Saturday, June 1, 2013

REVIEW - Yamaha YDP141 (Now Discontinued), YDP135R, & P95 Digital Pianos - Basic but nice

UPDATED REVIEW - June 1, 2013 - Recommended - The Yamaha YDP141 is now discontinued and the new YDP142 ($1099 internet price) has taken its place. The new Yamaha P105 has taken the place of the older P95 and the P95 price has been reduced to just $499 which is a real bargain. The YDP142 has significant new upgrades and you can read about that new models on my blog review Yamaha YDP142 Review.

Yamaha some nice 88-key digital pianos under $1000 including the Arius YDP135R (left pic) at $999 internet price (incl bench), a portable model called the P95 ($499 internet price - lower left), and the new Yamaha P105...go here for my review on that model: Yamaha P105 Review. The YDP135R and P95 digital technology has been out for a few years and they are essentially the same pianos with the same touch key action (GHS basic keyboard action), same sampling technology (6 basic instrument sounds on the YDP135R & YDP141 and 10 instrument sounds on the P95), 64-note polyphony, 12 watt speaker system/audio power, and other features incl reverb, layering, etc. The P95 can also be connected to a specially made Yamaha piano stand and 3-pedal system (for $175 more) that makes it operate and look more like a cabinet piano. The P95 also comes in two colors, black & silver for the same price.  

There are only minor changes from previous models and they would include matte black key tops on the P95 and some minor changes to the sounds, but that's about it. The minor changes to the tones also include the piano sound being re-sampled by Yamaha and put into the newer instrument, but you may or may not hear a difference but the sound is very nice. I have played Yamaha digital pianos for many years and like them very much. They are generally reliable, sound good and are fun to play.

However, there are three things I wish these Yamaha pianos had such as a USB high speed connection to iPad or computer for interactive play with piano apps & programs, a key touch with less physical key noise and better dynamic response for increased natural expression (like the higher priced Arius series, 128 note polyphony piano sound memory with increased dynamic range for intermediate to advanced music, and dual audio outputs (necessary to connect to additional speakers or sound systems if desired) which would be useful in the P95 because many people like to connect to external speaker systems with portable pianos. The new Yamaha P105 & YDP142 does have some of these upgrades and in my opinion are definitely worth the extra money to get them.

Casio PX750
There is another nice instrument which competes with the lower priced Yamaha's called the Casio Privia PX750 (new 2013 model) in a compact cabinet and it utilizes a 4-level stereo sample as opposed to a 3-level on the YDP135. Also, the new Casio acoustic piano sound has much better dynamic range than the Yamaha in this price range with longer natural pedal sustain/decay time due to its new digital technology. This translates to the things that piano teachers and musicians want which is the ability to have full dynamic expression in your music. That kind of digital piano technology is usually reserved for models priced at $1000 minimum. If you compare all of the specifications of both the Casio PX750 and the Yamaha YDP135R cabinet models, it would appear that the Casio wins out...and at just $799 internet discount price, it's $200 less than the Yamaha YDP135R. I think the Casio should be a definite consideration and it comes with a 3 year parts & labor factory warranty. Not only does the Casio PX750 beat out the YDP135R in terms of sound and key action in my opinion, it has the new ivory & ebony feel keys not found on the Arius series until the $1499 YDP162. When it comes to the furniture cabinet color, my favorite color is satin black and Casio is offering that color in the PX750. Yamaha also offers the satin black color on its YDP142 but that model is $1099. Casio also has an upgraded model called the PX850 (internet price of $1099 which I also recommend. Take a look at my reviews for more detailed info.
Casio PX750 Review
Casio PX850 Review

I also recommend looking at the new Yamaha P105 portable piano (as I mentioned earlier) over the Yamaha P95 ($599 internet price for P105 - left picture with optional stand & pedals) because for just $100 more you get 128-note polyphony (twice as much memory as the P95), better tones, drum rhythm patterns for rhythm training and play along, a much improved acoustic piano sound similar to the Yamaha P155 ($999 internet price), dual 1/4" audio outputs, and a USB 2.0 MIDI compliant connection to computers and iPad.

Yamaha is a great brand and I recommend them highly and in fact in the sub $1000 price range, only Yamaha & Casio are worth considering at this point. The other great brands like Kawai & Roland don't compete in this price range (yet) and the off-brands that have cheap prices (like Williams, Suzuki, & Adagio) just aren't very good as musical instruments in my opinion and I don't usually recommend them. So that leaves Yamaha & Casio...both companies highly respected, both from Japan, and both with a long history of producing good digital pianos. But right now for the money, I am recommending Casio Privia PX750 or PX850 over Yamaha YDP135R cabinet models in the (approx) $1000 price range or less. But at the end of the day, you can be happy on any of these fine instruments because it's all about making music and enjoying the playing experience!

If you want more info on these pianos and lower prices than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call me direct at 602-571-1864

23 comments:

  1. very useful review

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi
    This review was very helpful. It would be great if you could advise on how AP220 compares to the AP420/PX330. I was initially considering the P-95 however the keys felt too soft for me. I liked the feel of the AP 220 but did not know if PX330 is a better buy.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe the PX330 is the better buy over the AP220 if it includes the special Casio stand and 3-pedal system. However, there is other info that may be helpful to you and for that you should email me at music@azpianowholesale.com and I would be glad to go into more detail.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Could you explain the Yamaha P95's ability to change the weight on the keys? I just bought a Casio PX130 but am considering upgrading to the Yamaha P95 because I personally found the action too heavy. Any advice you could give regarding alternative pianos with slightly lighter keys (not too light/workstation light, though) than the PX 130 would be tremendously appreciated!

