Polyphony on digital pianos – how much is enough?

Polyphony on digital pianos is the maximum number of notes that a keybord can sound simultaneously. Usually it is 16, 32, 64, 128 or 256 notes. But how much is enough? This is a good question to ask when considering purchasing a digital piano. It doesn’t make a difference how good your digital piano sounds or feels if you continue losing notes amid play. So what’s the polyphony note mean you? Here’s how to make sense of it.

Factors to consider when thinking about polyphony on digital pianos

Digital Pianos Polyphony

  • What are you going to use the digital piano for?

If you require a digital piano that imitates an acoustic piano for basic practice purposes, then you’ll presumably approve of 32 note polyphony. In the uncommon case that you begin losing notes with manage pedal use you will be unable to notice it. Digital pianos use algorithms to figure out which notes to drop off if the maximum note number is come to. Periodically they will pick notes that could be dropped without the listener effortlessly taking note. So the awful news is if you achieve your maximum polyphony you will lose notes. The good news is that you may not take note.

  • Sequencing and Layering

If you will record different tracks on your digital piano simply ahead and get a higher note polyphony. Each time you include another track top of an existing track, you are contributing to the greatest polyphony. The digital piano tallies the earlier track, and in addition your present playing, all toward the maximum polyphony. So if you begin including different tones and voices various tracks you can perceive how quickly you could achieve a maximum polyphony of 32 sooner or later in the song.

Likewise, if you get a kick out of the chance to use layering impacts an incredible arrangement, then get more than 32 note polyphony. The layering impact permits different voices/tones to play for each key stroke. If you have a fantastic piano and string impact on, each time you press a key it will use one note of your total polyphony for the fabulous piano tone and one note for the strings. This, one might say, parts your total polyphony check.

A Quick Note About Stereo

A portion of the tones/voices on a digital piano might be in stereo. This implies one note may have two different sounds recorded that play in the meantime to imitate the sound of an acoustic. At the point when this happens you are spending 2 notes of your polyphony for each key you hit, rather than one. This will in actuality transform a 32 note polyphony keyboard into a 16 note polyphony keyboard. This will only occur on those impacts that are in stereo, but most of modern digital pianos do have stereo notes soundes.

So, how much polyphony notes is enough?

To summarize, get a higher than 32 note polyphony. You can discover 64 or 128 note polyphony digital pianos at exceptionally moderate costs. There are also pianos with 256 note polyphony (for example Yamaha P-255 or P-515, or Casio PX-560), of course they are great, but they are for real perfectionists, you don’t have to hunt after them if you are just an amateur piano player.

If you are using your keyboard as a sequencer, then I also recommend buying a keyboard with a minimum 64 notes polyphony.

A Good Polyphony Test

If you are stressed over losing notes when utilizing the support pedal attempt this. Hit the two most reduced A notes on the digital piano. Hold them with the support pedal and do a glissando with both your hands. You shouldn’t lose the two low An’s if the digital piano uses a calculation to drop off a portion of the notes in the glissando. You presumably won’t notice you’re losing notes in the glissando. It’s ideal if you don’t lose the low A’s, but if you do lose them on your digital piano that is not the apocalypse.


8 comments Add yours
  1. Hi,

    i dont understand why i need more than 32 notes polyphony? i only have 10 fingerns. If i play 10 notes simustaniously and after that again. i need 20 notes. when i play the next 10 notes the first shall not sound anymore. 128 notes polyphone is more than keys on the keyboard of an piano. no one would play 88 keys simustinously. so can yoou please explain how i should need that much tones? noone plays that much tones at the same time and the tones shall disappear after a periot of time, because when they stay it would sound more and more distorted as longer you play. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Christian,
      The whole article is about it;)
      There are plenty of classical piano pieces which need a lot of polyphony notes.
      Take Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 for example.
      At the beginning pianist plays chords by 3 with all fingers of both hands. That means at least 30 notes should sound simultaneously. Multiply by 2, because each note uses 2 channels for stereo. This means to play this piece you need at least 60 note polyphony, and actually very often you need more.

    2. Long story short:
      The sustain pedal my friend.. When you use it, it keeps the previous notes held while you hit new ones..

        1. Some keyboards use multiple channels to create a given note – their way of trying to reproduce a traditional piano sound. So, the required level of polyphony goes up.

  2. Pingback: The 7 Best Digital Pianos Under $500 That Are Great Value for the Money
  3. Programable 24 note dynamic voice allocation is more than adequate for classical pieces or pop sequences and it runs circles around the standard 32 note polyphonic type of ‘voice stealing’ that most digital -pianos (& many fairly dated) -synths use semi’s & pro alike¡ don’t tell Elton John his RD-2000 doesn’t have enough polyphony {32} same difference towit(h) the Una Corda people that their’s has tooo much {?}…not to mention all the vst softys there are {ulmtd} thanx folks

  4. I can’t hear the difference when playing, I wonder if an audience could.
    Anyone who can tackle Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 probably should be looking for a grand or baby grand.

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