Nov 6, 2013

REVIEW - Suzuki DG10 Micro Grand Digital Piano - Attractive on the outside but NOT GOOD as a PIANO

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
Suzuki DG10 digital micro grand
UPDATED REVIEW - May 1, 2014 - Suzuki DG10 Micro Grand digital piano - Not Recommended - Suzuki is a well known name for many things including motorcycles, cars, violins, and music instruction. However, the piano company name is privately owned and the name Suzuki is borrowed (or licensed) to this company and they have nothing to do with the vehicle or music instruction division. Although the Suzuki music company's piano products have been around for a number of years, Suzuki has moved their product sales in the US primarily to Costco stores. The new DG10 digital mini grand ($1499 Costco store discount price) is the latest small digital baby grand from Suzuki and (unfortunately) it utilizes the same key action electronics and sound technology as their low priced small SD10 vertical digital piano (approx $800-$900 internet price), which has been out for awhile. I have done a review of the SD10 at the following link if you would like to read about it: Suzuki SD10 review.


Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
Once again, Suzuki has done a good job in producing an attractive, compact (55" wide x 31" deep, 165lbs) polished ebony cabinet that makes people say "that is really cool looking, and "I'd like to have one." American buyers (in many cases) tend to buy things impulsively because the item is pretty/beautiful or cool looking, without really researching what's on the "inside." The Suzuki DG10 micro grand is a perfect example of that. It looks good on the outside, is a very low price for what it appears to be, has lots of buttons and a LCD display screen, connects to iPad, and has some fun features too. The keys themselves even go up and down somewhat like a real piano and the keys have some weight to them so they do feel OK. There's a headphone jack for playing in privacy and a full 120 watt speaker system for loud volume if necessary. Add to that the ability to have and use drum beats, auto chords, and have a multitrack recorder for song recording and playback from a USB flashdrive, and it would seem like a fabulous "deal" at just $1499. The piano also includes a matching bench and factory warranty along with the fact that it's available at Costco for easy purchase and a full return policy if needed...what more could you want?

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
DG10 side view
Well...you could want a LOT more. Unfortunately the DG10 micro grand really does not sound like an acoustic piano and certainly does not play like an acoustic piano based on my experience playing it. I was actually hoping this new model was better in the fundamentals of piano playing than previous Suzuki models, and with the exception of a much quieter key action (which is good), the piano key & sound response is not good. The key sensors under the keys that detect motion and trigger the piano sound do little to change tonal dynamics and volume sensitivity including dynamic range for proper expression from mellow to bright as well as soft to loud. Key repetition (playing multiple keys together fast & slow and how they respond) is weak and sometimes notes do not play at all depending on the key repetition, and overall piano playability including proper pedaling (this model does not have half-pedal function) is sorely lacking.

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
DG10 with closed lid
The piano polyphony on the DG10 is only 64-notes and in this price range many of the other digital piano brands are 128 notes to 256 notes of polyphony piano memory in their regular vertical pianos. Polyphony is the ability of the piano to play multiple notes at one time using sustain pedal. The more polyphony there is, the better. 64 notes of polyphony is OK and would not be an issue if the rest of the piano played good and was like a real piano. To some people who are beginners or have little playing experieince, the DG10 may actually sound like an acoustic piano and behave like one, but it really doesn't and it's obvious if you have played a good acoustic piano in the past and know what to listen for, which unfortunately most people do not know. All the extra "bells & whistles" are indeed fun to have and do work fine on the DG10, but just playing it as a piano is not a pleasant experience, at least for it wasn't for me, and I wasn't trying to be overly critical.

Kawai CE220 digital piano
Kawai CE220
To get a much better piano playing experience you could buy a very low price nice compact (portable) digital piano from Yamaha, Casio, or Kawai for under $1000 which would far exceed the ability of the Suzuki DG10 in recreating realistic piano playing. If you chose to spend around $1000-$1500 (or slightly more) on a regular vertical cabinet model digital piano by Yamaha, Casio, Kawai, Roland, Kurzweil, or Korg, those brands and models would absolutely be a huge upgrade in piano realism over the Suzuki DG10 with regard to the fundamentals of piano playing including proper weighted key action, sturdiness of keys, piano sound, proper and full expression, responsiveness, pedaling, and other important piano playing functions. They just don't come in the cute, compact micro-grand cabinet:).

