In this article, we’re going to review the Yamaha Arius YDP-143, which should hopefully help anyone that’s currently thinking about buying a digital piano become more knowledgeable about this particular piano.
We’ll go over how the YDP-143 looks, is built, sounds, and plays, while also even comparing it to other pianos in the Arius line—namely the Yamaha YDP-103, the Yamaha YDP-163, the Yamaha YDP-181.
And, to better help you determine if any of these pianos are a good fit for you, please use our interactive table below where you can compare the YDP-143 to a variety of other Yamaha Arius digital pianos:
|Yamaha YDP-143||88||$$$||GHS Weighted Action||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-103||88||$$$||GHS Weighted Action||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-163||88||$$$||GH3 Weighted action||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-181||88||$$$||128 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-S52||88||$$$||Graded Hammer (GH) Keyboard||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-V240||88||$$$||6-Track Recorder w/Hands-Separate Practicing||★★★★|
|Casio PX-860||88||$$$||256 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Yamaha DGX-660||88||$$||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) Keyboard||★★★★★|
|Kawai CE220||88||$$$||AWA PROII w/Counterbalancing||★★★★|
|Yamaha CLP 645||88||$$$||Yamaha’s NWX (Natural Wood X) Keyboard|
How the Yamaha YDP-143 Looks
The YDP-143 reminds me of a spinet sized piano, which makes it easy to move and doesn’t take up excess space. Weighing around 84 pounds, you wouldn’t have the obstacles that are associated with moving an acoustic piano.
Whether you’re moving it into a new room, or to a new home for that matter, this model is the ideal size. If you are worried about space, it would go great along your living room or studio wall.
It is available in a rosewood or black walnut finish, giving it a more genuine wooden appearance. Furniture-styled pianos have always been a great way to tie a room together, and the YDP-143 is no exception.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling upright digital pianos currently available for sale on Amazon, and then see how well they stack up against the Yamaha YDP-143:
Notable Accessories and Features
It comes with a console which includes all three traditional pedals, too. I like this because there are no loose wires like most pedal accessory or addons have (and of course, you get the soft, damper, and sostenuto).
The pedals allow you to play more dynamically than a single-pedal digital piano. The pedal cord is mostly hidden by the console, and runs up the back and held in place with attachable clips. I know my home studio has more wires than instruments (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tripped over them) but with the Arius YDP-143, you’d only have to worry about the power cord.
It also includes a comfortable bench, music rest, and a sliding cabinet lid. An accessory that is not included, but might be worth investing in, is the Yamaha UD-BT01, which is a Bluetooth USB MIDI adapter. This ultimately just depends on how (or if) you want to transfer music to a tablet or computer.
The one drawback is that Yamaha seems to have a bias towards Apple products, so this only works with a Mac or iOS device. At first glance, it would appear it plugs directly into the USB port, but you actually have to connect it to your piano with a USB cord, then the actual device plugs into an AC adapter (the same kind your smartphone uses) and then into a power-source.
This means you would need an extra outlet available from your wall or surge protector. To me, this would only benefit artists who record on iPad-based recording apps.
If you’re at all interested, you can check out the owner’s manual for the Yamaha YDP-143 here.
Features and Specs
The features of this digital piano suit the needs of someone that teaches piano or someone new to home recording. It has a USB-port and an internal recording memory of 900 KB (11,000 notes), which are all MIDI compatible. I love that every Arius digital piano features the USB 2.0 port.
When I use Cubase to record, sometimes the MIDI track I’m recording overloads and glitches. If you have this problem, you can record directly onto the YDP-143 and import it into your recording software. No longer would you have to worry about messy MIDI cables and balancing your audio interface and Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) software.
Just record, plug in, and transfer.
Or if you prefer to record directly on a DAW, the USB cord will transfer the MIDI data live. It has ten voices, fifty preset songs, and works with several Yamaha apps including:
- Digital Piano Controller
- My Music Recorder
- Piano Diary
- Visual Performer
All of these apps are available for download from the Apple App Store, but unfortunately not Google Play (see what I mean about the Apple bias?), so Android users kind of got the cold-shoulder on this feature.
