Digital Pianos: 64 vs 128 Polyphony?


In recent years, digital pianos have exhibited rapid growth in popularity with its high quality sounds, various features, portability, and functionality. It opens up the opportunity to almost everyone interested in getting an electronic keyboard or acoustic piano.

The digital piano gives players a low-cost alternative that yields equivocally great music with its realism, and maybe an even better performance. That is, if you manage to get a good one whether for home, stage or studio use which complements your skill level. One of the main things to look for and gain understanding of is the maximum polyphony, which is mostly a battle between the 64 and 128-note.

What is Polyphony?

PolyphonyPolyphony, on an electronic keyboard, is defined as the quantity of notes or voices that can be simultaneously played without loss. Though a full piano actually has 88 keys, the polyphony may be lower or higher. It may sound fancy but is quite simple.

Polyphony chiefly pertains to the number of individual notes or tones a piano can produce at once. To make it even simpler, try playing a 3-note chord on a toy piano with a mere 8 keys. It’s almost a guarantee that just one note will sound, hence, the cute little piano has a maximum polyphony of only 1.

The Maximum Polyphony

It is essential to know the maximum polyphony of a digital piano which is detrimental of its standards, as listed below:

32 Polyphony – The bare minimum would be the 32-note polyphony which can be a bit cheap, and one may have to substantially lower his or her expectations from this instrument’s performance.

64 Polyphony – A 64-note polyphony is more adequate for creating complex sounds.

128 Polyphony – The highest quality electronic pianos are able to render a 128-note polyphony and is the best you can get.

264 Polyphony – Some go beyond the norms and reach up to the 256-note but can be excessive and really unnecessary, especially for the beginner level.

64 Polyphony vs 128 Polyphony

The 64-note polyphony is regarded as an acceptable standard and is totally fine if you never play with a sustain pedal. However, advanced music typically requires the player to sustain a whole run of notes up and down the digital piano. You would be able to play in a hurry with the 64 polyphony, but the 64-note limit would usually kick in. It would cut off the oldest notes, and won’t be able to play the newest ones. For this reason, the 128-note polyphony is a lot better.

A digital piano with this maximum polyphony is remarkable when playing a fast passage with tons of notes that follow each other in sequence and primarily meant to sustain.