|Yamaha Clavinova CLP525 rosewood|
|Yamaha Arius YDP163 rosewood|
The physical key action movement on the new CLP525 feels the same to me as compared to the Yamaha YDP163. The key action is the #1 most important thing to look for in any piano and although the key action is solid, and quiet when it moves, admittedly I have not been a big fan of the GH/GH3 plastic key action because of the resistance of the key when pressing down on it from key resting position. The action is the GH series which stands for graded hammer. Nearly all good digital pianos in this price range have a graded hammer action which means the keys are weighted slightly heavier on the left side and get slightly lighter in weight as you go up the right side of the keyboard. However the overall weight or heaviness of all the keys when you push them down is what I don't particularly like as compared to other digital piano brands. This weight or extra resistance to finger pressure is called static touch weight. What I notice about this GH3 action is that the keys take a lot more pressure to push down whether your fingers are on the front part of the white keys or on the back of the white or black keys. As an example, if you were to go and press the keys on the higher priced Yamaha NU1 digital upright piano
There are 10 basic (but good) sounds on this CLP525 and 3 of them are acoustic piano sounds (brighter, more mellow, etc). There are a couple of very good organ sounds (church, Hammond B3 jazz/rock sound), strings, harpsichord with plucking (very nice), etc. The stereo acoustic piano sound reproduction is actually very nice and I liked it a lot. There is noticeably good dynamic range of tone and volume when striking the keys from soft to hard and there is good sustain and resonance coming through the piano. Yamaha also uses a feature they call "smooth release" which helps with producing a more natural sustain when releasing the keys more slowly as opposed to playing in a staccato fashion. Both pianos (CLP525 & YDP163) have their acoustic piano sounds sampled from Yamaha's CF series grand pianos (this is true for all of the lower priced Yamaha digital pianos I have played down to about $600US) and both pianos sounded the same to me in that way when I played them.
|CLP525 left side control panel|
You can connect the piano to an iPad or computer using the USB output on the piano which is helpful for using software or a variety of music educational iPad apps which I like and use in my studio. There are no audio output or input jacks so the piano cannot be connected to external audio systems except through the stereo headphone jacks (there are two of them)...which I do not particularly like because of limitations connecting it that way. It is important to note that when using an iPad connected with this piano, you would need to rely on the internal iPad speaker oe go through a blue-tooth speaker from an iPad to hear the music or sounds coming out of the apps on an iPad. Unfortunately in most cases, the iPad sound through it's tiny speaker is small and gets drowned out by the Yamaha piano when your playing on it. If the piano had an audio input jack(s) built into it, then you could run the iPad sound through the piano speaker system and hear the iPad at a good volume and in stereo, which would be very helpful. If you could do that then you could also plug in stereo headphones into the piano and hear the iPad sound coming through the headphones as well as the piano for private practice using iPad apps. Also, the additional extra built-in features/functions of the CLP525 need to be accessed with a special function button on the piano while referring to a menu inside the owners manual so it makes using those functions more complex. But this is true of some other brands and models as well in this price range, but I would have expected a more intuitive and extensive control panel on the CLP525 in this way. However the lack of controls and buttons is a way for the manufacturers to reduce cost on these pianos and make the piano control panel look more minimalistic. But this is not necessarily a good thing for the player when trying to figure out how to access the functions.
The internal sound system of the CLP525 with 40 watts of power (20x2 stereo) into 2 separate internal speakers is more than enough for most rooms and this model can get pretty loud if you want it to. The lower priced Arius YDP163 has the same internal speaker system so there is no difference there. There are also good digital pianos in this lower price range (under $2000US selling price) with 40 watts of audio power, however one of those models sounds much more like a real piano because it has 4 speakers as opposed to two speakers in the CLP525 and it has better sound dispersion in a more natural ways. This model is by Casio and is called the Celviano AP460 which is just $1499US internet price and in my opinion offers more for much less money than does the Yamaha CLP525. It's a very impressive model and don't let its low price suggest it cannot compete with the Yamaha because based on all my playing with this model, it definitely can. Take a look at my review at the following link: Casio Celviano AP460 Review
|CLP525 with closed key cover|
|Yamaha CLP525 & bench|
However, at the end of the day it's really about what you want, what satisfies your musical and/or piano learning needs, what type of piano cabinet you want, and the amount of money you can or want to spend. The Yamaha CLP525 is a fine piano overall so it should definitely be a consideration when you are comparing various brands & models. Although there are many good options out there and I know it can be confusing sometimes, just do your homework and research and if you have specific questions you are welcome to contact me as I am happy to help answer them for you. Also, Yamaha has an entire line of CLP pianos above the CLP525 and I have done a review of those pianos. Please go to the following link to read my review of the higher priced Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos: Yamaha CLP535, 545, 575, 585, 565GP Piano Review
One more thing to consider: Casio now has their latest Celviano digital piano under $2000 available for sale at $1899US, and of all the digital pianos out there under $2000, I believe this model offers the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to a combination of good looks, big organic piano sound with 256-note polyphony, large internal speaker system with unique sound dispersion technology, and a huge array of useful digital features that no other digital piano offers in this price range. Beyond all that, the Casio company offers the longest factory warranty on any piano under $2000 which is 5 years parts & labor in-home service in the US. For some people it may be hard to believe that a company like Casio who is not known a s a piano company because they don't produce acoustic pianos, to be taken seriously up against a famous piano company like Yamaha. But nothing could be further from the truth...you can taken this one very seriously. Read my review at the following link to learn more about this impressive model: Casio Celviano AP650 Review
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.