If you are looking for a portable, entry-level digital piano under the $1000 mark, light enough to carry, yet stately enough to park inside your home, the P-45, P-71, and P-125 from Yamaha are good options to look at. Before you read further, you should know that these instruments aim at pianists looking for an instrument to teach or perform traditional piano music. If you’re looking for a more versatile stage piano with a broader sonic palette for all genres, check out the Nord Stage 3 or the Yamaha YC 88 instead.
In summary, all three stage pianos offer great value for their money, with the legacy of Yamaha’s piano-making tradition backing them. The Yamaha P-45 is said to be one of the most affordable digital pianos on the market. The Yamaha P-71 is an Amazon-exclusive product and a replica of the Yamaha P-45. The Yamaha P-125 is the most high-end of all three. Yamaha has been one of the earliest pioneers in piano technology, and their digital pianos have had the goodwill of piano performers and pedagogues alike for a while now. There never really is a complete digital replacement for an acoustic piano. But for those who don’t have the space or budget for one, instruments like these are a very viable option.
Now let’s take a closer look at them.
Design and Build
Weighing in at 25 lbs, the Yamaha P-45's biggest advantage is its portability. Even with inbuilt speakers, it is less than 30cms deep and lets you move it around easily in your space. The piano is 52.2 inches wide, 11.6 inches deep, 6 inches high.
The overall look is slim and minimalistic, with a simple single-button operation that is easy to navigate. The main button is held down in conjunction with piano keys to change timbres, use the metronome or play a demo.
The only available color is black. An optional stand lets you give it a more furniture look that blends in well into a home. Alternatively, you can use an X stands at a live gig for increased portability.
The Yamaha P-45 comes with Yamaha's graded hammer standard (GHS) keyboard. It is velocity-sensitive and gets progressively lighter the higher you go, in an authentic simulation of an acoustic piano. The matte finish on the black keys is a surprising luxury for an instrument at this price. Overall, the keyboard is a comfortable experience.
The Yamaha P-45 uses Yamaha AWM stereo sampling for its sounds. An upgrade to its predecessor, the Yamaha P-35, comes with an increased 64-note polyphony (Polyphony= the number of notes you can play simultaneously).
The overall quality of sound is sufficient for intimate gigs or practicing at home. Not for professional recording or live gigs at larger venues, though. As is made apparent with its connectivity options (read below).
- USB to Host
- Headphone jack
- Sustain Pedal jack
The lack of stereo outs is a major handicap. This would mean your only audio output at a gig would be the headphone out. The USB connection is alright for connecting to your computer or gadgets but won't work great with hardware instruments or synths. So if you’re looking for an 88key MIDI controller, this is limited in the options it offers as well.
The Yamaha P-45 retails at $439 (please check your local dealer for details).
You might want to check P-45's Product Manual on Yamaha's website.
The Yamaha P-71 is an Amazon-exclusive release that Yamaha has collaborated on.
It is identical to the Yamaha P-45!
The only difference between the two is the price. It retails exclusively on Amazon for $479.99
Available in both black and white, the Yamaha P-125 comes with an equally portable built.
Weighing in at 26lbs, it is 53 inches wide, 11.6 inches deep, and 6.5 inches tall. Making it easy to transport alone, just like the Yamaha P-45 and Yamaha P-71.
The red ribbon running above the keys is a tell-tale sign of this being a more high-end instrument than either, though. 14 buttons and a volume slider on the front panel let you navigate through menus and access features like sounds, metronome, and recording.
Optional furniture style stands or X stands work too.
The Yamaha P-125 comes with a Yamaha Graded hammer system as well. No particular advantages over the Yamaha P-45 or Yamaha P-71 there.
General consensus is that Yamaha plans to keep this strategy for all of its digital pianos under $1000. Yamaha seems to have adopted a 'don't fix it if it's not broken' attitude. Which, considering the overall reliability the brand brings in its quality, is fair enough.
This is where the difference between the Yamaha P-125 and the other two makes itself the most apparent.
The Yamaha P-125 uses the Pure CF sound engine based on samples from a Yamaha high-end concert grand. Add the 192-note polyphony, and you have an entirely different beast on your hands.
It also comes with four 14W speakers, giving you an entirely different league of an aural experience.
The preset songs (there are 50 included) and the built-in recorder make it a great practicing tool as well. Listen to tunes you want to learn. Record yourself or your student practicing. Play the recordings back for evaluation.
It’s a pretty neat system you have at your hands with no additional tools or equipment needed.
The Yamaha P-125 thankfully comes with standard stereo outs to send out signals to FOH at a professional gig.
Additionally, you get :
- 2 Standard headphone outs.
- Sustain Pedal out with the option of ‘half pedal’ function with an optional FC3A pedal.
- A standard auxiliary output
- USB to host out
No standard MIDI ins our outs on this one either, though.
The Yamaha P-125 retails at $1,004.99
Check out the Product Manual of Yamaha P-125.
- Design and Build: Tie
- Keys: Tie.
- Sound: Yamaha P-125 wins.
- Connectivity: Yamaha P-125 wins.