Casio CDP-S360 vs Yamaha P-125: Which Piano is Best?
If you’re looking for a nice (and inexpensive) portable digital piano, then you’re very likely going to benefit from this Casio CDP-S360 vs Yamaha P-125 comparison. Recently, we had the opportunity to get our hands on both pianos, so we’ll share our thoughts on both instruments, their pros and cons, and overall assess which piano we think is most worthy of your money.
Casio CDP-S360 vs Yamaha P-125 – First Impressions
My first impression of the Casio CDP-S360 was a little surprising. At just $499 retail, it was a pleasant surprise to immediately notice a see a backlit LCD screen on this instrument. That immediately hit with with a healthy dose of joy, because a backlit screen not only makes it easier to see what you’re doing in low lighting, but navigating the entire instrument’s feature set much more enjoyable.
Why? Because you can see the settings, easily view the functions, and get immediate feedback for everything you input into the piano. On top of that gem, I also noticed a pitch bending wheel (pictured below).
For the Yamaha, what really stuck out to me at first was its sleek build and minimal design. The Yamaha I saw was set into a traditional stand (sold separately). I really enjoyed that this piano was compact and looks very nice and clean from an aesthetics point of view. It doesn’t have a screen (which is disappointing but not unexpected), but it does have plenty of function buttons and a volume slider (yay!) instead of the knob (boo!). I see functions for recording and voices, just like I did on the Casio and everything is laid out very nicely and efficiently.
But, despite the Casio having a volume knob, its screen and pitch bender really stood out to me the most. For that, I’m going to have to declare the CDP-S360 the winner of this First Impressions category.
First Impressions Winner: Casio CDP-S360
Check out some of the best selling pianos available on the market, and see how well they stack up to the Casio CDP-S360 and Yamaha P-125.
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-S3100|
|3) Casio PX-870|
|4) Roland FP-E50|
|5) Roland FP-30X|
Assessing the Sound: Casio CDP-S360 versus Yamaha P-125
Let’s begin with the Casio. It has to be said that these two instruments are sitting at two different price points, and this is where the differences between the two instruments will begin go become more clear. I would say that the Casio is definitely geared toward a beginner or intermediate player. And for what it’s meant to be, this instrument really does deliver on many different features. Its voices weren’t bad, a little MIDI-sounding to me, but not bad at all.
With that said, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Yamaha P-125. Retailing at $699, the Yamaha is a more sophisticated instrument. It’s geared toward an intermediate player so there are some upgrades in its processing power that give it an edge in the sound department. The sound is much more natural than the Casio, especially when you veer away from the piano and electric piano voices and into the strings or brass samplings.
Both instruments have two speakers to share their sound with, both of which are situated on opposite ends of the instrument. I really like the Yamaha’s speaker placement here. With a 7W speaker on the top of each side, the sound has no problem carrying across a room.
On the other hand, Casio has slightly more powerful speakers (two 8W). These speakers are on the back of the instrument though, which makes it nice for gigging, but if your piano is going spend most of its time pushed up against a wall, then your sound is going to be muffled. Still, for the room I was in, it carried nicely. In the end, due to its more natural sounds, Yamaha comes out the winner here when it comes to sound.
Sound Winner: Yamaha P-125
Touch Response Comparison
Again, let’s start with the Casio. Right away, I was pleased that even at a lower price point, Casio still textures its keys with a nice ivory and matte finish that mimics real piano keys. It feels pretty nice to play too, as the keys are graded (heavier toward the bass, lighter toward the treble). Admittedly, everything felt a little on the light side for me personally.
The black keys are much lighter than the white keys, which I didn’t like. I also have to mention that playing very fast repetitions results in lost notes. Probably because the Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II that this instrument is working with is Casio’s budget line key action.
The Yamaha P-125 is also rocking Yamaha’s budget key action with its Yamaha GHS Key Action, but it does seem to do a better job. The Yamaha does have a matte finish on its black keys, as seen here:
It do believe that the keys feel a little more plasticky than the ones on the Casio. But while the Yamaha lacks the nice texture of the Casio keys, the action feels much more balanced, and rapid playing didn’t result in lost notes. For that, Yamaha walks away with this category.
Touch Winner: Yamaha P-125
Are These Pianos Portable?
