REVIEW - Yamaha CLP625 Digital Piano - Low Price Clavinova

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture

UPDATED REVIEW - July 1, 2018 - Yamaha CLP625 Clavinova digital piano for 2018 - Recommended - The Yamaha piano company has been producing acoustic and digital pianos for decades and is well known for making some high quality instruments including the new Yamaha CLP625. Many people all around the world play Yamaha pianos from beginners to professionals and I do recommend many of them. 


-click on pics for larger view
Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
The Yamaha CLP625 is part of the "Clavinova" series of digital pianos which are very popular for the Yamaha company and the Clavinova's cover many different price ranges with a variety of digital features from being very basic to models with more "bells & whistles" than many people will ever use. So there definitely is a wide variety of piano options and price ranges in the Yamaha digital piano lineup and the lowest priced most basic Yamaha Clavinova which was just released for 2018 is called the CLP625. This model comes in three colors: rosewood or satin black ($1999US internet discount price) and also a high polished ebony ($2399US internet discount price) and all of them include a matching bench. Satin black seems to be the more popular color since it is easier to contrast with home furnishings and has a better resale value in that color, but the rosewood is attractive and if you can increase your budget then the high gloss polished ebony is a great choice.

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
The general idea behind this new CLP625 model is that if you are wanting to be in a lower price range (under $2000US, unless you want higher cost polish ebony finish) and just want to mainly focus on and play piano without having many other digital features, then this is the Clavinova model for you. If you can go a bit higher in price then you will want to consider the upgraded Yamaha Clavinova CLP635 or CLP645 which I have reviewed on this blog. The upgraded models are very nice and worth consideration because they offer more realistic piano sound and more piano options. But as for the new CLP625, it really does put out a lot of impressive piano tone in a compact furniture style cabinet, with enough digital features to provide a variety of other things you can do.

The previous model to this new CLP625 was called the CLP525 and although it was a good piano, there are some upgraded changes in the new CLP625.


1. The keys are upgraded with synthetic ebony key tops for the black keys which allows for a nicer more organic appearance and feel on the black keys and is also a sweat absorbing material for those people (like me:) with sweaty hands and fingers. Now with the previous synthetic ivory key tops on the white keys, all keys look and feel better. The piano cabinet is also slightly upgraded and has redesigned front support legs.

2. The key action now has an "escapement" feature when pressing down the keys which tries to simulate what a real grand piano feels like when playing the keys lightly. This feature was only previously available on the models above the CLP625. Although this feature, when done right, can be good and useful for some players, the realism of the "escapement" in the Clavinova's falls way short of the real thing in my opinion and is not all like playing a real grand piano. But at the end of the day this feature is just not necessary in my opinion when it comes to playing good music on a piano like this one.

3. The piano sound is where the CLP625 has been noticeably improved. Yamaha is now using two higher quality piano sound samples from their better acoustic grand pianos Yamaha & Bosendorfer grand pianos) and replaced the older lesser quality sound sample on the previous CLP525. Adding to the new piano sound samples, Yamaha has added more organic sound content to the samples along with slightly upgrading and enlarging the two speakers in this piano to achieve a bigger, bolder piano sound. So when playing the new piano sound samples through better speakers you will hear a more authentic, more resonate piano tone not previously available on the prior models and that difference made a big positive impression on me.

4. When listening to the piano through stereo headphones in the past, Yamaha has had good overall sound reproduction. In this new model Yamaha has including a new headphone sound technology called binaural sampling which simulates a more natural sound experience in the headphones. Instead of the sound just normally flowing through the left & right ear in a linear fashion, the binaural technology simulates the sound location in a 3D sort of way like you would hear if you were not using headphones and just listening normally through the piano speaker system in a room. It's a pretty cool feature.

Yamaha CLP625 piano - azpianonews.blogspot.com
However, the first thing that people should look for when shopping for a digital piano is the key action and how closely it can simulate a real acoustic piano. A good key action is critical in the musical growth of piano students and how they can interact with the keys as well as for the more advanced player who would be playing more complex music. The keys need to be weighted like a good acoustic piano, move up and down like a piano with good balance from one end of the keyboard to the other and be responsive so that you can express yourself in a musical way.

