Best Yamaha Digital Pianos

Yamaha Logo

Yamaha digital pianos are reliable and time-tested products. When I am asked to advise the brand of the digital piano – Yamaha usually takes one of the first places in my rating, no matter who you are – a student, a teacher, a hobbiest or a professional musician. This company has been doing acoustic pianos for more than a century. And Yamaha is a pioneer in digital piano technology. Its’ engineers spent a lot of time working on sampling of wide selection of timbres and voices, along with the numerous other features of the Yamaha digital keyboard instruments.

Many people ask me – what is the best Yamaha digital piano? Actually this is not a correct question. Similarly, one could ask – What is the best Mercedes car? After all, Mercedes produces a whole line of cars of various classes, cost, and comfort. Also in our case, the Yamaha digital keyboard instruments line is huge, and the best Yamaha digital piano will depend on your needs. Below, I will try to give my classification and tell a little about the different Yamaha electronic keyboards and digital pianos. I’ve spent a lot of time to classify and describe Yamaha products as I see it, I hope you will enjoy this article and learn something new. This article is not for professionals, but predominantly for home users, choosing Yamaha digital piano for practicing or just for having fun. Happy reading:)

Best Yamaha Beginner Electronic Keyboard

Did you notice the word Keyboard in the title? That means that these beginner instruments which I want to describe in this section honestly are not digital pianos. Yes, they sound like piano and also have black and white keys, but there are also some differences. Check out electronic keyboard and digital piano comparison to find out what is different between them. If you are ready to go, here is my top 3 of Yamaha electronic keyboard for beginners.

 PSR-E263
YPT260
PSR-E363
YPT360
PSR-EW300EZ-220
Number of keys61617661
Keyboard typeTouch ResponsiveTouch ResponsiveTouch Responsive,
Lighted keys
Polyphony32484832
Weight8 lbs 13 oz10 lbs 2 oz13 lbs 11 oz9 lbs 11 oz
Weight (kg)4 kg4.6 kg6.2 kg4.4 kg
Dimensions (WxHxD)940x106x317 mm945x118x368 mm1152x118x369 mm945x111x348 mm
Voices384574574392
Accompaniment styles130165165100
Preset Songs112154154100
User Songs155-
Connections

  • DC IN (12V)
  • Phones/Output
  • Sustain
  • Aux In


  • DC IN (12V)
  • Phones/Output
  • Sustain
  • Aux In
  • USB-to-HOST


  • DC IN (12V)
  • Phones/Output
  • Sustain
  • Aux In
  • USB-to-HOST


  • DC IN (12V)
  • Phones/Output
  • Sustain
  • USB-to-HOST

Speakers2x2.5 W2x2.5 W2x2.5 W2x2.5 W
Price$$$$$$$$
My Rating

PSR-E263

This is the ideal entry-level Yamaha keyboard for starting out musicians. PSR-E263 is the cheapest Yamaha portable keyboard model, however it has everything you need to start playing.
PSR-E263 features a comprehensive library of 400 instrument voices of any musical genre. Moreover, it has 130 auto accompaniment styles – which provides real-time backing tracks based on the chords you play.

Yamaha PSR-E263

It has 112 preset songs which you can play along using the lesson mode, including special songs for chord study. The songbook with the songs is available for download on Yamaha website: https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/keyboards/portable_keyboards/psr-e263/downloads.html#853663
Duo mode allows splitting the keyboard into two parts and play two people together – you can ask your family and friends to join you. And recording function will record your performance into internal memory (1 song of ~300 notes capacity).

PSR-E263 is very compact and most lightweight (only 8 lb!) among all Yamaha keyboards. And since it can run on batteries, you can even take it with you on a picnic and enjoy your performance anywhere.
As per connections Yamaha PSR-E263 has standard set of them:

    • DC IN (12V)
    • Headphones/Output standard stereo jack
    • Sustain Pedal input
    • Aux input (Stereo mini jack)

Also PSR-E263 has the ability to connect your music player through mini jack cable and hear your favorite music through the instrument’s internal speakers. It has 2×12 cm speakers 2.5 W each, which is more than enough for you to listen to your performance or to play some improvised concerts in front of friends.
The last thing you should know about this keyboard is that it costs just a little more than $100. You will surely love PSR-E263 as your first musical instrument! Just give it a try.

