When buying a Digital Piano, one of the first and most important decisions we make is whether to purchase one with “Semi-Weighted” keys, or one with Weighted Keys, often referred to as “Hammer Action” keys.
As we discuss in our article talking about why having a full 88 key keyboard is important, a traditional acoustic piano use small hammers that strike a string, which then causes the string to vibrate. This vibration is what we hear as a note. The hammer that strikes the strings is connected to the keyboard with a lever. This lever has a natural resistance or weighted feel, and we can feel that when playing an acoustic piano.
Since traditional pianos are so large, and often cost thousands of dollars, many people, especially beginners, choose to buy an Electronic Piano. But many cheaper versions offer what is referred to as “Semi-Weighted” keys.
So What Are Semi-Weighted Keys?
Semi Weighted keyboards typically use a spring type system to replicate a weighted feel. This involves a spring-action key, sometimes in combination with weights that offer a bit more resistance than an unweighted keyboard. The result is a light to moderate resistance, and are a definite improvement to keyboards without any weighting at all.
Although Semi-Weighted keys depress quickly, they can often feel sluggish as they rise back up. For that reason, trying to execute some piano techniques such as glissando or quick repetition is not always easy to do. Therefore, compared to a traditional piano, the playing action does not provide the same sort of resistance and may not be the best choice for learning piano.
Weighted Hammer Action Digital Pianos
On the other hand, the Inovus i88™ Digital Piano is designed to create the most realistic playing feel possible. Its “Weighted Hammer Action” system is much like a traditional piano, providing a weighted feel across the keys. In addition to a Hammer Mechanism like a traditional piano, weights are added underneath the keys, adding more resistance, drastically improving the touch and resistance of each key. This makes for a much more realistic playing experience. The goal is for the player to be able develop proper technique and playing endurance.
Touch Sensitive Keys
The Inovus i88™ takes things one step further, by employing “velocity” or “touch sensitivity” settings allowing you to further customize the feel of the keys. The 3-Level Touch Sensitivity feature enables you to adjust the sound based on how hard you press the keys – the harder you press the keys, the louder the sound. The softer you press them, the quieter the sound.
So be sure to purchase a fully weighted, hammer action digital piano like the Inovus i88, so you can properly emulate traditional piano and be able to learn proper technique. You will be glad in the long run that you made the investment.
Want to learn more? Here’s a video with a great overview on the difference between Semi-Weighted, and Weighted keys!