Why Yamaha YDP 144 Is The New Masterpiece Console Piano
Yamaha YDP 144 Review: Yamaha is a very well-known Japanese brand in almost every next household when it comes to the pianos and other categories of keyboards like the digital or the acoustic.
The collection of the grand pianos offered by Yamaha have featured every now and then among which the C3 grand is the most demanded piano.
Be it the digital pianos too, Yamaha is always considered to be superior as it delivers amazing sound and high durability.
It is basically a brand that enjoys the most preferential treatment in the segment of digital pianos in all perspectives.
When we talk about the YDP series, it refers to the series also known by the name of Arius series, which is basically the most eminent line of Yamaha, being of premium quality, affordable price, crafted for the beginners and intermediate players.
As the year 2019 commenced, Yamaha marked its presence in the market by updating its YDP series.
And adding the new models that are namely the :
With these updated models, what you also get is an updated sound engine, which in turn increases its value thereby matching it with the similar costly competitors like the CLP series.
So, you may be wondering if the YDP-144 is the right choice for the novice? And if you are an intermediate player, then can the YDP-144 be an ideal choice in the form of a digital piano?
This article is basically directed towards the purpose of answering many such doubtful questions.
So, Lets Begin.
"If You are in hurry and don't wish to go through out the text then check the video below for a quick review"
A Detailed look at the features of YDP 144 Arius Series
The Traditional Design
For one who has used the YDP-143, must be aware and can easily notice that on the whole there isn’t any such change in the design, which is actually a good thing.
With the minute complaints that we had with the previous model still existing.
Staying up to the expectations as such one would have from a digital piano, this too has an weighted 88-key keyboard, in addition to the in-built speakers, thereby making it suitable for practicing purposes.
It’s quite heavy having a weight of 83lbs, so if you are considering it for taking on to the stage then there is certainly disappointment for you.
Yamaha is a brand which is greatly recognized for constructing premium quality sturdy instruments and the same legacy is carried forward by the YDP-144.
This piano also has the slimmer design which makes it a perfect fit for the compact sized rooms.
Considering the case of other pianos, assembling of the YDP-144 is also to be done by yourself.
There is the user manual provided containing the explanation as well as the illustration about the parts of the piano and their installation.
The YDP-144 is available for you in 3 superb colors, that is the vintage black, contemporary white and the gorgeous rosewood color, which is just so adorable.
Coming to the body material, which is basically particleboard, though gives a solid feeling.
You also get the matte texture that prevents the finger marks from being visible on the exterior part of the body.
When it comes to the pedals, they are simply awesome, the soft, sostenuto and the damper pedals, all of which are connected into the pedal jack, present beneath the body of the piano.
We have the damper pedal, for half-pedaling, which ensures the realistic feel when you play.
There is no denial that there are more control options when it comes to a digital piano.
There are multiple sound options all of which can be modified as per your needs and choices.
Let’s take a look at the controls section of the YDP-144, the weak point of the instrument basically as there are restricted controls for the volume button and also to the few buttons present on both the sides of the piano.
Due to these limitations on the controls, one has to perform many of the functions via the keys.
It is all the more difficult to operate the controls as there isn’t any screen or indicator. Basically, which means that unless you play the key, you aren’t even aware that which sound is it.
Though this shortcoming also exists even in some of its competitor’s models such as the Kawai and Casio pianos, yet we were disappointed knowing that Yamaha also did not make any efforts to overcome it.
We certainly care about the how well are the knobs and the buttons of a piano, like if there is a custom- built knob for volume then it is way better than a slider.
Having highly responsive buttons, and perceptible and reassuring click followed by swift sound, thereby making them great.
Some of the worthy stuffs present on the YDP-144 include the sliding key cover and also the music rest, both of which have increased durability.
Keeping in view the rich legacy of Yamaha in terms of standard quality, the YDP-144 model also matches the benchmark set and it surely isn’t a surprise.
On the whole, what we deduced that the design part is a mixture, as on one hand there are positive features such as the good quality body and sleek looks and on other hand there are limitations too.
Apart from the design aspect we shall be elaborating many other necessary touch points and features of the piano.
The Boon Of Arius Series Keyboard
The keyboard is the soul of any piano and at all cost you should not be ignoring this aspect of a digital piano while making your purchase.
The price of the Yamaha YDP-144 lies in the midway range and going by the price and its design of which we have done an analysis earlier, it’s evident that the brand is trying to reach out to those people especially who have intentions of upgrading their keyboards to a better model with additional and better features.
Most of the beginners initially begin with a low-budgeted piano having the very basic features, so for them the up-gradation becomes the need of the hour as they completely master the basic techniques.
This digital piano from Yamaha has the GHS keyboard that is the standard keyboard action of the Yamaha.
The similar action was present on the YDP-143 model too.
There are 88 fully-sized keys, seeking to deliver the realistic feel like that is derived from an acoustic piano.
The keys are loaded with the hammer action, as per which the keys present towards the lower end are having heavy touch as compared to ones at higher end, and thus having that naturalistic touch.
