Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) Review: Everything You Need to Know

Korg, a leader in digital piano production, has two new offerings: the B2SP and the B2N. They both have an award-winning hammer action keyboard and a modern design with portability. The B2 series is 3 cm shorter than the previous stage piano model, making it lighter and easier to transport. It has Korg’s Natural Touch Keyboard action and stereo sampling technology for authentic grand piano tones. Both come with a three-pedal unit too.

Which one to choose? We’ll provide an overview of each model and compare them in terms of price, audio quality and more. That way, you can decide which fits your lifestyle and musical needs best.

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Explanation of Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N)

The Korg B2 (the B2SP or B2N models) is an accessible, reliable digital piano. It has 88 note, weighted keys with 32 levels of velocity for expressive playing. The Roland-designed Responsive Hammer III Keyboard simulates string resonance for rich tonality.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N Review

There are 16 stereo sample sounds: 8 classic pianos worldwide, electric pianos, organs, harpsichords, and orchestral instruments. Players can customize tones and layer two instruments together. The built-in recorder captures performances in high-resolution audio quality. Songs can be imported from USB memory.

The Korg B2 model offers a realistic acoustic piano sound at an attractive price point. It’s suitable for players of any level – beginner to experienced professional.

Key Features of Korg B2

The Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) is a digital piano designed to be top-notch in performance, look, and sound. It has many features that make it great for musicians. Let’s look at some of them:

  • The Keys: 88 full-sized keys made from “NH-Action”, a hybrid material. This ensures sensitivity and accuracy. Plus, it has adjustable weight and height settings.
  • Sound Quality: The Korg B2 has 50 preset sounds, like acoustic and electric pianos and organ, strings, etc. You can also download additional sounds from Korg’s website or use plug-ins. Two built-in high-quality speakers spread sound evenly.
  • Connectivity & Recording: It has Bluetooth for connecting to smartphones, tablets, etc. Downloadable apps and songs libraries are available. There’s a USB-to-host connection for recording on computer software/DAWs. Also, two 3.5mm AUX audio inputs for connecting guitars or external keyboards. Plus, it has a built-in metronome.

The Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) is an amazing digital piano. It offers great sound quality and functions for live performances and recordings.

Korg B2/B2SP Specs
  • 88 weighted keys with an enhanced Progressive Hammer Action Keyboard (PHK‐2)
  • RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3) keyboard – 30 different velocity curves and pressure settings providing a realistic piano playing experience.
  • 128 voices of polyphony, allowing multiple notes to be heard simultaneously.
  • A selection of over 300 high quality built-in sounds including pianos and other instruments plus 60 drum kits.
  • Integrated stereo speakers ensure a full range sound reproduction.
  • Dual 16 watt amplifiers drive two inbuilt 2-way bass reflex speakers, each with 6.5″ woofer and 1″ dome tweeter for great sound at any volume level.
  • ‘AiX’ – a newly developed sound engine offering emulation of acoustic effects like reverb and chorus for greater expression when playing electric piano sounds or organ sounds.
  • 900 preset styles featuring accompaniment patterns created by professional musicians for easy live performances.
  • Arpeggiator function provides rhythmic support on the fly; provides 8 types of arpeggio patterns including random, reverse, order and more.
  • 16 track MIDI recorder allows you to capture your performances in real time or playback existing recordings from other devices such as computers or mobile phones.

Design and Build Quality

Korg B2 B2SP B2N variations

The Korg B2 digital piano comes in the B2SP and B2N. They have a sleek, black satin finish that looks great. The build quality is faultless. It has a die-cast aluminium chassis and heavy-duty plastics.

The ports and connections are impressive. There are line-out jacks, USB ports, and a headphone jack. The B2SP also has two 1/4″ inputs for external devices.

The Korg B2 models are high-quality. They’ll last in any home.

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Observant readers may notice that the Korg B2 and B2SP are quite similar, and they would be correct. These digital pianos are only differentiated by the inclusion of a furniture-style stand and a 3-pedal setup, giving the B2SP a faux furniture-style appearance, perfect for those who want a piano that blends in with their living room.

In contrast, the Korg B2 feels more streamlined and naturally less bulky, with no stand.

The newly released Korg B2N is designed to be a lightweight, portable digital piano, but it still requires an AC adapter and power supply. Including battery support would have been beneficial, which is a missed opportunity. While there is more to say about the B2N, we will cover specifics in the relevant sections.

