If you look for the most well documented Alesis Recital Pro Review, then you’re in the right place. By the time you’re going to reach the end of this review, you’ll have a clear enough picture about this digital piano so that you can make a well informed buying decision.
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Pianos have been the most popular musical instruments for music students for centuries. And not without reason. Pianos are probably the most complex musical instruments around. But, as with any other skill, you have to practice a lot to attain a higher level of proficiency. This is where a number of problems arise. Because acoustic pianos are not for every ones wallet, and because they need a lot of space, not many beginners afford such a musical instrument in their homes. But then digital pianos appeared, and everything changed.
As digital pianos evolved, the experience they offered got closer and closer to acoustic pianos. The price also dropped significantly over time. Now there are digital pianos that offer a very authentic experience at a price starting from a few hundred dollars. This is where Alesis steps into the scene.
Alesis has been a manufacturer of musical equipment for the past few decades. In this time frame they’ve progressed a lot, now producing some digital piano models that compare from every point of view to those of bigger manufacturers. The big distinction is the price, though. They have a few models that sell for a fraction of the cost of other manufacturers’ digital pianos, offering comparable features. These are extremely attractive for beginners, hence their best seller status in many markets. The Alesis Recital Pro is one of these digital pianos.
Alesis Recital Pro Features
Like its smaller brother, the Alesis Recital, the Recital Pro has a full 88 keys keyboard. The difference when compared to the other model is that the Pro version’s keys are fully weighted, that feel very similar to the keys of an acoustic piano. The same type of weighted keys can be found on other digital pianos too, but those are somewhat more expensive than this one. The feeling of the keys is completely different when compared to the keys of an organ or synth that are not weighted. (If you want to learn more about the smaller sibling, read our Alesis Recital review.)
A nice feature, concerning the keyboard is the fact that it has 3 levels of touch sensitivity. This is pretty helpful for most people, because not everyone playing the piano prefers the same level of key sensitivity. You can also set it, no matter how hard or soft you press the keys, to a fixed velocity. These variety of settings of the keys that you can choose from isn’t found on many models at the price the Alesis Recital Pro sells for.
As for size, the keys have the full size. This fact combined with the weighted touch combine for a pretty authentic experience. This is especially advantageous for beginners that would like to learn the proper finger technique that can be translated to an acoustic piano with ease.
The size of the digital piano are what I would call as expected for a fully weighted 88 keys digital piano: 51.6 x 13.8 x 5.5. The surprise, though, comes when you try to move it from one place to another. That’s when you will discover a very nice aspect of the Alesis Recital Pro: its reduced weight, especially for a full-sized digital piano. It only weighs about 26 pounds, which makes it easily portable, despite its full size and compared to other full sized digital pianos.
Just like the Alesis Recital, the Pro version can be powered both by plug or by batteries. It comes with a 12V DC adapter included. If you want to play the piano somewhere in the open, where there’s no plug nearby, you can use 6 D cell batteries to power your Alesis Recital Pro. Most people will probably never use this feature, but its good to know that it’s there if you need it.
Alesis Recital Pro Sound
A very important aspect of digital pianos, and of any musical instrument for that matter, is the sound. There are multiple talking points when it comes to sound. First, the Alesis Recital Pro comes with built-in 20 Watt speakers. Not all digital pianos, especially in this price range, come with built-in speakers, or so powerful built-in speakers, for that matter. The speakers are powerful enough to fill bigger places. You can also use headphones with the Recital Pro. Those will be useful during your practice, especially in the beginning when your performance will not sound so melodious. The rest of the household will thank you for that.
A second aspect of sound is the variety of voices that the digital piano has installed on it. In this case, you’ll enjoy 12 expertly crafted voices that are surely going to make your practice sessions even more fun. These are: 2 acoustic piano sounds, electric piano, organ, church organ, vibraphone, harpsichord, synth, clavi, strings, acoustic bass and electric bass. The 128-note polyphony allows you to create very complex sounds in high quality.
