If you’ve been around here for a while you probably know that my instrument of choice isn’t a baby grand piano, or even a fully tricked-out digital piano. I’ve been using an Alesis Recital as my go-to for years. It’s a great, affordable option that works well for my purposes and is something I feel comfortable recommending to my students.
But today I’m checking out some newer models: not because there’s anything wrong with my Recital, but because I’ve heard some cool things about new Alesis offerings. And it doesn’t hurt that they were gracious enough to send me a couple models to try out!
(Disclaimer: I received the keyboards in this review for free but have not been otherwise compensated. The video below is my honest and unbiased reaction.)
My History with Alesis
Like I said, my love for Alesis keyboards goes back for years. When I was in college, the first keyboard I bought for myself was an Alesis QS 8.2. That model has been discontinued, but I used it for a long time and have been a happy Alesis user ever since. They provide great bang for the buck, and in my experience have a wide range of options that are worth checking out.
What I Look for in Keyboard Keys
So what am I looking for in a new keyboard? To me, the feel of the keys is one of the top things I notice. After all, that’s what I’ll be playing, and if they don’t feel good, it just makes the whole experience less fun.
There are several key types, with different features and drawbacks:
- Unweighted Keys (sometimes called synth-action or spring action keys)
- Tend to be much cheaper
- Feels very flimsy and inauthentic compared to a “real” piano
- Semi-Weighted Keys
- Medium-weight keys
- Somewhat more expensive than unweighted models
- More authentic feeling but still relatively lightweight
- Standard for mid-range keyboards such as my beloved Alesis Recital
- Fully-Weighted Keys/Hammer-Action
- Weighted feeling comparable to an acoustic piano
- Usually has hammer-action response to increase authentic feeling
- Much heavier and usually less portable
- Typically on the higher end of pricing
- Fully-Weighted, Graded Keys
- All the benefits of fully-weighted keys, plus different levels of resistance at different sections of the keyboard
- The closest you can get to an acoustic piano feel on a keyboard or digital piano
- Usually most expensive out of all key options
Not all keyboards that have these types of keys will feel exactly the same: different brands will vary. But understanding what the standard options are will help you narrow down what you are looking for.
Best Keyboard Keys Vs. Price Point?
When I heard that the new Prestige models from Alesis would start at about $450, I was impressed. Why? Because the Prestige boasts fully-weighted and graded keys: the best possible combo that a keyboard’s keys can offer. In my experience, $450 is a very fair price and probably lower than most companies can offer for such premium keys.
There are lots of other features that different manufacturers and users will place emphasis on. But for me, the feel of the actual keys as I play always is at the top of my priority list.
First Impressions of the Alesis Prestige (Recital Grand)
As I unboxed the Alesis Prestige (Recital Grand) model, the first thing I noticed was how much heavier this is than my go-to Alesis Recital. That makes sense, given the fact that there is a lot more going on behind the keys.
Based on weight and a slightly larger size, this isn’t the most portable keyboard. It also would not be ideal for filming tutorials, since the housing is taller and blocks more than my Recital model. But it feels GREAT!
If I closed my eyes and played I could definitely get the impression I was playing a real acoustic, maybe even a nice baby grand with this model. Moving from one end of the keys to the other, there is consistent weighting with very authentic-feeling grading. The lower keys offer a bit more resistance, the higher keys feel lighter, and it all just works together to provide a premium feel. I’m impressed.
Make Sure You Buy…
The most important accessory you will need to purchase separately is the sustain pedal. The Prestige (Recital Grand) doesn’t include it, but you definitely need a sustain pedal to get the most out of any piano or keyboard. Here’s one that I use and recommend.
Prestige Pricing and My Thoughts
For about $450, this model has a very premium feel to it and is worth considering. My initial impressions summarized into one word would be: fantastic! There are considerations that make this less practical for me as a piano teacher, but as long as you don’t need to film yourself playing from particular angles like I do, that probably won’t be an issue for you.
Finding the Prestige (Recital Grand) Online
In most retail places, this model is simply called the Alesis Prestige, but on Amazon you will see it listed as the “Alesis Recital Grand.” Here’s my affiliate link if you are interested in purchasing through Amazon.
Another Alesis Model
I’m also testing out the Alesis Prestige Artist today, a more expensive version of the basic Prestige with some additional bells and whistles plus a sustain pedal that is included. It’s about $600, so it’s probably not going to be worth it for most people. But let’s check it out.
First Impressions of the Prestige Artist
Visually, the Prestige and the Prestige Artist look pretty similar other than the little digital screen that the Prestige Artist has. This model also is somewhat heavier than the other. But the key feel and basic playing experience is basically the same.
For that reason, I’m standing by my guess that the Prestige Artist probably is not necessary for most of my students, unless some of those digital features are important for you creatively.
Final Thoughts and Where to Buy
Overall, I am extremely impressed by how authentic and natural these two Alesis Prestige models feel! I will definitely be putting in some more playtime on these in the coming months, and I feel comfortable recommending them as a higher-end option if you are looking for something that has a higher-end feel and is still relatively reasonably priced.
Speaking of which, if you DO end up purchasing an Alesis keyboard, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my affiliate link. Using these links sends a small commission fee my way and helps support my piano teaching online.
- Alesis Recital: https://amzn.to/3hPjyql
- Alesis Prestige (Recital Grand):
- Alesis Prestige Artist:
- Universal Sustain Pedal: http://amzn.to/2Alzysb