Yamaha DGX 230 Review – a Good Beginner Instrument

yamaha dgx 230Welcome to my Yamaha DGX 230 review. This keyboard is easy to set up and use, is lightweight for its size, and has some great sounds on it such as strings, guitars, organs, and of course, piano! It has weighted keys which make it feel like you are playing a traditional acoustic piano. However, don’t think that it is a professional keyboard because it’s not. It is a beginner keyboard, but it does that well. Those looking to learn how to play the piano will find the built-in lessons very useful.


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Contents


PROS & CONS

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Lightweight for its size.
  • Weighted keys feel like playing a real piano.
  • Good sounds – organs, strings, guitars, etc.
  • Teaching feature helps you learn to play.
  • Good value for money.

Cons:

  • It’s not a professional keyboard.
  • Grand piano and bass sounds could be better.

Rating:  (88%)
Recommended? Yes (for beginners)

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Demonstration Video


Sorry for the bad quality video, but I wanted to find a video of someone playing the Yamaha DGX 230, but there aren’t any super quality videos out there. But as you can hear from this video, it is capable of producing more than just piano sounds, as it produces a reasonable quality saxophone sound here.

Here is another demonstration video:

As you heard there, it does a nice piano + strings combination, which is ideal for the kind of music played here.


Who is the Yamaha DGX 230 Designed For?

This keyboard is ideal for beginners. The affordable price, combined with its built-in teaching capabilities, the realistic piano-like keys, and the ease of use, make this a great starter keyboard. More advanced keyboard players will also get a lot out of this, considering the price.  It could be a good option for someone looking to play keyboard for an amateur live band, or for someone who just wants to enjoy playing piano at home. It’s a good quality non-professional level keyboard, so if you are looking for something a bit more high-end then you might want to look elsewhere…but you will probably have to pay more money.

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FEATURES

Yamaha Educational Suite

There are 30 built-in songs and another 70 more on a CD that comes with it. Each of these songs has parts for left and right hands, giving you 7 levels of lessons and also a useful chord dictionary which displays the chord you are playing on the LCD screen. It is very clever in how it teaches you, in that it will stop the song if you stop playing, or it will slow down if you play a wrong note. You can also keep repeating part of a song until you have mastered it. As you progress, it grades you so you can monitor how you are doing.

Connectivity

The USB port enables you to plug the keyboard into your computer. You can then expand on the supplied songs by downloading more from the internet, which then get stored on the internal Flash ROM. You can even do all this just by pressing the PC button, rather than having to navigate through complicated menus. You can also upload your own recorded songs to the web to share with your friends.

XGlite: Realistic Voices

In addition to the 116 standard panel voices and 12 drum/SFX kits, you also have 361 XGlite voices. XG stands for eXtended General MIDI and builds upon the General MIDI standard of sounds to provide even more. The GXlite range of sounds includes trumpet, flute, pan flute, various saxophone sounds, and a wide range of piano and organ sounds. These sounds are sampled in such a way as to realistically represent the instruments.

Polyphonic and Multi Timbrel, with Dual and Split Modes

It has 32 note polyphony, which means you can play up to 32 notes at the same time. Of course, you cannot play 32 notes at the same time with just 10 fingers, but it comes in useful when you consider that it is 16-part multi-timbrel. This means you can have up to 16 different sounds playing simultaneous, so actually it works out at only 2 notes per sound if you were to use every one of the 16 sounds. Also, consider that there is a Dual mode, which enables you to layer two sounds together, such as piano and strings. In addition to this, you can use Split mode, where you play different sounds with your left and right hands.

Effects

The DGX 230 has 9 different versions of reverb alone, simulating various spacious environments and rooms. There are also four chorus effects, which are particularly good for making the guitar sounds fatter. There are even 26 different harmony effects so that you can have harmony automatically added when you play a melody.

Auto Accompaniment

A very clever thing that this keyboard is able to do is to have the built-in accompaniment follow your playing. All you do is choose a particular style of music from 160 different styles, then play away. You will then be accompanied by various backing instruments such as drums, bass, guitar, strings, etc, which will follow along with what you are playing.


PROS & CONS IN DEPTH

Easy to set up and use

If you are buying your first keyboard, you don’t want something that is a complicated hassle to set up and learn how to use. That’s why it’s great that this keyboard is so easy to set up and use. You pretty much just put the stand together, put some batteries in the keyboard, switch it on, and start playing. You can easily switch between the onboard sounds and just play. No complications.

Lightweight for its size

When I think of the term “grand piano”, I think of something heavy, but this keyboard seems to be quite light for its size. This makes it ideal for children and also for taking with you to other places, for example if you wanted to perform at a friend’s wedding.

Weighted keys feel like playing a real piano

If you are learning to play piano, it’s no good practicing on poor quality synth keys. You want weighted, sensitive piano-style keys, and that’s exactly what you get on this keyboard. I’m sure that if you close your eyes you could even pretend you are playing a proper piano.

Teaching feature helps you learn to play

Piano students will find the teacher function very useful. Being able to learn songs in gradable lessons means that you can keep practicing and monitor your progress. Of course, you can have real lessons too, because nothing truly beats 1-on-1 in-person training; but having the teaching feature is a great bonus.

Good value for money

For the price, you get quite a lot here. You would probably struggle to get something as good as this for this price anywhere else. No, it’s not as good as some high-end keyboards like the Korg Kross 61, but it is still good value. It just depends on what you are looking for and what money you are prepared to pay. Of course, one thing that this keyboard has that the Kross 61 doesn’t have is the teaching mode.

