Yamaha P-125 review
In this article, we will be discussing and reviewing the Yamaha P-125, the latest entry into Yamaha’s P-series of digital pianos.
Yamaha has had great success with the P-series, as they are great portable digital pianos that are very accessible to beginners. Easily capable of being taken on-the-go, Yamaha has had great success with the Yamaha P-35, P-45, P-105, and P-115.
But is the Yamaha P-125 worth the upgrade? How does the P-125 improve on the very popular P-115? And, ultimately, is the P-125 worth approximately $499?
Well, we’re going to help answer all of those questions in our in-depth Yamaha P-125 review today. And, to better help you compare the P-125 to its peers, we encourage you to check out our interactive guide below, which allows you to see how well the Yamaha P-125 stacks up against its P-series peers, as well as other popular digital pianos on the market today.
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Yamaha P-125 review
Very Light and Portable
The “P” in “Yamaha P-125” stands for portable, so if you’re a gigging musician and you’re on the road a lot, you’re going to be very happy with the P-125 when it comes to its size.
The P-125 is a 88-key digital piano, but it only weighs about 26 lbs (11.8 kg). And with dimensions of approximately 52 inches wide by 6.5 inches high by 11.6 inches deep, this is a piano that you’ll be able to tuck under your arm (or throw over your back once it’s properly zipped up inside a carrying case), and take with you to your next gigging opportunity.
Its size will also be very helpful to you when it comes to space within your home. This is a very slim, light digital piano, so if you have a small apartment, you can feel confident in knowing that you’re not inviting a big, bulky piece of tech into your life with the P-125.
What Comes in the Box
When you open the box of your P-125, you should know that you’re getting the piano itself—not the optional stand. The optional stand is really great if you want a stable surface to play your piano, but that is an additional purchase you’ll have to make.
Inside the box, you can expect to get the piano itself (and the music rest, where you can place anything from your sheet music to your iPad onto), a power adapter, a sustain pedal (one pedal, not three), and of course the manual.
And below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling digital pianos currently on sale online (and see how they stack up to the Yamaha P-125).
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-S3100|
|3) Casio PX-870|
|4) Roland FP-E50|
|5) Roland FP-30X|
Yamaha P-125 vs the Competition
Now, before we dive into the meat and potatoes of the Yamaha P-125, let’s first quickly compare the P-125 against some of the more popular portable digital pianos on the market. And let’s begin with the Yamaha P-115.
Yamaha P125 vs Yamaha P115
So, the P-125 is the successor to the P115, and whenever a popular digital piano gets replaced by its successor, there’s always a great chance that the manufacturer won’t make many sweeping changes.
And on the surface, that is true. The size and weight of these two digital pianos are relatively the same (52 inches wide x 11.6 inches deep x 6.5 inches high and 26 pounds for both pianos), and both the P-125 and P-115 look the same on the surface (no LCD screen, 88 keys, and a series of buttons and knobs on the pianos’ surface).
Where the differences lie between the P-125 vs P-115 is in the fine details. The P-125 features an improved speaker system, which allows the sound to rotate or circle up and down, allowing for a richer sound. The P-115—not having this feature—will sound a bit duller to the ear.
Another feature is in how technology works. With the P-125, you’ll be able to incorporate the very cool Smart Pianist app, allowing you to play along to your favorite tunes stored on your iPhone or iPad.
And yes, the P115 also features technology integration, but you have to use the Digital Piano Controller app. This app is certainly fine and not problematic, but if you have a chance to get one over the other, the more multi-faceted and engaging Smart Pianist app (that’s compatible with the P-125) might be enough to make you give the P-125 a second look.
- You can read my review of the Yamaha P-115 here.
Yamaha P125 vs Roland FP-30
Here is a little bit of a more unique comparison. The Yamaha P-125, despite being a bit newer, actually costs about $100 less on average as compared to the Roland FP-30.
Now, the P-125 comes with GHS hammer action, which is a solid action, but it’s also worth noting that it’s on the much lower end of the hammer action spectrum offered by Yamaha.
