PX-S3100 88 note keyboardCasio’s Privia line is the company’s main series of stage pianos. The PX-S3100 is the flagship model that offers a lot of features that will interest a wide variety of players, of all levels. It’s the type of keyboard that you might find anywhere from a living room, to a rehearsal space to all types of concert stages. Read on to find out if it’s the ideal product for you.

First of all, make sure you check out my video review that highlights the features and sounds, as well as my initial impressions.

A feature-packed stage piano

Compact keyboardThe first thing you’ll notice about the PX-S3100 is its slim form factor. Casio claims it’s the world’s slimmest 88 key digital piano that features speakers and they might be right. The small form factor makes it easy to integrate into any kind of environment. It’s also very light, so it’s easy to carry to rehearsals and shows. The model has integrated speakers, which isn’t always the case with stage pianos. This makes it a very versatile machine, which will be very useful, no matter where you are on your musical journey.

PX-S3100 control panelThe main panel where the controls are placed is very slick. It’s a flat, mirrorlike board that has touch controls. This is a big difference compared to most keyboards that feature regular-style buttons. While it takes a while to get used to, it’s an efficient system that looks really good. Be ready to clean the panel often, because fingerprints stain the surface in no time.

The full piano range is available thanks to the 88 keys. The action is heavy, like the one found on an acoustic instrument. Casio managed to keep the weight down, thanks to a reduced mechanism that fits into the small shell. It is also scaled, so you get a varying resistance depending in which register you play. If you’re interested in learning the instrument, this is great news because you’ll develop your technique in a way that will be easy to transpose to a regular piano. This is not exactly the case with light keys that are present on many inexpensive models.

Many useful modes and sounds

Included Sustain PedalThe PX-S3100 comes loaded with 700 sounds. They cover everything from acoustic pianos and synths to brass and strings. It’s hard to imagine anyone wishing they had more tones. The keyboard can handle up to 192 simultaneous sounds (this amount represents the polyphony). This number is high enough to handle most situations, including sustain pedal usage (a simple SP-3 model is included with your purchase). There are also 200 rhythm accompaniments, which are great for practicing your rhythm chops. There is a basic arrangement feature which allows you to create dynamic arrangements on the fly. It’s a great way to develop broader musical skills and also entertain your friends and family.

The PX-S3100 offers a lot of good sounding samples right out of the gate. They are responsive to your touch and feature a lot of detail. The main piano sound, for example, is quite rich and resonant. It gives a very immersive experience, especially with headphones.

PX-S3100 piano actionThe action is very forgiving and will be a great starting point for beginners. It has a good response; although it’s not the most detailed or authentic feel. Seasoned players will definitely be able to work with it and maybe even enjoy it. The most demanding classical players might feel that it’s lacking refinement. Those players might want to look elsewhere for a more authentic experience in a digital piano.

Make sure you watch my video to get an idea of how everything sounds.

Plenty of connectivity options

Back panel connectionsThere are lots of connections available on the keyboard. On the front, you get two headphone outputs, so two pianists can play silently. On the back, there are many useful ports. There is a damper pedal jack and one for Casio’s pedal unit, which gives you the opportunity to make use of the three pedals you’d find on a piano. If you want to plug in an external player, such as an iPod or CD player, there is an auxiliary input. A pair of 1/4 inch ports handles the stereo signal output. You can plug in an expression pedal to control various assignable parameters. Last, but not least, there are two USB ports, one for flash drives the other to connect to a computer. While audio signals are not transmitted, you can send MIDI information to control external sound banks.

Bluetooth adapterBluetooth is not inherently available, but a WU-BT10 adapter is included. This device plugs into the USB port and will send out MIDI information or receive audio to play through the unit’s speakers. No batteries are required, as it is powered by the keyboard itself. This also allows the pairing with the Chordana App that lets you change various settings of the tone you are using wirelessly. It also has the sheet music to many different songs. You’ll be able to learn these with variable tempo, section looping, and even key transposing, if you’re not familiar with the one that the song is written in.

A lot of bang for your buck

There’s a lot to like with the PX-S3100. It’s a very versatile design that sounds good out of the box. The keys feel good and only the most discerning players will long for a more realistic experience. The number of sounds is huge and covers most situations. You can always plug it into an external bank to use different ones if you are missing something. It’s also really portable and you can even power it with 6 AA batteries. This will give you approximately 6 hours of play time.

Beginners will benefit from a heavy action to learn on and develop their technique. It’s also a great choice to make sure your purchase is future-proof. You won’t outgrow this model any time soon. More advanced players will be able to use this as an inexpensive, good-sounding stage piano. It’s also great to carry with you to rehearsals or lessons, without much hassle. The slim design makes it an elegant addition to any decor, just watch out for fingerprint stains on the main panel.

Check out the Casio PX-S3100 keyboard on Best Buy’s website.

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