These days, we will be taking a better look at the Yamaha DGX 660, a really versatile keyboard with quite a few impressive capabilities.
This’s a flagship model of Yamaha’s Portable Grand line and also the only computer keyboard in the series which has fully weighted keys.
The DGX 660 has replaced its successful predecessor, the DGX 650, and will come with increased polyphony in addition to new sounds, effects, and features, which I will get to later on in the review.
Clearly, the DGX 660 is basically a hybrid of a digital piano along with an arranger keyboard.
It comes loaded with thousands of rhythms, styles, songs, and sounds, which makes it a great instrument not just for playing piano but also for learning and music making.
Now let us dig deeper and discover what the keyboard is offering as well as what its strengths and weaknesses are.
While the DGX 660 is a component of the Portable Grand line, I would not call it extremely lightweight.
The computer keyboard is fairly big and heavy compared to various other types in digital pianos and the series from the P series. Nevertheless, the latter does not come anywhere near the DGX 660 in terms of sounds, features and connectivity options.
The DGX 660 is fifty five wide and 5.7 high (29.9 with the stand), and that is fairly standard for 88 key keyboards.
The depth is 17.5 though, that tends to make it significantly bulkier than, say, the Yamaha P 115 or perhaps the Casio CGP 700.
The DGX 660 is very heavy; it weighs 46.3 lbs without a stand and 61.75 lbs with the matching stand that will come with the keyboard.
So it is not something you would want to move around frequently.
Of course, if portability is essential for you, I would recommend having a look at the Casio CGP 700, which is akin to the DGX 660 in terms of features but has a far more compact design.
The DGX 660 includes a matching stand. It really is pretty well built and sturdy enough to keep this sort of huge keyboard.
The piano comes packed in a big heavy box (aproximatelly hundred pounds) so you will possibly need another person to aid you with unpacking and assembling.
The ikea style assembly won’t take you far more than 25 30 minutes; the directions are extremely clear so you should not have some problems with that.
The DGX 660 has a contemporary looking design with great wooden elements (side panels, stand) and is offered in white and black color options.
Yamaha DGX 660 color options
Since the keyboard is heavy with features, sounds, music styles, and other so called whistles and bells, there are plenty of buttons on the control panel, which let you access all the settings/functions in only a couple of presses.
Yamaha DGX-660 Review
But more notably, the DGX 660 features a 320240 LCD screen, which tends to make the keyboard a great deal more user friendly.
The display is going to show you today’s settings also the scores and lyrics of songs.
You will additionally have the ability to find out what notes you are playing and what notes you have to play (on the on screen scores and virtual keyboard) when working with the Lesson function.
Yamaha DGX-660 display
For piano players, Yamaha has designed a function called Piano Room, that has a separate button.
When pressed, the optimum settings for piano performance will be applied whatever settings you have created from the panel, and that is extremely convenient.
The DGX-660 features a touch responsive keyboard with 88 fully weighted keys.
The action is known as the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS), and it is similar keyboard action you will get in the Yamaha P 45 and P 115 digital pianos.
The GHS action uses graded hammers placed on the keys to recreate the feel of an acoustic piano with heavier touch in the lower end as well as becoming progressively less heavy in the greater ranges.
This can help you create an excellent strategy and finger strength, needed for performing on an acoustic piano.
The keyboard of the DGX 660 is touch (velocity) sensitive, meaning the harder you play the keys the louder the sound.
It provides a player a great control over expression and dynamics from probably the softest pianissimo to the best, boldest fortissimo.
The sensitivity of the keyboard could be modified to better suit the playing style of yours. You will find four preset settings you are able to pick from, Medium, including Soft, Fixed and hard.
Yamaha DGX-660 GHS keyboard
When the Fixed setting is selected, the volume is going to stay similar regardless of how soft or hard you play, that will make the keyboard non touch sensitive.
The keys of the DGX 660 are made of plastic, that holds true for all of the keyboards in this cost range.
The white keys have a shiny finish, while the tan ones are matte, which will prevent fingers from slipping when they start to be moist.
At the center of the DGX 660 is Yamaha’s proprietary Pure CF sound engine. It is the identical sound source as used in the Yamaha P 115, the P 255, and pianos from the Arius line.
The Pure CF reproduces the meticulously recorded sound of the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand piano. *?1 Natural! Grand Piano sound on the DGX-660*
It sounds very convincing, just check out the video below.
Not merely does the DGX 660 have ten different piano sounds, but also thousands of other instrument sounds, giving you plenty of space for creativity.
In total there are 554 instrument sounds you are able to pick from: ten Pianos (Natural!, Live! Grand, Pop Grand, Warm Grand, Studio Grand, etc.)
Twelve Electric Pianos
Nine Bass Guitars
As well as brasses, synths, flutes, drum kits and other sounds
The DGX 660 has an amazing library of sound effects that you are able to utilize to create the sound much more fascinating and unique.