Although our review primarily focuses on the base Korg B2 model, the following design comments should apply to all models.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N design

For home-based use and practice, the weight of 25.1 lbs (11.4 kg) is an ideal weight class for most entry-level digital pianos. It is also convenient to store the B2 when not in use.

The B2 is available in two classic colors, black and white, just like its predecessor. Personally, I find the white color more appealing as it exudes a certain degree of sophistication. On the other hand, the B2N model only comes in black and is notably lightweight.

In terms of controls, the B2 keeps it simple. Apart from the volume knob, all features are operated through a few buttons that require occasional key/button combinations. The knobs and buttons feel passable, but they could be more intuitive. The buttons don’t have much travel, and the knob feels cheap with little resistance. Nonetheless, it does allow for precise volume changes.

While I prefer dedicated buttons for each feature, it’s standard practice, and we can’t nit-pick at this price point. That being said, it would have been nice if Korg included a simple display with the update. Sometimes it’s hard to determine which sound is active or what tempo the metronome is set to.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N design

It’s understandable that Korg opted to forgo a display to cut costs. Most sub-$500 digital pianos (not keyboards) do not have one. If you decide to go with the B2 or B2N, you’ll get a damper pedal shaped like a real piano sustain pedal, a step above the commonly bundled square-pad pedals. However, this pedal only functions as a simple on-off switch, and half-pedaling isn’t supported.

On the other hand, the B2 sound module has half-pedal support. The B2SP’s 3-pedal system can detect half-damper signals. If you want to take full advantage of Korg’s multisamples, which we’ll cover in the Sound section, you can purchase a separate pedal unit.

Unfortunately, you cannot use other pedals that support half-damper functionality, such as Korg’s excellent DS-1H, due to reasons we’ll discuss in the Accessories section.

Overall, the B2’s design is almost identical to its predecessor, the B1. As we mentioned before, it provides a no-frills experience, which is all a beginner needs.

User-Friendly Interface

Korg B2 digital pianos are a breeze to use! The user-friendly display makes navigating the features easy. You can customize the sound with filter cutoff and resonance. Plus, it has a USB MIDI connection port. Connect it to external music software like GarageBand. Or, use PianoTutor for more in-depth learning sessions.

Effortless setup and playing – that’s the Korg B2 series promise!

Control Panel and Buttons

The Korg B2 series is a digital piano with an easy-to-use control panel. This panel, circled in blue, includes many buttons and knobs. The power button is located at the top left, with the volume and brightness knobs below. It also has reverb, metronome, and split/layer functions. The keyboard has several inputs on its front and back, letting you connect instruments like MIDI keyboards and foot controllers.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N front panel

The power button will turn on your Korg B2 instrument. The volume knob controls the sound. You can adjust the brightness depending on the venue.

On both models, Korg B2SP and B2N, there are buttons to access features quickly. Reverb, metronome, and split/layer functions are available. These buttons let you be creative from quick adjustments during a performance or recording session to sound design in a studio.

Keyboard

The B2’s keyboard is not its strongest feature. The key action is basic and comparable to Yamaha’s entry-level GHS. During play, the keys are decent but rapid repeated keypresses sometimes fail to register at very fast tempos.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N keyboard

The keys are graded so lower notes feel heavier, but the glossy white and matte black key surfaces may cause some finger slippage.

The Korg NH action is acceptable but there are better key actions available in this price range. I’d rank it below other keyboards like Yamaha’s GHS in terms of quality and response. Testing any digital piano yourself is recommended before purchase, but among the same keys in this category, I would rank them as follows:

  1. Roland’s PHA-4 Standard (featured on the Roland FP10)
  2. Kawai’s RHC (included on the ES110)
  3. Casio’s Tri-Sensor Hammer Action (used on the Casio PX-160)
  4. Tied between Korg’s NH and Yamaha’s GHS (used on the P-125)

Though ranked lower, the NH and GHS actions are not bad – there are simply better options for more natural piano feel.

The B2N uses a lighter variation of the B2 key action with weights removed. This reduces weight but compromises realism.

Stage 3’s HP76 model has excellently expressive, dynamic lighter keys.

The B2N’s NT action aims for similar results but the keys feel too light with poorer dynamics. I had to use the heavy touch setting just to play soft.

