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Alesis Recital Introduction
We recently reviewed the Alesis CODA series and found it perfect for professionals. However, that particular series wasn’t well suited to beginners who wanted to have some fun while learning. Besides, its cost too made it less noob-friendly. The Alesis Recital on the other hand is designed exclusively for beginners though the overall design and feature set makes it suitable even for pros.
88 keys and that too full-sized and semi-weighted. With this digital piano you can actually learn how to play a grand piano. Semi-weighted keys with adjustable touch response makes this possible. Moreover, you can even customize voices by joining two together using the Layer mode or by assigning to either left or right channel with the split mode. Options such as Pedal Resonance FX, Chorus and reverb add to the mix allowing beginners to play around with the sound they create.
The speakers on this beast are 20-watt peak rated and it can produce a maximum of 128 notes but that is not what sets this Alesis creation apart. Because it is designed for beginners, learning music for the first time, it comes with an extensive lesson mode that breaks down the piano into voice and pitch through its tutorials. And if you truly wish to take things to the next stage then three months free subscription to Skoove Premium should help a lot. Finally, in the connectivity department this digital piano packs all the ports. USB-MIDI, ¼ inch headphone out and ¼ inch sustain pedal input, though the pedal input is sold separately or as a bundled set. Then there’s the RCA stereo output pair too.
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Alesis Recital Review & Experience
By now we must have reviewed and tested a good number of professional pianos and the Alesis Recital actually surpasses quite a few $1000 plus professional digital pianos! Yup, this keyboard may not have hammer action but the speaker quality, tone and timbre reproduction plus the feel of the keys all make it an excellent acquisition regardless of whether you are a seasoned pro or a newcomer.
Alesis in our opinion is a reliable brand name not known for useless features or accessories. If they add something to their product, it is because the feature is in great demand and not because they are trying to differentiate themselves from others. With the Alesis Recital 88-key digital piano it is the Lesson Mode, which isn’t present on the CODA series. Plus, if you ultimately do finish the lessons built into the piano you can always use the Skoove Premium membership free for three months and learn way more than you possibly could on your own.
Let’s get started with the sound because that is where every digital piano ultimately needs to do well. This Alesis piano does a superb job just like its elder siblings. Now, while it only features five sounds, fact is you can split the keyboard to allow multiple sounds on separate keyboard sections or you can even layer sounds with each other for a richer and more versatile feel. You get the option to chorus and reverb and overall all these features only add to the overall sound performance.
Unfortunately, we felt that the sampled sounds were all low rate since they tend to wash out, especially the bass as you move down the keyboard. We managed to help the situation by hitting keys harder but that’s not the way to play a piano. As for the speakers though, they are more than sufficient in peak wattage. Thankfully though, you have the stereo RCA option at the back so, plugging in your own speakers is always advisable. When you do this though, the sound signature is uncannily close to the real thing, something you don’t expect from a beginner level piano.
As for the keys, they are all full sized and total 88 in number like on a regular piano. While Alesis sells this Recital model with the tag of semi-weighted key action, truth is that they are more spring action than weighted. The keys are light and the feel is closer to that of a synthesizer. While they are force and speed sensitive, getting the true feel of playing a piano is just not possible on the Alesis Recital. Nevertheless, it does an impressive job for someone starting out though. Besides, with the USB MIDI connectivity, it works great as a synthesizer/sound controller too. What really helps in this regards is the 128-note polyphony. We actually felt that 128 was too high a number considering that this piano had the complete 88-key set.
You should try the organ sound; it is just too good. Even the real piano sounds are superb but it is the organ sounds that meet expectations of the real thing.
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Alesis Recital Pros
- Piano sounds are natural and true surround. Lower notes emanate from the left while the high stays mostly right speaker with the middle perfectly centered.
- Keys are sensitive and depending on how much you depress, they do affect the pitch and volume.
- Lesson Mode is well thought out and easy to follow. Even if you have never played a piano before, the Alesis Recital Lesson Mode will make a half-decent player out of you in few weeks.
- The organ voice is probably the best of the lot. Gave us the chills!
- Ability to run on battery does make this truly portable.
- Speakers are adequately powered though they do not have individual woofer and tweeter setup.
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Alesis Recital Cons
- Being a beginner friendly keyboard, you actually miss out on quite a lot of add-ons but at least the basics are all there.
- While the keys are sensitive, they don’t actually feel all that good. They feel light and springy rather than semi-weighted.
- This piano distorts the highs and bottoms out on the lows if you use the built-in speakers above 60 percent volume. With a PA system or good pair of headphones though the sound is flawless and an excellent approximation of the real thing.
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Alesis Recital Features
- Total of 88 full sized keys that features semi-weighted design and react to variable touch thanks to an adjustable touch response mechanism.
- The “Lesson Mode” is ideal for learning a keyboard as it targets pitch and voice separately instead of mixing together several tracks to copy.
- Skoove Premium subscription for three months is sufficient to make a professional out of anyone.
- All requisite connection ports are present – USB MIDI, Stereo RCA auxiliary, 1/4th inch headphone outs and 1/4th inch sustain pedal connection though a sustain pedal does not come as standard accessory.
- Powers through power adapters and will even run on six D size batteries if the need ever arises.
- Total of 5 built-in voices that include Bass, Synth, Organ, Electric Piano and an Acoustic Piano. Additionally, it allows for Split mode and Layer mode with these five voices.
Alesis Recital Conclusion
Alesis as a music instrument maker has always managed to produce reliable and professional grade products. Even their accessories are all top notch and the Alesis Recital Beginner Friendly Digital Piano is no different. Yes, it doesn’t have a whole lot of features and voices but it does have a pretty amazing tutorial that can be further extended thanks to the included Skoove three-month premium membership. And finally the fact that for a beginner who advances far enough, there’s the option of using it with a computer makes it a well thought out instrument.
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