Korg Grandstage Digital Stage Piano 88-Keys
Streamlining a lot of the unwanted and unnecessary features often found on similarly priced digital pianos, Korg have focused on the parts that professional players actually need during gigs and perfected them to a previously unseen standard. With some of the most natural piano, strings, brass and guitar sounds we've ever heard, this is a function players dream come true.
Equipped with a whopping 7 of Korg's industry leading flagship sound engines (the SGX-2 with its six acclaimed acoustic pianos, plus the EP-1, CX-3, VOX, Compact, AL-1, and HD-1.), the Korg Grandstage responds and sounds more closely to an acoustic piano than perhaps any other on the market - allowing the player to express themself like never before on a digital piano!
With controls to edit and perfect your sound including adding effects (a whole host of reverbs and delays) plus a 3-band EQ - You'll be able to adjust your sound according to the venue in real time.
- Seven sound engines: the SGX-2 with its six acclaimed acoustic pianos, plus the EP-1, CX-3, VOX, Compact, AL-1, and HD-1.
- A user interface designed for playability on stage.
- Reverb and delay that are easy to control.
- Dynamics knob lets you instantly control the sound's crispness and expressivity.
- Favorite buttons let you instantly recall the sound you want.
- Smooth sound transition creates a natural-feeling change when you switch sounds.
- Three-band equalizer lets you shape your sound.
- Layer/split capability lets you easily combine sounds.
- Panel lock prevents unintended operation.
- RH3 keyboard responds to even the subtlest nuances of your playing.
- Design that combines both elegance and individuality.
- Music rest, pedal, and keyboard stand are included.
- Made in Japan – Premium Japanese Quality.
KORG Grandstage – Review by Joseph
Already a fan of the KORG SV-1, I was keen to try out the Grandstage. In my head, I expected the Grandstage to be designed to be a +1 on the SV-1, but even at first glance, I could tell it was a different beast altogeher. Like the SV-1, it has the piano black, classy look, but the Grandstage is clearly designed to, as KORG puts it, “pay respect to acoustic pianos.” Part brushed, and part glossy, the piano oozes elegance, and it even has red felt along the top of the keybed to really mimic the look of a real grand. As reserved as the piano is at first glance, it does have a wild addition, which comes in the form of a big light-up KORG logo on the rear panel, customisable by colour, brightness and colour cycle. If you’re feeling extra exciting, you can even set the brightness to be velocity-responsive. On top of all of this, the interface colours are all red, which is the cherry (red) on the cake of an already gorgeous piano.
Before giving it listen, I wanted to see how it felt, without hearing the response. Traditionally, as far as I’m aware, stage pianos are semi-weighted. There are many weighted options; the KORG SV-1 and the Nord Stage weighted pianos feel great, but there’s something that ideally I want between. The Grandstage has achieved that, though maybe inadvertently. It features the RH3, the Real Weighted Hammer Action 3, which is a high-quality Japanese keybed. Split into 4 sections where the lower keys feel heavier and the higher lighter, KORG have put some real work into a realistic feeling keybed. Having said that, for me, it does still not feel fully weighted. Though I anticipate this is not what KORG intended, it’s perfect for me as it gives the weighted touch, without the slightly slower response you get traditionally from weighted keys, which of course wouldn’t lend itself to synth lines and riffs. All-in-all, it’s a great feeling piano.
Familiar with the Nord stage pianos, I was intrigued by the simplicity of the interface. KORG have really held back, and I think this is one of the key things that puts the Grandstage above other stage pianos in the category. There are two knobs to set the sounds of two different layers at any one time. The sounds can be layered, or split, and the point at which the sounds are split can be easily adjusted, compared to some keyboards which do take a while to customise at this level. The Grandstage features a three-band EQ, which allows enough control over the sound, without being too daunting. There is a dynamics knob which allows the player to change the tone and velocity response of the keyboard, which is particularly good for making the keyboard sit perfectly in a live mix. The effects are also kept relatively basic. A choice of reverbs (Hall, Stage, Room, Spring) and delays (Delay, Cross, Tape, Mod) are controlled with another depth knob and a tap tempo. The keyboard has 64 user banks to save presets, and a panel lock button to prevent accidental changes of sounds during performances. For the more experienced player who finds themselves having to craft sounds, carefully adapting the effects, this keyboard is not the one. However, I can see the massive benefit in this simple interface. KORG have looked at the must-haves with a stage piano and scrapped the rest. It is clearly to mimic the feel and a look of a grand piano, which the competitors can’t compete with (unless your experience of grand pianos is only of those modded to look like a plane cockpit).
The Grandstage is packed with sounds. It is powered by seven different engines, these being the SGX-2, EP-1, CX-3, VOX, Compact, AL-1 and HD-1. This ends up as 500 sounds! The pianos include 5 different grands, meticulously sampled and labelled as Japanese, German, Austrian, Berlin and Italian. Each one has its own character, and all are full and authentic in sound. The EP-1 utilises 6 different electric piano sounds, being the classic I, II, V, and DMP tine piano models, and the 200 and 200A reed piano models. The CX-3, VOX and Compact engines all cover a wide range of organ sounds, so you can mimic a classic Hammond or even the popular rock organs of the 1960s. The AL-1 and HD-1 complete the rest of the sounds, and cover a wide range, from clavinets, to lead synths, to warm pads, to mellotron flutes. All the sounds are really high quality, but because of the nature of this piano, I focussed on the piano sounds, and wow. Every grand piano sound is gorgeous and crystal clear, while having its own character, assumingly true to the character of the sampled piano. They are seriously strong as standalone sounds, but also come with adaptations to fit neatly into any mix, these being mono, stereo, dark, bright, with some pianos having versions with chorus and compression, so to cover all bases.
All in all, I love this piano. However, being brutally honest, it’s not for me, simply because I like an all-in-one machine with complete customisability. With that being said, if I were to look for a stage piano, for the purpose of playing the piano, I’d look no further. Playing the Grandstage feels great, it looks great, it sounds great. It’s a no-brainer. I’m left very excited for what the next move will be in the world of stage pianos.