Williams Overture 2 review
Williams has been making affordable keyboards with weighted keys and other advanced features for a few years now. The Williams Overture 2 represents the next evolution of the brands higher end piano line.
We once already reviewed the Williams Overture here, but because this is the Overture 2, we felt it would be wise to revisit this piano to see what’s changed, how this might be an improvement over the original Overture, and help you better understand whether this upright piano is worth your money.
And to help you do that, please use the interactive guide below to directly compare the Overture 2 to a variety of other noteworthy digital pianos currently on the market today.
Without further ado, let’s begin. We’ll start with a brief, general overview of the Overture 2.
Williams has been a very consistent brand since their inception—we’ll give that to them. While their products don’t exactly inspire gear lust for many experienced pianists (perhaps some of them aren’t very familiar with the brand), Williams does know their audience and customer base quite well.
In fact, at first glance, it’s almost as if these pianos were made to be more decorative than anything. The exterior of the Overture 2 is truly the nicest-looking sub-$1000 piano body we’ve come across in a very long time. The finish is superb for a piano at this price point, and truly, if all you wanted to do was make a room in your home appear a bit fancier from a visual standpoint, this would be the model to purchase.
The keybed looks great as well, with the red accent line traversing the entire length of the 88-key body. Everything on the piano has a smooth, wood grain feel to it, and the ebony-black look really sells the overall image of a fairly sophisticated piano.
The music rest included on the top of the body is very sturdy and well-built, which is certainly an improvement over the first iteration of this piano. There is a compact cabinet that also serves as the storage area for the pedal board, which too is handy.
Speaking of pedals, the piano has a standard-fare set of three, which is sure to please those looking to play as pianistically as possible.
Below, please take a look at some of the best-selling upright digital pianos online, and then see how well they stack up to the Williams Overture 2.
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-145|
|3) Roland RP-701|
|4) Yamaha YDP-165|
|5) Casio PX-870|
Polyphony, Speakers, and More
The piano features a 64-note polyphony, which seemed perfectly fine during our playtest. Everything seemed well within acceptable limits of quality, especially for less discerning players.
The one lowlight would have to be the sustain pedal. We found that during normal playing, the sustain seemed to “cut off” notes a bit too early for our liking. Having said that, however, we don’t feel that this is a big enough drawback to be a deal breaker for all but the most demanding pianists.
The Overture 2 series has 4 speakers built into the unit, and as far as loudness goes, we had no problem hearing the thing. The volume was more than adequate, so you’ll never need to worry about that in any normal circumstance.
The sound was clear and vivid, even at higher levels, though we did notice some peaking when the full dynamic range of the keys were being played simultaneously. There certainly wasn’t anything overt that we heard that would make us label these as low-quality speakers, however.
Obviously, none of this matters at all if playing the piano isn’t fun, or doesn’t feel right. So next, let’s take a look at how it feels to actually play the Williams Overture 2.
Playing Around On The Keys
The 88-key keybed on the Overture 2 is very respectable, all things considered. The keys feel natural and even, and one of the biggest surprises by far was how great the hammer-action keys felt—all things considered.
It’s important to note that the keys are not graded in any way, so you won’t be feeling any difference in resistance between the low and high registers. For many, this isn’t a big deal at all, but for others, playing on a piano without grading can feel unnatural and unprofessional.
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide for yourself how important this will be for you.
The Overture 2 features a tutor mode that comes packed with 50 songs spanning a wide array of genres. You can play along to at any speed you desire. This mode is very useful for a beginner just taking his or her first timid steps into the world of piano. Or, perhaps you haven’t played piano in years and need to dip your toe back into the water—with a little bit of help. If you fall into these categories, you’ll likely enjoy this added Song Tutor feature. If you don’t fall into these categories, this might be something you skip altogether.
One other similar feature that’s a bit more exciting is the General MIDI playback functionality. This allows you to upload an SD card with music in general MIDI format to be played back, so that you can play along with it. There are thousands of songs available online in this format, so this is one potentially useful feature for those who love covering and improving with other songs and artists.
The Overture 2 has a wide array of hook up opportunities, depending on what you’re looking for. For starters, there’s a USB cable for connecting to a computer or other device. Past that, there’s a pair of headphone jacks that are used for private listening, as well as some audio out connections for connecting to an external sound system.
