Yamaha CLP 645 review

Check out our Yamaha CLP 645 review.

It’s no secret that Yamaha digital pianos are my favorite in the vast world of digital pianos.  Today I’m going to discuss the Yamaha CLP 645 and how it compares to other Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos. 

I will be discussing and comparing the following pianos in the Clavinova line and related information:

  • CLP 645
  • CLP 635
  • CLP 675
  • CSP 170

Below, take a moment to use our interactive guide to directly compare the Yamaha CLP 645 against other popular digital pianos on the market.

Yamaha CLP 735
Yamaha YDP 144
Casio PX-770
Yamaha YDP-165
Casio PX-870
Roland RP-102

What the Yamaha CLP 645 Offers

The Yamaha CLP 645 is one of Yamaha’s mid-range Clavinova digital pianos.  What does ‘mid-range’ mean?  Simply that the CLP 645 carries a price in the mid-range area of prices of all the Clavinovas, and that the features this nice piano offers are more than the low-end models.

I love the clean, simple lines of this piano.  Unlike some of the pianos with visible ‘bells and whistles,’ the CLP 645 (shown here in the rosewood cabinet) looks like an acoustic piano.  The only control panels are on either side of the keyboard and are quite unobtrusive. 

In the photograph above, you can see the left-hand control panel of the CLP 645.  The clean lines of the CLP 645 make this piano look like the spinet piano that stood in your grandmother’s parlor.  Most of the Yamaha Clavinovas in the CLP series have this exterior design and will fit beautifully into any décor from student apartment eclectic to home decorating magazine showplace home.

The CLP 645, like all of the Clavinova series, utilizes Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app to access all of the features integrated into the instrument.  The CLP 645 includes the digital sampling of the Yamaha CFX, a concert grand piano that is one of the world’s most highly respected acoustic instruments.  The 645 also offers the sampled sounds of a Bosendorfer Imperial, another of the world’s finest concert instruments.

Smart Pianist allows any iOS Smart device, from iPads to Smart phones, to access the full functionality of the CLP 645, such as Chord Chart, a feature that uses your favorite music to create chord charts so you can play along. The Smart Pianist app also allows the musician to access all of the preset voices and accompaniment styles of the CLP 645, as well as to overdub and record and store music.  

The CLP 645 features the NWX (Natural Wood X) keyboard with wooden white keys.  This keyboard gives the 645 a natural feeling touch and the escapement function that maximizes key response as in an acoustic grand piano. 

This means that no matter how rapidly you repeat a note on a given key, the piano will respond as an acoustic grand piano would—clearly and accurately without skipping notes.  As a pianist’s skill level increases and they move into some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging music, they can do so on this instrument without fear of ‘maxing out’ the abilities of the piano.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how they compare to the Yamaha CLP 645.

1) Casio PX-770
2) Yamaha YDP-145
3) Roland RP-701
4) Yamaha YDP-165
5) Casio PX-870

Yamaha CLP 645 vs Yamaha CLP 635

The CLP 635 is the ‘baby sister’ to the CLP 645.  Both pianos share an identical cabinetry and control panel configuration.  Both pianos offer 36 preset voices and 20 accompaniment styles.  The CLP 635 also has the ability to use Smart Pianist on an iOS Smart device, which allows the CLP 635 to fully access all of the voices and features of the instrument.

The CLP 635 features a Graded Hammer 3X (GH3X) keyboard with synthetic ivory and ebony key tops.  The Graded Hammer 3X keyboard simulates the touch of an acoustic grand with the keys more heavily weighted in the bass end of the keyboard and gradually lightening in weight as you move up the keyboard.  This keyboard also provides the escapement function, although it isn’t quite as noticeable as it is on the CLP 645.

Yamaha CLP 645 vs Yamaha CLP 675

The CLP 675 is a ‘big sister’ to the CLP 645.  The 675 offers all of the features of the previous two CLP series models. But it also offers more speakers and greater power possibilities which will give a musician richer, clearer sound whether playing high notes or notes on the bass end of the piano.  

This sound system increases the weight of the CLP 675 over its two smaller sisters in this model line as discussed above.  The CLP 635 weighs in at just over 123 pounds; the CLP 645 is a bit heavier at just over 132 pounds; and the CLP 675 comes in at just over 152 pounds.  The CLP 675 is also a bit taller than the other two pianos, but just under two inches taller.  