By contrast, the Roland FP-30 comes with an 88-note PHA-4 Standard keyboard, aimed to replicate the touch and feel of a real piano.
Both of these pianos do a pretty good job at chasing the authentic piano feel when your fingers hit the keys. But, it’s also important to remember that you’re only paying $500 or $600 for these pianos—not $5,000 or $6,000.
So, while digital pianos (especially higher-end ones) can be great for mimicking the feel of a traditional piano, it’s important to have reasonable expectations in mind when you purchase an affordable digital piano.
Now above, when we compared the Yamaha P125 vs P115 above, I mentioned the benefit that the P-125 is compatible with the Smart Pianist app.
Well, with the Roland FP-30, you actually get built in Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to use apps on your phone or tablet, like piaScore, GarageBand, and a handful of others.
Now, you could purchase the UD-BT01 Bluetooth wireless MIDI adapter for the Yamaha P-125 (you’d connect it to the USB TO HOST terminal, and from there to your iOS device or even Mac computer. But the problem with this is that it isn’t compatible with the Smart Pianist app.
- You can read my review of the Roland FP-30 here.
Yamaha P125 vs Yamaha P255
So right off the bat, it’s probably worth noting that the P255 is a more physically substantial digital piano as compared to the Yamaha P-125. The P255 has about two more inches in depth compared to the P125, and its 38 pounds is much more challenging to carry around for long periods of time as compared to the P-125’s 26 pound frame.
The reality here, however, is that the Yamaha P255 is just a more substantial digital piano than the P-125. That doesn’t mean the P-125 isn’t a good digital piano, especially if you’re shopping on a budget. Its 192 polyphony is certainly solid—despite the fact that you’ll be able to play more complex pieces thanks to the P255’s 256 note polyphony count.
With that said, you have to factor in price in this comparison. For about $600, you can acquire the Yamaha P-125. And for more than double that price on average ($1,300), you can purchase the Yamaha P255.
Despite the big price swing, the differences between the two pianos aren’t major off the top. Similar enough size, polyphony, no LCD screen, and the same number of voices. But the notable changes here are going to arrive from subtle but important changes, such as the hammer action.
On the P255, the hammer action is GH, or a Graded Hammer Keyboard. It’s important to know that Graded Hammer (GH) is a step up from the Graded Hammer Standard (or GHS) that’s used inside the Yamaha P-125.
- You can read my review of the Yamaha P255 here. You can also check out the review of the Yamaha P-515, which is the successor to the Yamaha P255.
Yamaha P 125 vs Kawai ES110
The Kawai ES110 is another portable digital piano that’s capable of being directly compared to the Yamaha P-125. A little bit pricier than the P-125, one nice feature here is Bluetooth MIDI, which means it’ll work quite nicely with GarageBand if you have an iPhone or an iPad.
In that respect, the Kawai ES110 has some similarities to the Roland FP-30, which we discussed above.
The ES110 has wonderful sound, but one problem you might run into is that the keys can be overly “springy” (for lack of a better word), and sometimes you might run into the dreaded Kawai ES110 key noise issue—that is, some of the keys may actually rattle after you depress them when playing.
It’s not exactly clear whether this is a key action problem, or perhaps just a defect in a handful of these particular digital pianos. So, just be aware of this issue, and make sure you purchase the ES110 from a place that has a good return policy—just in case you run into this problem.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are also reported key spacing problems as well (see below).
- You can read my review of the Kawai ES110 here.
Yamaha P 125 vs Yamaha DGX 660
So what’s readily apparent here with the Yamaha DGX-660 is that, unlike the popular P-125, the DGX 660 comes with an LCD screen. And while the ability these days to connect your pianos to phones and iPads makes an LCD screen on a portable display less important, I still like it because you can use features built into the piano to your advantage without pulling out an additional device.
For example, the DGX-660 comes with a Piano Room feature. Here, this feature simulates what it sounds like to play the piano in a variety of different environments.
