The DGX-650 is Yamaha’s latest portable digital piano, with the sound and feel of a real acoustic piano. It’s an ideal choice both for piano students and music professionals seeking a useful composing and arranging tool. It comes loaded with an amazing set of features that make it easy and fun to learn, play, record, and share music.
Best of all, it’s available at a very affordable price! So let’s dive in and get to know it better in this Yamaha DGX-650 Review.
- Included And Optional Accessories
- A Portable Grand Piano
- So Much More Than A Piano
- Helping You Create Complete Arrangements From Simple Ideas
- Learn To Play The Piano Quickly With The Yamaha Education Suite
- Sing And Record While You Play
- Yamaha DGX-650 Review – More Cool Features
- Connect With The Outside World
- Yamaha DGX-650 Review – The Verdict
Included And Optional Accessories
Right out of the box, the Yamaha DGX-650 includes everything you need to get started. A sturdy and easy-to-assemble keyboard stand, music stand, and a sustain footswitch that simulates a piano’s damper pedal. These come along with an AC power adapter, and owner’s manual and other documentation.
On the back of the DGX-650 are jacks for connecting accessories, including Yamaha’s FC4A sustain pedal, which has the same feel as an acoustic piano damper pedal, or the similar FC3A that enables half-pedaling. A separate jack accommodates an LP7A pedal unit. This has three pedals that mimic a grand piano’s soft (una corda), sostenuto and damper pedals.
Other optional accessories include the i-UX1 adapter that provides a USB MIDI connection with an Apple iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. And the UD-BT01 Bluetooth wireless MIDI adapter for connecting to iOS devices or a Macintosh computer.
Also on the back panel is a PHONES/OUTPUT jack. Stereo headphones with a standard 1/4-inch stereo connector, or a cable to external speakers or a mixer can be plugged in here for convenient monitoring. Normally, the internal six-watt stereo amplifier and speakers are turned off when using this jack, although this can be changed.
There’s also a microphone input – more about that below!
A Portable Grand Piano
First and foremost, the Yamaha DGX-650 Portable Grand has the touch of a real grand piano. Its full 88-note keyboard has a weighted Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action. This offers a heavier feel at the low end and a lighter one at the high end, just like a real piano.
You can select an overall touch from an onboard menu to suit your playing style. This is ideal for a student pianist, because practicing on the GHS action builds proper finger technique and makes it easy to perform on an acoustic piano.
That’s because Yamaha has recorded samples of its famous CFIIIS. This is its flagship nine-foot concert grand piano found in many of the finest concert halls around the world. “Pure CF sampling” records each note on the keyboard at several dynamic levels from pianissimo to fortissimo for ultimate realism.
Yamaha also incorporates Damper Resonance DSP technology to digitally reproduce the sympathetic vibration effect of an acoustic piano. When the damper (sustain) pedal is depressed, and a note is played, other strings produce harmonics that enrich the sound. Yamaha’s technology faithfully emulates that effect.
If that weren’t enough, the DGX-650 lets you choose your personal “Piano Room” performance space from a variety of piano models and acoustic environments. And you can set the position of the virtual piano lid! In a word, it sounds amazing! But that’s just the beginning of what this instrument has to offer.
So Much More Than A Piano
From the DGX-650’s LCD display, you select a voice. A total of 151 standard voices are available, including all types of pianos.
But why be limited to just piano sounds?
The Yamaha DGX-650 also offers authentic organs, guitars, strings, and brass. Plus, there are 15 complete drum kits with real sampled drum sounds. The DGX-650’s highly-acclaimed Live!, Cool! and Sweet! Voices offer a special blend of long, stereo, and multi-layered samples that capture subtle nuances of each instrument, including expression, resonance, and vibrato.
On top of all this are 388 XGLite voices, Yamaha’s extended version of the General MIDI voice standard. With the XG sound set, you can play along with professional arrangements of songs by Coldplay, Elton John, Adele, and many others.
With 192-note polyphony, you can be sure of dropout-free performances, even when layering voices and playing two-handed chords with heavy pedaling.
