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:
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 digital pianos currently available for sale online, and then see how well they stack up against the Yamaha YDP-143:
|1) Casio PX-770
|2) Yamaha YDP-145
|3) Roland RP-701
|4) Yamaha YDP-165
|5) Casio PX-870
Now, let’s take a moment to compare the YDP 143 to a handful of other popular digital pianos.
Yamaha YDP-143 vs Yamaha YDP-115
Now, on the surface, it wouldn’t seem like a fair fight when you talk about a battle between the Yamaha YDP-143 vs P-115. And that’s because not only is there a size difference between the too, but a noticeable price difference as well.
The YDP-143 comes inside an attractive looking cabinet. And when it’s all set up inside your home, the entire instrument weighs over 80 pounds. On top of that, the YDP-143 will set you back more than $1,000.
On the other hand, the Yamaha P-115 (and by association, the Yamaha P-125, which is its successor) is a totally different animal on the surface.
The P-115 is a portable digital piano. It’s meant to be taken from gig to gig, or room to room. And you won’t have to flex your muscles too much when you move it, as this piano weighs just 26 lbs.
On top of that, you can get the P-115 for around $600.
But when you dig a little bit deeper, you might be surprised to learn that the P-115 isn’t dramatically different from the YDP-143.
Both of these digital pianos come with a Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key action, which is on the lower end of quality when it comes to the different hammer actions Yamaha produces for their digital pianos.
Make no mistake—GHS is a good hammer action. But as you begin moving up the Arius line, from YDP-143 to YDP-163, for example, you encounter a better quality key action (GH3).
The YDP-143 comes with 192 notes of polyphony, which is actually the same amount that the P-115 has. And if you’re curious about preset voices and songs, the YDP-143 has 10 preset voices and 10 preset songs, while the P-115 actually has 14 preset voices and 14 preset demo songs.
So, it ultimately comes down to what you’re after. If you want a digital piano that’s going to most resemble the look of an acoustic upright digital piano in your home, you’re better off choosing the YDP-143, as it also will feature all three pedals and a sliding key cover.
If you’re all about saving money and the flexibility of being able to transport your piano wherever you want, it probably makes more sense to buy the P-115. And if you do decide you need things like a bench or a stand, there are additional accessories you can buy. The P-115 should come with a power supply cord and a sustain pedal, as well.
Yamaha YDP-143 vs Casio PX-870
The YDP-143 and Casio PX-870 is a very interesting comparison to make, because they are both similarly priced, and to some degree, look a bit alike once they are set up in your home.
The PX-870 features a Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II, so it’s going to feel nice to the touch and feature accurate weighting all throughout its 88 keys.
You get 19 instrument tones with the PX-870, such as a 60’s Electric Piano, Strings, Electric Organ, and Modern Piano. You also get a new four layer stereo grand piano. It features pretty realistic damper resonance, so you can feel like you’re getting a grand piano experience for roughly $1,000 (approximate cost of the PX-870).
One really cool feature of the Casio PX-870 is Concert Play. Here, you get high quality recordings of 10 live orchestra performances that come pre-installed into your PX-870. So now, you’ll be able to play along with these recordings, making you feel like you’re part of the incredible performance.
The PX-870 also comes with an improved sound system too, which allows the sound from the piano to move both upward and downward. This is, again, another nice feature that’s meant to give you the feeling that you’re playing on a grand piano.
Yamaha YDP-143 vs Yamaha YDP-181
So, let’s first talk about the difference between the keybeds on these digital pianos. As I mentioned earlier, the YDP-143 comes with a Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keybed. On the YDP-181, however, you get a Graded Hammer (GH) keybed, which is actually a step up in quality and overall feel.
The Graded Hammer Standard keybed is going to be easier on the fingers—it’s more suited for a beginner. The Graded Hammer that’s within the keys of the YDP-181, however, is probably going to be better suited for an intermediate digital piano player. Someone that’s played piano for a little bit and is ready to finally get a console digital piano that’s going to suit their experience level.
The keys here on both pianos are graded, which means you’ll have a bit less resistance when you hit the keys on the higher end of the digital piano, and a little bit more resistance on the lower end of the keybed.
Interestingly enough, the YDP-143 beats the YDP-181 in max polyphony—the 143 has 192 notes of polyphony, while the 181 only has 128. The YDP-181 does have 14 voices or sounds, while the YDP-143 only has 10.
Both are great digital pianos, but if you consider yourself to be a little bit past the beginner stage, you might be a little happier with the YDP 181 because it has better key action.
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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