Pianos and guitars are the tools and constant companions of popular songwriters. Even confirmed guitarists like to have a piano around to help with their songwriting, as well as for collaborations. The problems are obvious: acoustic pianos are expensive, heavy and require regular maintenance. Digital pianos present the best alternative, but a good sounding and good feeling piano, while less expensive than the real thing, can still be costly. Williams’ Allegro 2 88-key portable digital piano provides an affordable alternative.
With full-size keys and reasonable action, it provides some resistance to make it feel like real piano. And, while it doesn’t have a “hammer action” feel, the Allegro 2 creates a convincing piano feel and sound that songwriters can appreciate. In addition to classic piano sounds for classical, jazz, pop, and rock styles that includes a 10′ 2″ concert grand with three-way, stereo velocity samples, the Allegro 2 offers ten high-definition stereo sounds from Williams’ all-new custom sound library: vintage tone-wheel organs and electric pianos, strings, synths, and basses. Split and layer functions are available to help you handle most musical situations. For performance, quality reverb and chorus effects are available along with the new ModFX feature that provides real-time control of the rotary speaker effect and a vibrato effect for electric pianos.
If recording is your thing, you can use the Allegro 2 as a MIDI controller connecting to a computer via USB. Songwriters will appreciate the built-in speakers; stereo, 1/4-inch audio outputs for connection to a sound system; a headphone output; and auto-sensing sustain-pedal jack so you can use any manufacturer’s sustain pedal. The controls on this instrument are simple and straightforward, and a bright, backlit, graphic LCD makes it easy to read and for adjusting parameters. The Allegro 2 also has an integrated music stand and built-in metronome.
The AC power supply (battery-powered) design makes it a good choice for those who travel, students, rehearsal rooms, schools, and churches, but you have to buy the power supply separately. Williams offers an ESS1 Essentials Pack ($29-$39), which includes a power supply, sustain pedal, and headphones.
While it’s not a real acoustic piano, the Williams Allegro 2 is well designed, easy to operate and a terrific value. All the controls, including a button for quick transposition, are located at the top of the unit and easy to navigate and, unlike some small pianos, it produces enough volume with its built-in speakers to compete with singers and other instrumentalists making it a great tool for both songwriters and students. The fact is: at this price point, it’s going to be hard for songwriters to find an excuse not to have a piano in their songwriting arsenal.
List price: $499.99
Street price $299.99