While Casio has done an admirable job of breaking into the higher end digital market over the last several years, they’ve been more widely recognized as one of the big players in the entry level and intermediate digital piano market for quite some time. Casio has consistently brought instruments to market that embody exceptional value, especially when compared to other manufacturer’s operating in this market such as Korg and Yamaha. The Casio Privia PX-S3000 digital piano is their latest entry to the intermediate, $1,000 market, and does a lot to preserve Casio‘s reputation as one of the leaders in this part of the market.
The Privia digital pianos are known for offering a surprisingly realistic grand piano sound for the price point, and the PX-S3000 takes this a step further with a more refined, highly satisfying sound engine. Combined with a newly upgraded Smart Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard, equipped with ebony and ivory key textures, you can feel confident playing on an instrument with uncompromising piano touch regardless of what weather or climate conditions may dictate.
Casio really addressed modern design concerns here too – the PX-S3000’s control interface only lights up when the power button is pressed, leaving a sleek aesthetically pleasing unibody appearance, another difference from the previous generation Privias.
At this point, you might be asking, “What differentiates the PX-S3000 from the PX-S1000?”, since these instruments share the same basic core features – same action, same tone, same speakers etc. The differences are that the PX-S3000 features 700 tones compared to 18 on the PX-S1000, the 3000 features a pitch bend wheel which is not present on the 1000, and the 3000 has an auto-accompaniment function with over 200 rhythms featuring a variety of drum kits and percussion instruments, also not present on the 1000.
The PX-S3000 features a brand new key action by Casio called the Smart Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard, and features Casio‘s proprietary key scaling system. Interestingly, this action features a double sensor action as opposed to the triple sensor found in other, older Privia pianos. With this in mind, Casio has likely intended this piano to be used by folks that might not have a ton of acoustic playing experience, or as a lightweight, highly portable and versatile gigging or rehearsal instrument for those on the go.
The texture on the white keys is a definite improvement over previous entries in the Privia series, and feels much closer to ivory. The weighting feels very good, and despite the downgrade to a double sensor, this is still a solid action with good touch response.
Piano Sound Engine:
The Casio PX-S3000 uses Casio’s AiR tone generator, which is essentially a 4-velocity layer sample-based synthesis engine. It comes with 192 note polyphony, 16 watts of power running through a fairly powerful stereo speaker system, and the acoustic piano tone in particular does a great job of highlighting specific harmonic relationships. Casio has developed some really interesting technology with regards to reverbs and chorus effects which can be accessed via the on-board ‘Sound Mode’. This feature creates a surround sound like experience, with both the on-board speakers and when playing with headphones. There’s also four types of hall simulator options which created the perception of playing in different concert hall settings.
A potential drawback with the PX-S3000 is that in their attempt to streamline the control surface and create a highly aesthetic appearance, Casio has wound up with a system that relies on a bunch of different shortcut commands to access various sounds. This is a minor complaint, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to have the owner’s manual close by when you’re getting familiar with this instrument. This being said, Casio has developed the Chordana Play app which allows you to control the instrument remotely, and this is easily accessible via the instrument’s built in Bluetooth capabilities.
There are a whopping 700 on-board sounds, such as electric piano, harpsichord and various synths, which are all quite nice, but another notable observation, the various sound patches are not normalized to one another with regards to volume, so you may have to do some adjusting when switching between tones. There’s even an arpeggiator here, making this a viable option for EDM musicians.
A really nice feature on the Casio PX-S3000 is the two ¼” stereo outputs, a huge plus for anyone looking to connect to an amplifier. A quirky decision Casio made here is that while the PX-S3000 features Bluetooth Audio lets you play along with your favorite songs, but it does not have Bluetooth MIDI. Usually at this price point, the reserve is true, with Bluetooth Audio typically reserved for much more expensive instruments.
There is also a class compliant USB port if you would like to transmit MIDI information. Beyond the damper pedal or optional 3-pedal unit, the PX-S3000 allows for the connection an expression pedal for a greater degree of versatility.
There are of course quite a few notable features found within the PX-S3000, but something that really stands out is the option to avoid plugging the piano into a power source with the AC adapter and to instead run it on battery power. The PX-S3000 can run for approximately 4 hours on AA batteries, which is a potentially critical feature for some gigging musicians. It’s also worth mentioning that the slim design Casio has come up with here is definitely one of the most compact 88-note digital piano designs on the market along with the Roland FP10. Other notable features include;
- AiR Tone Generator Acoustic Simulator with damper resonance, string resonance, hammer response and key-off simulation
- 700 onboard sounds
- 192 note polyphony
- Super modern top panel design with illuminated touch sensor controls
Two assignable knobs that can control built-in effects and other parameters
- Onboard 16W stereo amplifier with two stereo speakers
- Smart Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard
- Bluetooth Audio
- Compatibility with the free Chordana Play for Piano app for iOS/Android
- Weighs less than 25 lbs
- Two headphone jacks
- 2 ¼” audio outputs (R/L Mono)
- MIDI recorder
- Music rest
- Standard basic damper pedal
- Optional SP-34 3-pedal unit add-on accessory
The PX-S3000 serves up a huge level of versatility, and offers professionals a highly affordable option for gigging and rehearsals. While the PX-S1000 may be enough piano for some, with almost 40 times as many tones, and a comprehensive auto-accompaniment feature, there’s plenty of musicians out there who will be best served with the PX-S3000.