So, perhaps one day you want to practice playing inside a concert hall, and the next day, you want to get a sense of what it’s like to play inside a club stage—the Piano Room feature lets you do that.
With the LCD screen, however, you can interact with these settings much easier thanks to the screen providing you with visual feedback of your selections.
On top of that, the LCD screen can be altered to display a music’s score or its lyrics. So whether you want to sing along to songs you downloaded to a USB device, or you created your very own masterpiece on the DGX-660 (and you now want to see the score for the songs you created), you can do just that with this small but effective screen.
It should also be noted that, along with the fact that the DGX-660 costs a couple hundred more than the P-125, it’s also going to take up a bigger footprint. When the DGX-660 is sitting on top of it’s matching stand, it comes to 55” wide by 30” high by 17.5” deep.
When this piano is not on the stand, it clocks in at a hefty 46 lbs. But, throw it onto the stand, and it comes to a whopping 61 lbs.
With that said, despite the size and price differences, both the P-125 and the DGX-660 feature Graded Hammer Standard key action, which again is on the lower or lesser end of the hammer action spectrum.
- You can read my review of the Yamaha DGX-660 here.
Yamaha P-125 is Simple to Use
The one thing I think is great about the P-125 is that its very simple to navigate. Sure, there aren’t an overabundance of frills here, but what is here works and overall is quite easy to use.
The P-125 does not come with an LCD screen, but if you’re familiar with the likes of the P-45 or the P-115, this isn’t too much of a shock. If you’re not familiar with the P-series line and are used to navigating a digital piano by way of an LCD screen, this might come as a bit of a disappointment.
With that said, utilizing the functions on this piano are pretty easy even without an LCD screen confirming your changes. There’s a Master Volume button at the top left of the piano, which of course allows you to adjust the volume as you see fit.
There are indeed built in speakers on this piano, as well as two standard headphone inputs, which comes in handy on the days when either your friend or family member has absolute zero interest in hearing you practice for the 100th time, or you’re practicing with a teacher and you both would benefit from wearing headphones.
Yamaha P-125 Features
While the P-125 isn’t an overly “sexy” looking digital piano, it offers those that are digital piano beginners everything they need and nothing they don’t.
There is a Demo button, as well as a button for turning on and off the Metronome. The Metronome feature is particularly great for those that feel they could use a bit of additional help making sure they’re on tempo.
There’s also a Rhythm button, which will give you things like drum beat or bass lines.
The P-125 features a Recording button and a Play/Stop button, as well. This means that, at the push of a button, you can record yourself playing and later can play it back to see how well you performed the piece you’ve been practicing.
This feature not only allows you to learn from your mistakes by actually being able to hear them, but you can even record yourself earlier in the day and later on play it back while you play another piece in real-time. This allows you to essentially have a Duet playing session with yourself, which is not only very cool, but can be extremely helpful when it comes to the learning process.
Next to the Play/Stop button is where you’ll find all the voices of the P-125. Again, for about $499, you can’t expect too much in this particular department. In fact, the P-125 features just 24 preset voices.
What’s nice here, however, is that while you may not have too many voice options (Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Strings, Bass etc), the P-125 allows for about three variations of a particular sound.
This is fun to play around with, of course, but also provides nice variety to keep your piano playing sessions fresh.
Using the Yamaha Smart Pianist App
There are a lot of great benefits to buying a digital piano (namely, the fact that your piano will never require a tuneup). But, probably one of the biggest benefits is that you can integrate your digital piano with your mobile phone or tablet. And there’s no better example of this than the Yamaha Smart Pianist App, which you can use with your new Yamaha P-125.
So, what is the Yamaha Smart Pianist app, and what does it do?
Glad you asked.
In short, this is an app that provides the user a variety of awesome functions when connected to a Yamaha digital piano. And this is certainly the case with the Yamaha P-125.
For instance, if you grab an iOs device, like an Apple iPhone or iPad, you can use this app to control the voices of the P-125. If you want to switch from a Synth Piano voice to an Organ, you can do that with a click of a button on your iPhone or iPad.
