Williams Rhapsody 2 88-Key Console Digital Piano Review

A digital piano is a serious investment: most of them cost several hundred dollars. It's a good idea to be familiar with the market and options at hand for a beginner piano. The Rhapsody 2 from Williams is a product with attention for its value and features.

What To Consider When Buying A Digital Piano

Digital pianos have a lot of features. They can be divided into groups, such as features that support accompaniment, those that improve the sound and tone, features that make the instrument easier to play, and so on. There is no perfect jack of all trades digital piano that can perform well in every category, so decide in advance what kind of features are the most important to you.

The Rhapsody 2 88-Key

The Rhapsody 2, or R2, is a $500 digital piano. This puts it just on the edge of the midrange of this market. Williams might not be as well-known as the big producers like Yamaha but they have built a high-value and affordable digital piano that emphasizes instrument selection, recording, and practicing as its main modes. This makes it a good possible starting point for the digital piano world.

Pros

  • The well-weighted keys and authentic voice provide the basic necessity of any decent digital piano
  • One of the nicer looking models that comes with a furniture stand that incorporates three pedals
  • The Williams provides solid connectivity with both USB and MIDI ports as well as a ¼” output port

Cons

  • Easily the biggest flaw with the Williams, a lack of tonal control seriously impedes its ability to provide use beyond the beginner level
  • While you do not necessarily look for a wide range of features in a beginner piano, the Williams’ lack of features is still surprising
  • Substandard speakers means you will either need to hook up headphones or use the ¼” output to hook up external speakers

Features and Benefits

Voices

Williams Rhapsody 2 88-Key Console Digital Piano

The different styles of sound that a digital piano can produce are generally called voices. The R2 has 12 of them, some of which are pianos and some of which are other instruments. Each one uses high-quality samples to ensure a good playing experience. The piano also has a special FX control that is context sensitive- it adds a different reverb or other effect for each voice.

Ports

For this price level, the R2 has an impressive number and type of ports. It has a USB port that supports MIDI, headphone, and sterero. The USB port specifically is unusual but it is a nice touch because it opens up so many different possibilities for recording and composing. The other ports are good for privacy or using the R2 in a crowded room. It also makes it easy to monitor the tone and make corrections if need be. It would be nice to see line in or line out but those are extras, not essential.

Extra

Features The R2 has a selection of additional features to help make the instrument better value. It comes with 12 demo songs that you can practice or play along to that are stored in its memory. You can also use the memory for recording: it has 2-track recording, meaning that it can record both hands playing separately for finer detail. It has a metronome and a transpose function. The keys are weighted to make them feel more similar to an analog piano. The context-sensitive effects include vibrato, reverb, sustain, and more, which gives the different voices significantly more personality.

Rating

Design

4

Performance

4

Construction

4

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

4.5

Alternatives

Yamaha P71

Yamaha P71

Yamaha is always a good comparison to make because they have so many different models and features. The P71 costs $400 and comes with a sustain pedal, but no stand. It has 10 voices and the ability to play two at once in Dual Voice mode. It also uses a Graded Hammer System to weight the keys more like an analog piano. It does a better job at sounding and feeling like an analog, but with a worse selection of demos, recording tools, and voices.

Comparison

Yamaha P71

Price: $400

Ports: Headphone

Special Features: Dual Voice, Graded Hammer System

Williams Rhapsody 2

Price: $500

Ports: USB, headphone, stereo

Special Features: 2-track recording, demo songs

Williams Overture 2

Williams Overture 2

At $700, the Overture 2 represents a move up the scale from the Rhapsody 2. It has several notable upgrades. It has many more sounds at 147 in total. The response and feel of the keys is also more realistic and similar to an analog piano. There are now 50 demo songs, three pedals, four speakers, duet mode, and dual headphone jacks. In many ways it is a direct upgrade to the Rhapsody 2 for those who liked the R2 but want more, or who are willing to spend more money.

Comparison

Williams Overtune 2

Price: $700

Ports: USB, 2x headphone, stereo

Special Features: More of everything

Williams Rhapsody 2

Price: $500

Ports: USB, headphone, stereo

Special Features: 2-track recording, demo songs

Korg B1SP

Korg B1SP

The B1SP from Korg comes with a stand, a bench, and a full set of three pedals. It is low on special features but emphasizes the quality of the samples for its 6 voices. It costs $600. The B1SP is best for those who want a complete package in one shipment, because it already has a bench and a pedal set, as well as a power adapter. It provides good value if you don't need extra features.

Comparison

Korg B1SP

Price: $600

Ports: Headphone

Special Features: Bench and pedal set

Williams Rhapsody 2

Price: $500

Ports: USB, headphone, stereo

Special Features: 2-track recording, demo songs

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of options in the digital piano market depending on your budget and desired feature set. The Rhapsody 2 strikes a balance between price and features that makes it good as an entry-level digital piano. At this price point a lot of the alternatives tend to have lower-quality samples, lack features, or both. If you want more, the Overture 2 or the higher-end Yamaha models are natural upgrades, but that comes at a higher price.

Stephanie Su
 

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