The Score Magazine July 2017 issue - Page 37

" The Privia PX-350M has the soul of a real acoustic grand. It’s inspiring and emotional in a way that I haven’t experienced in a digital piano outside of the best virtual instruments and most expensive hardware digitals. Kudos to Casio for their commitment and execution. " basses) work in many situations, and you’ll be grateful for the pitch-bend wheel, which you can whip out at least once a night even on piano trio gigs. One new feature which comes out of the box—but after a couple of uses is to be found indispensible—is the audio recording. Plug in a USB flash drive, hit a couple of buttons, and you can now record anything that goes on in the instrument as a CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) WAV file. This is great for capturing fleeting songwriting ideas, documenting practice for feedback from a teacher, or turning a solo gig into a demo. On the Gig We took the PX-350M out of the box and directly to a 150- seat jazz quartet gig. Going through a pair of Barbetta 41C keyboard amps, it took me a few songs to nail my sound. Most digital pianos, we now realize, are more forgiving than a well-miked acoustic grand. That’s what this Privia—with its sensitive dynamics and wide separation—sounds and plays like in a live situation. For the first few tunes, we had to concentrate on our voicings and touch. Then, it began to sound like a good recording of a live performance. A week later we played a 500-seat corporate gig through a pro sound system with a stereo direct box and wedge monitor. Again, it was like playing a miked acoustic, only now we knew how to take advantage of it. For example, you don’t necessarily have to twist the volume dial to make it louder—you can simply dig in more. The PX-350M sounds fine through its internal speakers as well as the signal from the Privia’s line outs is hot enough that you can leave the keyboard volume knob below three o’clock and just raise the gain on your amp, P.A., or recording interface without adding to the noise floor. We tested this, and the results were loud and pure. A final nit: On a dark stage, it’s easy to reach for and hit a Registration button and recall a sound category. Registrations save the entire state of the instrument and can include rhythm and auto-accompaniment that starts right up. Pre-programming registrations (a good idea in any case) can save you an embarrassing moment here. Conclusions The Privia PX-350M has the soul of a real acoustic grand. It’s inspiring and emotional in a way that I haven’t experienced in a digital piano outside of the best virtual instruments and most expensive hardware digitals. Kudos to Casio for their commitment and execution. PROS: Uncanny grand piano playing experience. Audio recording of your performances. Graded action with textured keys. Giggable EPs, organs, basses, and General MIDI patches. Ultra-light. CONS: One needs to buy a case for the PX-350M separately as that makes it so much easier to carry to a gig. Bottom Line The latest Privia delivers the most realistic piano experience you’ll get for under a grand and rivals the sound and feel of stage pianos that cost many times more. The Score Magazine highonscore.com 35