Yamaha GH3X key action pic
The CLP625 key action is identical in graded weight to the previous models which are using Yamaha's GH3 key action. This is the same key action weighted movement as in their lower priced Yamaha Arius YDP163 as well as in their higher priced Clavinova CLP635 piano. However with the addition of the "escapement" key movement feature, Yamaha hhas added a "X" to the GH3 so now they call it GH3X key action. But essentially it is a GH3 key action with the "3" signifying 3 key sensors per key.The action has a solid, quiet key movement and obviously Yamaha likes it or they would not keep putting it in many of their digital pianos. However, for me personally, the key weight is a bit too stiff for me and takes more finger pressure to push the keys down than I like. It is true that there are some acoustic pianos with heavier key actions but even on many Yamaha grand pianos the key action is lighter and quicker and easier to press down the keys and this is true for Steinway grand pianos as well. Yamaha does have a somewhat lighter key action in their CLP645 digital piano model called the NWX action which has a real wood interior in the keys. There is a noticeably improved key movement difference with that key action as compared to the GH3X in the CLP625, CLP635, but the CLP645 is a lot more money. However, overall the key action is certainly playable and you can express yourself albeit not what I prefer.

Bosendorfer grand piano pic
Proper piano sampling (recording) from real pianos takes a lot of knowledge and experience to get it right. With advances in the sampling process along with better pianos to use as the "sampled" instrument, Yamaha has improved the overall organic tonal characteristics, clarity, and authenticity of the piano sounds in the CLP625. Using Yamaha's latest and greatest acoustic grand pianos called the Yamaha CFX and Bosendorfer  Imperial 9' grand pianos, the CLP625 just sounds better with these new piano tones and that is a good thing. Yamaha still has their 256-polyphony processor and triple sensor key action (GH3) in this model which they have in all their new Clavinova cabinet pianos these days so that with a 256-note polyphony piano processor chip, a player will not run out get digital "note dropout" no matter how complex the the music is, and the triple sensor system under each key will assist in faster key repetition recognition when playing keys more quickly. But do not be fooled by any of these piano companies who market their small digital pianos as sounding and playing  just like "grand pianos" because they don't. The differences are just too large between an acoustic grand piano and a small digital piano like the CLP625 (or others) to translate into a real grand piano....not going to happen.

grand piano strings picture
A real acoustic grand piano has a big all wood body, vibrating all wood soundboard, all wood full length keys, wooden moving parts, metallic strings, natural felt and leather parts, and so on. To translate all those organic tonal components into a digital piano is virtually impossible given the constraints of the digital piano cabinet, speaker system, position of speakers, and materials used in the digital piano. So do not expect a digital piano to be like or sound exactly like an acoustic piano. But the fact is that most people who do not have piano playing or piano listening experience would not be able to tell the difference if it hit them in the face...and the the advanced pianists who could tell the difference may not care because some of these new digital pianos are getting very close to the real thing. The bottom line when it comes to piano sound is...how does it sound to you based on your musical goals, musical/piano playing experiences, and musical expectations? When it comes to the CLP625 my answer is that in this price range this model has piano sound which is impressive with good wide tonal dynamics and enough musical expression that will satisfy most people wanting a piano for a beginning student through intermediate in this price range.

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
When using the pedals on a digital piano its important to know if those pedals work properly. The CLP625 does have three full functioning pedals that control the normal functions of a real piano including soft, sostenuto, and damper sustain. The right damper sustain pedal also triggers a feature called half-damper which allows you to control the sustain time in varying degrees depending on how far you press down the pedal and this is especially important as you are able to play at a higher skill level and would need that type of control. There are some digital piano companies that do not have this feature and I would personally stay away from those models. But in the case of Yamaha all of their models provide for half-damper control. The piano sustain/decay time is good (how long the piano tone will be heard when letting go of the key while holding down the sustain pedal) although it is better and more resonate on the higher priced models including the Clavinova CLP635. The more sustain/decay time that a digital piano can produce, the more natural your music will be.

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
The Yamaha CLP625 does have a number of nice features that can be found on other digital pianos in this price range including instrument sounds. The CLP625 has a total of 10 sounds (which is not much) incl 2 acoustic piano sounds, 2 electric pianos, strings, choir, harpsichord, etc. Some people don't care about extra sounds and mainly just want regular piano sounds and so the CLP625 does that fine that way although this model only has the 2 piano sounds where other brands and models can have more variety which can be very nice. The CLP625 also has the ability to layer two sounds together at the same time such as piano and strings which can add extra enjoyment to your music. Other features include key transpose/modulation to hear your music in other keys while playing the same notes, playing in a "duo" mode which allows two people to sit next to each other and play the same song together within the same octaves which is useful for 2 people practicing at the same time, a digital and adjustable metronome to help with rhythm & timing, reverb effects to give the feeling of playing piano in a larger room or hall which a natural echo. One other useful feature is the touch sensitivity control which offers 3 different settings including soft touch, normal, and hard touch. This function does not change the physical aspect of the key movement but does change how soon the piano sound comes on when you press down the keys.

