Alesis Recital Review

Alesis is a name in the electronics industry for more than 30 years. They may be pretty young compared to other manufacturers of digital pianos, but they made a name for themselves by producing an extended range of well received electronic instruments such as: professional recording equipment, audio interfaces, electronic drums and other studio and stage electronic musical equipment. Their digital pianos don’t deviate too much from their high standards. Our Alesis Recital review is an attempt, and we hope a successful one, to get a clear and complete picture of this digital piano model that is rising in popularity among beginners worldwide.

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Our mission is to discover the advantages and disadvantages of this digital piano from Alesis, in the most objective way possible. We also want to find out if this, around $200 priced, musical instrument offers the level of quality that so many people say it does.

Alesis Recital Specifications

Keyboard88 Full Size
Touch Sensitivity4 Levels including Fixed
Number of Sounds12
EffectsReverb, Chorus, Damper Resonance, EQ
FunctionsLayer/Split and sequencer
Speakers2 x 10W
Audio I/O1 x quarter inch TRS headphone output
2 x quarter inch TRS line output
Midi I/ONo
Pedal 1 x quarter inch TRS sustain
USB1 x USB to Host (type B)
Operating System Compatibilityminimum macOS 10.10 or Windows 7
Mobile App CompatibilityMelodics, just for iOS (you also need an adapter which is not included)


Upon first glance, the Alesis Recital has a look that would best be called ultra-modern, or if you want, futuristic.

It’s very slim and lightweight, fitting nicely in even smaller places. It looks very good in different decors and is a sure plus in any room of the house. On the dashboard you will find LED buttons which fit the design really well.

The 88 keys keyboard is semi-weighted, with adjustable touch sensitivity, which offers a satisfactory touch sensation. It depends a lot on your term of comparison. At this price, the technology is great. I wouldn’t say that you get the sensation of playing on an acoustic piano’s keyboard but the experience is surprisingly authentic. I wouldn’t have expected such a sensitivity from such a an inexpensive digital piano. But if you truly want a closer experience to an acoustic piano, then you will probably have to spend a bit more money. At this point, I would like to focus, though, on two main aspects that constitute an advantage, in my opinion: full 88 keys keyboard that have some kind of technology that offer a weighted experience.

The Alesis Recital has 5 voices installed on it. These are: Acoustic piano, Electric piano, Bass, Synth and Organ. They’re not many, but they are pretty good quality. You can also layer any two of these voices to give birth to more complex sounds. A nice plus point. The Chorus an Reverb capabilities help in producing a better sound.

An interesting feature, that you can usually only find on more expensive pianos, like the Yamaha YDP-164, are the speakers. The Alesis Recital is equipped with two 10-Watt speakers that give the keyboard the ability to produce sound that fills any room easily. I can’t underline enough how big of a feature this is. There are plenty of digital pianos on the market that are more expensive than the Recital that don’t have such powerful built-in speakers.

The Alesis Recital is clearly made with beginners in mind. A strong testimony to this fact are beginner friendly features that are installed on this digital piano, like the lesson mode. What it does, is part the keyboard into two equal sections that give teachers and students the possibility to play at the same time. This is quite an advantage for beginners, even compared to acoustic pianos that can’t have comparable features, due to obvious reasons.

User Experience

The feeling when playing the Alesis Recital Digital Piano makes you completely forget that you are actually playing on a musical instrument that you bought for around $200. The touch and sound steer towards an authentic feeling. The different settings that you can choose between give you the possibility to create complex musical pieces.

An attractive feature is the possibility of parting your keyboard in two different sections, with each section having a different voice setting. This way you can create sounds that give the impression of multiple musical instruments plating together in a harmonic song.

The number of voices that are installed by the manufacturers on the Recital are not necessarily the strongest aspect of this digital piano. The type and quality of the voices, though, are very well selected, giving the user a nice palette to mix and match. The acoustic piano voice has a nice full bodied sound, representing the main voice of this piano. The organ voice sounds great if you try to obtain that classic sound for more sober tunes. If you like the sound of electronic music and would like to reproduce it on your Alesis Recital, that’s perfect. For this purpose the manufacturers have installed the Synth setting. The remaining two voices are Bass, with the characteristic low sounds, and electric piano that is perfect for pop songs.

You can use the Alesis Recital in two different modes: from home (or plugged-in), or on the way. If you’re in a location where you have access to an electrical plug, you can use the adapter to power your digital piano. If you’re in a location where you can’t plug your piano in, for example in a park, or on a terrace, there’s the possibility to use batteries to power the instrument. This is very helpful, considering the portability of the Recital.

Many people are reticent when it comes to buying technologically advanced products because they have the impression that using them involves a lot of hassle. It’s not the case with the Alesis Recital. Although it is technologically advanced, it’s easy to use. You just plug it in and you can already start playing. There’s no need to read the instruction manual to be able to use it. You can browse through its functions and get accustomed with the way everything works even without having a degree in electronics. Overall, it’s very user friendly, in spite of its futuristic looks.


