Alesis probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think about digital pianos. However, few manufacturers are more prolific when it comes to value for money. We are looking at the Alesis Recital Pro, which is a great example of a budget digital piano.
The Recital Pro is a full-size stage piano with 88 hammer-action keys, a feature that not all instruments of this price have. It comes with a small variety of sounds and practice functions. Above all else, it’s about value for money.
Our verdict on the Recital Pro
The Recital Pro is one of the best examples of value for money that you will find. It does come with some compromise, like the hammer-action keys not being graded. But, when you look at what you get, it’s hard to complain. A couple of similar keyboard pianos might do certain things better, but the Recital Pro is as good an all-rounder as any.Check availability and current price: SweetwaterAmazon
Who does it suit?
It is fantastic for beginners and anyone who is looking to build a home studio on a budget.
- Hammer-action keys.
- Stereo audio outputs.
- Great for beginners.
- High-quality sounds.
- Lesson mode.
- Value for money.
- Keys aren’t graded weight.
- No pedal included.
Despite the budget price, the Alesis Recital Pro has a very respectable feature set.
The Recital Pro features a basic record function that allows you to record and playback your performance. It’s not something that you’d arrange songs on, but for critiquing a short performance, it’s handy.
Lesson Mode is a feature that many manufacturers refer to as Duo mode. It allows you to create two identical ranges on the keyboard for easy student/teacher playing.
It’s another simple feature, but it’s always worth mentioning on budget keyboards as it’s a must-have tool for beginners. It’s not about playing fast; it’s about playing in time.
The built-in effects include Modulation, Chorus, and Reverb. The Reverb adds a lot to the acoustic piano voices in particular.
Having the additional Modulation and Chorus effects is great when you have voices like synths and clavs.
Also, it’s fair to say that many budget keyboards don’t come with anything more than a built-in Reverb.
The Recital Pro’s built-in speakers are very interesting because they are more than expected.
It comes with two 20 W speakers and two 10 W tweeters. Compared to other budget keyboards, 20 W speakers are pretty powerful. In fact, there are some much more expensive digital pianos with less powerful speakers.
The downside is that the Recital Pro doesn’t come with any fancy technology to enhance the resonant/acoustic quality of the sound, making it seem more natural, like an acoustic piano. However, that’s not commonly expected at this price, so the speakers get a thumbs up from us.
Split and Layer mode
Split mode lets you create two zones on the keyboard that play different voices. It’s great for things like bass on the left hand and piano on the right. Sometimes, playing in Split mode can seem a bit cheesy, but it’s a fantastic practice feature. It encourages you to learn to play basslines, which helps you understand a keyboard player’s relationship with a bassist.
Layer mode allows you to layer two voices to create a new sound. Piano and strings are a common choice, but piano and organ make for a cool Gospel sound with the Recital Pro.
You’ll find the typical connectors on the Recital Pro, like a 1/4″ headphone jack, 1/4″ sustain pedal input and USB type B.
The reason it’s worth mentioning is that it also has stereo audio outputs, which aren’t often found on budget keyboard pianos.
We have to keep the price in mind when discussing how good the sound quality is. So, we can start by saying the piano voices are surprisingly good; very good, indeed.
If you were to spend a little more, you’d find a better flagship piano sound. Or, if you were to go for the Yamaha P-45, you’d probably get a better piano sound.
However, when you consider that the Recital Pro offers a broader range of sounds (12 voices) than some, including pianos, electric piano, synth, clav, organ, acoustic bass, and more, it starts to sound more attractive.
It has a max polyphony of 128 notes, which is more than enough for beginners or intermediate players.
Overall, the Recital Pro scores very well in the sound department.
There are two ways to look at this area. One is that it comes with hammer-action keys, which many budget keyboards don’t have. The other is that they aren’t graded hammer-action.
All that means is that the keys are the same weight right across the keyboard. Using the Yamaha P-45 as an example again, that has graded hammer-action keys that get lighter as you increase in pitch.
We can’t score too high because the keys aren’t graded, but we can’t score too low because of the price.
Ultimately, these keys will be very beneficial to beginners who need to get used to the weight. For more advanced players, it might not be perfect, but you can still play expressively.
We love the layout of the Recital Pro; it couldn’t be easier to use.
There are dedicated voice buttons, effects buttons, mode buttons, and a small display screen. So, it’s easy to select voices, see your selection on the screen, and make adjustments with the Value knob.
There are also dedicated buttons for other functions like the metronome, recording, and transpose.
Even with dedicated buttons, the top panel remains clean and clear.
The Recital Pro is a fantastic home keyboard piano, especially for beginners.
It’s lightweight at 26 lbs, so it’s easy to move around if you don’t have a dedicated music room. It also has powerful speakers to showcase what you’ve learned for family and a headphone jack when they’ve heard enough.
For more advanced users, it doubles as a great practice piano and controller for your DAW. If you are building a home studio on a budget, it could be the ideal choice to give you the best of MIDI and audio.
This area depends on your level of playing. If you’re a beginner to intermediate player, the Recital Pro could make a perfect keyboard for your first band.
If you are a professional, it’s still a valid choice, thanks to its lightweight design and stereo audio outputs.
Advanced players may not feel the feel and sound is good enough, but that will depend on the type of gig, too.
Overall, it’s excellent for the money.
The build quality also reflects the price, to some extent. The keys are likely to show signs of wear (in terms of the action dulling) faster than a high-end stage piano. But, we aren’t talking about after a few plays; you can comfortably play the Recital Pro for years without complaint.
In terms of the body, it’s built to withstand typical use. It will be fine in gigging scenarios, too; it won’t break over a few bumps, just remember it’s a lightweight keyboard. In other words, if you take care of it, you’ll be fine.
The buttons and knobs are all fairly robust, too.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
Even at the budget price range, it’s always best to shop around a little. Here are some more great choices to consider.
Also, make sure to check out our pick of the best digital pianos and keyboard pianos.
Recital Pro vs. Yamaha P-45
The P-45 is an outstanding keyboard piano. It delivers a better pure piano experience without the versatility of the Recital Pro.
Recital Pro vs. Alesis Recital
If you love Alesis but want to save a little cash, you could go for the Recital rather than the Recital Pro. The downside is that it only has semi-weighted keys.
Recital Pro vs. Roland Go:Piano88
This piano is a lot of fun for beginners and comes in a few colors. It has excellent quality sounds but doesn’t have weighted keys.