AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Yamaha YDP161 & CLP320 Digital Pianos - Nice but basic - Digital Piano Reviews

May 31, 2010

REVIEW - Yamaha YDP161 & CLP320 Digital Pianos - Nice but basic

Updated REVIEW - July 1, 2012
Yamaha makes two lines of home furniture cabinet digital pianos. One series is called the Clavinova CLP & CVP and the other is called the Arius series YDP (stands for Yamaha Digital Piano). Yamaha America allows only regular local piano stores to carry the Clavinova series and the YDP series is usually available at the full line music stores such as Guitar Center, Sam Ash, and many on-line internet stores. Sometimes a local piano store will carry both piano lines, but not often. The Clavinova prices are never advertised on the internet in the US because you have to find & purchase them in a local store, but the Arius YDP piano prices are advertised locally and on the internet and the YDP's are always advertised everywhere at generally the same discount price.


The YDP series pianos are internet priced for under $2000 while the Clavinova series are usually sold for over $2000 and up to $10,000 or more. The CLP320 (which is now discontinued) and the newer YDP161 (above left pic) which is internet priced at $1499 are nice basic digital pianos but somewhat overpriced in my opinion at this point because of what the competition offers for the same price or less. TheYDP161 does have one additional track of recording (2-tracks) over the Clavinova CLP320 but the sound systems are the same on both (same 40-watt power & speaker size which is good) as are the number and types of sounds (10), the polyphony (128-note which is sufficient), sampling technology (good piano tone), features, as well as the actual keyboard touch (GH graded hammer) which is a nice keyboard action and better (according to Yamaha) than the GHS action in some of the other Yamaha models. 

The CLP320 and YDP161 also share the same piano tone called Pure CF sampling. This piano sound is taken from Yamaha's acoustic CF series piano. This difference is supposed to make the piano tone sound better than previous models. But as with all pianos, you have to know what to listen for and be experienced in piano tone to notice the difference.

Although the YDP161 and Clavinova CLP320 have the same cabinet design (with some minor differences), the 161 comes in just one color as opposed to the CLP320 which comes in a few different colors. That may be an important option depending on the furniture and design colors in your home although since the CLP320 is discontinued now, it is a mute point. As far as these pianos go, it's the touch, piano tone, and pedal system that make them a good choice over some of the competitors. The other features and sounds (10 instrument sounds on the YDP161) on both pianos are very basic and offer nothing special (in my opinion). And I don't care much for the panel layout at this price point because there are very few control access buttons but the YDP181 for $1699 does have a much better panel layout and would be a better choice for ease of use and also has very nice upgraded features. But if you need to keep the price down, then the YDP161 will be fine. However, neither piano has a USB/MIDI output to computer (only a regular MIDI output) which should be a standard item on these pianos especially at this price. I suspect there may be new Arius models next year which should take care of that issue among other things. The music education software for computers these days is very exciting and and Apple iPad is one of the best ways to utilize it connected to a digital piano so having a high speed core MIDI USB connection is important in my opinion.

Also, you should consider the Casio AP620 Celviano digital piano (pictured left) for an internet price of $1399. The AP620 piano tone & touch are (in my opinion) exceptional in this price range with Casio's 3-sensor dynamic response system producing a greater piano dynamic range and expression. it also has easier to use control panel functions with an LCD display screen. The Casio AP620 also has dedicated buttons, 250 instrument tones (as opposed to 10 on the Yamaha CLP161), 360 educational drum rhythms and full background accompaniment music (none on the Yamaha 161, CLP320 or on the new CLP430), an SD memory card slot with 4 banks of separate memory for storage and playback of General MIDI songs and lessons, ivory touch keys, front cabinet stabilization legs, and more. Hundreds of people throughout the US own the Casio AP620 piano and like it very much.

If you don't know about the Casio AP620, then you should check it out before you purchase a digital piano in this price range. I have written a blog review on the Casio AP620, so take a look when you have time.
http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2010/01/all-new-casio-celviano-ap620-piano-is.html

Although the Yamaha YDP161 is a good digital piano choice, if you want to be in a lower price range, then I also recommend the Casio Celviano AP420 (left pic) with an internet price of just $1099. The AP420 is the direct competitor to the Yamaha YDP161 and has the ivory touch keys, USB to computer connection, 4-hand duet play function, an SD card memory storage for recording and playing songs, and a sturdier cabinet with height adjustable bench, all of which the Yamaha YDP161 does not have. The AP420 piano key touch and dynamics are identical to the Casio AP620 and better than the Yamaha, and the AP420 is $400 less than the Yamaha, so it really is a very good value and quite popular. I have played the Casio AP420 many times and am very impressed with it for its low price.
  
