The realm of digital pianos is an excellent example of the relationship between music and technology, with Yamaha being one of the most popular brands of these electronic instruments. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, selecting the best from Yamaha digital pianos can be a challenge.
The leaps and bounds of modern technological innovation continue to significantly impact the music industry. Musicians can create music that was impossible to play 20 years ago and share that music on electronic instruments that would dumbfound Bach and Beethoven.
There are multiple brands, models and series to consider with an array of sometimes confusing features. This guide provides an overview of Yamaha digital pianos to aid you in the pursuit of creating music.
About Yamaha and Their Pianos
Yamaha was originally founded in 1897 as Nippon Gakki Co. by Torakusu Yamaha. The Yamaha Corporation of America was established in 1960.
- Realistic pedal performance
- iOS compatibility
- 3-Year Parts/Labor Limited Warranty only when purchased from an authorized dealer including Amazon.com
- The USB TO HOST port allows the instrument to be directly connected to a computer or iPad.
- Offers exceptionally realistic audio
- Top of the line models are expensive
- Lack of weighted keys (61-key models)
The company has a well-respected history of creating high-quality instruments, with an especially strong history in piano manufacturing. Three types of pianos are available from Yamaha:
- Acoustic pianos are the most traditional form of piano, as their sound entirely relies on non-electronic processes. Acoustic categories include premium, grand and upright pianos.
- Hybrid pianos are a design unique to Yamaha. They offer five brands, each with multiple series and models of their own that combine the elegance of an acoustic piano with the innovative features of digital pianos.
- Digital pianos are entirely non-acoustic and were first introduced by Yamaha in 1981. Since then, people are using both portable and stable digital pianos in homes, classrooms and competitions alike.
Tips on Choosing the Best Digital Piano
Yamaha offers five brands of digital piano with an array of features. Consider the following criteria when selecting your electronic piano:
Digital pianos come in a variety of shapes and sizes and people select based on their intended use. Portable designs are ideal for musicians often on the road or families who like to take along some music for vacation. Stationary pianos are best for music schools, rehearsal halls and homes where you don't need to move them often.
While many Yamaha digital pianos come in the classic black color, there are other color options, such as white or walnut, that can fit into the design of a room. Size is also a factor to consider, as some mimic the larger size of a baby grand while others are even smaller than an upright acoustic piano.
Many components come together to create the high-quality sound characteristic of a Yamaha digital piano. Counterweights within the keys allow digital pianos to capture expression and dynamics while Virtual Resonance Monitoring creates the rich sound of an acoustic piano.
Many models reference polyphony, which describes the number of notes the piano can sustain at one time. With advances in technology, sound quality is further improved by digitally created reverberations and sustained notes, all of which one can record within the piano and later connected to the internet.
One of the best ways to choose a digital piano is to try one out for yourself. Before ordering anything online, find a piano dealer near you and ask if you can try out some of their display instruments.
This will help you visualize and understand things such as the physical presence of the instrument, if you prefer weighted or non-weighted keys, or if higher polyphony impacts your playing experience.
Most Popular Yamaha Digital Pianos
The five Yamaha digital piano brands vary in price and functionality. Each brand has a different target audience. For example, the Clavinova brand has models appreciated by performers, while the Portable Grand has models more suited for families with multiple new piano players.
Each level of musician has a different list of criteria that will shape the music they wish to play. I selected some of Yamaha’s most popular digital pianos to provide an overview of the brands and insight into several models.
This brand has three series and multiple models based on the sound of a grand piano. The CLP-585 is an advanced digital piano, priced at around a couple thousand dollars. It is good for stable use and has 88 uniquely weighted keys and a damper pedal. 303 lesson songs, volume control and recording capabilities are a few of the tools included.
Seven models fall under this brand of stable digital pianos. The YDP-181 is the most affordable console digital piano. Advanced Wave Memory technology creates the sounds of an acoustic piano when playing the 88-key keyboard. The piano can connect to an app that makes using extra features more convenient.
