Best Yamaha Keyboard models and Digital Pianos [2020 Reviews]
In our opinion, Yamaha has been a stalwart of good musical instruments for a long time now. If you want to own a device that will last you a long time, it’s best to go with a product from this company. So without much further ado, let’s take a look at some of the top latest Yamaha keyboard models and digital pianos.
TOP RATED YAMAHA KEYBOARDS AND PIANOS
1. Yamaha YDP184R Arius Series Console Digital Piano
One of the best digital pianos to come out of the Yamaha workshop, the YDP184R Arius is a work of art. However, it doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner; you need to consider some of the key features, advantages, and disadvantages before you make the purchase. Although expensive, trust me when I say it’s worth the money you spend.
What makes this digital keyboard stand out of the crowd is the Virtual Resonance Modeling that allows for wonderfully lucid and varied expressions that reflect the sound of a full-fledged concert piano. The display is large and is a dot LCD that affords you with the ability to navigate to a particular feature quickly. When it comes to playing it, the entire experience is very comfortable mainly due to the GH3X (Graded 3X Hammer) action with synthetic ebony and ivory keys. With an additional three sensors and an escapement technique, you can easily create the feel of a traditional grand piano.
Also, the model comes with a padded bench, power supply, music stand, and a sheet music book that you can fill with your compositions. Let’s summarise the advantages and shortcomings -
- Very crisp and clear sound
- Strong bass with varied undertones
- The action feels very realistic and not very springy
- Has a half-pedal capability
- The bench is very narrow that can hamper comfort while playing
- Music rest could have been made wider
- Narrow back panel
- The screen is not integrated with Clavinovas that’s slightly more expensive
At the end of the day, a brilliant instrument from Yamaha, and can be used by beginners and experts to create some great music.
2. Yamaha P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano
Looking for a Yamaha electric piano but don’t know where to begin? Well, Yamaha’s P71 88-Key instrument is right up your alley with a plethora of features. Let’s look at what makes this one of the best Yamaha pianos out there.
The keyboard is one of the essential parts of a keyboard. The reason behind it is the fact that this is the only part of the instrument that you come directly in contact with, and what allows you to make different tones and pitches. Most of the lower-end keyboards or digital pianos you see on the market will have keys that are light as a feather. Mainly due to the materials being cheap plastic, it can hamper your playing style and result. With the P71’s weighted keys, you can play more naturally, and you can later transition to an acoustic piano is you want with much more ease. The keyboard that comes with this device takes things a notch higher by offering gradients to the weighted keys. While the lower end keys are heavy, the high octaves are considerably lighter, providing more realism to the instrument.
With ten sounds, reasonable pricing, and pedals, at this price range, this is one of the best devices out there in the market.
- The price is very affordable and provides a much better bang for your buck
- Fully weighted keys that help in a smooth playing experience
- Ten voices are provided for you to mix and match with
- No stand is included which means you need additional investment
- The keys tend to become squeaky if you play them too hard
The final verdict is that it’s a great digital piano, albeit with a few drawbacks. However, if you aren’t a professional and play as a hobby, this is the perfect one for you.
3. Yamaha CP73 73 Key Stage Piano
Enhanced portability, ease of use, and state-of-the-art sound are just some of the things that make the CP73 stand out from the crowd. It epitomizes the evolution of the stage piano from a time when Yamaha was trying to electrify the sound of an acoustic keyboard. Today, Yamaha’s advanced technology has brought together all the innovations perfected over the last three decades to create the CP73 that boasts of authentic acoustic piano sounds, responsive touch, and a highly intuitive user interface.
Coming to the keyboard, it’s a new design and known as 73-key BHS (Balanced Hammer Standard) E1-E7 with matte black keytops. From one octave to another, the action that you will get with this instrument will provide the ideal range and feel for creating crisp sounds with a band.
Other sounds that the CP73 features would a wide variety that includes a transistor, clavinet, tonewheel, and pipe organs. This will help you cover any playing style, and the synth sounds can cover any musical situation as well. From excellent fat solos, searing leads, warm pads, to punchy basses, this digital keyboard is an answer to all your musical needs. The seamless sound switching feature also allows you to hold notes without cutting off the sound. With a new LCD (128x64px), dual ¼” aux line inputs, and an FC3A piano-style sustain pedal, the CP73 is one of the best you can buy.
