Please note: Pianos that scored below 45 have not been listed.
Also, this list only shows current models.
Graham Howard’s Top 3 Recommendations for anyone learning:
The Howard Score including prices
|Model||Key Touch||Sound||Howard Score||Check ukpianos.co.uk for prices|
|Classenti DG1||57||72||63.00||(baby grand digital piano)|
|Kurzweil KAG100||57||73.50||63.60||(baby grand digital piano) £2499|
|Kurzweil MPG100||64||76||68.80||(baby grand digital piano) £3499|
|Yamaha CLP665GP||71||78.50||74.00||(baby grand digital piano)|
|Broadway BG2||76.50||79.50||77.70||(baby grand digital piano) £4999|
|Broadway MK11||76.50||80.50||78.10||(baby grand player & self-playing piano) £9995|
|Kurzweil CUP2A||75.50||85.50||79.50||(upright digital)|
|Kurzweil CGP220W||75.50||85.50||79.50||(baby grand digital)|
|Roland GP609||77||84.50||80.00||(baby grand digital piano)|
|Yamaha CLP685||80||82.50||81.00||(upright digital piano)|
|Yamaha CVP809GP||79.50||86||82.10||(baby grand digital piano)|
|Yamaha NU1X||85||82||83.80||(digital piano with real mechanism)|
|Yamaha N1X||88||87||87.60||(digital grand piano with real mechanism)|
|Yamaha N2||88||88.50||88.20||(digital grand piano with real mechanism)|
|Yamaha N3X||88||90.50||89.00||(digital grand piano with real mechanism)|
Note: Pianos that scored below 45 have not been listed.
Also, this list only shows current models.
Pianos not tested yet:
Kawai Novus NV5
Kawai Novus NV10
Korg Havian 30
What is The Howard Score?
The Howard Score is the rating system for digital pianos.
Every digital piano is evaluated for authenticity (by Graham Howard) on the 13 aspects of key touch and 15 aspects of sound.
Each aspect is calculated and multiplied by an importance factor, ending up with an accurate overall authenticity score out of 100.
Why the Howard Score is useful, and what you can use it for…
If you’re deliberating between similar pianos from different makes then you no longer need to spend hours traipsing round different shops to try them out, then trying to remember how each one sounded or how the key touch felt… all you need to do is refer to the Howard Score.
Most piano shops stock only one or two leading piano brands. So it’s virtually impossible to find a place that displays lots of different pianos to try out and compare.
Up until now, the only way to compare piano brands and models was to visit 2 or 3 different piano shops. Even if you had the time and patience to do that you’d still have to take notes, or remember how each one felt and sounded…
Now all you need to do is check the Howard Score for each piano!
The Howard Score gives all digital pianos a score for:
1) Key touch
3) Howard Score (Total Score)
Here is a list of points analysed:
Key Touch (in order of importance – most important first)
1) Key weight (Light-weighted, semi-weighted, weighted, medium-weighted, fully-weighted, heavy-weighted)
2) Touch sensitivity (also known as ‘dynamic levels’) (i) Number of levels: 1,2,3,4 or 5? (ii) Responsiveness of each sensitivity level (Applied force for each sensitivity level to achieve the correct dynamic) (iii) Smoothness when changing between sensitivity levels
3) Resistance on key descent (i) How closely it replicates a real piano on the various stages of descent (ii) Smoothness (Any obstruction or unevenness/unnatural heaviness to the key at any point of descent?)
4) Force and speed replication on key ascent (How close it replicates a real piano)
5) Weight of individual keys compared to adjacent ones
6) Repetition (How easy to play the same note quickly?)
7) Key noise at bottom of keystroke (Volume/pitch of thud) (i) volume mid-way (ii) volume off (The ‘next room test’)
8) Key noise when key returns (Click, thud or plop) (i) volume mid-way (ii) volume off (The ‘next room test’)
9) Sideways play (How much movement? Any clicking apparent from touching adjacent black or white keys?)
10) Feel of key tops under fingers (Smooth? Even? Plasticky? Slippery? Sticky?)
11) Bouncing keys (Do keys bounce at bottom when playing quietly?)
12) Graded hammer action (Yes/no: how accurate is it?)
13) Set-off (Yes/no: how weak or strong?)
Sound (in order of importance – most important first)
1) Tonal quality (Authenticity – how natural it sounds): weak/strong, boomy/clear, muddy/rich, false/pure, harsh/warm, dull/crisp, flat/bright and clarity for the following areas of the keyboard: (i) Bass (ii) Low bass (iii) Low treble (iv) Centre (v) Mid treble (vi) High treble (vii) Top octave
2) Note decay (i) Length of note decay at p, mf, ff – test bass, centre, treble and top (ii) How natural is note decay? – Rate sound natural or synthetic on a sliding scale at p, mf, ff – test bass, centre, treble and top (iii) How good is the looping disguised?
3) Tuning (i) Equal temperament: test accuracy of centre octave, bass and treble (ii) Octave stretching
4) Tonal balance (i) Evenness of tone throughout the keyboard (ii) Smoothness between individual notes and octaves
5) Tone quality and volume level on each sensitivity level
6) Speed of sound response after striking key (Immediate or delay?)
7) Piano sound from the audience’s point of view (i) Listening from a short distance away from the piano (ii) Listening from a nearby room
8) Tonal quality with headphones (The original sound source): weak/strong, boomy/clear, muddy/rich, false/pure, harsh/warm, dull/crisp, flat/bright and clarity for the following areas of the keyboard: (i) Bass (ii) Low bass (iii) Low treble (iv) Centre (v) Mid treble (vi) High treble (vii) Top octave
9) Speaker sound (What type and volume of sound/distortion is coming from the speakers: Hissing? Humming? Crackling?) (i) Whilst playing (ii) With ears close to the speakers
10) Tone quality and crispness level on repetition
11) Distortion test on maximum volume level
12) Harmonics (Are the harmonics clear and correct through each register? Test each sensitivity level)
13) Tone quality when using pedals (i) Sustain pedal (ii) Soft pedal (una corda)
14) Volume (Is it too loud or too quiet on maximum? Is it the same as a real piano on mid setting? Is it still audible on a low setting?)
15) Reverb (i) Reverb turned off (Measurement of natural reverb and string resonance) (ii) Different reverb settings
All contents Copyright © 2019 Graham Howard. All rights reserved. This work is
registered with the UK Copyright Service, registration number 284660139.
This information may be freely distributed in its entirety provided that this copyright
notice is not removed. But, no part of it may be published on the internet, or
offline, nor copied, reproduced, or altered, without the prior written permission
of Graham Howard.
Limit of Liability and Disclaimer of Warranty: The publisher has used its best
efforts in preparing the Howard Score, and the information provided herein is provided
“as is.” Graham Howard makes no representation or warranties with respect to
the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this report and specifically
disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular
purpose and shall in no event be liable for any loss of profit or any other
commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental,
consequential, or other damages.
The Howard Score identifies product names and services known to be trademarks,
registered trademarks, or service marks of their respective holders. They
are used throughout this report in an editorial fashion only. In addition,
terms suspected of being trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks have
been appropriately capitalised, although Graham Howard cannot attest to the
accuracy of this information. Use of a term in the Howard Score should not be regarded
as affecting the validity of any trademark, registered trademark, or service mark.
Graham Howard is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this report.
Although Graham Howard made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy
of the content in this report, he assumes no responsibility for errors or
omissions. Also, you should use this information as you see fit, and at your own
risk. Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named featured are
assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for
reference. There is no implied endorsement for any of these terms.
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