Yamaha CSP 170 review: Much Better Than the CSP-150?

Check out our Yamaha CSP-170 review and see how it compares to other notable digital pianos.

Leading the industry in digital piano sales, the Yamaha Corporation’s stand-out digital piano line is the Clavinova digital pianos.  

Today I’m going to present to you comparisons between the Yamaha CSP 170 digital piano and its sister piano, the CSP 150, the CLP 645, and the CLP 675.

Among other features, I will discuss the ways these pianos compare in the following categories:

  • Functions
  • Voices available
  • Accompaniment styles
  • Keyboard information
  • Price

To better help you find the right digital piano, please use the table below to directly compare the Yamaha CSP-170 against the CSP-150 and other awesome pianos on the market:

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

Yamaha CSP Line vs CLP Line

The CSP-150, CSP-170, CLP-645 and CLP-675 have several features in common, including polyphony count (256), general size and weight, number of pedals with half pedal capability, and sliding key covers.  

All four pianos also offer Virtual Resonance Modeling, which incorporates both string and damper resonance modeled after the spectacular Yamaha CFX nine-foot concert grand.  This resonance allows the pianos to sound more like a grand piano without the space requirement or the price tag. 

There are some important differences, however, between the CSP models and the CLP models.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online (and see how well they compare to the Yamaha CSP-170).

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


The CSP 170 and the CSP 150 depend heavily upon some type of Smart device in order to access all of the features of the pianos.  These Smart devices include iOS and Android devices, which makes these two pianos accessible to anyone with a Smart phone or iPad.

The CLP 645 and the CLP 675 also rely on Smart devices to access all of the features of the piano, although they are not capable of accessing all of the Smart Pianist capabilities.  The CLP pianos do not function with Android devices, a fact which really limits who can use the Smart Pianist function so vital to the Clavinova series.

Smart Pianist allows the musician to tap into the full capabilities of the CSP series. Some of the Smart Pianist features are not available in the CLP or other Clavinova series of pianos.  Smart Pianist offers some pretty impressive features; I would find it frustrating to be unable to use the program to the best of its capabilities because my piano couldn’t support the program.

Voices Available

The Yamaha Corporation manufactures several different types of musical instruments besides pianos: almost every kind of brass and woodwind instrument for professionals and beginners, string instruments, guitars and basses, drums and percussion instruments, and electronic keyboards. 

These instruments become the digital samples used by Yamaha in their digital pianos.  So when you hear a digital rendition of a flute, for instance, you’re listening to a Yamaha flute that has been digitally sampled.  This provides the Yamaha digital pianos with the cleanest and most authentic voices in the industry.

Everyone loves ‘noodling around’ with the voices on a musical instrument, especially a digital piano.  Voices on an instrument are also provide a great way to keep a student engaged and motivated to play.  When I bought my Yamaha CVP 70 in 1992, my students loved to record their pieces on my 3 ½ floppy drive (Okay, no hating on my old Clavinova!

If you don’t know what a 3 ½ inch floppy drive is, go ask your daddy…or your grandpa.).  My students thoroughly enjoyed overdubbing different accompaniments and then taking a recording home to share with their families. (The recordings were on a cassette.  You should ask your dad about that, too.)

That lovely old Clavinova had 53 voices.  The CLP 645 and the CLP 675 have 36 preset voices.  They also offer 19 voice demo songs, 50 “classic” songs, and 303 “lesson” songs.  You can record up to 250 songs with 16-track overdubbing.  These two pianos also feature 20 rhythm tracks to liven up your music.  For a beginner, this would probably be plenty of storage and variety to keep a student busy and motivated.

However, the CSP 170 and CSP 150 provide 492 preset voices and 29 drum or SFX kits in a multitude of categories.  These pianos offer 470 preset accompaniment styles, as well as 403 preset songs and 16-track recording.  The CSP instruments fully accommodate the Smart Pianist app mentioned above, which greatly magnifies their voice and accompaniment capabilities.  Since the iOS or Android Smart devices control these instruments and store the music recorded by the musician, the capacity for storage is determined by the Smart device and not by the piano itself.

I’ve been unable to find a comprehensive list of all the voices and accompaniment styles offered by the CSP pianos.  As I played the instrument attached to a large iPad—the CSP 150—I noticed upwards of 25-30 piano sounds. That is just the piano sounds!  I recall that this instrument even offered human voices in a variety of configurations, as well.  A student at any level of skill or study could spend decades learning the capabilities of the CSP series.  The letters CSP are the designation for Clavinova Smart Piano, and indeed these pianos are smart!

Accompaniment Styles

I’ve touched a bit on accompaniment styles on the CSP series and the two CLP instruments in the paragraphs above.  What are accompaniment styles?

