Casio’s Privia instruments rarely fail to deliver quality and value for money. It’s because Casio is exceptional at understanding customers. We are taking a look at the PX-S3000, the sleekest keyboard in the Privia range.Table of contents:
Casio PX-S3000 overview
The Privia PX-S3000 is an extremely slimline keyboard piano with fully-weighted keys. It’s a lightweight and portable solution for the gigging musician.
Despite the minimal design of the PX-S3000, it delivers an impressive feature set.
When you look at the PX-S3000, it’s hard to believe that it has fully-weighted keys. The slimline design looks fantastic, and it weighs less than 25 lbs, which is great news if you gig a lot. It’s actually the slimmest stage piano with hammer-action weighted keys in the world. We should mention, it probably shares that distinction with the cheaper PX-S1000.
Usually, we wouldn’t spend much time discussing the color or finish of a keyboard unless it’s Nord/Vox red or something noteworthy. So, we think it’s worth mentioning the polished black finish of the PX-S3000; it’s lovely. We should say that the PX-S000 is available in red or white, too; we just prefer the black finish.
Casio’s free Chordana app offers lots of gamified tutorials and interactive content. It also displays notation for built-in songs and MIDI files. You can take MIDI files and transpose them into a key that suits and change the tempo, which could be very handy. The Chordana app is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
The PX-S3000 has a pair of built-in 6.29″ speakers powered by two 8 W amps. Built-in speakers aren’t always suitable for gigging unless it’s an intimate venue. But, they are great for practicing without an external amplifier.
Another really cool thing about the built-in speakers is the positioning. They are concealed on the back with some stealth ports just above the keys, so they don’t detract from the sleek look of the keyboard. The clever positioning also means that the sound is projected out towards the player and the audience.
Bluetooth is a feature that can be very useful on keyboards with built-in speakers. You can stream music from your Bluetooth device through the built-in speakers, giving you an endless playlist of songs to learn.
Duet mode is something that you see on a lot of digital pianos, and it’s great for piano lessons. It splits the keyboard into two identical keyboard zones, giving both student and teacher the same pitch range.
Effects and arpeggiator
The PX-S3000 comes with over 100 effects presets, which are then fully customizable. It also features an arpeggiator with 100 types. The number of effects and the control over them is fairly impressive for this kind of keyboard.
Casio’s AiR sound engine powers the Privia PX-S3000. The AiR sound engine is the driving force behind some of Casio’s best-ever digital pianos; now we have it in a lightweight and portable unit.
There are 700 tones in total onboard the PX-S3000, which are inherited from the Casio CT-X5000. With so many voices, and 200 rhythms available, you could consider the PX-S3000 to be a stage piano/arranger hybrid.
The piano sound is very nice indeed, but what makes it even better is how it interacts with your playing. Casio’s attention to detail in recreating the mechanical sounds of a real piano, along with key-off simulation, and sympathetic resonance, enhances the playing experience massively. It feels like the piano is very responsive to your dynamics and expression, bringing the best out in the sound.
Amongst the other voices, the electric pianos and organs are very good. If we had one complaint, it would be that those sounds can be a little too clean at times, compared to competitors. Although they are most suited to legato playing and layering with the piano, the strings are also very good. If you add an expression pedal, you can get much more out of the string sounds.
The PX-S3000 has a max polyphony of 192 notes.
The keyboard feel has to be the most surprising thing about the PX-S3000, so let’s explain why we rate it so highly.
First of all, there are undoubtedly stage pianos that feel more realistic and probably around the same price range. Yet, we rate the PX-S3000 higher than most in this department. The reason we do that is that it’s so slim and compact.
Nothing about how the Privia PX-S3000 looks suggests that it’s going to have such an excellent hammer-action keyboard. It’s a Smart Scaled Hammer-Action keyboard, which means it gets progressively lighter as you go up in pitch. It also means that each key is weighted individually to capture the slightest difference from one note to the next.
Casio has added a simulated ebony and ivory feel that gives you that authentic texture and prevents keys from getting too slippy.
The layout is going to be something that divides opinion, and we can understand why. There are no traditional buttons; everything is touch-sensitive on the top panel. We could assume that the reason for this was to maintain the ultra-sleek look of the PX-S3000. From that perspective, it’s an absolute success.
In a more practical sense, touch-sensitive panels don’t always stand the test of time. To be clear, there are no issues at all to report in terms of responsiveness and so on. But, if you are on a gig and need to make some changes quickly, a physical button or encoder always feels more reliable.
In terms of positioning, everything is laid out nicely. To the left of the keys, you’ll find a pitch bend wheel with a couple of assignable knobs. The main panel from left to right has transport controls, a decent LCD screen, and voice/rhythm select touch buttons. Selecting sounds is easy; by pressing a main voice type button, then using the +/- controls, you can browse all voices in that section.
Adjusting effects, while fairly impressive, isn’t the easiest, and it’s something you’d likely do in advance rather than on the fly.
Even though keyboard pianos are technically portable, they aren’t always the easiest things to move around. That means you have to find a fixed position in your home where the keyboard can stay. With the PX-S3000, it’s so lightweight and slim; it’s easy to take out and put away as you need it, which could be perfect for many users.
On the other hand, if you want to leave it on show, it looks fantastic. It’s a great keyboard piano to practice on, no matter your ability level.
As a gigging keyboard, the PX-S3000 has one massive benefit; it’s super-light and portable. That is the main reason anyone should buy it for gigging, along with the great sound, of course. It also has lots of voices and effects that make it a versatile keyboard.
The downside is that it’s not great if you need to control a lot of parameters on the fly. It’s never going to give you the flexibility of something like the RD-88 from Roland.
The bottom line is that if you just need a great piano, it’s perfect. If you need a master keyboard for gigging, it’s not so great.
We have to be fair when we look at the build quality and keep it relative to the price. If we could always get a complete metal chassis, that would be perfect, but it isn’t practical.
So, while the PX-S3000 doesn’t feel like the most robust keyboard, especially if gigging, it’s very good for its size and weight. The lack of physical buttons/knobs could be a good thing while traveling as those are the things that tend to get damaged in transit.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
There are so many reasons to love the PX-S3000, but that doesn’t mean you have an easy choice. Here are a few alternative choices that we think are worth considering.
PX-S3000 vs. Privia PX-5S
If you want to stick with Casio and can stretch your budget a little further, the PX-5S is an excellent choice. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the PX-S3000, but it offers far more functionality.
PX-S3000 vs. Roland RD-88
Another step up in price, but that is reflected well in the quality of the RD-88. If you just need a great piano, go with the PX-S3000, but if you want great synths and DAW integration, go for the RD-88.
Check out our full Roland RD-88 review
PX-S3000 vs. Kawai ES520
The ES520 is a fantastic stage piano, and Kawai always delivers a realistic feel. It’s better than the PX-S3000, but not by enough to justify the extra cost; stick with the PX-S3000.
Final verdict on the Casio PX-S3000
The PX-S3000 is a remarkable instrument in the sense that it packs so much into such a slim keyboard. It really is an achievement to deliver such a realistic feel in the world’s slimmest stage piano. It struggles to compete as well when you pass the $1000 price range, but under $1000, it’s an absolute star.
Who does it suit?
Piano students and gigging musicians.
- Sleek design/look.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Fantastic piano sound.
- Surprisingly good hammer-action keys.
- Value for money.
- Great speaker system.
- Touch controls won’t suit everyone.