Since I am a freetime keyboard player it always gave me headache that I couldn't easily take my instruments with me for longer holidays or business trips - where (in a hotel) you often have more free time and less things to do than at home. So I was eager to put my hands on one of the Refaces and price-wise I considered the risk (of the instrument not being so usable) to be reasonable.
I can happily report that I am very satisfied with the purchase. Yamaha just cut out the right balance (for me), the size, the weight, the mechanical durabilty and the feel of the keys and controls are just right - good enough for serious playing. Even the mini keys can be well played with a big hand, though it's a bit tougher with both hands. It boasts some very serious sound, while nothing is overdone and the instrument remains very portable. The built-in speakers don't distort, but are not very loud and cannot handle lower registers - so headphones or amplification is recommended for the joy.
The human interface is surprisingly good and easy to use, the touch controls exceeded my expectations. The connectors are professional in size and variety, even the headphones jack is the 6.3mm version. There is no noise - it could even be used for stage purposes, save for the limited number and size of the keys (but, having MIDI, the DX sounds can be played on normal keys too).
I haven't tried the accompanying iPhone app yet (I need to order a cable), but this is the only instrument of the 4 Refaces that can store sounds itself too.
It also has a usable looper that can store 30 minutes of music (limited by the 8-note maximum poliphony!), but the recorded loops cannot be stored after the instrument is switched off, and the sound cannot be changed for the next layer of recording. Or, it can be changed, but the sound of all layers are changing at once.
I think however that at this price point the keyboard delivers enough, even exceeding my expectations. I really enjoy bringing it everywhere with a good headphones, running on 6 AA batteries.
Before purchasing, I hesitated which Reface I should select and bought the DX for a few reasons:
- it is an FM synthesizer I never had and is fun to learn (I already had a piano and a Hammond organ)
- but it also has (pre-stored) electric piano sound and 8 notes poliphony, which I prefer when studying music theory
- it has a looper
- it has 4x8 internal storage places for storing sounds (the only one of the 4 Refaces)
(however, you can always store sounds in the iPhone/iPad apps)
Considering that it was a blind purchase, I'd never tried the instrument before, I am quite happy I did buy it and can easily recommend it to you.