Yamaha P-45 Review: Best Beginners Piano in 2019

In the spirit of callback to the age of handmade instruments, Yamaha matches the dynamic range and feel of the acoustic piano with the array of features in the digital piano, like recording, setting to play it as 10 different instruments, transposing ability, weighted action etc. This piano is loud enough to play in a performance and small enough to transport singlehandedly.

It is one of the best models available in this price range. This instrument can be used at home and for performances. It has a great sound quality and tone and the perfectly weighted keys - graded, heavier in the low end and then lighter in the high, add to the beautiful feel.

It has a 64 Note polyphony, ten excellent tones, a metronome, a reverb and a two-person mode. This Piano is best in its class for its sound and features. Below is a more detailed review:

Features of P-45

Simplicity and Style

The styling of the Yamaha P-45 is minimalistic, elegant, and simple. The simplified design is a common feature in the P-series pianos as P-115 also goes with the same look and feel. This piano comes with a fully weighted keyboard with 88 keys having a black matte finish, and the good aesthetic build is a plus point for this instrument.

Weight

The P-45 weighs 11.5 kilograms, with its speaker attached, hence it is slightly heavy but can still be carried by hand. It is slim with a depth of around 30 cms. Its dimensions are 133*30*30, and therefore it is easily portable. The body of the keyboard itself is quite sturdy, with a smooth finish and a stylish exterior.

Color

Yamaha P45 comes in two different colors: Black and White. 

Function Keys

The elegant simplicity of this piano is attested by the fact that it has just one button to change the settings. “The Grand Piano” or the function key must be pressed for a prolonged interval of time in addition to pressing the keyboard to change the timbre or the reverb to four possible types, configure the metronome, play demo audios.

Tuning Ranges

Tuning Ranges: The tuning capability in this piano is quite good with the tempo range having a range of capability from 32 – 280. The transposing function is available as well and can be done from -6 to 0 and 0 to +6. The tuning can be done to a range of 414.8 - 440.0 - 446.8 Hz, which is quite good and comparable to the high-end piano used for outdoor performances. 

Modes

It comes with a dual player mode. You can divide the piano in into parts and can be used simultaneously by two people.

Setup

Though the setup can be done easily, one thing to consider is that the Yamaha P 45 does not come with the stand included in the box, it has to be bought separately. Yamaha also manufactures the L85 stand, which can be used for this keyboard as well.

There are many stands which can be made manually as well and you can rest it on a hard table or a flat surface as well. All that is required actually to set up this system is attaching the foot pedal and the music sheet to the piano along with the stand of your choice.

Connect the power cable which comes with the piano to the power supply, and you are ready to create become a Mozart. The piano comes with a sustain pedal. However, if you are inclined to buy another one, the LP5A foot pedal Is highly recommended. Because of its size, it can be set up in many spaces, anywhere in the house.

What's in the box

Apart from the keyboard, The box comes with a manual, a music rest, a PA150 power supply adapter, and a sustain pedal.

PA-150B Power Adapter

The PA150B 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, this adaptor is perfectly suitable for the piano.

Sustain Pedal

The out of the box sustain pedal, which comes with this piano is quite good and can aid in playing if users are used to the function of the sustain pedals. This FC3 sustain pedal is as close as we can get to the natural sustain pedal. It has a unique zone which aids continuous playing unlike the other standard sustain pedals available in the market. This accessory need not be replaced by another one and is amazing to use.

Manual

The manual is extremely important and must always be handy as there are no markings on the piano, also, the split keys and octave up/down to be specific is unlabelled. It has a complete description of all the functions and how to tune, transpose and set up the different modes. This manual is quite exhaustive and can also be viewed online.

Music Rest

A standard-issue music rest, where the music pieces can be placed is available with this piano. It is black and complements the look and feel of the piano very well.

