Yamaha P115 Review – Perfect for Any Pianist in 2019

In retrospect, there are two types of piano players: one that seek to practice and engage with the art, and the other that seek to mystify the world with the same. When the latter part is your goal, but you still want to practice in the most authentic way, Yamaha Pianos have always come up with solutions to cater both needs.

That being said, up until the release of the P-115, those who want to practice on digital pianos got showered with extra features that only a performer would care for. As a direct consequence of that, the price tag escalated to unnecessary levels.

This made some practitioners and even professionals to shy away from the best of what Yamaha has to offer. However, this is the matter that has now been fully understood with the release of Yamaha P 115. This keyboard seems to integrate the mantra of “practice the instrument, not the hardware”- a statement that speaks volumes about its “practice” motto without the need of trudging through the complex road of its controls.

Now, let us dive deep into these claims and find out if the aforementioned keyboard really embraces the promised approach of “practice without complexity” or it does even more than this.

Design: Build, Setup, ‘What’s in the Box’?

Build

Embracing simplicity with a touch of style

This factor that have resonated throughout the complete Yamaha P-series. It is therefore, a good and almost an expected feeling to bear when we found out that the same goes for Yamaha P 115. A fully weighted keyboard with 88 keys that accentuate upon the black matte and glossy finish, good aesthetics are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to this instrument.

Weight

Weighing at 11.8 kilograms (26 pounds), the instrument is substantially heavy. However, this substantial weight does not mire the digital piano’s portability or compatibility.

Dimensions

Without the stand, the P 115 is 52.2x11.6x6.4 inches. This is a standard dimension and it is to be thankful for.

Maintainability

The body of the keyboard itself is quite sturdy to begin with, focusing on smooth finish, professional feel and damage protection. Yamaha is so confident about this “Rugged and elegant” quality that they deemed it to be unnecessary to provide the users with a kit bag along with the product.

While it can be argued that the lack of need of the kit bag would work in the user’s favor price vise, the lack of the kit bag might be a nuisance for the same user. However, this does not imply that you cannot use the standard kit bags for the instrument, for the KACES PKB18 meets the requirement of this instrument to the tee.

Color

As for the color choices, there are two: black and white. Although white might give you an air of an enthusiastic professional, we would say you should go for the black one if maintaining the outward aesthetics of the piano is one of your major points of concerns.

Functionalities

P 115 has 14 dedicated buttons. These buttons focus on functionalities such as metronome, playback features, some instrument sounds and some support styles. However, there is no LCD. if you want a bit more visual presentation to provide you better control of the arrangements, you would be at a disadvantage.

That being said, this is something that is easily quelled through the App called Digital Controller. It is an iPhone exclusive app (go to connectivity) and its functionality will be discussed further.

Setup

Simple and Elegant

Setting up this piano is quite simple and elegant. Depending upon the levels of your comfort, you can either place the keyboard on the desk or a double-brace X-style stand. However, there is one thing that we should tell you right off the bat, Yamaha P 115 does not come with the stand included in the box. Therefore, you need to buy it separately.

Now, for the stand, you can either choose to build yourself one; surprisingly there is a YouTube video for that. Or, if you want stability of the keyboard right of the bat, Yamaha produces the L85 stand. Although that stand is built especially for the P95 keyboards, our experts found out that its height, stability, and comfort level perfectly go in line with the P-115. Furthermore, it also suits the looks of the keyboard.

Simple Way to Setup Your Hardware

All you require to setup this system is attach the foot pedal and the music sheet to the piano along with the stand of your choosing, connect the power cable to the power supply and you are ready to create music. Now, the keyboard itself comes along with a sustain pedal. However, if you are inclined for another one, we would recommend the LP5A foot pedal. 

Does Not Take Too Much Space

Another matter that further complements the simple and elegant way to setup this machine it where it can be set up. Well, it can be set up in versatile spaces. The standard dimensions combined with the stability of our supplementary stand allows it to be set up properly anywhere in the house. Furthermore, the dimensions also afford this keyboard several versatile keyboard-bags for those who seek to take the instrument and perform.

