Apr 27, 2012

REVIEW - Samick SDP45F Digital Piano - Recommended - Surprisingly Good & Loaded with Cool Features

Samick Acoustic Grand
UPDATED REVIEW - January 17, 2015 - The Samick Piano Company is a well known & respected South Korean piano & musical instrument manufacturer which has been making acoustic grand and upright pianos for over 50 years. Their line of acoustic piano products include the Samick brand as well as Seiler, Pramberger, Knabe, and others. Samick is also one of the largest guitar building companies in the world and has made thousands of guitars for famous companies including Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, and others and also builds the Greg Bennett and Silvertone line of acoustic & electric guitars. I have personally played on and owned Samick acoustic pianos in the past as well as currently owning Samick made Greg Bennett acoustic guitars, so I am very familiar with their instruments and they are quite good. Samick acoustic and digital pianos can only be purchased from local US Samick stores and they are not available on the internet.

Samick SDP45 polished ebony
The Samick company has built many digital piano models over the years but in my opinion these instruments were just average or below average (I have played many of them) and not at all competitive with top companies like Yamaha, Kawai, Roland, or Casio, and I would not have personally owned one in the past. So it comes as a surprise to me that the Samick company has a very attractive, well built polished ebony furniture cabinet digital piano  SDP45F in a lower price range under (approx) $2500 store retail price. I had an opportunity to play this Samick model and was impressed by what I felt and heard. I was impressed by the realistic graded hammer weighted premium key action from the Italian key action company Fatar, which moved and responded to velocity and dynamics better than many other new digital pianos I have played under $2500 retail. In fact, the ability to express yourself in an acoustic piano way was quite good considering my disappointing experiences with other less expensive instruments from Suzuki, Williams, Adagio, Artesia, and others. So for the money, I believe the Samick SDP45F is more than sufficient in producing a very satisfying piano playing experience for most people.

Two main reasons why I believe these pianos are impressive is because Samick has entered into a business relationship with the Fatar key action company and the Orla digital sound electronics company, both of which are located in Italy. These two well known European companies have been designing high quality digital piano components for many years and are very respected in Europe and around the world. Samick is now using these two company's pro quality (I have played them and they are really good) graduated hammer piano key actions (with full dynamic response) along with a good stereo digital piano sound & a non-piano instrument library of sounds and had them built into this model. I believe the resulting outcome is that Samick has the best digital pianos they have ever offered and are now competitive with the more well known names in digital pianos. These instruments are at very reasonable prices (in my opinion) for many people looking for a beautiful and well built furniture cabinet along with satisfying piano performance, sound, and digital features.

Sliding keyboard cover
The SDP45 that I originally played had the new European Fatar key action in it which is identical to the Samick digital grand piano version of the SDP45 called the SG450. The SDP45 is also offered with a much lower quality Chinese built standard key action (without the letter F in the model number name) which is different than the premium European Fatar key action. The difference is noticeable in my opinion with the standard key action being less smooth, less responsive, less dynamic, and much noisier when the keys are going up and down as compared to the European key action. The difference in price between the two key action models is about $400-$500 or so (depending on the dealer) but the upgrade to the Fatar key action model is well worth the difference in my opinion (if it's in your budget) because the key action movement is a fundamental part of any piano playing experience and it's the number one thing piano teachers, students, and players look for when shopping for a piano. 

As far as other aspects of the SDP45 go, it has 3 full functioning brass pedals but does not have damper half-pedaling), 64 notes of polyphony memory which is fine for most people (128 notes would have been better but that does increase price), 385 realistic instrument sounds, 20 panel memories for saving your favorite setups, a 16-track general MIDI multi-track player/recorder using a USB flash drive to save and load songs which is very cool, and it plays educational General MIDI files too. 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 to the following link for more info on how General MIDI lesson & song accompaniments can help you play better and have more fun: General MIDI songs & lessons

SDP45 front panel
The SDP45 also includes a good sized user LCD display screen for easier to read information and more intuitive functions, a built-in 40 watt stereo sound system with 4 speakers, and a built-in Rhythm Orchestra with 520 exceptionally good automatic left hand chord accompaniment styles & drum patterns for all styles of music along with right hand harmony notes when played one-finger or 3-fingered style on the right hand. In other words, you can be a novice beginner player or more advanced player and sound like you've been playing many years...fun stuff! You name the type of music style and the SDP45 seems to be able to do it incl 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 just want to have fun and not go through traditional piano lessons or they want to explore new ways of playing music (which I personally enjoy). Other notable features include real time volume slider controls, a brilliance control for many variations of acoustic pianos sounds, and "twin piano" 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. I do want to point out that the internal speaker system in the SDP45 could be much better and the sound is a bit on the thin side. The actual high quality of the piano sound and other instruments can be heard through a good pair of stereo headphones so if you want to improve sound coming through the insternal speaker system you would need to connect a pair of external powered speakers to the piano and in this way you could drastically improve the sound you hear.

Fatar premium key action
To summarize, I would definitely recommend the SDP45F in its attractive polished ebony cabinet with its beautiful finish and upscale design features. The SDP45F also is available without the Fatar key action and it's called the SDP45 (no F) and I would definitely not recommend that model. The key action is just too clunky, noisy, and uninspiring. With a 3 year parts and one year labor factory warranty, a very smooth European Fatar key action, and lots of useful features, I believe this model will be a good competitor (at its reasonable price) in the world of new digital pianos and one definitely worth your consideration. Finally, there are many people who ask me for an elegant looking good polished ebony digital piano under $2500 and actually closer to $2000. This is a common request that I get and of the name brands only Yamaha has one in a polished ebony cabinet but the cabinet is very basic, the piano has few features but the price is inexpensive at just $1699, The name of that Yamaha model is called the YDP162PE. However, the SDP45F with Fatar key action is definitely worth the higher price as long as its not too much higher. Do your research, shopping, and your homework and when you have questions and want answers go ahead and contact me.

If you want more info on these pianos and lower prices than internet or store discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864

1 comment:

  1. I just sold my samick baby grand and found out it has a black key that doesn't play. Could it have been jarred in the move? How can it be fixed? Who can they call?

    ReplyDelete