Pianos have always been appreciated for the grandeur of their music and appearance. While they produce an exquisite sound, pianos can be pretty expensive, and not every budding pianist can afford them. Hence, there are mildly priced digital pianos which offer incredible functionality and quality sound.
Amongst the industry giants like Yamaha, Casio, and Kawai, that manufacture digital pianos, there are relatively smaller names such as Williams. Williams isn’t the first brand that crosses the mind when planning to invest in a digital piano. However, it does stand out on a bit of research with its Legato 88 key Digital Piano.
The Williams Legato 88 Key Digital Piano promises to serve the beginners and professionals alike for an unbelievable price. It also tops most budget piano lists and ranks high in Amazon’s digital piano category. Read along to find out more about it in this Williams Legato 88 Key Digital Piano Review.
Features and Specifications
Keyboard:88 Full-Size Key
Polyphony: 32 notes
Key Action: Velocity sensitivity and semi-weighted keys
Song Library: Yes (5 pre-set songs)
USB Connectivity: Yes (USB Port)
MIDI Connectivity: Yes (In/Out)
Pedal Input: Yes
Headphone Jack: Yes
Speakers: Two 10W speakers
Power: Adaptor and 6 D Batteries (Both not included)
Sustain Pedal: Sold Separately
Sound Variations: 5 (Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Synth, and Bass)
Layering modes: Dual and Split Layering Modes
Effects: Chorus and Reverb (can be applied on individual sounds even when the digital piano is switched off)
Full Range 88-Key Keyboard
One of the reasons why several piano-enthusiasts are attracted to Williams Legato is the full range keyboard with 88 keys, a rare feature in the digital pianos at this price point. Plus, the keys are semi-weighted, giving the piano a better feel than other options at the same price range with cheap plastic keys. Even though the keys aren’t as weighted as that of a high-end piano (to keep the instrument from becoming bulky), they allow the player to make variations through the notes’ intensity since the piano recognizes velocity. The volume differential function brings this piano closer to a real one.
The full set of keys allows players to play almost all kinds of music, even duets, seldom possible with 61-key pianos that offer 5-6 octaves tops. The one downside here is that the keys are not grated. While you might not even notice the difference till you are polishing the art, the lack of grating will start to bother you as you gain expertise in producing music through them.
5 Piano Sounds
It is easier for a digital piano to produce different sounds through the same device, but the feature is only available in the expensive options, except for Williams Legato. The piano comes with five built-in sounds such as Piano, Electric Piano, Synth and Organ. However, this feature is seen as unnecessary as it limits the piano’s ability to produce high-quality sound.
The Dual and Split layer modes save the day for Legato as the former allows the player to combine sounds of two instruments to create a never-heard-before sound. As for the latter, Split layer mode, it allows the player to allot different sounds to the two halves of the piano and then play.
For those still in the practising phase, the piano comes with a library of 5 pre-recorded songs.
As modern-day musicians, individuals are always on a lookout for devices which can help them save their progress and reproduce it when they want. Legato enables its users to do just that as it acts as a MIDI controller and offers USB connectivity.
A MIDI controller is a keyboard that allows one to send MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) signals to a computer or other MIDI-enabled device through a MIDI 5-pin cable USB. Legato works in the same manner, working over 16 channels and receiving the MIDI info simultaneously.
Through the USB connectivity, you can store the music files of the music you played in your computers and smartphones so that you can go back to them later.
As the leading digital pianos by its contemporary brands, Williams also offers 32-note Polyphony in the Legato, which is sufficient to make the music more versatile. The only issue here is that the sustain pedal doesn’t produce the best sound when pressed heavily. That said, the piano’s key action is smart enough to maintain good sound quality from Legato despite minor shortcomings.
Added Effects for an Authentic Piano Sound
The added effects that we are talking about here are the Reverb and Chorus effect. You can press the Effects button on the piano to turn the features on and off. These effects can be applied to the sounds individually, allowing you to store them for further use. When you are not using the digital piano, these effects will continue to work with the sound keys. It is only after you remove the effect that Chorus and Reverb effects stop working.
While both these effects bring your experience closer to playing a real piano, you cannot adjust the level of depth you are looking for. You will have to make do with the standard chorus and reverb Legato offers by default.
Battery Powered Instrument
It is often difficult to find a digital piano with flexible power options such as Legato as it can be powered through 6 batteries or a power chord. Its ability to be powered by batteries makes it super portable, allowing you to play and compose music on the go. The power cord does not come with the keyboard in the same package but has to be purchased separately.