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PSR-E363

This Yamaha keyboard is one step higher level than the previous model. Compared with PSR-E263 it has touch-responsive keyboard with 48 note polyphony, more sounds and backing tracks, and also USB connectivity with computer.

What is touch response?
Whenever you play heavily you get louder tones, if you play softly you get quieter sounds. Touch-sensitive keyboard reflects every nuance of your playing.

Yamaha PSR-E363

PSR-E363 has 574 sounds, 165 preset auto-accompaniment styles, many effects to modify sound. Dual mode and recording into internal memory is also supported. The memory in this model is increased to 5 songs (2 tracks, ~10000 notes).
Yamaha PSR-E363 has the following connections onboard:

  • DC IN (12V)
  • Headphones/Output standard stereo jack
  • Sustain pedal input
  • Aux input (Stereo mini jack)
  • USB-to-host

As you may notice, there is a USB port here. This is a nice addition in such a budget model as PSR-E363. It allows you to connect your instrument to computer and record your performance in high-quality audio format without the need for an additional interface.
Aux input is used to connect external audio device to play songs from it through Yamaha speakers and accompany your favorite musicians.
A 200-page songbook can be downloaded from Yamaha website. It has more than one hundred songs, integrated into PSR-E363, which you can learn with the help of the songbook and Yamaha special “Yamaha Education Suite”. Some of the songs come in two versions – basic and advanced. The basic version is simpler to play and study: you will find step by step tutorial of how to play typical chords and note sequences of the song. The advanced version is more complex but if you achieve to play it, you will be proud of yourself Advanced versions also have learning tutorials, so you will not be left alone with the sheet music.
Note that power adapter doesn’t come with Yamaha PSR-E363 by default, but you can power it by batteries (6 AA batteries are required), or buy a bundle which costs something about additional 10 bucks.

If you don’t plan on actually playing piano as your end goal, this is the perfect instrument for getting into music, and learning music theory. However if you are more serious into studying, I suggest looking for full-sized 88-key piano with weighted action keys which are reviewed below.

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PSR-EW300

If 61 keys is not enough for you, you can get more with PSR-EW300 – 76-key electronic keyboard. Due to big number of voices and auto-accompaniment styles, this keyboard allows to compose and play music in almost every genre. And 6 octaves gives more space especially when playing classical music or playing four-hands.
PSR-EW300 has a very useful feature for beginners – lesson mode. It allows you to practice preset Songs and improve your skills step by step with the help of free downloadable song book (download from Yamaha website). For example, you can select the key phrases of the Song and practice them step by step, and each step you play will be evaluated. When you reach the score of “60” or more, you will pass to the next step automatically. This mode is called “Keys to Success” – I liked it, because adds an excitement to your training, and you always know whether you should play this phrase some more, or you are ready to continue to the next phrase.

Yamaha PSR-EW300

There are also other practicing options in PSR-EW300:

  • you may practice two or more phrases at once repeatedly
  • You can practice each hand alone or both hands together
  • Touch tutor – tells you how hard or soft you should play the keys
  • Chord study – hear the sounds of chords

You can record your performance into internal memory, PSR-EW300 has enough space for up to 5 user songs. Or you can use USB-to-HOST port to connect the keyboard to your computer or iPad and transmit /receive MIDI or USB Audio. And you will be able to easily share your original performance with your friends and relatives using Yamaha Cloud Recorder free app.

PSR-EW300 weighs 6.2 kg. This is a little heavier than its smaller brother – PSR-E363, but still not too much to take the keyboard with you. It still has the ability to power by batteries.

I can say that PSR-EW300 is very good for beginner, and will suit you more if you prefer performing classical music because of its wide 76-key touch-responsive keyboard. You will like its lesson features and plenty of solid Yamaha sounds.

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EZ-220

Another great option for beginners is Yamaha EZ-220. Besides 392 voices, 100 auto-accompaniment styles, Usb-to-host connectivity, this 61-key keyboard has unique feature – lighted keys. It automatically lights your musical path as you play. And with the help of branded Yamaha Education Suite it makes your or your child’s practice fun.

Yamaha EZ-220

One more thing to mention is that EZ-220 can wirelessly connect with free Page Turner App on your iPad. This app has sheet music for all the 100 songs integrated into EZ-220, and automatically turns pages as you play. If you don’t have iPad, this songbook can still be downloaded from Yamaha website in usual PDF format.