On top of these, there are three types of sound effects that you can apply to these voices. These are: modulation, chorus and reverb. Three further settings are very helpful for beginners: lesson, layer and split. With the Alesis Recital Pro, layering two sounds is bound to produce a harmonious sound. For example piano and strings are two voices that will sound great together and are a common layer selection of many musicians. The 128-note polyphony makes sure that even when you layer voices the sounds will be nice to hear, never running out of notes. The split function will split your keyboard in two parts, one for each voice. For example, you can play bass with your left hand and piano with your right. The point where one voice begins and the other stops can also be determined. You can even split a layered voice on one half and a plain voice on the other. With some practice, creativity and musical ear, you can be a one-man band.
The metronome function is also present on the Alesis Recital Pro. The temp volume and time signature can be selected by you, ranging between 30 and 280 beats per minute.
All these functions can be selected by pressing the buttons for each setting on the dashboard. The dashboard may not look as futuristic as that on the Recital but its very user-friendly and intuitive. You will not need a degree in music to get how this digital pianos works. Making hi-tech electronic music instruments easy to use is a very important aspect.
Alesis Recital Pro – a great digital piano for beginners
The lesson mode, just like on other digital pianos, is a very useful feature for beginners. The piano splits the keyboard into two identical sounding halves. This way you and your piano teacher can play at the same time. Quite the advantage when compared to acoustic pianos, where you would have to take turns. This makes learning the basics even more interactive and easy.
As mentioned earlier, there is a headphone jack on the back of the digital piano, which you can use to plug in headphones. Besides this jack there are a number of entries for different uses: a 1/4″ jack where you can connect a sustain foot pedal, the input jack for the power adapter, and a USB 2.0 port. Through this you can receive and transmit MIDI signal, which means you can connect it to both Mac and Windows computers, to make a recording or use music tutorial applications. You will not need any special drives for this to work.
You can use the included music rest to place your sheet music. Although its pretty basic, it gets the job done well.
Also an interesting fact for beginners is the included 3-month subscription to the well appreciated Skoove Premium online piano lesson service.
If you want to see how it compares to an alternative, you can check out my Alesis Recital Pro vs Yamaha P71 comparison review.
Does the Alesis Recital Pro have any weaknesses?
As with any product on the market, the Alesis Recital Pro has some relatively weak spots.
Alesis hasn’t included a stand, nor have they included a sustain foot pedal. In my opinion, these are important accessories that most digital pianos should have, but you can use it without them. So, this makes them, technically, optional. If you want these accessories, you can always buy them separately.
Another weakness, for some users is the fact that there’s only USB MIDI, which requires a computer for connection. This makes driving external MIDI hardware devices directly impossible. Also the lack of modulation and pitch bend wheels makes the Recital Pro of limited use as a master MIDI controller keyboard.
Now that we’ve reached the end of our Alesis Recital Pro review, I hope you found it helpful and that now you have an informed opinion and can make a better decision.
Alesis clearly focused on the fundamentals when they built the Recital Pro, leaving out bells and whistles that would maybe have added to the overall impression of the digital piano, but would clearly have raised the price. Keeping their attention on offering high quality fundamentals, like an 88 key weighted keyboard, high quality voices and a good sound system, kept their price within the very affordable range, a very attractive and low risk investment for any beginner.
The comparison to acoustic pianos, is kind of inevitable because that’s the original instrument digital pianos were developed from. But at the same time it’s not the best way to go about it because they ended up being pretty different. There are so many advantages, that make a digital piano, with weighted keys, maybe an even better option for beginners. The lesson mode that offer teachers and students the possibility to play at the same time, or the different voices that can be layered are just two of the advantages that acoustic pianos are just not made for. As far as the acoustic piano sounds go, they are high quality enough to meet most people’s expectations. Because it’s one of the most affordable digital pianos with the above mentioned characteristics, the value for money ratio you get with the Alesis Recital Pro is among the best across the market.