The Yamaha DGX-640 digital piano is claimed by Yamaha to be “Yamaha's most piano-like portable grand piano ever”. This is a pretty big claim, especially coming from a company like Yamaha. Yamaha commenced operations in Japan back in 1887 making reed organs, (then known as Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd).
Since then, Yamaha has become the world's largest full line manufacturer of musical instruments. They are recognized throughout the world for superior quality acoustics, design, craftsmanship, technology and customer support. So with their reputation at stake, why make such a big claim? Furthermore, why label this claim on a relatively lower priced, entry-level, digital piano? Let's try to see why.
Firstly, in order to be “piano-like”, a digital piano should actually feel like an acoustic piano.
To this end, Yamaha have equipped the DGX-640 with a GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) weighted keyboard. This technology enables a digital piano to simulate an acoustic piano whereby the lower keys have a heavier action than the higher note keys. Most people would not be able to detect the difference, especially those new to the piano. However, some more experienced musicians may notice a lighter feel with respect to a GHS weighted keyboard. These people might prefer the GHE (Graded Hammer Effect) weighted keyboard that involves more sophisticated (read more expensive) technology.
Secondly, in order to lay claim to being piano-like, a digital piano must genuinely sound like a real piano.
Yamaha digital pianos are famous for the quality of their sound, so as you would therefore expect, the Yamaha DGX-640 does sound very much like an acoustic grand piano. I have heard many people say that if they didn't know better, they would swear that they were listening to an acoustic piano and not the DGX-640. The sound is even more realistic when you put your headphones on and play. Importantly, the sound is dynamic in that this digital piano has a 3 layer piano sound. What this means is that, depending on how hard a note is hit, there can be up to 3 levels of sound variation. This allows the performer a greater degree of expression and feel when playing.
So this digital piano performs well against the two most important criteria for judging any piano, feel and sound. Where the Yamaha DGX-640 really excels,is in its amazing list of features. I'll mention a few of the most impressive. To begin with, it has no less than 535 inbuilt voices or sounds, meaning instruments. So if you get tired of playing the piano, switch to the guitar, flute, trumpet, saxophone or whatever other instrument takes your fancy. The piano itself can record up to 6 songs. It has a song arranger that lets you take a song from a particular genre, let's say rock, and recreate it as a hip hop track! The backlit display screen will show the score of the music when you play it back. This really can help people to learn to read sheet music. The best learning tool however, is Yamaha's built-in education suite that gives step by step music tuition.
So in conclusion, can we say that Yamaha has delivered on its big claim? Well to do that, we would also have to review all the other Yamaha digital pianos, so as to be able to compare. However, I will say this, if we are looking at a market of people who are just learning the piano, or have achieved an intermediate level of skill, Yamaha has definitely over delivered. The touch and sound will be the real thing and you will not need more than 3 levels of sound variation. Add the Yamaha education suite and the Yamaha DGX 640 digital piano is definitely a grand choice.