Forty one types of reverb simulate the acoustics of different environments including various types of concert halls, rooms, stages and other interesting reverbs like canyon, tunnel, basement, club and a few others.
Forty four chorus types of chorus will make the sound richer and thicker simulating the subtle timing and pitch variations to make it sound like some performers play exactly the same part in unison.
Twenty six kinds of harmony effect will add harmony notes to the overall performance of yours.
The DGX 660 is equipped with a Pitch Bend wheel, which is going to allow you to recreate some interesting effects (e.g. guitar vibrato, choking) by bending notes up and down while playing the keyboard.
Master equalizer (EQ) is going to allow you tailor the sound to the taste of yours. You will find five Master EQ types you are able to pick from: normal (default setting), bright, soft, piano, strong.
DSP which stands for Digital Signal Processing allows you to further customize and transform the sound using more than 230 different sound effects including reverbs, distortions, echoes, choruses, and more.
The polyphony is the amount of notes a digital piano is able to produce at the same time.
The majority of the contemporary digital pianos are equipped with sixty four, 128, 192 or perhaps 256 note polyphony.
You might question exactly how it’s feasible to have thirty two, sixty four, or perhaps even 128 notes playing at the exact same time, if there are only eighty eight keys and we never ever play them all together.
To begin with, a lot of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which often require 2 notes for each key played.
One more thing would be that the utilization of the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), Dual mode (layering) as well as the metronome tick sound take up additional notes of polyphony.
For instance, if you depress the sustain pedal, the first played notes continue to sound while you are adding the piano and new ones needs more memory to hold all of the notes sounding.
Another example of polyphony consumption happens when you are playing together with a song playback (can be also your very own recorded auto accompaniment or performance).
In this situation, the piano is going to need polyphony not just for the notes you are playing but also for a backing track.
When you get to the polyphony cap, the piano begins to drop the first played notes to free up memory for the brand new ones, which subsequently affects the sound and its fullness.
You will seldom need all of the 192 or perhaps 256 voices of polyphony at a time, but you will find instances when you are able to reach sixty four or perhaps even 128 note limit, especially in case you love to layer a few sounds and create multi track recordings.
So it is very desirable to have a minimum of sixty four notes of polyphony.
The polyphony has been expanded from 128 notes on the DGX 650 to 192 notes on this model, and that means you are able to easily play and layer many sounds, use backing tracks and accompaniment styles without worrying about the memory capacity and notes dropping out.
The DGX 660 is equipped with 12cm x two + 5cm x two built in speakers with 2 6W amplifiers, which produce a rich, balanced sound.
Yamaha DGX-660 onboard speakers
The speakers are open faced, so the sound is directed toward the face of yours, making for a definite, muffle free experience.
The quality of the sound is further enhanced by the Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) function, which intelligently adjusts bass and tremble frequencies to create the good more clear and more balanced at lower volume levels.
Yamaha DGX 660 Intelligent Acoustic Control
The DGX-660’s speakers are adequate for home practicing as well as small performances.
Nevertheless, for bigger performance in a band or perhaps a stage set up, you would need an external amplifier or perhaps PA to get a far more powerful sound.
The DGX 660 can be used in a number of ways.
Not merely does the DGX 660 have all the important qualities to make a realistic piano experience but it is also equipped with an assortment of characteristics that you’d generally see on an arranger keyboard.
Yamaha DGX-660 Review
Not to get lost in the keyboard’s many settings and features as well as make it much easier for piano players to access piano related settings and piano sounds, Yamaha has equipped the DGX 660 with the Piano Room function (has a separate button).
After you press that button, the major Grand Piano tone will be selected, and the optimum settings for piano performance will be applied.
You are able to also change the piano settings based on the tastes of yours.
There are four piano types you to choose from: Grand Piano, Pop Grand, Warm Grand and Honky Tonk.
You are able to also change the lid position to get the sound effects resulting from an open lid.
Other parameters you are able to configure in the Piano Room are as follows:
Environment Type (reverb): Room, Stage, A Concert or even recital Hall Hall.
Damper Resonance (On/Off)
Touch-Response (three levels)
Tuning (adjusting the pitch in 1Hz steps)
The DGX 660 offers split and layering features for playing 2 instrument sounds simultaneously.
The Split Mode divides the keyboard into 2 sections, to which you are able to assign a unique instrument sound.
For instance, you are able to play piano in the right hand area and drums in the left hand area so on. You are able to split whatever sounds you want and the split point can be adjusted as well.
Yamaha DGX-660 Split mode
The Dual Mode (layering) is going to allow you to layer 2 sounds so they sound at exactly the same time over the whole keyboard range.
For instance, you are able to put strings over the top part of the piano sound or perhaps combine a harpsichord with an electric powered piano, etc.
And with more than 550 built in sounds, the sky will be the limit where creativity is concerned.
The Duo Mode, that would divide the keyboard into 2 equal parts allowing 2 players to sit side by side and play similar pitch ranges, is not on this particular model.