- It has a very sturdy build and reasonably priced
- Fantastic sounds, both piano, and keyboard
- One control per function makes it highly easy to use
- The sounds related to the Organ are somewhat limited
- The pitch wheel is placed at an odd angle that may hamper quick transitions
If you are on the lookout to replace an ageing instrument with a Yamaha device or looking to purchase a good Yamaha product, then you can go for this device without any hesitation.
4. Yamaha CP88 88 Key Stage Piano
Another addition to the CP line of instruments, this one by Yamaha is very similar to the CP73. The only difference is the number of keys, and that it’s slightly more substantial. The other discrepancies tend to crop up during playing, but they all arise due to the increased size, which allows Yamaha to pack in even a more significant punch.
It’s slightly on the expensive side, but the features that you get are akin to a fully functional stage piano. Due to the weight and size, portability takes a hit, but you can manage to lift it onto the stand that it’s provided with. As far as the build quality goes, it couldn’t have been better. You will find some rocker switches that are red, yellow, and green that will allow you to scroll through the various variations – Piano, Electric Piano, and other sub-sections.
The company has gone all-in on sound by affording you with emulations that are very similar to the CFX and S700 models. Powered by Yamaha’s proprietary AWM2 sampling engine, you can gain access to almost all the sounds of a grand piano. With other knobs to control tone and volume, you can power on the Damper Resonance function to add a tiny bit of realism to the entire experience.
- Easy to use
- Has good action with responsive keys
- The keys are touch-sensitive
- The sound might seem slightly unrealistic at first
- Selection of sounds is limited
- The large size hampers portability
Summing up the pros and the cons, it’s safe to say that if you are on the lookout for a beautiful digital keyboard/piano that delivers just like a stage piano, you should go for this.
5. Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Digital Console Piano
Featuring in as one of the most affordable console digital pianos out there, the YDP103 is the youngest sibling of the Arius series. Although it doesn’t even come close to the YDP143, or the YDP163, if you are looking for a digital keyboard under the US$1,000 tag, then this is the one you should consider.
The Weight is about 80 pounds, the portability is affected somewhat, but you can easily lift it onto a stand on your own. Coming to the build quality, it’s rock solid. Featuring a wooden finish, it doesn’t look cheap or of sub-standard quality. It also has a sliding door to protect the instrument from dust and dirt.
You will find that there are two buttons along with a knob to tweak the volume as and when required. However, to access all the features and functionalities that come with this device, you need to hold down the function button and then tap the required key. Along with a GHS (Graded Hammer Set) keys that afford you with sufficient action and slightly realistic to touch. With these graded keys, you will feel that the lower note keys feel more massive than, the higher note ones.
You also get four preset levels with the YDP103, mainly soft, medium, hard, and fixed. If you select the “fixed” option, then the volume will be constant; however hard you press the keys. The “soft” option, on the other hand, will vary the volume as you play, albeit in a subtle manner.
- High-quality build and a straightforward design
- The piano bench is included in the package
- It also features a USB to host connectivity
- The split function is absent that makes things tricky
- No MIDI recorder is provided
- The built-in tones are very few
6. Yamaha PSRE263 Keyboard with Knox Bench
An ideal instrument by Yamaha for all kinds of beginners, the PSRE263 is expensive but helps you get started with things right away. The design is highly portable and compact, while the keyboard is power-packed with exciting features.
The Weight is about four kilos; this keyboard can easily be carried wherever you go. The LCD is clean, crisp, and very easy to read mainly due to dot technology. With over 380 sounds and 16 different drum effect kits, you can have a lot of fun mixing the various sounds. Along with the one-touch button chord button for accompaniment, the transposition is simple. However, although creating “live” sound effects can be fun visually, it can be cumbersome and isn’t quite right.
