Are you looking for the best digital piano for your needs and stumbled across my Donner DDP-90 review? You should know that this is the last review you have to read on the subject. And this is because of a number of reasons. First, I offer my authentic opinion on this digital piano because I actually tested it. Second, I’m about to cover every aspect, including design, sound, keyboard and others, so that you have a complete picture on the DDP-90 before deciding whether it’s the best choice for you or not. Third, you’re going to find the best offer online.
But why are Donner digital pianos among the best sellers in home digital pianos? Is it only because of the low price, or is the value for price ratio an advantageous one too? These are just a few of the questions that I’m going to answer with this review. Donner is a fairly young brand. They started in 2012 with filling a specific market need: mini guitar effect pedals. Afterwards they started developing various musical instruments like guitars, mandolins and keyboards, among others. All of Donner’s products have a common denominator: an affordable price range. But is there more to their musical instruments than an affordable price tag? Let’s find out together.
Donner DDP-90 Specifications
|Piano cover||Flip cover|
Because I am committed to offering only the most truthful opinion on this Donner DDP-90 review, I must say that I pleasantly surprised by the overall design. First, a as a side note, if you want to install it upstairs, you should know that the box it arrives in is pretty large and relatively heavy, so a helping hand would be of great use. Once unboxed, the installation process is pretty straightforward, and shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes.
You have everything that you need in the box. The base is made of four elements: the two legs, the pedal board and a backboard. You can easily install the base by yourself, but you could use a hand when placing the keyboard onto the base. This way you eliminate any risk of dropping the piano, which you want to avoid at all cost. But in case you lose anything, there are extra parts in the package.
The keyboard sits at 28 inches from the floor, some people may find this a little low, as the accepted range lies between 28 and 29 inches. Acoustic pianos usually are at 28.5 inches, so the difference is not that great of an issue.
The overall appearance of the DDP-90 is very pleasing. It has an elegant look with a lid that completes the sleek design as much in functionality as in style. Having a lid, and closing it when not playing, makes a world of difference in keeping the inside of the digital piano’s keyboard dust free. It also has a support for when it’s open, so it doesn’t close onto your fingers. But even if it would close by accident, the soft close will prevent any injuries.
It’s a bit more compact and lighter than the Donner DDP-100. But it’s safe to say that both would fit in any room, no matter how low on space you are. And then again, it would even up the room style wise because it probably fits in most decors.
The fully weighted 88 keys offer a realistic experience. On the left hand side you can find the power button and the volume knob. It doesn’t have any fancy features but it does deliver a pretty realistic piano playing experience. The slimmed down design fits the cabinet style of the DDP-90.
There’s also a connectivity panel at the back of the piano, where you can find a number of usual options. But you will learn more about this in the “Connectivity” part of my Donner DDP-90 review.
I’m pleased with the quality of built and sturdiness of design, especially for the price you can find this one for.
One of the most important parts of a digital piano is its sound. There are currently two methods that digital pianos use to produce their sound: samples and modelling. The digital pianos that use samples, basically take recordings of each note played at different velocity levels and attribute these values to the corresponding keys of a digital piano. The modelling method recreates each sound the moment you strike a key, in accordance to the way you strike that key.
The Donner DEP-20 uses the sampling method. Most digital piano manufacturers use this method, it’s the classic method. The newer method, the sound modelling method is used by Roland. The opinions are not conclusive as to which is the superior method.
The sound producing technology on the DEP-20 is very good quality, I really like the realism of sound in general, and the smooth transitions and crispness of the sound in particular. You can also use headphones, and the sound is even more immersive, besides avoiding to disturb the activities of people around you.
The sound retains its quality whether you turn the volume knob up or down. This one of those cases where a product does just one thing but does that very well. You can easily use this digital piano not only for practice at home, but also for performances or in school or church environments.
In case you don’t know what polyphony is, I will explain it real quick. When you use different types of effects and sustain and fast finger technique, the number of different notes that are heard at the same time climbs upward. The limit of how many notes can be reproduced at the same time by the piano before the first played notes start decaying is determined by the capacity of the technology installed on the instrument.
The Donner DEP-20 has 128-note polyphony, a limit which gives you a lot of liberty of expression. I think it’s safe to say that there are slightest chances of ever maxing out this polyphony limit. A higher limit would only be necessary if you are more advanced and play more complex pieces of music.