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
The CLP625 has a 2-track MIDI recorder which can be found on many digital pianos all the way down to about $500 so it is nothing unusual but certainly useful for playing and recording left-hand and right-hand parts independently and then playing along with the other hand or listening to both recorded hand parts playing back at the same time. Great for students or for skilled players learning new music. You can only save one recorded song in the piano but can transfer that save a MIDI song file to a computer for storage, but that method is not something I like to do and is inconvenient. It would have been much better and easier if this new piano model had a USB flashdrive input to put in a thumdrive and transfer recorded songs into it in that way as many other digital pianos can do in this price range including all the other Clavinova models. I know this CLP625 model is supposed to be a "no-frills" basic piano but if brands like Roland, Casio, and Kawai can offer a USB flashdrive input in their (less than $2000) pianos to save and load songs, why can't Yamaha do it? The answer to that is they probablywant you to spend more money on the higher models to get that feature. When I see something like this that is so obvious, it just shows that Yamaha (in this case) purposely leaves off certain good features that they could otherwise include just to get you to spend a lot more money. Oh well, can't win all the battles I guess, but I can complain:). For many people, the recording and other features in this model would likely be enough, but I am always looking for  more, especially given how much good technology exists out there. At the very least Yamaha could have also included a small LED or LCD display screen on the control panel to see what you are doing when you press a button rather than relying on the owners manual.

Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture
In the final analysis the CLP625 is a very nice but more basic digital piano in the Clavinova line that has an attractive furniture cabinet with front support legs and a back privacy panel and is offered in 3 different color finishes. It comes with a comfortable piano bench, has a nice sliding key cover, has an easy to use minimalistic left side button control panel, and comes with a long 5-year in-home factory warranty.  This model also has "sheet music clip holder" built into the piano in front of the music rack to help hold the music in place.The piano sound is very good and nicely improved from the previous model and the key action is solid but too firm with too much static touch weight (how much finger Yamaha CLP625 digital piano picture pressure it takes to press down the keys). The audio power on the CLP625 is the same as the previous model at 40 watts total power into 2 speakers which are a bit larger than the previous model and the pedals are full size and provide a fairly good pedaling experience. There are a few more functions and features in this new model but overall what I found when playing this piano is that it will be good for people who just primarily want a piano and are not so concerned about or needing other digital features. At approximately 53" wide, 17" deep, 33" high and weighing at approx 95lbs, I believe many people will like Yamaha CLP625 if you are wanting a smaller, more basic piano that offers a few "bells & whistles" but not too many.

Yamaha polished ebony digital piano picture
polished ebony example
Finally, the CLP625 is the only lower priced furniture cabinet digital piano that is offered in a more elegant polished ebony finish for $400 more ($2399US) than the satin finishes. Polished ebony (similar to the left picture) is typically what you will see in grand pianos and is a high gloss black shiny finish which is very beautiful but also higher maintenance as it is easier to see dust and fingerprints on it. That finish can also get scratched easier but if you take care of it the polished ebony certainly makes it look more elegant in the room. Roland, Casio, and Kawai do not offer a polished ebony finish in this price range so that is a distinct advantage this model has if you are interested in this finish option. Regardless, I do recommend the CLP625 as a very good option in this price range but there are certainly other digital piano options out there including the Kawai CE220, Casio AP470, and Korg G1 Air. Do your research and homework while shopping for a good piano and then contact me and I will show you how to get even lower prices on brand new digital pianos including free shipping, no tax, and full factory warranty.

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for in depth review. I am leaning towards CLP625 because of the price, but I am trying to figure how I can connect the piano to an external hifi speakers, like the CLP 635 does via its Aux out. I have a digital to analog converter (DAC) which I use to convert digital music to analog to listen them in a hifi system. Now that the CLP 625 has only 2 headphone jacks as the only audio source, is there any way that I can connect the CLP 625 to my hifi receiver and through it to hifi speakers? One thing comes to my mind is to connect the piano to an Ipad and through Airplay mirror the sound to the external hifi system, although there will be some loss of audio quality. Is this possible and are there other ways? How about connecting the piano via headphone jack to a Macbook Pro and from there through a USB DAC to the hifi system?

    My second question, in the Yamaha official web site, the pedal functions of the CLP 625 listed as Damper, Sostenuto, Soft.

    The pedal functions of the CLP 635 are listed as Sustain (Switch), Sustain Contin uously, Sostenuto, Soft, Expression, Pitch Bend Up, Pitch Bend Down, Rotary Speed, Vibe Rotor, Song Play/Pause.

    How would you evaluate these differences especially when it comes to connecting both pianos to a computer as a MIDI controller to play virtual instrument stored in the computer?

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