The bottom line is...you just do not get something for nothing. If you absolutely want the look of the Suzuki DG10 micro-grand cabinet and it is so important to you that the other things do not matter near as much, then buy it. Is the DG10 a bad piano, no I am not saying that. But are there much better alternatives for an digital instrument that should
Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
be able to play piano realistically for under $1500, yes I am absolutely saying that.  As a beginner you may not be able to distinguish what is necessary or important to have in a digital piano piano, but do not let all those digital "toy" functions that produce all the extra bells & whistles along with the "cute cabinet" sway your
Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
decision and cause you to buy a piano that in the end, may only cause more harm than good with regard to playing the piano, even at minimal standards, especially if you are taking piano lessons. The old saying of "do not judge a book by its cover" or "you don't get something for nothing" is true of the Suzuki DG10 in my opinion. Based on my experience playing this piano it's really a toy dressed up to be a piano that looks good at a cheap price. The old saying of "you get what you pay for" is also true of the DG10. You will get what you pay for in this model and if that's what you want, then you should get it.

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
So what about quality, reliability, etc, over the years of a model like this? I can only judge that by past personal experience with Suzuki digital pianos and it was not so good. The new Yamaha & Casio digital pianos that cost less than $600 sound much more realistic to me than any of these Suzuki pianos. The main advantage the Suzuki DG10 has over these low priced keyboards is a nice looking cabinet with a powerful speaker system. But even the cabinet had some issues on one of the DG10's I played at Costco. The piano was new and yet had a key cover that did not close properly and got stuck along with having a wiggly lid when you
Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano hardly moved it. Also when the key cover was completely opened up and slid back into the piano, the cover was still sticking out and partially covering up the top row of buttons including the button names. That is not a good thing and I tried to push the key cover up further into the piano where it should be, but the key cover would not go in any further. Perhaps its can be adjusted but the piano would need to be taken apart to get into it to see if anything could be done about it. When I see these kinds of cabinet malfunctions and quality control issues then to me that can be a sign of more bad things to come.

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
The good things about this DG10 are that it can play loud, sounds OK with 128  instrument sounds some of which are nice (electric pianos, strings, and other non-piano tones), looks cute, is pretty, is a small compact size, and you can have fun with it using 100 automatic fun accompaniments & drums including jazz, rock, Latin, country etc, a multitrack recorder, song playback system, duet and sound layers as well as auto harmony, MIDI & audio in/out jacks and USB computer connection, and convenient headphone jacks. So it really has a lot of "stuff." But as a piano, I give it a grade of "D." I wanted to give it at least a grade of C but this model isn't even average in actual piano playing realism.

Suzuki DG10 micro grand digital piano
There is no doubt the DG10 micro grand looks attractive from on the outside and can fit into many spaces. However, I would not recommend the Suzuki DG10 to my piano students or anyone else's students and certainly would not recommend it for someone who actually played the piano. If you don't play piano or will be a "one-finger" automatic chord playing person and you like the cabinet and the price, then this may be the perfect piano for you:). In America we have many choices and also if you don't like this piano after you buy it at Costco, you can always send it back to Costco because they are very good about accepting returns, but good luck taking it apart and repacking it in the box:). Do yourself and/or your family a favor...get a digital piano that can play like a piano (when you want it to) and there are good ones out there, and you can find reviews of a variety of models in different price ranges on my blog. It is true that a small digital baby grand cabinet in a good brand will be well above $2000 and upwards to $5000 because you can't get something for nothing when it comes to quality in cabinet, sound, key action, pedals, and reliability. The Suzuki DG10 is a cheap price for a reason and that's why the Suzuki DG10 will sell...many people value appearance over substance, and if that is you, then buy the Suzuki DG10 because you might be happy with it. Copyright AZPianoNews.com 2014

At the end of the day it's all about enjoying your piano playing experience and being able to have the piano grow with you as you progress in your piano playing skills. As an experienced and accomplished piano instructor for thousands of piano students over the years and having played professionally on digital pianos as well as Steinway, Yamaha, and Kawai acoustic grand pianos, I can tell you that few things are as beautiful & satisfying as playing a piano. So if you (or family members) are going to do that, then do it with a good instrument that will bring you years of playing happiness and joy for the entire family knowing that you spent your money well.

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

* I recommend eMedia educational software. If you decide to make a purchase after clicking on link below, I have arranged a big discount for you direct with eMedia for their educational software and that discount price is displayed through this link only! I want to see everyone learn to play and enjoy piano!

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