Essentially the P255 is a fairly easy to carry (approx 38lbs), self contained portable piano with a powerful built in speaker system and is made for people who want to primarily play piano although it does do many other cool things. The P255 also offers a very nice selection of other instrument sounds including the primary sounds that people are looking for such as electric pianos, organs, strings, harpsichords, etc. The additional instrument sounds, many of which are in stereo do sound great and I enjoyed playing them. The older Yamaha P155 did the same thing but the quality of sound realism for not only the piano sounds, but for all instruments, is much better on the P255 as compared to the older P155. So there is a noticeable difference there and I am happy to see that Yamaha has upgraded the piano in this way.
What sets this instrument apart from some of the other portable digital pianos is the sound, features, and design elements that it has for its $1299 price. The built-in speaker system has 30 watts of audio power going into 4 quality speakers including 2 round main speakers and 2 tweeters (speakers are in the back facing out) which is more audio power than in the typical portable pianos in this or lower price ranges. So for those people who want a bigger sound without connecting to external speakers, the Yamaha P255 would be able to do that and the overall volume is also fuller and louder through a good pair of stereo headphones. The next notable new element in this piano is the 256-note polyphony memory chip. This is double that of the older P155 (128-note polyphony) and allows for more advanced music playing complexity when layering & playing 2 sounds together as well as recording 2 sounds together while playing a third live sound over the top of that recording. The only other top name portable digital piano in this lower price range to have the 256-note polyphony memory chip is the new Casio PX560 pro stage piano ($1199 internet discount price). The piano sound of the new P255 is upgraded over the less expensive Yamaha P115 piano ($599 internet price) as well as the older P155. The piano sound on the P255 is just more realistic than on other Yamaha pianos in this price range and the added acoustic piano type elements such as string resonance in the piano sound are impressive and helps with producing a more realistic piano tone.
The piano key action in this model is what Yamaha calls "GH" graded hammer weighted key action with synthetic ivory keytops. The GH/GH3 key action is used in a variety of Yamaha digital pianos in higher price ranges, but the P255 is the lowest priced Yamaha digital piano (with internal speakers) that I know of in this lower price range ($1299) to have the GH action. The GH (graded hammer) action is an improvement over the lower priced GHS standard action in having a more realistic weight and movement of the keys, quieter key action, and more stability. The P255 GH action is a 2-senor key action as opposed to 3-sensor key action such as what is in the competitive new Casio PX560 portable pro stage piano. It's not until you get to the Yamaha GH3 (3-senor) key action that you get the next level of Yamaha's key action models which is found in their higher priced pro & home digital pianos. However, I am personally not a big fan of the GH key action because it is, in my opinion, somewhat heavy or resistant (as compared to many acoustic & digital pianos I have played) when pressing the keys lightly or softly. I like the keys to go down more easily when playing softly or lightly so it is not fatiguing and so that I can play more quickly. The GH key action just does not do that for me, but for other people they may like the playing experience of the GH key action. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly play the GH key action and can make good music, but I just don't enjoy the action near as much as I do on other top brands and models such as Roland, Casio, or Kawai.
|synthetic ivory keytops|
|FC4 sustain pedal|
There is also a piano pedal sustain feature called half-pedaling which the P255 does offer as do other piano brands and models. Half-pedaling means that rather than just having on or off pedal sustain, there is a middle amount of sustain based on the pedal being pressed about half way down. This feature, which is quite useful for higher skill level piano players, is more realistic especially when comparing to what a real acoustic can do, but unfortunately the included sustain FC4 pedal cannot trigger this function. You would need to purchase a special optional Yamaha piano style pedal (FC3) for about $45 to make that happen and get a similar designed pedal or the optional triple pedal unit for those that want the upgraded system. Why Yamaha didn't just include the upgraded single pedal is beyond me because there is no reason not to have it, and in the $1299 price range, I don't know anyone who wouldn't want that kind of pedal. As an example, Kawai includes a deluxe sustain/half-damper pedal with its ES100 portable digital piano ($799 internet price) so if they can do it in my opinion Yamaha be able to do that. I call that just a way to get you to spend more money on something Yamaha should have already included (that's my guess). As you can tell I am bothered by small details, but to me as someone who plays piano well and expects the little things to be there, Yamaha dropped the ball on this one.
