Casio PX-S1100 vs Yamaha P-125 – Which Piano is Best?
If you’re looking for a reliable, yet affordable, portable digital piano, then you’re likely interested in knowing how well the Casio PX-S1100 vs Yamaha P-125 stack up against one another. Well, we recently had the opportunity to spend time with both instruments, and in this comparison review, we’ll reveal the similarities and differences of each instrument and see which one we believe reigns supreme in the end.
Casio PX-S1100 vs Yamaha P-125
|Casio PX-S1100||192-note polyphony; 18 built-in tones|
|Yamaha P-125||GHS Weighted Action|
|Alesis Prestige Artist||30 voices, 256 polyphony|
|Casio CDP-S360||128 Notes of Polyphony|
|Yamaha P-515||40 Voices, 18 Drum/FX Kits, 480 XG Voices|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Korg LP-180||Natural Weighted Hammer Action|
|Casio PX-770||128 Note Polyphony|
Let’s begin by first discussing how these two pianos stack up from a visual and aesthetic perspective. Now at first glance, we can see that both instruments are very simple. No frills, just 88 keys, and a streamlined design.
And since these instruments are geared more toward beginner and intermediate musicians, that’s just fine. We’re not here for bells and whistles.
The Casio is definitely shinier, maybe even the prettier instrument. It has a smooth glass panel across its front and a very sleek look that is attractive to the eye. Not that the Yamaha isn’t a looker, because she is. But the biggest difference that jumps out at me here is that the Yamaha has actual buttons and sliders on its surface—and quite a bit of them. The Casio has function buttons on its front panel too, but they aren’t tactile and only illuminate up when the instrument is powered on. This is because the Casio’s buttons are similar to iPhone-like touch sensors that are featured underneath a glass panel. There are also fewer of them and they aren’t as nicely labeled as the Yamaha’s.
See what I mean? And while it may be a personal thing for me, I’m not the big fan of the touch sensor buttons (or the round volume knob either). I just feel like you don’t get as much consistency and control, especially when you need it most. So, even though the Casio is the prettier instrument, I’m gonna have to give this round to the Yamaha.
- Winner: Yamaha
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how well they stack up to both the Casio PX-S1100 and Yamaha P-125:
|1) Casio PX-S3100|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha P-515|
|5) Roland FP-90X|
Sounds of the Casio PX-S1100 or Yamaha P-125?
This is the biggie, isn’t it? The piano you want to play, above all else, has to sound good. Ideally, the instrument you buy should sound as close to a “real piano” as it can and it should have a sound that makes you want to keep playing.
So, let’s begin with the speaker system for both instruments.
Both the Casio and the Yamaha feature two speakers on either side of the instrument. Here, the Casio gets a slight edge in terms of loudness; it boasts two 8W speakers while the Yamaha has 7W, meaning that you’ll get a little more sound out of the Casio. However, you’ll see that Casio made the choice to put the speakers on the back of the instrument while Yamaha’s are on top.
I do understand the reasoning here. If you’re playing a gig, then (unless you’re hooked to an amp) that is exactly where you’d want your speakers in order to project as much as possible. But, on the other hand, if your piano is stationary and against a wall — like most home pianos are — then it doesn’t function quite as well.
As for the quality of voices, for both instruments, the piano and electric piano voices shine out of all of the other offerings. That’s to be expected. The definite quality edge goes to Yamaha though, in my opinion. The piano voices, plus all of the other voice offerings (brass, strings, voice, etc.,) sound more natural than the voices on the Casio, which have kind of a MIDI computer sound to them.
As a frequent user of those voices, I have to say that the computer-esque sound of the Casio gives another round to Yamaha.
- Winner: Yamaha
- You Might Also Want to Read: Casio PX-S1100 review
Comparing the Touch of Both Pianos
When it comes to prioritizing what matters much, the touch of a piano is virtually as important as its sound. This is what is going to make or break you as a pianist. Playing the piano requires developing the proper technique—the correct way to play the keys to get the dynamic effects that beautiful music requires. All of this means that your piano needs to feel like a piano.
For the Casio and the Yamaha, they score pretty similarly here, in my opinion. Both feature weighted and responsive keys, meaning that they feel and respond as a piano would. The keys feel nice when you press them down and they respond to your touch well. You’ll certainly notice quiet sounds for a lighter touch and louder sounds whenever you press harder on a given key.
Both Casio and Yamaha put some effort into this and it really does show. Casio has its Smart Scaled Hammer action system on its keys and Yamaha has its Graded Hammer Standard system. Though it may sound complicated, it’s just a different name for the same function; the keys on both instruments are programmed to feel and respond the way the keys on a grand piano would.
Now, I do prefer the action on the Yamaha just a tiny bit better. I feel like the Casio’s touch is a little on the light side, which is just a preference and which, perhaps, a beginner or intermediate student might actually prefer.
On the other side of the aisle, the Yamaha’s action more closely mimics a grand piano, with the keys on the left being a little heavier than the keys on the right.
Where Casio really shines here is in its key texture, though—I just love how realistic it appears (see the photo below):
Conversely, the Yamaha features a matte finish on its black keys, and it isn’t nearly as nice as the Casio’s. So for that, and with the consideration that the lightness on the keys wouldn’t be an issue for a beginner, I’m giving the tiniest edge to Casio in this department.
- Winner: Casio
Portability of Both Pianos
Though the pictures might not suggest it, both instruments are indeed portable. The difference here is in the type of stand the pictured Yamaha is sitting on.
