Review: Amazon's Best-Seller, Donner DEP-20 Digital Piano
Updated: Jan 5, 2021
The Donner DEP-20 Digital Piano is currently the best-selling affordable digital piano on Amazon. Garnering lots of positive reviews, this $350 USD digital piano has boasts of many features and functions that premium-branded pianos more than twice its price don't have. This is my unbiased, objective review on the Donner DEP-20.
The Donner DEP-20 comes with 88 fully weighted, full size piano keys with 4 configurable velocity curves to match your playing style. It has a graded hammer action just like an acoustic piano where the keys on the left side of the piano have a heavy touch which gets lighter as you move to the keys on the right. The 2-line LCD screen is bright, legible and practical, showing you the essential information you need.
It also comes with a rest for your music book and a solid zinc alloy sustain pedal. I am surprised that the pedal comes with a polarity switch. Many digital pianos that cost twice as much comes with just a cheap basic foot switch. You have an option to connect a triple-pedal for soft, sostenuto & damper functions if you want more nuanced control over your piano playing.
The speakers on the Donner DEP-20 are really loud. You get a pair of 25W speakers that not only fire upwards towards the player, but also fires downwards towards the floor to provide greater spatial separation. However, the speakers do lose some clarity when pushed too loud.
The Donner DEP-20 also comes with two ¼” headphones jack right up front which is significantly more convenient than having headphones jacks right at the back. On the rear panel, we get a ¼” audio output for connecting to an amplifier, a ¼” audio input for connecting to your external sound source, a sustain pedal input, a triple-pedal input, a USB MIDI port to use with a DAW on your computer, mobile phone or tablet and a USB port for you to plug in USB thumb drive with your own MP3 music to play along with.
If you don’t need the portability, you have the option to get a furniture style wooden stand with the Donner DEP-20.
There is no way to adjust the volume mix of the dual layers, the keyboard split, rhythm or accompaniment volume. There is also no quick method for selecting the sounds or rhythm which can be time-consuming. The rhythm accompaniment does not come with a basic intro and ending nor variation for each rhythm for a more polished performance. There is also no way to save your voice settings into user registration memory slots for quick recall. It can be quite a pain to set up every song from scratch each time you want to play. You do get a one-song, one track recorder which is very easy to use, however at this price, a two track recorder would be nice for recording the right hand and left hand parts of a song separately.
The voices can be layered for a richer & lusher sound or can be split across the keyboard so you get a different sound on the left & right side of the keyboard. If you prefer a more resonant sound, you can turn on the built-in DSP effect. A transposition feature is also readily accessible if you need to play a song in a different key.
Keyboard Split Function
Built-in DSP effect
The Donner DEP-20 digital piano has 200 Rhythms with chord accompaniment styles genres ranging from Pop, Rock, Blues, EDM, Jazz, Latin to Ethnic music. The styles are not the best programmed ones I have heard, but they make learning & practising the piano infinitely more fun and engaging than playing along with the built-in metronome. It also comes with a convenient button to quickly turn on a drum kit if you feel the impetus to engage in some finger drumming!
The Advanced Wave Memory sampling technology pioneered by Yamaha to provide you with 238 tones. You get a good variety of pianos, electric pianos, organs, guitars, saxophones, synths & ethnic instruments. As can be expected at this price, not every tone is good, but the sounds that matter, such as pianos & electric pianos are above average. With 128 notes of polyphony, you can play long sustained and complex classical pieces and you won’t experience note drop outs.
But let’s be realistic. At this price, you are not going to get some fancy binaural or super articulation sound samples found in digital pianos costing 10 times as much. Many of the samples are above average and most buyers will have little to complain about. Some sounds like the bagpipes, Sitar and many of the ethnic instruments do stand out as one of the better ones.
Grand Piano (with dual layer function)
Overall, the Donner DEP-20 digital piano is very good value for money at this price with an above average fully weighted & graded key action, an above average piano sample, loads of rhythms to play along with and many useful connectivity options. Without a doubt, at this budget price, there are bound to be compromises.
You can click on the links provided in this article to check out the latest prices and updated information on this best-selling digital piano. Also, if you are interested to learn how to play the keyboard, you can take a look at my step-by-step beginner course!