The Korg Liano is an 88-key, budget-friendly stage piano aimed primarily at beginners. With a few premium touches, Korg’s Liano should provide stiff competition to every other keyboard in its class.
Having tested many beginner keyboards, I’d expect the Liano to deliver a good piano sound in a reasonably portable package. In this review, we’ll find out if the Korg Liano meets expectations.
Why you should trust me
Final verdict on the Korg Liano
I wish the Liano had weighted keys, not because I expect it at this price, but because the piano sounds are so good. Weighted keys aside, the Liano is very good and does everything a beginner keyboard should. It’s lightweight, portable, and easy to use, and the piano voices are exceptional for the money.
What I like
- Outstanding piano sounds.
- Great jazz organ.
- Slimline design.
- Lightweight and portable.
What I don’t like
- Light Touch action won’t suit everyone.
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The Korg Liano has eight Stereo PCM voices with a max polyphony of 20 notes. A max polyphony of 120 notes is more than enough for beginners, even with a full-size keyboard.
The onboard sounds include acoustic/electric pianos, organs, a harpsichord, and strings.
The electric pianos are very good, which is no surprise from Korg; if I had to be fussy, I’d have liked a more soulful sound rather than them being more pop-friendly, but it’s not a real beginner issue.
In the organ section, you have a reasonably big-sounding pipe organ and a lovely jazz organ. The strings are great fun and offer more control over articulation than many similar sounds.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the Italian grand piano, which comes from the Korg Kronos/Nautilus. It’s one of the most authentic and richly detailed piano voices you’ll find anywhere in the beginner range.
Korg’s Liano has a built-in speaker system featuring two 3.1-inch speakers and dual 8-watt amplifiers.
The speakers might be smaller than many competitors, but they are more powerful than some and deliver plenty of volume for home use.
In terms of sound quality and clarity, the Liano is on par with most good beginner keyboards; the sound is crisp and clear, even at higher volumes.
I like the placement of the speakers on the top panel; some older beginner stage pianos (88-key) have speakers on the underside, which is a strange decision.
The Liano has Korg’s proprietary Light Touch (LS) keyboard action with keys somewhere between synth and piano style.
I have a slightly mixed opinion on the Liano’s keyboard action. On the one hand, I’d love to have weighted keys to get the most out of the fantastic acoustic piano voices, something like the Alesis Recital Pro.
On the other hand, not all beginners are better off with weighted keys, and as such, it’s not a requirement for a beginner keyboard.
With that in mind, I like a few things about the Light Touch action. The keys are very responsive, which is great for repeating notes and patterns, trills, and faster playing, in general.
Despite a lack of weight, the velocity-sensitive keys still provide a decent level of dynamic control. Another thing I like about the action, if I forget my preference and think purely as an absolute beginner, is that it’s very easy to play.
There aren’t many features to discuss, as expected, but the Liano provides a few handy beginner tools.
- Built-in effects. Korg has added built-in reverb and chorus effects, which aren’t much to talk about alone. However, the already excellent voices can benefit from some subtle help.
- Metronome. Again, the metronome isn’t a significant feature, but it’s something beginners often undervalue.
- Software bundle. The Korg Liano comes with a Skoove trial (check out my review) and the Korg Module and Gadget 2 Le apps.
Korg’s Liano is straightforward to use, even for younger kids. There are very few controls, and the included knobs and buttons need no explanation.
The thing I like most about the interface is the voice selection knob. With only eight voices, it makes sense to have a selector knob (with all voices listed) rather than a single button.
It’s a minor timesaver, but it’s easier than pressing a button multiple times to surf through the voices.
As the Liano is lightweight and battery-powered (optional), it’s a very portable keyboard, and that’s important for beginners. Even if it’s just around the house, it’s good to be able to move the keyboard easily from room to room.
You also get a handy music stand that is equally useful for practice books or a tablet.
I feel like very little could go wrong with the Liano in this department, which should have made Korg’s job easier.
As a portable full-size keyboard, the Liano isn’t expected to be built like a tank, but it needs to be robust enough to handle the odd, unexpected bump when being moved around, and it is.
The other thing that makes Korg’s job a little easier is that there are few controls, meaning less chance of anything being too flimsy. The featured controls and the keyboard don’t give any reason for concern.
What I like most about the build of the Liano is the slimline design. The sleek design makes it a little easier to move and looks great.
There isn’t much in the way of connectivity, but it’s relatively average for the price range. It has a single 1/8-inch audio output (headphone jack), a 1/4-inch pedal input, and USB type B.
Some beginners with plans to join any band practice might hope for two 1/4-inch audio outputs, but the Liano offers enough for home use. A second headphone jack would be nice if I could add anything for early beginners.
Compared to other beginner pianos
Buying your first full-size keyboard is a pivotal step for beginners, so it’s important to consider all options.
Korg Liano vs Alesis Prestige
I prefer the keyboard action of the Alesis Prestige over the Liano, but the Liano looks and sounds better.
Korg Liano vs Yamaha P-145
Yamaha’s P-145 is almost double the price, but it may be a better long-term option if you can stretch that far.
Korg Liano vs Roland Go:Piano88
Roland Go keyboards look good, sound good, and they are fun. I can imagine some users choosing Roland, but I prefer the Liano in this case.
Who is the Korg Liano best suited for?
The Liano is perfect for complete beginners and slightly more experienced players who don’t prioritize weighted keys.Buy Korg Liano at: SweetwaterAmazon