With several sound options like bird calls, Indian table, Chinese flutes, etc., the keyboard can also be hooked up to an external audio device. This means that you don’t need extra additional speakers. Just plug in your phone, and it works wonderfully. Its is an excellent device for beginners, there is an auto power-off feature, albeit with no touch-sensitive keys. The instrument is sold with what’s called a “survival kit” that includes a power adapter, headphones, foot pedal, and an extended warranty.
- Highly portable and lightweight
- A clean and bright LCD
- A wide variety of sounds and options
- No weighted keys that make things tricky
- Octave range is highly limited
- There is no 1/8” headphone jack
So if you are learning how to play, and want a reliable digital keyboard manufacturer, this one is the best for you.
7. Yamaha YPT360 61-Key Touch-Sensitive Portable Keyboard
Bursting with various types of features, the Yamaha YPT360 is a 61-key digital piano that’s great for beginners and experts alike. With a touch-sensitive keyboard and a split design, the instrument allows you to play comfortably with another musician. Due to its lightweight and medium size, it is highly portable and can be carried anywhere.
The device also sports an extensive library of 574 instruments along with 61 touch-sensitive keys. This means you will be afforded the ability to produce sounds based on how hard you press the keys on the piano. This velocity sensitivity, as it’s sometimes also called, allows you to play tones more expressively.
Along with the 574 instrument sounds, the YPT360 also has over 160 styles and 150 arpeggio types. The arpeggios come from a wide variety of genres that will give you real-time backing that’s generated by the chords you play. Add to that the chorus and reverb functionalities, and you have yourself brilliant deep sounds that are excellent to hear.
As mentioned above, this instrument is designed for beginners because it has a duo mode that is perfect for teaching sessions. This means that you can split the keyboard and play along with your tutor. With both sides getting a middle “C” with perfect pitch, playing will be as comfortable as setting it up. Now let’s summarize the pros and the cons as every instrument will have some of the latter, irrespective of how good it is.
- Over 100 backing styles come with the device
- An extensive chord dictionary is present
- Provides an Ultra-Wide Stereo Effect
- Lack of digital connections
- No MIDI file capability
8. Yamaha, 49-Key Pianica
Sometimes touted as the best Yamaha digital piano, the MX49 is fantastic for beginners. If you are looking for a low-cost Pianica (free-reed instruments similar to harmonicas and accordions), then this is the one for you as it’s under US$150. Mostly popular in Asia where it’s used to teach kids and beginners how to play, this latest device from Yamaha sports around 49 keys, and has several features and functionalities that you will need to teach and give lessons.
This one is perfect for producing bright tones that are full and heavy. It also provides stable intonations that work brilliantly in teaching environments. The box and cover are reliable and robust, which makes it perfect for rough use. It also comes with three-octave ranges that begin from F below middle C.
- Refined and sophisticated design
- The tuning stabilities are just excellent
- Much better tones when compared to an organic
- Difficult to tune initially
- Blowing resistance is high making playing slightly uncomfortable
If you are looking to learn a unique wind-keyboard instrument, then go for this as it’s the best in the space.
9. Yamaha DGX660 digital keyboard
One of Yamaha’s best hybrid keyboards, the Yamaha DGX660 has several features and functionalities that make it the best Yamaha hybrid piano among others. Let’s look at some of these features –
The keys are weighted, and it’s GHS weighted action, so the volume will depend on the amount of pressure you provide. Along with that comes an LCD that is very crisp so you can easily reference the notes. With more than 300 voices, 388 in XG Lite mode, and several sound effects, this device is perfect for a show or any party. If however, you want to add some style to the sounds, you can leverage the Accompaniment Styles which will allow you to select up to 205 different presets.
What sets this device apart from the rest would be the polyphony of 192 notes at once, along with a fantastic data capacity. Believe it or not, you record up to 30,000 notes in just one song! However, just like any other musical instrument, this one comes with its own set of pros and cons –
- Learning is more comfortable with over a hundred preset songs
- The Smart Chord feature is brilliant when it comes to learning
- MIDI functionality is provided so you can record in that format if you like
- It’s slightly expensive
- Internal memory is limited to 1.7MB which might need to you invest in an external hard drive
10. Yamaha P-125 Digital Piano
Another of Yamaha’s masterpieces, the P-125 is an upgrade from the last one. The case has been modernized and re-designed, but it retains its compact style and lightweight. This makes it the perfect one for both home and gig situations.
