Alesis is quite a big brand in the digital audio realm having built ground-breaking studio equipment and instruments. It is no surprise, the company’s Recital piano speaks to their reputation.
Although it doesn’t come with the same sophistication as the Concert, Recital Pro or Coda Pro, it has the edge for being all-embracing. Whether you’re a beginner or professional looking for a simple keyboard for your gigs, the Alesis Recital piano has you covered.
It comes with five realistic built-in piano voices and features semi-weighted keys that give it a touch response to allow players a more realistic feel and sound. Its built-in lesson mode and adjustable metronome make it ideal for amateur pianists who are just learning to play. Here’s everything else the piano offers.
Alesis Recital Overview
The Alesis Recital keyboard has a plain and basic design but as the saying goes, don’t judge the book by its cover. It’s available in two finishes – black and white. The upper front panel of the keyboard has a semi-glossy faux-metal style surface. The panel also houses a fingerprint magnet.
We recommend going for the Recital 61 version (weighs 14.3 lbs.) if you’re after a lightweight piano.
The keyboard buttons feature dedicated backlights which are interesting and intuitive at the same time as they help you figure what effect or sound is on. The music rest is made of plastic and firmly attaches to piano chassis.
The Alesis Recital, however, falls short when it comes to the control scheme. Like many other pianos in the market, Alesis Recital has key and button combinations that make it hard to make changes swiftly.
For instance, if you want to adjust the touch sensitivity or reverb depth, you have to synchronously press and release the Metronome and Lesson buttons before pressing the corresponding keys.
Besides, there is no clear way of knowing what each key controls except using the user manual. This can be very inconvenient seeing as you have to refer to the manual until you are well-versed and get the hang of it.
The keyboard and its keys are a crucial element of any piano. The decision to buy or forego a piano purchase often boils down to the ease of use, the feel, and the output of the key. Since the Alesis Recital also targets beginners, all aspects around the keyboard matter the most.
Beyond the size and comfort of the keys, their feel counts.
The piano has semi-weighted keys which means the pressure required on the keys when playing this piano is equivalent to that required for the grand piano. Underneath, the keys have a spring to ensure they get back into position as soon as the pressure applied is released.
The keys also have an adjustable touch response and velocity sensitivity that enable one to find comfort with just a few adjustments. Since the keys are touch-sensitive, they will get louder the harder they are played, providing a more realistic piano feel.
However, when compared to other pianos such as Novation Impulse and Nord Stage 3, the Alesis Recital lags in terms of excellent semi-weighted keys.
Here is where the Alesis Recital piano shines. The Alesis Recital comes with five clean and clear in-built sounds to work with. Having good sounds is important especially for beginners who need to learn and correct the mistakes they make while playing. The sounds can be customized into a layered, full rich tone.
The mid-range piano sound is standard, but the sound does suffer decay on the top octave, turning it more into a synthesizer than genuine piano sound. The best quality is achieved through the use of headphones or a PA system rather than the small built-in speakers
The piano sound is well sampled and produces great dynamic variation through multisampling. Nonetheless, it isn’t as good as that of other budget keyboards like Yamaha NP-32. That said, the piano is still good for learners practicing how to play so beginners shouldn’t have to worry about it.
Professional pianists might also notice the shorter sustain tail in the piano tone but it isn’t a big deal.
Besides the acoustic piano sound, you get:
- Electric piano
The Alesis Recital also uses these five realistic voices, allowing you to play the piano in the style that you would prefer, whether it is the standard piano or a more modern synthesizer
All the sounds are fairly good more so the synth sound which easily beats tracked-on synth sound on other similarly priced pianos. The bass sound is also great and makes it easier for one to practice left & right-handed splits with walking bass. You’ll also notice the piano lacks a string ensemble. If you want more sounds, you can turn to the Alesis Virtue or Coda Pro.
The piano features several effects but the commonly used in the bunch are the reverb and chorus effects. Here are the total effects you get:
- 3 Reverb Algorithms
- 2 Delay Algorithms
- 5 Choruses
- Pedal Resonance
The reverb effects come in handy when you want to place sounds in simulated environments such as a large hall. Although they can’t be tempo-synched or their timings modified, the 4th and 5th reverb effects correspond to the delay algos.
The choruses, on the other hand, complement each sound with a detuned, wide feel. In particular, the 1st and 2nd levels of chorus are subtle on speakers.
From the manual, pedal resonance simply simulates how the notes reverberate to introduce rich harmonics as well as unique sound characteristics.
This refers to the maximum number of notes that a digital piano can sound simultaneously. Most pianos have 64,128,192 0r 256 notes. The Alesis Recital is equipped with a 128-note polyphony which is good for a budget piano.