At the same time, if you were to manually change the voice on your actual P-125, you’ll intuitively notice the change is immediately registered on the app, as well.
On top of that, the app allows you to layer voices and save them, as well. So, if you want a piano voice with a layer of strings, you can do that all via the app. And, if you’re worried that throughout the practice session, you’ll change your settings multiple times and have to take time to go back and re-do your original setting (piano voice, layer of strings), this app allows you to easily save each setting whenever you want.
Another feature that is incredibly cool is that this app allows you to sit at your piano and play along with your favorite songs in your iPhone or iPad’s music library.
You know how the Shazam app will allow you to put your phone up to a speaker that’s playing a song on the local radio, and within seconds, Shazam will analyze the song and provide you the song’s name and artist?
Well, with the Yamaha Smart Pianist app, once you begin playing one of your favorite songs in your music library, this app will begin analyzing the song and will soon display the chord symbols for that song, allowing you to actually play along with the song.
This is a fantastic feature that will be incredibly fun for anyone that’s interested in playing not just their favorite songs on the P-125, but songs from different genres beyond just classical music.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the app allows you to record your newly made piano masterpieces and save them, as well.
Ultimately, I love this app for two main reasons when using the Yamaha P-125. First, it’s of course intuitive and easy to use. But second, and more important (in my opinion) is that it essentially makes up for the fact that the P-125 does not come with an LCD screen.
The app is so visually pleasing (for example, when you’re selecting different voices, you’ll see a photo of the instrument you’re choosing pop onto the screen) that if you ever were to use a digital piano that merely had an built-in LCD screen, you’d probably be disappointed by the overall experience.
Connectivity Options of the Yamaha P-125
So, if you’re someone that considers yourself to be a songwriter, or perhaps you’re a budding composer, then you’ll likely want to get the lovely pieces you created off the Yamaha P-125 and into your computer.
Well, with the P-125, you can certainly do that, as the USB to Host connection will help you accomplish this with ease.
Yamaha P-125 vs Yamaha P-115
Ultimately, you might be wondering whether or not the Yamaha P-125 is really worth upgrading to, especially if you either already have the P-115 or are deciding between these two P-series pianos.
Well, this is a great question, especially since both of these pianos have so many similarities. For instance, they both have the same amount of keys (88), and both feature Yamaha’s GHS weighted action (or Graded Hammer Standard weighted action). Therefore, you can expect that each piano will feature keys that are heavier to the touch on the lower end of the keyboard and lighter to the touch on the higher end.
And this is exactly what you want out of a quality digital piano that’s attempting to replicate the touch and sound of an acoustic piano.
With that said, there are some interesting differences. The P-125 features an improved speaker system that allows the sound you’re playing to move in both upward and downward directions. This allows for a sound that will be more lush, lively and rich.
And while the P-115 still sounds great, it’s a change that you will likely notice when comparing the sound of the P-125 against the likes of the Yamaha P-45 and P-115.
Keeping with the sound improvements is the new Table EQ feature of the P-125. This is especially perfect for anyone that doesn’t prefer to buy a stand for their P-125, and instead would rather sit his or her digital piano on a table or desk that’s already in their home.
When doing this, it will certainly inhibit the circular movement of the sound that we just discussed above. But, with the Table EQ setting enabled, you’ll still enjoy optimal acoustics when playing the P-125.
- You can read our Yamaha P-115 review here.
Whether the P-125 is worth $499, or if you should just try and find the P-115 or even the P-45 at a reduced price is really a matter of personal choice. And a lot of these choices depend on how much sound, recording features, and ability to use the Yamaha Smart Pianist App matter to you.
While some piano upgrades can be a bit minimal and not worthy of your consideration, I actually think the ability to incorporate your iPhone or iPad into your piano playing sessions (and done in a very straight-forward and intuitive way), along with the addition of richer sound compared to its predecessors, makes the Yamaha P-125 an impressive and worthwhile digital piano for beginners and intermediates alike.
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