Recording and Playback
The DGX-660 is able to work with two data types, Audio and MIDI. You are able to record and play back the performances of yours in both MIDI (SMF) and audio (WAV) format.
You are able to also play Audio and midi back files downloaded from the Internet from the piano’s memory or perhaps from a USB flash drive.
Yamaha DGX-660 Midi recording
MIDI. Here we are not recording the particular sounds of the instrument but MIDI data (a sequence of notes, the length of theirs, and velocity).
You are able to then play back the recordings of yours on the keyboard, or even on your computer through the programs which can interpret MIDI data , like Windows Media Player, Winamp, QuickTime, etc.
The DGX 660 allows you to capture and store in the internal flash memory up to five songs.
For each song, you are able to capture as much as six tracks, which you are able to then play again as a single song or perhaps turn some tracks off to mute the parts you do not wish to pick up (melody, accompaniment, percussion, whatever you have recorded on those tracks).
Once you have recorded all of the parts (tracks) you need, you are able to set the tempo of the song, fast forward/rewind it or perhaps set an A B repeat that will frequently play again the part of the song from the start point (A) to the end point (B).
Yamaha DGX 660 audio wav recording
Audio. Here we are recording/playing back the real sounds of the keyboard.
The DGX 660 allows you to capture as many as eighty minutes per single recording and save it to a flash drive in WAV (44.1kHz/16bit) format.
You are able to then enjoy the audio recordings of yours on your smart products (e.g., etc.), smartphone, music player, laptop, share them on social media and burn up the recordings to a CD.
No matter in case it is a WAV or MIDI file you are playing back, you are able to play together with it.
Yamaha DGX 660 lesson function
Beginner players are able to make use of the onboard lesson feature called Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S.).
The Y.E.S. allows you to use MIDI songs (hundred internal songs or perhaps downloaded from the Internet) for a left hand, both-hand or right-hand lesson.
For instance, if you choose the left hand lesson, you have to play the left hand portion of the song while the right hand part will be played automatically and the other way round.
There are 3 types of Song Lesson on the DGX 660: Waiting, The Tempo of yours and Minus One.
In the Waiting lesson type, the Song is going to wait until you play the right notes shown on the screen and only then continues playback.
Not merely will the display show the notes you have to play but also the keys (on the virtual keyboard), which means you do not actually have to learn how to read music to play the songs.
In the Your Tempo lesson type, you ought to try to play with the appropriate timing. The playback tempo is going to vary to match the speed you are playing at.
The melody is going to slow down if you play wrong notes and slowly visit the first tempo when you play correctly.
In the Minus one lesson type, you select the part of a song you wish to perform (right hand part) or left and enjoy it together with the playback of additional hand part at the regular tempo.
The DGX 660 is able to displaying the music scores and lyrics of songs in case the song has them.
Some other Functions
Yamaha DGX-660 accompaniment styles
The DGX 660 offers a great choice of auto accompaniment styles and rhythms, that will accompany your performances making you sound like you are playing with an orchestra or a band.
You will find more than 200 styles of various music genres like pop, country, jazz, R&B and many more.
You are able to pick out of 3 Fingering (cord specifying) types:
Multi-finger (you are able to have fun with all chord variations, full chords/single fingered).
Full Keyboard (use the whole keyboard range to specify cords).
AI Fingered (Artificial Intelligence is used to help the performance of yours by trying to anticipate what you would like to play) that is next.
In case you cannot decide what Voice and Style to choose, the integrated Music Database can help you with that. Simply choose a music genre you like (more than 300 variations) as well as the optimum settings will be called up.
The Style Recommender is yet another useful function that will help you choose the style. It is going to suggest optimum styles based on the rhythm you play for a single or perhaps 2 measures.
Smart cord feature is going to help you play with accompaniment styles even in case you do not understand how to play the correct chords. You will have the ability to control styles with just one finger providing you understand the real key of the music you play.
Yamaha DGX-660 metronome
The DGX 660 has an onboard metronome to help improve the playing speed of yours as well as the accuracy of your timing.
You are able to change the tempo, time signature and also the amount of the metronome.
In order to change the pitch of the keyboard you are able to use either Transpose or perhaps Tuning function.
Yamaha DGX-660 tuning function
The transpose function allows you to shift the pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps, for instance, to facilitate playing songs written in keys that are difficult or perhaps you simply have to play music in another key without changing the keys you are playing.
The tuning function enables you to change the pitch of the whole keyboard in 1Hz steps.
A recommended buy.
- The Pure CF Sound Engine faithfully reproduces the tone of a meticulously sampled and highly acclaimed Yamaha concert grand piano
- GHS weighted action is heavier in the low register and lighter in the high, just like an acoustic piano
- Score Display puts music notation of MIDI songs on the screen, helping you play your favorites by following the bouncing ball
- The Piano Room lets you choose from a variety of pianos and acoustic settings to create your own personal piano environment
- The 6-track recorder allows you to capture your performances and song ideas, then add additional layers to spice-up your pieces