Casio Privia PX-5S
Church Use: Stage piano
Features: The last time I had a stage piano was probably 10 years ago … and it had a floppy drive, no MIDI capabilities, and made helicopter sounds on patch 100. Needless to say I’ve since become more of a synth player myself, but after spending some time with the PX-5S, I’m thoroughly impressed with the new Casio stage piano.
The Privia PX-5S sports 88 hammer-action keys with 256 notes of polyphony and utilizes the Hex-layers feature of layering up to 6 samples on one patch. Four knobs and six sliders can control a variety of internal effects when using the PX-5S as a standalone keyboard, and can be assigned to control almost anything inside the keyboard. MIDI I/O and USB/MIDI connectors are included on the back panel of the stage piano, and can be used as a controller and a standalone device at the same time. The entire stage piano weighs in at just 24 pounds, (that’s under half the weight of a Yamaha Motif) and runs off an included power supply or 8 AA batteries.
Sound: The full 88-key, hammer-action keyboard is much more than a stage piano. Powered by Casio’s proprietary AiR sound engine, the factory sounds are deep, realistic, and very useable in any worship service. I tend to favor the more mellow piano samples, which the PX-5S nails exceptionally well, in addition to a few electric piano, harpsichord, and clavinet patches. The effects section is quite robust, including reverb, delay, EQ, compression, phaser, chorus, tremelo, auto pan, rotary, ring mod, pitch shifter, and many more. One of the nicest features of the PX-5S’s sound engine is the seamless transition when changing from patch to patch, meaning that when you change from say piano to strings, the piano does not stop sustaining until you let the keys go.
More: Great sounds and feel, the perfect stage piano for the worship leader
Less: The sounds are limited, making it less ideal for a synth player