AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Adagio MGDP8820 Baby Grand Digital Piano - Not Recommended - Digital Piano Reviews

Jun 2, 2012

REVIEW - Adagio MGDP8820 Baby Grand Digital Piano - Not Recommended

UPDATED REVIEW - November 28, 2012 - I DO NOT recommend the Adagio MGDP8820 Baby Grand Piano. Many of the digital grands look good on the outside, but it's what's inside that really counts. This includes actual cabinet construction, the type of finish applied to the exterior, how the key action moves and feels, the dynamics and response of the piano sound, and the overall sounds and other digital features of the instrument.

Adagio MGDP8820
There are basically two price categories of digital Baby Grands; under $3000 and over $3000. I have so far not found a new digital grand piano advertised for under $3000 that is worth owning and this would include the Adagio MGDP8820 4'1" digital baby grand. The MGDP8820 ($2499 store/Costco discount price) is the identical piano to the GDP8820 model found on the Adagio web site, only the MGDP model is sold (as far as I know) only by Costco in the US, but the specifications are identical. The Adagio pianos are distributed by the Kaysound company located in Canada and the pianos are made in China. The Kaysound company does not make pianos and the Adagio name is a made-up name put on these pianos as is true with a few other brands. Adagio pianos in various model names are primarily sold through Costco & Sam's Club as well as a couple of other on-line stores.

The Adagio MGDP8820 is really a baby grand piano shaped version of the Adagio KDP8826 small upright digital piano ($999 at Costco) which I have reviewed in an earlier blog Adagio KDP8826 Review.

Unfortunately at this point, I have not played or heard an Adagio piano that I liked. In fact, these pianos have such poor key actions and poor piano response dynamics & expression that I advise people to stay away from them if they want a satisfying piano playing and/or learning experience. I have seen some "positive customer reviews" on a few Adagio models and it perplexes me that people really think they are having a satisfying piano playing experience with this brand. But I guess the old saying must be true..."what you don't don't won't hurt you." Well at least maybe you won't know what the deficiencies really are if you haven't had much experience with real acoustic pianos. And if you like what you are getting out of it, then that's fine because playing music is always a personal thing. But...if you are buying it for children or adults who will be or are taking piano lessons or are playing recreationally, then I would advise considering another brand that can provide a better piano practice and playing experience.

Although the cabinets on these pianos may be very attractive to look at (and they are), and some of the digital/electronic functions may seem cool, the inside electronics & key action of this piano is definitely not something I recommend at any price. Also, there are 2 acoustic piano sounds on this model which are called Grand piano & Bright piano. When playing on a regular piano as well as any name brand digital piano in this price range, the piano sound is supposed to change not only in volume (louder/softer) as you press the key harder or easier, but the tone itself is supposed to change in character with changes in brightness and mellowness as well as various overtones and nuances in the sound. Those are just a few details that make a piano sound good and is referred to as "dynamic range." The Adagio has just one piano dynamic or sound no matter how hard or soft you press the key. It does change volume from soft to loud, but it has no changes in tonality or dynamic range. In other words, the piano sound (either Grand or Bright piano) is the same all the time on any style of music using any dynamics. This is not a good thing and not the way acoustic pianos behave.

There are five levels of touch sensitivity that you can change and set on this piano, but this feature has to do with different levels of volume response as you play the keys, and not with dynamic range or changes in tone. Touch sensitivity levels are there in case you normally play the keys too hard or too soft and you want to have a different level of volume for your particular touch. This feature is very common in digital pianos. Also, the piano sound itself on this piano is quite choppy as you play a song using single notes and chords (multiple notes) and has more of a staccato (shorter) sound as opposed to smooth and legato (longer), even when using the sustain damper pedal. The pedal sustain does allow for half-pedaling "gradual sustain," but this does little to alleviate the somewhat choppy sound that normally occurs when playing a song, especially when trying to play lightly or softly. The mark of a good piano is how the dynamics and sound responds when playing delicately and/or quietly, not just loud or harder. The Adagio does not pass the test at all in that way, and my test is fairly easy to pass.

The piano key movement on the Adagio pianos are definitely weighted more like a regular acoustic piano, so that is good and most people think this alone is what makes for a good playing experience. However, the key action movement is quite noisy and clunky, especially in the upper and lower part of the keyboard. This is particularly distracting when playing the piano at low volumes or using headphones. The key movement noise when the keys hit bottom or come back up can easily be heard throughout the room or house and is very annoying. It's like there isn't enough felt cushion under the keys to dampen the sound of the keys going up and down. When you play the piano at louder volumes this situation isn't as noticeable, but you shouldn't have to do that just to cover up that annoying key noise which most other good digital pianos don't have. Perhaps my ears are more sensitive than others, but I doubt it. If you have little experience with good digital or acoustic pianos, you may not notice this at first on the Adagio, but after awhile, you probably will.

This Adagio piano can be fun to play using the drum patterns and chord backgrounds but most people buying these pianos do not use those features very often. The piano is able to layer and split instrument sounds together which is good, and this is more more than some other pianos can do in this price range. However when it comes to trying to replicate an acoustic piano playing experience, you can do much better on other lower priced small digital grand or upright pianos such as Yamaha or Samick. Although the lower price of the Adagio can be "music to one's ears," the playing of the piano may have some sour notes (in my opinion) so keep that in mind when making your decision. If you are looking for a "showpiece" in your home, the Adagio definitely qualifies for that. But hopefully you are getting the piano to play music on and to have a satisfying acoustic piano playing and listening experience and in my opinion, that should be the main reason to buy any piano like this.

Go to the following links below to read about other digital baby grands that I recommend. My personal favorite for under $3000 is the Kohler KD5 5' digital baby grand (left pic - also comes in polished ebony). When you see this piano on my blog review especially for its lower price, then you'll see what I mean.

Kohler KD5 piano review
Yamaha CLP465GP Review
Samick SG110, SG310, SG450 
Samick SG210 Digital Baby Grand Review


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

2 comments:

  1. Do you recommend the brand Cameron and Sons? I am interested in a baby grand digital piano. The specific identification code is csm-41D.

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  2. I do not recommend the Cameron and Sons as they are sold only by one dealer and the brand is a store brand and not a manufacturer. Resale value is likely very poor as well. Don't know about quality but you get what you pay for most of the time and sometimes that is not good.

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