The sound comes from the two speakers that are oriented downwards. They provide a rich and powerful enough sound to fill any living room, at least if not a smaller public space. In most cases, you will never need external amplification. It doesn’t lose on quality if you hook it up to some amplifiers, on contrary, it can sound even better. But there are rare occasion where I think you would need any externa amplification. It’s really good enough.
I must say my ears are very pleased by this speaker system. The sound remains crisp and smooth even when you turn the volume up. There are no rattling or crackling noises that I could identify.
The quality is surprisingly good. I didn’t expect them to be comparable to Yamahas or Casios, due to their lack of experience, but they are. I hope Donner will work at refining their samples, because as far as the quality of the hardware is concerned, their definitely on the right path.
Besides from sound, the keyboard is the other important part of a digital piano. The sound and keyboard combine to offer the realism of the piano playing experience. We’ve seen in the chapters above that the sound of the Donner DDP-90 exceeds my initial expectations. Does the keyboard exceed my expectations too? Let’s find out!
The DDP-90 has a fully weighted 88-key keyboard. I like the fact that they installed a full keyboard on this digital piano, and also that it’s fully weighted. It’s also touch sensitive. The volume of a played note is in direct relation to the force that you apply when pressing down a key. The range is very satisfactory and the transitions are smooth. The weight will also help you develop the appropriate finger technique, that you can later transfer to an acoustic piano if that’s what you look forward to.
The texture of the keys also contribute to the realism of the piano playing experience. While they’re not covered with a surface of artificial ebony and ivory, they still feel nice and close to that authentic feeling of an acoustic piano’s keys. The black keys’ surface differs from that of the white keys, they have a different grain. This is a consistent characteristic across Donner’s different digital piano models. Some people who have tested this piano out say that it’s an odd feature, others like it. I tend to be on the side of those who like it because I think they offer a good grip, especially after you play the keyboard a lot and your fingers start to sweat. According to my opinion, that’s the main function of the surface of the keys, to offer a good grip and prevent your finger from slipping, which could lead to a spoiled performance.
The distance from the floor t the keyboard is 28 inches. This is at the lowest accepted level, but still within accepted range. The pedals are a great addition, giving you the opportunity to play whichever song you like, because you have all three of the pedals you would have on an acoustic piano.
There are not many functions I can talk about. The Donner DDP-90 is designed to be a digital version of a grand piano, or of an upright piano, if you will. The control panel is the bare minimum. It’s made up of a on/off button and a volume knob.
A very interesting feature that I think is worth mentioning is the flip cover, which is there to cover the keyboard while not in use, and keep the dust out of the inner parts of the keyboard. But it’s not only functional, it does what it does while looking great and further suggesting that acoustic piano sensation.
I could include the three pedal unit at this chapter. Although I mentioned it in the last chapter, it represents a function of the digital piano which contributes to the authentic feeling.
If you want to make recordings of your practice for future analysis, that’s also possible with the DDP-90.
The function chapter of my Donner DDP-90 review might seem kind of slim, but the lack of bells and whistles doesn’t bother me that much, because I understand what this piano was designed for, to offer an as authentic as possible piano playing experience, at the most affordable price possible. So, if you look for an instrument to practice piano, but doesn’t have extra sounds and functions, it’s a choice to keep in mind.
The connectivity options of the DDP-90 are also basic. But this is within the all around design philosophy of the instrument: good fundamentals and no extras.
The connectivity panel is located on the rear part of the piano. These are the connectivity options making up the panel: mp3, USB, sustain, in, out and dc. As you can see, you can connect your digital piano to a computer to transfer files to and from. You can also connect the piano to external amplifiers, if needed, or you can plug in headphones which will give you the ability to practice without disturbing the people around you.
The digital piano lacks Bluetooth connectivity, but that’s just a way to avoid cables, you have the ability to make the connections you need through the available ports.
Now that we’ve reached the final part of my Donner DDP-90 review, it’s time to make a decision on whether it’s a digital piano worth buying or not.
The DDP-90 has pros and cons, like any other piano, but I tend to put them in perspective, especially the cons. The piano is designed to be a digital variant to an acoustic piano. And they did a very good job focusing on the fundamentals. Overall, the value you get for the price is great, I’d be hard pressed to find many other examples that have such an advantageous value for money ratio.
The question then is whether you look for a digital piano to practice playing the piano on, or rather a more versatile instrument that offers different sounds and effects. You have to determine your exact needs and expectations first, and only then make a decision.