In this review, I’m checking out the Alesis Prestige, a full-size keyboard piano aimed at beginners. I will also be comparing its slightly more expensive big brother, the Prestige Artist.
About the author
- 88 weighted keys
- 128-note polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 16 voices
- dual headphone jacks
Final verdict on the Alesis Prestige
The Alesis Prestige is an excellent keyboard piano for beginners. It has all of the basic functions a beginner needs, it’s easy to use, and most importantly, it will help the user develop as a pianist.
The sound quality is surprisingly good, as are the graded hammer-action keys. The Prestige has enough quality to last beyond beginner into the intermediate performer stage.
What I like
- Surprisingly good sound quality.
- Powerful built-in speakers.
- Lesson mode.
- Value for money.
- Decent connectivity for the price.
What I don’t like
- It’s well built (strong), but feels a bit cheap.
It doesn’t matter how many Alesis budget keyboard pianos I hear; I still get surprised at the sound quality. I will start by saying this isn’t a sales pitch, and I’m not saying anything outlandish, like the grand pianos are better than those on a Roland RD-2000, etc. Not at all, but in the context of budget choices, it’s fantastic.
The Alesis Prestige has 16 voices, including grand pianos, electric pianos, and organs. The acoustic pianos are richer than previous models, especially the Grand Piano and Dark Piano.
But, the thing that surprised me more was the electric piano, particularly the MK1 EP and Wurly. These sounds often have a toy-like quality on budget pianos and a very weak bass range. However, that’s definitely not the case here; very impressive.
The Alesis Prestige has a max polyphony of 128 notes. If you opt for the Prestige Artist, you’ll get a max polyphony of 256 notes and 30 voices. The voices are the same in quality, and the polyphony shouldn’t make a difference to complete beginners, although it might in time.
The Alesis Prestige has a relatively powerful built-in speaker system for a keyboard at this price. It has four 2.5″ woofers and four 2.5″ passive radiators, powered by two 25 W amplifiers (one per side).
When you start talking about 50 W of amplification, that’s pretty high for most keyboard pianos, especially at the budget end of the scale. The thing that matters more is how that power is delivered, and opting for four smaller woofers seems to work well. Overall, they deliver a well-balanced sound at any volume.
The Prestige Artist has the same built-in speaker system.
One of the areas that some Alesis pianos fall a little short is the keyboard feel. It’s not that they are bad or unsuitable for the price range. It’s more that they exceed expectations in other areas, but not to the same extent with the keyboard feel.
So, the first thing I was delighted to see is that the Prestige has graded hammer-action keys. Older models, like the Recital Pro, have hammer-action keys, but what you get with the Prestige is a step up.
They won’t feel as premium to touch as a high-end weighted keyboard, but that’s to be expected. The important thing is that the weight distribution is very good, and that enables more dynamic and expressive playing.
In many ways, the feel is more important for a beginner than the sound quality because it can either boost or hinder your development.
The Prestige Artist has the same graded hammer-action keyboard.
I don’t have an abundance of features to discuss, but what you get is some very good basics.
Lesson mode is something that all beginner keyboard pianos should have. When active, it splits the keyboard into two identical zones. It allows a student and teacher to each have access to the same range of pitch simultaneously. It’s a great time-saver during lessons, rather than taking turns at the keyboard.
The Alesis Prestige allows you to record one track. While that won’t sound like much to someone with more experience, it’s excellent for beginners.
In the early stages of learning piano, it’s essential that you get used to critical listening (and having fun, of course). Being able to record and playback your performance is a good way to prevent bad habits from developing.
Both the Prestige and Prestige Artist offer five reverb types.
The metronome is something that I often leave out if a keyboard is packed with other features. But, it’s actually one of the best features that a keyboard can have for beginners. Playing the right notes with bad timing/phrasing is still wrong. A metronome can help develop a strong sense of time.
Layer and Split mode
You can layer any two of the 16 available voices in unison to create a new voice. Piano and FM electric piano work well. Split mode lets you play with a different voice in each hand, which is often piano and bass. It’s handy for learning bass parts.
As a beginner keyboard piano, you will likely use the Alesis Prestige at home more than anywhere else. For home use, the most important thing is that it helps the player improve, and the Prestige will do that. It’s also fairly light, so if you need to move it around the house, it won’t be a problem.
It’s also good if you want to jam along with friends because the speaker system can hold its own with other instruments. If you feel that you are ready for the stage, it has the connectivity to plug into a PA system.
There aren’t too many sounds or features to get around, so the layout of the Alesis Prestige is pretty bare. It has sound-type buttons for piano, electric piano, organ, and strings/synth, rather than dedicated buttons per voice.
Other than that, it has power, volume, a dedicated record (start/stop) button, layer/split buttons, and a key function button. It’s super simple to use.
The Prestige Artist has a little bit more going on, so it has some extra buttons. It has a dedicated Lesson mode button and a nice little OLED screen with a scroller.
The build quality of the Alesis Prestige is very good overall. But, there are two ways to look at it, which are how it feels, and how robust it is.
At the beginner stage, it’s more important that the keyboard is built to last because it’s likely to take a few bumps. Feeling like an ultra-premium instrument isn’t really a concern until you develop to intermediate and beyond. So, the Alesis Prestige doesn’t feel ultra-premium, and that’s OK.
While the buttons don’t feel premium, they do feel secure. The body of the Alesis Prestige is quite chunky, and in some cases, that’s something that I wouldn’t like. Although, in this case, it’s shaped almost like the keyboard you’d find on a digital piano console, and I quite like that. It makes it feel more substantial.
Starting with inputs, you get a 1/8″ audio input and two pedal inputs (one 1/4″ sustain, one DIN). You also get MIDI over USB type B. As far as outputs go, you have dual headphone outputs (1/4″ TRS and 1/8″ TRS), along with two 1/4″ TRS audio outputs (L/R).
The Prestige Artist offers the same, with the one difference being a pair of 1/4″ stereo TRS audio outputs.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
As a beginner, choosing the best first keyboard is vital to your development. As much as I like the Prestige and Prestige Artist, here are some other worthy options.
Alesis Prestige vs Alesis Recital Pro
If you want to stick with Alesis but go with something a little cheaper, the Recital Pro is a great choice. It’s not as good as the Prestige, but its value for money got it onto my best of the best list.
Alesis Prestige vs Yamaha P-45
The Yamaha P-45 has been so popular for so long now, and it’s still an excellent keyboard. It probably beats the Prestige on keyboard feel, but the Prestige is better for beginners.
Alesis Prestige vs Korg D1
The Korg D1 offers better quality sounds and a build that’s robust enough for gigging. But, it comes at a higher price.
Who is the Alesis Prestige best suited for?
The Alesis Prestige and Prestige Artist keyboard pianos are best suited for beginners to intermediate players who are developing their skills.Buy Alesis Prestige at: SweetwaterAmazon