As you might guess, I’m very much enjoying my Yamaha DGX-640 digital grand piano. It’s a lot of fun, it feels like a real piano (or extremely close), and it has all the digital piano options you could dream of. Over 500 voices, background rhythms, automatic harmonizing, built-in recording studio… and headphones, my favorite!
If you’re thinking about buying a dgx-640, you might wonder if there are any down sides. Well… yes, there is. Are they important? Depends on what you need.
Some things I’ve noticed since getting mine:
The sound from its built-in speakers.
The DGX-640 has two built-in speakers, 6 watts each. They sound pretty good. Perfect volume for home use. Can actually get too loud in a small room. But… the upper octaves sound a slightly artificial. Not horrible. Not a deal-breaker. But over time, I’ve become aware of it.
On the other hand, the deeper notes sound really nice. I love how they sound compared to my regular studio piano. I’m suddenly much fonder of the lower octaves than I used to be!
If you wear headphones, the sound is gorgeous, all the way up and down the scales. (I’m using a decent full-ear-covering headphone by Stagg.) Did some research, and other people have mentioned the same thing. Sounds great on headphones, but not so great on the built-in speakers. Someone recommended a specific set of speakers to improve things with. (The M-Audio Studiophile AV40 Powered Monitor Speakers.) They’re around $100 – $150, so I’m not going to get them any time soon. But it’s good to know there’s a way to improve the external sound.
Often, I play through the computer speakers anyway. Not very good speakers, but it lets me practice directly along with youtube videos or mp3’s. It works well if I channel the dgx-640 to the computer, and the headphones on the audio out from my computer.
The Sustain Pedals
The only other problem I’ve noticed, and this actually bothers me more than the external speakers, is the noise from the pedals.
Before getting into that, let me acknowledge, the keys are noisy. If you listen to them with the volume off, they ‘hit’ louder than a standard piano. I’ve seen people complaining about it on the Amazon reviews. Personally, it doesn’t bother me. I’m just mentioning it, because some people have said it’s too loud for them. Yes, they click, but it’s not a problem. I’ve posted a video so you can hear it for yourself. See what you think.
But the pedals… to begin with, the sustain pedal that comes with the dgx-640 is just a standard on/off foot switch. It works. It’s a major pain, but yes, it does the job. These foot switches don’t stay put. As a result, it’s constantly sliding away from me as I’m playing. My foot is constantly chasing and searching for the pedal. Very distracting when you’re trying to play the piano. It’s also extremely noisy, to the point it was irritating Monique when I used it.
There are some make-shift solutions. Duct tape works for a while. Hammering a ‘circle of nails’ into the floor around it would keep it from sliding around. But really, who would want to do that? The best temporary fix for me was to wedge heavy stuff behind the pedal, and try very hard not to let it scoot sideways when pressing it.
The solution? The LP-7A. It’s a 3-pedal unit that mounts on a board, and is attached to the DGX-640 stand. Since it’s firmly mounted to the digital piano’s stand, it’s perfect. Stays there, works like a foot pedal should.
Not a completely perfect solution. It squeaks. Unlike the piano keys, the LP-7A squeaks loudly enough to be distracting. It’s also a little higher off the floor than what I’m used to, and takes a bit more pressure to push all the way down.
I can (actually, already have) get used to the pedal height, and the foot pressure to hold it down. The noise still bothers me.
Note, this isn’t anything wrong with the digital piano itself. But if you plan to upgrade with a 3-pedal sustain unit, it’s worth noting. Maybe they’re not all that way. Maybe mine will get quieter as it ‘settles in’. It’s still pretty new at the moment. Maybe not.
Other than being squeaky, the pedals do what I need them to. They control the sustain (in variable levels), and they don’t run away from my foot. Overall I like them, just wish they were quieter.
Bottom line: My only complaints are with the built-in speaker quality, and the foot pedal noise. Strictly speaking, the foot pedals aren’t part of the piano. They’re an optional extra. It’s not fair to blame the piano. But if you’re looking at accessories, a foot pedal is an important one.
The speakers sound fine… just not great. The solution: Use good headphones, or buy better speakers. For now, I’m using the built-in ones to record my videos, so you can hear for yourself how they sound.
The foot pedals: Not sure if there’s a solution. I may just have to get used to the squeaking. There’s a single-pedal model available with excellent reviews. It might be a better option if you think the DV-7A will be too noisy for you.