When it comes to the P255 control panel and functions, Yamaha has nicely redesigned and upgraded it from the older P155 piano. There are a total of 24 instrument sounds including the acoustic pianos as opposed to 17 on the P155. The layout and design is less cluttered and more classy/simple sleek looking and a bit easier to navigate and use. You can layer any two sounds together for simultaneous play or split two sounds for left hand/right hand which is nice. Although the older P155 had editing controls for setting brightness, reverb, effects, touch sensitivity, etc, the P255 is not only simpler and more efficient to use, the effects themselves have been much improved including the reverb/echos, and a new 3 band graphic EQ has been included for incremental custom changes to the overall sound including treble, mid range, and bass. The older P155 had this but the changes are preset and not near as functional and changeable. The reverbs and effects such as chorus, phasers, etc are quite good and a nice upgrade and some players, especially pro players, will like these better special effects. Each sound can memorize the effects that you put on it so you can have different effects applied to different sounds and they will be recalled when you go back to that sound, which is very nice.
Yamaha has also developed an iPad app that can be used to access the various functions on the control panel in an easy and intuitive way. So if you have an iPad you can use with the P255, the P255 app (left pic) is a great help in getting through the various piano functions. Roland piano company also has an app for many of its digital pianos so it is beginning to become more common to see but definitely a plus, especially for digital pianos that otherwise may not be as intuitive to use on their own. I am disappointed in the fact that Yamaha did not put in a LCD display screen in place of the older basic LED user display screen. LCD screens allow for displaying the actual function or feature such as "grand piano," "live grand", "DX E Piano," "Pipe Organ Principal," "Vibraphone," etc. Instead, the older style LED display has simple character displays like GP1, GP2, OR3, CL4, etc. You just cannot know what the actual sound or feature name is of the function you are using, and to me, that is a big oversight on Yamaha's part and an inconvenience for the user. Even lower price portable digital pianos like Casio PX350 ($699) has a LCD display screen and I suspect that Yamaha believes the solution for that is to use its P255 iPad app for a much better user interface. However, even though the iPad app control panel user interface is very nice, I don't want to have to dedicate an iPad to the P255 just to have more intuitive control over my piano. So I am disappointed Yamaha did not upgrade its built-in LED display to a more user friendly LCD. A better solution is what the Casio company did with their new PX560 portable pro digital piano. Not only does the PX560 have some impressive features packed into a lightweight 88-key portable piano at $100 less than the Yamaha P255, all of the user controls are accessed by a 5.3" color touch screen (left pic) which intuitively accesses all of the PX560 features. This makes for a dedicated user interface that has no rival at the moment in this price range and the results in my opinion are outstanding for piano sound, key action, and a multitude of useful features which makes the playing experience even more enjoyable.
|older P155 sound buttons|
|P255 instrument sound buttons|
There are other new features in this model that I like and they include the addition of 10 realistic sound drum rhythm patterns so that you can play along with a drummer which can help with rhythm and timing. The Yamaha P115 portable piano ($599 internet price) has this feature as well. The P255 drum patterns are basic but do include Latin, Rock, Swing, Waltz, etc, along with an intro and ending so that it sounds more natural when you are using that feature. But once again, you don't know what rhythm you are getting from the drum button because there is only a LED display screen which reads out simple things like drum pattern 1, 2, 3, 4, etc... definitely not intuitive. The P255 can also record audio wav files of you playing the piano and save it to a USB flashdrive along with being able to sing through the piano with a microphone plugged in to the audio input and save your vocal performance along with the piano playing. I like this feature and although it's not the only brand that can do this, in this price range, it's pretty cool. Another useful new digital feature offered is what Yamaha calls sound boost which gives you the ability to have an instant increase in volume, brightness, and/or power when you want it rather than doing it manually by adjusting the master volume or using the 3 band EQ. This is good for live playing situations where you think this may help your overall piano sound when playing solo or singing at the same time.
Copyright AZPianoNews.com 2014
|new EQ sliders|
|triple pedal & furniture stand|
Another great option for a portable professional type digital piano in a lightweight self-contained cabinet in this lower price range is the very impressive new 2016 Casio PX560 as I mentioned earlier. At just $1199US internet discount price, this piano is incredible for what it offers and how it performs in this price range. It has so many great features I almost don't know where to start. But I will say that just playing piano on it is impressive enough not counting all the other cool features it has plus it only weighs about 26lbs, so carrying it around is a breeze:). This model may be difficult to find in stores right now but check out my review of the new Casio Privia PX560 portable digital piano at the following link and you'll get a better idea of what this piano can do and for $100US less than the Yamaha P255: Casio PX560 Review
*Before you make any purchase decision you should always do your research and home work, especially in this price range because you want to make the right decision for your musical goals and long terms needs in a price range you can afford.
If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 602-571-1864.