Although Williams Pianos doesn’t have the track record or history of companies like Casio, Yamaha or Korg, this hasn’t stoped them from creating some very interesting digital pianos for beginners or students. Williams, known for making portable pianos like the Allegro 1 and 2, have recently come out with another portable model called the Williams Legato.
The Legato is Williams’ new 88-key semi-weighted key piano, and its no doubt one of the most affordable digital pianos currently available on the global market.
But, will it live up to its expectations? And is it better than the competition? We’ll, let’s dig deeper into the Legato to find out.
Below, please use our table below to see how the Williams Legato might stack up to other notable digital pianos on the market:
|Casio PX-S1100||192-note polyphony; 18 built-in tones|
|Alesis Prestige Artist||30 voices, 256 polyphony|
|Casio CDP-S350||700 built-in tones|
|Yamaha P-515||40 Voices, 18 Drum/FX Kits, 480 XG Voices|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Korg LP-180||Natural Weighted Hammer Action|
|Casio PX-770||128 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha P-45||64 Note Polyphony|
DESIGN OF THE WILLIAMS LEGATO
The Williams Legato ships for $199, exclusively in a matte black finish, along with the following:
- Williams Legato 88-key digital piano
- Music rest
- Owner’s manual
- Battery Operation Guide
- Optional: Williams ESS1 Accessory Pack (includes AC adaptor, sustain pedal and headphones)
Like the Williams Allegro 2, the Legato does not ship with any kind of accessories, so if you want to add things like the ESS1 mentioned above, you’ll need increase your budget to afford this $29 accessory.
Unfortunately, this is really one of the biggest flaws of both products, as we don’t think that including the three accessories in the box would have made such a big difference in terms of the price the consumer would have to pay.
It is worth mentioning that the Legato can be used with 6x D-cell batteries (that are not included as well), which is a great feature for those wanting to carry the piano over to their gigs or rehearsals without worrying about the power supply.
Being probably the most affordable 88-key digital piano on the market, you cannot expect the Legato to be a perfect instrument. In order to keep costs low, the company has chosen a poor body made of low-quality plastic with cheaper buttons, knobs and a design very far from the beauty achieved by its competitors.
Despite that, the Legato is still extremely compact and lightweight (only 19 pounds), so if you don’t care about the aesthetics, you won’t even notice how poor the final design is. You should worry about the chassis itself thought, which does not seem robust as well. This might be a huge problem while transporting the piano around without a proper hardcase.
Before we move onto our next section, take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos currently available online:
|1) Casio PX-S3000|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Alesis Prestige Artist|
|5) Korg D1|
LOW PRICE EQUALS LOW QUALITY?
The main interface of the Williams Legato is quite basic too, and includes a Power Switch, a Volume knob, the buttons for managing the available effects (Reverb and Chorus), the Metronome and Tempo modes (which enable the Function when pressed simultaneously), five buttons to choose the available sounds, and finally the Split mode. There is no display or built-in recorder, features that would inevitably have increased the final price.
On both sides of the front panel sit the two speakers, which are simply not powerful nor good enough to allow users to enjoy a great piano experience, so an external P.A. or a good headphone is strongly recommended.
On the rear panel, you can find a MIDI port, a USB slot for media storage, the sustain jack, a headphone output and the power terminal. The lack of a dedicated output means that if you want to connect the piano to external speakers, you won’t be able to use the phones at the same time.
A FAIR EXPERIENCE?
The Williams Legato feature a third-party sound library made of only five sounds: piano, electric piano, organ, synth and bass. Using the Split mode, you can divide the keyboard into two parts and select a sound for each zone, such as piano and bass or rhodes and bass.
While you can layer two sounds (despite the lack of a Strings sound, which is one of the most used voices ever in a digital piano), the extremely low polyphony of 32 notes does not allow you to play any complex arpeggios, advanced passages of classical music nor bigger two-handed chords.
Maybe this is the reason why you can’t use both Split and Layer simultaneously, but frankly speaking we really don’t understand the point of having these modes if one can’t freely adjust the volume balance between the two sounds.
Given the Legato street price, the quality of each tone is obviously not groundbreaking, with the grand piano tone being too artificial and far from the standard set by the entry-level digital pianos from Casio or Yamaha, and the other voices (particularly the organ and the synth ones) being only a useless compliment.
The piano experience is sadly hurt here by a poor keyboard, which despite being a full-size keybed, only offers 88 semi-weighted, not-graded keys. This means that each key responds in the same way, a feeling that is more typical of an organ than a digital piano. The adoption of poor plastic materials for both black and white keys does not help as well.
LEGATO VS. ALLEGRO 2
The key action of the Williams Legato is honestly not suitable for learning the piano basics, so if you aim to enter in the world of classical music with this product, maybe you should look elsewhere. A great 88-key hammer-action keyboard (both Casio’s or Yamaha’s keybeds being the first choice) is strongly recommended for this kind of applications.
That said, would the Allegro 2 be a better solution than the Legato? Well, actually, yes.
It’s important to point out that the price difference between the two products is really irrelevant: if you hunt for a good offer, the Allegro 2 can be bought online for $249 and offers a 88-key hammer-action keyboard that, despite the lack of a graded weight, can really help you to learn the basics and the importance of dynamics and touch response.
There are also other important features that you should keep in mind when considering to buy a Williams piano: the Allegro 2 offer a better sound engine with an higher amount of polyphony (64-note vs. 32-note), ten greater voices (including two acoustic pianos, two electric pianos, two organs, Strings and Synths, two basses), a LCD display and a built-in recorder for saving your songs, along with a better Effects section that includes eight different Reverbs, Chorus and other types of Modulations.
The final choice obviously depends on what kind of applications you’re aiming for. If you want the cheapest 88-key digital piano available on the market and you don’t care about the piano fidelity or the weighted keyboard action, then you won’t find any other solution better than the Williams Legato. If you like playing for fun with friends and don’t pretend that you’ll one day play an immaculate tune, maybe there’s no need to opt for a more expensive solution.
In this case, the extreme portability of its lightweight and compact chassis, the chance of being used without an AC adaptor, and the USB connectivity are great features for its intended price of $199. But, once again, if you can afford a slightly higher investment, you should consider spending $50 more and buy the Williams Allegro 2.
The Williams Legato is certainly a good product for its $199 price, especially if you are not searching for a realistic piano experience or you simply want a lightweight 88-key digital piano with MIDI and USB capabilities, but for any advanced application or start learning the piano, you should consider the more complete Allegro 2 (which only costs $50 more!).
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