Alesis is back with the Prestige and Prestige Artist, and I have to say since they have been crushing the entry-level digital pianos for great reason. When it comes to this price point, there haven’t been many great options with weighted keys.
Lately, newer digital pianos have had to dabble with MIDI technology as well as the standards that you would expect from a digital piano, such as:
- key action
- internal sounds
- pedal support
- MIDI capability
- online learning software
The Alesis Prestige is a fantastic digital piano for under $500. From the key-action to the actual sound of the piano, I am beyond impressed. I currently own this model and the Prestige Pro and have nothing but positive things to say.
Since the latest boom with MIDI controllers, digital pianos have pushed through to the next level, ensuring MIDI capabilities and staying true to standard upgrades.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on both the Prestige and Prestige Artist for an extensive review. I set out to find out if they matched popular options such as the Roland FP-10 or the Korg B-2.I believe they did. When looking for options near this price point, it is nearly impossible to find other digital pianos that provide you with similar quality, features, and keys that the Prestige series delivers.
Keep reading on to see why I believe the Prestige series has become the new undisputed champion of the entry-level digital pianos, and why I think the Prestige Artist is great for intermediate to advanced players.
It’s hard to match from solid keyboard action to adequate speakers, excellent MIDI capabilities, and decent sounds. Alesis has come very far with their digital pianos, and the Prestige/Artist is their latest prize.
From the first notes I played on the Artist, I was pleasantly surprised. The sounds were not thin like some of the sounds you hear on digital pianos near this price point. The key action was also to my liking. I can’t stress enough, this does not feel like a beginners digital piano, but more like something that was built with advanced pianists in mind.
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Alesis Prestige And Prestige Artist Overview
These are two different digital pianos that are both aimed towards the same clientele. The most significant difference between the two is that the Prestige Artists boasts 256 note polyphony, and the Prestige has 128 note polyphony.
In terms of cost, the Prestige Artist comes in about $150 more than the Prestige. Wondering if the upgrade is worth it? I would say it depends on your needs. If you are a beginner, the Prestige will be just fine. If you’re wanting to get a little bit more out of it or perhaps use it as a MIDI controller, you will want the Artist, which has more polyphony.
Alesis Prestige Artist
Let’s look at the more expensive model to better understand what impresses me with this digital piano.
First off, the weight is comparable to the Roland FP-10, one of the most popular selling digital pianos near this price point. The Prestige Artist comes in at 28lbs, with the FP-10 weighing 27lbs.
It’s exciting and fun to watch the weight of digital pianos continue to decrease with technology.
This weight works well for those who are playing shows or frequently traveling, as I’ve always disliked traveling with heavy keyboards.
Compared to the latest Alesis keyboards near this price point, the Prestige Artist comes in at 256 note polyphony, whereas the Recital Pro has 128 note polyphony.
Let’s get to the juicy stuff. The Prestige Artist blew me away from the second I turned it on. I remember spending far more on keyboards growing up and ending up with keyboards that didn’t even have weighted keys. The key action is top-notch for the price-point and the grand pianos sound very realistic to me.
The learning features are also a great win for the Prestige Artist, like all of the other digital pianos at this price point.
This is common as keyboards near this price point will be geared towards helping beginners learn and grow.
The Prestige Artist impressed me in every way that it could. The one thing I would’ve liked was Bluetooth capabilities as I see digital pianos going more in this direction as time goes on.
Should you like the price-point of the Alesis and laptop, you could run your Prestige Artist as a MIDI controller and use a piano VST to experiment with more sounds.
I do this even with my expensive keyboards. To me, piano VSTs seem to get me the closest to that realistic sound of a real piano.
If you go this route with your Alesis Prestige/Artist, you will likely end up a happy camper.
Who Is It For?
While I would recommend the Prestige Artist for beginners, the quality is here for intermediate to advanced players. The main factor that makes me consider it for beginners is the friendly price-point. The Prestige Artist makes for a solid option for kids as well.
The action of the keyboard is the number one thing that I take into mind when reviewing all of these digital pianos. When I pulled the Prestige Artist out of its box and began playing chords, I was immediately impressed by how it played.
The sensitivity is there and allows for proper dynamics when playing anything from jazz to classical piano pieces. While the feel is synthetic, it plays like you would expect an acoustic piano to play.
When pressing down notes, the keys return back to their place of origin quickly as well. This allows pianists to play faster runs without worrying about their keys not being back in their normal place.
I tested the key-action of the Prestige Artist VS the Roland FA-08, which is one of my favorite key-actions and it performed exceptionally well. Alesis has found a way to produce key-action suitable for any level of pianist at an affordable price-point.
