Yamaha is known for producing high quality digital pianos, and the YDP-S54 is one of the next digital pianos in line to continue to live up to that lofty expectation.
Succeeding the popular YDP-S52, the Yamaha YDP-S54 is from Yamaha’s Arius line of pianos—ones that entry level digital piano players can enjoy, but robust enough that one with intermediate playing skills can enjoy longterm.
But does the YDP-S54 live up to the hype? And how does it compare to its predecessor, the YDP-S52?
Well, in our Yamaha YDP-S54 review, I’m going to help answer some of these questions for you, as we really breakdown all of the unique features that make the S54 special and help you determine if it’s worth your hard-earned money.
And, to better help you, we encourage you to take a look at the interactive guide below, which allows you to directly compare the YDP-S54 to other notable digital pianos on the market.
|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)|
A Beautiful, Slim Design
I think one of the first things I immediately enjoy about the Yamaha YDP-S54 is its aesthetic. Of course, looks only matter so much when it comes to an instrument (it’s really moreso about how it feels in your hands and sounds to your ears).
But in truth, I think what’s so impressive about the Yamaha YDP-S54 is that its appearance isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, its intentionally made to be highly functional within your living space.
With the YDP-S54, Yamaha has crafted a more compact and overall quite slim digital piano.
I took a quick peek at the size differences between this digital piano and the handful of others from the same Yamaha Arius line, as was quite surprised (in a good way) at how the YDP-S54 manages to stand out by being noticeably smaller.
The YDP-S54 is 53-1/4” wide, 31-3/16” high (although that does jump up to 38” when the key cover is open), and just over 12” deep.
Comparatively, the Yamaha Arius YDP-164 is about two inches taller and four inches deeper.
The measurements are even more exaggerated when we move up to the Yamaha Arius YDP-184, which is four inches wider, four inches taller, and a whopping six inches deeper than the S54.
A smaller size also means a lighter instrument. The YDP-S54 clocks in at about 83 lbs., while the YDP-184 is approximately 123 lbs.
So, as you can see, Yamaha really wanted the YDP-S54 to be much more form fitting in your space. Knowing that buyers enjoy what the Arius line offers them as a pianist, but don’t necessarily have unlimited space in their home for a shiny new digital piano, the more compact YDP-S54 is not only a welcome change, but an important one.
Because now, you should have far less of a problem fitting the S54 into a child’s smaller bedroom or study area (or even a bedroom) compared to other models in the Arius line.
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-144|
|3) Roland RP-102|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Casio PX-870|
The Sounds of the Yamaha YDP-S54
The YDP-S54 only comes with 10 voices, but as the old saying goes “quality over quantity” is what matters most.
And when it comes to the piano voices, you definitely get to enjoy three quality sounds.
The Yamaha YDP-S52 used Yamaha’s Pure CF Sound engine. This is improved upon on the S54, as you’ll be able to enjoy the piano samples of the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano.
On top of that, you also get a Mellow Grand Piano voice, which is virtually perfect for classical music. And then the last grand piano sound you get is a Bright Piano sound, which sounds very jazz-inspired.
Beyond the piano voices, you get a lot of what you’d expect. You’ll be able to enjoy Vibraphone, Harpsichord, Strings, Classical Organ, and even a DX Electric Piano. I think this particular sound is great to have, especially if you admired a lot of R&B ballads from the 1980s.
The DX Electric Piano sound always reminds me of certain songs an artist like Luther Vandross would’ve produced back in the day.
Pedals and Amplification
The YDP-S54 comes with three pedals—the Sustain, the Soft Pedal, and the Sostenuto pedal. Of course, what’s quite nice about the YDP-S54 is that it offers you Half Damper pedal.
What this means is that you’ll be able to press down on the pedal halfway, and doing so with provide you with a shorter sustain length.
The speaker system on this piano is quite good too, given its overall size and price point.
You have two speakers at 20 watts each, providing you with a total of 40 watts of power.
This is a significant jump up from, say, the Yamaha YDP-144, which only features 8 watts per speaker, or a total of 16 watts of power.