However there is something about this keyboard that worried me a little: you can’t turn off background track in any of the pre-loaded songs. Though it sounds great when you listen to the song, but it’s not useful when you are learning a song and want to concentrate on the notes you play and the whole orchestra is playing in the background.

There is a bundle on Amazon which includes power adapter, stand and headphones. However when a friend of mine ordered this bundle (it was about 2 years ago), the stand appeared to be wrong stand for EZ-220, keyboard can easily fall off from it. And included headphones had the wrong size jack. Maybe now it is fixed by Amazon and correct keyboard stand and headphones go with it. But if you don’t want to experiment, I suggest you to purchase EZ-220 without extras (see here) and buy compatible wall plug (PA-130) and a good suitable stand such as Hercules KS110B.

Overall Yamaha EZ-220 is a nice choice for beginner. Integrated Yamaha Education Suite and 100 preloaded songs with sheet music will help you learn to play and get basic playing skills easily. And your children will certainly like its lighted keys, cause it makes learning fun.

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Yamaha Portable Digital Pianos with Weighted Keys

Digital Piano is an electronic keyboard with weighted keys. Usually it doesn’t have many integrated sounds, but the piano sounds are really good. These devices are ideal for both beginners who seriously want to learn piano and for professionals who need a good piano in portable case. The price range for Yamaha portable digital pianos is also rather wide, one can find suitable instrument for every budget starting from about $400. I will publish my own rating of Yamaha top-selling portable pianos below.

All Yamaha digital pianos can be grouped by keyboard action type. There are several graded hammer action types: from basic – GHS (Graded Hammer Standard), to the most advanced – NWX (Natural Wood X).

  • Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • Graded Hammer (GH)
  • Graded Hammer 3 w/Synth Ivory Tops (GH3)
  • Natural Wood GH (NW-GH)
  • Natural Wood X (NWX)

All of them replicate the feel of acoustic piano hammers and provide heavier touch in the lower end and lighter touch in the high end. Most budget Yamaha digital pianos come with GHS, but it is still very good for most entry-level to intermediate students. GH has more realistic weight distribution between keys. And most expensive and professional models use GH3 or NW. Starting from GH3, there are 3 sensors in each key, which provide grand-piano style response and feel for quick note repetition, and Synthetic Ivory white keys have tactile surface absorbing moisture from fingers which prevent them from slipping.

As for me, I can’t say that some keyboard action is better than another. Even if you play on several acoustic pianos of different manufactures you will notice that all of them are different in terms of how you feel the keyboard, and you can’t say that this keyboard action is Standard, and all digital pianos must take it as a reference. You keep in mind this categorization, but still I recommend you choose any Yamaha digital piano you like not paying much attention to the graded hammer action type. Just listen to your feelings if you can try and play it before buy and my reviews if you can’t)

Best Yamaha Portable Digital Piano under $1000

 P-45 (P-71)P-125DGX-660
Hammer Action TypeGHSGHSGHS
Polyphony64192192
Weight25 lbs 4 oz26.01 lbs46 lbs 5 oz
Weight (kg)11.5 kg11.8 kg21 kg
Dimensions (WxHxD)52-1/4”x6.0”x11-1/2”52.2”x6.54”x11.61”55”x5-3/4”x17-1/2”
Dimensions (WxHxD), mm1,326x154x295 mm1,326x166x295 mm1,397x146x445 mm
Voices1024>151
Rhythms/Accompaniment styles-20205
Preset Songs-21 demo + 50 piano100
User Songs-15
Yamaha Education Suite--Yes
Speakers2x4-1/2” (2x12 cm)2x12 cm + 2x4 cm2x12 cm + 2x5 cm
LCD Display--320x240 dots
Connections

  • DC IN 12V
  • Headphone Jack
  • Sustain Pedal
  • USB TO HOST

  • DC IN 12V
  • Headphone Jack x2
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Pedal Unit
  • USB TO HOST
  • Aux Out

  • DC IN 12V
  • Headphone Jack
  • Sustain Pedal
  • USB to HOST
  • USB to DEVICE
  • Aux In (Stereo Mini Jack)
  • Microphone In (Stereo Phone Jack)
Price$$$$$$
Rating
Link

P-45

P45 is the most affordable Yamaha digital piano model. It is compact, lightweight, with minimalistic design (only one function button), and has the most necessary thing piano needs – the sound of digitally sampled acoustic piano. Besides 2 grand piano sounds, it has several other internal voices: E-piano, Organ, Strings, Harpsichord and Vibraphone.