If your main reason for buying a digital piano is to use it for gigging, then you will be pleased to know that both instruments are portable. The Yamaha may initially seem portable when you walk upon it sitting on a stand on display, but that’s only because it’s set into a wooden stand. You can take it off of the stand, this is how it looks:
Both instruments come with a digital pedal and a removable music stand, which make them easy to fit into a case and put in the trunk of your car for gigs. You can also get an adjustable music stand to rest your instrument on, like the one shown in the picture below.
So, yes, both instruments are portable. But there are some crucial differences that give one instrument in particular a major edge. At a little over 26 pounds, the Yamaha outweighs the Casio by about 2 pounds which, while it may not seem like much, but really makes a difference when you have to lug your piano up multiple flights of stairs.
Another crucial difference is the Yamaha’s reliance on a wall socket. Yep, only the Casio can run on batteries (6 AA) so if you have a Yamaha, be sure you’re prepared with an extension cord or a portable battery if you plan to do any outside gigs.
And, as mentioned before, the Casio’s speakers are placed on its back, which makes it awkward to rest up against a wall, but just perfect for facing your audience for small gigs.
Looks like the Casio takes this round.
Portability Winner: Casio CDP-S360
Key Features to Know
And now we come to the final round.
Unfortunately, if you were rooting for the Casio, then here is where it begins to lose some momentum. As mentioned earlier, these two instruments are at two different price points. Because the Yamaha is the more expensive instrument, it will naturally have more features and processing power built into it.
Voice and Effects: The voices and effects are some of the most fun things about owning a digital piano. After all, you can’t make an acoustic piano sound like an accordion or accompany your playing with a backing beat.
For a digital piano, however, this is an easy ask. Both the Yamaha and the Casio have several different voice options and other effects, like reverb (the echo effect that mimics playing in a big recital hall) and damper resonance (recreating the sounds of piano strings vibrating when the pedal is lifted for a more natural sound).
The Yamaha is going to take it here though. While the Casio does technically have more voices than the Yamaha, anything that isn’t piano or organ isn’t that great. There also seem to be a lot of filler voices that may be best left to the accompaniment tracks rather than solo playing.
Plus, the Yamaha’s voices sound much more natural.
Functions: Even match up here. Both the Yamaha and the Casio can be set up for different functions to assist with your playing. They can do split layer, with a different voicing for each side of the piano (i.e., piano voice in the bass with violin in the treble) or dual-layer (two voices at the same time). If you have a buddy to play with, there is also a duet mode that splits the keyboard in half with both halves able to play the same octaves. Very useful and definitely something you can’t do on an acoustic piano.
Data: The Yamaha shines in this category, with its huge amount of memory that can hold up to 100KB per song. The Casio can record, but doesn’t have nearly as much built-in memory. You’re limited to 5 tracks, maybe, which isn’t a lot.
If you have a huge amount of recording to do, then you can also record straight into a DAW (digital audio workstation) or use a USB to take a load off of your piano’s memory. Both instruments come with this capability.
Connections: Both instruments will let you connect to headphones, an amp, USB, and a damper pedal. The Casio’s connections are all in the back, which makes headphones a bit of a hassle. In comparison, the Yamaha’s headphone jack is in front for easy access.
Otherwise, the two instruments are evenly matched here. Both also can connect to apps to further your playing experience and let you control your pianos settings from afar. This is a great feature for gigging as you can preset certain settings and switch to them with ease.
User Interface: The user interface will be rated on how easy it is to maneuver your way through your piano’s settings and functions.
The Casio has a bit of an advantage here thanks to its LCD screen. It is very easy to see what you’re doing.
The Yamaha still does a pretty good job with buttons and sliders, despite the lack of a screen. Everything on its surface is clearly labeled and though there are buttons with different functions, there is a little red variation light that tells you what mode you’re in to keep you from getting confused.
It may take some practice getting to your desired settings, but shouldn’t be too hard.
Yamaha P-125 or Casio CDP-S360 – Final Verdict
Here we are. The moment you’ve been waiting for. With all votes tallied, it looks like our winner today is (drumroll please): the Yamaha P-125!
This battle between the Casio CDP-S360 vs Yamaha P-125 was, at the end of the day, no real contest for the Yamaha. While the Casio CDP-S360 is a great piano (especially for its price range), the Yamaha P-125 is the more expensive instrument with a more powerful processor, giving it a more complex and natural sound and an extra $200’s worth of bells and whistles.
This article was written by Sara and edited by Michael.
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