In the digital piano industry, the Yamaha Portable Grand series stands out to be very different from others. The name of this product line is very misleading. It gives the impression that it is all about piano, but in fact, the models have tons of features that go beyond just piano. If I were hired by Yamaha to name this product line, I would probably call it Portable Band. In this Yamaha DGX-660 review, I will show you the details about this flagship model and why I consider it to be more than just a piano.
The DGX-660 comes with two colors, black and white. While it certainly is not ugly, there isn’t much to be amazed about how it looks. It’s a straightforward design with functionality as the main focus. The side panels have a wooden texture surface but only on the black version.
The stand comes included in the package. Assembly is required but it’s easier than an IKEA table. So it should take you no time to have it set up and running. Once assembled, it’s quite sturdy and feels well-built. Unfortunately, the stand looks like an old fashioned office desk.
The included music rest is made from plastic. It has a simplistic style and is big enough to display any score book you have.
It is a detachable music rest that you can take it off and put it away. There’s a Yamaha logo in the middle and it’s subtle. I’m glad they didn’t make the logo gold.
One potential issue you might encounter is that the music rest is attached at the very back end of the instrument. With the substantial depth of the DGX-660, it could be difficult to read the sheet music. Especially if you don’t have perfect eyesight.
The control panel on the DGX-660 can be intimidating at first. There are tons of buttons and dials and knobs. You will need to spend some significant time to get familiar with them.
The good news is, once you are familiar with the panel, these controls allow for quick access to the tons of features that the DGX-660 is packed with.
One thing you will definitely notice is the display. The DGX-660 has a 320×240 LCD display. It is a very useful addition to the control panel. Not only can you see your settings and features on the screen, you can also switch it to display sheet music and/or lyrics. There are also lesson function built in that you can play along and it will show you what note you are currently playing.
The screen is clear to read. However, it’s not a colored display and it’s a bit small. I don’t see myself actually using the screen for reading sheet music. Compare to what you can find on the market nowadays, the LCD display looks outdated.
Besides the control panel, there is a pitch bend control wheel to the left of the keyboard. This is something you would mostly only find on synthesizers. It is used to change the pitch of a note and thus create interesting effects, like a vibrato.
The Yamaha DGX-660 has a full 88 keyboard. The white keys have a glossy surface while the black ones have a matte finish. There is red velvet at the back end of the keyboard to give the DGX-660 a premium look.
Size & Weight
This is another area that the name Portable Grand is misleading. The DGX-660 is actually quite large and heavy. You certainly would not want to move it often. If you are a gigging musician and needs to move the instrument from venue to venue, the DGX-660 is probably not a good choice for you.
It weighs about 21 kg (46 lbs) alone and 28 kg (62 lbs) with stand.
After assemble, it has the dimensions of 140 x 45 x 76 cm (55” x 17” x 30”)
The keyboard on the Yamaha DGX-660 has 88 keys. It uses the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) technology. The keys are weighted with actual hammer and the weights are graded. They are heavier on the base side of the piano and gradually get lighter towards the treble side.
The GHS action is currently the entry level key action from Yamaha. There are two sensors to measure the movement of the keys. Unlike triple sensor keyboards, fast repetition could be a challenge on the GHS.
The matte finish on the black keys are supposed to help absorb moisture and improve grip for long practicing sessions. However, the key tops are still too smooth to make any significant difference. Combined with glossy finish on the white keys, I find the GHS a bit difficult to control after couple hours of play.
Touch sensitivity can be adjusted in the settings and each level does provide significant difference.
The keys are noticeably noisy when pressed. But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It is not going to distract you from playing and certainly wouldn’t wake anyone in the middle of the night.
Overall, the GHS keyboard on the DGX-660 is adequate for beginning pianist. But if you are already experienced, especially with acoustic pianos, this key board would require some time to get used to. It is not the most realistic key action on the market.
The DGX-660 is equipped with Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine. This is currently the mid range sound engine from Yamaha.
It uses samples from Yamaha’s 9 foot concert grand acoustic piano, the CFIIIS. Enhanced with computer modeling for resonances, the DGX-660 sounds pretty authentic and detailed.
There are two sets of speakers next to each side of the control panel. Each set consists of one main 12 cm drive and one 5 cm tweeter. With two 6 watt amplifiers, the DGX-660 is not the most powerful digital piano on the market. But it does sound loud enough to fill your living room.
Sound quality through the speakers is nothing to complain about. The bass and mid range are rich and the tweeters produce clear high frequency notes.
Oh where should I start? The DGX-660 is packed with features and you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun with it.
Start with the sound, you have access to 10 different pianos sounds as well as hundreds of other instrument voices. It will take you hours just to listen to each one of them.
You can then add effects to the sounds you like and there are tons of effects to choose from. Some will simulate a certain venue, some will add other virtual players to play along with you and other effects would supplement your play with harmony notes. The combinations are endless.
There are also 100 internal songs under the lesson function. You can call up the sheet music on the display and play along with it. Three different ways you can learn. The lessons can pause and wait for your action, play at normal speed or isolate a certain part of the piece for you to practice.
Another interesting feature that you won’t find on many digital pianos is the microphone jack. You can plug a microphone into the DGX-660 to sing while playing. There is even a dedicated volume control only for the microphone input.
Here are some other features that you might find useful.
- Sounds: 554 total
- Polyphony: 192
- Key sensitivity:
- Reverb settings: 41
- Chorus settings: 44
- Digital Signal Processing: 237
- Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Split mode: split the keyboard to two different instruments
- Internal recording:
- MIDI: up to 5 songs, each up to 6 tracks
- WAV: to USB
- Microphone jack
- USB to Host
- USB to Device
- AUX in
- Pedal jack
- Headphones x 1
The Yamaha DGX-660 comes with a music rest, matching stand and a foot switch.
The foot switch serves the function of a sustain pedal. However, it does not support half pedaling. It’s a binary on/off switch. I would recommend a proper sustain pedal or Yamaha’s three pedal unit. Once your piano skill reach a certain point, pedaling becomes crucial to your performance.
If you are not purchasing bundle offer from Amazon, a bench will be needed as well.
Due to the weak built in amplifiers, external speaker/monitor might be needed.
A good pair of headphones is always recommended for a digital piano.
One more thing that’s missing in the package, depending on your region, is the adapter for the headphone. You’ll need a 6.35 mm male to 3.5 mm female adapter for most headphones.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Yamaha DGX-660 is best suited for beginners and music enthusiasts who like to compose and mix their own music. It is also a great instrument for family and friends. You can play and sing together and really have tons of fun at parties.
However, if you are only interested in piano play, all those features on the DGX-660 would be useless to you. And you can better spend your money for something more dedicated on piano performance.
Being solid on almost all aspects, the DGX-660 is a great all round instrument.
You can learn to play piano with the adequate GHS key action and the great Yamaha sound. Meanwhile, all the features can make your time fun and keep you motivated.
If you like karaoke, the DGX-660 is the perfect instrument for a night full of joy and laughter.
Overall, if you will utilize all the features on the DGX-660, I highly recommend it.
Meanwhile, if your main focus is to practice piano, the Kawai ES110 might be a better choice.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this review. And if you happen to have some experience with the Yamaha DGX-660, please share with us in the comment below.
- Hundreds of voices
- Hundreds of effects
- Microphone jack
- Pitch bend wheel
- Key action can be better at this price range
- Not really portable
- Binary foot switch
- No headphone adapter
- Bluetooth would be nice