Build Quality & Keyboard

Aesthetics

The keyboard looks majestic, with the keys accentuating the performance and aesthetics. Looks wise, the Yamaha P-45’s keys closely match the beauty of a stage performance piano, they have the same appeal. They are a delight to play on, with the weighted keys. The 88-key setup ad size looks like a performer and a professional. 

Feel

The Yamaha P-45 complies to the implementation of the GHS (Graded hammer Standard). The idea is to produce the same sound and feel of the Yamaha’s high end, CF-IIIs nine-foot concert grand piano. When played upon, the keys feel especially heavy, giving it the same vibes that of an acoustic piano, as the weighting is done similarly.

For people learning or beginners, this keyboard is highly recommended, as the heaviness of the weighted in keys helps you develop a proper finger strength needed to be able to play a traditional instrument. Therefore, from a beginner’s perspective, the keys are the best features of the piano and more than they can hope for this reasonable price.

Now, the graded hammer action due to the weighted keys concept 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. Through constant practice, this feature is of utmost importance while switching to and fro from an acoustic piano to a digital one.

The keys have a solid black matte finish, reminiscent of the good old days where the acoustic pianos would shine just a little bit under the spotlight. These are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also ensure that the keyboard does not become slippery due to the moisture after a particularly long playing session.

Grading

The Yamaha P-45 complies to the implementation of the GHS (Graded hammer Standard). The idea is to produce the same sound and feel of the Yamaha’s high end, CF-IIIs nine-foot concert grand piano. When played upon, the keys feel especially heavy, giving it the same vibes that of an acoustic piano, as the weighting is done similarly.

For people learning or beginners, this keyboard is highly recommended, as the heaviness of the weighted in keys helps you develop a proper finger strength needed to be able to play a traditional instrument. Therefore, from a beginner’s perspective, the keys are the best features of the piano and more than they can hope for this reasonable price.

Now, the graded hammer action due to the weighted keys concept 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. Through constant practice, this feature is of utmost importance while switching to and from an acoustic piano to a digital one. 

The keys have a solid black matte finish, reminiscent of the good old days where the acoustic pianos would shine just a little bit under the spotlight. These are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also ensure that the keyboard does not become slippery due to the moisture after a particularly long playing session.

Sound Quality & Performance

Below is the ten sounds that the Yamaha P-45 can produce:
  • 2 Grand pianos (Concert, Bright)
  • 2 Electric pianos
  • 2 Pipe organs
  • 2 Harpsichords
  • Strings
  • Vibraphone

AVM Technology

To accurately capture the sound of a handmade acoustic instrument, and digitally create high-quality samples, Yamaha uses its patented AWM dynamic sampling technology. The sound you hear on the Yamaha P-45 is a stereo sound, similar to that of a concert grand piano at different dynamic levels.

To make the sound deeper, more resonating, and expressive, the reverberation effect must be used. There are four reverb options available on the Yamaha P-45. They are - Room, Hall 1, Hall 2, Stages.

Polyphony

First of all, what is polyphony? Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time. Most of the present day digital pianos are equipped with the 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony. The use of sustain pedal, the available sound effects like the Reverb, Chorus, Dual mode and even the metronome tic sound, are counted as polyphonic sounds and take up additional notes of polyphony. Yamaha’s P-45 has a 64 note polyphony which results in a better and a richer sound, compared to the 32- bit polyphony.

Design

Yamaha P-45 is an 88-key hammer action, digital piano with built-in speakers. The piano has fully inherited the compact and very lightweight design of its predecessor, the Yamaha P-35. They look completely identical.

This piano would be an amazing choice for on-the-go musicians and anyone who wishes to be or appreciates mobility. The instrument can easily fit into most cars, so you can easily carry the keyboard to gigs and for on the road travel.

Hardware

Yamaha P-45 is retrofitted with a couple of good dedicated onboard speakers that can fill up the room with its sound. Boasting the dimensions of 2x12cm +2x4cm, they are surprisingly powerful and good to listen to. They are not the most powerful speakers, but they can highlight and bring out the internal architectural beauty and construction of the device through the sounds produced.

