Yamaha YDP143 Review – Perfect Choice for Intermediate Pianists

There are two kinds of pianist in the world. One the acoustic type and the other, the digital type. But when it comes to digital pianos, Yamaha is undoubtedly the best in the world with their wide variety and their ability to come close to the acoustic ones through their ever-advancing technology. With the release of YDP143R, Yamaha has added a boost to its Arius series. 

Design

Dimensions

Yamaha Arius family pretty much has the standard size. YDP-143 dimensions is Width x height x depth = 1357 mm x 815 mm x 422 mm. 


Build

It is built very similar to a cabinet which dates to a very traditional style of décor without eating away too much space. There is a sliding cover which is very thoughtful from Yamaha to keep the dirt and dust away from the piano when it is not being played. The piano comes with 88 keys and is sleek in design.

The piano looks sturdy, and the build quality in the rosewood finish as the cabinet furniture style is the best in class for an electric piano which tries to match a classical acoustic piano. The piano comes with a volume button which rotates instead of a sliding one. This offers more resistance to fine-tune the levels of adjustment which feels more robust. Most of the functions are set using two standard accessibility methods.

One being button plus button combination and other being button plus key combination. These combinations are very intuitive. There is an option to produce a confirmation sound on every setting change which can be turned on or off according to the need.

Portability

Unlike the traditional acoustic pianos, this digital piano from Yamaha comes with no hassle when it comes to moving around with the piano.

The piano weighs about 83 lbs. But the box at which it arrives is over 100 lbs. Even though it's not a portable piano, you can still move it around without much trouble.

Warranty

Even though YDP143 falls under the mid-range model, Yamaha did not sacrifice the quality of the piano delivered. It comes with a three year of manufacturer’s warranty which adds a great value to the money invested on the piano.

Inside the box

The piano comes with an unassembled condition inside the box with a weight of about 100 lbs. Inside the box three pedal bar, keyboard, the bench and all the required parts that need to be assembled to the base.

Assembly

The instruction is provided in the manual to assemble the piano. The assembly of YDP143 is not a tedious process as it requires only a Philips head screwdriver. The base must be assembled, and the keyboard must be screwed with the base.

Pedals

Just like an acoustic piano YDP143 comes with three pedals which do the job of sustain, soft sostenuto operations. The pedals also offer half pedal options. These half pedals result in intricate nuances and detailed subtlety which can be only felt in a grand piano. The half pedal feature helps in running increased lengths continuously on sustained notes.

Mellow reverberations are obtained when stereo samples sustain samples are played using damper pedals. Deep resonance and deep resonance are obtained by damper resonance when the pedal is used. The subtle nuances are very strikingly observed when the keys are pressed alongside the pedal because of this.

Keyboard

Yamaha YDP143R is provided with 88 full set keys which imitate the feel of an acoustic piano. It has the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) that is present in a few other models of Yamaha piano ranges. The GHS provides realistic touch which is very similar to that of an acoustic piano.

The keys feel heavier which are present in the lower register than the ones which are present higher up in the keyboard. This effect simulates the feel of an acoustic piano.

The keyboard responds to the touch as it is sensitive to the force with which the key is struck. This changes the volume depending upon the style of play. The setting can be adjusted accordingly in the keyboard to four different preset touch sensitivity settings. Fixed, Soft, Medium and Hard being the four settings, the keyboard comes with a Medium setting as default preset setting. The black keys have a matte black finish which prevents mistakes and enhances control while playing. 

The non-slippery attribute of this matte black finish helps the user to play for extended periods. While only the expensive models offer synthetic ivory keytops. GHS aids in developing prospering fingering techniques on keys and placements as on acoustic pianos.

Sound

YDP143 main distinctions come at the sound. The significant difference this offers is the tone generator which is missing in the likes of YP103. The chords when played offer deep, rich and full experience of that chord. It matches that to an acoustic piano in terms of authenticity and the nature of sound generated.

With a push of a button, samples of sounds played on different instruments can be selected and different tunes. The master volume and the power controls are provided on the right-hand side of the piano, and they are very intuitive and laid out very neatly. The left-hand side of the piano has quite a confusion. The labelling of a button calls for sounds and samples.

Another button labelled L, and another one labelled R. Voice was labelled as a button, and so was the metronome. Holding the voice button and playing a key on the left side of the keyboard creates beep notifications which indicate that the voice has now changed. The labelling of the buttons and controls on the left side of the piano could have been more intuitive. 

