Yamaha YDP-S34 review: An Affordable Yamaha Arius Digital Piano?

Check out our Yamaha YDP-S34 review!

In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at all of the features that the Yamaha YDP-S34 has to offer.

The Yamaha YDP-S34 is one of many digital pianos in Yamaha’s Arius series. This series is a series of classic console digital pianos. Thus, the Arius digital pianos will appeal to those who love the aesthetic of upright pianos (bonus: all of the Arius models come with a full suite of three pedals, just like on an acoustic piano). Yamaha asserts that this series brings the performance quality of an acoustic piano to musicians while bringing all of the conveniences of a digital piano to them, too. 

Additionally, the Arius series is a series of entry-level digital pianos. Thus, the digital pianos in this series will have features that will help you as you begin your piano-playing journey.

We will compare the Yamaha YDP-S34 to other entries in the Arius series in this article before deciding if the Yamaha YDP-S34 or another Yamaha Arius digital piano is the best value for your money.

Yamaha YDP-145

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

Yamaha YDP-S34: What Does It Offer

The Yamaha YDP-S34 currently costs $999.99, which is pretty affordable for a digital piano. With all of its features, this digital piano is certainly worth the money. 

This digital piano has a Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard, so its keys are graded like an acoustic piano’s keys; that is, the keys feel heavier in the left-hand part of the keyboard and lighter in the right-hand part of the keyboard. 

The GHS keyboard allows for quick repetition of notes, just like an acoustic piano’s keyboard does. Being able to quickly repeat notes on this digital piano’s keyboard means that you can play pieces that require a quick succession of the same note played over and over; so, when you play classical pieces that require quick repetition, you will be able to have the same key action as you would on the acoustic pianos that such musical compositions are typically performed on. 

Also, the GH3 keyboard allows for a wide range of dynamic expression, which means that you will be able to convey a wide range of emotions from behind this keyboard. 

See what other musicians are saying about the GHS keyboard here.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how well they stack up to the YDP-S34.

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

The Sounds of the Yamaha YDP-S34

The Yamaha YDP-S34 has ten onboard sounds, which isn’t that impressive of a sound offering. Still, this digital piano comes with a stunning sample of Yamaha’s flagship 9’ CFX concert grand piano. The CFX concert grand has been played on some of the world’s most famous stages, and this piano is considered to be one of the greatest modern pianos. 

Clearly, there is a lot of value to having the sound of this concert grand piano at your fingertips. For what it’s worth, the base CFX model goes for $179,999, so paying $999 for the sound of the CFX plus nine other sounds is certainly worth it.


The Yamaha YDP-S34 has 192-note polyphony. This amount of polyphony is pretty decent. Some digital pianos offer as low as 64-note polyphony, and others offer infinite polyphony like an acoustic piano does. 

Polyphony refers to the amount of notes that can sound at once, so technically the Yamaha YDP-S34 can play 192 notes at once. However, polyphony gets eaten up by effects and stereo sounds require more polyphony because the sound of each note is made up by multiple samples. 

Thus, most digital piano enthusiasts (including me) don’t recommend dipping below 120-note polyphony. The Yamaha YDP-S34 is well ahead of that number, so you’re good to go! 

How Many Effects Does the YDP-S34 Have?

This beginner digital piano comes with four levels of reverb. Reverb helps you to customize the digital piano’s sound output by making it sound as if you are playing in different-sized rooms; so, you can make your playing sound far away by choosing to replicate the sound of a large room, for example.

What Else Should I Know?

The Yamaha YDP-S34 was  built with an Acoustic Optimizer and a Stereophonic Optimizer.

The Acoustic Optimizer adjusts the sound flow from within the digital piano in order to control the instrument’s resonance and enrich its overall sound. 

Additionally, Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) automatically adjusts the digital piano’s EQ so that its tone is as stellar as possible at any volume level. Sometimes, when a digital piano is played at a low volume, the bass and treble are thrown out of whack. Intelligent Acoustic Control eliminates this issue and ensures that the sound quality stays consistent across volume levels. 

This feature will especially appeal to people who prefer to practice at low volumes, like people who live with roommates or family members. With Intelligent Acoustic Control however, you can practice without worrying about disturbing your housemates while enjoying the full sound quality of  your Yamaha YDP-S34.