There are 4 distinct options like the soft, medium, off or hard, when it comes to the touch-sensitivity.
Medium is the default setting of the YDP-144 digital piano and it’s the most suitable default setting as it gives natural vibes while you play, and there is crystal clear differentiation between the other two strokes that is the hard and soft.
Though the action is an up gradation from the previous synth-action present on the low-budget keyboards, yet there is nothing lot to expect from this action too.
The keys here are particularly made of plastic, still there is the matte finishing.
To be true, the on the whole quality of the keyboard is quite satisfying, with the keys having that rugged and robust feel though they are made out of plastic.
The problem arises at the point when you play it, as you may feel too tensile.
As far as we have an opinion, the GHS action of Yamaha is perfectly suitable for the keyboards opted by the beginners.
When it comes to an upgraded digital piano, then there do exist better and much more realistic keyboard actions available in this price range.
The various other options include the KORG RH3, C1 Air and Roland PHA-4 and few more, although it is entirely personal opinion.
Next, we shall move towards the sound options and quality of the Yamaha YDP-144.
The instruments of the brand do feature the signature sound, that is of superior standard and quality.
For providing the premium edge to the YDP- series, Yamaha made an effort by importing the sampled and forerunner 9’ CFX concert grand piano that has rich and distinctive tones.
Earlier this sound was present only with digital pianos from the Clavinova series, so it’s certainly a premium addition to the YDP-series.
The sound is highly known for the blazing, opulent, vibrant bass.
There is no heavy advertisement done by Yamaha unlike its competitors, though the outcomes and the performances are amazing.
Yamaha also has the intelligent acoustic control and the stereophonic optimizer technologies ensuring that you get the finest sounds either be it via the speakers or headphones.
Check the sound of YDP 144 in the following video. "Use Headphones"
Total there are 10 sounds that you get with the Yamaha YDP-144, that is 3 variants of the CFX concert grand, 2 electric pianos, 2 organs and orchestral string ensemble, vibraphone and the harpsichord.
The sample- based technology may seem obsolete, while considering the avenues put up by piano-modeling technology, yet there do exists a group of pianists preferring the sampled sounds as a properly and well sampled piano sound is simply magical.
Along with the damper resonance you also get the string and key resonances, all of which gives you enriched experience of playing the keyboard.
Such details weren’t there on the YDP-143 piano, which in turn gives an edge to the YDP-144.
We have decent extra sounds with this piano. For the ones unaware of the fact, we have the definitive DX7 synthesizer, a hero of the 80s.
With the electric piano sound, the DX7 sound is well captured along with the chorus that is recognized by all. Harpsichord and vibraphone are identical, like the one on the YDP-143.
Then there is the pipe and jazz sounds wherein the jazz sound has a real rotary effect that resonates too good when played on the in-built speakers.
We have the string ensemble sound, that is a stunner when in layer mode with some other sound, otherwise lacking the naturalistic tint when played alone.
There are 3 in-built effects that comes with the Yamaha YDP-144 all of which can be modified as per your necessity.
The 4 distinct algorithms of the reverb effect are:
- Club reverb
- Chamber reverb
- Recital hall
- Concert hall
Majority of the sounds have their default to the hall reverbs, sounding so real.
The club algorithm is another treat as it seizes the closeness derived from the large end of any concert grand in the small and compact environment.
The intensity of every reverb algorithm can be controlled, by making modifications to the thickness of the reverb to match the needs of the song.
The intelligent acoustic control (IAC) is the next control technology that makes adjustments to the quality of the sound of the current instrument on the basis of the overall volume.
With this it gets ensured that you shall get to listen to the minute details also even at low levels of volume.
The effectiveness of the IAC is all the more increased in case you are playing dynamic pieces using wider octave ranges.
When the intensity is higher the IAC is also consistently performing, making your sound clearer.
Talking about the stereophonic optimizer, it delivers to you the feeling derived while playing any a real piano, and is bound to happen when the headphones are plugged in.
Polyphony basically is the number of notes that any digital piano produces simultaneously. The polyphony- note of YDP-144 is of 192-notes, and it is sufficient for playing songs that too you aren’t required to cut out the notes.
The best option is to have at least 64-note polyphony, with the help of which you can also play the complicated pieces without much barriers.
With the YDP-144 you get two 8W speakers, that gives wider coverage.
It may give a weaker impression if you compare it with the 20W speakers of the YDP-164.
There has been enhancement in the speakers as compared to the two 6W speakers of the YDP-143.
Thus, you get enriched and loud and clear sound from the speakers of the YDP-144.
The face of the speakers is in the downward direction, and the little spaces present above the keys enable the sounds to be produced from multiple directions giving the listener a better impression.
Though at higher volumes, there is some contortion, and the speakers are really loud so do bear in mind that you do not end up annoying your neighbors beyond a limit.
No doubt that there are upgradations regarding the sounds, other than that the features of the YDP-144 are very much similar to that of the YDP-143.
To some disappointment almost all of the functions of the keyboard are dependent upon the buttons.
