What Is Velocity Switching In Digital Pianos?


Digital Pianos have come a long way from the first time it appeared on the scene. For every generation, digital pianos are carrying more and more features. One of these features is known as velocity switching.

So, what is velocity switching? And, what is it trying to accomplish? If you are asking yourself these questions, then stick around as this article is going to explore the answers.

Real Piano And Digital Piano – The Difference

Real Piano And Digital PianoA digital piano is designed to mimic the sound and function of a traditional piano. However, if you have a good ear for music, you will notice that a musical piece played with a digital piano is different from one that is played via a traditional piano.

In fact, there is a lot of difference. After all, a digital piano is not making a sound like the way a traditional piano does, which involves hitting a piece of string.

Digital pianos make a sound by simply playing back a pre-recorded sound that corresponds to a note. For example, if you hit the key C on a digital piano, the instrument simply plays back a recorded sound of a C.

Here comes the interesting part – when playing a traditional piano, if you hit any C key softly, it will also produce a soft sound. Press it hard, and you will hear a loud C. But when it comes to digital pianos, it used to be that the premise is for one key, one sound is produced. No matter how hard or soft you hit the key of a digital piano, you will hear the same intensity of the sound.

For many, this is one of the sources of the problem as why there is a big difference between a traditional piano and a digital one. For musicians, how hard or soft an individual key is pressed is part of their music. It’s a way of integrating “soul” or “emotion”.

The Solution


This is where velocity switching comes into the picture. Velocity switching is a feature in digital pianos that aims to mimic the characteristics of a traditional piano. If you press hard, a louder sound will then be produced. A soft press then produces a soft sound.

This is achieved by recording different intensity levels for each individual key of the piano. One for the very hard press, another is for the very soft press and everything in between.

It used to be that digital pianos are only able to produce one kind of sound per piano key. No matter how hard or soft you hit the key, you still get the same sound volume. This poses a problem for most musicians, especially for the ones who are trying to integrate their emotion to the music. Now, pianos with velocity switching are able to solve this part. With velocity switching, if you press hard, you will get a loud sound. If you press softly, then you will get a soft sound; and everything in between.