate tones. That means that the brands recorded top-quality sounds from real instruments such as pianos, strings, and even bass tones. And whenever you press down on a key, you trigger one of these samples, which produces the sound.

The Alesis Recital Pro features very standard samples. While they are far from bad, they aren’t exactly the best, even in its price range. The samples on the Recital Pro don’t exactly sound digital, but it’s fairly evident to the trained ear that the sounds aren’t coming from an acoustic piano.

The Donner DEP-20 uses the AWM sampling method that originally came from Yamaha. This method involves using very high-definition stereo samples of real instruments recorded with natural decay. This means that the samples take up much more memory but contain more sonic information, which is the reason for the top-quality tones.

+ Sound Library

There was almost no competition when it came to comparing the sound library of these two models. The Alesis Recital Pro comes with 12 different voices. This is about standard for a digital piano, and since the voices are good quality, beginners have just about all the sounds they need to start learning the instrument.

However, the Donner DEP-20 completely blows the competition out of the park with more than 200 voices! Now, to be realistic, you won’t be using all of these voices, because some of them are very similar or not that good to begin with. With that said, this still leaves you a lot of useful, varied, and top-quality voices that fit many different styles of music.

The Alesis Recital Pro, with its 12 voices leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, the piano even lacks some of the basic piano voices you’d expect from a digital piano such as a Rhodes. The Donner DEP-20, on the other hand, gives you multiple options of just about every sound you need, making it ideal for pianists looking for more versatility.

Piano Features

The winner: Alesis Recital Pro

This is one area where the Alesis Recital Pro came out the winner. Since it’s the more affordable option between the two, the fact that they have the same playing modes and polyphony is a huge point in its favor. On top of that, the Alesis Recital Pro even comes with more effects, which is very useful for just about any pianist out there.

The Alesis Recital Pro came out the winner in term of piano feature
The Alesis Recital Pro came out the winner in terms of piano feature

+ Playing Modes

The Alesis Recital Pro sports layering, duo, and split modes. On the other hand, the Donner DEP-20 only features layering and split modes. However, the Donner model does allow you to record your playing and listen back to figure out areas where you need to make improvements.

With layering mode, you can combine two distinct piano voices. For example, you can load string pad and piano voices at the same time, adding a whole lot of depth to your tone. This feature comes in handy trying to accompany a vocalist or even another solo instrumentalist. With split mode, you can assign different voices to either side of the piano, allowing you to give off the illusion of playing two instruments at the same time. If you plan to perform with the piano, this is a very useful feature.

The one mode on the Alesis that isn’t on the Donner however is duo mode. Duo mode is a very useful feature for beginners, as it makes piano lessons much easier to handle. With this mode, you can divide the piano into two tiny keyboards, each with the same tuning and pitch. That way, you can view the keyboard as two different pianos: one for the teacher and one for the student.

+ Polyphony

Both of these pianos have the same polyphony of 128. In the world of digital pianos, 128-note polyphony is considered the gold standard that pianos have to meet. Anything more than 128-note polyphony would be superfluous, unless each key plays multiple samples. However, since both of the pianos only play one sample per key, 128-note polyphony is more than enough.

The reason I gave the point to the Alesis model despite it having the exact same polyphony as the Donner is because it’s the cheaper model. That means if you buy the Alesis, you’ll be getting a bit more value, but only in terms of piano features.

+ Accessories

This isn’t exactly a piano feature, but it’s important nonetheless. And by the end of the comparison, I actually found that the Donner DEP-20 beat out the Alesis Recital Pro in this area. The Donner DEP-20 comes with a sustain pedal, which is an accessory that’s absolutely necessary for just about any pianist out there. On the other hand, the Alesis Recital Pro doesn’t come with a pedal at all, which is a huge knock against the piano. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced pianist, having an expression and sustain pedal is very important, which is why it was worth mentioning that you won’t get a pedal if you order the Alesis Recital Pro.

Donner DEP-20 vs Alesis Recital Pro: The Similarities

These are two entry-level pianos primarily designed for beginners looking for their first instrument. With that comes a lot of similarities, and in all honesty, both of these pianos do the job very well and would make a great choice for any pianist.

For starters, they are both full-key pianos, which is necessary when starting out with the instrument. While it might be tempting to buy a smaller, 64-key keyboard, there are tons of benefits that come with getting a full-sized option. On top of that, these pianos have a very similar build and design.

Since they are some of the cheaper models out there, they are made out of plastic. With that said, the builds of either of the pianos are far from flimsy. In fact, they feel fairly durable despite the material. On top of that, both pianos are fairly lightweight, which allows you to easily carry them around with you.

And that’s about where the similarities end. As you can tell by this comparison, the pianos have a fair amount of differences, which made the comparison a whole lot of fun. And in the end, I found out that the Donner DEP-20 comes with better tones and a better feel, which makes it the better option for beginners since it can last pianists a much longer time before needing an upgrade.

Quick Rundown of the Donner DEP-20

Sale
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
  • 🎹 【Full-Weighted 88 key keyboard】The digital electric piano is constructed by 88 full-sized hammer action keys with adjustable touch response. This 88-key weighted keyboard allows to adjust your desired playing style.
  • 🎹 【238 Tones & 128 Polyphony】 The 88-key weighted keyboard loaded with 238 types of tone like Ukulele, drum, bass, etc. vividly presenting voices of different instruments, arousing your keen to learn music. The digital electric piano with 128-note max polyphony, players could distinguish tone clearly in Chorus & Reverb under various occasions.
  • 🎹【Double Keyboard & Control Panel】This 88 key weighted keyboard provides dual-tone mode for combining two voices together, like piano and drum, inspiring to make a new creation. Panel includes sustain pedal, triangle pedal and audio inputs & outputs, perfectly used for music arrangement and an ensemble.Eludes sustain pedal, triangle pedal and audio inputs & outputs, perfectly used for music arrangement and an ensemble.
  • 🎹 【Multi-Media Settings】This digital piano features with a backlit LCD screen for clearly showing chords names and notation and adjusting wanted tones, recording mode-MIDI, MP3 Player and two 25W amplifiers, bringing you richer and better experience of practice and performance.
  • 🎹【Multi-Purpose 88 key keyboard】This streamlined 88-key piano is designed for rehearsing, learning and creating, practice or performance.

Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • One of the best beginner digital pianos on a budget
  • Uses AWM sampling
  • MIDI connectivity options open a range of possibilities
  • Comes with great built-in speakers
  • Graded hammer action
Cons
  • Doesn’t have duo mode
  • The keys have a plastic feel

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 2022-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Comes with split mode, layering mode, and duo mode
  • Comes with lesson mode and a 3-month subscription to Skoove
  • Tones are decent for its price
  • Has great built-in effects
  • Equipped with an 88-key fully-weighted keyboard
Cons
  • The sound system is lackluster
  • The fully-weighted keys could be better

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5/5 - (1 vote)