Both instruments are essentially sold as “keyboard only” (plus removable music stand and pedal), so unless you plan to put your instrument on a table or desk, then you’ll need to purchase a piano stand for it. You can get one pictured above for either instrument and it’ll look quite nice. I also think these are pretty good pianos for small spaces, as well.
If your plan is to go gigging with your new instrume nt (for example, if you needed a digital piano for church), you can definitely do that by taking your keyboard off of the stand and setting it on a table or hard surface. Or you can purchase an adjustable stand like the one pictured below.
Both instruments can be fit with separately purchased gig bags and both are roughly the same size and will fit easily in the trunk of your car. That’s where the differences end, however, because I’m going to have to give the portability round to Casio for several reasons.
The first would be the weight. At 26 pounds, the Yamaha is a full pound and some change heavier than the Casio (a little under 25 pounds). If that doesn’t seem to matter to you, then clearly you have never carried your piano up a flight of stairs to get to a gig. Each pounds matters, and while I would never suggest you eliminate a piano from contention because of a 1 lb difference, if you’re a person that’s going to be lugging your instrument around day after day, then you probably know that a 1 lb difference can add up over time.
Also, if your primary goal is to gig, then the speaker setup that was mentioned earlier is ideal for you. You’ll want the sound to carry as much as possible, and speakers facing your audience are the best way to do that—which the Casio provides.
The most important reason, however, is that while the Casio can operate with 6 AA batteries, the Yamaha P-series does not run on batteries and must be connected to a power source to operate.
So, if you want to play an outside gig (for example), you better have a portable generator or you’re completely out of luck. More commonly though, any gig you play will leave your setup at the mercy of a tangle of extension cords and the hope that the outlets aren’t all used up by the guitars by the time you’re ready to plug in.
Casio, hands down.
- Winner: Casio
Key Features of Both Pianos
Let’s get to the goodies, shall we? I’m going to try to break this section down into parts because there are just so many. Let’s begin by discussing voices and effects
Voices and Effects: “Voices” are the cool sounds that your piano can mimic when you’re tired of your instrument only sounding like a piano. Instead, at the press of a button, you can transform your piano into a French Horn or funky jazz organ. As it pertains to the Casio PX-S1100 and Yamaha P-125, both instruments offer a variety of voices and other effects, like reverb (echo-y effect that mimics playing in a recital hall) and damper resonance (recreating the sounds of piano strings vibrating when the pedal is lifted for a more natural sound).
Yamaha takes wins out here here with 24 voices versus Casio’s 18. They also sound much more natural, at least to my ears.
Functions: Both instruments can do useful things like split layer (a different voice on each side of the piano), dual-layer (two voices at the same time), or duet mode (splits the keyboard into two sections with the same octaves).
All extremely cool things to have, and these are all functions that you would never be able to fully enact on an acoustic piano (for example, you cannot like having a piano voice on the left and a solo violin on the right on a “real piano).
Very useful for duets, accompaniment, or performing/recording. I actually think both pianos are evenly matched in terms of Functions.
Data: The Yamaha takes it again in this section due to its stronger processing power. While both instruments are capable of recording, the Yamaha has 100kg per song, which is plenty of data to record a lengthy piano piece. The Casio, on the other hand, is pretty limited in this regard. There isn’t much space to save songs, so you’ll have to use a USB or record directly into a DAW (digital audio workstation) if recording is going to be your primary use. The Yamaha also has USB connectivity, in case you were wondering.
Connections: Both instruments come with sustain pedals that plug in the back, as seen here on the Yamaha.
Both also have headphone jacks in the front for easy access, as seen on the Casio. I find that extremely useful (and so will the people who live with you if you like to practice at night).
You can also download an app that corresponds to each instrument (Smart Pianist for Yamaha, Chordana for Casio) for added control and functionality. It isn’t necessary, but it’s handy to easily configure and program functions for gigs or download additional voices or songs.
User Interface: Up until this point, both instruments have been performing pretty evenly, with the Yamaha a bit in the lead due to its more powerful processor and additional voices. But it’s here, at the user interface, where the Yamaha leaves Casio in the dust.
There’s no other way to say it—the Casio’s user interface is awkward. The function buttons don’t display until the instrument is on, and the buttons are not tactile, causing you to leave smudge marks all over the shiny glass panel and mispress buttons or functions just as often as you press correctly. It’s difficult to see what you’re doing too, in my opinion.
You’ll have to finagle the functions or voices that you want by tapping the glass and twisting that round volume knob. You won’t know if you’ve done it correctly either unless you’re using the app or you start tapping a few practice notes to be sure. Piano is enough of a learning curve, so it’s disappointing to see that simply interacting with the piano itself requires a learning curve too.
The Yamaha, however, is pretty easy to interact with. The functions are tactile buttons and sliders. All of the information is right there for you to see, and the voices are neatly labeled by type and a little light to the right so that you can see what you’re doing.
The controls are easier and more accurate and you don’t have to leave smudge marks all over your instrument while changing them.
- Winner: Yamaha
So, we have come to the end of our Casio PX-S1100 vs Yamaha P-125 battle, and after sharing my thoughts with you about both pianos, I personally feel the winner here is: the Yamaha P-125!
Of course, this is just my humble opinion. You are definitely entitled to yours and if Casio is the brand for you, then who am I to deter you from your dreams? The Casio PX-S1100 is a great instrument and if it meets all of your needs and you like the way it sounds, then maybe it’s truly the instrument for you! But I do believe that the Yamaha P-125 has enough fantastic qualities to edge it a bit over the finish line when compared to its Casio competitor.
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