What's in the Box

The box comes with a manual, a PA150 power supply adapter, and a sustain pedal. 

PA150 Power Adapter

Now, PA150 has been hailed as an environment friendly adapter that focuses on reducing the power when the instrument is not in use, or turned off. With AC input of 120 V at 60 Hz an output DC 12V, 1.0A, we found this particular power supply to be more than sufficient for this keyboard. 

Sustain Pedal

We found out that the out of the box sustain pedal is quite sufficient in managing control over our music. It is a standard FC4A sustain pedal that is sufficient for a beginner. That being said, for the serious users, we would recommend opting for a LP5A foot pedal. This is merely a suggestion, for the standard out of the box pedal might still suit you just fine. 

Manual

The manual is a fairly generic but a complete affair. This manual is quite robust and provides information pertaining to the setting up of this instrument along with a complete explanation associated with the 14 onboard buttons.

Keys: Aesthetics, Feel, Impact

Aesthetics

Going by the looks alone, the keys accentuate upon the performance, aesthetics and weightiness. Look vise, Yamaha P 115’s keys hold true to the standards of a stage performance piano, with the same sized 88-key setup giving you the look of a performer. 

Feel

Now, with the implementation of the starter edition of the GHS (Graded hammer Standard), the keys goal is to mimic the same sound and feel of the Yamaha’s high end, CF-IIIs nine-foot concert grand piano. Well, as long as we talking about the feel here, it got it down. When pressed upon, the keys felt especially heavy, giving it the emotion of an acoustic piano, as they are weighted in a similar fashion.

For practitioners, this sort of keyboard is highly recommended, as the heaviness it accentuates upon is going to develop proper finger strength needed to be able to play a traditional instrument. Therefore, from a practitioner’s perspective, the keys are the best attributes that they can hope for.

Now, the graded hammer action is heaviest on the left-most keys and lightest on the rightmost keys (as is the tradition). There is a continuous decline in the weightedness in the keys as you move from left to right. This action is enough to evolve the most novice of practitioners into veteran players through constant practice.

There is one thing to remember here is that the GHS is more prominent in other high-end editions of the piano, so they might have the same impact as high-end models. 

How would the keyboard feel after playing for long hours? Well, due to budgetary reasons, the keys are made up of plastic. However, that does not mean that they lack in quality, for the keys have a glossy finish and the black keys have a matte finish. These do more than just being aesthetically pleasing. The finishes provided on the keys make them unable to become slippery due to the moisture after long hours of sessions.

Therefore, from a purely functional perspective, you won’t feel that you are missing out on the ebony and ivory keys that resonate across most high-end models. 

Impact

Keys are sensitive to the impact of the touch. What this means is the lighter you press, the lower the sound shall be and vice versa. P 115 provides customization options of these as well. Through customization, one can set the sensitivity they are comfortable with. There are many intricate customizations that can be done through the app. However, the preset customization options are not something to be ignored, for we found them out to be very comfortable on our fingers. These options are:

Fixed

For the practitioner, the initial stages of the piano lessons would not be about how much pressure is to be put on the keys, but the arrangement of keys as a whole. Therefore, for them, there is a fixed option. Selecting this variant removes the sensitivity altogether. What this basically means is regardless of how much pressure you put on the keys, there would be no change in the volume. As the novices do not often indulge with the mellow plays or the hard plays, this is definitely the option to go for. 

Hard

On the other side of the spectrum, there is a hard option. This particular option focuses upon producing the widest range of volumes even with the tiniest of pressure variations. Well suited for aggressive playstyle, this impact customization is meant for the veteran specialist who seek to go from the soft chirps to the thunderous roars. Courtesy of the GHS and the sturdiness of the keyboard, the aggressive pianist won’t even have to worry about any damage.

