This is a good question to ask when it comes to getting full size digital piano. It doesn’t matter how good your digital piano sounds or feels if you keep losing notes during play. So what is the polyphony note count for you? Here’s how you can figure it out.
What are you going to make use of the digital piano for?
If you need a digital piano that emulates an acoustic piano for easy practice purposes, then you’ll probably be fine with 32 note polyphony. In the rare case that you start losing notes with sustain pedal usage you could be unable to notice it. Digital pianos use algorithms to determine which notes to decrease off if the max note count is reached. In many cases they will likely pick notes that might be dropped without the listener easily noticing. Therefore the not so good news is when you reach your max polyphony you are going to lose notes. The great thing is that you could not notice.
Sequencing and Layering
If you are going to record multiple tracks on your digital piano go ahead and obtain a higher note polyphony. Every time you add another track along with a current track, you might be contributing to the utmost polyphony. The digital piano counts the prior track, along with your current playing, all toward the max polyphony. If you start adding different tones and voices on multiple tracks you can see how fast you might reach a max polyphony of 32 at some point in the song.
Also, if you like to use layering effects a whole lot, then get more than 32 note polyphony. The layering effect allows multiple voices / tones to try out for each key stroke. If you have a grand piano and string effect on, every time you press an important it will utilize one note of your own total polyphony for the grand piano tone then one note for that strings. This, in a sense, halves your total polyphony count.
Under these circumstances, get a more than 32 note polyphony. You can get 128 note polyphony digital pianos for very reasonable prices.
A Fast Note About Stereo
Some of the tones / voices on portable digital piano might be in stereo. What this means is one note might have two different sounds recorded that play at the same time to emulate the noise of an acoustic. When this happens you happen to be using up 2 notes of your own polyphony for every key you hit, instead of one. This can essentially turn a 32 note polyphony keyboard in to a 16 note polyphony keyboard. This may only happen on those effects which are in stereo.
A Good Polyphony Test
Should you be concerned about losing notes when using the sustain pedal do this. Hit the two lowest A notes on the digital piano. Hold them with the sustain pedal and perform a glissando with both your hands. You shouldn’t lose the two low A’s when the digital piano uses an algorithm to drop off a number of the notes within the glissando. You most likely won’t notice you’re losing notes in the glissando. It’s a smart idea to don’t lose the low A’s, but should you lose them on your digital piano that’s not the final around the world.
Think of it similar to this. During regular piano play, if you happen to get to the point in which you reach your max polyphony count it can probably only happen for a few seconds. So it’s not going to happen throughout most of uzcajx song. Which means you won’t lose many notes.
But if you’re getting digital stage piano and may avoid this, by all means achieve this. Digital piano charges are affordable enough nowadays that you can get a high polyphony count to get a good price. Even a few of the low end models are coming using a minimum polyphony of 64. Only use your personal judgment when determining if it’s necessary to pay for the little extra for any higher polyphony capability.