Yamaha P-125 Review
Yamaha continues its endeavour to bring exceptional digital instruments at awesome prices and the Yamaha P-125 is its latest foray into the around $600 price mark. This comes with fully-weighted graded keys among many other featured designed to appease the beginner pianist while offering enough features to not warrant an upgrade for a decent period of time. We played around with the Yamaha P-125 and read on this review to find if it has something different to offer or if it is like the plethora of other digital pianos aimed at the beginner.
This is quite the minimalistic looking piano. From the very outset it will make you feel right at home and totally unintimidating. The minimalistic design also gives it quite the elegant look. Even though it has the full 88-keys, it does not look like a stretched out instrument like most digital pianos in this range. This is thanks to the subtle curves and steps in the design that stop it from having a bland and drab look.
We do have to mention the red line that runs across the very top of the keys. It certainly makes it stand out from the rest of the digital pianos. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing will depend on you though. This model is also available in white which in our opinion looks more distinguished. The placement of the audio jacks in the front also lends the P-125 a different look.
This digital piano looks especially good on a stand and can give the impression of being a much more expensive instrument. Coming to the buttons, they have been neatly laid out instead of being bunched up together. The navigation seems pretty straightforward and the lack of a screen isn’t necessarily a hindrance. If anything, it makes the Yamaha p-125 really simple and unintimidating. Something that would appeal to beginners, the primary target for this electric piano.
A digital piano in this segment is not meant to blow your mind away with the sound and having a reasonable expectation is highly recommended. With that in mind, the P-125 produces some quite good sounds for its price. The piano sounds, as it should be, are some of the best in this segment.
They have the depth and gravitas of a true grand piano and most beginners will find it just as good as the real thing. It does come with two speakers but they are arranged in such a way that one of them faces upwards while the other faces downwards. This pushes the sound in both the directions in the vertical axis and is more authentic to how a grand piano would produce its sound.
The speakers are pretty good and at 7 Watts each, are pretty loud enough for a decently sized room. Keep in mind that the realistic effect achieved due to the placement of the speakers will be lost when connecting to an external sound system.
There are 24 voices in all and while the other sound aren’t as good as the piano sound, they are still pretty usable for a beginner. As you become more proficient you will start finding flaws in them, but as long as you are in that initial learning phase, you will have little to complaint about. Yamaha’s sound engine is one of the best and while you get a watered down version of what you would find in a more expensive digital piano, it still does a decent job and for its price is quite the value for money.
The Yamaha P-125 features the graded hammer action system called GHS that is the entry-level weighted key system that Yamaha offers. Again, it isn’t the most authentic representation of the true feel a grand piano provides, but it is quite close. In fact, most beginners won’t be able to find much difference between the two. They still offer that gradual reduction in heaviness as you move from the left to the right of the keybed. The velocity curve is also quite good and transitioning from the Yamaha P-125 to a real grand piano won’t take too much of an effort.
The touch sensitivity can be turned off completely or modified to three preset settings of soft, medium and hard with the hard being the most authentic. This allows beginners to gradually get used to the way the keys of a piano react.
All the additional buttons on top of the keyboard for changing the various functions are good and offer plenty of tactile response to allow you to change things on the fly. There is nothing to brag about in the way the keys feel. A professional will immediately discern that this is an entry-level product but getting a fully-weighted, graded action at this price is good enough and any shortcomings are really minor.
This is one area where the Yamaha P-125 soars above the competition.
We will start with the effects. There are four reverb effects and all of them are pretty usable. They cannot be modified but we didn’t really expect such a feature in this range. The damper resonance is another thoughtful feature and brings beginners closer to an actual piano.
You also get a few useful features like dual mode where you can set the keyboard to play two instruments simultaneously, split mode where the keys can be separated into two equal zones with each zone playing a different instrument and a duo mode which splits the keys into two equal zones playing the same instrument. This last feature really comes in handy when the P-125 is used as a learning tool.
Recording feature is also available where you can save up to 11,000 notes over two tracks. You can also play along to your own recording which is a cool feature. There are 21 demo songs and 50 pianos songs and while their aim is to help you learn some popular songs, it is nothing more than a gimmick in reality. The pedal connectivity is good as with the right pedal you can even do half-pedalling. The pedal that come in the box with the Yamaha P-125 is crappy though and we would suggest investing in a good pedal if you are serious about using this feature.
You also get a rhythm section with 20 rhythms of different styles and these can help you become a better pianist and is a great practice tool. Playing live with the rhythm section as your accompaniment will make the music one-dimensional and is not meant to replicate a band.
Connectivity and portability
The Yamaha P-125 offers decent connectivity options. There is no traditional MIDI port but you do get a couple of audio ports allowing you to connect in stereo to an external sound system.
There is also a USB type B port that allows this digital piano to be connected to a computer and be used as a MIDI controller. It works quite decently though the lack of a pitch bend wheel and modulation wheel can be a real hindrance to serious music production. For basic operations and as a learning tool, this digital piano works in a satisfactory manner. It connects well with most DAWs right out of the box and we did not face any issues there.
One feature that really surprised us was the Smart Pianist app. We thought that it was nothing more than a gimmick at first but on using it we found that it is an incredibly powerful tool that can really assist the beginner in making great strides. The only caveat is that you need an iOS device as this app is not available on Android. If you already own an iPhone or an iPad, then using an adapter, you can connect the device to the P-125. The Smart Pianist App manages to work with minimal latency and every aspect of the digital piano can be controlled from the iOS device.
A really neat feature of this app is that you can play along to the songs in your song library with the app even displaying the chords to these songs in real time. This is just amazing and works well with most songs that we tried out. To a beginner, this can be an absolute blessing.
The app also displays any changes you make using the buttons on the digital piano showing that a lot of effort has gone into integrating this app as nicely as possible with the Yamaha P-125.
As far as portability is concerned, the P-125 is as portable as 88-key digital pianos can be. Weighing in at just a little over 11 kgs, this is quite easy to move around or carry around. The sturdy build-quality also helps in this regards.
Looking at the P-125 alone will give you the impression that this is as good as it is going to get for a beginner’s digital piano. However, when you compare it to cheaper options like the Yamaha P-115, the improvements aren’t earth shattering. You will need to upgrade from this as you become a better pianist and that means that starting out cheap is a better proposition. We will suggest buying the P-125 only if you will be using the App features and like its looks.
– Very good piano tone
– Decent feel
– Very useful Smart Pianist App
– Neat layout and decent looks
– Very portable
– You will need to upgrade once you reach an intermediate level of proficiency
– Not much improvement apart from the Smart Pianist App
– App only works on iOS devices
- Rated 3.5 stars
- Very Good
- Yamaha P-125
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