All told, there’s little else you could really ask for on this piano. Most of the appeal here is that most, if not all of the functions and sounds you need are included within the piano itself, so chances are, you won’t be hooking this thing up to any complicated setups just to play.
So, all of this is well and good, but it ultimately means nothing if the sounds isn’t inspired. Next up, we’ll delve into the sound sets included with the Overture 2.
In the sound department, the Williams Overture 2 has a fairly wide variety of different instrument emulations to play around with (some better than others). In total, there are 147 different sounds, including the main acoustic piano sound.
This opens up the options, and there are plenty here. There are strings, woodwinds, brass, electric and vintage pianos, and even some FM synth sounds to round out the list. Some of these sounds are certainly more impressive and authentic than others, but nonetheless, this is a very impressive set of sounds on the whole.
For effects, the Overture 2 has a reverb, eq, and chorus, and also features a few other cool editing features such as key transposition, modulation effects, and more. There’s also a few different features that allow you to expand your playing, like a split functionality and a sound layering mode.
If you’re into recording ideas and messing around with sequencing, there’s a two track recording function that allows you to record ideas down and translate them into general MIDI. From there, you can take the ideas and bring them into a DAW (digital audio workstation) to be further refined and produced.
This is definitely a cool feature to have, but for many, simply plugging directly into the PC via the MIDI cable would be a better way to record. Still, it’s nice to be able to have such a feature for when inspiration strikes.
The Overture 2 has plenty of competitors in the “cheap electric pianos” space, even amongst Williams’ own product line.
At first glance, it can be tough to discern the difference between the various lines that Williams offers. That being said, there are several reasons why you’d want to consider another piano for your particular setup.
In this next section, let’s take a look at two other Williams brand pianos, as well as a popular competitor, the Yamaha Arius YDP-143.
Williams Overture vs Williams Overture 2
The original Overture line impressed us with its higher end functionality for a fraction of the cost, and though it is no longer being sold actively by Williams, it remains a popular option for those looking to buy used on the second-hand market.
It looks as though the second iteration of the piano (the Overture 2) has refined the overall aesthetic of the piano, and introduced a higher-quality finish in the process. For most buyers, the newer model will be the best way to go, unless you’re able to find a cheaper, first gen model secondhand.
- You can read our full review of the Williams Overture here.
Williams Overture 2 vs Williams Rhapsody 2
The Rhapsody 2 represents the midrange line directly under the Overture lineup.
The Rhapsody 2 features one less touch sensitivity level, down to three from the 4 included with the Overture 2. There’s also the matter of sounds; while the Overture 2 includes 128 different sound sets, the Rhapsody 2 keeps things simple, opting instead only for 12.
Ultimately, if you’re simply looking for a quality keyboard to learn on, the Rhapsody 2 will fit the bill. If you’re looking for versatility and refinement, the Overture 2 is your best bet.
- You can read our full review of the Williams Rhapsody 2 right here
Williams Overture 2 vs Yamaha Arius YDP-143
The Yamaha Arius lineup is one of the more well-known and respected electric pianos in the sub-$1000 price range. The sounds and overall feel of the YDP-143 is second to none, and in all reality, it is superior to the Williams Overture 2 in both sensitivity and quality.
It is also, however, more than a hundred dollars more expensive, so for those looking to save some money, you can get almost all the way there with the Overture 2 just as easily.
- You can read our full review of the Yamaha Arius YDP-143 right here.
Bringing it all together, the Overture 2 really is a lovely electric piano. The look and feel of the product seemingly elevates it beyond is sticker price, and although the cracks begin to show when delving into the features and sound quality, the entire package here is well worth the asking price and very much feels like a comprehensive musical instrument.
That being said, there are some serious competitors that offer compelling products, and ultimately, you’ll need to gauge for yourself how important aesthetics are to you. There are keyboards around this price range that offer more robust feature sets, but few to none have this level of pure elegance.
- Great look and feel
- Varied and authentic sounds
- Non graded keys
- Light on features
The Bottom Line
The Williams Overture 2 is a beautiful, elegant electric piano that features good quality keys in an affordable package.
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