You wouldn’t expect much sound-wise from a digital piano priced under $200, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The Alesis Recital gives off an incredibly high quality sound, comparable to that of much higher priced pianos.

The manufacturers designed this piano to be an instrument geared towards beginners, especially. That’s why it has only 5 different sounds, but they’re all high quality, so I can’t complain about that. Actually, the lack of a very diversified sound collection, helps beginners concentrate on the learning the fundamentals well.

The main piano sound seems like it has been sampled with a certain attention to detail, that’s why it has a satisfactory dynamic range. It’s not perfect, far from it. There are minor issues, that would probably not be a deciding factor for beginners, but they do exist. For example the piano could have used a longer sustain tail. Also, the mid frequencies could have been richer. I wouldn’t classify them as weaknesses, because the product is intended for beginners.

Like I said, the piano sound is the main reason you’d buy the Alesis Recital, but it also has four more sounds, that can be a pleasant diversification, to avoid burnout. These are: Organ, Electric piano, Bass and Synth. All of them are at the level of the Piano sound, so they actually sound nice. Anyway, a lot nicer than some of its competition. The big absence is strings, because piano and strings are a classic combo, so it would have been nice to have that.


The fact that you can fully control reverb and chorus, gives you the ability to create much more dramatic sounds than you would first think possible, especially with a voice like Organ. Not that you can’t create impressive sound effects with other voices as well. No matter your level in playing the piano, you’re most likely to be impressed by the sound of this inexpensive musical instrument. The Recital has a total of 11 effects: five choruses, three reverb, two delay and pedal resonance.

You will probably make use of the chorus and reverb effects most often. Reverb lends the sound the impression that it’s played in a certain type of place like a music hall, for example. The chorus effect makes the sound seem broader. You would probably create the most good sounding music if you use it with electric piano.

I’d think the weakness at this chapter is probably the pedal resonance. Because the piano has a rather short sustain period it’s not technically capable of recreating that which the manufacturers claim it should be sounding. But nonetheless, considering that it’s a digital piano for beginners, I wouldn’t necessarily insist on this aspect.

Even the surround effect is there. As you play the keyboard you will notice how the sound of the higher notes tends to come from the right side, and as you go towards the lower notes, the sound also has a tendency to migrate towards the left side. Some reviewers say that the keys seem to be quite sensitive, but truth be told, they’re not so bad, considering the price of the Recital. The thing is, with a digital piano priced so low, you kind of need to put everything into perspective. So, yes, you probably wouldn’t be that impressed if sold for triple the amount, but considering the facts, it’s quite impressive.


In few words, polyphony is the maximum number of different notes that a digital piano can sustain at any given time. Different digital pianos have different polyphony levels, usually between 64 and 256.

You might find it hard to imagine how that’s actually possible. Digital pianos need a certain amount of internal memory that can reproduce a big number of sounds at the same time. Because certain sounds are made up of multiple samples, plus all the effects that can be applied, not mentioning the fact that you can play along recordings, with some musical pieces you could max out a lower capability model.

When the digital piano hits its maximum capacity, it will start cutting off starting with the first notes that were played.

A beginner should be fine with minimum 128 polyphony, and that’s exactly that of the Recital. It’s lower mid level in this field but it should be enough for most beginners, for at least a couple of years. Compared to other options in its category, the Recital does pretty well.


The speaker system of the Alesis Recital is comprised of two 10W speakers, positioned on the left and right side of the control panel, facing up. They look pretty well when compared to other alternatives and tend to keep a clear and crisp sound even when at higher volumes. But, I don’t recommend going too high, because after a certain point distortions will start appearing.

It’s a powerful enough system to be able to fill an average square footage room with no problems. If you’d like to perform in larger spaces, you’ll need an amplifier. You have to put that in perspective, though. Compared to other pianos in this category, the sound is among the best.


Because they’re neither weighted, nor unweighted, semi-weighted keys must be analyzed as being in a class of their own. You be unjust to see them as one or the other and compare them in accordance.

The biggest advantage of semi-weighted keys is that they can perform very well when you play classical piano, but you can also pull off some a glide when you use it as a synth.

Some professionals actually prefer semi-weighted keys because they have the “real” piano keys feeling, while being able to perform faster passages with ease. One of the all time favorite of performing artists is the Nord Stage 3, which could be taken as a worthy reference for this category of key actions. As you might have easily guessed, the Alesis Recital doesn’t look so good when compared to the Stage 3. But, we have to put this in perspective, because it’s also at about 10% of the cost of a Stage 3.

The semi-weighted keys would be great, especially considering the piano’s price category, but because there are minor weaknesses I’d say there are only good. When you price the keys, the first feeling will be that of smoothness, then on the return, they slightly bounce back. The problem is in between. When the keys approach the farthest point downwards, you can distinguish a slight feeling of opposition, which should preferably not be there.

On the up side, a strength of the key mechanism is the way it responds to the different levels of intensity. I can play soft passages and go straight to more forceful ones with ease, the digital piano responding in a prompt and sensitive manner. Another advantage is the fact that it’s a full keyboard, having 88 keys. Other options in this price range have smaller keyboards.