So the B2N’s key action is not executed as well. Make sure to test it yourself if interested.

Sound

The B1 provides a diverse range of sounds, although it only features 8 voices. Nevertheless, the quality of the sounds is exceptional, offering a high level of detail.

Some individuals may perceive the use of PCM sampling technology as basic, lacking the sophisticated software additions that advanced technologies like Roland’s SuperNATURAL or Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging possess. Nonetheless, Korg effectively utilizes multisampling technology to produce impressive results.

Multisampling allows for triggering up to 3 samples simultaneously for each note played. For instance, the Italian grand triggers 3 samples per note, which is particularly remarkable for a budget-friendly digital piano.

Additionally, the B2 and its variations incorporate sympathetic and damper resonance. These features replicate the vibrations of neighboring strings when a note is played, significantly enhancing the realism of the experience.

Fundamentally, playing the same key three times in a row on the B2 can activate different samples each time, mirroring the experience of playing an actual piano where no two notes ever sound the same.

The meticulous attention to detail is admirable, and the quality of the samples is noteworthy, particularly when using the direct outputs.

The default sound of the B2 is the German Concert Piano, which appears to be a sampled Bösendorfer concert grand. Its deep bass frequencies make it more suitable for classical pieces.

The Classic Piano preset also features the German Concert Piano sample, but with a less spacious and more intimate tone.

Personally, I prefer the Italian Concert Piano sound, which is not as obvious in terms of its sampled origin. It produces a delightful sound that blends well with any playing style, from classical to contemporary accompaniment.

The Italian Concert Piano has a tone similar to that of Yamaha pianos, with no overpowering frequencies. Therefore, it’s my top pick for the B2.

The Jazz Piano and Ballad Piano presets also use the same Italian Concert Piano sample. The Jazz Piano preset has an upright-style tone, while the Ballad Piano sound has a more intimate and up-close feel.

The organs and electric pianos on the B2 instrument are of decent quality, although their flexibility is somewhat restricted. It would be preferable to have the ability to adjust the original vibrato and rotary speaker modulation levels, but given that this is an entry-level device, such a request may be asking for too much.

As for the strings, they are satisfactory but not exceptional. Typically, these sounds are utilized to layer with a piano, but unfortunately, the B2 does not have that feature. Consequently, this sound has limited application when used in isolation.

If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly keyboard, the B2 is a decent option. However, you may want to explore higher-end alternatives if you require more advanced features and greater sound versatility.

Polyphony

polyphony of korg b2
What is Polyphony?

Polyphony in digital pianos refers to the number of notes that can be played simultaneously. Most contemporary digital pianos come equipped with 64, 128, 192, or 256-note polyphony.

One might wonder how it’s possible to have so many notes playing at once when there are only 88 keys on the piano. Firstly, many modern digital pianos use stereo samples, requiring two or more notes for each key played.

Additionally, using the sustain pedal, sound effects such as Reverb and Chorus, dual-mode layering, and even the metronome ticking sound require additional notes of polyphony.

When the sustain pedal is depressed, the earliest played notes continue to sound while new notes are added, requiring the piano to store more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Playing with a song playback or auto-accompaniment also requires polyphony for the notes and backing track.

When the polyphony limit is reached, the piano drops the earliest played notes to free up memory for new notes, which can affect the quality and fullness of the sound.

Although one may not always need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, there are instances when 64 or even 128-note limits can be reached, especially when layering multiple sounds or creating multi-track recordings.

Having at least 64 notes of polyphony is desirable for digital pianos.

According to Korg, the B2 boasts a maximum of 120 voices of polyphony, which is consistent with other products in the same price bracket. In general, 120 notes of polyphony are sufficient for playing most musical pieces, whether they are classical or modern.

However, the user manual from Korg indicates that certain sounds in the B2 can trigger two or three samples per note played. As an example, only the Stage Electric sound has true 120 note polyphony.

The Italian Concert, Jazz, and Ballad piano sounds, which are considered the best among all options, have a polyphony of only 40 notes. Meanwhile, all other sounds offer 60 notes of polyphony.

Although 40 notes may be considered lower than average, it is still adequate for most pianists. Even full-range glissando chords are manageable with this level of polyphony.

The amount of polyphony also greatly depends on the software and how it assigns memory to prevent noticeable cut-offs in notes. During my testing of the B2, I did not encounter any issues with polyphony.

