|Samick Acoustic Grand|
The Samick company (US headquarters Nashville, TN - left pic) has built many digital pianos over the years, however these older instruments were just average (I have played many of them) and not very competitive with other top piano companies like Yamaha, Kawai, Roland, or Casio, and I would not have recommended them as much in the past. But the Samick company now has some very attractive & well built polished ebony (and special order polished white and polished red models) mini digital baby grand pianos in a lower price range all under $4500 store prices. I have played these Samick digital Baby Grands and liked what I felt and heard for the price. I was impressed by the fairly realistic hammer weighted key action which moved and responded to velocity and dynamics much better than other digital baby grands I have played in the lower price range. Beyond that, the piano tone was more realistic, although it wasn't quite up to the level of a Roland, Yamaha, or Kawai digital baby grand, but those brands are a lot more money in comparison (sometimes many thousands more). So for the money, the Samick digital grand pianos are sufficient in producing a satisfying piano playing experience for many people and they look great too.
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Two main reasons why I believe these pianos are worth consideration is because Samick has a business relationship with the Fatar key action company and the Orla digital design & sound electronics company, both of which are located in Italy. These two well known Italian companies have been designing quality digital piano components for many years and are respected in Europe and around the world. Samick is now using these two company's high quality (I have played them and they are really good) graded hammer piano key actions (with nice dynamic response) along with convincing stereo digital piano & instrument sounds and had them built into these models. I believe the resulting outcome is that Samick has the best digital pianos they have ever offered and these instruments are at very reasonable prices for many people looking for a beautiful and well built furniture cabinet along with very good piano action, overall sound, and digital features. It is important to note the the Fatar key action company builds a variety piano key actions at different quality levels, so just because a piano brand says they use a Fatar key action does not mean that key action will necessarily be that good. Of the many Fatar key actions offered by that company, Samick is using their best non-wood key action (which costs more money but is noticeably better than the others) as opposed to the bottom of the line entry-level key actions used by some other brands.
|SG110 mini grand|
|SG110 white with closed key cover|
The next model is called the 4' deep SG310 (left pic) and normally sells for $3995US. It is identical to the SG110 except that it is larger in size and has some upgraded features such as having extra hardware & appointments including a 2-piece hinged lid (like a real acoustic grand), and a 2 position grand piano lid adjustment, The built-in stereo speaker system is larger and more powerful with 6 speakers going through 120 watts of audio power so it has a larger volume and tone than the SG110. This model seems to be the least popular of the 3 models because most people either want a smaller size like the SG110 or they prefer to get the best model SG450 which is not much more money than the SG310 but yet offers a lot more usable digital features and a much nicer and more intuitive control panel. So as far as I'm concerned any of them would be good choices but getting the SG110 or SG450 makes the most sense in terms of best bang for the buck:).