Yamaha P45 keyboard
Yamaha P45
Yamaha P45 with matching stand

It has Duo to help you study with teacher, and Layer mode to combine and play two sounds simultaneously. In comparison with “plastic keyboards” which are described in the previous section, P45 and other Yamaha portable pianos doesn’t come with any built-in educational programs. However this piano is good to start practicing when you study with teacher or with the help of online piano lessons.

P-45 vs P-71

You may find very similar Yamaha portable digital pianos – P-45 and P-71. Actually there are no functional differences between them, you may buy any which is cheaper. P-71 is just another name for P-45 and is sold as Amazon exclusive model.

You can find this P45 (or P71) for the price below $400, so I recommend it to all my students who are on budget.

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P-125

P-125 is the latest middle-class Yamaha portable digital piano released in 2018. It came to replace the top selling P-115 and now is gaining popularity as the new Yamaha flagship. With the size and weight almost equal to P-45, it has much more options on-board: 24 sounds, 20 rhythms, improved 2-way speaker system which sounds much better than in P-45, more buttons for easier function change, but still simple and minimalistic design. Though it doesn’t have a screen on top panel, but there is a Smart Pianist App to control the device functions from your iPad. You can also use this app to learn to play chords from your favorite songs – Chord Tracker detects and shows them automatically.

Yamaha P-125
Yamaha P-125

P-125 has Drum&Bass tracks to accompany you and follow your harmony: feel yourself as if you are playing with a professional band!
Optional L-125 furniture style matching keyboard stand and LP-1 3-pedal unit will turn your portable P-125 into a very stylish interior piano.

Yamaha P125 with stand

I suppose that P-125 is the golden mean among Yamaha compact digital pianos. It can suit most musicians needs from beginners to professionals. Very recommended as very quality middle-class Yamaha portable piano.

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DGX-660

When I first sat in front of this instrument (I can’t call it a piano, it would not be fair) and tried “Ambient Piano” preset, I closed my eyes and was immediately convinced that this piano is real.
With the weight of more than 46 lbs (and more than 61 lbs with keyboard stand) DGX-660 can hardly be called portable and it also differs in many other things from the two P-series pianos I described above. But I decided to include it to my list, because many people choose between it and P-series. Actually DGX-660 took the very best of electronic keyboards from the first section of my article and portable digital piano from the second, and improved it many times.

Yamaha DGX-660

DGX-660 is similar to Yamaha P-series in terms of GHS keyboard action type, 88 keys, very good piano sampled sounds. But it has an incredible number of additional very interesting features, including but not limited to:

  • A lot more voices than other pianos have, including authentic guitar, strings, brass and more
  • On-board Learning function
  • Easy to read score and lyric display
  • USB device input to connect your flash drive to record or playback music files in WAV format
  • Smart Chord feature to create entire chords of any type you choose (from pop triads to complex jazz chords) just with a press of one finger in the left hand
  • Aux Input to connect your external player (phone) and listen to the songs through DGX-660 speakers
  • Microphone input: connect external microphone and sing along with your performance or with pre-recorded karaoke song files, view the lyrics on the score display
  • Optional wireless adapter (UD-BT01) will connect the piano to your iOS device and allow to play songs from your device wirelessly through DGX-660 internal speakers
  • … and much more.

Yamaha DGX-660

The instrument comes with matching keyboard stand, and there are some options available to buy separately, such as LP-7A 3-pedal unit.
The only inconvenience I encountered at the beginning is that you will have to get used to the menu on the instrument, it is not intuitive and user-friendly at first glance.

Which is better – P-125 or DGX-660?

P-125 and DGX-660 can hardly be compared, because these are different class devices. P-125 is a light weight portable digital piano, and DGX-660 is an Instrument with lots of functions and features, including piano as only one of them. I can name only two reasons to prefer P-125 among DGX-660:

  • P-125 is much lighter in weight and thus more portable
  • P-125 is cheaper

And all the features of DGX-660 I listed above are its benefits. So if big weight is not a problem for you, I recommend you spend the extra few hundred dollars for this model. Even if you only play piano sound, you will sometimes want to have a little fun, and DGX-660 will surprise you with its fun way to enhance your experience!

