The Yamaha piano company makes some great pianos and they've been doing it for many years. I personally own a Yamaha acoustic piano and digital piano and have played professionally for years on many Yamaha acoustic & digital pianos as well as their pro keyboards, synths, and organs. My kids even play a Yamaha flute & clarinet. So it will come as no surprise that I like Yamaha musical instruments. I have followed their digital pianos for years and they have always had a very respected reputation for good quality instruments. As of this date the Yamaha YDP181 is still being produced and although it is quite old at this point in terms of technology compared to other Yamaha digital pianos, it is still their top Arius model. Even though I like the YDP181 I much prefer newer alternatives in other brands as compared to the YDP181 such as the Casio Celviano AP460 which you can read about from the link at the bottom of the page. For my previous review of the Yamaha YDP181 along with the much older and discontinued YDP161, please read below.
Here's what I mean; when you first apply pressure to the key and try to press very easily and softly as is required in many piano pieces as well as being important for younger beginner students, the GH action in both pianos reacts a bit stiff or overly resistant as compared with good acoustic pianos that I have played. There is an upward resistance to each key that requires a bigger amount of finger pressure to get the key to move downward. In other words, the key does not move as easily when playing lightly or softly especially when playing light legato or staccato style music and also when younger students with minimal finger strength try to press on the keys.
However I do like them overall and they do have a good piano tone with some other nice features. The key action itself is solid and has a quiet movement so that is good, but I just don't happen to like the playing experience on these models as well as I do other brands and other Yamaha models. Physical key touch is the most important thing in selecting a digital piano followed by the actual piano sound having a smooth dynamic range when playing the keys, which both Yamaha's do have. After that, then having a good speaker system and smooth pedal action with half-damper control.
So that's my opinion for what it's worth, and although I am a big fan of Yamaha musical equipment, I would look at other options besides the YDP161 & 181 which would give you a bigger bang for the buck. One other thing, a good, experienced piano player can play almost any piano with almost any key action because excellent piano players know how to compensate for various types of key action movements and weight so it may not be as much of an issue for that kind of a player. Overall, the Yamaha YDP161 & YDP181 digital pianos are solidly built instruments, reliable, and sound good, although I would submit they are somewhat overpriced for the features you are getting as compared to the other good brands in their price range. In fact, a new 2013 Casio Privia digital piano has just come out for substantially less money than the Yamaha's I reviewed here and is a better piano in almost every way. See my info below as I believe it will help you make an informed buying decision.
If you want more info on these and other pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at email@example.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.