Not a professional keyboard

As I said above, this is good value for money. However, just be aware that this is not a professional keyboard. If you are looking for a professional keyboard, the Korg Kross 61 is a better choice. But many people who buy this keyboard will not be looking for a professional keyboard. They will just be looking for a pretty good keyboard that they can play at home and which can help them learn to play better.

Piano and bass sounds could be better

Some users commented that the grand piano sound is not quite as good as they were expecting it to be. That’s a bit of a shame in a keyboard that bills itself as a “portable grand piano”. Also, one user said that the bass sounds could be better. Again, it really depends on what you are looking for, what your expectations are, and how much money you are prepared to spend.


Conclusion

So, in summary, it all boils down to what you are looking for. If you want a professional keyboard, this might not be quite what you are after. If you want a synthesizer, this is nowhere near what you are looking for. But if you have limited money to spend and you want a great beginner portable piano with some other great sounds, this is a good choice.

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I hope you found my Yamaha DGX 230 review helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.

All the best,
Marcus.

20 Comments

  1. raze

    Pretty good review you’ve got going here, and you’re right about the target audience, of course – this is no professional level instrument, but good for those who want to learn keyboard better

    I might want to add that these arranger keyboards rarely sound good with the inbuilt speakers, but can sound pretty decent through earphones or a better sound system =)

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      You are right, the speakers that come with these kinds of keyboards are usually not the best.

      Reply
  2. Bryan Lopez

    Hello Marcus, i am very interested in your review, i started to lear about piano like 6 month ago and i started to look to some pianos all the information can help me to have and a idea that what is what i need. Do you think that this piano can help me, i just have 6 month playing the piano but i really want something to create new sounds and have some fun. and what do you think that is the most different thing about this piano and a pro piano.
    Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, this digital piano could be ideal for you. It is suitable for beginners, definitely.

      Reply
  3. Taking A Leap Of Faith

    I actually sent my son to this site. He is not a beginner, he is at Missouri Western taking classes for audio engineering. So he knows his stuff. He’s on his 3rd keyboard now. And in fact he just got chosen to go to Italy with one of his professors this summer for a one week gig, and he’s only a sophomore. I’m so proud of him. But he says your site has some really great information and has told his professor to recommend it to the incoming freshmen next year.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Really? That’s great! Thank you!

      Reply
  4. Renee Townsend

    I purchased an electronic keyboard a year or two ago. This review makes me want to pull it out of the box and learn to play. By the way, I love the video you chose. My mother loved Kenny G, so was always playing around the house. Really brought back memories. And of course, like I said above, a desire to play.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Well, I’m glad to have been an inspiration to you, Renee. Definitely get out your keyboard and have a go at playing again. It could be a lot of fun, and you never know, you might come up with something good.

      Reply
  5. Shannon

    My kids have taken interest in the piano, but they are so large, heavy and expensive! I never thought about a keyboard as a beginner instrument. That is very interesting to hear the keys are weighted like a regular piano – usually they feel flimsy and wobbly. All the effects are a big bonus – my kids would love this. Thanks for the great suggestion! How well does the teacher mode work? Might be a good first step before investing in piano lessons.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thank you, Shannon. With the teacher mode, you get 3 lessons for each hand. Each lessons has grades, and you can repeat a section of a song over and over again until you have learned it. There is also a chord dictionary.

      Reply
  6. Daria

    Thank you for this nice review

    But I spent the time listening to the videos 🙂

    It is very good instrument and have all the features you need as home instrument.

    You reminded me that I should practice again, last time I played music was several years ago. I hope that I will have time to play music at home again, then I will buy this wonderful instrument for sure.

    Wish you all the best.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      I’m glad to have been an inspiration to you, Daria. I definitely think you should practice again. It could be a lot of fun, and who knows, you might even produce something good.

      Reply
  7. Mara

    Hi Marcus,
    I love reading reviews for musical instruments – there are so many variations out there now and it’s incredible the sounds that one person can create on their own. I like the sound of this Yamaha keyboard. I am a classically trained pianist, so do you think it would be an easy transition for me to move to a keyboard like this one? I see you have mentioned the keys are heavy-weight enough to feel a bit like a real piano. Love that it comes pre-loaded with songs too!
    Mara

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, with the weighted keys it will feel much like a traditional piano.

      Reply
  8. Alex

    More than listening to music, we should more often try to make our own, to feel that sense of accomplishment. It is ideal for someone that goes at this casually, a beginner or someone looking to improve already existing knowledge. Also the teacher mode is perfect for learning the basics in case you’ve not had previous experience

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      I agree completely, Alex. It is much more fulfilling to make our own music than to listen to other peoples music. Of course, listening to music is great too.

      Reply
  9. Cheek Legend

    The piano is my most favorite instrument and i have always wanted to learn it, I think this product can be good start considering that it is cheaper and the targeted people are those who aspire to learn the. I hope through this instrument i can learn the piano too

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, I’m sure you can, Cheek. With the built-in easy lessons, you would definitely make progress. Why not give it a try?

      Reply
  10. Al

    Marcus – thanks for the review. You mention in the set up section that you insert batteries? Does this keyboard also have a DC input so that it can be powered from the mains electricity? Also, can you provide a rough guide to the styles covered by the in-built lessons?

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, it does have a power socket, and it you buy the Premium Pack it comes with a power adapter as well headphones and a keyboard stand. I’m not sure what styles are covered by the lessons, sorry.

      Reply

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