Yamaha DGX-650WH 88 Weighted Digital Piano Review

In the world of digital pianos, Yamaha is the best brand for their features and their ability to reproduce the analog piano feel. Among them, I believe that the DGX-650WH is one of the best options for digital piano. It has plenty of features and tools to suit your needs.

Things to Consider When Buying a Digital Piano

Digital pianos can have very large feature sets, especially at the top of the market. You should also pay close attention to whether they have what you need: accompanying tools, MIDI support, the right ports, and so on. A big list of features isn't worth it if they aren't features you want. You also should consider the sound and tone bank.

The Yamaha DGX-650WH

The DGX-650WH costs $750. It combines a number of automation features with accompaniment tools to build a complete package. While priced near the upper end of Yamaha's offerings, the digital piano justifies that price with its deep selection and ease of use. It comes with a stand.

Pros

  • Excellent ability to replicate an analog piano
  • Deep feature set
  • Many tones and voices for different applications

Cons

  • No line in, line out, or MIDI
  • Somewhat expensive
  • An optional LPTA pedal unit is available for additional cost

Features and Benefits

Feature Set

Yamaha DGX-650WH 88 Weighted Digital Piano

The DGX-650WH does not hold bank when it comes to features. It has the PureCF concert piano samples, Damper Resonance for more accuracy, Graded Hammer System keys for a lifelike playing feel, USB playback capability, You Are The Artist songbooks for accompaniment playback, the Smart Chord system for making chord macros, a Style Recommender that builds accompanying tracks based on your temp, an aux input, and 128-note polyphony.

Grand Piano Feel

The PureCF, Damper Resonance, and Graded Hammer System features in particular are built to allow the DGX-650WH to truly act like a portable grand piano. The weighting of the keys is correct, the damper tool gives the "strings" much more realism, and the PureCF samples are very close to playing the real thing. There are basically two main use cases for the DGX-650WH: to use it to reproduce a grand piano or to use it to build and compose songs with several instruments at once. Either one functions well enough to justify the price tag by itself, so together they generate good value.

Ease of Use

All of the smart tools and extras make it easy to pick up and learn the DGX-650WH. There aren't dozens of puzzling buttons or a wide array of manual commands. So much of it is automated, or you can place it into a shortcut macro, that managing complex chords and multi-instrument tracks feels not only easy, but natural. It is possible to layer multiple voices and play while using pedals and not lose any notes or get tripped up with the Smart Chord settings and the high polyphony.

​Rating

Design

5

Performance

5

Construction

4

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

5

Alternatives

Yamaha DGX-660

Yamaha DGX-660

The DGX-660 is a very close cousin to the DGX-650WH. The 660 has additional ports in the form of line in and line out to better support recording and playthrough of other instruments. It also adds a larger, more detailed LCD that can display scores and lyrics based on what you are playing. On the other hand, it does not have the XG optimization that lets it make use of the You Are The Artist songbooks.

Comparison

Yamaha DGX-660

Price: $800

Ports: USB, aux, line in, line out, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, Smart Chord, Damper Resonance, Style Recommender, LCD

Yamaha DGX-650WH

Price: $750

Ports: USB, aux, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, Smart Chord, Damper Resonance, Style Recommender, XG

Yamaha P-115

Yamaha P-115

The P-115 is another popular choice that uses the GHS system for a better key feel. It has PureCF, 2 headphone inputs, 3 pedal inputs, line out, and a 198-note polyphony. This digital piano is less expensive at $600. It is more portable and more suitable for multiple instruments or recording. It loses a lot of the "smart" features like Smart Chord and Style Recommender, but most of the styles and voices are still there- you just need to use them manually. You can handle all of the controls and settings with a free app.

Comparison

Yamaha P-115

Price: $600

Ports: USB, line out, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, app control

Yamaha DGX-650WH

Price: $750

Ports: USB, aux, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, Smart Chord, Damper Resonance, Style Recommender, XG

Yamaha YDP143R

Yamaha YDP143R

The YDP143R sells for $1100 with an included bench and stand. It focuses entirely on a high-quality reproduction of an analog piano. It uses the PureCF and GHS systems, but also adds black matte and synthetic ivory to the keys for greater realism and resistance to sweat. You can record each hand separately at the same time in two separate tracks. It has 50 preloaded songs, 10 voices, an optimized headphone mode, and an app for control.

Comparison

Yamaha YDP143R

Price: $110

Ports: USB, line out, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, app control, headphone optimization, two-track recording, synthetic ivory keys

Yamaha DGX-650WH

Price: $750

Ports: USB, aux, headphones, pedal

Features: PureCF, GHS, Smart Chord, Damper Resonance, Style Recommender, XG

Final Thoughts

The digital piano can be divided into two main styles: those that attempt to produce many different instruments and tones for a "band in a box" approach and those that try to mimic the exact sound and feel of a concert grand piano. The DGX-650WH is an example of the first style that delivers great value and a comprehensive feature set for $800. There are more other brands out there and to find the best digital piano for you, we selected some other brands and reviewed it.

Stephanie Su
 

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