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Korg LP-380U review

Korg might be best known for its stage pianos and synths, but if it has keys, they make it and do it well. The new LP-380U digital piano is an excellent example of what Korg does best: it packs essential features into a modern, sleek design.

Korg LP-380U digital piano (rosewood grain black)
Image credit: Korg

LP-380U overview

The Korg LP-380U is a slimline digital piano that blends traditional features with modern style. It’s available in a range of colors to suit any personality.

Features 4.0

Before we get into the features, we should mention the style of the LP-380U again. While it’s not a feature that alters the performance, it’s definitely eye-catching, and that may play a part in your decision.

High-output speaker system

The speakers in the Korg LP-380U have the highest output in its class. It might not seem like the most important feature, but it makes a difference if you’re playing with other instruments.

The speakers are positioned under the keyboard, giving the illusion that the sound is coming from within the body. Another feature that may not seem significant at first, but it all adds to the realism.

Metronome

We like to mention the metronome when we discuss digital pianos for a couple of reasons. Firstly, even if most digital pianos have one, not all of them do. Secondly, it’s a good reminder to potential buyers/students that it’s an invaluable tool for practice sessions.

Demo songs

Korg’s LP-380U comes with 30 onboard demo songs. Demo songs can be a great way for younger beginners to learn and interact with the piano.

USB

It’s important that you note the letter U in the name, as it stands for USB. There is another model, the LP-380, that offers standard MIDI, but not via USB. With the LP-380U, you can connect directly to apps like Korg Module and start playing and recording a vast range of new sounds.

If you need USB connectivity to connect to your DAW or any external device, the LP-380U is the model for you.

Built-in effects

There aren’t too many built-in effects, but you do get brilliance, reverb, and chorus. The brilliance and reverb effects are great for the acoustic piano sounds, and the chorus is very nice on the electric pianos. So, they may be few, but they are pretty high-quality.

Sound Quality 4.5

The sound quality of the Korg LP-380U is very impressive overall. The acoustic piano voices have been sampled with four velocity layers per note to deliver a dynamic/expressive performance. Korg also does an excellent job with the resonant and mechanical noise, simulating a real piano.

On the surface, it’s hard to fault the acoustic piano sounds, but we feel some other manufacturers are slightly better in that department.

Things start to get complicated when you get into the electric piano voices because we think Korg does them better than most. So, judging the overall quality will depend on how much you value acoustic piano and electric piano sounds.

There are 30 voices in total, and that’s more than respectable for a digital piano of this price. It offers a max polyphony of 120 notes, and while it’s not a disaster, it’s not hugely impressive either.

Keyboard feel 4.0

The LP-380 is equipped with Korg’s flagship RH3 keyboard. RH3 stands for Real Weighted Hammer Action, and it feels great. Korg is one of the best, along with Yamaha, and Roland when it comes to realistic weighted keys.

There are three levels of touch sensitivity, light, normal, and heavy. Being able to switch levels helps adjust to your playing style, but it’s also great for beginners who need to progress from light to heavy keys.

It doesn’t have a simulated ebony/ivory feel that you get with some similar digital pianos. That isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, but it would have been a nice addition.

Layout 4.8

The thing we like about the layout is that it feels more like a keyboard, but it’s still tasteful, without having buttons everywhere.

Many digital pianos place the controls to the left of the keyboard, which works well when you don’t have many buttons to fit in. But, it sometimes means making more buttons multi-function and no space for a screen.

The LP-380U has a nice control panel above the keyboard, and for the most part, everything is done with a single touch. The voice types each have individual buttons with another button to switch between the three available banks. There’s also a little LCD screen to keep you right.

At home 4.8

We suspect a lot of people would absolutely love to have the LP-380U in their homes. It has a modern design that’s a little quirky and unusual, plus it doesn’t take up much space. We could also imagine that some buyers might want something with a more traditional look. Overall, the stylish image will likely be more of a hit than a miss.

It’s a nice piano for beginners to learn on, and with the improved speaker system, it could be the life of the party, too.

On stage 4.0

Like most digital pianos, the LP-380U isn’t exactly built to be mobile. However, it’s lighter than most, smaller than most, and has a higher speaker output than any in its class. So, what we take from that is that it could potentially be a gigging instrument if you have a suitable vehicle.

Again, thanks to the high-output speaker system, it could make a great house piano for a small venue.

Build quality 3.5

The downside of the LP-380U being so light is that the materials used aren’t as robust as possible. When we look at pianos from some other manufacturers in the same price range, we see better build quality.

Now, the important thing is that we are clear that the build quality isn’t terrible. If you want a stationary piano for your home, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have any problems. If you plan to move the LP-380U around, we would think it might not handle bumps and scrapes as well as some competitors.

Compared to other digital pianos

The Korg LP-380U is a fun, quirky, and high-quality digital piano, but it’s not the only choice. Check out some alternative options.

LP-380U vs. Casio Privia PX-870

We are big fans of the Privia series, and the PX-870 probably has a better grand piano sound than the LP-380. But, it doesn’t deliver the same range of quality sounds, style, or sense of fun.

LP-380U vs. Roland F701

The F701 is another new digital piano that comes close to matching the compact style of the LP-380U. In our opinion, the F701 is a more serious instrument that will last longer as you progress.

LP-380U vs. Yamaha Arius YDP-144

It’s hard not to mention the Arius range because they are so popular amongst musicians. The YDP-144 is a more traditional digital piano, but it also lacks the sense of fun brought by the LP-380U.

Final verdict on the Korg LP-380U 4.0

We really like the LP-380U, but it does run into some pretty stiff competition in its class. It has great acoustic pianos and some killer electric piano voices. The build quality will be an issue for some users, but the funky design and excellent speakers go a long way to make up for that. It sounds great, and it’s a lot of fun.

Who does it suit?

Beginner to intermediate players.

  • Versatile sounds.
  • Authentic 1970s electric piano sounds.
  • USB connectivity.
  • Stylish design.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • High-output speaker system.
  • Build quality could be better.

Prices and deals

Check availability, prices, and deals: Sweetwater
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