Updated: November 2017

Yamaha Digital Keyboard Review - Best Yamaha Keyboards

Description: Keep your piano in tune with a Yamaha digital piano that delivers crystal clear notes every time. With automatic tuning and a variety of 88-key console options, Yamaha digital pianos are ideal for nearly any room.
For individuals looking for a reliable, affordable alternative to traditional console and grand pianos, Yamaha digital pianos offer a better way to keep your instrument in tune. Engineered to reproduce perfect pitch and resonance with each key, their digital audio technology has improved to the point where these Yamaha digital keyboards emulate the sound quality of a traditional piano. As a result, digital pianos are now a solid option for those learning to play the instrument or who want to add a keyboard to their home at a lower upfront cost. Also known as Clavinovas, Yamaha digital pianos are considered among the leading models in the industry for their careful craftsmanship, authentic weighted hammer-key action and full 88-key layout. With options including pedals, sound effects, recording and feedback, the instruments are great for musical composition and playback alike. Whether you are an experienced musician or are just rekindling your interest in music, a digital piano from Yamaha can help you master chords, scales and classic tunes from the comfort of your home.

Yamaha keyboards and Pianos

Yamaha Digital Pianos - Options in Purchasing a Yamaha Digital Piano

With the advent of the modern electronic music industry, digital piano technology has improved to match the audio quality of classical pianos. More affordably priced than string and hammer based instruments the pianos base their sounds upon MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) outputs which can perfectly reproduce audio signals. The actual sound comes from an onboard memory which notes the exact scaled sound of each of the 88-keys, allowing players to reproduce the sound quality of a traditional console piano. The leading digital music manufacturers include Yamaha, as well as well known brands such as Casio, Kawai, Kurzweil and Roland (Amazon keeps a list of the best-selling keyboard and pianos here). Musicians today can select from a wide variety of models starting at prices as low as a few hundred dollars all the way into the thousands. Designed to both look and perform like traditional upright pianos, nearly all of the leading music manufacturers on the market today produce digital pianos.

What separates each model from another is the quality of the casing, the application of pedals and effects, the touch sensitivity of the keyboard and unique input-output mechanisms such as recording. Many modern digital pianos also feature enhanced sound profiles which allow players to collaborate with musical files in real-time for complete collaboration. Yamaha has been at the forefront of extending the capabilities of digital pianos to include improved polyphony, the unique resonance produced by playing multiple keys.

Popular Yamaha Digital Piano Models

Yamaha produces a wide variety of leading Clavinovas, ranging from the entry level NP30 stand-alone digital keyboard to the advanced Yamaha P250 upright digital console. Leading models on the market today also include the P80, P90, P120 and the best-selling YDP 223 model. Higher end models include quality piano benches, well crafted wooden consoles and advanced electronic features include playback and sound effects. At the base level, the entry Yamaha NP30 Portable Grand Piano allows musicians with an existing stand and bench to buy an 88-key weighted action platform. Capturing the basic elements of polyphonic sound, the keyboard accurately reproduces the quality of the notes, although it lacks the advanced playback, sound effects, pedals and recording features of more advanced Yamaha models. Basic stand-alone keyboard models start at $299 and increase in price based upon the addition of more sound electronics.

Taking a step up to the Yamaha Arius digital piano series offers a basic console frame, independent triple pedals and a music stand that allows for accurate practicing. While the basic Arius pianos are capable of basic electronic features, their cabinetry and recording functions are somewhat limited, making them ideal for home practice use. Adding a console frame brings the base price on the pianos to $799 and above, making the models a complete investment to enhance your home environment. For those looking to invest in a full living room or music school piano, the full Yamaha YDP digital piano series brings full-quality wood-grain designs and advanced features such as integrated sampling.
You can check out a YouTube video clip showing this piano in action:

One of the most popular full featured models on the market today is the Yamaha YDP 223 digital piano which comes with a finished console, a wide range of electronic options and an LED panel which allows you to control reverberation, sound effects, reverberation and musical pacing. Multi-talented musicians, as well as those who aspire to compositional status and home owners who want accurate reproduction of full acoustic features are strongly advised to consider the 200-series. Advanced features in the series extend the pricing above $1,500, which includes a bench, wooden console, integrated pedals and advanced keyboard electronics, including playback. Capable of up to 64 simultaneous notes of polyphony captured via stereo sampling, you can play using a variety of voices ranging from a grand piano to a harpsichord.

Complete control over the level of key touch, sound effects, recording and sensitive pedals improves the overall digital experience. With integrated high quality speakers and amplifiers, you can put on a digital concert that matches the very best features of prominent console pianos. For players of virtually any level, Yamaha digital pianos can provide the right solution for instruction, concerts and home environments.

Key Advantages of Yamaha Digital Pianos and Keyboards

Considered the gold standard in modern digital pianos, Yamaha pianos feature graded hammer effects to simulate the weighted keys on acoustic pianos. As a result, many leading music schools, such as the Conservatory of Winchester, rely on Yamaha for their electronic instruments. With careful engineering, the construction of the pianos, from the keyboard to the pedals, is designed to simulate the touch and feel of acoustic pianos. As a result, top reviewers ranging from Consumers Digest to MMR Music Magazine have recognized the brand for excellence.

What truly separates Yamaha from some of the other brands on the market today is the focus on reproducing authentic acoustic sounds. The company's engineers have produced a custom weighted hammer keyboard which adjusted the weight of the keys according to the 88-key scale - as a result, practicing on a Yamaha digital console translates better into actual play on a full acoustic piano. Going beyond traditional digital playback, Yamaha pianos now feature Wave Memory which captures not only authentic individual notes but is capable of reproducing multiple levels of polyphony. The key texture to leading classical compositions comes from the interplay of chord structures, and the Yamaha allows for accurate reproduction of these effects. Subtle differences between chord variants are clear, while the integrated stereos allow for bright reproduction of sound quality.

A Brief History of Yamaha Digital Pianos

Yamaha originally began producing pianos in the late 19th century, and was one of the very first companies to adopt digital technology in its product lines. While the company's electronic division has produced a wide variety of products, including computer chips, it continues to be a leader in music, producing both acoustic and digital string instruments of all types. The company's ethos is captured in "Kando", a motto which represents a commitment to excellence in quality.

Starting in the 1950s, digital pianos began to gain prominence in conjunction with the growth of synthesized musical production. While the earliest digital models didn't fully emulate acoustic sounds, Yamaha continued to lead the way in innovation, introducing better sound reverberations which culminated in the development of MIDI true standards in the 1980s. As a result of genuine digital reproduction, modern Yamaha digital pianos now transcend the tin-based resonance of earlier models, now producing tones which accurately map to actual in-tune acoustic piano notes. Today, the company's complete line of digital pianos can be found in churches, music schools, concert halls and other playing environments as a testament to their quality.