Review: Why Alesis Recital Grand (Prestige) is the Best Piano Keyboard for Beginners
Updated: Jun 24, 2021
The Alesis Recital Grand has a unique build, unlike the original Recital & Recital Pro which are conventional flat and rectangular boxes, the Recital Grand takes retro design cues from suitcase electric pianos popular in the 70s.
This digital piano will definitely turn more heads on stage than the conventional digital pianos. One advantage of this design is the entire control panel is angled towards the player and you get closer access to all the buttons.
With this design, you get a ledge when used without the music rest. However it is nice to have the presence of a ledge but it isn’t deep enough to be functional, such as placing a small synth on top, which is what many suitcase pianists do.
Nonetheless, The Alesis Recital Grand has a compact form factor and weighing at only 28lbs.
The music rest is sturdy and has a vintage silhouette but the look of the music rest can be polarising.
You also get an Alesis footswitch style sustain pedal out of the box but you do have the option of connecting a triple pedal system giving you soft, sostenuto, and damper functions.
Just like an acoustic piano, the Recital Grand comes with 88 full-size graded and weighted hammer action keys. The keys start off with a heavier touch on the lower register and get progressively lighter as you move higher in the octaves.
The red felt liners above the keys which are commonly found on acoustic pianos are absolutely stylish and even keep out dust.
With 4 levels of touch sensitivity, you will definitely be able to find a velocity curve that fits your playing style. The key action will exceed your expectations as you will be able to articulate the nuance of pianissimo passages to the thunderous fortissimo phrases. Unless you are playing highly advanced pieces, fast repeated notes isn’t an issue.
That being said, the action may feel a little sluggish to advanced pianists accustomed to expensive acoustic concert grand pianos. Even So, the Recital Grand is after all a mere fraction of the cost of these 5 figures pianos. Beginner to intermediate players are unlikely to complain about the key action. The Recital Grand has glossy keytops which may become slippery after extended practice, compared to other keyboards with textured and matte key surface.
The Alesis Recital Grand comes with 16 bread and butter voices grouped into 4 categories - mainly Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Strings/Synth. The layout of the buttons is extremely intuitive and the names of all the voices are printed below the buttons.
You can cycle through the 4 voices in each category by pressing a button multiple times. White LED is for voice variation 1, green LED is for variation 2, red LED is variation 3, and blue LED is for voice variation 4. Alesis included a short demo with every single voice.
To further personalize your tone, you get 5 reverbs with configurable depth.
The voices can be layered or split across the keyboard and the volume mix between the layers can be easily configured using the Key Function button and the corresponding key on the keyboard.
They have chosen function over form, every function available on this keyboard is printed above the keys which makes it very convenient as you would not need to refer to a user manual.
While the Recital Grand comes with 128 notes of polyphony there were no note dropouts even when playing heavily sustained passages with dual voice layers. However, it would been great if Alesis should have bumped up the polyphony to 256 notes but at this price, some sacrifices had to be made.
The Alesis Recital Grand has powerful built-in speakers. With a total of 50 watts output, driven by a pair of 25 watts amplifiers, the sound emanating from the speakers is clear and robust even when the volume is pushed to the max. With a micro-array of four woofer speakers and four passive radiators, there is no muddiness at the extreme ends of the frequencies.
There are two headphone jacks as well. One 3.5mm headphone jack and the other 1/4. Regardless of which headphones you use, you can be sure it will fit. At the rear panel, there’s an auxiliary audio-in jack, if you want to stream backing tracks to play along with. There is a pair of stereo 1/4 TRS auxiliary audio outputs for you to connect to external speakers.
For beginner piano students, the Lesson Mode feature splits the keyboard into 2 identical parts so a teacher can demonstrate on one side of the piano and the student can mimic the teacher’s playing. The Recital Grand comes with a metronome which is an essential feature for piano music students.
The Recital Grand has 10 well-recorded in-built demo songs for you to enjoy. At the same time, you can also record your own performance using the in-built song recorder. The song recorder is a single track, single song recorder but it is useful for quickly capturing a musical idea.
For a more complex multi-track music song recording, the Recital Grand has a USB MIDI port for you to connect to your iPad, smartphone, or laptop. You can also use the USB MIDI to connect to music learning apps
The Alesis Recital Grand is a gig-friendly digital piano. For a piano with fully weighted keys, it’s portable at just 28lbs, contains bread and butter voices, has features that are accessible without any menu-diving. Most of all, there is a pair of stereo 1/4 TRS line outputs for connecting to a powerful PA system.
It’s reasonably priced, contains good samples, an above-average key action, extremely user-friendly, gig-ready features and the design stands out in a sea of black rectangular digital pianos.
I hope that this review of the Alesis Recital Grand has been useful for you. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest updates and prices of the Alesis Recital Grand If this keyboard is not for you, do look at the other articles in this blog to find your ideal instrument.