For the expressionist in you, this is the custom option that you should go for. However, you should know one thing: the hard customization is not the most natural sounding. Therefore, only choose this option if you are going for an expressive experience, not a natural experience. 

Soft

On the other side of the spectrum, there is a hard option. This particular option focuses upon producing the widest range of volumes even with the tiniest of pressure variations. Well suited for aggressive playstyle, this impact customization is meant for the veteran specialist who seek to go from the soft chirps to the thunderous roars. Courtesy of the GHS and the sturdiness of the keyboard, the aggressive pianist won’t even have to worry about any damage.

For the expressionist in you, this is the custom option that you should go for. However, you should know one thing: the hard customization is not the most natural sounding. Therefore, only choose this option if you are going for an expressive experience, not a natural experience. 

Medium

Speaking of natural experience, this is the option to go for. This provides the most natural sounds and realistically mimics what a traditional piano would sound like. 

There is one thing to note here, and it is also given in the manual. These customizations can only be made to the piano voice. Therefore, it won’t be applicable for Pipe Organ, Jazz Organ, Rock Organ or harpsichord voices (check the sound section). 

Sound Quality

Hardware

Speaking of natural experience, this is the option to go for. This provides the most natural sounds and realistically mimics what a traditional piano would sound like. 

There is one thing to note here, and it is also given in the manual. These customizations can only be made to the piano voice. Therefore, it won’t be applicable for Pipe Organ, Jazz Organ, Rock Organ or harpsichord voices (check the sound section). 

Engine Used

The P 115, much like every other Yamaha piano, is equipped with the Pure CF Engine. Sound engines can be a bit difficult to express. However, this is the same one that is also used in the P Series flagship, the Yamaha P -255. Pure CF sampling method was used here to sample the grand piano sound of the CFIIIs 9-foot Concert Grand.

The same sound was integrated into the Yamaha P -115 through recording the sound at multiple volumes for each note. Now, for us, these results actually work. They have used the engine to its fullest and were able to convince even our stringent tests.

Effectiveness

As we have already stated, the goal of Yamaha 115 was to somehow imitate the CFIIIs sound, and from all the evidence that we have gathered, it has gotten successful at it. The default tone of this instrument is the Grand Piano tone. When tested, this tone was able to provide a realistic, clear and coherent piano sound.

The acoustic resonance was beautiful to say the least. If you want to perform silent practice, then you would be happy to note that the bass is also pretty decent. It is not, by any length a groundbreaking bass but you can actually feel the sound through your body. This is the best complement I could have given to its effectiveness. 

Number of Notes or Polyphony

The P 115 is able to produce about 192 different notes at the same time (polyphony). When compared to P 105, this is definitely an upgrade considering only 128 notes were available in the latter. 

Versatility

Complementing the default sound, the hardware and the effectiveness are the range of instrument sounds that Yamaha provides. There are 14 different sound available in this instrument and they entail the following:

  • Vibraphone
  • Strings
  • Harpischord
  • Wood Bass, E bass
  • 3 Organs: Pipe, Rock and Jazz.
  • 3 Electric Pianos
  • 3 Grand Pianos

Additionally, there are 4 different types of reverb and all 4 of them can be adjusted from 0 to 20. However, it should also be known that Reverbation is pretty much the only sound effect available in the device. 

Listen to the P115 Sound Quality below!

Features & Benefits

Modes

There are three modes available and they are:

Dual Mode

With this mode, you don’t need to limit yourself with a single sound on a note. You can layer the sounds of two instruments in a simultaneous fashion in this mode throughout the keyboard. 

Split Mode

If dual mode can cause incoherence for you, then the split mode allows it to be separated between two sections with the keys in each section playing a different sort of instrument. Now, depending upon the instrument the sound is based on, you can decide the ratio of this split.

Duo Mode

 In this mode, the keyboard can be divided into two equal halves. The pitchy range of both of these halves are identical. For teaching purposes, this particular mode is a boon.

