It is human nature to keep wanting more from everything. That is probably why there is a huge variety of products in every field that keeps competing for providing more and more features to its customers.
While we have seen Yamaha's P series like P115 and P71 before, Today we're reviewing DGX 660 which is advanced and premium model of Yamaha.
The Yamaha DGX-660 is a typical example of delighting a customer with much more than they thought they ever needed. An upgrade to the Yamaha DGX-650, this model aims to be a flagship of Yamaha's "Portable Grand" line.
Thanks to the features packed into this carefully designed piece, it becomes more of a hybrid model, giving its users the best of both worlds – the feel of a grand piano and the flexibility of an arranger keyboard.
There are so many options to explore and enjoy that surely even those already having their digital piano would give upgradation a serious thought. So, without wasting any further time, let us delve into this beauty and see what is the hullabaloo all about?
Design: Build, Setup, ‘What’s in the Box’?
As the popular saying goes, "The first impression is the last impression". This wonderful piece impresses with its first look, without even getting into the specifics of using it. The keyboard with an impressive LCD screen, a host of controls and perched atop a stylish stand makes for a grand picture by itself. The synthetic wooden grain on the stand gives it the feel of an authentic wooden stand on a grand piano.
The DGX-660 is certainly not the lightest keyboards around. Weighing close to 46lbs (20.8 kg) without the stand and nearly 61.7lbs (28 kgs) with it, it is not very convenient to move around. However, once it is set up, it is designed to impress with its sounds.
The most important aspect of any keyboard, the keys of the DGX-660 are designed to give the player an experience of playing the grand piano. This is the only keyboard in the “Portable Grand” range of Yamaha having full-weighted keys.
The dimensions of the DGX-660 are in keeping with its features. Without the stand, it comes to 55 X 17.5 X 5.7 inch without the stand and 55 X 17.5 X 29.9 inch with the stand. Standard dimensions for an 88-key keyboard, but not the easiest to carry around.
The keyboard comes in two standard colours – black and white. The white colour looks impressive and in keeping with the grand feel of the grand piano. However, the classic black is an all-time favourite and easy to maintain.
With a build so impressive and features that call out to be used, it is imperative that one would love to use it as soon as possible. In this section, let us take a look at setting up the piano and getting you ready for performance.
The Yamaha DX-660 package is heavy (weighing almost 93lbs), hence the assembly would require at least two people to work together. However, apart from that, the actual assembly is pretty easy, especially with the detailed instructions provided in the User Manual. The overall assembly may take anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes. Once, you have attached the stand to the keyboard, all you need to do is plug and play.
Managing the hardware
The bundle that you receive on buying the Yamaha DGX-660 does not contain a foot pedal. However, a standard foot pedal can easily be connected to the assembly. The music can be seen on the stylish LCD screen. However, if required, a music rest (that comes with the assembly) can also be attached to the keyboard in the slot provided for the same.
What’s in the Box
Furniture-Style Piano Bench
This is the most popular and critical accessory available with the Yamaha DX-660. The bench can be attached to the keyboard and is extremely sturdy, giving you the much-required stability while you play away. The piano bench or the stand comes in the same colour same as that of your piano, keeping in mind the overall aesthetics.
An important accessory for all the musicians out there, as not everyone wants to create their music on the computer or in a digital form. This comes in handy when you have all your hard work available in the paper format and want to impress the audience with it. The music rest is designed to enhance the overall appearance of the piano aesthetically and easily fits in the slots at the time of the assembly.
The most important accessory, literally breathing life into your digital piano. The AC power adapter is the only means to power up this machine before you can start using its multitude of features.
It is a small plastic unit shaped like a box. Not exactly like a proper foot pedal for a grand piano, it still serves some purpose. However, you can connect your digital piano to any of the standard foot pedals available in the market.
An easy to follow User Manual containing instructions in 3 international languages (English, French and Spanish). The user manual is especially handy with its detailed instructions when you are trying to assemble the unit on your own.
Safety & Warranty Manual
This manual contains the safety instructions as well as the company warranty details.
Keys: Aesthetics, Feel, Impact
As can well be understood, the keys are what make up the keyboard – the sound, the feel and the ease of use are what makes a user make up their mind about buying or not buying a particular keyboard. Yamaha understands this very well, hence in this model they have gone full out with what they could provide with their keys.
The Yamaha DX-660 is a digital piano having the full set of 88-fully weighted keys. The highlight of this keyboard is the Graded Hammer Standard action (GHS) of its keys. GHS simply refers to the fact that the keys in the lower range have a higher weight that gradually goes on decreasing as it moves towards the higher range. This makes the keys in the higher range much lighter, quite similar to an acoustic piano.
This is one department where Yamaha has put in a lot of effort in the overall design of the product and the same carries on onto the keys as well. Although the keys are made of plastic and may not be the first choice of experts, for someone playing for learning or pursuing a hobby, the keys simulate the feeling of the actual ones. The glossy white finish and matte black finish complete the overall look of the piano.
The keys are full-sized making it easier for beginners to get an authentic feel as well as professionals to not miss an actual grand piano.
Unarguably, the most critical aspect of the keyboard, this is what can encourage or discourage an enthusiast from using the piano. Yamaha, with their extensive experience in manufacturing keyboards, understand this very well and have utilized it to their advantage in the Yamaha DX-660.
The Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action gives an almost real feel of playing on an acoustic piano. This is especially good for those looking to work on their technique on a digital keyboard before moving onto a real piano.
Impact / Sensitivity
This is one feature of a digital piano that can define your style and make it a unique experience. The keyboard of this premium model has volume sensitivity, meaning the force and speed with which you play the keys has an impact on the volume of the keys. There are some preset settings to achieve this (4 to be precise). These settings are Soft, Medium, Hard and Fixed. Let us take a look at each of these settings.