The Pure CF Engine

The piano also comes with the Pure CF sound engine. This Pure CF engine is from the expertise that Yamaha has gained throughout piano making history. This is a piece of great news in the AWM technology of sampling. This Pure CF engine provides a rich tone of the natural piano. This creates an extensive range of dynamic tones on the piano. This also offers deep reverberations, and more detailed work of sound is obtained. It does not have key-off simulations and string resonance which is an added advantage that provides a lively feel for the piano.

Four different reverb types can be used to get that extra depth and ambience to the note. The four reverb types being Club, Chamber, Concert Hall and Recital Hall. Yamaha also provides the option to adjust the effect of depth on each of these reverb types.

Yamaha’s well known CFIIIS 9’ grand concert piano sound is reproduced ever so faithfully allowing incredible expressiveness and dynamics in the digital pianos through this Pure CF sound engine.

Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC)

Playing at a low volume meant a loss of bass and treble in the music. But with Intelligent Acoustic Control, the digital pianos of Yamaha addressed the problem of loss of treble and bass. The instrument balances the mix between both bass and treble and thus creating a very deep and truer sound. Yamaha has made sure that sound quality is not compromised on the lower volume spectrum through Intelligent Acoustic Control.

Speakers

The speakers are located on either end of the piano. They are oval with the dimensions of 12 cm x 6 cm. They are not the most powerful speakers available in this segment. But the power of 12 W (Each speaker can produce a sound of 6 W) is enough to practice at home or even a very small performance on family gatherings.

The speakers are also enhanced by Yamaha through Acoustic optimiser which is the proprietary item of Yamaha. Yamaha has developed this optimiser post-in-depth knowledge on various acoustic instruments. This promisingly delivers smooth, natural richness across the tone of the entire spectrum of the keyboard. This is achieved by regulating the sound flow and tone control from the instrument cabinet of the piano. T

he sound quality of the speakers is well balanced and covers the whole frequency range without any distortions or disturbances. The distortions are not present even at the maximum volume of the piano which is another added advantage. But in most of the practical cases of daily or regular usage, there is no requirement of using the piano at the maximum volume in case of having neighbours close by.

Polyphony

Polyphony indicates the number of notes that a digital piano can produce at the same time. And this is one of the most important aspects of pianos if several layered sounds and multiple track recordings must be done. But YDP143 offers a polyphony of 192 notes. This is something which is very good for the range, and this is something that should not be worried upon.

This 192 notes polyphony allows to create intricate, creative layered sounds and track recordings with very high sophistication and backing tracks to support the recording. This polyphony specification is very sophisticated and can be relied upon even for the most intricate detailing and track support notes which must be played at the same time. 

Features

Modes

Yamaha YDP143 provides the user with two different modes so that one can easily practice multiple sounds of the instruments that are required for the recording while still playing the piano for composing the duets.

Dual Mode

This mode facilitates the layering of two different instruments. Once the layering is complete, when the piano is played, these layered sounds can be played alongside the playing of the piano. This creates a creative rich mixture of beautiful tone and can be used to recreate multiple instrument tones. Yamaha also provides the option to layer about ten built-in sounds in YDP143. It also has the option to balance the mixing of these two layered instruments according to the need.

Duo Mode

This is the perfect mode for someone who is looking to master four-hand also known as play two piano repertoire. This mode also helps teachers that it can be used to teach this in their classes with the students. This makes the teacher play a tune on one end while the student can repeat the same tune on the other end of the piano. This is a very convenient way of making the student understand the tone better. This mode helps in splitting the piano into two halves which are identical of same pitch patterns such that each half gets its middle C.

Music Library

Yamaha YDP143 comes with fifty piano songs and ten demo songs which can be used practice sessions or also for the listening enjoyment. It is possible to switch off the right-hand part or the left-hand part for practices on all these fifty songs while the other counterpart will be playing back.

Yamaha has also provided an option on the piano to practice more songs than the ones on the library. These songs can be uploaded from the user’s computer to the piano. A maximum of up to 10 songs can be uploaded from the user’s computer to the piano. These songs should be of the format of MIDI (SMF).

 These can be found on websites like YamahaMusic etc. These songs are like that of preset songs transferring procedures. This provides a bigger window for the user to choose what to learn and how to learn. This gives more flexibility to the options that the user is provided with.