High-Quality Sound Production

Korg B2 B2SP B2N speakers

The Korg B2 (SP and N models) perfectly combines modern tech and classic style. It produces clear sound from a range of instruments and effects. Its two speakers of 15W create big sound, and adjustable EQ lets you tailor your mix. Plus, the B2 has studio-quality reverb and chorus effects and Hi-Z inputs for superior control. Its ease of use and affordability make it a great choice for all levels of musicians.

Sound Engine and Tone Generator

The Korg B2 is a digital piano that’s lightweight and compact. It combines features of premium models but has an affordable price. It caters to both beginners and experienced players.

It’s powered by Korg’s NH (Natural Weighted Hammer Action) system, giving the keys an authentic feel. It has twelve high-quality sounds, including grand piano sounds, electric piano sounds, organ tones, strings and harpsichord.

It also has nine digital effects, including chorus, delay and reverb, and 99 adjustable sounds. Split/layer functions let different timbres be combined on a single keybed. Dual mode allows two different sounds to be played at once within specified split points, giving more musical possibilities.

Demonstration of the Different Voices Available

The Korg B2 has it all! With 8 preset buttons and a large selection of tones, you can get the sound you want for any musical style.

  • It has bright and warm tones for acoustic piano, with a toggle button that lets you switch between Normal-Attack or Soft-Attack.
  • Organ sounds include smooth jazz riffs with Hammond-style vibrato, classic rock styles with distortion and reverb effects, and classic drawbar organ sounds.
  • Strings have up to three lines of voices and slow attack options for softer passages. It also has attack and release times for each line and type parameters for customizing the sound.

Other orchestral sounds include brass section, woodwinds, metallic synths, synth pads, lead synths, percussive elements, drum kits, guitar simulations, etc. All these voices come together on one user-friendly interface. Creating a track is just a few clicks away!

Connectivity Options

The Korg B2 has lots of connections. There are two 1/4″ stereo outputs on the B2SP and B2N. The SP model also has 1/4″ headphone/input and MIDI jacks. There’s an Auxiliary Input – you can use it to plug in an expression pedal, breath controller or any other controllable device. Plus, there’s a USB-MIDI port for connecting to computers.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N connectivity

It also has stereo microphone preamps – great for recording performances on computers or other recording devices. You can also use the output jacks to connect the instrument directly to mixing consoles, amplifiers or audio interfaces.

The B2 digital piano, designed for beginners, comes with all the standard connections that you would expect. It features a 1/8″ headphone jack that allows you to practice quietly without disturbing others. Additionally, this jack can function as the main output to connect with external amplifiers and speakers.

One drawback of the B2 is that it still uses the proprietary jack that was last seen in the Korg B1, rendering it incompatible with quarter-inch damper pedals available in other brands. This is an unfortunate feature that leaves room for improvement.

Korg B2 B2SP B2N audio jacks

Another downside is the lack of half-damper support in both the B2 and B2N models. This feature is only accessible if you purchase the PU-2 triple pedal unit, which adds considerably to the cost.

However, the B2 comes with a new Aux In mini jack that allows you to connect your phone or music player to play along with backing tracks or lessons. This rectifies the previous issue found in the Korg B1, which is a positive addition.

In addition to these features, the B2 includes a USB Type B port supporting MIDI and Audio data exchange. This feature is great for those who want to use digital audio workstations or performance software. The best part is that you don’t need an external audio interface to utilize the sounds on the B2.

In conclusion, the Korg B2 is a great digital piano for beginners, but it does have some downsides. Nevertheless, its new Aux In mini jack and USB Type B port offers a lot of versatility and convenience.

What is the difference between Korg B2, B2SP, and B2N?

Korg’s B2 series digital pianos offer various features, tones and sound selections. The B2 is the entry-level model. It comes with a main piano sound selection and over a dozen extra sounds through the app.

The B2SP includes built-in speakers for powerful sound and further tone selection. Plus, it has a Stand Pack bundle to add a classic look to your home or studio setup.

For players who want effects, the B2N has Korg’s Natural Touch compact pedal for extra expression. It also has a matte black finish with LED buttons and knobs on the side controls. All three models come with KORG Collection software and 35 instruments. Plus, Bluetooth MIDI is supported for connecting mobile devices and other musical instruments in your home studio.

Is Korg B2 suitable for beginners?

