Yamaha P71 vs Alesis Recital: Why the Amazon Exclusive P71 Is the Best Option for Beginners

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While the Alesis Recital was the more affordable option, when compared to the more expensive P71, it simply doesn’t compare. So, after testing out both of these options, I found that the Yamaha P71 was the easy winner because of its superior tone, feel, and voices that give beginner and novice pianists a lot of room for experimentation.

However, in the Yamaha P71 vs Alesis Recital comparison, the Alesis model has a couple of features that stand out. It has MIDI connectivity, great speakers, and decent polyphony. So, if you’re on a tight budget, the Alesis Recital can make for a great option.

While it’s more expensive, the P71 can serve you very well during your first few years as a pianist while you progress through the different levels. The Alesis Recital, on the other hand, is great while you’re a beginner, but after some time, you might find yourself needing to upgrade to a better model.

Yamaha P71 vs Alesis Recital: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply (Amazon-Exclusive)
The Runner-up (#2)
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
Yamaha P71
Alesis Recital
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer Action
Fully-weighted keys
Semi-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
Hard/medium/soft/fixed
Adjustable touch response
Tone Generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
Sampling
Effects
Reverb (4 different types)
Reverb, Chorus
Lesson Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
10
5
Speakers
Two 6W Speakers
Two 20W Speakers
Headphone input
AUX out
Yes, ¼’’
Yes, Stereo RCA
MIDI
Maximum Polyphony
64
128
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$479.99
$219.99
The Winner (#1)
Image
YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply (Amazon-Exclusive)
Model
Yamaha P71
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Fully-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
Hard/medium/soft/fixed
Tone Generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
Effects
Reverb (4 different types)
Lesson Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
10
Speakers
Two 6W Speakers
Headphone input
AUX out
Yes, ¼’’
MIDI
Maximum Polyphony
64
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$479.99
More info
The Runner-up (#2)
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
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Semi-weighted keys
Touch Sensitivity
Adjustable touch response
Tone Generation
Sampling
Effects
Reverb, Chorus
Lesson Mode
Dual Mode
Split Mode
Number of voices
5
Speakers
Two 20W Speakers
Headphone input
AUX out
Yes, Stereo RCA
MIDI
Maximum Polyphony
128
Pedal included
What I like
Price
$219.99
More info

Last update on 2021-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  3. Yamaha P71 vs P125: Why the Yamaha P125 Is the Better Investment
  4. Yamaha P71 vs P45: Why the Amazon Exclusive P71 is the Better Digital Piano

Yamaha P71 vs Alesis Recital: Differences

The best way to judge these two pianos was to compare their features and differences. And after testing out the models side by side, the Yamaha P71 was the clear winner by 3-2. This is because while the Alesis had a better built-in sound system, the Yamaha P71 has better accessories, feel, and tone compared to the Alesis Recital.

Hammer Action

The winner: Yamaha P71

The Yamaha P71 has fully-weighted keys, so right off the bat, it’s much better than the Alesis Recital’s semi-weighted keys. The only complaint I had with the Yamaha P71’s hammer action was that it wasn’t progressive, so the weight is almost the same throughout the whole piano. An acoustic piano’s keys are heavier on the left side and lighter on the right side, which would have been a great feature to add, considering many of Yamaha’s pianos are equipped with Graded Hammer Action Systems (GHS).

The Yamaha P71 has fully-weighted keys
The Yamaha P71 has fully-weighted keys

With all that said, fully-weighted keys always beat out semi-weighted keys. While the keys on the Alesis Recital may be easier to play for beginners since they’re lighter, it doesn’t simulate the feel of a real acoustic piano. This helps keep the cost down, which is why the Alesis is the more affordable option, but in the long run, it’s not the best feature for a digital piano to have. Most pianists don’t enjoy the feel of semi-weighted keys, which is a common complaint that most customers had with this model.

Tone

The winner: Yamaha P71

When it comes to tone, the Yamaha P71 knocks it out of the park. It has better tone generation, a wide voice library, and the only area where it’s slightly lacking is the effects. But overall, if you’re looking for an accurate piano sound and other fun voices, the Yamaha P71 easily beats out the Alesis Recital.

Tone Generation

Both of these pianos generate their tone through samples. However, the Yamaha P71 does it with the Yamaha Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) technology, which provides for higher quality sounds and voices compared to the Alesis Recital. When developing the samples for this piano, Yamaha used advanced technology on their own grand and concert pianos with natural decay. Normally, pianos like the Alesis Recital use synthetic decay on their samples to save up on memory. 

WIth the Yamaha P71, you get the all natural sample with natural decay. That way, your note dies out more naturally and it sounds more like a real piano. Yamaha also has the advantage of sampling their own pianos which are renowned worldwide for their tone and quality.

Voice Library

The Yamaha P71 has a voice library with 12 different voices. Aside from a variety of grand and concert piano tones, you also get bass tones, electric piano tones, and even strings. That way, you get to experiment with a wide range of different sounds, which is one of the joys of playing the piano.

The Yamaha P71 has a voice library with 12 different voices
The Yamaha P71 has a voice library with 12 different voices

On the other hand, you only get 5 voices with the Alesis Recital. This is a very limited selection, but it does offer enough sounds for beginner pianists. The Alesis Recital offers piano, electric piano, organ, synth, and bass sounds. When you start out with the instrument, this will be more than enough. However, as you progress and your skill level improves, you might find yourself wanting a wider range of voices.

Effects

When it comes to effects, the Alesis Recital has a slight edge, but let me put extra emphasis on “slight”. The Yamaha P71 comes with built-in reverb with four different presets that you can tweak to your liking. On the Alesis Recital, you get a Reverb and Chorus effect, but you don’t have as much control over the sound.