The DGX-650 contains 100 preset songs. You can also record and store five songs of your own, each with a chord track and five melody tracks, up to 30,000 notes.
Helping You Create Complete Arrangements From Simple Ideas
From a one-note melody played in the left hand, the Smart Chord feature can create complete chord progressions in different styles. These vary from basic pop triads to complex jazz chords. You’ll sound like a pro, even if you’re just learning how to play.
Meanwhile, Style Recommender will suggest accompaniments based on your playing, from its internal library of 95 styles. Play a piano or drum part, or just tap a rhythmic pattern, and Style Recommender will provide a list of possible styles.
Learn To Play The Piano Quickly With The Yamaha Education Suite
Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S.) will teach you to play by breaking songs into individual components like pitch and rhythm. Then it will reconstruct them after you master them. Practice one hand alone while the DGX-650 plays the other for you.
“Waiting” mode will pause the accompaniment until you play the notes on the score display. “Your Tempo” mode monitors your playing, adjusting the tempo to match. In “Minus One” mode, you play the piano part from start to finish and get a grade when you’re done.
Sing And Record While You Play
The DGX-650 provides a microphone jack so can sing along with your performance or prerecorded karaoke song files. These are available from Yamaha Musicsoft’s “You Are the Artist” library, while viewing the lyrics on the LCD score display. Three microphone presets are provided for various vocal performance situations, and you can save your own presets, including reverb and chorus effects.
With the LCD switched to score display, you can view any MIDI song the DGX-650 is playing, including songs you create yourself, in standard music notation.
The USB Audio Recorder feature to lets you create CD-quality (44.1 kHz, 16-bit) audio files on a USB flash drive. And then copy them to your computer or best digital audio players, or share them over the internet.
Yamaha DGX-650 Review – More Cool Features
You can split the keyboard at any point, with different voices in each section, or layer voices, in case you want piano plus cello (for example). And you can apply a variety of effects to any voice, including 41 reverb, 44 chorus, and five master EQ settings.
A Harmony feature lets you add extra notes to the Main Voice. Options include doubling at the octave or fifth, multi-assign, trills, tremolos and more.
The Yamaha DGX-650 can be tuned anywhere from A=415.3 to 466.2 Hertz, or locked to the standard A440. You can also transpose the entire keyboard in semitones up or down as much as an octave. There’s also a pitch wheel to bend notes up or down, a cool but definitely non-pianistic effect.
The built-in metronome has a tempo range of 5 – 280 beats per minute. Or tap the tempo, and the metronome will follow.
Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) automatically adjusts the sound quality according to the overall volume. This will ensure that all sounds are always clearly heard. And an Auto Power Off function will shut off the power if you don’t play the instrument for a specified period (0 minutes by default).
Connect With The Outside World
Use the Aux Line input to connect a portable music player, another instrument or any other audio device, and hear it through the DGX-650’s excellent built-in speakers. Connect to your computer through the USB TO HOST terminal to transfer data back and forth via MIDI.
Yamaha also offers an optional wireless adapter to stream audio and MIDI to and from an iOS device with compatible music apps.
Yamaha has several free applications for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad that you can download to enhance your playing experience. A Yamaha i-UX1 interface is required.
- Chord Tracker helps you practice and perform songs by analyzing an audio song stored on your iOS device and displaying the chord symbols.
- My Music Recorder will record and archive you (or your child’s) daily musical performances.
- Visual Performer creates visual animations that changes in time with the pitch and performance dynamics of a song.
- Piano Diary is a free Core MIDI application used to record and share your daily piano performances in the cloud server and play it back at your convenience, wherever you are.
- Metronome is a feature-packed, but easy-to-use digital metronome that belongs in every musician’s toolbox.
Yamaha DGX-650 Review – The Verdict
The Yamaha DGX-650 Portable Grand Piano feels and sounds like the real thing, but does much more. Packed with features, it’s perfect for learning to play piano, but also has a place in a professional music studio.
Yamaha, the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer, is a trustworthy brand. And is recognized by professionals, institutions, and consumers worldwide for superior quality in technology, design, and craftsmanship. And the price is right.