AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Yamaha YDP-C71PE Digital Piano - Attractive Cabinet but otherwise same model as older YDP161 - Digital Piano Reviews

Jan 30, 2012

REVIEW - Yamaha YDP-C71PE Digital Piano - Attractive Cabinet but otherwise same model as older YDP161

UPDATED REVIEW - June 8, 2013 - Recommended - The Yamaha YDPC71 (current reduced internet price is $1499) 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. 

I recommend the the Yamaha YDPC71PE digital piano in its attractive polished ebony cabinet although it is otherwise the same piano as the older YDP161 which is quite basic in function and features as compared to other brands and models. 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 2 years (with the exception of their new low priced YDP135R) and I was hoping to see new electronic and/or feature improvements in their 2012 models. However, there are none at this point and that was a bit disappointing to me considering all the other new technology out there.

The only new piano that Yamaha came up with this year (2012) in their Arius series was an attractive polished ebony cabinet finish of their YDP161 which they call 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 piano key action (GH).  However, the YDPC71 is somewhat basic in most every other way when it comes to its limited control panel where all controls on the left side of the piano which is a bit inconvenient in my opinion. It is also limited in amount of instrument tones & educational technology and has no USB output or USB flashdrive input unlike other digital pianos in this price range. 

As I mentioned above, this model has the same specs as the YDP161 including just 10 total instrument tones (the piano tones sounds nice but the others are just OK), 128-notes of polyphony (which is very good), a 2-track 1 song MIDI recorder, 40 watts of stereo audio power, and all of it in a very polished basic cabinet. The polished ebony finish however is not on the pedalboard or cabinet back panel so the piano is not completely polished ebony and looks a bit cheap to me because of that.

In the lower price range right now I believe the new 2013 Casio PX850 at just $1099 internet discount price is a worthy competitor of the Yamaha. 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 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. 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. It can also play back General MIDI song file accompaniments which is great for educational piano practice at home. 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, low maintenance 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 YDPC71CE, the upside to this instrument at this price point is that if you are a "minimalist" kind of person who wants to keep it very simple with minimal functions, and you really want that polished ebony high gloss look in a digital piano (and you don't mind spending the $1499 to get it), then this piano may be just perfect for you. It really doesn't matter which piano you get, because at the end of the day you'll be able to make great music on any of these fine pianos and have something that should last you many years. Yamaha has always had good quality and I have played them for many years and you will likely be very happy should you choose to buy one. However, I recommend you do your digital piano research and contact me for advice before you make any buying decisions.

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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