Playback and Recording

The instrument can record your performance in a SMF format (MIDI). Once recorded, you can opt to make some modifications with the record right on the keyboard. That being said, only two tracks are allowed in a single song. 

Preset Songs

There are 50 preset songs available. All of them are playable and you can also make modifications to them to your liking. You can use MIDI tracks downloaded from the internet as well. That being said, as far as the User song goes, there is only one allowed in the internal memory. Therefore, you should always be ready to transfer your records onto a system.

Other Features

Fine Tuning and Transpose

Being a digital keyboard, there is no need for the Yamaha 115 to be tuned. One only needs to adjust the pitch using transpose and fine-tuning functions. To alter the pitch in semitones, you can use transpose, the fine tuning allows you to change the pitch in steps of 0.2 hertz. 

Sound Boost

This feature in Yamaha P 115 allows the user to be able to hear even the softer notes. This can in turn help you in producing better music.

Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC)

If the volume of the instrument is turned down, IAC or Intelligent Acoustic Control adjusts the sound quality to make it clear and balanced. 

Power Saver

If the instrument is not in use for more than 30 minutes, then it turns off. It is an optional feature but should be considered for those among you worried about power. 

Metronome

If you want to develop some fundamental skills like sensing the rhythm properly, then Yamaha P 115 is also equipped with an onboard Metronome. This utility sports 14 built in rhythms that range from Disco to Jazz. 

Connectivity

Headphone Jack

For those of you who want to practice silently, the Yamaha is equipped with two quarter inches headphone jacks. That means two pair of headphones and silent surroundings.

Ports

P115 comes with many ports. You can connect your keyboard with your system. You would need an A to B USB cable to connect your PC with the instrument. With the connection established, you can use it to exchange MIDI files or use the instrument as a MIDI controller. For the Apple devices like iPhone and iPad, you are going to need a lightning to USB camera adapter.

Digital Controller App

The Digital Controller App is an iPhone exclusive app that lets you perform more diverse controls on Yamaha 115. Once connected to the app, you are going to able to be able to make some of the more intrinsic modifications to the keyboard. Furthermore, the lack of screen is compensated using this app.

Additional connections include sustain jack, a paddle jack and for amplifiers /p speakers an Aux in and out jack. Throughout our testing, none of these connections were damaged and they all worked perfectly.

Here're the pros of Yamaha P115

  • Portable
  • Compact
  • Usage of Pure CF Engine.
  • High grade polyphony with 192 notes
  • Able to simulate the grand piano sound
  • Non-slippery keys
  • Versatile sensitivity settings
  • Mid-budget
  • Suited for both students and performers

Here're the cons of Yamaha P115

  • No LCD Screen
  • Digital Controller iPhone exclusive
  • No type A USB port
  • No stand or Kitbag in the box
  • Only one sound effect available.

Conclusion

Yamaha P 115 is a very definition of a midrange ambition. It has amazing sound quality and its emulation of CFIIIs grand piano is effective and amazing. Furthermore, its additional utilities are not something to feign at. While it would have been nice to have some additional features, at its budget, we can’t complain because it accomplishes what it set out to do: Being a midrange powerhouse that even professionals can depend upon.

Yamaha P115 Review by Piano Nadu
  • Sound
  • Features
  • Build Quality
  • Keys
4.5

Summary

Yamaha P115 is one of the perfect pianos for beginners and as well as the intermediate pianist. Our team did TONS of research on this product and found out this is the best digital piano with the sound quality almost close to the acoustic piano.

If you’re looking to get a digital piano which sounds close to an acoustic piano, then P115 is such a great choice!

About the Author Wendell A Wiese

I'm the lead researcher and content manager at PianoNadu. I test various different digital pianos and share our unbiased reviews here. We test them on various different aspects and make sure it passes our quality criteria. During my college years, I was a part of my college band known as DMT. I was the Pianist in our band. My love for playing the piano grew during middle school. Read more about me here

Leave a Comment: