Yamaha DGX Keyboard
The DGX line is targeted to beginner keyboard players, as well as semi-professionals. There are two types of the DGX - the one with 76 keys (6 octaves) and the other 88 keys (7 octaves). If you need just a 5 octave keyboard you better look for Yamaha PSR keyboards.
The main advantage of the DGX keyboards is their piano sound and touch. They belong to the Portable Grand Series which include keyboards with a special touch and a beautiful sound of a grand piano. Although the DGX keyboards are not professional ones, they compete with more expensive keyboards.
Most of the DGX keyboards come with a special touch - light graded hammer action which is called: the Graded Soft Touch (GST). It means that in addition to the fact that the key action is heavier towards the bass end, and lighter towards the treble end, the whole touch is much lighter.
Many keyboard players prefer this lighter touch because it enables playing much easier passages and fast melodies. Another advantage of the Graded Soft Touch is that it reduces the weight of the keyboard; hence you get a portable instrument.
You may have encountered the Yamaha YPG series. This is very similar to the DGX, but with just a different label. Each of these two series is aimed to different markets; the YPG is sold mainly in the US and Canada, and the DGX in other countries.
You have probably noticed that the DGX-230 and the YPG-235 are actually the same keyboards. There are other identical models - for example, DGX 630 is almost the same keyboard as YPG-635; DGX 620 and YPG-625 are almost twins; DGX-520 is just slightly different from YPG-525, and so on.
Why does Yamaha use two different labels for the same product? The reason is marketing strategy. (I hope that this information will help you to be less confused by the enormous number of different models).
Now, let's talk about the special features built in the DGX keyboards:
YES - Yamaha Education Suite. As written above, the DGX series is suitable for beginners. The YES is a piano self-learning tool. It comes with built-in lessons and exercises for each hand, tutorials for popular songs, and a chord dictionary. You can expand this feature by downloading more lessons from Yamaha's website.
Pitch bend - All models of DGX keyboards come with the pitch bend feature. Probably you have heard solos which are played by guitarists. They love bending the notes by slightly moving the finger on the fret while the string is pressed. The pitch bend wheel is a special feature which gives you the same effect as the guitar. Brass instruments in big bands also use this effect often (bending the note), so with the brass sounds in the DGX you can achieve a realistic sound of brass.
Connectivity - the DGX can be connected via USB to a computer. You can easily transfer songs from the computer to your keyboard and vice versa. You can edit the music files on the computer, send to a friend, or just store and back up your music. You can also download files from the Yamaha site which contains learning tools, riffs etc.
Internet Direct Connection (IDC) - the newer models of the DGX keyboards come with an advanced type of connection. You get a direct connection to the internet. It allows you to download special tools (from Yamaha's website) which are available only to keyboards with IDC. It is much more convenient having direct access to the internet instead of using the computer as a gateway.
Effects - The DGX keyboards come with various effects. Sometimes you just need to use an effect to get the right sound that you were looking for. The more advanced is your DGX, the more effects you get. For example, in DGX - 203 you get 9 types of reverb and 4 types of chorus, while in DGX - 630 you get 29 types of reverb, 24 types of chorus and other effects too - 182 types of DSP and 5 types of Master EQ.
All this, of course, has an affect on the price.
Polyphony - Most DGX keyboards come with 32 notes polyphony. Although a beginner doesn't need more than this, I find this fact as a disadvantage since you can find other keyboards with the same price that include 64 notes polyphony.
Accompaniment styles - DGX keyboards contain around 150 accompaniment styles. This feature is very handy since you get a whole band with just one button. You can choose the music style to accompany your songs, whether it is rock, jazz, country, Latin music, etc.
Recording - all DGX keyboards allow you to record your own songs. The number of songs is limited to 5 and you get 5 channels for recording melodies with an extra channel for the chords. I thought that the advanced DGX keyboards allow you to record more, but I was disappointed to see that they all give you pretty much the same recording options. On the other hand, we must remember that DGX keyboards are not meant to be workstations.
The prices of the DGX keyboards are between $ 250 (for the DGX-230 which is the simplest model you can find today) and $800 for the advanced 88-keys DGX-640.
Beginners usually prefer the Yamaha PSR keyboards because they are cheaper than the DGX. However, if you are a beginner and you intend to focus on piano learning I advise you to pay a little more and to buy a DGX since they have 6 octaves (unlike the PSR which have 5 octaves), and the sound of the piano is superb.
Here are some of the DGX keyboards:
Yamaha DGX-300 Yamaha DGX-505 Yamaha DGX-520
The Yamaha DGX-640 88 key is the most piano-like keyboard from the DGX series. It includes Graded Hammer Action and wide selection of piano voices.
To summarize, the Yamaha DGX keyboards is a cool series with many handy features. Their main advantage is the grand piano sound which is warm and beautiful. I would say that this keyboard suits the advanced keyboard player, but not the professional. As for beginners, if you intend to focus on learning how to play the piano I find the Yamaha DGX fantastic and warmly recommend it.Click here to learn how to buy a Yamaha keyboard.