Yamaha YDP-103 | REVIEW | Arius Digital Piano | 2021

Yamaha Arius YDP-103 Review
- Jan 1, 2021 - Yamaha YDP-103 Digital Piano | The entry-level Yamaha Arius YDP-103 is the lowest price digital piano in the Yamaha Arius series and has been out for a number of years now. With the addition of the Yamaha YDP-103 at $899 internet discount price, the Arius series now consists of  6 models.  With 6 pianos in the Arius series, the choice would be based on your budget (of course), your playing skill level, and how many features & functions you would like on a digital piano.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com To make matters more interesting, Yamaha makes an entry-level portable digital piano called the P-45 that is nearly identical to the YDP-103 cabinet model. I have done a review of the P-45 here on my blog and it's a nice model for its lower price of $499. Rather the totally reinvent the wheel, what Yamaha actually did is take their P-45 portable digital piano and simply put it in a basic, more traditional cabinet with built pedals and sliding key cover and called it a different model...the YDP-103. If you look at the Yamaha specifications on their website for both models, you will see the features are identical. This is nothing new as Yamaha has done this before along with other digital piano manufacturers who have done it to add a new model and save money doing it that way. Using previous technology from a lower-priced portable model and putting it in a more traditional cabinet with a new model number saves them money and gives shoppers more choices, which can be a good thing.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com At $899 this newer model does give Yamaha a slight advantage over the other major brands in that the YDP-103 is the lowest priced digital piano in a traditional-looking cabinet, although it is certainly more basic in technology than the others. The YDP-103 has 64 notes of polyphony processing power instead of picture of Yamaha YDP103 rosewood 128 or 192. More polyphony is better when playing more complex pieces or layering 2 or more sounds together. The YDP-103 is also using an older and less realistic piano sound chip called AWM instead of their newer "CFX" piano sampling sound chip found in their portable model P-125 as well as in other Arius models including the YDP-144 ($1099 internet price). So when the price is reduced...so are features. You usually don't get something for nothing and that's the case here. In fact, if you look at pictures of the YDP-103 compared to the YDP-144, the YDP-144 has a fuller/larger privacy panel backboard as compared to the YDP-103 which some people may or may not like. But at $899 it's hard to complain.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com Although the YDP-103 is a bit more basic in features, has no built-in recorder, no audio inputs or outputs, it does have the ability to connect with Yamaha's new "controller iPad app" which allows an iPad to control many of the internal functions of the YDP-103 from the iPad touch screen. It's a cool app, looks great, and is intuitive to use. This is something that the portable P-45 cannot do as far as I know and this app really does a nice job in making the user experience on the YDP-103 a much better one, assuming you have an iPad and can dedicate it to the YDP-103 or have use of it when you are playing the piano. The app also works on the YDP-144 and YDP-164 and a couple of other models although the Smart Pianist app is now taking its place.

Please read my previous review of the P-45 review and then you'll know all about the YDP-103 in terms of specs and my personal experience playing those pianos. Go to the following link at: Yamaha P-45 Review. If it were me, I would instead purchase the newer Casio PX-870 ($999 price)  because you'll get way more for the money in terms of piano chip sound quality, features, internal speaker system, and ease of use. The Casio PX-870 is just $100 more but offers so much more realism with regards to the piano playing experience that the Yamaha YDP-103 is not even close.   

picture of Yamaha YDP103 rosewood
The YDP-103 is available only in darker rosewood along with a built-in sliding key cover and a small matching bench which is attractive. But many people prefer a satin black color and as far as I know, the satin black is not available in the YDP-103 but is available in the higher price YDP-144. The built-in speaker system is just OK at 12 watts total power (2x6 watts stereo), and the sound is a bit thin but that's expected with weaker power amps as compared to other slightly higher priced digital pianos which would have more power. The YDP-103 is a nice piano and it's fine although it sounds very artificial to me. It only has one function button on it (piano) and everything else is driven by needing to go into the owner's manual to see where the hidden features are located on a keymap and then pressing the function button and a specific key to access the function features. If you are just basically going to play piano then that's fine. But if you're going to be doing more than that, then having an iPad and using the Yamaha iPad app is essential to the best possible user experience in operating this piano. If you do that then there is no problem selecting functions. Arius models are reliable, generally will hold up for many years, and have a good 3-year warranty covering parts & labor.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com
Casio PX870 satin black
As I mentioned earlier, I would also recommend you consider the Casio Celviano PX-870 digital piano for just $100 more at a $999 internet discount price.
The Casio PX-870 offers more built-in upgraded technology than the YDP-103 including an upgraded piano sound chip with 256-note polyphony, a wider dynamic range of tonal expression when playing from soft to loud, better, more authentic hammer weighted & graded key action, synthetic ivory & ebony keytops, a built-in 2-track MIDI recorder along with audio wav file recording and USB flash drive, more piano and instrumental sounds, direct access buttons to many features and more intuitive controls, a louder/fuller 40-watt 4-speaker internal sound system, 3-senor key action for better key repetition recognition instead of 2-senor such as what is in the YDP-103, and the piano comes in a satin black finish and brown walnut finish in a traditional cabinet with a back privacy panel. This model has a direct USB output, dual headphone jacks on the front, and a built-in siding key cover, and it has a 3-year factory. Go to the following link to read my review of the Casio PX-870: Casio PX-870 Review

I do like Yamaha, but that brand is more competitive in the higher price range with their Clavinova series of digital pianos once you get up over $2000. But the bottom line is...we encourage you and your family to get into playing music because it's good for you and your family and is something you can enjoy your entire life.

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call directly at 602-571-1864.

1 comment:

Dr. Arlen Rollins said...

I have a Technics PCM PX9 and like it but have ahad it fixed and the sound went away again. Looked at the YDP 103 and 143 as well as the yamaha P115 and dxg 560

I am a beginner and looking for advice under $1,000

I like your advice and comments