One thing I want to address is the sound the keys make when pressed. With digital pianos, I commonly see people complain about the noise they hear when hitting notes when the volume is low. This happens even with pianos when the hammers hit the strings.
Once you turn the volume up, you will no longer hear the clicking noise on the Prestige.
The grand piano 1 is my favorite sound on the Artist. It has a warmer/darker sound, which I’ve always preferred. You can also add reverb to make the sound even darker, which I always find myself doing.
I tested the sounds out in a video that you will be able to view below, and the piano actually sounds as nice or better than some of the presets on my Roland FA-08 in my opinion.
Outside of the piano, the electric bass sounds surprisingly realistic and is fun to write with when looking for a burst of creativity.
Lastly, I am a huge fan of electronic pianos. Each preset of electric pianos sounds great. In terms of sounds, Alesis couldn’t have done better for the price.
The Artist is loaded with 50 watts of speakers, which is plenty to fill any studio or small coffee shop. When playing, I only put the volume to about 75%, and I love to play loud.
The LCD screen is located in the center of the keyboard. It is smaller than most other screens, however, navigating throughout the sounds and options is still made simple. Each sound bank has a few different sounds to choose from.
For example, should you want to browse the different pianos, you simply hit the piano button and then move the main knob left or right. I’m typically a fan of smaller screens as I believe they look cleaner visually.
The quality overall is superb. While it’s not as durable as some of the more expensive digital pianos, it does not feel cheap and even the keys feel solid. Alesis was also able to keep the weight down, which is a plus for those playing local gigs.
The Prestige Artist is packaged with the Alesis ASP-2 and it is an upgrade from the sustain pedal that comes with the Prestige. It feels durable and plays like you would expect to as well. There’s also rubber gripping on the bottom that helps keep it in place.
This pedal is the classic foot pedal that mimics and looks like a real pedal, rather than a footswitch.
The split mode is the same thing that you would find in most digital pianos as of recent. It’s convenient and nice when wanting to layer bass or string patches with pianos.
Lesson mode also allows you to play with your teacher in a more convenient way.
As mentioned above, I really love the reverb effects with the Artist. They give you a rich/warm sound that truly adds to the pianos.
When purchasing the Artist, you are also getting 3 months of premium Skoove piano lessons, Melodics, and 2 months of Take Lessons Live. These are some of the best online piano lessons available currently.
The Artist has the ability to connect as a MIDI controller through the USB port located on the back. All ports are all located on the back for convenience. You will also find the sustain, aux in, and aux pedal unit.
The polyphony is outstanding for the price-point. It’s very rare that a digital piano has 256 note polyphony for this price. I ran this as a MIDI controller and found myself not coming close to max polyphony.
Vs The Roland FP-10
I’ve been very open about the FP-10 being my favorite option near this price point. That being said, it has been discontinued. The Alesis Prestige Artist makes for an incredible option near this price point.
I believe that the key-action from the Artist matches that of the FP-10 as well.
The Prestige comes in a little bit cheaper than the Artist, and it also has a few differences in performance worth mentioning. All in all, the Prestige is just the stripped down version of the Artist.
There are 16 sounds rather than 30, and there is also no LCD screen to see which preset you have selected.
Another thing worth noting is that the Prestige Artist has 256 note polyphony vs. the 128 from the Prestige. The Prestige also doesn’t come with an LED screen as the Artist does. This is a nice feature for the Artist, however, to me it’s not deal-breaking in any way.
Summing up, we have more sounds for the Artist, much more digital piano polyphony, and more presets.
When originally working on this article, I expected to list a bunch of alternatives at this price point. I think the only ones I would mention to check out near this price-point, would be the FP-30 and the Yamaha P-125.
The design of both models is impressive, simple, and easy to navigate. The lightweight build is excellent for those playing gigs frequently, as well as those just lugging it to and from their car. The difference in the design for both models is that the Prestige lacks a screen.
The sustain pedal that comes with the Prestige gets the job done, but it’s not as solid as the pedal that comes with the Artist.
The keys are the same as the Prestige Artist. You won’t notice anything different in this department and I really am shocked at the value you get for this price as far as key-action goes.
The Alesis Prestige and Prestige Artist series are two solid options for those on a budget and just beginning to play the piano.
Boasting solid polyphony, good sounds, solid speakers, and various ways to learn to play the piano, The Prestige will surely take over part of the beginning market.
The main thing that surprises me the most with the Prestige is the sound of the grand piano. While I’m not positive in which sampling they have used, the sound is crisp and realistic.
Should you be looking to start your piano journey, look no further than the Prestige series that features the most powerful speakers, solid key-action, beautiful piano sounds, and top-notch online piano platforms, all for the most affordable price on the market today.