Would I recommend it to beginners? Yes and no. Yes, because you get a lot of value for the buck, especially for those who aren’t interested primarily in classic piano and enjoy to use different sounds and features, and no, for those whose end goal it is to translate what they learn onto an acoustic piano. This is because the half-weighted keys will, in the end, force you to learn a certain finger technique, which needs alteration when translated onto an acoustic piano. If you value learning piano the right way, I’d always recommend looking into a fully weighted keyboard so that you learn the proper finger technique right from the start.

Different connection capabilities

There are three main types of connection possibilities that the Alesis Recital offers.

Because the Alesis Recital is designed to be a digital piano for beginners, most people who buy it will probably practice a lot, without sounding too well. This can turn out to be a pretty annoying situation for the rest of the household. This is why most beginners practice with headphones, so the audio jack present on the Recital is a very useful feature.

Once you make some progress, the next connectivity feature might be something really helpful at that stage, USB. You can use this feature to easily make recordings.

If you want to amplify the sound of this digital piano, you can easily connect outside speakers and amplification through the RCA or AUX input.

And of course, there’s the pedal jack. The sustain pedal is one of the most important accessories, if you want to practice piano the right way. Unfortunately, the piano doesn’t come with an included pedal. You’ll have to buy that separately.

How does the Alesis Recital compare to the alternatives?

Although there are not many alternatives at the price of the Recital, there are some that could be compared with it, in the digital pianos for beginners category.

Alesis Recital vs Yamaha P45 / Yamaha P71

Yamaha is probably one of the biggest names in pianos overall, both acoustic and digital. Alesis have also made a name for themselves in matters of electronic musical instruments, for the past few decades. I would say Yamaha is the bigger name, but when comparing two specific digital pianos, the bigger manufacturer doesn’t necessarily mean the better option. To set things straight, the Yamaha P45 and the Yamaha P71 are almost identical, with the big difference being that the P71 is an exclusive Amazon product. They both are a couple hundred dollars more expensive than the Alesis Recital. If you want to learn more about these two digital pianos for beginners from Yamaha, you can read our full reviews here: Yamaha P45 review and Yamaha P71 review.

Alesis Recital vs Recital Pro

The Alesis Recital Pro is the more evolved version of the Alesis Recital. The obvious difference, at first glance, is the dimensions of the Alesis Recital Pro which is somewhat more massive. This may or may not be a problem, depending on how much overall dimensions weigh as a deciding factor for you. The differences which can’t be seen immediately are the number of voices, 12 for the Recital Pro, up from 5 on the Recital. The other notable difference is the fact that you can make recording directly onto the piano, in case of the Pro version, capability you don’t have with the more basic one.

If you want, you can read our full Alesis Recital Pro review, to better understand the differences between the two.

Alesis Recital vs Yamaha P-115

The Yamaha P-115 is a small step up from the Yamaha P45 and P71. All these models have great sound and touch.

When looking at the comparison Alesis Recital vs Yamaha P-115, the obvious thing to notice right from the start is the fact that these are 2 digital pianos that seem unevenly matched at first sight. But there are similarities that make them somewhat comparable. They both have an 88-keys keyboard, although the Yamaha’s being fully weighted. They both have a very good sound coming from good quality speakers. But there are also obvious differences, which makes us say with conviction that the Yamaha P-115, and its successor the P125 are the next step up the ladder once you feel you passed over the beginner level. By all means, the Yamahas are also very good choices for beginners, they’re not very advanced digital pianos, but they also cost more than the Recital.

So, if you are a beginner on a strict budget, the Alesis Recital is a great choice, but if your budget is somewhat flexible, I recommend making the extra effort and going for the P115 or even the newer P125. It’s totally worth the extra mile. If you want to learn more about these digital pianos, you can read our full reviews here: Yamaha P115 review and Yamaha P125 review.

Alesis Recital vs Williams Legato

The Williams Legato is another great digital piano for beginners. If you look for a model that will not break the bank but offer a relatively high quality realistic experience, the Williams Legato is definitely an option. But it’s an option as far as the Alesis Recital is an option as well; not more, not less. This is subject to debate, but one thing is clear, if budget is the main deciding factor, go for the Recital. If value for money is the deciding factor, the choice gets a bit more complicated. If you want to learn more about the Legato, read our full review here: Williams Legato review.


After reading our Alesis Recital review, you now have all the needed information to be able to make an informed decision. Again, there may be better equipped digital pianos on the market, but not fr a comparable price. At the price that this digital piano goes for, the features are really impressive, making for a low risk investment for any beginner. The overall value for money ratio is very advantageous. Even if you don’t end up becoming a concert pianist, the around $200 price tag will not make you regret the purchase. It’s not without reason that the Alesis Recital is among the best selling digital pianos on Amazon.


  • Very good price to value ratio;
  • Good quality sound;
  • Full size;
  • Chord and battery operation.


  • Only semi-weighted keys;
  • Reduced voice library;

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