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Best Yamaha Stage Digital Piano

This section could also be named “Best Yamaha Portable Piano above $1000“. Stage piano is a portable digital piano for live performances on stage or for recording on studio. It combines compact case, great quality piano sounds, rather big price (above $1000) and is used mostly by gigging musicians. But if you want to have a good portable instrument at home – stage piano can be your choice. Yamaha as a leading electronic keyboard manufacturer has several stage digital piano models, which I am going to describe below.

 P-255P-515CP40
Keyboard ActionGraded Hammer (GH) with Synthetic Ivory TopsNatural Wood X (NWX)Graded Hammer (GH)
Polyphony256256128
Dimensions (WxHxD)52-1/2”x5-13/16”x13-13/16”52-5/8”x14-13/16”x5-11/16”52.4”x6.4”x13.8”
Dimensions (mm)1,333x148x3511,336x145x3761,332x163x352
Weight38 lbs 2 oz48 lbs 8 oz36 lbs
Weight (kg)17.3 kg22.0 kg16.3 kg
Voices2440 + 18 Drum/SFX Kits + 480 XG Voices297
Rhythms1040-
Preset Songs24 Voice Demo Songs, 50 Piano Preset Songs21 Voice Demo Songs, 50 Classics-
User Songs10 (2 tracks)250-
Speakers2x10cm + 2x2.5 cm2x(12x6 cm) + 2x2.5 cm-
DisplayLED 7-segmentFull Dots LCD 128x6440 characters x2 lines
Connections

  • DC IN 16V
  • Headphones Jack x2
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Pedal Unit
  • Midi In/Out
  • Aux In
  • Aux Out (L, R)
  • USB to HOST
  • USB to Device

  • DC IN 16V
  • Headphones Jack x2
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Pedal Unit
  • Midi In/Out
  • Aux In
  • Aux Out (L, R)
  • USB to HOST
  • USB to Device

  • DC IN 12V (PA150)
  • Unbalanced Line Out
  • Phones Stereo Jack
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Assignable Foot Switch jack
  • Midi In/Midi Out
  • USB to HOST
  • USB to Device
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$
Rating

P-255

P-255 is one step higher than the previous model in the line P-125. First of all it has better keyboard action – Graded Hammer with Synthetic Ivory tops, and I can say that the feel of the key amazed me. For even more realistic sound Yamaha integrated String Resonance feature: when the hammer of grand piano strikes the string, other string also resonate, P-255 can reproduce this effect. Besides piano it has many other top-quality voices, which you can mix in Layer mode.

P-255 is the first P-series instrument with 256-note polyphony, which allows you to perform any kind of music and not to worry about sounds cutting.

Minimalistic design and minimal number of buttons are one of P-series distinctive features. But this model also has LCD display, which helps you to navigate the functions easier.

The instrument has circular speakers which produce very clear and well-balanced tone. It seemed to me that the sound lacks bass frequencies on internal speakers. However if you turn on Sound Boost feature, you can get maximum of the sound. But anyway this is a stage piano, you will most likely connect it to external amplifier and it will sound without issues.

As an option you can buy L-255 matching stand and LP-255 three-pedal unit to convert your portable instrument into a very beautiful modern digital piano.

I recommend P-255 for professional musicians to play classical or may be jazz music, and for pianists who need to substitute acoustic piano while on tour.

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P-515

P-255 has been a leader in Yamaha P-series for several years, until P-515 was developed and became a flagship Yamaha model. It features Natural Wood X keyboard, which is currently the top Yamaha Graded Hammer Action type. This keyboard together with enhanced Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) feature will give you the feeling of playing real acoustic top-class grand piano.

Besides that P-515 has onboard Bluetooth for seamlessly connecting your musical player to the internal speakers!

Of course USB-to-HOST and USB-to-DEVICE are also here to connect P-515 to computer or to connect USB flash drive for recording your performance.

I liked classical P-series modern design of P-515, and an optional L-515 matching stand with LP-1 three-pedal unit make it look perfect in the interior. Especially in white color, which I used to test.

