The Williams Legato might not be the most popular piano in the market. In fact, Williams as a brand might not be the first band that comes to mind when thinking of getting a digital piano. People just generally think Yamaha or Kawai or Korg or Casio.
But that’s not to say that the Williams Legato does not boast some serious potential.
Now Williams has been known to successfully introduce real affordable piano models to the piano space. Some of these models have been known to be really successful. Others didn’t really do so well.
Today, we will be looking into one of the averagely successful ones – the Williams Legato.
It would appear that the main aim of Williams’ being in business is to provide really cheap keyboards. And its different lines of pianos easily prove that. But can cheap also be great? You’d have to find that out from our review.
After looking into the Williams Legato today, we will leave you to judge for yourselves if Williams did a good job making this instrument or not.
Specs Of The Williams Legato
- 88 full sized, velocity sensitive keys.
- Semi-weighted action.
- Comes with 5 voices: Electric piano, bass, piano, organ, synth.
- 32 note polyphony.
- Functions: 2 layers and split.
- Connectivity: MIDI In/Out, Line output, USB port, headphone jack, pedal jack.
- 5 preset songs.
- Sound effects: Non-adjustable chorus and reverb.
- Dimensions: 50 x 3.5 x 11 inches.
- Weight: 19 pounds.
An Overview Of The Williams Legato
The Williams Legato is quite similar to the Allegro 2 in that it doesn’t come with accessories of any kind. So, if you need to get accessories then you’d have to slightly increase your budget a bit.
But honestly, we don’t really understand why Williams decided to do this. Seriously, adding the accessories to the package would not have caused such a significant increase in price. But oh well, that’s already done.
This uses D-cell batteries – a half dozen of them. This makes this piano the perfect instrument for lugging around. It is already super compact so if you need something that you’d find very easy to move around, then this is the guy you want.
Furthermore, you can rehearse without worrying about power outage. Since this operates on batteries whether you’re in a place with electricity or not wouldn’t be such a big deal.
Now, this is probably the cheapest digital piano with 88 keys in the market. So, don’t expect this piano to be perfect. It will come with a lot of trade offs. And of course you should expect that. It’s the only way you can expect the company to deliver on a truly affordable piano and still make a profit after all.
Keep that in mind as we discuss the next subs.
Features Of The Williams Legato
Like we mentioned, creating a really affordable piano is big work and you have to expect a lot of compromise. The Williams Legato is no different.
For instance, the body of the Williams Legato looks and feels cheap. One look at it and you’d know immediately that this was made from plastic of low quality. The buttons and knobs are also the same – cheap.
So, design and aesthetics wise, don’t expect anything over the top. This is a very “just there” instrument.
But that said, there’s something else that the Williams Legato has working for it and that’s its compactness and portability. This is a really lightweight instrument so you’ll find this very easy to move about.
For traveling musicians who need a really portable piano to move form place, this is a good choice. And especially if you can live with the fact that your piano isn’t exactly the finest instrument on the block, then you’d find this a very nice piano to use.
Nevertheless we will leave you with one piece of advice…
Remember that we mentioned that this keyboard is made from cheap plastic? This means that even though it is compact and lightweight, choosing to move this around might not be the best idea, except you have a hard case you can use.
The hard case will help you protect your investment so you don’t crash your fragile keyboard in transit.
Interface And Controls
Of course you should expect a very basic interface on the Legato. The interface features all the knobs and controls you need to interact with the instrument. However, you won’t find any display, or recorder.
Yeah, big whoop! But then again, we’re dealing with one of the cheapest pianos in the market, remember?
So, what’s on the interface?
Well, there’s the power switch, a knob for the volume, the sound effects each also have their buttons. Also, you’ll find controls for the tempo and metronome modes. And you’ll also find five buttons which give you access to the 5 built-in sounds, plus one button for the split mode too.
Now, that was the front panel.
Just at the sides of this panel, you’ll find one speaker each. The speakers aren’t terrific or anything but they are decent. We will still advise you to consider external speakers or quality headphones if you want great sound.
And then round the back is where you find all the ports for connectivity. There’s a port for MIDI, a slot for USB storage. Of course, there’s a jack for your sustain pedal, headphones and something for your power terminal.
Now, bear in mind that there’s no dedicated port for external speakers or amps. So, it’s always got to be one of the two. You either use headphones or connect speakers – never the two at a time.
Alright, our review so far must have taught you to lower your expectations a bit when it comes to your to cheap keyboards. Well, put what you’ve learned to use again because the sound of the Legato is only decent at best.
The piano does tend towards warmer sounds, though. But as usual, there are some tradeoffs here and there. You’ll easily find one of such at the high and low ends. At these points, it became so obvious that the sound was digitally created.
The low ends aren’t really deep enough and the high notes are a little too thin. The problem with the low ends might be because the speakers do not do an excellent job with volume. Because when played through amps, you can actually hear the bass more clearly.
But be that as it may, this is still a decent sounding keyboard, fair and square. The sound isn’t unrealistic or repulsive even though it could have been better.
And as for the built-in sounds, they were just so so. One thing we don’t really understand, though, is why Williams did not include strings but then included organs instead. Everyone knows that strings are a lot better for layering than organ is.
Whatever the reason for that was, we won’t necessarily count that as a really smart move. And we think Williams could have made a better manufacturing decision in that aspect.
The Legato only features a 32-note polyphony, which, in our books, is a big no no. How long can it really take before notes start dropping off? Not long!
All you have to do is to combine a couple of arpeggios with one tremolo and boom! Maximum polyphony reached! It’s a big downer for us. And we hope Williams looks into that when developing the next piano or piano series.
There 88 keys on this keyboard which in itself is a pro. However, these keys are only semi-weighted. So, typically, they feel kinda soft and only deliver a fair level of expression to the pianist. This is a bit of a drawback especially since hammer action is becoming quite the standard even with entry-level pianos.
Now, another thing about the action on the keys is that it is not graded. And by that we mean that from the high ends to the lower ends, all keys give the exact same response. No difference. So, another small issue there too.
As to the feel of the keys, of course they feel plasticky. So, they kinda feel cheap. Many musicians might not mind the sub-par sound from this piano, but the cheap feel of the keys will be a serious dampener for many.
The durability of the keys is another issue that we are quite wary of as well.
What’s In The Box?
- 88 key digital keyboard.
- Guide to battery operation.
- Music rest.
- Owner’s manual.
Pros Of Williams Legato
- Super affordable piano.
- 88 full-sized keys with decent response.
- Also operates on batteries making it ideal for travel.
- Compact, lightweight, and portable.
- Numerous ports for connectivity which aids interaction with other devices and software too.
- Comes with split and layering functions even though they can’t be adjusted separately.
Cons Of Williams Legato
- The optional accessories not included are a major inconvenience especially since they don’t alter the starting price significantly.
- Instrument generally feels quite cheap and fragile. So, even though it is portable, it’s also quite unlikely to survive knockabouts from travel.
- Only a 32-note polyphony.
- No strings voice in the voice library.
If you ask us, the Williams Legato isn’t such a bad idea altogether, even though it comes with its fair share of drawbacks. It could make an excellent choice for beginners on a budget looking for something practical to learn with.
Musicians who make music at home may also find this keyboard useful if they can hook it up with a really sophisticated software.
It’s not a perfect instrument and it does not claim to be. But if all you need is a lightweight 88 key digital piano to practice on. And if realistic sound and sophisticated features are not do or die for you, then you’ll be good with the Legato.