All three of these CLP series digital pianos share the same type of display and the same capacity to interact with an iOS Smart device to access the Yamaha Smart Pianist app.  The only visual difference between the CLP 675 and its counterparts in the series is the larger music stand built on to the CLP 675. A larger music stand allows the pianist to spread out their music a bit more.  But the display and the control panels are identical.

All of the CLP instruments I have presented to you carry a polyphony of 256 notes, which should be more than enough for any beginning or intermediate pianist.  Even composers and arrangers should be able to manage with 256-note polyphony, unless they are composing or arranging a full symphony.

Yamaha CLP 645 vs Yamaha CSP 170

The CSP 170 is one of two Clavinova Smart Pianos manufactured by Yamaha.  These pianos are my favorite due to the vast number of voices, features, and possibilities.  The CSP 170, like the CSP 150, shows very clean lines with very few ‘bells and whistles’ visible on the cabinet of the instrument itself. 

This is the CSP 170 digital piano:

As you can see, the cabinetry highly resembles that of the CLP models I’ve discussed in this article.  The major differences between the CSP 170 and its sister piano, the CSP 150, are apparent only when you play.  The CSP 170 has tremendous sound due to its 4-speaker system. 

This piano uses any iOS or Samsung Smart device to access all of the preset and player-controlled functions of this incredible machine.  (The CSP line of Clavinovas is the only line that is compatible with Samsung devices at this time.) 

The display size and clarity depend upon the Smart device used to access the functions of this piano.  The storage capacity also depends upon the Smart device used in the recording process.

This is a photograph of the CSP 150, the baby sister to the CSP 170, hooked up to a large iPad device.  This photograph shows you how the CSP 170 (and 150) can access all of its features through the Smart Pianist device.

I have circled the drop-down menu icon that accesses all of the functions of the CSP 170 and 150 pianos.  By touching this icon, you can choose which sounds, effects, accompaniment styles and many other features you wish to access and use.  The CSP 170 offers a tremendous amount of voice effects, from heavy reverb to sweet and hundreds of others.  For an arranger, this piano is a gold mine of potential instrumental groupings and sound styles.

Smart Pianist offers an “Audio to Score” function that is only available on the CSP series of Clavinovas.  This feature accesses songs on your Smart device and creates a piano accompaniment score from them that allows you to play along with your favorite songs.  

You can plug a microphone into this piano and sing along as you play your favorite songs.  The CSP 170 also offers Stream Lights to guide your fingers, showing you where to play as you play along with your favorite songs.  

If you are a piano teacher, the CSP 170 allows you to access hundreds of sampled voices to keep your students active and engaged.  You can arrange and print music for your students that will motivate them to improve their practice techniques and will spark their own creativity as well. 

If you also happen to be a composer as well as a teacher, the CSP 170 will enable you to compose music for your students with full accompaniment, if you prefer, so that your student can hear the new piece with all of the background instruments and rhythm section(s).  What a cool way for a teacher to introduce their students to composition and/or arranging!

As a piano teacher for 30+ years, I wish I had had this instrument when I carried 44 students each week.  We would have had a piano party every week!

Direct Comparison of Prices, Features, etc.

Now let’s take a look at a few specifications I’ve compiled in the following table:

All of the pianos are capable of external storage through a USB flash drive.  All of the three CLP models include the same number of preset voices—36—and the same number of preset accompaniment styles—20.  The CSP 170 has far more preset voices and accompaniment styles at 692 and 470 respectively.  It is also the most expensive of the pianos I have presented to you in this article.

All three of the CLP models are available in four cabinet finishes:  polished ebony, matte black, dark walnut, and rosewood.  (The rosewood is my favorite.)  The CSP 170 is only available in polished ebony at this time.


Needless to say, all of these pianos are quality instruments.  However, this article is primarily concerned with the CLP 645.

If I didn’t play the piano at all and was hoping to purchase a quality instrument at an affordable (but not cheap) price, my choice on this list would be the CLP 645.  Here are my reasons:

  1. The CLP 645 price seems quite reasonable for a mid-range instrument at $4,000 MSRP. I would probably try to negotiate a better price at a local Yamaha dealer, if possible, so I wouldn’t have to order it online and set it up myself
  2. I would like the choices of cabinetry so I could try to match my furniture décor (if possible)
  3. I would like that I could access Smart Pianist on an iOS device, even though I use a Samsung device myself. (iPads are pretty cheap right now, though, so I could use one for the Smart Pianist app.)
  4. This piano has a beautiful touch and sound for a digital piano

For a beginner or intermediate student or for multiple beginners in the family, I highly recommend the CLP 645 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This article was written by Digital Piano Review Guide contributor Anita Elliott.

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