This is a popular and portable Yamaha brand with four models. The different options are very slim and one can place them on separate stands. Operational pedals connects to the keyboard with an external plug. The compact P-45 is available at an affordable price and is composed of 88 keys. There are not as many extra features, but the model still produces an excellent sound.
This brand is best for the contemporary musician looking for a piano to fit a room designed with a modern aesthetic in mind. Six models come in an array of colors, including red and orange. You can purchase the F01 at around a couple thousand dollars and combines Yamaha playability with a sophisticated appearance.
> Portable Grand:
This is one of the most popular portable Yamaha brands. It is composed of six models, including the PSR-EW300. This model is the re-invention of the YPG-235, one of Yamaha’s most popular digital pianos. The PSR-EW300 has 76 keys and includes an impressive array of features, such as 574 instrument voices and a touch-sensitive keyboard.
How Yamaha Digital Pianos Compare to Competitors
To put Yamaha digital pianos in perspective, I selected some popular, portable digital pianos from competing brands. The selections are digital pianos designed with beginner players in mind. The most comparable Yamaha model is the 76-keys Yamaha PSR-EW300.
Yamaha and Kawai:
Kawai is one of Yamaha’s strongest competitors with a reputation of well-performing instruments. The Kawai ES110 has 88 weighted keys, 19 sounds and an impressive 192-note polyphbony. As a top-of-the-line brand name, the model is available at a hefty price.
Yamaha and Casio:
Casio is another reputable piano brand, with the Casio CTK240 providing a portable digital piano more basic than Yamaha’s selection. It offers a limited 12-note polyphony and has 49 keys that can play 100 different tones.
It costs less than both the Yamaha and Kawai and offers a very simple beginner-style option.Williams offers a portable digital piano in the Legato model, available for a couple hundred bucks. Similar to the Casio, it has a limited array of features, including five instrument voices and 88 semi-weighted keys.
In summary, there are more affordable digital pianos available on the market. However, a higher price also means higher quality and a more extensive array of features. Yamaha falls into the designation of a high-end and high-quality digital piano brand that offers exceptionally designed products.
The main downside to the brand is the fact that it produces high-quality and thus high-cost instruments, with even the least-expensive option falling at an affordable price. When purchasing a digital piano for a child who may quit after five months, a less expensive and less feature-heavy option may be a better choice.
FAQs About Digital Pianos
How does a digital piano work?
A digital piano tries to mimic the sound and playing experience of an acoustic piano. It does this by presenting recorded piano sounds or synthesized piano sounds within a structure constructed to either partially or fully resemble an acoustic piano.
Can digital pianos be repaired?
The ability to repair a piano depends on the extent of damage. It is simple to replace damaged keys, but more complicated internal damage should be evaluated by a qualified professional. Extensive damages such as water damage may compromise the ability of the piano to perform.
Are digital pianos only for beginners?
With impressive advances in technology, it is clear that even professional musicians can use digital pianos. In fact, they are often preferred by musicians on the road with bands. There is a wide range of quality electronic keyboards available, with great options for beginners and advanced players alike.
Final Review of Yamaha Digital Pianos
Yamaha is a well-regarded and highly respected brand. Some contemporary artists known to play Yamaha instruments include Zac Brown, Alan Chang, Sara Bareilles and Will Anderson. The digital pianos are also played by children just beginning to read music and grandparents who accompany the Christmas singalong.
Yamaha digital pianos are staples on stage, in living rooms and in school music rooms alike.Yamaha digital pianos offer many styles and features within a wide price range. Based on my experience as a piano player, I believe Yamaha has a digital piano perfect for any player at any level, whether beginner, intermediate or advanced.
With their shift towards promoting eco-friendly, power-saving technology and continued efforts to capture the sound of acoustic piano, Yamaha helps promote a strong culture of music in the modern world.
Looking for online piano tutorials? You might want to check out our Rocket Piano Review.