Piano Sound/Tone Engine:
Casio uses what they call the AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) tone generator, which is essentially a 4-velocity layer sample-based synthesis engine. It comes with a polyphony of 128, and generally delivers a pretty satisfying piano sound, especially when used with headphones to overcome the limitations of the onboard speaker system. Given that the model launched in 2015 and the competitors at the time were Roland’s F20 and Kawai’s ES100, the PX160 for ~$500 USD raised the bar substantially and forced all three of the big companies to clean up their entry-level models, which are now far more competitive with the Casio PX-160 than at the time it was released. The range of other patches on the instrument is well-rounded and the quality of the sounds is surprisingly good – particularly the organ, pad sounds electric pianos, harpsichord and more. The PX-160 also features duet mode which allows the keyboard to be split into two equal ranges so a student and a teacher can use the piano simultaneously.
Casio has equipped the PX-160 with the Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard, which to our knowledge makes this the lowest-cost triple sensor on the market. The action is well-weighted, but a little ‘mechanical’ in comparison to the latest Roland or Kawai actions (particularly now that Roland is offering the PHA-4 in the FP10 for just $100 more), however for many buyers, this is a small compromise given that the bundled Casio PX-160 comes with triple pedal and a wide range of features.
The key surfaces have exaggerated ebony and ivory surfaces which give the keyboard a unique feel, and highly playable. There is a sense that it’s a heavier action, but from our perception, it’s the dynamic resistance that feels a little bulkier than normal – the amount of weight it takes to get the key in motion (static resistance) still feels totally consistent with an acoustic upright.
The Casio Privia PX-160 digital piano is loaded with all the typical digital piano necessities: metronome, transpose, several playing modes to layer and split the keyboard, and a basic recorder function. It also has MIDI in/out, and somewhat surprisingly, independent audio line outs (¼”) so amps and stereos can be hooked up without having to run cables out of the headphone jack.