What’s a PSO? Warning over cheap digital pianos


It won’t surprise most people that the “you get what you pay for” mantra applies equally well to the world of musical instruments.

That said, the eyes can be tempted by an instrument that looks good, yet in reality is not.

Professional pianist and consultant Tim Praskins reviews the Artesia AP8 digital piano – a virtually unknown Chinese brand sold for under one-thousand dollars in Costco stores.

Enter “PSO” – the “Piano-Shaped Object”.

These are instruments which look very pretty (at least to begin with) but when it comes to playing exhibit little more musicality and pleasure than a dead donkey.

I personally wouldn’t advocate picking up any serious musical instrument in a general store. Tim rightly rips into the faux piano. Looks won’t get an instrument very far if it feels cheap when played and is out of tune with itself (both on the same voice and when mixing voices).

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Didn’t think a digital piano could be out of tune? Think again.

The sad thing is, although the sub-$1k price tag might seem tempting, it’s possible to pick up much better branded digital pianos for less money.

My advice has always been to stick to the major digital piano brands – the likes of Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Korg and Kawai – who have been creating beautiful instruments to suit a range of budgets for many years.

Even if you don’t purchase a Korg, check out Rick Wakeman’s buying guide as a first point of reference. Then check out our digital piano database where we only list instruments that we’d be happy to play.