The Alesis Recital comes with dual 10-watt built-in speakers which are more than any pianos at the same price range. The speakers have enough wattages for medium-sized rooms even without pairing them to an external set of speakers.
That said, we don’t recommend pushing the internal speakers so much since the sound tends to become distorted the further you push them. You can pair the keyboard with an amplifier if you’re playing in front of a big audience.
As you’d expect, the Alesis Recital isn’t feature-loaded but comes with the basic feature on a standard keyboard.
The keyboard supports three different modes.
The layer and split modes are mainly for professionals that already know how to play and are focused on performance whereas the lesson mode is for beginners.
The layer mode enables one to trigger two sound simultaneously for each key press. This mode is commonly applied to enhance the richness when playing. It is triggered by pressing two voice buttons at once. An octave then separates both sounds.
As the name suggests, the split mode splits the keyboard into two. To set the split point, just hold down the slip mode button and then choose the split point by pressing the key you want to act as the slip point.
In addition, the keyboard also has a lesson mode which allows you to split the keyboard into two areas with the same pitch and voice to let students and teachers play at the same time without the need to take turns.
The Recital 88-key piano doesn’t come with many extras. Even so, you get a fair selection of function including:
Transposition – Here you can move either up or down a full octave in 1 semitone increments when adapting unfamiliar key signatures
Metronome – The keyboard has a standard metronome for better practice. Note that the metronome volume, tempo and time signature can all be tuned
Touch sensitivity – The Recital has 3 different intensities and an additional OFF option for fixed velocity
Unfortunately, you can’t change the master tuning from the preset 440Hz.
How to reverb the Alesis Recital
To reverb the piano, just press the reverb button provided and wait until the LED turns on before changing the reverb type. Press the function button and choose the reverb type by turning the value dial. To turn off the reverb, press the reverb button until you see the LED go off.
How to adjust the tempo on Alesis Recital
First, turn on the Metronome button [you’ll see the LED light turn on]. Proceed to function mode to change the tempo by turning the value dial to the tempo you want. The Alesis Recital allows tempo adjustment between 30 and 280 beats per minute. Note that if your screen remains inactive for about 7 seconds, the display will return to the main screen.
How to layer two separate sounds on the Alesis Recital
The Layer mode on the Alesis Recital piano lets you layer two voices to produce a complex. To use it, press one of the voice buttons and then choose the first sound. Proceed to press the layer mode button to enable the mode.
After this, hold down the layer button and follow by pressing the voice button to choose the second sound. The second sound will be recorded as R2 on the display. You’ll hear both sounds together when you play.
The first sound you chose will be the upper voice whereas the second sound will be the lower voice. If you want to disable this mode, press the same layer button until you see the LED go off.
How to adjust touch sensitivity on Alesis Recital
The touch sensitivity function allows the keys to have varied output depending on how hard they are pressed. If the function is disabled, all keys will have a fixed response regardless of the pressing force.
To enable the mode and adjust the sensitivity, press the function button, and proceed to the function mode. Turn the value dial and choose the touch sensitivity from the provided options. You can refer to the manual to get the numbers that represent the values.
The piano comes with the normal connectivity options you’d expect on a standard piano. The Alesis Recital does offer the best advantages of a digital piano, including allowing for USB-MIDI output that enables either virtual instrument plugins or with educational software.
There are also stereo headphone outputs (6.35mm) and sustain pedal input (6.35mm) as well as a stereo RCA output pair, which allows players to either play privately, amplify, or connect to another sound system to better customize play.
Notable absentees include Bluetooth connectivity and an auxiliary stereo mini-jack that would allow one to practice to songs from their phone.
Pros of the Alesis Recital 88-key piano
- The Alesis Recital provides the customization option of voice layering to give a richer tone. Players can also use a split keyboard mode that allows a student and teacher to play in the same pitch at the same time.
- It is has a fairly priced considering the features it comes with and its overall performance.
- Even though it is not as light as the Recital 61, it is still portable so you can move it around without breaking a sweat
- It has 88 premium full-sized semi-weighted keys with touch response which allows pros and amateurs alike to use dynamics.
- It comes with a built-in metronome that’ll clicks from 30 BPM (beats per minute) to 280 BPMs.