P-515 is certainly top class Yamaha compact digital piano. At the time of review (Nov. 2018) it used to cost only $200 more than the previous model – P-255, so if you have a couple of hundred extra bucks you will not be disappointed investing it to the newest Yamaha instrument that will delight you for many years, at least until a new model comes up;)

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CP40/CP4 and other CP-series

Actually CP40 and all CP-series are the only Stage pianos by Yamaha classification. Though I think that higher P-series instruments described above can be placed into this category also. It all depends on your needs. If you need ready-to-play piano for home training or for taking with you to play with the band occasionally – I would recommend P-515: it has easy controls, 256 polyphony voices, and great set of on-board rhythms to play with, internal speakers, ability to put it to a furniture-style stand and attach 3-pedal unit, and more.

CP40 is more serious model for stage or studio performances, it has a lot of sound and effects controls, it is capable of combining voices in many ways. If you are especially picky to the sound you can dive into the menu-driven programming system and see how flexible the sound is. CP40 keyboard can be used as four zone Master keyboard with programmable zones for MIDI channel, transposition, volume, pan, etc.

As per sound and keyboard – both CP-series a P-series have perfect piano sounds and keyboard action. For CP40 (the most affordable CP piano) it’s Graded Hammer Action (GH), like in P-255. And CP4 has Natural Wood keys – for the first time in CP lineup, like P-515 does.

I don’t want to go into details about CP series very much since this article is mostly for people choosing a piano for personal use. And I’m pretty sure that P-515 is the best Yamaha portable piano for most of you. But if you want to go deep into almost unlimited sound modification, than don’t miss CP40!

Check CP40 Price on Amazon Check CP4 Price on Amazon

Best Yamaha Home Digital Piano

Of course you can buy any of the described Yamaha pianos and keyboards and use them at home. But when I’m saying “Home Digital Piano” I mean Yamaha console-style piano that fits your interior, looks stylish, sounds like a good acoustic wooden instrument, and doesn’t cost a fortune. Sounds too good to be true? This is because possibly you’ve never heard of Arius series. I will describe some of the top Yamaha Console Digital Pianos to help you make a correct choice.

 YDP-103YDP-143YDP-163YDP-181YDP-184
Hammer Action TypeGHSGHSGH3 (w/synth ivory tops)GHGH3 (w/synth ebony and ivory tops)
Polyphony64192192128256
Weight82 lbs 11 oz83 lbs 12 oz92 lbs 10 oz110 lbs 4 oz123 lbs 7 oz
Weight (kg)37.5 kg38.0 kg42.0 kg50.0 kg56
Dimensions (WxHxD)53-7/16”x32-1/16”x16-5/8”53-7/16”x32-1/16”x16-5/8”53-7/16”x33-27/64"x16-5/8"53-11/16"x33-9/16"x20-1/4"57-1/2"x36-1/2"x18-1/16"
Dimensions (WxHxD), mm1,357x815x4221,357x815x4221,357x849x4221,364x853x5151,461x927x459
Voices1010101424
Rhythms/Accompaniment styles----20
Preset Songs10 demo songs, 10 piano songs10 demo songs, 50 piano songs10 demo songs, 50 piano songs14 demo songs, 50 piano songs14 demo, 50 piano
User Songs-11 (2 tracks)3 (2 tracks)250 (16 tracks)
Tone generationAWM Stereo SamplingPure CF SoundPure CF SoundAWM Stereo SamplingCFX Sampling
Speakers2x(Oval 12x6cm)2x(Oval 12x6cm)
2x10W amplifier
2x(Oval 12x6cm)
2x20W amplifier
2x16 cm
2x20W amplifier
2x16 cm
2x30W amplifier
Display---LED (7-segment/3 digit)Full Dots LCD 128x64
Connections

  • Stereo Phone Jack (x2)
  • USB-to-HOST


  • Stereo Phone Jack (x2)
  • USB-to-HOST

  • Stereo Phone Jack (x2)
  • USB-to-HOST

  • Stereo Phone Jack (x2)
  • USB-to-DEVICE

  • Stereo Phone Jack (x2)
  • AUX IN (mini stereo)
  • AUX OUT (L,R)
  • USB-to-DEVICE
  • USB-to-HOST
MIDI connectivity---In/OutIn/Out/Through
Yamaha Portable AnalogP-45P-125P-255P-255P-515
ColorsDark RosewoodDark Rosewood, Black WalnutDark Rosewood, Black WalnutDark RosewoodDark Rosewood
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Rating

YDP-103

YDP-103 is very similar to P-45 portable piano placed into a wooden cabinet with 3 pedals and more powerful acoustics. Actually the case is not wooden, but it has wood grain finish, which doesn’t look cheap at all. As all Yamaha pianos, YDP-103 is built with quality.

