If you want the complete digital piano experience on a budget, the Alesis Virtue could be the one. This 88-key piano comes with a wooden stand, a three-pedal unit, and an adjustable piano stool.
Priced under $500, the Alesis Virtue is one of the cheapest digital pianos on the market. In this review, I’ll find out what it has to offer and who it might suit.
About the author
- 88 semi-weighted keys
- 128-note polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 360 voices
- 1/4-inch output
- pedal input
- USB, MIDI
Final verdict on the Alesis Virtue
In some ways, the Alesis Virtue is one of the easiest verdicts I’ve ever given. It’s not a high-end digital piano, and it’s not pretending to be. But, the experience of sitting at an instrument that looks more like a real piano will be great for some young learners. Even the lack of weighted keys will be a good thing for some kids.
So, in summary, anyone who has outgrown semi-weighted keys won’t take it seriously, and anyone who hasn’t yet will love it.
What I like
- Wooden stand (digital piano experience).
- Hundreds of voices.
- Handy LCD screen.
- Value for money.
- Great for beginners.
What I don’t like
- Keys don’t feel great.
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I’ve gone with a fairly high score here, relatively speaking. However, on this rare occasion, I’m favoring quantity over quality. The Alesis Virtue comes with a massive 360 built-in voices, covering most sounds you can imagine.
The downside is that the grand piano sounds are far from the richest or most detailed that you’ll hear. And, the semi-weighted keys won’t help you get the most out of it in terms of expression and dynamics, but it doesn’t matter!
The Alesis Virtue isn’t aimed at players who are already playing with a high level of expression; it’s aimed at players who haven’t yet developed those skills.
In my opinion, the number of sounds will make it a lot of fun for kids/beginners, and fun makes it easier to learn. Sometimes, the best instrument isn’t the one that will last a lifetime, it’s the one that will get you to the next stage fastest and easiest.
Two 15-watt amplifiers power the Alesis Virtue’s speakers. There are some good things about the built-in speaker system and some bad.
The good part is that there is plenty of power, certainly above average for the price range. In fairness, the sound quality isn’t bad, either.
The bad thing is that the clarity doesn’t quite match the power when the volume is cranked all the way up. As it’s aimed mainly at kids, and kids tend to crank the volume, it’s not ideal.
I rarely give a score this low, but it’s not all bad. First of all, I have scored so low because there are far better-feeling keyboard pianos at a similar price. You can even get scaled hammer-action keys for around $500. The upside is that I do genuinely believe that semi-weighted keys will be beneficial for some players.
A realistic feel indeed allows more expressive playing, and in most cases, I would suggest learning to play with weighted keys. The trouble is that some beginners struggle with the weight, which can lead to them giving up on the piano. For those players, the Alesis Virtue’s semi-weighted keys could be the ideal bridge.
Alesis is well-versed in making beginner instruments, and they tend to get most things right in terms of value for money. The Virtue has some features that make things much easier for beginners.
Wooden stand and piano bench
I don’t always mention the design of an instrument in the features section, but I do if I feel it enhances the playing experience. In this case, I think it’s a massive part of the Alesis Virtue’s appeal.
We all know that kids like to feel like a grown-up at times, and that’s what this digital piano does. It gives a young learner the feeling of sitting at a real piano without losing any of the fun.
Backlit LCD screen
The backlit LCD screen is one of the best features of this digital piano. It’s not just helpful in navigating sounds; it also displays chord names and notation.
Exploration is one of the best ways to learn, and by using the screen, beginners will learn chords by name and sound without even realizing it.
Lesson mode splits the keyboard to create two identical playing zones, and it’s the perfect way to approach student/teacher practice sessions.
Beginners consistently don’t do enough listening to themselves, and playing the right notes is still a long way from playing a piece correctly. Record mode lets users record and playback one song, which is ideal for critical listening.
I would have been very disappointed if there was no built-in metronome with this kind of piano. Thankfully there is, and it will help develop good timing from day one.
Adjustable reverb, chorus, and pedal resonance.
One-touch song mode
There are 80 demo songs and 160 built-in accompaniments, so there’s plenty of play-along fun to be had.
Skoove Premium piano lessons
Skoove is one of the most popular online platforms for learning piano, and with the Virtue, you’ll get three months free. Read the full Skoove review for more information on this learning platform.
At a glance, it looks like quite a busy panel with lots of buttons. But, the most important features have dedicated buttons, making them easy to access.
There are a lot of voices to get around, and for that, the LCD screen is a must-have. So, despite the number of buttons, it shouldn’t take long at all for players to get to grips with the controls.
The one downside of having the wooden stand is that it’s not exactly portable, and you can’t easily move to another room when people are sick of hearing you. That’s something you’ll have to take into account before making your choice.
If you want a digital piano for under $500, you’re probably going to have to compromise a little on build quality. If we place it next to a more expensive digital piano, like a Korg B2SP, it’s not as robust. But, compared to instruments in the same price range, it’s up to standard.
The difference is that most instruments in the price range don’t have a wooden stand, and that’s a target for bumps and bangs, especially with kids. Ultimately, as long as it’s positioned sensibly, you’ll have no issues at all.
You get a single 1/4-inch audio output/headphone jack, two USB ports (type A and type B), and MIDI in/out. The three-pedal unit plugs into a 5-pin DIN connector.
Compared to other digital pianos
It’s hard to compare the Alesis Virtue because it doesn’t have much direct competition under $500. But, as always, I have a few awesome alternatives for you.
Alesis Virtue vs RockJam RJ761
It’s a complete beginners kit that includes a 61-key keyboard, stand, and other accessories. It’s not as good as the Alesis Virtue, but it’s under $200 and great for anyone not yet ready to commit more.
Alesis Virtue vs Concert
If you can go without the wooden stand and settle for a portable keyboard piano, the Alesis Concert is a bargain.
Alesis Virtue vs Korg B2SP
If you want to take a step up in quality, it will cost you a bit more, too. The Korg B2SP is a more professional-feeling piano if you’re willing to spend the extra money.
Who is the Alesis Virtue best suited for?
The Alesis Virtue is best suited for beginners, especially younger players.