I know this is one of the options most of us beginners ask about so I figured Iâ€™d give my review after owning it for 3 weeks and having been in classes for two weeks. I have no previous knowledge of piano prior to this so hopefully this will give an absolute beginner an idea of what to expect...
First, the piano I am using in class is a Young Chang grand (donâ€™t know what the model number is for this one) so I can compare the Yamaha to that piano for things like keyboard feel.
Seems like a solid build as expected from Yamaha. The key tolerances are tight (no wiggling to speak of) and the switches seem sturdy. Seems a well built DP overall.
The included foot pedal works but isnâ€™t so good on carpet and flips around a lot on me. I understand itâ€™s small and portable but I may have to buy the larger, more realistic shaped sustain when I get a little further along.
Ports are; single sustain foot pedal, 3 pedal, USB, 2 headset jacks, aux out.
As a beginner I donâ€™t need any more than these, advanced players may miss a dedicated Midi out.
I did go out and get the connector so I can use my iPad and the Smart Pianist app which is kind of neat but I find itâ€™s faster most of the time to use the keystrokes to make normal changes.
The Rhythm and Metronome controls took me about a minute to memorize and changing instruments and layering was maybe 2 minutes more. I do like the app for recording though. I havenâ€™t used any or the advanced features of the app like getting chord charts from music in iTunes or transposing music. Maybe at some point I will use those.
Generally Iâ€™d say the piano features in the app are convienances but so far all the things I need as a beginner are easily accessible using the buttons and keys as well.
The P125 has a 4 speaker setup with 2 on top and 2 underneath. In a household setting the volume is decent. It doesnâ€™t seem exceptionally loud but does sound pretty good. In a large room or someplace moderately noisy Iâ€™d say external amplification is needed. For practice at home the volume is fine.
The piano sampling is good overall but I have noticed the left and right most octaves have more of an electric piano tone to them, not as acoustic sounding as the middle octaves. Also when doing left hand chords there is some sort of odd harmonic going on that also sounds false to my ear. Overall itâ€™s not bad but itâ€™s got some flaws. Initially I didnâ€™t like the live piano option but itâ€™s growing on me. I havenâ€™t messed with the other instruments much other than layering some strings on the grand piano and playing with the electric piano just for kicks. Fun to mess with but kind of a distraction at the moment. Iâ€™m pretty much sticking with the piano for now so I donâ€™t have an opinion on the other instrument features yet.
This is the toughest and is the most subjective, I also donâ€™t have a really good feel for the acoustic yet so Iâ€™ll do my best.
The Yamaha has the GHS keyboard with plastic keys. The black keys have a little texture to them but the white keys are pretty smooth. You can slip some after playing a while. The funny part for me is that the keys on the Young Chang texture-wise donâ€™t feel all that much different. Maybe a little more grip to them but very minor. The keys on the Casio PX160 or the Roland seem to be a lot more agressive on the texture then the keys on the Young Chang.
The Yamaha keys feel lighter then the Young Chang on the push with less resistance on the release. It definately feels like the acoustic keys pivot much further back then the Yamaha GHS and on the acoustic there is more of a pendulum feel to the key stroke and release cycle.
That said the Yamaha for its light weight and small size isnâ€™t a bad approximation. Definately good enough for practice in a portable.
Overall I like it and feel it is a good first DP. Some of the piano tones could use improvement and maybe a minor amount of texture on the white keys would be appreciated but I donâ€™t think any beginner would be disappointed in this one as their first DP. I donâ€™t feel any great need to run out and get something else at this point in time. Ask me again next year and maybe Iâ€™ll decide I need a better keyboard feel or more realistic sound but for now it really does have all the bases covered to get my foundations solid and thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m really asking of this one.
Hope this helps someone..