Both the Yamaha YDP-S34 and the Yamaha YDP-S52 are entries into the brand’s Arius series, a series of classic console digital pianos. The digital pianos in the Arius series are entry-level digital pianos, so they are perfect for beginners.
|Yamaha YDP-144||GHS action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Yamaha P-515||Natural Wood X Key Action|
|Casio PX-870||Redesigned Cabinet, Speaker System|
|Yamaha YDP-164||GH3 action, CFX Grand Piano Voice|
|Roland RP-102||Works w/Roland Piano Partner 2 app|
|Casio AP-470||256 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha YDP-184||Graded Hammer 3 Action (GH3)|
How Much Do These Digital Pianos Cost?
The Yamaha YDP-S34 is currently available for $999.99, and the YDP-S52 costs slightly more at $1,149.99. This price increase of $150 isn’t that drastic, but there’s no denying the appeal of saving that extra one hundred fifty bucks.
Each of these digital pianos are considered to be an 88 key weighted digital piano. The Yamaha YDP-S34 has a Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard, and the Yamaha YDP-S52 has a Graded Hammer (GH) keyboard. As their names suggest, both of these keyboards are graded; that is, the keys feel heavier in the keyboard’s low end, and lighter in the keyboard’s high end.
Having a graded keyboard is really beneficial to those who plan to play on an acoustic piano someday. Acoustic pianos have graded keyboards, so the earlier you can get accustomed to playing on such a keyboard, the better.
Although each Yamaha Arius digital piano has a graded hammer action keyboard, the GHS keyboard allows for faster repetition of notes. Thus, the Yamaha YDP-S34 might be better suited to playing pieces that require quickly repeating notes, and it might be better suited to playing expressively.
See what other musicians are saying about the GH and GHS keyboards here.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital pianos online, and see how well they compare to the YDP-S34 and YDP-S52:
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-144|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Casio PX-870|
Both the Yamaha YDP-S34 and the Yamaha YDP-S52 come with ten onboard sounds.
The YDP-S34’s sounds are generated by Yamaha’ CFX sound engine (learn more about this sound engine here).
The standout sound on this digital piano, of course, is a sample of Yamaha’s flagship 9’ CFX concert grand piano. The CFX concert grand piano is considered one of the greatest concert grands of our time. Like the piano it samples, this sound features a sparkling high end and an incredibly resonant low end.
The Yamaha YDP-S52 is built with Yamaha’s PureCF sound engine. The standout piano sound on this digital piano is sampled from Yamaha’s CFIIIS concert grand.
Both of these digital pianos contain beautiful samples of world-renowned grand pianos, so they are great choices for those who want to practice with an excellent grand piano sound without dropping a few hundred thousand dollars.
The CFX sound engine is known for its great sound quality; alternatively, the PureCF sound engine is good, but it isn’t extraordinary. Thus, the Yamaha YDP-S34 wins out over the Yamaha YDP-S52 in regard to sound quality.
Still, ten onboard sounds is not an incredibly high sound offering. For this price, you can get a digital piano with dozens, if not hundreds, of sounds.
What’s the Polyphony on These Pianos?
The Yamaha YDP-S34 has 192-note polyphony, which is a decent amount. The Yamaha YDP-S52 has the exact same amount of polyphony.
Personally, I would never go below 120-note polyphony, and both of these digital pianos are beyond that amount of polyphony. As such, they are both capable of seeing you through most of the stages of your piano-playing journey. At some point, however, you may want to move on to an instrument with more polyphony, like a digital piano with either 256-note polyphony or infinite polyphony, like on an acoustic piano.
Of course, these Arius models are entry-level digital pianos, so it is expected that you are going to upgrade at some point. Whether you go with the YDP-S34 or the YDP-S52, you have access to the same amount of polyphony, so the two digital pianos are tied in this category.
Noteworthy Effects on These Pianos
The Yamaha YDP-S34 has four different types of reverb. Reverb helps you to customize your digital piano’s sound output by making it sound as if you are playing in different-sized spaces. You can make it sound as if you are playing in a really small room or make your playing sound as if it is coming from far away. Learn more about reverb here.
The Yamaha YDP-S52 comes with four types of reverb and a chorus effect. Chorus gives you a fuller sound by making it seem as if more than one instrument, a chorus of instruments if you will, is playing whatever you are playing.