In terms of speakers and amplification, what’s on the YDP-S54 is the same as what you’d get on the YDP-164. You have to go all the way up to the YDP-184 to see an improvement in the sound and power department over the YDP-S54, as the Yamaha YDP-184 features 30 watts per speakers or 60 watts of power overall.
On top of that, unlike the YDP-144, YDP-S54, and YDP-164, the YDP-184 features speakers that are a bit bigger in size (16cm per speaker compared to just 12cm per speaker on the three aforementioned pianos).
The Yamaha YDP-S54 and the Smart Pianist App
The YDP-S54, like a lot of these newer pianos in the Arius line, allows you to use the Smart Pianist app, where you can control almost all of the functions and settings of the piano within the app on your iPhone or iPad.
What I like about this app is that, considering the digital piano doesn’t come with a large LCD screen, the app allows you to get visual confirmation for everything you do and select within the piano.
If you’re looking to change voices, there’s an image of the instrument you’d like to select, and doing so is as easy as a push on the button.
Comparatively, if you wanted to do something as simple as changing the voice on the piano without the use of the app, you’d have to likely hold down the Voice button, and simultaneously press a key (a key that would be indicative of the voice you wanted to use) in the second octave.
Can you do it that way? Sure. You can get used to doing it that way. But is it much easier to just use the app? Absolutely.
The app does more than just let you select voices, however. You can also record the songs you create, split the keyword, layer two songs on top of one another, save your piano’s overall settings/configurations and much more.
If you’re a beginner, you’re likely going to want to really utilize the split and recording feature. First, splitting the keyboard is always helpful because you’re able to play a piece with your left hand, and then try and play that same piece with your right. It really helps teach you exactly what your hands need to do, and why, when playing the piano.
Well now, through the app, you can not only split the keyboard, but record what you play as well. So now, you can play a piece with your left hand and record it. Then, play that piece back and begin practicing with your right hand, using the recording as a guide or reference.
Of course, if rhythm or tempo is a concern, there’s a built in metronome at your disposal on the YDP-S54 as well.
One last thing that’s probably worth mentioning is the lid. The key lid on the YDP-S54 is reminiscent of what you might see in some modern day cabinets—all aimed to protect your fingers and lessen harsh slamming noises.
Because with the YDP-S54, when you go to close the lid over the keys, there’s now a built in mechanism that makes the lid close at a slow and even pace. So, no matter how fast you try to go to close the lid—be it on purpose or by accident—the lid is just going to slowly ease down over the keys.
Yamaha YDP-S52 vs Yamaha YDP-S54
Finding the best Yamaha digital piano in 2019 and beyond isn’t easy. But if you’re interested in the YDP-S54, or perhaps you currently own or have once played the YDP-S52, now is as good a time as any to compare these two digital pianos with one another.
So let’s take a bit of time to talk about the differences between the Yamaha YDP-S52 and the YDP-S54.
I think the biggest differences lie in the grand piano sound in the S54, as well as the key action used in the S54 compared to the YDP-S52.
Now in the YDP-S52, you get the Yamaha Graded Hammer key action, but in the YDP-S54, you get Graded Hammer Effect action, or GH3. These actions are no doubt very similar, but the Graded Hammer Effect action swings the action back a bit faster than the Graded Hammer action, which is meant to further replicate an acoustic piano.
You also get synthetic ivory keytops with the S54. The white keys are also quite grippy, which is particularly great because it helps prevent your fingers from sliding off of the keys.
The second thing that’s different deals with the sound. The YDP-S52 features the Yamaha CF Grand Piano sound, while the S54 uses the Yamaha CFX Grand Piano sound.
The CFX Piano sounds much more expressive and bold than the CF, and there’s a good chance that if you’ve heard the CF Piano sound previously, that you’ll be able to hear the rich difference in tone.
Overall, the Yamaha YDP-S54 is a very good digital piano. It’s an affordable entry-level digital piano in the Arius line that offers a slim design, a few great learning tools, and compatibility with the Smart Pianist app.
It’s not the absolute best digital piano in the Arius lineup (you’ll probably want to look at the YDP-184 for that prize) but it’s worthy of your consideration and will likely make a great addition to your home.
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