The newest additions to Yamaha’s P-series (P for portable) are the P-45 and P-115 digital pianos. Replacing the P-35 and P-105 respectively, both are the natural next step in innovation and ease of use when compared to their predecessors. But, which one is ultimately the best fit for your needs? That’s what we’re going to examine today in this article.
With both models having their own list of special features, when it comes down to which one is deemed the best, there has been quite a debate amongst beginners are experts alike. From the piano’s build, to the way each digital piano plays, we’ve compared the Yamaha’s P-45 and P-115 side-by-side to help you make the right decision. Complete with an instrument grade, we truly hope that beginners and experts alike will find this comparison beneficial.
Now, before we move on, take a brief moment to compare the Yamaha P-45 and P-115 against one another, as well as other similar pianos:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Casio PX-160||88||$||Dual Headphone Outputs on Front|
|Alesis Recital||88||$||Semi-Weighted Keys|
|Casio PX-S1000||88||$$||18 Sounds, Bluetooth Capability|
|Yamaha P-515||88||$$$||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Donner DEP-20||88||$$||Fully-Weighted Keys|
|Casio PX-870||88||$$$||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha P-45||88||$||64 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha P-125||88||$$||GHS Weighted Action|
|Yamaha YDP-164||88||$$$||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
Yamaha P115 or P45: Key Differences
The voices of the P-35 sound dull on all accounts in comparison to the P-45. The polyphony is double what is used to be (32 is now 64) and it can be appreciated even by the untrained ear. You can use the sustain pedal with the P-45 a little more for a dramatic effect without feeling like you’re doing it just for show. And while both the P-35 and P-45 have weighted keys, I found that playing the P-45 was easier and lighter on the fingers. The sound was clearer and brighter; I didn’t feel the need to press as hard to get my desired sound.
As for the P-105, well, it does appear to pale in comparison to the P-115 in some respects. After reviewing the pianos and playing different pieces, I would like to dub the P-115 as the “performer’s piano.”
With more voices and different styles to choose from on the P-115, the player is able to not only be kept fully engaged, but has a lot of different options at his or her fingertips should one get struck with a bolt of creativity or genius. Right now, it is no doubt arguably Yamaha’s best digital piano on the market when it comes to affordable pianos.
- Note: You can read our new review for the Yamaha P-125 right here!
Below, please take a quick moment to view some of our favorite digital pianos on the market today (and ones that are currently some of the best selling pianos on Amazon):
|1) Yamaha P71|
|2) Casio Privia PX-160|
|3) Yamaha DGX-660|
|4) Roland FP-30|
|5) Yamaha P-125|
Now, if you’re reading this, you’re probably having a hard time deciding between the P-45 and P-115. Due to this, we’ve outlined the major similarities between the two pianos, which takes into effect the instruments’ build, sound, and other key features:
- Size (width)
- 88 Weighted keys
- Dual mode
- Transposing feature
- Sustain pedal
Perhaps the best thing about both digital pianos is that they are portable. Whether you’re playing at home or performing with a group, both can be packed up quickly and efficiently and transported somewhere else. Each piano can stand on a cross-frame, but for those who want to keep their piano in one place, there’s a wooden frame option for added sophistication. This addition allows the piano to seamlessly blend in as part of any home décor in the living room or sitting area.
For those who want to make the most of their piano playing experience, the P-115 allows for two additional pedals for that acoustic piano feeling. Both the P-45 and P-115 come with a sustain pedal, but the P-115 allows players to take advantage of playing different pieces on a higher level.
One of my favorite features on both the P-45 and P-115 is the duo-mode. This is perfect for when I’m teaching one of my students or even when I’m playing a duet. This feature allows the piano to have two middle Cs, giving both players the opportunity to mimic each other. I took lessons on a baby grand piano and always found it a little difficult to follow my teacher once I had removed my hands completely to watch her. Now, students don’t have to do that. Find the middle D and hit “function” and the piano is split in two!
In terms of sound, the P-45 and P-115 differ greatly. The P-45 features 6-watt amplifiers, along with two 12-centimeter speaker cones. While the P-115 has only a 7-watt amplifier with two 12-centimeter speaker cones, it also features two additional 4-centimeter speaker cones. While the wattage of the amplifiers is close to unnoticeable, the sound of the P-115 is crisper.