Making most of them a bit weird to perform, though you shall overcome these complications once you get acquainted with the key combinations and set them in your memory.As a remedy you can opt for the smart pianist app of the Yamaha, via which majority of the necessary functions are accessible thereby making things easier for you.
There are two modes in the YDP-144- layer mode and the duo mode.
For the layer mode, select 2 sounds simultaneously, and when in layer mode, you get two sounds at the same time.
There is also this fun mode on the YDP-144 and all credits to its superior sound quality.
Though there may be limitations on the sound options still with the layer mode you have additional options.
With the duo mode you and another person can play at the same time on the same keyboard, that is one of them on the right end and the other at the left end.
The feature is really handy for learning sessions wherein you and your teacher both can play together.
Here the teacher can give you proper assistance and the personal touch too.
When in duo mode the pedal functions also get altered.
Apart from all this when in duo mode, you can adjust the volume of each side on one to one basis.
The split mode is a miss over here, which isn’t a big issue as the keyboard is mainly for practice purposes.
Recording and Playability
You get 10 demo songs plus 50 classical songs, in addition to which 10 songs can also be loaded into the keyboard for the playback purpose.
Recording of your own songs can also be done with the aid of the 2-track MIDI recorder, which is particularly handy when recording left or the right part individually.
Once the recording is done, modifications to the individual segments can be made like changing the voice, reverbs and resonance, tempo, volume etc. point to be noted is the recording of multiple parts successively.
If you wish to save the songs as a MIDI file, it can be done via a computer connection or the app using the Yamaha music soft down loader.
Other Notable features
Like the case with many of the digital keyboards, on the YDP-144 too you can alter the controls of the keyboard.
Many such controls are not modifiable via the smart app, yet there is nothing to worry as they are not used frequently so no such modification is required.
The modifiable functions basically include:
- Damper resonance- with this function one can choose if the damper response simulation for the keyboard sounds is on or off.
- Transposing- with this you can change the play key. Changes in the transpositions can be made -6 to +6 semitones with one increment.
- Master tuning- you can change the central tuning of the piano, in 0.2 Hz steps with the default pitch as 440.0Hz for central A.
- Metronome- once you press the metronome button the (sentence not clear).
- Speaker on/off- with it one can choose if the speaker is enabled or not, irrespective of the fact that the headphones are connected or not.
- Auto power off- it is a default setting with the help of which your keyboard shall shut the power down on its own 30 minutes past in-operation.
Connectivity Options In The Digital Piano
YDP-144 model of Yamaha has the very basic connectivity options, without much of surprising elements as it is crafted for beginners and for home- based practice sessions.
Though there isn’t any major amiss as all the required ones are included.
The very basic ones included are the 2- ¼” stereo jacks, which are to be used along with the headphones.
They have dual purpose by also serving as a line out allowing the connection of the keyboard with an external speaker or amplifier.
Then there is the USB to Host port on the lower side of the piano, that facilitates the connection of YDP-144 with other supported devices.
If you have intentions of connecting an iOS device then you simply have the camera adapter and other than that there is the wireless MIDI adapter of Yamaha, the latter one being easier to use with increased dormancy.
We also have the pedal jack which isn’t the ¼” jack present on the other pianos. This is basically created to function with the 3-pedals present within the cabinet.
USB Audio Interface
The YDP-144 has the functions for transfer of data as well as the playback feature both of which is a barely present in a digital piano.
With this feature you can playback your songs and the notes created by you via your PC or other hardware that supports the feature.
The one most exciting part pf this function is basically that the sounds of the YDP-144 can be directly used in the DAW even in the absence of any alternate audio interface.
My Experience with Yamaha YDP 144
No Doubt, YDP 144 is a fantastic all in one Digital Piano with a genuine price tag. I used it for a weeks and my experience was "Appreciable".
Despite having so many features and authentic feel here are some of the snag you should take into consideration before finalizing your music companion.
Reasons To Buy
Reasons To Avoid
- The key action isn’t that perfect with a scope of improvement
- Had it not been for the app, the controls would have driven crazy
- Limited effects are available, with restrictions on the tweaking options too.
- There isn’t any Bluetooth connectivity possible.
Lastly, we would give our final verdict by saying that the YDP-144 brought to you by the Yamaha is simply an amazing keyboard, having the major drawbacks regarding the poor controls and not so acceptable key actions.
Yet it is certainly a great successor for the YDP-143, with the brand new CFX concert grand being into action.
We have the Smart pianist app, which is of great help.
A notable disappointment is regarding the complex controls which hasn’t been looked into by Yamaha even in the YDP-144 model and has been neglected by the company.
Moving ahead of all the pros and cons, I would suggest that any person in search of a digital piano, for creating the feel of an acoustic piano, and for whom little factors aren’t that troublesome, should definitely give the YDP-144 a chance to prove its mettle by serving the purpose it has been crafted for and its also worth the price category it belongs to.
So that’s all from our end hope this YDP 144 review helped you guys to make a better decision.
Keep Playing and Spread Love.