Sep 30, 2016

REVIEW - Yamaha YDP103 Digital Piano - Recommended - Low Priced Arius

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com

UPDATED REVIEW - Noivember 1, 2017Yamaha YDP103 Digital Piano - Recommended - The new entry level Yamaha Arius YDP103 is the new lowest price digital piano in the Yamaha Arius series. With the addition of the Yamaha YDP103 at $899US 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 as well as 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 P45 that is nearly like the YDP103. I have done a review of the P45 here on my blog and it's a nice model, especially for its low price of $449. Rather the totally reinvent the wheel, what Yamaha actually did is take their P45 portable digital piano and simply put it in a basic, more traditional cabinet with built pedals and sliding key cover and called it a new model...YDP103. If you look at the Yamaha specifications on their web site 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 new model does give Yamaha a slight advantage over the other major brands in that the YDP103 is the lowest priced digital piano in a traditional looking cabinet, although it is certainly more basic in technology than the others. The YDP103 has 64 notes of polyphony processing power instead of 128 or 192. More polyphony is better when playing more complex pieces or layering 2 or more sounds together. The YDP103 is also using an older and less realistic piano sound chip called AWM instead of their newer "Pure CF" piano sampling sound chip found in their portable model P115 as well as in other Arius models including the YDP143 (999 internet price). So when priced 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 YDP103 compared to the YDP143, the YDP143 has a fuller/larger privacy panel backboard as compared to the YDP103 which some people may or may not like. But at $899 it's hard to complain.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com Although the YDP103 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 YDP103 from the iPad touch screen. It's a cool app, looks great, and is intuitive to use. This is something that the portable P45 cannot do as far as I know and this app really does a nice job in making the user experience on the YDP103 a much better one, assuming you have an iPad and can dedicate it to the YDP103 or have use of it when you are playing the piano. The app also works on the YDP143 and YDP163 and a couple of other models including the lower price (and much better) P115 portable digital piano.

Please read my previous review of the P45/P115 review and then you'll know all about the YDP103 in terms of specs and my personal experience playing those pianos. Go to the following link at: Yamaha P45-P115 Review. If it were me, I would instead purchase the Yamaha P115 ($599US price) with optional stand and 3-pedal unit because you'll get way more for the money in terms of piano chip sound quality, features, internal speaker system, and ease of us. The P115 with stand & triple pedal unit would come in at about $150 less than the YDP103, and the P115 is the much better instrument in my opinion.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com
Yamaha YDP143
The new YDP103 is available only in darker rosewood along with 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 YDP103 but is available in the higher price YDP143. 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 weak power amps as compared to other slightly higher priced digital pianos at 16-24 watts of total power. The new YDP103 is a nice piano and I like it, but it only has one function button on it (piano) and everything else is driven by needing to go into the owners manual to see where the hidden features are located on a key map and then 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 the piano. If you do that then there is no problem and I recommend it. Arius models are reliable, generally will hold up for many years, and have a good 3-year warranty covering parts & labor.

Casio AP260
I would also recommend you consider the Casio Celviano AP270 digital piano for just $150 more at $1049US internet discount price. The Casio AP270 offers more built-in upgraded technology than the YDP103 including an upgraded piano sound chip with 192-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, more piano and instrumental sounds, direct access buttons to many features and more intuitive controls, a louder/fuller 16-watt internal speaker system, 3-senor key action for better key repetition recognition instead of 2-senor such as what is in the YDP103, and the piano comes in a satin black finish and brown walnut finish in a traditional cabinet with a full size back privacy panel and matching bench. The model still has the direct USB output, dual headphone jacks on the front, and a built-in siding key cover, plus it has a much longer factory warranty of 5 years parts & labor.

Yamaha YDP103 review-AZPianoNews.com
Casio PX860 satin black
This Casio Privia PX860 piano is another good model to consider and it has a more contemporary appearance than the YDP103. But for overall features & functions at its $999 price, I believe the Casio PX870 offers a lot more and I personally like it better, and it also comes with a 3-year factory parts & labor warranty with in-home service. However the Yamaha does have the iPad controller app (very nice) which the Casio does not, and the Yamaha comes with a bench which the Casio PX870 does not. But the Yamaha bench is very basic, small, basic padding, and does not open for music storage. Apart from the Yamaha iPad controller app, in my opinion the Yamaha YDP103 does not come close to the Casio PX870 in terms of function, features, and piano playing authenticity. I do like Yamaha, but that brand seems to be more competitive once you get up over $2000 in their piano lineup, based on my experience with their traditional cabinet pianos.

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

1 comment:

  1. 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
    arlenrollins@gmail.com

    I like your advice and comments

    ReplyDelete