Cons of the Alesis Recital 88-key
- The biggest disadvantage of the Alesis Recital is the built-in speakers. While the sound is a better quality when using headphones, the smaller amps within the speakers detract from the genuine piano feel that you would hope to get
- Additionally, the Alesis Recital is not user friendly and without a user manual, it would be difficult to navigate, even though it has fewer features than other digital pianos. The piano itself does not have labels that indicate the different functions, making them challenging to use without the manual
- Has only five built-in voices and a limited variety of tons
- The Alesis Recital features a 6.35mm headphone jack which is incompatible if you normally use the 3.5mm ones that plug into your computer/smartphone
- Doesn’t come with a stand for the keyboard or the sustain pedal. You have to fork out more to get these accessories as they aren’t included in the piano package
Here is a summary of the piano’s specifications
Keys: 88 full-sized semi-weighted with velocity sensitivity
Polyphony: 128 Voices
Sound/Voice: 5 built-in
Metronome Tempo Range: 30–280 beats per min (BPM)
Speakers: (2) 10W Woofers & (2) 20W Tweeters
Weight: 15.7 lbs. (7.1 kg)
System Requirements: Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit); OS X=10.8; USB=at least 2.0 port
Metronome: Tap tempo from 30BPM to 280BPM
Covered: Digital Piano, Power Adaptor, Music Rest, User Guide, Safety and Warranty Manual
As mentioned before, the Alesis Recital doesn’t come with many accessories which means you have to spend a little bit more to assemble a complete package.
Alesis does point it out their Recital piano only comes with a sustain input but and doesn’t include the sustain pedal itself.
This is probably the first accessory you’ll need to purchase as the piano doesn’t come with one. On the bright side, the piano is compatible with most generic X and Z stands in the market.
Headphones are very important especially when you want to play in private or in a quiet environment. Good headphones also help you get more clear and detailed sound. This way, when practicing, one can perfect their art.
Three months of Skoove Premium
Please note that following perks may or may not be included in the bundle (depending on retailer and current promotions).
Skoove (Learnfield GmbH) is an educational institution that teaches people how to play and master musical instruments mainly piano and guitar. The institution offers online, interactive lessons, tutorials, and in-depth courses.
Alesis has a collaboration with Skoove which allows learners using the Alesis Recital Piano to access online piano courses from Skoove (a free three-month subscription to Skoove Premium). Learners can also reach out to Skoove’s experienced team in case of any issues.
Two months of TakeLessons
The piano also comes with another perk. Learners using the piano get two months of live video lessons from TakeLessons for free. Here you get in touch with experts and interact with other learners. You are not limited to the number of classes you can take during these two months so you can take as many as you want.
The Alesis Recital is a beginning digital piano. It comes with limited functionality beyond learning basic keyboarding. While it could work in a recital situation with an RCA the sound quality of the Recital is not adequate enough to carry on its own.
The lesson options make it a great choice for the inexperienced player who is just learning how pianos work and how to play. Overall, if you are looking for a basic digital piano to get started with, the Alesis Recital could be an ideal option.
The Alesis Recital comes with all of the features that a beginning pianist could need, with all of the latest digital musical technology ready to go. With all of the educational assists, access to online lessons, and keyboard splitting options when working with a teacher in person, the Recital is built as a great learning piano.
The five voices that come with the Alesis Recital are pretty limited when compared to other digital pianos that are on the market, but a beginning pianist would not need the added instrument and synthesizer options that a more advanced play would utilize.
The built-in metronome will help you keep the beat as you practice and learn rhythms and songs, enabling you to continue with piano lessons even after the lessons have finished.
The best feature that the Alesis Recital has is the online connectivity to allow players to hook up to an interactive piano lesson. Another amazing feature is the Lesson Mode that allows the teacher and student to play simultaneously in the same pitch and voice, splitting the keyboard into two.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Alesis a good piano brand?
Yes. Alesis is a good piano manufacturer. In fact, Alesis is only of the most popular pianos on our website. People love it.
How is the keyboard powered?
Depending on the resources at hand, you can use 6D cell batteries or the regular power supply.
How do I increase the volume when playing the Alesis Recital Piano?
Some users have reported having issues with the volume fluctuations after using the keyboard for a while. Fortunately, this issue has a straightforward fix by doing a factory reset on the piano.
The Alesis Recital has a single external volume settings. However, the internal volume settings may become affected when playing which then causes an effect on the volume produced. At this point, you should reset the keyboard to its default settings.
To do this, you’ll need to simultaneously press the chorus & reverb buttons and power the piano. Note that while this will fix the issues, it will also reset several values such as the metronome volume, chorus, MIDI settings, auto power setting, reverb, and touch sensitivity.
If you try the procedure above and nothing changes, do a reset by pressing down the lesson and chorus buttons for about 10 seconds.
How do I record with Alesis Recital
First, make sure you have already downloaded and installed a music recording application to your computer. Connect the piano to your computer either using the USB A to B cable or printer cable. After connecting the keyboard and the computer, launch the music recording application and begin your recording sessions
How do I play MIDI files on the Alesis Recital piano
Start by connecting the MIDI cable to the piano and the computer. Locate on the internet the MIDI file of the song you want to play. You’ll be directed to a clickable link which you will then double click.