So, at the end, you get around the same versatility in terms of effects. Since these are both fairly entry-level pianos, they don’t offer robust effects. The Alesis Recital has slightly more effects than the P71, but the P71 allows you to tweak and customize the sounds with much more precision and control than the Alesis Recital.

Piano Features

The winner: Alesis Recital

When it comes to the extra piano features available on the instrument, the Alesis Recital is the clear winner because of the different playing modes, better polyphony, and superior connectivity. 

Alesis Recital comes with more extra piano features
Alesis Recital comes with more extra piano features

Modes

The Alesis Recital comes with lesson mode, split mode, and dual mode. With lesson mode, the piano can be divided into two smaller pianos with the same sound. That way, the teacher and the student can go about their lessons without worrying about crossing over to the other side. With split mode, you can assign different voices to the right and left side of the piano, allowing you to seemingly play two instruments at a time. And with dual mode, you can combine two separate voices for a full and unique sound.

With the P71, you only get dual mode as an extra playing mode. This isn’t the end of the world, but it is definitely lacking when compared to the Alesis Recital.

Polyphony

When testing out these two pianos, I was pleased and surprised to learn that the Alesis Recital has 128-note maximum polyphony. This allows pianists to play multiple notes at the same time and still expect a crisp and clear sound. Granted, the tone of the Alesis Recital isn’t as great as the P71, but at least you get more clarity when playing wide and complex chords.

The Alesis Recital has 128-note maximum polyphony
The Alesis Recital has 128-note maximum polyphony

The Yamaha P71 only has 64-note maximum polyphony. This still allows for clear chords, but it is admittedly not as crisp as what you’ll hear on the Alesis Recital.

Connectivity

The reason the Alesis Recital beats out the P71 in this regard is that it comes with MIDI connectivity. That way, you can connect the Recital to your computer and use it for virtual instrument plugins or even use it for piano lesson apps. So, you can  sort of use this piano as a MIDI controller, which is a huge plus for people looking to make their own music.

Sadly, the Yamaha P71 doesn’t come with any MIDI connectivity options, which means that you can only use it as a digital piano. 

Sound System

The winner: Alesis Recital

Another area where the Alesis Recital beat out the P71 is in terms of the sound system. The Alesis Recital has two 20W speakers. So, it will be more than loud enough for rehearsing on your own. On top of that, if you’re jamming with other musicians, chances are you won’t have to plug into an external sound system.

If you need to plug into an external sound system, the Alesis Recital has an RCA stereo output. So, you can connect to external speakers easily, but if you want to connect to an amp, you will need a ¼’’ adapter. Another advantage of the Alesis recital is a headphone output you can use for silent and quiet practice sessions.

On the Yamaha P71, you only get two 6W speakers. This is only fit for practicing alone or performing for a few friends or family members. However, it does have a ¼’’ output you can use to connect to an external sound system or amp. It also has a headphone output, but is still lacking when it comes to speaker size and quality.

General Features

The winner: Yamaha P71

This is another area where the Yamaha P71 beats out the Alesis Recital since it comes with more accessories and the Yamaha brand has a better reputation for pianos.

The Yamaha P71 comes with more accessories and a better reputation for pianos
The Yamaha P71 comes with more accessories and a better reputation for pianos

Brand

Both Yamaha and Alesis are known for making great digital pianos. However, Alesis is mostly reserved for their digital instruments, while Yamaha is known for a wide variety of instruments. One of the reasons the Yamaha P71’s tone is better than Alesis is that the brand actually sampled Yamaha pianos that are known worldwide.

Yamaha is one of the most versatile brands out there and is known for top quality in all the products they produce. Alesis, on the other hand, is a much smaller brand known mostly for mid-range and beginner digital instruments.

Accessories

The Alesis Recital doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, but it does come with a power adapter. On the flip side, the Yamaha P71 comes with a power adapter, music rest, and sustain pedal, giving you just about everything you need when it comes to playing the piano. The only extra accessory the Alesis Recital has over the P71 is a 3-month premium subscription to Skoove, which is a great tool for beginners trying to learn to play the piano.

Yamaha P71 vs Alesis Recital: The Similarities

The Yamaha P71 and Alesis Recital are both full-key keyboards designed for beginners. They are portable, compact, and lightweight, which is why they’re ideal for students. But at that point, the similarities come to an end. These are two very different instruments, which is why it was a joy to review and compare them to see how they stack up against each other.

And while both options are great pianos for beginners, if you’re looking for something to last you a longer time, my recommendation is the Yamaha P71, hands down.

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha P71

YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply (Amazon-Exclusive)
  • Amazon exclusive model includes power adapter and sustain pedal
  • 88 fully weighted piano style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
  • Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos
  • Dual mode lets you combine 2 voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience
  • Slim and stylish design with a depth of less than 12 inches, the P71 requires little space and weighs only 25 pounds

Last update on 2021-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Fully-weighted keys
  • Loaded with 10 different voices and tones
  • Comes with built-in reverb
  • Sustain pedal and music rest included
  • Headphone output and ¼’’ output to connect to external sound systems
Cons
  • Only has two 6W speakers
  • Doesn’t have GHS hammer action

Quick Rundown of the 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 2021-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Affordable and great for beginners
  • Equipped with a full 88-key keyboard
  • Lightweight, compact, and portable
  • Comes with a 3-month premium Skoove subscription
  • Comes with two 20W speakers which are great for practicing and jamming
Cons
  • Only has 5 built-in voices
  • Semi-weighted keys are lackluster

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