Despite breaking into the higher end digital market over the last several years, Casio’s bread and butter over their 40 years of manufacturing digital pianos have been the entry-level and intermediate market. Casio has consistently brought instruments to market that embody exceptional value, and good enough for professional use as well. The Casio PX-560 portable digital piano is another great example that attests to this and actually serves as a cost-effective alternative for piano players to more expensive all-in-one stage options by Roland, Kawai, and Yamaha.
The Casio Privia PX-560 digital piano is built for professional playing situations where the flexibility of onboard speakers is an important consideration. Casio’s proprietary Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) offers up an authentic piano sound, with over 600 additional tones for whatever the musical situation calls for, including various grand pianos, vintage electric pianos synths, and harpsichord. With 256 note polyphony, cutting edge touch screen, and a huge range of options for rhythmic accompaniment, this is a great, cost-effective option for gigging musicians on the go, or as a home digital piano with the optional stand and triple pedal unit added.
The Privia Pro PX-560 is assembled using the Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard. The mechanism is less responsive, although comfortably weighted, this is an expected accommodation when comparing to pricier models such as the Roland FP-60, FP-90, and the Kawai ES8.
The manmade ebony and ivory keys give you an unmistakable experience when performing, and even though the action appears a bit heavy, it conforms to that of a traditional upright. The dynamic resistance, and not the static resistance, feels slightly bulkier. As for the grading, it starts a bit heavier in the low range, progressively becoming lighter towards the higher range.
The PX560 features Casio’s Linear Morphing Technology AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) tone generator; basically, a sample-based, four-velocity layer synthesis engine. The 256 note polyphony gives you a pretty convincing grand piano, especially when used with headphones or when running it through an amplifier to overcome the limitations of the onboard 16 watt speakers.
The PX650 includes 650 sounds; including pianos, harpsichords, marimbas, fretted and non-fretted string instruments, percussion, plus a lengthy list of others. An intuitive accompaniment option makes use of 200+ rhythms with multiple instruments and various styles to follow along while you play. If the built-in rhythm options aren’t enough, you can use the Rhythm Editor to create an accompaniment out of the provided basslines, drum parts, and leads. On top of this, you can also make use of rhythms, sounds, effects, and chord progressions to compose 50 Music Presets.
A really cool feature in the PX-560 is the addition of Hex Layers, which essentially makes the PX-560 a fully fledged synthesizer. Hex Layers were originally introduced in Casio’s XW-P1 synthesizer. A Hex layer allows you to create splits and layers, with four zones and a total of 14 layers at once. These tones can be edited with a variety of parameters for a huge degree of sound design customization. There are three real-time control knobs, along with a modulation wheel, which can all control up to two assignable parameters at once.
Even though there’s no Bluetooth connectivity, which could be a deal-breaker for some, there’s a host of other connectivity and audio input options including; USB port (to Host): Yes USB Flash Drive Port: Yes Pedal: 2 (Damper Assignable)Connector for 3- Pedal Unit Expression Pedal Available Midi in/out: Yes Phones: 2 (3.5mm Stero Mini, Front) Line In: Yes (L/MONO, R: 6.3mm Mono Standard) Line Out: Yes (L/MONO, R: 6.3mm Mono Standard) Audio In: Yes (3.5mm Stereo Mini)
The audio output options allow the PX560 to be connected with an amp making it a viable option for performance situations where the 16 watts of onboard power won’t be enough. There are also of course 2 headphone jacks as well.
Although lacking in a Bluetooth option, a real issue for some users, the PX560 does have:
- USB Port (to Host)
- USB Flash Drive Port
- 2 Pedal Unit (Damper Assignable), option for 3 Pedal Unit (Expression Pedal)
- MIDI In/Out
- 2, 3.5mm Stereo Mini Headphone connectors in front
- L/Mono-R, 6.3mm Line In connectors
- L/Mono-R, 6.3mm Line Out connectors
- 3.5mm Mini Stereo connector for Audio In
The available Audio Out connectors provide a way to connect to an external amplifier, which makes the PX-560 a true stage piano.
There are a lot of things we could point out here, but the 5.3” colour touch interface needs to be mentioned. While the screen not only enhances feature navigation, and makes accessing options faster, the intuitiveness and efficiency of the built-in recorder is markedly better. This type of screen is a valuable addition to a keyboard in this price range, as they are normally found in units costing much more.
- AiR Sound Source tone engine
- 550 onboard sounds
- 256 note polyphony
- 16 watts of speaker power
- Acoustic Simulator Parameters for Piano Tones: Hammer Response, Damper Resonance, String Resonance, Damper Noise, Key-Off Simulator
- 88 note Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II
- Touch Screen Display
- Pitch bend wheel
- Modulation Wheel
- Layer, split, duet mode, transpose (-12 semitones ~ 0 ~ +12 semitones) , octave shift
- Digital Effects: Reverb – 17 Types Chorus – 16 Types Delay- 6 Types Mester EQ -Brilliance – -3 ~ 0 ~ +3DPS – Yes (Preset for some tones)
- On-board lesson function
- On-board USB Audio Recorder: 16 multi-track MIDI recorder
- 200 Built-in Rhythms 10 User Rhythms One Touch Preset
- 305 Built-in Presets Chord Progressions 50 User Presets Editing Parameters
- Registration memory for 96 setups
- Optional 3-pedal unit with soft, sostenuto, and damper pedals
- AC power supply and music stand included
If you’re looking for the best value stage piano on the market with built-in features, the PX-560 should be on your shortlist.