The keyboard replicates the complete feel of the hammers inside an acoustic instrument, using real, tiny hammers inside the keyboard rather than springs (semi-weighted actions).

Engine

The P-45, much like every other Yamaha piano, is equipped with the CF Engine. Sound engines can become a bit difficult to express. However, this is the same one that is also used in the other P-Series flagship piano, the Yamaha P-45. The 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 -45 through recording the sound at multiple volumes for each note.

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 simultaneously 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. This mode is not available in the Yamaha P-45, unfortunately.

Duo Mode

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

Playback and Recording

An instrument can record your performance in an SMF format (MIDI). Once recorded, you can opt to make some modifications with the record right on the keyboard.  However, this feature is not available in the Yamaha P-45. But, you can use the USB (MIDI) cable connection and, using music software, easily available of Mac books or any computer, can record your music. The recording for the P-45 come out brilliantly.

Other functions

Fine Tuning and Transpose

Being a digital keyboard, there is no need for the Yamaha P-45 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, and the fine-tuning allows you to change the pitch in steps of 0.2 Hertz.

Sound Boost

This feature in Yamaha P-45 allows the user to be able to hear even the softer notes. This can, in turn, help you in producing better music. 

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-45 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 pairs of headphones and silent surroundings. One minor problem is that the headphone jack is on the back of the piano.

Ports

The USB, type-B port is available with this digital piano, you can connect your keyboard with your system. You would need an A to B USB cable to connect your PC with the instrument. It is widely available online and in other stores. 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 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 P-45. 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 was damaged, and they all worked perfectly. 

Pros of Yamaha 45

  • Lightweight and Compact: The size-to-weight ratio is one of the best for the Yamaha P-45, and makes it extremely suited for portability and easy carrying. The wide variety of features it offers make it an extremely pertinent choice to carry places.
  • Easy to use: The keyboard has a simplified setup process, easy-to-use interface, and handily available manual. The manual can also be found online, and details all the different features and processes for the instrument.
  • Feature diversity: The keyboard features a high-grade polyphony with 64 notes, ability to simulate the grand piano sound, 88 weighted keys, and ten realistic instrument sounds for a huge arsenal of high-quality music production.
  • Affordable: With the quality and number of features available with the instrument, it is available for an extremely affordable price point compared to the rest of the marker.
  • Suited for students and beginners: With the wide variety of features available at a low price point, as well the ease of use, the instrument is extremely useful to the teaching-learning process.
  • Aesthetic appeal: It has a minimalistic design specially optimized for smooth playing, as well as a great look and feel. The aesthetic component of the device makes for great performances outdoors.

Cons of Yamaha 45

  • Weak sustain footswitch: The sustain footswitch is unable to withstand a lot of pressure. It also needs to be pressed slowly, which makes it difficult to use in fast-paced performances.
  • Speakers face the floor: The inbuilt speakers are oriented towards the floor or resting surface, which makes for poor or muffled sound quality when using them.
  • No type A USB port: To connect to an external system such as a PC, a B to A USB cable or a similar adapter is needed. This restricts connection versatility.
  • Digital Controller iPhone exclusive: The Digital Controller application is available exclusively for the Apple iPhone. Android users may not be able to access the increased range of functionality that the app provides.
  • No stand or kitbag in the box: Although the stand is sold separately, there are additional components for quality and accessibility enhancement that are not included in the instrument set.

Conclusion

The Yamaha P-45 with its superior look and feel, high-grade polyphony, weighted in keys, duo mode support is worth the price. It has the amazing sound quality, and its emulation of a grand piano is effective and amazing. It is ideal for beginners and hobbyists. Furthermore, its additional utilities are not something to feign it.

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 low range powerhouse that even professionals can sometimes depend upon. It is ideal for a transition from a plastic to a better digital piano for more sound quality, ease of composition and playing.

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

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