    So far your reviews have been the most helpful that I've found on the web. Thanks so much- your blog's fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Digital pianos do not have the ability to actually have the physical "weight adjusted" by the user/player. It's all about being able to adjust the key touch "sensitivity" which most digital pianos can do. When that function is adjusted or changed, then it simply means when you press on the keys harder, the volume will be louder or softer than in the normal sensitivity mode depending on the adjustment. So if you don't have a lot of strength in your fingers for instance, and want the volume to be louder rather than pressing the keys even harder, you simply adjust the key sensitivity to compensate in that way. As for "actual" key weight or touch resistance, the Yamaha digital pianos do generally take less effort to push down. However, many people find the P95 as being too light of a touch for them. But there are those, as in your case, where the opposite may be true. So the P95 is not necessarily an upgrade but a preference. If you wish to know more you can always contact me by email

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi
    I'm considering to buy Yamaha P95 for my daughter. She has started piano lesson a year ago and is in grade one. Currently,she is using a CASIO CTK 230 for her to practise at home. Need your advise if P95 is suitable for her as a beginner? Is P95 a fully weighted keyboard action as I understand this feature is similar to an acoustic piano keyboard? I have zero knowledge in this area :), hence, appreciate your expert advice. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The P95 is a good weighted keyboard for its low price and should is fine for a beginner. The Casio Privia PX130 is also a very good digital piano and a bit less money. It's key action is a bit heavier (not as light) and is (in my opinion) closer to the feel of a regular good upright piano than the P95.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well I am going with the px130 I have seen lots of great reviews and yours really made me feel more confident. It is for my 6 yr old daughter just starting out I hope we like it! Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello,
    I am looking to purchase the P95 but I wish it had the record and play back feature. I don't want too many bells and whistles though. Any suggestions?
    Colleen

    ReplyDelete
  10. The only model of digital pianos in that price range that are worth purchasing are the Yamaha P95 or Casio PX130. You can compare those two models or spend more money and have more choices.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Tim, great blog! I've had my mind blown by baroque organ and harpsichord and want to go ahead and learn how to play piano. I'm 35 and the closest thing to experience I have is typing on the computer keyboard. Which starter model would you suggest that has a great pipe organ and harpsichord sound option, I can plug in headphones for practicing, and I can get setup with the whole system for around $1,000?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would be glad to give you some advice if you email me directly at my email address at the bottom of this blog article. Thx

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm trying to choose between the p95 or ydp141 for my 7 yr old daughter. She is a total beginner. Are there any distinct overiding benefits to either of these pianos. I believe neither one can be connected to an external amplifer put maybe I'm wrong. If the extra cost of the ydp141 is strictly associated with the cabinet with the quality being the same in features and sound, I just as soon buy the p95. Your opinion.?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Both models dot have regular audio outputs. The P95 has more instrument sounds. Same audio/speaker system on both. Depends on what you need. Either one would be fine. Casio PX130 does have audio outputs and more key action sensors for better overall piano tone as compared to P95.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey Tim, thanks for the informative reviews! I play by ear and usually focus on New Classical such as Dax Johnson and George Winston. I've been playing on a very old Baby Grand that just gave out yesterday and I'm desperately searching for a digital replacement now. I'm looking for something that has a good feel and sound without all the bells and whistles since all I do is focus on the piano sound itself.
    I'd like to have full 88 keys, smooth sound & feel, headphone/speaker jack would be nice, pedal and stable stand (doesn't need to be a cabinet), & compact and affordable (like something under $600.
    Think I'm asking for too much for the price? heh
    If you have any idea on what brand/model I should look for, please let me know.
    I'm terrified I'm going to forget everything I worked so hard to learn if I don't find something soon!
    Thanks so much!

    - Robin =)

    ReplyDelete
  16. hi robin,
    was just looking at this site and perhaps you didn't read the top of this page in which tim reviewed two pianos EXACTLY like you are asking him to advise you on?? greg

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi
    I am looking for a good quality keyboard. I am 13 and need one that is light and portable. I would like to stay in the $500 or less. I need it to last a long time. I would like recording room of more than one song. Do you know of a good keyboard? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This keyboard is great ! Good action, good sound and extremely light and small for a digital piano. I carry it to gigs on public transport.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have the Yamaha Arius YDP-141 Digital Piano I have recently sent it for repair. The 'repair man' asked me if I connect it to a laptop, this puzzled me. What use is this and how do you do it.?

    ReplyDelete
  20. My 9 year old son is just starting lessons. Can you recommend a keyboard that isn't too expensive, but that has what he will need for his beginning years? Do you feel that the p95 or Casio px130 is the way to go, or is there something less expensive to start with? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  21. any opinion on the yamaha arius ydp-141.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Tim,
    I just bought YDP-141, and have a slight concern about the reverb. The manual says it has 4 reverb setting, which I have tried to switch around. But to me, it sounds all the same - no reverb sound difference. Wonder if it's just my ear, or the difference is there but very slight, or if it is not functioning. What do you think? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Tim,

    can you please advise, which is better comparing the Yamaha YDP-S51 and P-105 pianos?

    Thanks in advance

    Bobby

    ReplyDelete