The Casio Privia PX770: Does it worth investing in?

The Casio Privia PX770
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The Casio Privia PX770 is an 88 key digital piano, with weighted and hammer action keys. The “ivory feel” keys add an extra touch of luxury, and the selection of piano and instrumental voices will provide plenty of entertainment for the learner or the seasoned home player.

The Privia series of pianos are designed to be compact enough to fit into your home without dominating the room, providing a big sound for a relatively small footprint. The slimline design and the furniture-style stand make a Privia keyboard an attractive addition.

You might be forgiven, initially, for dismissing Casio as a throw-back to the 80s – they made digital watches, cash registers and pretty unimpressive miniature portable keyboards. They fell out of favor for a while and were overtaken by Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai. But, Casio is undoubtedly back. And they make some of the best digital pianos on the market.

So, it’s time to sit up and pay attention, because the Casio Privia PX770 is a digital piano under $1000 that’s definitely worthy of your consideration.

The Casio Privia PX770

Who is the Casio Privia PX770 for?

Casio markets the PX770 as suitable for the professional, the intermediate and the beginner. So, pretty much anyone, then. Well, perhaps that’s a little broad – I think it depends on what you’re looking for.

There’s a great keyboard action, a selection of really impressively sampled pianos, and a small collection of other instrumental voices, so if you’re a professional musician wanting a compact digital piano, then, sure – I’d choose this.

But, I’d really pitch this towards the learner/home player market. The feature set is good, but for the same price, you’re likely to get a little more with the Yamaha DGX660.

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Sound Quality

The AiR Sound Source engine is certainly impressive, with a great dynamic response. But, we should always consider the keyboard build when exploring sound quality, because great sound without a realistic, pianistic experience is a lost cause.

Fear not, however, for the keyboard of the PX770 is really lovely to play – sensitive to the touch and perfect for dynamic expression. This is made possible by the Tri-Sensor technology – each key depression is captured by three sensors, which relate the exact dynamics of the player’s performance, emulating a convincing hammer action response, just like an acoustic piano.

So, they’ve got the feel of the keyboard right.

Onto the sounds.

The Grand Piano sound is bright, with a throaty bottom end and a beautiful clarity at the top. The slightly nasal mid-tones made for a perfectly balanced sound throughout the frequency spectrum.

There’s a good selection of electric pianos that immediately transport you to the 1970s – the Rhodes emulations are crisp, warm, and accompanied by a lovely spatial spread that really does drag you in.

With 128 note polyphony, there should be little discernible note drop-out. There are only 18 instrumental voices, including three grand piano sounds on the PX770 – grand, mellow and bright – making this a fairly basic model, in comparison with the PX860, which we’ll explore later.

Features

I would say that there’s plenty here if all you want is a basic digital piano, and for many people, that’s precisely what they want. The user interface is a little limited. The instrumental names are printed above the keys at the bottom of the keyboard – you press the function key and choose your sound by pressing the key denoting your chosen sound. This is fine – entirely free of bells and whistles, while functional and simple to operate.

The keyboard can be split down the middle – allowing you to play (for example) a jazz organ with the right hand and a bass guitar in the left. You can also layer two instrumental sounds together to create some interesting tonal textures. The keyboard can also be split in Duet mode so that both halves of the keyboard inhabit the same octave range – an excellent feature for piano lessons.

There’s a reverb and a separate chorus effect to add some extra depth to the piano tones.

The Casio Privia PX770 comes with 3 foot-pedals, for soft, sostenuto and damper, which is a good standard feature for a digital piano in this price range.

There’s a metronome setting which assists practice, and an essential for any learner.

There’s a “Concert Play” function that allows you to be the solo pianist in an orchestral performance which follows you, rather than the other way round. This is a “fun” feature, as opposed to a deal clincher, I feel. It’s useful for a learner – I’m not sure it would entirely appeal to a seasoned professional.

There’s a record-setting, that allows you to listen back to your performance, with the bonus of being able to export your recording via a USB flash drive. Again, a useful feature for the learner, wishing to evaluate their performance.

Ease of Use

Although this is pretty much a plug-in and play instrument, the user interface isn’t brilliant. Accessing the voices is a case of hitting two keys, and many of the record functions are accessed via the piano keyboard, so you’ll have to remember how to do these every time, because there’s no digital display to confirm settings.

Again, if you’re just after a simple digital piano, this is your instrument. If you want a digital piano packed with lots of extra features, this isn’t going to satisfy you.

Quality-price ratio

Although the voices and the keyboard action are really lovely, I’d say that there are a number of other keyboards available on the market that offer better value for money.

It certainly feels well-built, and you’ll never tire of the action, but if you’re looking for extra features, you’re better off looking at the PX870, which we’ll explore a little more in the comparison section.

The RRP of the Privia PX770 is $799.99 according to Casio’s website. However, you can get it here, bundled together with a piano stool, headphones, instructional book, DVD and polishing cloth.


PROs

  • Excellent keyboard action that really transports you to the keyboard of an acoustic piano
  • A selection of impressively sampled piano voices and a smattering of other instrumental voices, including electric pianos and organs
  • Some good features for learners – such as Duet Mode and Concert Play
  • Comes with 3 foot-pedals
  • Compact unit, designed to have a small footprint
  • Record function and USB export

CONs

  • Quite a limited feature set
  • The user interface is a little clunky
  • Limited range of instrumental voices

Comparisons

In the fight between the Casio Privia PX770 vs. 870, the PX870 would win. There is a wider range of features and instrumental voices, more digital effects, a slide-type keyboard cover, greater MIDI functionality, and app connectivity. It’s only cost around $200 more, and for that, you get extra, worthwhile features.

The PX860 has a much better user-interface, a physical acoustic lid, a few more instrumental sounds and better MIDI connectivity.

The now discontinued Casio Privia PX760 had many of the same features as the PX770, with a slightly more accessible user-interface. The differences between the two keyboards are actually a little difficult to find, but you’ll get a Casio Privia PX760 a little cheaper, so I wouldn’t disregard it if you’re considering purchasing the PX770.

Verdict

The Casio Privia PX770 is a great keyboard if you’re looking for basic functionality. It’s often easy to overlook basic models when they’re pitched against other keyboards with all the bells and whistles. However, if you’re a piano player who only wants to play the piano, you should go for great build and great feel, both of which are offered with the PX770. You’ve just got to consider whether you’re ever going to use those additional features that the flashier models provide. Quite possibly not.

So, if you’re looking for a digital piano with a great keyboard action, some beautifully sampled acoustic piano sounds and an instrument that won’t take up a lot of floor space, I’d certainly recommend the PX770.

If, however, you are looking for something with more features, you’ll be a little disappointed.