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I know it's a very objective question, but I hope I can get some input. I was considering buying a Yamaha CLP-535 piano (or equivalent Kawai, or Roland). Those pianos have a price tag of approximately $2,500, but they seem to be very good at mimicking acoustic upright pianos.

High-end keyboard style digital pianos like DGX-660, P-115 or their equivalents come in at around $1,000, but appear to be highly praised.

I am not after the extra features. While they are very nice to have, I prefer having an instrument that is as close to an acoustic piano as possible.

Would you have suggestions, recommendations, opinions on this matter?

  • As close ..as possible: in what respect: sound, keyboard feeling, optically? I consider the keyboard feeling the most important, and unfortunately this is the expensive part. Note, that there are also stage pianos with very good keyboards if transportability is an issue. My recommendation: try keyboards, advice is not of much help here. – guidot Nov 25 '16 at 8:09
  • Strongly related question – guidot Nov 25 '16 at 8:11
  • You may find it's less costly in Europe, given virtual parity Euro-$, well less than 2k. Although postage will affect the overall deal. – Tim Nov 26 '16 at 10:03
  • @Tim After the conversion rate and the postage, it's not going to make any difference. Besides, I simply loaded this on the back of my truck and now it's in my home. Zero hassle. – B.K. Nov 26 '16 at 17:58
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In your particular case, where you say you "prefer having an instrument that is as close to an acoustic piano as possible", I would recommend going for the bigger purchase.

I own and have played quite a bit on a Yamaha P115 and a Kawai ES100. I like them both a lot (and probably prefer the Kawai). I would recommend them to anyone looking for a affordable and/or portable 88-key keyboard.

I like the key feel of both them - it's really quite great. However, I don't think I would ever mistake the feel of these to instruments for the feel of an acoustic piano.

Please note that I do not have any experience playing on the CLP-535, but this reddit thread asking whats "the best feeling digital piano" seems to support the idea it has very good key feel. Excerpts:

The CLP-535 with their GH3X action is great.

I own a Yamaha CLP-535 and much prefer the touch and voicing over the similarly priced kawai models. But this is a personal thing. The CLP series pianos are great.

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    Thank you for the input. I went out with my family and spent the entire day testing out different keyboards and pianos. I could definitely hear and feel the difference between the cheaper models and the higher-end models (especially the feel). We narrowed it down to the simiarly-priced CN35 and CLP-535. While I liked CN35 feel just a tiny bit better, CLP-535 sound was simply stunning. I think both are fantastic instruments, though. In the end, we have decided to purchase CLP-535. :) – B.K. Nov 26 '16 at 4:26
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The keyboard mechanisms in 'stage' and 'furniture' versions are identical. There will be room to put better speakers in a 'furniture' model (though this opportunity is not always taken up). The best sound will be from good-sized external speakers, but home users usually rule these out on grounds of appearance.

Whatever you choose, if you look for differences from a real piano you'll find them very easily.

  • No regrets in buying our CLP-535. We went to an actual piano dealer who had hundreds of pianos available (even a few Bösendorfer grand pianos). – B.K. Jan 28 '17 at 20:43

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