Yamaha YDP-144 vs Yamaha YDP-164: Best Yamaha Arius Digital Piano?

Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-164: Which digital piano is better and why?

The Yamaha YDP-144 and Yamaha YDP-164 are some of the newer models introduced into the already fabulous Arius line.  Taking over the reins from the YDP-143 and YDP-163 respectively, it’s time to determine not only what these two newer digital pianos have to offer consumers, but also how they directly compare to one another (and if one is a better buy over the other).

And to better help you in this battle between the Yamaha YDP-144 vs Yamaha YDP-163, please use the interactive guide below, which will allow you to see not only how these two digital pianos compare against one another, but also how they stack up against other notable digital pianos on the market today.

Yamaha YDP-145

Yamaha YDP-165
Casio PX-870
Casio AP-460Casio AP-470
Yamaha YDP-184

Yamaha YDP-144 vs Yamaha YDP-164: Notable Differences

Let’s talk about some of the key differences between these two digital pianos.

What’s very interesting is that these two pianos cost over $1,000 (about $1,100 for the YDP-144 and about $1,500 for the YDP-164), and yet in some ways, they are both quite good for (and arguably even somewhat geared towards) someone that’s an entry level piano player.

The biggest reason for that claim, in my opinion, lies with the key action in these pianos—specifically the YDP-144 in particular.

The Yamaha YDP-144 features Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard action.  This is a solid action, but admittedly, it’s on the lower end of key action that Yamaha offers.  

Graded Hammer Standard key action, for example, is something you’d find in a digital piano like the Yamaha P-125—which costs about half of what the Yamaha YDP-144 costs.

That doesn’t mean the GHS keyboard is bad in any way shape or form—it’s more than adequate.  It features graded keys, which will be heavier on the lower end and get progressively lighter the higher up the keyboard you go.  That’s exactly what you want in a digital piano that’s aiming to replicate the touch and feel of an acoustic piano.

With that said, it’s also important to note that Yamaha’s key action can go all the way up something called NWX, or Natural Wood X (with escapement) key action.  What you get here is not only a more realistic and expressive key action, but also wooden ivory keys which are meant to replicate the kind of keys (both in touch and weight) that you’d find on an acoustic piano. 

Natural Wood X action is something you’d find in a Clavinova digital piano, or even in a portable digital piano such as the Yamaha P-515, which actually costs the same as the Yamaha YDP-164.

Speaking of the Yamaha YDP-164, it features Yamaha’s Graded Hammer 3 key action.  This is a key action that’s a step above both the Graded Hammer Standard action, as well as the Graded Hammer or GH action.

What you get with this key action in the YDP-164, aside from just graded keys, is also a three sensor setup within each key that helps give you a more expressive feeling when you’re playing the keys—all aimed to make it feel like you’re getting the sensation that you’re playing on a grand piano’s keybed.

The Graded Hammer Action 3 keyed also comes with simulated Ebony and Ivory keys.  They are also grippy keys, which is always going to be helpful if and when your fingers get wet.  Because now, you won’t have to worry as much that your sweaty fingers will slip off the keys.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling digital pianos online, and then see how well they stack up to the Yamaha YDP-S54.

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

The Sound and Power Differences

Another thing worth mentioning are the power or amplification differences between the YDP-144 and YDP-164.

The Yamaha YDP-144 features an 8 watt speaker system and two speakers overall (each at 12cm a speaker).  This shakes out to being just 16 watts of power overall.  

Comparatively, the Yamaha YDP-S54, the YDP-164, and Yamaha YDP-184 all have more power.

The Yamaha YDP-164 is rocking a whopping 20 wattage speaker system (for a total of 40 watts overall due to its two 12cm speakers).

It’s a very sizable difference.  And while you may not notice it too greatly depending on how strong you need your music to be given your living space, if your goal is to purchase a digital piano which will fill a large room or reach a large audience in a big space, you’re going to be much more content with the YDP-164 over the YDP-144.

Piano and Other Instrument Sounds

Now, this is where we start getting into the similarities that these two pianos share.

Now both the Yamaha YDP-144 and Yamaha YDP-164 offer you the same amount of voices—10.  You get three grand piano sounds—the Yamaha CFX Grand Piano, the Mellow Piano, and the Pop Grand Piano.

The Yamaha CFX sound is notable here, because on the YDP-143 and the YDP-163, this sound wasn’t available—only the Yamaha CF sound was present.

So the difference between the Yamaha CF Grand Piano vs Yamaha CFX Grand Piano is that, for the most part, the sound you hear will be bolder and sound a bit more expressive than the CF sound on the previous models.  You should definitely be able to tell the the CFX has a richer tone.

The Mellow Grand Piano sound is great if you have aspirations of playing classical music.  It’s really a sweet, beautiful piano tone.

And then the Pop Grand Piano sounds like something you’d hear Billy Joel (amongst other artists) play on a given song.  I suppose it has a jazz-like quality.  Overall, it’s a very upbeat piano tone, and out of all the three grand piano sounds, it’s the one that most screams “fun” to me.

The other voices you get here are sort of what you’d expect.  You get things like the Classic DX 1980s Electric piano, the Church Organ, the Jazz Organ, Strings, Vibraphone, Harpsichord, and Electric piano sound.  

Again, you get these same ten voices on both the Yamaha YDP-144 and Yamaha YDP-164.

One last sound thing I’d like to mention involves polyphony.  Both the YDP-144 and YDP-164 feature 192 notes of polyphony.  This is likely going to be more than adequate for your playing needs.

No LCD Screens, But You Get the Smart Pianist App

This isn’t a knock on the YDP-144 or YDP-164, because I wasn’t expecting it, but I suppose one drawback about these digital pianos is the there is no LCD screen present anywhere to help confirm your selections or settings.  

If you want to change or set anything on these digital pianos, you’re essentially stuck with just pushing buttons and keys to make your selections. 

This is not the most ideal, especially in 2019 and beyond.

I think a great fix (or at least a great compromise) for this is that you should take full advantage of the Smart Pianist App, which is another Yamaha product.  

You can get this app from the app store and use it with your iPhone or iPad.  Simply connect either device to your piano via a USB cable and a camera connector kit.  

Once connected, you’ll actually be able to control the YDP-144 or YDP-164 from your app.  You can place either device onto the music rest and then use the app to select different voices, as well as record and save songs you create.

You can also split and layer your keyboard via the app, which is a really handy way to learn how to play the piano.

If you need any more digital piano lessons, I’d recommend you utilize a feature called “Chord Chart” on the Smart Pianist app.  

This features allows you to have the app analyze some of your favorite songs that are in your music library.  Once it does that, it displays chord symbols onto the screen, affording your the opportunity to actually play along to your favorite song as it plays through the piano.

This is a really great, fun, and effective feature, because who doesn’t enjoy learning how to play piano by playing some of their favorite songs.

The only downside to Chord Chart is that it’s not necessarily sophisticated enough to be able to play more complex pieces of music.  So there’s a chance that it won’t be able to analyze and play some of your absolute favorite songs in your library.

But hopefully, this technology advances as we move forward and we see Chord Chart become more inclusive when it comes to songs that are more complex harmony-wise.


These are two excellent digital pianos from the Yamaha Arius line.  The YDP-144 and YDP-164 share a lot of great features, but the YDP-164 has it beat in two areas that I think are quite important—key action and sound amplification.

Still, there’s a great chance that you’ll be happy with either digital piano.  So select whichever instrument works best for both your needs and budget.

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