For more info on digital pianos and how to get one for LESS than any advertised US price on the internet, please contact me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864 

34 comments:

  1. Hello, Iam from Brazil and I have just began to learn. I would like to buy a piano that have the same weight for the keyboard and the tone of an acustic piano .I am not interested in tecnology and other things, just want a digital piano that is very similar to an acoustic one.I am confused between roland, yamaha and casio.I would like one with a beautiful cabinet.
    What do you recomend?

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  2. It depends how much money you can spend on a piano. The more you spend, the better the piano. I would recommend a Casio Celviano AP6 if they are available in your area. Beautiful cabinet with excellent tone and touch. They cost $1999 in the States.

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  3. Hi, what do you think about the new Kawai CN33? They say, it has a good keyboard. Thanks.

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  4. I like the Kawai CN33. See my review on this blog

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  5. Hy, I'm writing from Italy and sorry for my bed english ! My name's Joseph !
    I would buy a CLP 320 because I was ear it, but I see in your review that the CLP 320 is same YDP 161. In a store on line in Italy (Turin) said that there are a difference on the tone ! Is it true ? In your review ther's not it ? Help me please ! Bye

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  6. According to Yamaha, there is no difference in tone between the CLP320 and YDP161.

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  7. Are you sure? According to this Yamaha's FAQ, YDP161 does not feature the Pure CF sampling:

    http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/arius_series/ydp-161/4711/4109

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  8. The Yamaha YDP161 & 181 are virtually the same instrument. On the link below you will see a advertisement used by Yamaha US to describe the features of the 181 (the same as 161 as far as tone and touch). Yamaha US has also verified this with me. In addition to that, simply plug in a pair of good headphones into the CLP320 & 161 and see if you can tell if there is any difference.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Z94n1lvXh5A/TAVmZNG4wWI/AAAAAAAAARI/Wa3XEeAjhdE/s1600/yamaha+ydp181+-+Copy.JPG

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  9. Hi,I'm from malaysia.It's okay if i use digital pianos until higher grade?

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  10. "Good" quality digital pianos are excellent choices for taking piano lessons and playing piano

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  11. is yamaha clp 320 good for playing classical music?

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  12. Do you sell pianos for Casio?

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  13. If you want to know what I am able to offer in the way of digital pianos, you are welcome to email me directly for that information

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  14. Hello Tim,

    First, very informative article, thanks.

    Second, would appreciate if you can pl. let us know your opinion. We are in the market to buys a digital upright piano for our kids (under 10 yr) and went to local Best Buy store and the guy there showed us these three:
    Roland F-110 (for $1250)
    Casio PX-830 (for $1300)
    Yamaha Arius YDP-161 (for $1350)

    Out of these he (said he is a piano teacher too) highly recommended Roland.

    Can you suggest which one (if any) of these is the best? Also is there any other brand/model in this price range that we should consider instead?

    Thanks
    Khoj

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  15. Hi Khoj,

    I would be glad to give some piano advice. Please email me directly at the email address in this blog and then I can help you. Thank you.

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  16. Hi
    I am planning to buy a digitial piano for my daughter. She is beginner. Once she is in more advance level, do i need to buy her a traditional one?

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  17. Yes and no. It depends on a few things. Please email me directly and I can give you more info.
    Thank you.

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  18. I really appreciate this great review. You may get a call from me in the near future :)

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  19. Can you please give your thoughts on CLP 430 Vs CLP 440? I am a biginner and I want to keep the piano I buy for about 10 years.

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  20. Hi Tim,
    Thank you very much for the huge amount of information.
    I am from The Netherlands, and here YDP 161 and CLP 320 are sold in the same shop. Interestingly, they are also about the same price.
    I think the only difference is first the touch sensitivity, which has hard/medium/soft/fixed for the YDP and Yes for the CLP320, and second the YDP161 has Reverb Yes and the CLP has 4 Types.
    Does these things really make a difference?
    And, since they are the same price, what to choose?
    Thanks!
    Erik

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  21. can either of them (Yamaha YDP161 or Casio CLP320 ) be use to higher grades? Or can you provide a few sample of Good" quality digital pianos ?

