Yamaha YDP Digital Piano Review
Manufacturing company Yamaha are a household name unlike any other. Though the corporation expanded into the profitable realm of automotive production after the Second World War, their true reputation has always lain in the forte in which they began life – the world of music.
Established in 1887, it’s little wonder that a company with such a long history of producing instruments has become something of a legend, particularly amongst aficionados of that iconic tool – the piano.
Perhaps that’s a part of the reason the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano is so appealing to both aspiring and experienced pianists. A historic friend to musicians, Yamaha is bound to attract attention whatever the circumstances, and this full-size, 88 key product boasting authentic acoustic piano touch seems particularly impressive. Does it live up to what it promises? In this Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano review we’ll examine the instrument’s construction, features and performance in the hope of reaching an answer.
Let’s start by taking a look at the physical properties of the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano – the product comes in both rosewood and black walnut finishes, two beautiful aesthetic choices designed to create the impression of an authentic piano in your living room. These woods were chosen carefully – walnut is strong and stable, with a distinctive colour that creates a beauty unlike any other. Though it can appear a little too contrasting for some, the walnut wood chosen for the piano really does bring out the best in the instrument visually. Rosewood, known for its patterns and even an unusual flowery fragrance, is also an inspired design choice, adding not only authenticity, but a striking flair to the piano. What’s the catch?
Well, like so many things, it comes down to price. Walnut isn’t a cheap material, and Rosewood even less so due to its relative rarity. It looks spectacular – but it comes at a cost.
In terms of its technical appeal, the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano has been praised for its ‘Graded Hammer Standard’ keyboard action, which Yamaha claim helps build proper finger technique and strength. This is an unusual feature in the keyboard market. Where most electronic products, even those created by Yamaha, are reliant on sensing touch but not pressure, the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano replicates the full complexity of playing an acoustic piano by featuring this pressure sensitivity absent from many digital pianos. This is a fantastic, often neglected way of teaching piano through a digital instrument – the appropriate pressure on the keys is, well… key.
Another special selling point of the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano is what the company call their ‘Improved Pure CF Engine’. If that seems like meaningless jargon, just google the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand piano – what the CF engine does is replicate the priceless sound of this legendary piano. This means that when you play the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano, the notes you play aren’t merely stock sound effects, but the highest quality recordings of one of Yamaha’s most complex, sought-after works of musical craftsmanship. For those who are really looking for a special sound, this piano’s CF engine is nothing short of spectacular.
Also spectacular in scope in the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano’s remarkable polyphony of 192 notes. A digital piano’s polyphony refers to the maximum number of notes that can be produced by the device at once – this means that when playing the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano, there are virtually no limits on the complexity of the pieces you can play. Better yet, it means you won’t have to ‘drop’ too many notes, so if you get ambitious enough to want to recreate a classical epic, you can be as faithful as you would be on a true piano.
When you think of a piano, the first thing that usually comes to mind is those black and white keys, the notes and sharps that, when delivered in the right order, produce something great. But a huge part of what lends professional piano players the edge is their skill when it comes to operating piano pedals; the mechanisms controlled by the player’s feet that affect the tone and timbre of a melody. This feature, much like pressure sensitivity, is often absent from electronic pianos, but the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano once again proves itself an exception. Fitted with three pedals, the piano is equipped with a system known as Damper Resonance which digitally recreates the effects of the sustain, soft and sostenuto pedals. It’s features like this which give the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano a truly unique edge over other digital competitors.
Of course, there’s a drawback to the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano’s intensely accurate emulation of a real grand piano. Though nevertheless more portable than most real acoustic pianos, this model is bulky and difficult to transport, and is not recommended for keyboard players. This is a device more for the home and the hall than the stage.
Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano – Pros and Cons
· An aesthetically pleasing piano, with an authentic feeling and a distinct digital twist.
· The Graded Hammer Standard keyboard action means pressure-sensitive keys, which in turn means a genuinely complex, layered playing experience.
· The Improved Pure CF Engine means that when you play, each strike of the keys produces a sound recorded straight from one of the greatest pianos of the present day.
· Working pedals and a 192 note polyphony mean that no piece is too complicated for this digital piano – there are no limits but skill.
· Impractical when compared to other keyboards and digital pianos – bulky and not easily transported, the Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano should not be used as a substitute for a lightweight keyboards.
· The price. It’s no surprise that such a powerful piece of equipment doesn’t come cheap, but this is no small investment to make – if you’re not sure about purchasing it, then don’t. If you’re not sure how serious you are about playing the piano, start with something smaller and cheaper before making the move to an instrument like this.
The Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano arguably reaches new heights of traditional piano emulation. It is a complex but highly approachable piece of kit with a striking, resonant sound and some particularly special features. It’s great both for beginners and piano aficionados – if you’re willing to pay the steep sum it demands.