If piano is your instrument, or you use it as a songwriting tool, chances are you are looking for the sound and feel of a real acoustic piano. Korg’s SP-250 digital stage piano provides an excellent alternative to the real thing. It boasts a practical collection of sound samples and a solid, customizable keyboard action along with features that make it a great choice for songwriters.
While piano players can debate endlessly on which digital pianos have ‘the best’ sound and feel, there is no debating that Korg has done a great job to deliver both in the portable SP-250 along with plenty of options. Since the sound of a real acoustic piano is at the top of every songwriter’s wish list, let’s talk about sounds first.
This keyboard provides several very realistic piano samples easily selected with buttons on the top of the instrument. There are three variations of each available with a little searching. The SP-250 takes advantage of long piano samples, meaning that the piano sound sustains more naturally. An assortment of other useful sounds (classic electric reed and tine pianos; church and jazz organs; string and choir sounds; harpsichord and clav samples; mallet percussion and guitar) are also available at the touch of a button.
A final note about sound: Two important features of the SP-250 are the great sounding built-in speakers and the well thought out effects (reverb and chorus) that beautifully reproduce and enhance the sounds. Together, they produce the deep resonance needed for authentic sounding piano samples.
Now, let’s talk about real piano feel. The key to the SP-250’s very responsive and realistic feel comes from its RH3 graded action keyboard that emulates a real piano with differing key weights in each register. Also, there is a Key Touch Control providing three selectable touch curves so you can easily adjust the keyboard to have the touch sensitivity that works best for you—light, standard or heavy. While the good feel of a digital piano often comes with excessive weight, the SP-250 weighs less than 42 pounds (19 kg.). It’s not the lightest digital piano, but certainly easy to transport. Another feature that adds to the solid feel of a real piano is Korg’s damper pedal. Offered only as an option by other manufacturers, it comes with the SP-250 instead of a footswitch-type pedal for sustain. The SP-250BK model (jet black finish) also comes with a matching stand. As a bonus, Korg’s damper pedal is designed to attach to the stand to prevent ‘pedal drift’–a serious pet peeve for many piano players.
The SP-250 is a great choice for a digital piano and has some particularly useful features for songwriters, including an easily accessible metronome to check your tempos, dual headphone outputs for easy (and quiet) collaborating, MIDI In/Out jacks for connecting to synthesizers or MIDI devices (computers and sequencers) and stereo 1/4” output jacks for live performance or recording. You can layer sounds and adjust pitch to play along with tracks or transpose the keyboard to facilitate working with singers. However, you will need to read the manual to get the best out of these and other advanced features of the SP-250.
Average street price: $699 (Black): $749 (White)