Both SG110 & SG310 models (SG310 - left pics) have a realistic European made graded piano weighted hammer action (as I mentioned earlier) with 3 functioning brass pedals, 64 notes of polyphony which is OK for the price and fine for most people (128 notes would have been better), and 385 impressive instrument sounds including electric pianos, organs, strings, guitars, synths, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and many other cool sounds. These pianos also include 20 panel memories for saving your favorite setups and a 16-track General MIDI multi-track player/recorder using a USB flash drive which enables you to save and load songs and even use the piano to play continuous music of your choice just like a player piano but without moving keys. The SG pianos also allows you to play accompaniment lesson songs from popular piano lesson curriculum which is great for practicing your lessons and listening to the songs that are in the lesson books while you play:). Each of the 16 instrument tracks, including the melody line, can be individually muted (switched off) so that you can isolate certain parts for better understanding of how that part plays and sounds, which is great for learning and playalong. That is a very useful feature not found in many digital pianos. Go here for more info on how General MIDI lesson & song accompaniments can help you play better and have more fun: General MIDI songs & lessons
|SG450 polished Red|
Finally, Samick makes a top of the line model called a SG450 (left and lower left pics - $4500 store price) that I spoke of earlier which is the identical piano to the SG310 in many ways incl cabinet size & design, speaker system & audio power, General MIDI play/record features, and other functions. Two of the big upgrades is the SG450 has the intuitive auto-arrangement chord features" and a much nicer, larger, and more intuitive user LCD display screen which allows you to see the variety of functions better. along with an easier to use control panel with upgraded quick access buttons. The SG450 also has 476 impressive instrument sounds (wow, how many can a person possibly need, but they are impressive) some of which are specialized orchestral sounds with velocity trigger points so that the sounds come in at different times depending on how hard you plays the keys. It also has 520 musically correct left hand chord accompaniment styles (1-finger/3-finger easy play) and helpful drum patterns for all styles of music, a right hand harmonizer note system when you play auto-chord style on the right hand. The auto arrangement chord system includes Classical, Jazz, Latin, Rock, Country, Big Band, Swing, Broadway, Ragtime, New Age, Christmas, Disney, and everything in-between. This kind of system is great for people who do not play piano and just want to have instant musical fun or for people who don't want to play in a traditional bass/treble clef style all the time but want to just use chord style playing even though they may play piano quite well otherwise. I personally like these playing options because I can play piano using both systems and the auto accompaniments sound so good that it's like being in the middle of a band or orchestra which follows how you play the piano and I enjoy that very much! There are other mini digital grand piano brands that have similar interactive chord features but the Orla designed instrument tones in the SG450 are vastly superior than anything else in its class. Other features include "continuous play music" using General MIDI song files playing from a USB flash drive (all three Samick models can do this) which is great fun for just listening to your favorite music through the piano even if you are not playing it yourself. MIDI song files in all categories of music are available to purchase on-line so you can always get what you want and hear songs that you like. The SG450 also has real time volume controls over various functions in the piano, a variable brilliance control to get a variety of personalized acoustic piano sounds from mellow to bright, and a twin piano mode which electronically divides the 88 keys in half for two identical 44-key piano keyboards (with the same octaves and tuning) which is great for two people playing at the same time...very cool. This is definitely my favorite model of the three. The SG450 also comes in a limited edition custom polished red and polished white cabinet as well.
Considering how heavy a regular small acoustic baby grand weighs, which is approx 600-800lbs, the lighter weight of these small digital baby grands makes them much easier to move and assemble than traditional pianos. The SG110 3' deep baby grand weighs in at 165lbs and the 4' deep SG310 & SG450 (left pic) weigh in at 260lbs each so not bad considering their size. It's also important to know that on the more popular SG310 and SG450 models, the hardware including pedals, knobs, wheels, etc are all in satin nickle which is very attractive especially in contrast with the black polished ebony and the lighter color gray buttons on the control panel...looks very classy and elegant in my opinion:). But whichever Samick digital baby grand piano you may choose, I believe you'll likely have a good time playing it and be especially pleased with how they look. There certainly are better digital baby grands for piano tone, dynamics, pedal decay & resonance, key action, and other features from brands like Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai (as I mentioned earlier), but those pianos are a lot more money. Also, there are digital baby grands for less money such as Suzuki, Adagio, Artesia, and others, but I have not found any of them to be acceptable even at minimum standards. You just don't normally get something for nothing out there so it's good to be very careful when spending this kind of money. Samick piano company seems to be the one of the those manufacturers that has been able to fill a niche of offering higher quality digital grand pianos (especially with regard to key action and sound dynamics) at reasonable prices. There are many things to think about when investing in a digital piano as well as many choices, and I can help you figure it all out if you contact me.
If you want more piano info and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts or sale prices, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 602-571-1864.
* Also, below a video of the SG310 in action. The guy playing the SG310 in the video is a pretty amazing player and the SG450 would sound the same as far as the piano sound and instrument playback goes:)