Author Topic: My DGX-650 Review  (Read 385 times)

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Offline billmc

My DGX-650 Review
« on: September 02, 2017, 06:39:56 PM »
So why not the newer DGX-660? Well, primarily because I got a really great deal from a local seller on Craigslist that was about half the price of a new DGX-660.

I've had numerous lower/middle end Yamaha arrangers over the years and have enjoyed them. But being a piano player, I've always been bugged by the little, plastic-y keys on them, I always wanted bigger, heavier keys -- not the arrangers' real strength. Maybe the Tyros series has full-sized, weighted keys, but I've never been able to afford one. And for my purposes, I seldom used more than 2 variations on any particular Style. So I got rid of my arrangers, temporarily tried a PSR-EW400 (wasn't for me) and then decided to look for a DGX. As I understand it, the DGW 500 series has only semi-weighted keys, so I decided to hold out for a 600 series with at least the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keybed. A "real feeling" keybed would be the Graded Hammer Effect (GHE), but those are only available on Yamaha's high end keyboards (obviously).

So I have to say that I'm impressed with this 650. It looks good with nice control layout. It gets fairly loud without being too bass-heavy. The piano voice, as would be expected from Yamaha, is excellent. And it has enough Voices and Styles to keep an ex-arranger player happy for a while (I hope). If not, there is a front-mounted USB port for loading USER Voices or Styles. The feel of the keys is great for what I paid, probably the same keybed as the newer DGX-660. It is not, IMO, very portable. Way too heavy. But it can be moved around the house if necessary. Being 88 keys instead of 61, I think there is more stereo separation with this piano than I heard with the arrangers.

None of this is a slight against Yamaha's arrangers. They do what they were designed to do and what arranger players want them to do. But I'm ready for something different, something more piano-y. I think the Yamaha DGX-650 will fill this need for a while (or the next NAMM show).  ;)

Offline vbdx66

Re: My DGX-650 Review
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 02:21:09 AM »
Hello Bill,

Congratulations for your new DGX 650  :)

I am sure you will love this keyboard and play it for a very long time.

As you say, when you are a piano player (as I am) it is difficult to adjust to the arranger limitations as far as a realistic piano voice and 88 weighted keys are concerned (except maybe for the Tyros 5 76, but as you said, not everyone can afford one).

Just in passing: there is one digital piano with full arranging capabilities, great piano sound and 88 weighted keys: the Korg Havian 30, which is essentially a Korg PA 300 with 88 weighted keys and a much better piano sound. It costs about twice as much as the DGX 6x0 series and could be a nice choice for a piano player wishing to have fully-fledged arranger capabilities (4 variations-styles, realistic styles, internal style editor etc.) but looking for something less expensive and more portable than a Clavinova. Of course it is not a Yamaha...

No wonder that the piano voice of the DGX 650-660 is nice: it is the Natural! Grand Piano voice, which is inherited from the higher-end Clavinovas. But the DGX 650-660 have also kept the Live! Grand Piano voice from the DGX 640 (which is also the piano voice of the EW 400 of course, but unfortunately not of the PSR E4x3).

The nice thing with the DGX 650 is that it can also read SFF2 style files. Of course there will be a size limit and some styles will need some tweaking for a nice rendition.

Another nice feature is the possibility to record audio files directly on an USB stick, it makes home recording very easy.

I am curious: what made you decide that the PSR EW 400 was not for you? I am asking this because I am considering buying a second, more portable keyboard, and I was thinking of the PSR E453, which is essentially an EW 400 without the Live! Grand Piano voice and with only 61 keys.

I had a PSR E433 for a few years and I am missing it because of some styles I liked and which are not in the DGX 650, because I liked the possibility to mute individual style tracks, a feature which gives more flexibility to the styles, and also because I found it nice to be able to adjust the attack, decay, filter etc. to tweak the voices to my liking.

I wish you a nice time with your new keyboard,

Best Regards,


Past keyboards: PSR E313, PSR E413, PSR E433, PSR S550, DGX 640, upright piano.
Now: DGX 650

Offline billmc

Re: My DGX-650 Review
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 05:08:15 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, Vinciane.

I may look into the Korg when/if I want something more than this DGX650. It sounds like just the ticket. Too bad Yamaha doesn't have a 76-key, weighted-key, 4-variation Style piano/arranger. Though I play piano, I seldom use the highest and lowest octaves and 76 keys would still work well for me.

I'm going to have to look into the Style Arranger here on the forum for tweaking the SFF2 Style files down to 2 variations with appropriate voicings, etc.

And, yes, I love that I can record my Songs direct to .wav on a USB stick and then convert them to .mp3 on my computer for uploading/sharing. I have a number of songs in the Performer's section that I've done on past arrangers and I'm excited to see what this DGX650 brings to my palette.

By way of passing, I wish this piano had "On Bass" Fingering like many (but not all) arrangers do. That is such a handy and needed function when creating/playing music. Yamaha should have added it. I don't know if the DGX660 has this or not.

I've had a number of nice Yammie DPs over the years. Nothing really high end. But I've had a P60, P80, P120, and even a P200. This were excellent digital pianos, IMO, but had only voices and no rhythms. I loved the feel and sound of my P200. Unfortunately, the keys started breaking. :(  As I didn't by it brand new, I had no warranty. But it lasted long enough that I fell in love with the GHE, the sound of the piano, and the full-sized keys. So when I tried the EW400, I hoped it would be a "happy medium" for me and give me some arranger functionality but with 76, full-size keys. And it does, Vinciane, it does just that. For the money that it cost, it is a GREAT, truly portable 76 keyboard. The controls are laid out well. It will be easy to use for someone familiar with Yamaha arrangers. It sounds great. Please note that it has TWICE the wattage of the PSR-E453 (which my son plays). So it can get loud if need be. It's something that the "beginner arranger" market has asked for for a while. Good to know that Yamaha listens. However, for me, the keys are still the same, old, plastic-y, and not even semi-weighted like on the DGX500 series. I really could live with the EW400 IF the keys were at least semi-weighted. But I didn't want to settle. We Yamaha owners are so picky, are we not. And then I found this DGX650 for $25 more than a new EW400. I couldn't resist it. ;)

I don't play out in public any longer, so I have no real need for portability. But we occasionally do have family reunions where a keyboard is fun to have and I just might look for a EW400 to have a truly "portable keyboard." If you liked your PSR-433, you will LOVE the PSR-EW400. It's a nice, mid-level arranger, almost up to PSR-S670 in some ways. But it just didn't have the keybed that I wanted.

Most Guitar Centers now have them. Go try one if you can. But take along a good set of headphones because Guitar Centers are the Mecca for people (mainly guitarists) who think that volume and talent are the same thing. Take a listen and try the PSR-EW400. I think you'll be happily surprised.

BTW, Yamaha now has a PSR-EW300, but I haven't really looked into the specs as it is a step down from the PSR-EW400.

Best wishes,