When most people are looking to buy a piano, they probably don’t immediately think of digital pianos.
While it’s true that a digital piano can never truly replicate the range and expression of an actual concert grand, they can in fact come pretty close. These instruments are generally smaller, lighter, and more portable than a real piano, and can be excellent for musicians on the road. They also require far less maintenance, and can easily interface with modern computers and MIDI equipment.
The Yamaha digital piano is probably the most popular and most common in the world. As a leader in both musical instruments and electronics, Yamaha has been positioned for decades to define the state-of-the-art in digital music, which they have through their extensive digital piano line.
Let’s take a look. But first…
What’s The Difference Between a Yamaha Digital Piano and a Synthesizer?
There is a significant difference between a digital piano and a “synthesizer,” although they are certainly close cousins. Unlike synthesizers, which are jacks-of-all-trades that attempt to recreate dozens or hundreds of different instruments and sound effects, digital pianos are restricted to nothing but piano and organ sounds. By focusing in this way, they can create much more accurate piano effects than their less-specialized cousins.
Also, a Yamaha digital piano has a number of features that make it more piano-like. The keys are generally weighted to give a more accurate feeling. Yamaha also has a number of innovations such as the “graded hammer” technology in their Clavinova line which recreates the hammer action of a traditional piano keyboard, having a hammer trigger the sound rather than your own keypress. They also sell stands as well as pedal peripherals.
The Yamaha Digital Piano Lineup
Compact Standalone Models
At the bottom of Yamaha’s digital piano lineup, at least price-wise, are their P-Series and Portable Grand models. These are designed similarly to traditional synthesizers, as an all-in-one keyboard which stands alone from any other equipment.
These lack many of the features of the larger models, such as the hammer action, but make up for it with their portability, versatility, and relatively low price point. Many of these also include built-in speakers, removing the need for any additional equipment.
The MODUS Series
With the MODUS line of Yamaha digital pianos, Yamaha has created a digital piano which has both beauty and great sound. These have Yamaha sound and build quality at their heart and can be wonderful instruments to play on, including real wood keys on many models.
However, they are meant at least as much as display pieces. Most of the MODUS series comes with a subscription to Yamaha’s own streaming MODUS radio, which allows these pianos to connect to the internet and stream pieces which are then played live, complete with player piano-style automatic key movements.
The ARIUS Series
For experienced players who want a great piano experience, there is the ARIUS line. These upright-style digital pianos come in their own cases, complete with pedals, creating a look which is both classic and modern.
With full 88-key keyboards, and a hammer action, ARIUS digital pianos feel remarkably like a real piano. And thanks to Yamaha’s Dynamic Sampling System, the sound quality is quite life-like. These can be an excellent substitute for a real upright.
The Clavinova Line
Yamaha’s top-of-the-line Clavinova digital pianos aim to recreate the concert grand experience as accurately as possible. Their Clavinova grands come in full-size grand piano cases, and in many cases attempt to utilize actual soundboards to help enhance the piano sound.
Plus, the keyboard and pedals are exactly the same as those found on actual grands, giving it a far more realistic feel than virtually any digital keyboard on the market. Their RGE Sound Engine also allows for far better expression and sound quality than any competitor.
What types of Yamaha digital piano have you tried, and what did you think?