To be fair, Yamaha has a few apps on Google Play, but none that work for this model, as far as we can tell. However, if you record on a multi-track or Window’s computer, using an AB type USB cable (Yamaha recommends one less than three meters long) allows you to transfer the music to your device or computer.
The USB port, dual-headphone jack, and pedal jack are all located underneath the piano console in an attempt to make it look less electronic. The pedal jack is located towards the back for easy assembly. This is a great aesthetic and practical choice, and is easily accessible.
The master volume and power button are located on the top side to the very right of the console; the piano/voice functions, song presets, metronome, record and play buttons are located to the very left.
Unlike some digital pianos and keyboards, the Arius YDP-143 doesn’t have a screen, so you rely completely on the buttons, usually in combination with the keyboard keys, to change functions. This allows you to adjust the touch sensitivity of the Graded-Hammer-Action (GHA) weighted keys and pedals to your liking. You can also turn on a dual function that adjusts the tone of piano for teaching, which puts the dual headphone jack to good use.
YDP-143 vs. the YDP-103
The Arius line boasts many models that vary in size, style, and features. It’s little brother and most basic Arius model, the YDP-103, doesn’t possess the recording capabilities like the YDP-143 and the rest. However, it does contain a USB port, like all Arius models, and it can be used to record on a computer.
All Arius models also come with a bench, three pedal consoles, dual headphone jacks, and 88 weighted keys. Unlike the YDP-143 and up, the YDP-103 only contains ten preset demo and voice songs.
It also doesn’t have the same sound quality, but it doesn’t have the worst either. The YDP-143 utilizes Yamaha’s Pure CF Sound Engine, while the YDP-103 only uses AWM Stereo Sampling. This causes the YDP-103 to have an emptier sound to me, but that’s personal preference. Your mileage may vary.
Yamaha YDP-143 vs YDP-163 vs YDP-103
The big difference between the YDP-163 and the YDP-143 is the size.
The YDP-163 is bigger, but has some of the same features as the 143. With that said, it’s important to know that the YDP-143 features a GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) keybed, while the YDP-163 has the better GH3 (which is a 3-sensor Graded Hammer keybed).
The YDP-103 is pretty much what you expect from the basic model. It’s a great instrument to learn on, and can be used for recording, but if you use a multi-track recorder, you more than likely dislike the voice quality of the YDP-103.
Is the YDP-143 Right for You?
This is obviously a matter of opinion and your price range. I’ve seen these in the $1100 price range, and each model gets pricier. Yamaha has cheaper models, but the old saying is true: you get what you pay for.
This isn’t a bad price range for a Yamaha, but personally, I would shop around. If you are investing in a digital piano as a teacher or professional musician, you might want to consider how long it could take for your instrument to make your money back. You might end up having to give a hundred lessons or more to make up for the expense of your new digital piano.
That’s a lot of time to spend on metronome lectures.
With that said, if money is not a huge priority for you, or you don’t feel you need to “make back” the money you spend on this digital piano, then by all means consider purchasing it if you feel it meets a lot of your personal (or professional) criteria.
When I sat down to play the YDP-143, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought the sliding lid was a nice touch, and it slid back easily. I turned the power on and cranked the master volume knob up. I began to play and was pleased with the sound.
The keys felt realistic, which was a plus since I have played Yamaha’s that had really stiff GHA keys. I like the USB port and that it includes a three pedal console and bench, too.
What disappoints me is that it lacks an LCD screen. A lot of the features have to be accessed by a combination of the buttons and piano keys, which isn’t unusual for Yamaha, but tedious nonetheless (especially if you’re upgrading from a piano that does have an LCD screen).
Although, it includes everything you need for basic piano use, I would skip this one over. If I planned on investing in a digital piano, I would spend a little more for better features (for example, for a few hundred dollars more, you could get the Yamaha Arius YDP-V240, which comes with hundreds and hundreds of voices (131, plus 361 XGlite and 12 Drum/SFX Kits), as opposed to just the 10 voices that are housed in the YDP-143.
Still, due to appearance, price and solid basic features, I give the YDP-143 a very respectable 3.8/5 stars.
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