These are rhythm tracks that a musician can use to accompany the melody they play with the right hand.  Almost all digital pianos have some sort of accompaniment track capability.  Most offer one-touch capability, as well.  This means you can touch any key below a certain point on the keyboard and it will play the chord in whatever rhythm style you select.  

My old Clavinova would also let you play the full chord for the major-minor-augmented-diminished-dominant seven various chords, as well as others, and it would play whichever chord you needed in whatever style selected.  I recall that it offered sixteen accompaniment styles, which seemed like a big deal in 1992.  Now the CLP pianos I’ve mentioned offer 20 accompaniment tracks, which can be plenty for a beginning student.

A more advanced student or musician, however, could have quite the heyday with the 470 preset accompaniment styles offered by the CSP 150 or CSP 170.  When I sampled the accompaniments and scrolled through the choices offered, there were dozens of “rock & roll” styles, as well as rumba, salsa, swing, and so many others.  Any musician could spend hours configuring the music they wish to play on these instruments.

Keyboard Information

All of the Clavinova families of pianos are built with escapement, meaning that the key action present in an acoustic grand piano that allows for rapid release of the hammers and fast repetition of notes is built into them.  Thus a musician can play a piece with quick repeated notes with whatever speed they wish, because the piano can support this action.

The CSP 170 utilizes the Natural Wood X keyboard (NWX).  This type of keyboard means that the keys are manufactured from wood specifically cut and dried to be used in musical instruments.  The keys are stronger and resist buckling more than the laminated wood keyboards.

Most of the Clavinova instruments feature synthetic ivory and ebony key tops that imitate the feel of the old ivory and ebony keyboards from the early days of piano manufacturing.  These synthetic key tops allow for comfortable playing for as long as a pianist wishes to play.


The CLP 645 retails for about $4,000.  This compares with the CSP 150, which retails for about the same price.  Both pianos require some type of Smart device to fully access all of their features, which is an added expense unless you already own such a device.  The CSP 150 supports all of the functions available on Smart Pianist, while the CLP 645 has limited functions on the Smart Pianist app.  

It seems clear that for the same price, the CSP 150 is clearly a superior piano.  With hundreds more voices and accompaniment styles available, it’s a logical choice for even a beginning pianist over the CLP 645.

The CSP 170 retails for $5,400 to $6,000, depending upon which cabinetry color you select.  The CLP 675 retails for about $4,700 to $5,400, also depending upon which cabinetry color you select. Because of the vast differences in offered features between these two pianos, this choice depends upon how much money you wish to spend on an instrument.  If you can afford to spend about $1,000 more, then clearly the CSP 170 is the better choice.  


These four pianos offer some great features, some of which I’ve covered.  Here’s my conclusions about the CSP 170, CSP 150, CLP 675, and the CLP 645:

The CLP 645 receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.  This is a good piano for the beginning student, especially if the student is fairly certain that they want to continue studying.  However, I think that if my beginning student wasn’t sure they wanted to continue with their piano studies and was just “trying it on for size,” I would select a piano with a much lower price tag than $4,000.

That’s a lot of money to spend on a piano if it may not be used to its full capability.

The CSP 150 is a better choice for anyone committed to learning to play the piano.  It retails for about the same price as the CLP 645.  However, it offers so much more in terms of functions, voices and accompaniment styles that it clearly is the better option.  

The CSP 150 is also a great choice for an intermediate or advanced student because of the greater number of functions.  This piano could keep a musician entertained and engaged for a very long time and would be well worth the money spent.

The CSP 150 would be such a fun piano for teachers trying to keep their students engaged and enthused about studying music.  I wish it had been available when I was actively teaching piano; my students would have wanted to stay and play around with all the voices, recording capabilities, and accompaniment styles offered by this great piano.

With all of these reasons, the CSP 150 receives 5 out of 5 stars for its price, functions offered, and appeal to students and teachers.

The CLP 675 is a very good piano for beginning students.  It’s a bit pricey for a beginner, however, especially if the beginner isn’t heavily committed to learning the piano.  For a family with more than one student, this might be a good investment if funds are somewhat limited.  This piano receives 4 out of 5 stars.  I don’t like its price tag for a beginner; you can get a better piano with many more features for a few hundred dollars less (specifically the CSP 150).  So why spend the extra money?

The CSP 170 is a beautiful piano with more sound capability than the other 3 pianos.  It’s a bit pricey, too; I would hesitate to spend that much money for a beginner piano.  However, if I were buying a piano for myself or for an intermediate or advanced student, I would certainly consider the CSP 170.  I give this piano 4.75 out of 5 stars because of the higher price tag.

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

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