The instrument has everything a novice piano player needs: 88 Graded Hammer Standard keys with 3 touch response levels, 2 realistic grand piano voice as well as E. Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Vibraphone, Layer/Dual/Duo mode, metronome, transpose, two headphones outputs and 20 pre-recorded songs. Also you have the ability to connect YDP-103 to your computer by USB printer-style cable and record your performance. By using (separately sold) Yamaha UD-BT01 or Lightning-USB Camera Adapter, you can connect iOS device and use YDP-103 as a controller or sound source for many music creation applications.

Though YDP-103 interface is very simple – it has only a couple of buttons to control everything, but you can use Digital Piano Controller app on your iPad and access features more quickly and in a more interactive way.

I should note that some novice players can feel lack of Lesson mode in Arius pianos which helps you to learn music step by step. But if you study with a teacher and want to have a good stylish instrument to start with, YDP-103 is a nice choice for the money. At the time of review it could be found on Amazon for less than $900 including bench. If you have extra $150-200 to spend, I recommend checking the upper Arius model.

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YDP-143

YDP-143 is one step higher than the younger Yamaha Arius model YDP-103. It has 192 polyphony voices and sounds more natural because of the progressive tone generation engine called Pure CF. Keyboard action is Graded Hammer Standard, which is good for beginners. Maybe some professional pianists will find it a little unnatural, but this is a matter of taste and habit. As for me – I like GHS action and can recommend it as not very expensive but quality option for budget buyers.

YDP-143 has 3 piano voices, 2 electric pianos, 2 organs, harpsichord, vibraphone and strings. All of the sounds are of decent quality, besides you can add 4 types of reverb effects to them, each with regulated depth.

The stored songs on YDP-143 are of different difficulty from very easy to intermediate, and all of them are in the included music book.

All the YDP-143 features can be switched with the buttons on the piano panel. But you can control them more easily by using the Controller App for iOS which provides graphical interface for all the features.

I managed to be at my friends place when his ordered YDP-143 was delivered. I was impressed how well the instrument was packaged – minimum wasted space, no parts can be scratched at the time of transfer or when unpacking. And the box feels like one solid piece. It’s good that there were two of us to assemble it. Though it is not very heavy, but if you order it for a child, don’t expect him to unpack and put it in place alone without adult’s help. The version which I saw was Dark Rosewood and I can say for sure that when assembled YDP-143 looks as if it costs much more than it does.

So I can recommend YDP-143 as a classic standard for Home digital piano, which looks great in the interior and has all the features you need to practice.

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Yamaha YDP-143 and P-125 (P-115)

Every Yamaha Arius digital piano has its’ corresponding portable P-series model. For YDP-143 this is P-125 (or P-115 of the previous generation). These two pianos are very close by feature set; the main difference is in design and portability. Other parameters are listed in the table below.

 YDP-143P-125
Polyphony192192
Keyboard ActionGHSGHS
Voices1024
Rhythms-20
Songs10+5021+50
User Songs11
Connections

  • Headphone Jack (x2)
  • Pedal Unit (built-in)
  • USB-to-HOST

  • Headphone Jack x2
  • Sustain Pedal, Pedal Unit
  • USB TO HOST
  • Aux Out
PricePrice
LinkLink

Notice that 3-pedal unit is built into YDP-143 console-style cabinet and you will have to buy keyboard stand and pedal unit separately for P-125.

To summarize, P-125 is ideal for those musicians who don’t have much space for static console digital piano at home, or need to take piano out on gigs. And YDP-143 being very similar by features looks perfect in the interior. Also portable piano is cheaper, but don’t forget about additional expenses for piano stand and pedal unit if you need one.

