Top critical review
300 people found this helpful
Okay for beginners...experienced players may find issues
on October 26, 2012
I was looking for a weighted-key digital piano that I could do serious practice on with headphones at times of the day that I can't play our regular piano without disturbing others.
While you will probably find better digital pianos, this one is a great value for the price for beginners. But proceed with caution if you're a serious piano player Here's a rundown:
WHAT I LIKE:
**WEIGHTED KEYS: The key action feels like a real piano and I have no doubt that, the skills I acquire will transfer over to our real piano. In fact, when you hit the keys, it has subtle momentum to it. It doesn't feel like it's faked through some electro-magnetic means. I suspect that Williams has installed some kind of old school mechanism in there and probably contributes greatly to weight of this thing.
**FULL SIZE 88-KEY KEYBOARD. When you need'em they're there.
**SOUND QUALITY: It's good enough. I'll say that while it's not as accurate as some of the more expensive models, it really doesn't need to be. I can't see anyone buying this for live performances. Same can be said for even some of the Casios and Yamahas. This is a piano you use for serious practice and having fun with.
**APPEARANCE: While this is more of a practice tool, it has the look of a serious professional instrument.
**VARIETY OF PORTS: You've got jacks 1/4 inch headphone, sustain, external amp and MIDI. What does it for me is the headphone jack. Most people have a 1/8 inch jack for the headphones...no problem. Get a 1/4 adapter from Best Buy.
NOT SO GREAT:
**UNWIELDINESS: Is this that big of an issue? No. This is not designed to be portable. While many have commented that it's heavy, it's more a case where the weight combined with its shape make it a bit awkward and unwieldy to move. It's not terribly difficult lifting it, but it's more than you expect because long and there are no handles (I'm not suggesting they should add them either). Circuit boards and the casing do not account for this kind of weight. The "brains" of this should weigh no more than a laptop computer. As said earlier, I believe it's the mechanisms that give it a real piano feel that give it this kind of heft.
**VELOCITY BASED VOLUME OF INDIVIDUAL KEYS: At first I thought it was me. But as I played more and more, I noticed that the hardness or velocity with which I hit keys in the middle octaves seems inconsistent. I'll hit it with the same hardness, but get a different volume level. While it's hard to be precise about this, I am confident about my observation because I was able to go back and forth between the Williams Allegro and my acoustic piano. This is not a deal killer for beginners who want a real piano feel. But intermediate and advanced players will probably find this pretty annoying. So I'm knocking off two stars, while sticking with my original premise that this is good value for the money for beginners. But you're a serious piano player I'd advise you to go to you local Guitar Center and play it before you make your final decision.
**SUSTAIN PEDAL: Based on what others said, I ordered an M-Gear which is working fine for me. I looked that the sustain pedal that comes with it and, yes, it looks pretty flimsy.
**CONTROLS: They're not hard to figure out, but you have to play with it more than you'd expect to order to get the hang of it. I suspect that the relatively primitive controls and LED readout was a cost cutting measure. Not a big deal.
WHY I BOUGHT THIS INSTEAD OF ROLAND, CASIO, YAMAHA, KAWAI ETC.
I already have a real piano in the house. There's no sense in spending more than I have to for a digital keyboard. That being said, I looked at everything and noticed that you can either pay $400 and higher for the Casios and Yamahas of the world, or grab this one for a hundred bucks less. There's really nothing in between. Given that Williams is relatively unknown, I read all the reviews on Amazon, Musician's Friend, and Guitar Center. One fairly common criticism was that some people observed that the volume based on how hard you hit the keys varied a lot between different octaves. I called Williams and the person that took my call was very knowledgeable, courteous and professional. He stated that a few months ago, Williams was aware of the issue and issued a firmware fix. This gave me the confidence to buy and get the Williams Allegro.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I've played this piano for several hours and I've noticed some weird inconsistencies in the volume that based on how hard you hit the keys. See what I added above under "VELOCITY BASED VOLUME OF INDIVIDUAL KEYS."
I really don't know if this issue is different from what the firmware update was supposed to have fixed. But I've knocked the rating down a couple of stars.
I opted to jump up to the next price tier and got a Casio CDP-120 for $399. It is a world of difference and everything that I was hoping for in a digital piano. The touch, key sensitivity, and volume levels are very close to the feel of an acoustic piano and I am easily able to transfer the skills acquire from this digital piano, but a regular acoustic piano. My kids are piano students with 3 to 5 years under the belts. For practice they some times prefer the realistic feel of this piano as opposed to our acoustic. Note that the CDP-120 is not heavily promoted in the U.S. as Casio is putting all its marketing muscle on the higher costs Privias. There are some differences between the CDP-120 and the Privia, but for most people who are dissatisfied the the Allegro, the Casio CDP-120 should be what you're looking for. Do a search on Youtube and you'll see some folks playing a wide range of pieces and get a taste for whether this will suit your needs.