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  22. Hi,
    I've been attending music classes in a conservatory and to practice and learn piano i like to buy a digital piano since i don't have any at home and right now i am using a yamaha psr-e303 keyboard to practice which is not very good, since when i have to play in front of my piano teacher on a real piano, it's so different. Initially I was thinking of buying a clavinova, but then due to its higher price i thought i'd buy arius. But at the dealer's place, there was this Kurzweil MP10SR, and the dealer told me that it has far superior piano sound and touch than Yamaha YDP series and ever since I've been persuaded to buy the kurzweil. What is your opinion about this?
    Mani from Iran

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  23. Both pianos are very nice but for more information on your questions, please email me directly.

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  24. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for this great blog full of information.
    If possible I really would like to email you directly about the ydp 161, clp 230 and the casio 420/620.

    Unfortunatly I do not have outlook mail from microsoft office (i see you use that on your profile). Is there any other way I can message you directly?


    Greats from Holland!

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  25. Thanks so much for this useful blog!
    ~Ann Arbor, MI

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  26. Nice review, but there is something in it that left me a bit confused

    "neither piano has a USB/MIDI output to computer (only a regular MIDI output)"

    Putting aside the USB, I was not aware there was a difference between 'MIDI output to computer' and 'regular MIDI output'. Does it mean these pianos cannot be connected to a computer at all? Is it not just a question of having the right cable/adpator? if not, what's the MIDI output in these pianos for then?

    PS: Personally I am interested in the CLP320.

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  27. Nice review, but there is something in it that left me a bit confused

    "neither piano has a USB/MIDI output to computer (only a regular MIDI output)"

    Putting aside the USB, I was not aware there was a difference between 'MIDI output to computer' and 'regular MIDI output'. Does it mean these pianos cannot be connected to a computer at all? Is it not just a question of having the right cable/adpator? if not, what's the MIDI output in these pianos for then?

    PS: Personally I am interested in the CLP320.

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  28. Nice review and thanks for all the info. I had a question though regarding one of your comments:

    "neither piano has a USB/MIDI output to computer (only a regular MIDI output)"

    Putting aside the USB, I was not aware there was a difference between 'MIDI output to computer' and 'regular MIDI output'. Does it mean these pianos cannot be connected to a computer at all? Is it not just a question of having the right cable/adaptor/software? If not, what is the use for the MIDI output on these pianos then?

    PS: I am asking as I am considering a CLP320 but would very much like a connection to computer (through MIDI or USB, whichever).

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  29. Hy
    What do you think about Yamaha YDP 161 and Kawaï CN 33 ? I know it's not the same price ; but is the different of price justified ?

    Thanks a lot for your answer.
    Sophie

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  30. The short answer is YES. Also, the correct comparison should be between the Yamaha Clavinova CLP430 & Kawai CN33. And even at that point I personally prefer the Kawai CN33 for a number of different reasons

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  31. Hi,
    Your blog is very useful. Thank you for it. I would like to ask for your advice. I can buy for the same price used clavinova clp 230 and new casio celviano 420. I am using it for home playing and my daughter just beginning to study. What should I choose? Thank you.

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  32. I am trying to decide which one to buy from Yamaha ydp 161 & 181. is it worth it to spend $300 more on ydp 161 bundle deal over the ydp 181 bundle deal?
    How does the yamaha 181/161 compare to Roland F120.
    Thank you for your help

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  33. Hi, have been reading blog. Very informative!!

    I have two children who i would like to learn, I am starting to learn as part of a life long dream/bucket list..

    I have the option between a ydp 161 at £819 or clp 340 at £1499 and the retailer also said the ydp 161 is the equivalent to the discontinued clp 320.

    There is a significant price difference between the ydp 161 and the clp 430. Is it worth it? or alternatively a friend has a clp 320 which seems nice should i try and get one of these as a compromise? usually around £1200 but more difficult to get hold
    of.

    Thanks for your help. maxine

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  34. THANKS FOR THIS HELPFUL INFORMATION!!!

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