Casio CDP-130 Review

An 88-key piano keyboard, the Casio CDP 130 is an upgrade from the previous CDP-120 model and is intended to replicate a real piano as much as possible. Another thing that makes the Casio CDP-130 notable is that it's meant to be one of the more budget-friendly keyboards on the market that is considered to be a piano keyboard.

It has all the basic elements you would expect from a digital piano, and has three separate sensitives. This means that the harder you press the key, the louder the note will sound.

All that being said, let’s just jump straight into our review of the Casio CDP-130 and take a look at its features, as well as what sets it apart from its predecessor and its rivals from other manufacturers.

Casio CDP-130: The Features

A follow-up to the popular CDP-120, the Casio CDP-130 has a practically identical chassis to the 120 and also shares the same keyboard, cabinet, and connectivity features. In fact, when comparing the two pianos side by side, it’s hard to tell them apart!

The CDP-130 is available in two different finishes. These are the CDP-130BK which is black, and the CDP-130SR which is silver. The matching Casio CS-44P stand really helps the digital piano to blend in with whatever room you put it in.

The CDP-130’s main interface features a power button, a volume control, a demo mode, a function button with multiple uses, and two buttons that let you select electric piano or grand piano tones. But the CDP-130 also has a metronome mode that lets you experiment with the tempo, and an updated reverb section that now has a deeper hall model that is beneficial for enhancing the piano sounds.

Other advanced features included in the CDP-130 include the Touch Response and the Transport, as well as the DSP that changes reverb intensity and chorus depth, and the Metronome Tempo/Beat which you can control by hitting the Function button and your chosen note. 

There are two 8W-oval Full Force Sound Speakers on the piano’s top panel and a slot where you can place a music stand. Meanwhile, on the back panel there is a Headphones output, as well as a power supply jack, a USB port for MIDI connectivity, and a Sustain jack. 

Just like its predecessor, the CDP-130 also has a classic AHL Sound Source engine which now provides ten sounds (more than half the number of tones offered by the CDP-120), and the amount of polyphony, with a maximum of 48 notes.

This lets you play incredibly complex passages of classical music like scales or arpeggios while pressing the sustain pedal. This can also be helpful when playing bigger chords in Layer mode, without having to worry about dropping notes.

The 88-key Scaled Hammer-Action keyboard is an excellent way for beginners to learn the basics of piano and teaches them all about the importance of dynamics.

This is all possible thanks to the spring-less hammer system that provides a heavier touch on the lower notes and a lighter touch on the higher notes, just like a real grand piano. Being able to set different key responsiveness is also an excellent way to experiment with different dynamics.

Overall, the features of the Casio CDP-130 are pretty sophisticated for an entry-level instrument, making it great for beginners as well as live musicians looking for a compact, portable digital piano that sounds just as great as the real thing.

Casio CDP-130 Buying Guide

Casio vs Yamaha

The CDP-130 offers all the same specs that the CDP-120 has, but with five more sounds, as well as the Metronome and Hall Reverb. An upgrade from the CDP-130 would be the Casio PX-130, which is an upgrade for intermediate or professional players who want to splash some cash.

The PX-130 has a better keyboard (an 88-key Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer-Action keyboard), as well as a more powerful sound engine in the Linear Morphing AIF that has 16 excellent sounds and a maximum polyphony of 128 notes.

It also has more enticing features that give you further customization over the piano sounds and emulates a real grand piano even more than the CDP-130.

However, a PX-130 is more expensive and does not have a three-pedal system or a furniture-style stand, but these can be purchased separately. 

Now that we’ve compared the CDP-130 to some digital pianos from the Casio family, we now have to turn to its rival: Yamaha. When it comes to entry-level digital pianos, both brands have been raising the bar.

The more budget-friendly offerings from both brands just keep increasing in quality, and this is certainly true of the CDP-130 and the Yamaha P-45. Both models have been tweaked with several innovations and transformed into much more professional instruments. But when it comes to 88-key entry-level digital pianos, which one is better?

The Yamaha P-45 may have the Casio CDP-130 beat when it comes to the sound engine. Its AWM Stereo Sampling engine has become an industry standard and now has a polyphony with a maximum of 64 notes, which is an upgrade to the 32 notes offered by its predecessor. 

The Yamaha P-45 also offers ten different voices, much like the CDP-130, and all voices are excellent quality. Although the acoustic piano stereo sample is a definite stand-out. 

However, when it comes to keyboard action quality, the CDP-130 has the edge. It’s softer and weighted in a more innovative way than the Yamaha, emulating a real piano more closely. 

Another aspect where the CDP-130 wins out over the Yamaha is that the Casio models tend to be cheaper than Yamaha. The few exclusive modes found in Yamaha’s P-35 and P-45 models does justify its higher price.

