Yamaha DGX-660 Portable Grand Review
One of the biggest USPs of Yamaha’s digital pianos is that they offer a lot of bang for the buck. The Yamaha DGX-660 is by no means priced as a flagship digital piano should be but has many of the features of one at least on paper. The technical specifications of this digital piano suggest that it is highly versatile but can it live up to the much more expensive flagships or will it have glaring flaws in its sound quality and feel? Let us find out.
The aesthetics of the DGX-660 is a tale of two sides. The initial impression is that it is not very refined when it comes to the looks. It oddly resembles one of those cassette tapes from afar. The speakers could have been done without the dual-tone accents and the roundish edges of the digital piano give it a somewhat somber appearance. However, look a bit closer and you will understand why the Yamaha DGX-660 looks the way it does.
It is meant to be as versatile and practical as possible. Even though the Yamaha DGX-660 is marketed as a part of their portable line-up, it exactly isn’t something that you would be willing to lug around from gig to gig.
Its dimensions and weight suggest that it is more of a place it and forget it type of digital pianos. It is deeper than most digital pianos and that adds a bit of girth. The upside to all this is that the Yamaha DGX-660 feels quite sturdy and planted. Overall, initial impressions suggest that if you want to get a great digital piano without breaking the bank then this one is definitely worth a look.
This is often the biggest concern with digital pianos in the sub-$1,000 price range. The Yamaha DGX-660 also features 554 voice options which also sends further warning bells ringing when you are after quality. So, I began with the piano sounds and I was quite impressed with the piano sounds on offer. There are 10 piano sounds and each of them is excellent thanks to Yamaha’s proprietary Pure CF sound engine.
The piano tones are convincing and that coupled with the way the keys feel and the reverb effect options help you get quite close to an actual grand piano. If piano tones are all you are looking for, then the Yamaha DGX-660 absolutely nails it and you will not have any complaints. It is when you dive into the other tones that cracks start to appear.
The electric piano sounds are decent and so are the guitar sounds. The organs and brass instruments are barely passable while the strings and flutes are a real disappointment. When combining them with the piano sound, they work quite well but on their own, they lack depth and feel very much like an afterthought. I would not hold this too much against the Yamaha DGX-660 as it still manages to do the piano tones exceptionally well.
If you want something that can put out a whole host of tones from other instruments convincingly then steer clear of the Yamaha DGX-660 but if you want great piano tones with the option of supplementing these tones with other instrument sounds then the Yamaha DGX-660 is a great bet.
The speakers on the Yamaha DGX-660 are quite good and worked exceptionally well in providing a balanced output even when cranked all the way up. Having said that, the sound isn’t too powerful and will be next to useless in a band setup. It is great for home practice and can handle that without any issues.
One of the biggest selling point of the Yamaha DGX-660 is that it is the only model in Yamaha’s portable grand lineup to feature fully weighted keys. Considering the price this is a great feature to have. The keys are still made of plastic but they do not feel cheap and should last for a long time. The fully-weighted feature does lend it a more authentic feel.
The lower keys feel very close to an actual grand piano but there is a sense of artificial simulation when it comes to the higher keys as they recoil a bit too fast. Again, this is not something a beginner or intermediate player will notice but a pro player will definitely feel like a fish out of water when playing fast trills. The keys are also touch-sensitive and the sensitivity can be adjusted.
Overall, the keybed of the Yamaha DGX-660 is quite good especially when you take the price into account. However, it cannot replace a stage piano. At best it can be a great learning option for beginners and intermediates and the occasional practice tool for the professionals.
Additional features, usability, and effects
One area where even the cheapest digital pianos from Yamaha are good at is providing a wide range of additional features and the Yamaha DGX-660 is no different. The most important feature is the ability to layer sounds on top of each other allowing you to mix and match tones to create deep and unique sounds. The split feature allows it to be a great teaching tool.
The metronome featured in the Yamaha DGX-660 is also quite useful. It allows you to tap the tempo in using the damper pedal which makes it a great practice tool. A special mention has to be made of the LCD screen on the Yamaha DGX-660. It is larger than almost every other screen found on digital pianos in this segment and that improves the usability of the Yamaha DGX-660 by a very good margin. Changing the settings or using one of the many features is made quite easy and intuitive because of the size of the screen.
On the effects front, the Yamaha DGX-660 is quite well-equipped as well. There are 41 reverb types and while not all of them are excellent, most of them are useable with a few being quite good. There are 44 types of chorus and 26 harmony options to choose from and it’s the same story with these as well. They aren’t all ground-breaking but you will find enough options to provide a good deal of depth and nuance to your sound. This digital piano also features a pitch bend wheel which works perfectly fine. There are 5 EQ options to choose from as well which can come in handy when playing through external amps or speakers.
It also features a style accompaniment feature which is good with the style recommender being quite the intuitive option. The educational tool though is just as gimmicky as any other similar system. You can also record your performances which can actually be a great learning tool as that will allow you to scrutinize your mastery of the craft and allow you to get even better.
Connectivity and portability
Even entry-level digital pianos are great at providing great connectivity options these days. The Yamaha DGX-660 has all the bells and whistles you would expect from it in this regard. You can connect the Yamaha DGX-660 wirelessly to a smartphone or a tablet and that allows you to get really hands-on with the keyboard. This opens up a whole host of options when it comes to tinkering with your digital piano.
Another great app is the Chord Tracker app that can analyze the music on your phone and suggest the chords used in the song allowing you to learn to play along with the song quite easily. The onboard screen of the Yamaha DGX-660 helps immensely here. Another cool connectivity feature of the Yamaha DGX-660 is the ability to connect a microphone and use the onboard speakers to sing along while playing on the Yamaha DGX-660.
We touched on the portability of the Yamaha DGX-660 in the beginning. While it is definitely a lot more portable than a grand piano, it is a tad heavier than most digital pianos in this price range. I am guessing that the fully weighted keys have something to do with that. Overall, it can be moved around quite easily if you have an extra pair of hands but on your own, it can be a difficult undertaking.
The best way to describe the Yamaha DGX-660 is that it is better than a digital piano but not quite there as a stage piano. If you are a beginner or an intermediate player who wants something that is a bit more nuanced and feature-rich than an entry-level digital piano for a great price then the Yamaha DGX-660 is an excellent option. It has some flaws and quirks but all the important bits you would need as a pianist work quite well. It offers excellent returns on your investment. A seasoned pianist will find life difficult on the Yamaha DGX-660 but anyone else looking for a digital piano will find it quite satisfying.
– Fully weighted keys
– Excellent connectivity options
– Great speakers
– Decent build quality
– A large number of useful effects
– LCD screen
– A bit on the heavier side
– A lot of the tones are useless
– Higher keys feel more like semi-weighted keys
– Useless educational tool
– Polarizing looks
- Rated 3 stars
- Yamaha DGX-660
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Categorised in: Product Reviews