Recording and Playback

Yamaha provides two track sequencers of MIDI with YDP143. This is very useful in recording and playback the performances without the usages of any additional software or devices right onboard. Every song consists of two tracks in this. This helps in recording the songs separately. These sperate tracks can be played together as a single track due to the sequencers which are provided. As an example, the user can record the right part of track one and merge it with the left-hand part of track two. Or even multiple tracks can be recorded separately and can be fused to form a more complex layered piece.

Other Features

Metronome, tuning, transpose are the other features which are available on the YDP143.

Metronome

This tool helps in learning and training. This helps in getting the data of whether the tune is played accurately or not. This determines the skill of the user at the basic level. This also estimates how fast or slow a person plays. Even the details of how silent or how fast the loud tunes are played and much more. This helps in improving the timing skill of the user. Rhythm can also be optimised and evaluated accordingly with this tool. With all these data sets, the accuracy, skill set and the sharpness of the user increase. This feature acts more as a mentor of the self-improvement process.

Transpose Function

This function helps in shifting the pitch. Using this the entire piano’s pitch can be moved up or down in semitone steps to carter the needs of the user.This is generally used to reduce the complexity of notes of the songs written in difficult keys. It can also be used to aid the movement of fingers as the user need not change his/her fingering style for different tones by just changing the pitch using this transpose function. This aids in composing very intricate tunes in a better way and gives more control on the layering of the tunes and enhances the output of the tunes.

Tuning Function

This function is also like that of the transpose function but the only difference being the pitch can be changed in the instrument in the steps of 0.2 Hz.

Stereophonic Optimizer

This optimiser is unique to Yamaha. This optimiser provides spacing of sounds when listening to and playing the instrument through headphones. These spacing of sounds from piano creates a better surround sound experience and helps in understanding the intricate nuances. When playing the sound seems to come from the body of the piano instead of the headphone to provide a more realistic feel and natural experience. This will help in playing the instrument for long hours in a private playing condition with the natural feel of playing the instrument.

Auto Power Off

This feature helps in shutting down the instrument throughout inactivity. This feature can be disabled or can be customised too. The time after which the auto power off should trigger is something which user can set upon their needs and requirements. This is a small step towards energy conservation that Yamaha follows to promote a greener environment.

Connectivity

Two quarter inches stereo jacks are provided at the bottom of Yamaha YDP143. These jacks can be used to connect headphones and earphones. These jacks can also be used as external line outs to connect external amplifiers, audio systems, PA, etc. The USB to Host port which is required to connect your piano to an iOS or a computer is found at the bottom of the piano. The A to B USB cable must purchase separately to connect the piano to the computer.

To work with the computer, the Yamaha driver USB - MIDI must be downloaded on the computer. Post these file exchanges are hassle-free between the instrument and the computer as MIDI files can enhance the learning and making of music from the computer.

Digital Piano Controller App

There are several Yamaha apps that YDP143 is compatible with the iOS platform. Digital piano controller is one of the well-known apps that is used to control different functions and parameters of the piano which can make up for the lack of display in the piano.

For Android users concerned, there is nothing that Yamaha offers for the users who use the Android operating system. Lightning to USB adapter can be used to connect the instrument with iPad or iPhone. Or wireless MIDI adapter also can be used to connect any Apple devices with the Yamaha YDP143.

Accessories

The major accessory that must be bought alongside the piano is the headphones. If indulging in much more immersive, private or high-quality music then headphones are a must.

 Headphones are handy when the user does not want to get disturbed by the surrounding and focus solely on playing the notes. They provide very detailed nuances of the piano in a clear way.

Pros

  • Bench, Pedals included
  • Great build quality
  • Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand’s sound
  • 192 note polyphony
  • Intelligent Acoustic Control

Cons

  • Fewer options for sound effects
  • Lacks key-off samples
  • Lacks string resonance

Conclusion

Digital Piano market has become really competitive among the brands.

Several brands like Casio, Roland, Kawai released new models with competitive pricing recently. This is great thing for consumers as they would have more options to choose from.

Yamaha YDP 143 is a great piano and has slight improvements over its predecessor 142 model. I would say YDP 143 is a good choice and would serve you for years.

Yamaha is one of the oldest and most reputable brands for digital and grand pianos. You can be confident about their products for sure!

This piano would be more suitable for beginners and intermediate users. If you're a advanced user, YDP 143 may not have features that you're looking for such as Bluetooth connectivity, Key off simulation, String Resonance, etc.

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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