Neither of these instruments boasts an impressive amount of effects, but the Yamaha YDP-S52 wins out over the Yamaha YDP-S34 by offering more than one effect. With reverb and chorus, you will be able to customize your sound more than you could with just reverb.
What Else Should I Know?
Both of these instruments were 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 IAC, you can practice without worrying about disturbing your housemates while enjoying the full sound quality of either your Yamaha YDP-S34 or your Yamaha YDP-S52.
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 and the Yamaha YDP-S52 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.
So Which Digital Piano Is the Winner?
We will choose the winner based on the following five criteria:
- keyboard action
- amount of onboard sounds
- amount of polyphony
- amount of effects
The Yamaha YDP-S52 currently costs $1,149.99, which is one hundred fifty dollars more than the Yamaha YDP- S34’s cost of $999.99.
Thus, the Yamaha YDP-S34 wins by a hair in this category. Saving an extra one hundred fifty bucks will especially appeal to players who are on a budget and to parents who are buying their child’s first digital piano.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, it is expected that you will someday upgrade to a higher-end digital piano or an acoustic piano from either the Yamaha YDP-S34 or the Yamaha YDP-S52. Because you are likely going to move on to another instrument someday, going with the slightly cheaper option will help you to save more money in the long run.
Both of these Yamaha Arius models have weighted hammer action keyboards. The Yamaha YDP-S34 has a Graded Hammer Standard keyboard while the Yamaha YDP-S52 has a Graded Hammer keyboard.
Digital pianists who have experience with both the Graded Hammer Standard keyboard and the Graded Hammer keyboard say that the Graded Hammer 3 keyboard is more responsive, so it is a better simulation of an acoustic piano’s keyboard.
This is mostly due to the fact that while both keyboard’s have graded keys (so the keys are heavier in the lower end and get progressively lighter to the touch on the higher end), the GH3 keyboard actually features a three sensor configuration within the keys themselves, which better help with the pianist’s expressiveness and overall ability to mimic the feel of playing on wood keys on an acoustic piano.
Thus, the Yamaha YDP-S34 is the winner in this category, too.
Amount of Onboard Sounds
Both of these digital pianos come with ten onboard sounds, and they both feature a stunning sample of a widely acclaimed Yamaha digital piano (the CFX concert grand for the YDP-S34 and the CFIIIS concert grand for the YDP-S52).
The Yamaha YDP-S34’s sound engine is frequently noted for its great sound quality, but the Yamaha YDP-S52’s is not considered to be as noteworthy. Therefore, the Yamaha YDP-S34 wins in this category because its sounds are widely considered to be of a high quality.
Amount of Polyphony
Both the Yamaha YDP-S34 and the Yamaha YDP-S52 have 192-note polyphony. This is a pretty high amount of polyphony for an entry-level digital piano. Typically, entry-level digital pianos offer either 64-note polyphony or 120-note polyphony.
So, both of these Yamaha Arius models are pretty far ahead of their competition when it comes to polyphony, and they are tied in this category.
Amount of Effects
The Yamaha YDP-S34 comes with four different types of reverb, and the Yamaha YDP-S52 does, too. Additionally, the Yamaha YDP-S52 has a chorus effect. Although adding one additional effect does not put the YDP-S52 lightyears ahead of the YDP-S34, having access to the chorus effect does give you a bit more control over your sound; thus, the Yamaha YDP-S52 wins in this category.
The Yamaha YDP-S34 won in three out of five categories, so it is the clear winner here. Even though it is sold for a lower price than the Yamaha YDP-S52, this digital piano offers many of the same features and even has a better keyboard action and sound engine than the pricier digital piano model does. If you’re looking for a great beginner digital piano at a really affordable price, the Yamaha YDP-S34 is the choice for you.
The Yamaha YDP-S34 is a great entry-level digital piano. This digital piano will see you through the beginner and intermediate stages of your piano-playing journey with style. Also, you never have to worry about experiencing a dip in sound quality because you prefer or need to practice at a low volume or with headphones on.
In fact, the Yamaha YDP-S34’s Acoustic Optimizer and Stereophonic Optimizer ensure that the sound quality stays consistent in all playing situations. These features are almost never offered at this price point, so this digital piano is really a great bargain!
Of course, at some point, you might feel compelled to move on from your sure-to-be-beloved Yamaha YDP-S34. If you progress at the rate of the average piano player, that day is a few years off. Even so, I have no doubt that you will look back on the hours you spent at the Yamaha YDP-S34’s keyboard and that you will revisit it from time to time.
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