While some people like to practice at a low volume in order to prevent disturbing the people they live with, some people prefer to practice with headphones. With some digital pianos, there is a dramatic dip in sound quality when playing with headphones on; the sound seems to be being produced from within the headphones themselves, which makes for a less than satisfactory playing experience. 

The Stereophonic Optimizer optimizes the sound output of the Yamaha YDP-S34 for headphone use. With the help of the Stereophonic Optimizer, the sound seems to come out of the digital piano itself rather than from inside the headphones, which results in a natural-sounding playing experience.

Thus, players can experience the fullness of the digital piano’s sound even when playing with headphones on, and you can rest assured that the sound quality stays consistent no matter how you choose to practice.

The Yamaha YDP-S34 also comes with a collection of 50 songs that you can play along with. As a beginner, you will definitely want to practice along with recordings of songs as you learn to play the piano and read music. This digital piano makes that easy for you by having songs built right into its system.

Yamaha YDP-S34 VS Yamaha YDP-S52

The Yamaha YDP-S52 costs $1,149.99, so it is a bit pricier than the Yamaha YDP-S34. It offers many of the same features that the slightly cheaper YDP-S34 does.

Like the YDP-S34, the YDP-S52 comes with ten onboard sounds. The main piano sound on this digital piano, however, is a sample of Yamaha’s CFIIIS concert grand. Like the CFX concert grand, this concert grand piano is world-renowned, so you are getting access to a great piano sound and nine other sounds for a fraction of the price with the YDP-S52. 

This digital piano offers the same exact number of polyphony and has an Acoustic Optimizer and Stereophonic Optimizer, too.

The biggest difference between the YDP-S34 and the YDP-S52 is that the YDP-S52 also comes with a chorus effect, which helps you to create a fuller, richer sound. At this price point, there are digital pianos that offer more than two effects, so this does not give the YDP-S52 much of an advantage over the YDP-S34. 

Like the YDP-S34, this digital piano comes preloaded with fifty songs that you can play along with. Thus, it is also great for beginners who are looking to build their repertoire quickly. 

Honestly, the YDP-S52 doesn’t have much to offer that the YDP-S34 does not, so it is not worth the extra money. Both of these entry-level digital pianos come with excellent acoustic piano samples, have weighted hammer action keyboards, and plenty of polyphony, so you might as well go with the slightly cheaper option.

Yamaha YDP-S34 VS Yamaha YDP-143

The Yamaha YDP-143 currently costs $1,099.99, so it falls somewhere in between the prices of the YDP-S34 and the YDP-S52. 

Like the other digital pianos we’ve gone over already, the YDP-143 has a graded hammer action keyboard, 10 onboard sounds, and 192-note polyphony. 

This digital piano uses the Pure CF sound engine, which is the same sound engine as the YDP-S52 uses. Thus, you get access to the CFIIIS concert grand piano sample with this digital piano, too.

The Yamaha YDP-143 also comes with fifty songs that you can play along with. It takes things a step further, however, by coming with a copy of Yamaha’s exclusive songbook “50 Greats for the Piano.” Thus, players can follow along with the sheet music as they learn to play piano pieces like “Clair de Lune,” “Für Elise,” “Barcarolle,” “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Cakewalk,” and “The Entertainer.”  

The inclusion of the “50 Greats for the Piano” songbook is an incredible feature. Take it from someone who knows–buying sheet music can get very expensive very fast! By including this songbook with the YDP-143, Yamaha gives pianists the sheet music to songs that they want to play and that their loved ones want to hear.

There are pieces in the “50 Greats for the Piano” songbook that are appropriate for all skill levels; thus, players can move on to harder pieces as they advance in skill.

The “50 Greats for the Piano” songbook is definitely a nice feature for beginner pianists, but it is relatively simple to find copies of the songs included in this songbook online. Still, if you like the convenience of having most of your sheet music contained within a songbook, it might be worth choosing the YDP-143 over the YDP-S34. 

Apart from the inclusion of the “50 Greats for the Piano” songbook, however, the YDP-143 does not have anything to offer that the YDP-S34 does not.

Yamaha YDP-S34 vs Yamaha YDP-144

Let’s also quickly compare the Yamaha YDP-S34 to the Yamaha YDP-144.

Read our Yamaha YDP-144 review to find out if this digital piano surpasses its predecessor: the Yamaha YDP-143!

Now the are definitely similarities between these two digital pianos.  Things like polyphony and the number of voices housed within the piano are the same (192 notes of polyphony and ten voices—everything from he CFX Grand Piano to the expected sounds like the Pipe Organ, Harpsichord, Vibraphone and more).