The Duo mode, for example, splits the keyboard in two, which is great for teachers who want to play alongside their students, or the Half-Pedal support which replicates the mechanical noises of a traditional piano

Casio CDP-130 Review

How does the Casio CDP-130 sound?

The sound you hear on a piano keyboard is pre-recorded from a traditional accusing piano. There are two key aspects of this process that will determine how the piano keyboard will sound.

One aspect is the polyphonic memory, and the second aspect is the type of sampling used to record that original sound. The type of sampling that Casio uses for the CDP-130 is the Intelligent Resonator Sound Engine (AIR).

The CDP-130 has a polyphony of 28 notes, with 24 for certain tones. If you’re new to digital pianos, you may be wondering what a polyphony is. This is simply the number of notes that you can play at a time. The polyphony offered by the Casio CDP-130 is a little basic, and if you’re an intermediate player, you may find this a bit limiting. 

The CDP-130 also has 10 sounds that include piano sounds and electric piano, which makes playing the piano a breeze. Its Hall mode is also a type of reverberation that gives you an airy, cathedral vibe, while its Chorus feature helps to make the piano sound more full-bodied.

Its dual mode or layering lets you play piano sounds at once, like a piano and strings combination for instance. Needless to say, this mode gives a real orchestral vibe! Experimenting with sounds like this is why polyphony is so important, but 48 notes is adequate. 

You can use one half of the Casio CDP-130 for your chosen piano sounds, while the other half can be used for electric bass. This is an ability that most digital piano players would want. 

Is the Casio CDP-130 good for beginners?

Another way to ask this question would be, is the Casio CDP-130 good for your budget? If similar digital pianos are beyond your price range, and you need a piano for practicing, then you really can’t go wrong with the Casio CDP-130.

Most piano students will play a mid-range piano keyboard, and some will opt for a 61-key musical keyboard with basic keyboard sensitivity with no Hammer Action. Hammer Action isn’t just related to velocity sensitivity, but also to how heavy the keys are and if they’re a similar weight to a traditional piano. If you receive good piano training, then the CDP-130 is excellent for practicing.

But the CDP-130 would also be suitable for recent beginners, although if you are in middle conservatory, the CDP-130 may not be advanced enough for you and this can limit you. It is also an ideal piano for composition. 

Another reason why the CDP-130 is an excellent option for beginners is that you can practice with headphones, and the keyboard has all you need if you’re at a beginner level.

As you advance though, and you reach an intermediate level, you might find it quite limiting in both Hammer Action feel and sound. If you’re a professional, this would make a great digital piano for smaller, intimate venues. 

So while you may find yourself wanting more as you progress from beginner to intermediate level, the CDP-130 will definitely do for now. Plus, its powerful 8W speakers more than make up for what the keyboard lacks! 

Pedal power

To be considered a true piano keyboard, a digital piano needs to have a decent pedal. The Casio CDP-130 has a sustain pedal that keeps you in time with the note even if you stop pressing the note key. You just need to keep the pedal pressed. It isn’t as great as a triple pedal, but this is something to worry about at intermediate level.

Connectivity and Other Extras

The Casio CDP-130 has a few piano tones, with a particular highlight being the Jazz Organ tone that resembles a Hammond. It brings the transportation function up to an octave and metronome. 

The Casio CDP-130 also comes with a power supply but does not come with support batteries. Its USB is able to host MIDI connectivity, enabling you to use a MIDI controller to connect to your computer. This is great when using a program like Sibelius for writing scores and playing them in real time. 

With the Casio CDP-130, you can also record MIDI tracks using programs like Ableton and CUBASE which exports the recorded track with real piano sound. Its headphone jack is also great for practicing in silence without disturbing those around you. 

The output of the larger jack creates hulls, but this has nothing to do with the line output. If you connect the Casio CDP-130 to any large amplification equipment, you may need an injection box to inject some power into your sound signal. But if you’re only using a small amplifier, you won’t need to worry about this. 

The Casio CDP0130 weighs about 11.4 kg, which is a normal weight for this type of digital piano. This lightweight, portable digital piano is great for carrying around in your backpack. Just make sure that you’re placing your piano in a backpack with handles, as handles make it easier for you to carry your piano around without damaging it.

Final Thoughts

The Casio CDP-130 is a definite improvement over its predecessor the 120, and that’s saying something as there wasn’t much to improve on in the first place!

The CDP-130 gives you ten great sounds, a great selection of modes, and an excellent 88-key hammer-action keyboard. It’s fantastic for beginners, but for it to be an even better beginner digital piano, it could do with other crucial features such as half-pedal support and a lesson mode of some kind. 

David Williams
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