The separate set of accessories which comes with the Legato costs $30 and includes a sustain pedal, AC adaptor, and a stand for the piano. While these accessories ramp up the cost, they give you the option to save money on them. Instead of buying the same manufacturer’s accessories, you can look for cheaper, used alternatives that might not cost you as much.
A digital piano is incomplete without a good set of speakers that produce decent sound. So, the Legato comes with two 10W speakers powerful enough to fill a room with mesmerizing sound. If you are in a bigger room with a large gathering, you can amplify the sound by plugging in an external amplifier. Another sound output option in this device is the headphone jack that allows you to practice with tranquillity and focus. An added advantage of having earphones is that you do not have to worry about judgments as you begin learning and composing.
Portable and lightweight:
The Williams Legato weighs a mere 19 pounds, making it a breeze to transport from one location to another for your band gigs. Apart from being lightweight, the design is compact and can be adjusted on any decent-sized stand. You are not obliged to pay for one with the piano even though there is an option to make a purchase separately.
Another reason why the piano is super portable is its ability to work on batteries, enabling you to entertain your entourage on the go!
Affordable 88 Key Digital Piano:
It is indeed miraculous for Williams to have created an 88 Key digital piano at this price point. As beginners can easily outgrow the 61 key pianos, Legato allows them more room to polish their skills. Since the piano follows a digital concept, it doesn’t require resistance. Then again, the keys are semi-weighted to add a little authenticity to the player’s experience.
USB and MIDI connectivity:
A digital piano is of little use if you cannot connect it to other devices to record your progress as you advance through your lessons. Hence, Williams Legato offers the option to connect to computers and smartphones, allowing you to save sound files in the device of your choice.
Its function as a MIDI controller also, allowing you to blast off the music through your MIDI-enabled devices.
5 Pre-set tunes:
You won’t have to look elsewhere if you are looking for some material to practice with because Legato comes with five pre-set songs.
Dual and Split Layer Mode:
The Legato offers the ability to switch between 5 instruments, which could have limited its ability to work as a piano if not for these modes. Dual-mode allows the musician to play a combination of any two instruments at the same time. On the other hand, split allows the pianist to assign different instruments to different halves of the piano and then play.
The fact that Williams Legato is a cheap piano reflects well in its built as it is not made up of robust plastic material. Hence, you will have to be very careful when transporting this portable instrument. The little bumps on the road might just ruin your next gig.
Semi-weighted Key Action:
Even though the quality of keys is better than the cheap plastic keys offered by other manufacturers for the price, they are not meant to produce professional-quality sound. We understand that the key action is limited to semi-weighted to keep the instrument from becoming bulky, but it also widens the gap between authentic and digital sound.
Lacks String-based piano sound:
The Legato can produce sounds of 5 instruments but not a String-based piano, which is disappointing. The manufacturers could have instead done away with the Organ sound since it requires a lot of adjustable effects to work well. A string sound, on the other hand, is basic and would have rendered the piano more useful.
Low 32 Note Polyphony:
As a new pianist, the 32 note polyphony might seem enough to you but as you improve, you will want to practice on an instrument with 64 or 128 note polyphony. Higher polyphony allows you to experiment with distinct combinations of sustained notes.
Accessories sold separately:
Williams has clearly put it out there that the additional parts of the digital piano such as AC adaptor, stand, sustain pedal, headphones, and more are sold in a separate kit. However, purchasing them separately will only ramp up the price of the piano, rendering it not as affordable as promised.
The seemingly perfect price point of the Legato does make you pay for the lack of functions such as recording, changing pitch, using background beat to play, and more. These features do not negate the instrument’s fine sound quality, but it is always fun to have them.
Finally, if you are wondering that there are way too many “downsides” of owning Williams Legato, give the price tag another look. Legato offers more than one can expect, for beginners and experts, without burning a hole in their pockets. It comes with a complete set of keys and octaves that feel like that of a real piano. Multiple modes and layering options also add to the prolific features of the piano.
The brand might not have hit the bull’s eye when it comes to sound and functionality; it certainly has pocketed a niche of customers with its nearly-a-piano experience for an unmatched price of $200.
We hope that this Williams Legato 80 Key Digital Piano Review helps you to figure out whether you need one to nurture your future as a pianist or not.