The two biggest differences that likely matter most to you are going to be in regards to key action and sound/power. 

The YDP-S34 features a GHS keyboard, which of course we’ve mentioned today.  The YDP-144, however, features a much bette GH3 keyboard. This keyboard uses a three sensor configuration that better helps provide the pianist with a more accurate and expressive playing experience.

On top of that, you just get more bang for your buck with the YDP-144 when it comes to power. On the YDP-S34, you have 8 watts of power per speaker (two speakers).  That’s 16 total watts of power.

The YDP-144 bumps that up quite significantly, giving you 20 watts of power per speaker (two speakers).  That’s a whopping 40 watts of power in total.  So if you wanted to play a digital piano in a large venue, be it a conference or a church, the best digital piano to go with just might be the YDP-144.

Yamaha YDP-S34 VS Yamaha YDP-163

The biggest advantage that the YDP-163 has over the other digital pianos listed here is its Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) keyboard. The GH3 keyboard is a big step up from the GHS keyboard and is a much closer simulation of an acoustic piano’s keyboard. 

The upgraded keyboard comes at a higher cost of course. The Yamaha YDP-163 costs $1,299.99, which makes it the priciest digital piano of those listed in this article. 

The more realistic keyboard action is worth the extra money though. Players have noticed that the GH3 allows for even quicker note repetition than the GHS keyboard does because it has three sensors instead of two. The extra sensor helps the keyboard to respond more realistically.

See what other musicians are saying about the GH3 keyboard here.

Yamaha YDP-S34 vs Yamaha YDP-164

I wanted to also briefly compare this piano to the Yamaha YDP-164, as this is one of the newer Arius digital pianos on the market.  And there are a few notable differences.

Enjoy our Yamaha YDP-164 review in order to find out if this piano is worth your money

First, the YDP-164 is a bigger and heavier piano.  In fact, the 164 weighs about 92 lbs., which is approximately 13 pounds heavier than the YDP-S34.

The bigger difference will be seen in the keyboard.  While the S34 comes with a Yamaha GHS keyboard with matte keytops, the YDP-164 offers you a GH3 or Graded Hammer 3 keyboard with synthetic ivory and ebony keycaps (which are quite grippy, so you won’t have to worry much that your fingers slip on the keys while playing).  This GH3 action is an improvement on the GHS action.  

Both the YDP-S34 and YDP-164 offer the Yamaha CFX Grand Piano sample, however.  So that’s a big plus if you’re interested in the S34 and want to save a little bit of money.  On top of that, important things like the number of voices (10) and polyphony (192 notes) are identical on these pianos.  

Sound amplification, however, is where you’re going to notice a different.  The S34 only has 16 watts of power via two built-in speakers, while the YDP-164 has 40 watts of power via two built-in speakers.  That’s a pretty massive difference.  So if you just want 100% confidence that your piano sound will fill a room, especially if it’s a rather large room, you’re definitely going to want to go with the Yamaha YDP-164.


The Yamaha YDP-164 is the best of the digital pianos included in this article, but the Yamaha YDP-S34 is a close second. 

The YDP-164’s keyboard action puts it over the top. As a beginner pianist, it is important that you get as close to replicating the experience of playing on an acoustic piano as you possibly can. Although no digital piano can ever truly recreate the experience of playing on an acoustic piano, the YDP-164 comes much closer than the other digital pianos included here.

If you can’t spare the extra money, the Yamaha YDP-S34 is the one to go with. 

All of these Arius keyboards offer:

  • 192-note polyphony
  • 10 onboard sounds
  • 50 songs that you can play along with
  • graded hammer action keyboard
  • Acoustic Optimizer
  • Stereophonic Optimizer

Because all of these digital pianos share these key features, you aren’t really missing out on anything by going with the most budget-friendly choice.

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You May Also Want to Read:

  1. Yamaha YDP 144 review
  2. Yamaha YDP 164 review
  3. Yamaha YDP-184 review
  4. Yamaha YDP-S34 review
  5. Yamaha YDP-S54 review
  6. The 8 Best Digital Pianos Under $1,000 That are Incredible
  7. The 13 Best Digital Pianos Under $1,000 in 2019 You’ll Love
  8. 7 Best Portable Digital Pianos with Weighted Keys and Great Key Action

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