Introduced in 2015 at the NAMM as the Alesis Coda and and Alesis Coda Pro, these digital pianos offered new options for pianists at all skill levels from beginner to intermediate. These pianos came from a house established by Keith Barr. This piano’s design emphasizes the keyboard’s affordability and portability. Also, these two new pianos emphasized quality design and excellent sound.
With two models to offer the market, they sell at different price points. The Alesis Coda sells for $400 while the Alesis Coda Pro is $500. You will notice a similar design and comparable features. However, the Alesis Coda offers 88 semi-weighted keys while the Alesis Coda Pro offers 88 weighted keys on its keyboard. The weighted keys on the Alesis Coda Pro provide an advantage for musicians, piano students, and piano teachers.
Highly Portable Piano
With the introduction of these two pianos, Alesis gave a big facelift to the design. These models abandon the traditional piano design and focus on a more modern looking design. Two large speakers are mounted on top of the chassis. Many changes have been made to the main controls and their layout to make it easier for the pianist to interact with the piano.
The body of the piano is a mixture of matte and shiny finishes which makes these two models more visually appealing than prior models. Even though these digital pianos are a nice size and feature quality keyboards, they are both very lightweight. The Alesis Coda weighs 23.6 pounds. The Alesis Coda Pro weighs 27.6 pounds. These models weigh about half as much as previous models. They still provide a way to set them up easily and carry them to any event.
The main console features a switch to turn the power on and off, a knob to control the volume, MID control buttons (16), a Metronome, a Layer/Split feature, Patterns, a mode for duets, Transpose, a LED display, 20 included voices with 10 knobs to control them. Additional functions may be accessed by pressing the Shift key with a corresponding keyboard note.
By using a wheel located on the left side, the pianist can lower or raise the note he/she is playing. On the back, the piano features some connection options including a jack for power, an auxiliary in and out, a jack for sustain pedal, MIDI out connection, and one USB port. On the front of the piano, the piano has two very useful headphone jacks.
More than Just Sound
The Alesis Coda Pro and Alesis Coda rival some of the most outstanding entry level products such as the Yamaha P45. All these pianos provide a good piano sample which means that the sound has the same tone and quality in the lower part as well as the middle. When using the Grand Piano sound, you will note a very realistic piano sound. This is due in part to the polyphony of 64 notes. This lets the pianist hold notes while utilizing the Layer/Split option or a pedal for sustaining the notes.
As an upgrade from the Alesis Cadenza model, you will notice that you have more presets (20). These include 5 new Organ sounds including Church Pipe all the way to the B3 Rock Organ, more Vibraphone voices, Clavinet voices, the Harpsichord, 2 Piano voices (Grand) and 3 Piano sounds (electric). Additionally, the pianist will enjoy the included Harmonica, Accordion, Fingered Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion set, and strings.
The pianist will have the option to layer, split, or combine the two for different sounds. When you use these features, you will need to be mindful of the polyphony you have available. These features let the Alesis Coda Pro and the Alesis Coda produce much richer, more varied voices that pianos made by other leading manufacturers like Yamaha. Keep in mind that these sounds are basic. They are not considered professional; however, they do have a good sound quality due to the included DSP. The DSP adds outstanding sound effects to your repertoire.
The Alesis Coda Pro has another improvement over their former model, the hammer action keyboard that has 88 weighted keys. This keyboard far surpasses the keys on the Cadenza and provides a feel that is much like an acoustic piano. The clicking sound has not been removed, but the keyboard’s quality has been enhanced so that it meets or exceeds the standard of its competitors.
Comparing the Alesis Coda Pro and the Alesis Coda
When the two pianos, the Alesis Coda and the Alesis Coda Pro, differ just by the weight of the keys, a buyer might wonder how will I know which one to buy?
Obviously, the Alesis Coda Pro is a more popular choice because it can be used in many settings. This piano is perfect for piano lessons or playing gigs. It doubles as a controller that allows you to coordinate your VSTs. Remember that the only real difference between the two pianos is the weight of the keys. So, you will have to determine which feel you prefer and remember that the weighted keys add weight to the piano as well. This affects the portability as well as the price.
If you use the piano to teach piano lessons, the keys with hammer action as featured on the Alesis Coda Pro will be an asset. Also, you will enjoy having the Duet mode so you can play along with your students. The double headphone jacks help you keep your practice sessions private. The onboard metronome and recorder are useful for recording up to five songs and assessing your progress.
When you are playing alone, the Songs and Styles options allow you to enjoy selections from a variety of genres – jazz, pop, blues, rock, and more. You have the option to mute portions of a song to allow you to create the perfect solo. When you consider this feature, you come back to your preference of keys that are weighted full or just partially. So, you will have to answer the question for yourself – Alesis Coda or Alesis Coda Pro?
Video: Alesis Coda Digital Piano
For those pianists using a studio or performing live, the Alesis Coda Pro is an excellent digital piano that has many great features useful for different musical tasks. When you connect via the USB port, the Alesis Coda Pro becomes a controller that lets you use your VSTs. When using this feature, the pitch bend wheel comes in handy and is often missing from many competitors’ pianos. You can easily create some complex musical pieces when using the MIDI output feature as well as the outside expanders and voice modules.
Connecting an audio source externally is easy with the AUX IN. You can connect back up tracks, drum sets, mixers, or recorders easily and never have to use the headphone jacks.
If you want a piano to play just for pleasure, you might opt for the Alesis Coda rather than the Alesis Coda Pro. You will have a piano that is lighter in weight and will save $100 as well. The Alesis Coda offers great sound if you play it as an organ or use the Rhodes voices. However, the keys will not feel and respond like the hammer action used in the Alesis Coda Pro. Just consider it as it is a good option especially when you take the price into consideration.
Video: Alesis Coda Pro Digital Piano
After Alesis had some difficulties marketing the Cadenza, they created a nice product with the Coda digital pianos. These two pianos are made with musicians, students, and teachers in mind. With their wide variety of options, the Alesis Coda and the Alesis Coda Pro are great values for only $400 or $500. These two pianos put Alesis back in the market as they face other piano competitors. The Alesis Coda and Coda Pro pianos are very worthwhile purchases and may be considered one of the best digital pianos at this price point.