The minimalist design looks complete with a red felt ribbon that’s put across the keytops. Due to its size, it is very portable and has a total of 14 buttons that are located right in the front. You can access sounds such as Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Strings, etc., with six buttons that are dedicated for this purpose. You will also find other buttons that control things like a metronome, rhythms, etc. The slider on the side will allow you to change the volume as and when required.
- A newly redesigned speaker system
- Presence of Yamaha’s Intelligence Acoustic Control (IAC)
- Six new rhythm patterns
- Memory is limited to 3 songs
- To connect it to an iOS device you will need to purchase an additional Lightning to USB camera adapter
- Quite expensive for beginners
How to choose your Yamaha piano
With tremendous advances in technology in the last few years, the limits to what you can do with a digital piano are always being pushed. Being a low-cost alternative to concert pianos and traditional wooden behemoths, a digital piano affords musicians with mobility in addition to rich sounds with excellent harmonics.
That being said, the cheap cost acts as a reverse-edged blade. While giving budding musicians a chance, it also increases the chances of purchasing a sub-standard product. The possibility of an expert catching a fake or sub-standard piece without playing is slim, let alone a beginner. So the first piece of advice would be to purchase your instrument from a reputed third-party seller. If you are lucky and a Yamaha showroom is right next door then all the better.
Once you have selected a proper store, here are a few aspects of a digital piano that you should know of.
Portability: By far the biggest advantage of a digital keyboard. If you can’t lug it then don’t buy it. If it’s too heavy or restricts your movement while shifting, don’t buy it. You need to be comfortable with the device as if it’s an extension of your body. The ideal digital keyboard should be lightweight and not very large. You should be able to easily lift it and place it wherever you want to set up.
Versatility: Every traditional piano will have a volume range that’s unique to the instrument. This gives a lot of depth and substance to the overall sound being played. Digital pianos have a variety of sound options and most models will be provided with a headphone set. With the extensive number of sounds available, you should be able to easily find drumkits, bras, woodwinds, etc.
Learning modes: When it comes to digital keyboards and electric pianos, the largest market is the beginner market. So, unsurprisingly, a good digital keyboard will have a robust and flexible learning mode. These should include built-in lessons, metronomes, and chord displays that will play along with you. Slightly more expensive versions should have split keyboard functions so choose accordingly.
Honing in on the perfect model
Although the perfect model will differ from player to player, your goal should be to select a device that you are comfortable with. If you need a particular functionality then don’t hesitate to go for a model that maybe costs a few dollars more.
At the end of the day, you should be happy while playing, and nothing related to the device should be a hindrance while you play.
frequently asked questions
1. Can you use a digital keyboard by Yamaha as a MIDI controller?
If it has a USB connection, yes, you can use it as a MIDI controller quite easy and effective. If not, then you can purchase one as they are not that expensive.
2. Which digital piano by Yamaha would be the closest to an acoustic one?
You need to go for a digital console piano that will offer you sound similar to an acoustic one. However, if you want to go with Yamaha, then the CLP series is the best choice. You can also go with some other models depending on how well you like the sound. Go for something that has rich octaves and clear heavy basses.
3. Do Yamaha digital pianos need tuning?
Digital pianos, in general, do not need any extra tuning. The sound is recorded and stored digitally within the piano hardware. Sometimes after years of use, the sound might sound faded or suppressed. In this case, it’s best to replace it instead of trying to fix it that can cost much more.
4. How to connect a digital piano to another device?
If you have a USB to host port, then use the USB type B to USB type A cable to connect the two. However, if the digital piano has an included MIDI port, you should have what’s known as an OTG adapter.
5. How can you record a digital piano’s sounds?
With the audio recording function present on the digital keyboard, you can record the sounds that are coming from the device itself. However, you will need to route a couple of audio outputs to an audio interface. You can also use MIDI recording that records every note you play in a digital format.