YDP-163

YDP-163 piano is more expensive than the previous YDP-143 model, but actually these two models are very similar. The main difference which you are paying for is the keyboard action. YDP-143 has the most budget Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) and YDP-163 has improved Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) with synthetic ivory key tops. As I talked about different Yamaha keyboard actions earlier, I will be short here: GH3 has 3 sensors for more natural grand-piano response (vs 2 sensors in GHS). The feeling of keyboard response is very subjective and there is no single standard for it. A beginner piano player will hardly notice any difference and will be ok with any keyboard action – GHS or GH3. Professional pianists should try to play both and choose which they like more. I prefer GH3, just because I got used to it.

Though YDP-163 and YDP-143 has the same size speakers, but the amp power for YDP-163 provides two times more power – 40 W vs 20 W in YDP-143. You will hardly notice this difference in real life, because 20 W is more than enough for medium-sized room, I believe you will never set the volume to more than 3/4 of maximum value.

So what is my opinion about Yamaha YDP-163? This is a great Home digital piano with advanced GH3 3-sensor keyboard action. The piano fits any interior (you can choose between two colors: Dark Rosewood, Black Walnut). The included piano bench is also a nice pleasantness. YDP-163 will be good for both the beginners and professionals, but the latter should try the keyboard first before buying.

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YDP-181

This is classical Yamaha Arius piano, it has been developed long ago and still does not come off the assembly line, but I think it will be discontinued soon. Being rather old, you may find the YDP-181 characteristics are a bit outdated compared to other Arius models, though they are still good in 2019. YDP-181 has 128 polyphony notes, 14 voices, and simple 3-digit LED display. The keyboard action is Graded Hammer (GH), which is one step higher than Graded Hammer Standard by Yamaha classification. 2 big internal speakers allow bass tones to sound very powerful and 2 phone connections as on other Arius models allow to practice in silence together with your teacher or partner so that only two of you hear what you play.

Though very simple, the LED display in the center helps you to control voices and functions of YDP-181 more easily. Generally there are a lot more buttons on top panel of this piano, then on younger Arius models. Some users like it, but personally I prefer small control panel to the left of the keyboard is more convenient to use.

Instead of USB-to-DEVICE, this piano features old-fashioned MIDI in/out connectors.

Actually I think that there is no much sense buying YDP-181 now, especially after less expensive and more modern model YDP-163 is out. If you have some free money, you can even go upper for the latest YDP-184.

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YDP-184

Announced in 2018 YDP-184 is the newest top-line Arius piano, therefore it features all the best in sound technology. To create the most realistic piano sound including the nuances coming from wooden grand piano body, string resonance, tonal overtones and so on, Yamaha combined acoustic sampling with computer modeling and created the most realistic and expressive piano sound that you can get. Yamaha used popular Clavinova model CLP-635 to create this budget clone of it by removing some features. These models have the same cabinet design, but YDP-184 is available only in Rosewood color (CLP-635 is in Black color also).

One can hardly call YDP-184 a budget model, because it costs more than $2000. This is actually the most expensive Arius digital piano. But if you liked Clavinova pianos and want to save money, this piano is for you. For the money you get:

  • GH3 keyboard action
  • 24 voices (including main Yamaha CFX grand and 3 other acoustic piano voices, harpsichord, strings, E-pianos, choirs, organs, etc. – plenty of voices to play with)
  • 256 polyphony
  • USB-to-HOST (to connect to computer or iPad for recording MIDI or using educational software)
  • traditional MIDI IN/OUT/THROUGH
  • USB-to-DEVICE (to save your songs to flash drives)
  • 20 rhythms (this is the only Arius piano which have built-in drum patterns to play along giving you an experience playing various styles with a real drummer)
  • AUX IN and OUT (to connect to external amplifiers)

YDP-184 has compact control panel with LCD screen located to the left of the keyboard. I like that minimalistic style controls opposed to many buttons all over the keyboard like in YDP-181.

Another great feature is the recording function. It allows you to use internal midi sequencer to record up to 250 songs each with 16 tracks. You can also record you performance as WAV file.

The speakers of YDP-184 are big and powerful, you get 60 Watts of sound, which is enough for home use and even for small church or even concert hall. Though I prefer when digital piano speakers has twitters, this 2×16 cm speakers are ok and sound pretty good even on high tones.

The piano is very heavy, so don’t try to lift it up yourself.

I recommend YDP-184 as an ideal Yamaha Home Digital piano for both beginners and professionals if your budget is around $2000-$2200 and you want something top for that money. The next level up and $1000 more is Clavinova series, but this is a topic for a separate article.

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