Thursday, March 22, 2012

REVIEW - Yamaha YDP-C71 Digital Piano - Polished Ebony version of the Yamaha YDP161

UPDATED REVIEW - July 10, 2013 - Recommended - The Yamaha YDPC71 is still a current model although the new 2013 model YDP162 is actually a more advanced piano in terms of piano sound and other functions and it's the same price (for standard finishes). Go to the following link for a review of the Yamaha YDP162: Yamaha YDP162 review. - Please note that the new YDP162 is also available in a polished ebony but that polished finish is available only (in the US) in Yamaha authorized piano stores and generally for a much higher price.

The 2012 polished ebony Yamaha YDPC71 digital piano (originally $1799 internet price that was just reduced to $1499 as of now) is an attractive piano but a bit overpriced in my opinion considering it is otherwise the same piano as the older YDP161. I really like the Yamaha brand and own a couple of their pianos myself. I have also played many of their digital pianos and keyboards throughout the years and I always look forward to seeing new Yamaha models. Yamaha has been producing their current line of Arius pianos for about 3 years (with the exception of their YDP135R which is newer) and I was hoping to see new electronic and/or feature improvements in this YDPC71. However, there are none and that was a bit disappointing to me considering all the other new technology out there.

The only thing that Yamaha came up with is a new polished ebony cabinet finish of their YDP161 for the YDP-C71PE at $1799 original  internet price (upper left pic). The YDPC71 is otherwise the identical digital piano to the Arius YDP161 ($1499 internet price) which has a nice piano tone and fairly nice and solid upright piano key action (GH). However, this model is somewhat basic in most every other way when it comes to many things including its control panel which is minimal, limited instrument tones & educational technology, and no USB output to iPad or computer or USB flashdrive input unlike other digital pianos in this price range which do have some of these upgraded features and functions. In other words, for $1799, other than getting it in the attractive polished ebony finish (which I admit costs more money to produce and is nice to look at), there are better new digital piano choices out there that are more advanced including piano sound & key action realism. In fact going up just a bit to the Yamaha Clavinova CLP430 in the standard cabinet finish (sells at around $2000 would be a much better choice as a musical instrument goes in my opinion, and for not much more money.

As I mentioned above, this model has the same specs as the YDP161 including 10 total instrument tones (the piano tones sounds real nice but the others are just OK), 128-notes of polyphony (which is very good), a 2-track 1 song MIDI recorder (does not play or record General MIDI format), 40 watts of stereo audio power (OK), and all of it in a very basic cabinet aside from the attractive polished ebony finish. The piano sound coming out of this model is actually a bit thin and mid-rangy and lacks fullness in my opinion. However, if you were to plug in a good set of stereo headphones, the sound is much better.

In the lower price range right now I believe the new 2013 Casio PX850 at just $1099 internet discount price is probably a better buy as compared to the Yamaha YDPC71 or the new YDP162 (except for the polished ebony finish) and it's $400 less too. This new Casio has 256-note polyphony, 40 watt 4 speaker sound system, synthetic ivory & ebony keys, and many other cool features including high speed USB direct connection to iPad for educational apps. Yes, Yamaha does have the more popular name in pianos (they make great acoustic grands & uprights), but the name isn't what you will be playing...it's the piano itself and with that in mind, check out the new Casio models because I think you'll be impressed. Go here for my Casio PX850 review: Casio PX850 Review

Also, another new digital piano that has caught my attention is the Kawai CE220 ($1899 internet price in satin black, left pic). What makes this piano a great choice is a few notable things such as a real full length wooden key action that, in my opinion, comes much closer to duplicating an acoustic piano upright key action than any other piano in this price range. Wood keys is a very big deal and not available on digital pianos until your at $3000 or more. The CE220 also has 192-notes of polyphony (it's the same overall sound chip from their $3000 CN43 digital piano) with very high definition sound sampling that gives this piano more fire-power in reproducing an even better acoustic piano sound and something that really sounds like a grand piano (particularly through headphones). The wood key action and grand piano sound reproduction alone is worth the price of admission:). On top of that, the Kawai has 100 realistic drum player patterns to help with rhythm & timing which is great for music education, 4-hand duet play, it can layer and split any two of its 22 impressive instrument sounds with relative volume balance, it has USB output to computer and USB flashdrive input for downloading music into the CE220 as well as saving your recordings off the piano into the flashdrive. Beyond that, it has stereo audio 1/4" outputs & inputs for great audio connectivity and an upgraded front control panel with direct access buttons and intuitive features. I also like its cabinet design, satin black color, panel layout, and sturdiness. I have done a review of this model so take a look at it and see what you think? Kawai CE220 Review

With regard to the Yamaha Arius model YDPC71, the upside to this instrument at this price is if you want to keep it very simple with minimal functions, and you really want that polished ebony high gloss look in a digital piano, then this piano may be just perfect for you. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter which piano you get because you'll be able to make great music and have a nice piano that should last you many years.

If you want more piano info and LOWER PRICES than internet or store discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

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