The first mode is the Soft mode. In this mode, the emphasis is on soft music and keeping the sound pleasing while the keys are being played softly. The one problem with those preferring this mode could be the lesser variance they can get in the output.
This is for more natural sounds. The variation is better than the soft setting, and so is the variety of music that can be created using this setting.
This setting is for those inclined towards fast and aggressive music playing. Some people naturally tend to hit the keys harder, and this mode is really helpful for them.
This is the mode to go to if you do not want to bother with the volume changing by your touch. This mode is great for practice as well as children and beginners.
For a digital piano that promises its users the best of both worlds – that of an acoustic piano as well as an arranger keyboard, the Yamaha DGX-660 has a lot to live up to regarding the varieties of sounds, sound quality and mixing options that it offers.
And true to its promise, this premium model delivers. For an enthusiast, the sheer variation in the sounds it offers is amazing – 554 different voices! These include:
- Ten piano sounds
- 12 electric piano sounds
- 14 guitar sounds
- Nine bass guitar sounds
- 14 organ sounds
- Five accordion sounds
- 16 string sounds
- Nine trumpet sounds
- 14 saxophone sounds
- Other sounds including flute, synths, drum kits etc.
If this variation was not enough, there are some options to mix or layer these sounds. And then you have multiple options to dress up the sounds using reverb and chorus settings. This is truly music to the ears of any enthusiast and gets a huge thumbs up from our panel of experts.
The Yamaha DGX-660 comes with four different built-in speakers – two 12cm and two 5cm ones with 6W amplifiers. These together provide quite a natural muffle free experience for the listeners. If that was not enough, the sound is further enhanced by something known as the Intelligent Acoustic Control function built within the model. This setup is great for home parties as well as smaller gatherings. But for a large gathering like a concert, you will require external speakers and amplifiers, which can easily be plugged into the piano.
An important feature to be expected from a slightly expensive keyboard like this one (even some of the beginner keywords have this feature these days). The Yamaha DGX-660 allows the user to layer two sounds together while creating any piece. This gives much better control for those interested in experimenting in sounds while creating music.
Another feature is making it dear to musicians and taking it closer to an arranger keyboard is the split mode. In this mode, the keyboard is virtually split into two different parts each representing a different sound from the options available. This helps a lot of aspiring musicians as well as professionals to get their act together on a single instrument.
Reverb and Chorus Settings
When this aspiring arranger keyboard offers so many voice options, how can it stay back in the other settings. The Yamaha DX-660 offers an option of 41 different types of reverb options, 41 chorus settings and also 26 types of harmony effect. Spoilt for choice, are we? But the list is not over yet! There is an option for bending notes up and down using a Pitch Bend Wheel. And also five different EQ meter types to customise your sound experience.
While you are trying to wrap your head around the sheer variety offered by this beauty and planning your next musical masterpiece, let us take a look at some of the other lovely features it has to offer.
When you are dealing with music and sound, there is no doubt about the major role acoustics play in the outcome. What if you are unable to get the right acoustics? The Yamaha DX-660 has you covered in this aspect. The model comes with an innovative new feature titled the Piano Room, which adjusts the settings to apply the optimum piano settings with the correct acoustics.
The default setting in this mode is the grand piano; however, you may choose from another four different types of piano settings. Also, there are a few settings that you can adjust in the Piano Room mode itself to experiment with your music.
Recording and Playback
Like a true companion of a professional musician, the Yamaha DX-660 allows a user to record as well as playback previously created music in two formats (MIDI and WAV). The data can also be transferred to a laptop or desktop to practice and improvise.
This feature is guided more towards hand-holding beginners into using the digital piano. This is abbreviated as Y.E.S. (Yamaha Educative Suite). It has three modes using which a learner can practice the notes – Waiting, Minus One and Your Tempo.
This is an extremely helpful feature built into the keyboard, especially for those starting to practice on a full-featured keyboard. In this mode, the digital piano helps you with adjusting the accompanying music chord when you are not sure of the same.
Another useful feature for practising music is the onboard metronome, which helps in learning and adjusting the timing for a learner. You can vary the tempo, volume and practice varying speeds and rhythms at the touch of a finger.
For a device that is aspiring to capture the professional's attention, the connectivity provided by the Yamaha DX-660 is many and useful – quite impressive for a digital piano in this price range. Some of the connectivity options it provides are DC power input, ¼” stereo output, ¼” headphone jack, ¼” microphone input and one auxiliary input.
This is used for power supply to the device.
This is for connecting the sustain pedal to the unit. Although one is provided with the device itself, you can choose any standard foot pedal to connect to your piano.
This quarter inch output can be used to connect to external speakers, amplifiers and other equipment to ensure that your music reaches out to a huge audience.
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy some quiet practice in your corner, you can plug in any of the standard headphones using this quarter-inch jack and lose yourself in the music.
A desirable feature in any of the professional keyboards, this is the standard microphone input to capture the sounds or lyrics along with the music of your piano. This is one of the reasons, and the Yamaha DX-660 is considered more than a digital piano and nearer to an arranger keyboard.
Pros of Yamaha DGX-660
Having had an in-depth look at such amazing features and rich experiences that the Yamaha DX-660 has to offer, it is time to pick out the points that make it stand out in the crowd and the ones where a little more is desired. Let us identify the pros and cons of this wonderful machine.
Cons of Yamaha DGX-660
With its carefully planned features and thoughtful design, the Yamaha DX-660 lives up to the brand name of Yamaha and offers a great experience for professionals as well as beginners. Though it is priced in the premium range, the model proves that it is worth the price. Even the current users of Yamaha DX-650 may consider an upgrade thanks to the amazing features of this model.