The following is a list of the voices tested on both the P-45 and P-115 to determine this conclusion:
- Piano 2 (Grand piano)
- Electric Piano
- Harpsichord 1
- Grand Piano and Strings
Thanks to the additional 4-centimeter speaker cones on the P-115, in combination with the sustain pedal, there is a bass boost and a crisp treble. When playing the electric piano voice, the P-45 sound was a little muddy, and I found that the only way to combat this was to lower the volume.
Beginners and experts alike look forward to the dual-mode option on both pianos to play along with strings (although you can combine any two voices you like), but still the P-115 comes out on top with vibrant sound and greater ability to blend the sounds.
Speaking of voices, the P-45 has ten advanced waveform memory sounds including two pianos, harpsichords, organs, and electric pianos, along with strings and vibraphones. All these voices have been recorded using Yamaha’s AWN stereo sampling. The P-115 features all the voices that the P-45 does, including four more voices with extra pianos, stage electric pianos, and organs.
Yamaha used their CF3S – the newest grand piano – for recording the P-115. Musicians who are training their ear, or would like to, can hear the difference in the quality, as the AWN is an older system featured on the P-45.
The P-45 has a polyphony number of 64, while the P-115 rings in at 192. Yes, the P-115 is higher but depending on your skill level, it may not matter. Polyphony is basically the amount of notes you can play at once. The lower the polyphony, the faster the sounds begin to degrade. If you’re a beginner, a polyphone number of 64 is more than enough. As a beginner, you’re not using the sustain pedal as often as you’d like and are still learning some fingering techniques. However, those who are playing more intricate pieces will definitely appreciate the P-115’s 192 as the sound is clear and it’s very easy to hear the base notes (first notes you play) at the very end of a piece.
There are a handful of key features that put the P-115 comfortably in front of the P-45. Certain features include sound boost, recording capabilities, an accompaniment app, and additional speaker controllers.
Let’s begin by pointing out that the P-45 cannot record pieces. The recording capability is particularly helpful for beginners who want to play back what they’re learning, or those who want to layer their pieces. Personally, I find the left hand’s work much easier than the right. When I need to learn the right hand a little better, I can record my left hand’s work and focus on my right hand. All I have to do is hit “record,” play my left hand, and then play it back so I can accompany with my left.
The P-115 also features “sound boost,” which is perfect for those who are playing with a band. I feel like the piano tends to get lost in live performances, but the sound boost allows the piano to break through the surrounding instruments to give it a true presence. While the P-45 is bright in its own way, performers are better off with the P-115.
I love that the P-115 has a controller app for iOS users, too. The app isn’t available for Android yet. With that said, the app allows users to control the voices, as well as transpose the keys without having to touch the piano at all. The best part about the app is that you can save your preferred settings for the next time you play.
Singers and performers will truly appreciate the ability to cut the speakers on the P-115. Singing and playing along on the piano are popular forms of performance, but there’s no way to remove the feedback in a track with the P-45. When you cut the speakers on the P-115, you still get a clear recording of the piano without the speakers’ noise bouncing off the recorder. As a back-up piano player for my church, this feature is great because the output doesn’t change – there is no overlay into the track.
Some of us are willing to bargain with the specs of the piano if it means that we’re saving some money. The P-45 averages around $450 and the P-115 comes close to $600. This $150 difference is quite clear with a side-by-side comparison. That extra money on the P-115 is contributing to the details. Parents who want to get their child interested in piano or young students who are testing the instrument out are better off with P-45. It’s an affordable digital piano and you’re saving money if you decide that piano isn’t for you.
Music students, band members, and singers should invest in the P-115, however, based on the fact that it’s great for accompaniment.
WHAT PIANO IS BEST FOR YOU?
When it comes down to it, beginners and people who are on a budget are not only going to benefit from the P-45 and all it has to offer, but there are also many features that won’t go to “waste”. What I mean is, the P-45 is perfect for those who want to get a feel for playing the piano and don’t intend to learn nine to twelve page pieces for an ensemble. It’s a great learner’s piano and it’s very affordable considering all that it can do. Don’t forget the duo-mode feature that makes teaching piano that much easier.
As I stated before, the P-115 is the “performer’s piano”. Trained ears will appreciate the recording from the CF3S and will immediately notice the difference in voices from one piano to the next. The “sound boost” feature makes playing with bands a heightened experience.
Ultimately, the P-45 is a great start, but as you become trained you will definitely notice the differences (between the P-45 and P-115) and be able to utilize certain features to enhance your performances.
- P-45: **** out of *****
- P-115: ***** out of *****
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- Yamaha P-125 review
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- What’s the Best Way to Learn Digital Piano at Home?
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