The Korg B2 is great for beginners and those who need an affordable digital keyboard. It has a wide range of sounds, 88 full-sized hammer-weighted keys that feel like an acoustic piano, and Bluetooth Midi for easy connections. You can change voices from your phone or computer, connect to synths, or use special apps. The classic design and good build quality make it perfect for those who don’t need lots of knobs and sliders. An excellent choice for novices and professionals!

Can Korg B2 be used as a MIDI controller?

The Korg B2 is special. It has multiple sound engines. These include acoustic piano samples, digital pianos and even synthesizers. You can use it as a MIDI controller. Connect it to your laptop or synthesizer via USB. Control multiple devices with it. It has onboard sound editing capabilities. You can modify sounds with its controls in real-time.

It can transmit song data, Standard or SP-MIDI, to connected devices. Store data for recording or editing, which you cannot do on the B2.

How many voices are available on Korg B2?

Korg’s B2 series of digital pianos give users the ability to customize their sound and playing experience. The top models, B2SP (88-key weighted hammer action) and B2N (88-note natural touch semi-weighted), come with a selection of voices.

  • Three acoustic piano sounds, three electric piano sounds, a grands emulated sound, synth sounds and Hammond organ emulation are all included. This range of voices offers players plenty of options. Perfect for exploring various musical styles!

Want even more sound possibilities? The B2 Series has over 100 built-in instrument voices. From strings to brass sections. Plus, 120 notes of polyphony ensure clarity and no dropouts on higher registrations. You can switch between these other voices and get extra tonal options. For your performance or practice session.

Final thoughts and recommendation

Pros

  • Easy to set up with a range of connectivity options, including Bluetooth
  • Offers comprehensive lessons and the ability to record audio and MIDI files directly to USB
  • Great sound quality for its price range
  • Removable stand allows for easy transport and setup

Cons

  • Lack of editing features can make creating complex music challenging
  • No built in speakers, so external speakers are necessary for proper sound output
  • Limited additional accessories available for the product, such as stands or headphones

The Korg B2 has a lot going for it. Primarily marketed as a beginner instrument, it’s also suitable for serious musicians, thanks to its versatility and robust build.

It has great sound quality, with rich tones from the built-in speakers and even better sound when connected to a system/PA. It’s also super easy to use – physical controls and intuitive menus mean you can control the sound of your digital piano quickly and easily.

Overall, the Korg B2 is a great choice if you want a reliable, portable digital piano. It offers fantastic value, with features, build quality and sound clarity all up to scratch. Plus, it’s an accessible price point.

The Korg B2 has seen several upgrades, but many of them feel like the company is playing “catch up” instead of innovating, which is disappointing. Although we praised the Korg B1, it’s now 2019, and the competition is moving forward rapidly. It’s hard to recommend an “upgrade” that only offers the bare minimum.

Our previous comments about the B1 still apply to the B2. Once again, Korg has created a digital piano that is no-frills and could even be described as bare-bones. However, it sounds fantastic, and the new Italian Grand samples are an excellent addition to the B2 series.

As we mentioned before, Korg instruments always sound great, and the B2 is no exception. This digital piano is a solid choice for beginners that will serve you well. However, it’s worth noting that there are better options available if you’re looking for versatility and more features.

In conclusion, the Korg B2 is a good digital piano for beginners, but it’s not the most innovative or versatile option on the market. If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, you may want to explore other options.

Frequently Asked Questions

[toggle title=”Q1: What is the Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N)?” state=”close”]A1: The Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) is a digital piano designed to provide players with a realistic and enjoyable experience. The keyboard has 88 weighted keys and comes with a range of features including a built-in metronome, a range of voices and sounds, and more.[/toggle][toggle title=”Q2: What are the features of the Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N)?” state=”close”]A2: The Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) has a range of features that make it a great choice for players of all skill levels. These include 88 weighted keys, a built-in metronome, a range of voices and sounds, onboard recording capability, and more.[/toggle][toggle title=”Q3: What is the price range of the Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N)?” state=”close”]A3: The Ultimate Korg B2 (B2SP | B2N) retails for around $700, depending on where you purchase it.[/toggle]

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Hi, my name is Pallav, and I've been playing the piano for over 20 years. I'm also the proud owner of Digital Keyboard Piano, an online platform where I share detailed reviews of the latest MIDI controllers, digital pianos, and related equipment.

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