Yamaha’s digital piano is a VERSATILE instrument!
Known for their key action, affordable price, and touch sensitivity, Yamaha ensures the pianist a quality playing experience.
Regardless, when starting to play the piano, a good piano keyboard is a necessary tool for improvement.
Your entry-level digital piano can make or break your entire piano experience.
Today, we will look at two of the best Yamaha pianos: the Yamaha P71 vs. P125. Both are magnificent digital pianos, but which one comes out on top?
Yamaha P71 Overview
The Yamaha P71 is an Amazon-exclusive, very good digital piano designed to be the perfect home digital piano for piano lessons and your playing.
Even if this is an Amazon Exclusive, you can find this piano in other retailers, such as the P45.
We may use the two terms interchangeably, but please know we refer to the same piano!
Coming in 58 inches in length, the Yamaha P-45 is built for style and portability. This digital piano is easy to stow and move around.
This contributes to the fact that the Yamaha P45 is the perfect option for beginner pianists. Being inexpensive too, the risk of investing in something you might not hang on to is low.
This portable piano also gets style points for its slim and minimalistic design, with a single-button operation that is easy to navigate.
The compactness of this piano makes packing up a breeze!
The Yamaha P45 or P71 is available in black or white colors. An optional furniture stand lets it blend well into any home!
Alternatively, you can use an X stand when playing piano on the go.
Feel of the Keys
The 88-key keyboard on the Yamaha P45 or P71 mimics the behavior of a REAL piano. The high keys are on the lighter side, while the low keys are on the heavier side.
Another advantage against other manufacturers is the key action.
The Yamaha P71 is fueled by the trademark Yamaha’s primary key action, the Graded Hammer Standard or GHS for short.
You’ll develop the proper finger technique if you practice with its fully weighted keys. It will become effortless for you to transition from a digital piano to playing a real one!
A downside to the keys is the mundane finish.
The anti-slip matte finish on the black keys does offer a comfortable grip and presses for pianists during extended piano playing sessions.
The electric piano sounds on the Yamaha P45 or P71 are captured by its Advanced Wave Memory sampling, Yamaha’s classic sound engine.
This sound engine gives you a deep, rich, and quality sound.
Like most digital pianos, the Yamaha P45 or P71 contains a library of 10 different voices and sound effects you can play, including a grand piano, electric piano, organ, and others!
The Yamaha P71 comes with a 64 polyphony sound system, which is not much compared to other Yamaha products.
But for beginners, it is more than enough!
Overall, the audio quality from the Yamaha P71 is perfect for intimate sessions or rehearsals. However, for recordings or recitals at larger venues, we recommend a different piano.
The Yamaha P71 digital piano comes equipped with a USB port, a headphone jack, a sustain switch jack, and the standard power plug.
Sadly, it lacks an AUX out.
This would mean your only audio output at a session would be through the jack. This is not a good solution, especially if you have a good speaker system or amplifier.
While it does not come with a direct MIDI connection, you proxy this using the USB port to connect to and output MIDI data from other devices.
Still, this solution won’t work great with hardware instruments or synths.
Supported Pedal Units
The Yamaha P71 does not come with a sustain pedal included. However, we highly recommend getting one.
Using a foot pedal allows you to practice like a real piano!
Practicing with weighted keys and a foot pedal offers one of the closest experiences to playing on an acoustic piano, helping you develop the proper finger technique.
Sadly, the Yamaha P71 only supports this type of pedal unit because it can’t use three pedals, even if you want to make your digital piano sound like a real piano.
For the beginner, this pedal is more than enough for now.
Meanwhile, for the advanced player, you are missing the other two pedals needed later in your progress and improvement.
The Yamaha P71 comes with a Duo Mode feature, which allows you to split the keyboard into two identical key areas, allowing two players to play simultaneously.
This function benefits beginners by allowing both student and teacher to play simultaneously. It splits the keyboard into two identical 44 key areas with its middle C.
This piano also has Dual Mode, which lets the user play two voices at the same time.
For example, dual-mode allows you to do that easily if you want to play strings and a piano voice.
- Size (width x height x depth): 1,326mm (52-1/4”) x 154mm (6.0”) x 295mm (11-1/2”)
- Weight: 11.5kg (25lbs., 4oz)
- Keys: 88 GHS keyboard
- Sound Technology: AMW Stereo Sampling
- Max Notes on Polyphony: 64
- Voices: 10
- Headphone Ports: 1
- Adaptable Pedal Units: Sustain pedal only
- Very affordable for its size
- Dual mode and Duo mode are available
- Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard
- Perfect for Beginners
- Low polyphony and inferior sound engine
- Amazon exclusive
- Not recommended for large performances
- Not recommended for experienced pianists
Yamaha P125 Overview
The Yamaha P-125 digital piano combines incredible piano sounds with a compact design.
Easily portable, the P-125 is always ready to perform wherever you are!
Unlike other more expensive models, the Yamaha P125 is LOADED with features that give you the ultimate acoustic piano experience!
Similar to the P71, the Yamaha P125 is 53 inches wide and less than 13 inches deep, making it easy to transport while looking sleek and stylish in your home.
With 14 buttons and a volume slider on the front panel, the Yamaha P125 lets you navigate through its different menus and allows access to features like sounds and recording.
Available in black and white, the Yamaha P125 comes with an optional stand, so it looks neat in your house.
You can also use an X stand when out and about the town!
Feel of the Keys
The Yamaha P125 and P71 are VERY similar in their piano keys.
The Yamaha P125 is an 88-key keyboard that comes with the trademark Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard, mimicking acoustic pianos’ hammer action.
With its fully weighted keys, the Yamaha P125 can help prepare its student for the hammer action of an acoustic piano.
As with the Yamaha P71, the Yamaha P125 also does not come with ebony and ivory finishes on its keys.
The anti-slip black matte finish gives it an air of elegance!
The Yamaha P125 comes equipped with the Pure CF sound engine based on samples from a Yamaha high-end concert grand. You know it mimics the sound very well!
The Yamaha P125 comes with 24 voices; there are six categories of voices, then four variations within each category, making this a truly versatile creative experience.
Furthermore, it offers 192 notes of polyphony, which helps to make the instrument more responsive and will allow you to produce a more expressive and dynamic quality of sound.
The P125 can give you a perfect performance, big or small, mimicking a real piano’s sound!
The Yamaha P125 comes with all the advanced connections you want when playing the piano; a power plug, a sustain switch jack, and a percussion/keyboard controller jack.
Even better, you can hook it up to a three-pedal unit that the pianist can use, making the Yamaha P125 work like an ACTUAL acoustic piano!
Also included are aux-out ports for connecting your speaker system or external amplifier, two headphone jacks, and a USB port to connect the unit to an iPad or laptop.
You can use the USB port to play music from your device to your piano so that you can play along with tutorial videos, music collections, sheet courses, etc.
Sadly, the Yamaha P125 does not have a MIDI port. You can also use the USB port to connect and output MIDI data.
However, it can’t replicate a real MIDI port.
Supported Pedal Units
The Yamaha P125 is compatible with MULTIPLE types of pedal units!
You could hook it up with either a sustain pedal or a 3-pedal unit, and this is perfect because when you improve, you can change the sustain pedal to the more advanced 3-pedal.
The Yamaha P 125 comes with a plastic foot pedal, which you’ll want to get rid of immediately and swap out with a much better sustain pedal or the triple pedal.
FUN FACT: Some triple pedal units would have extra pedals, which you can also use for page-turning functions with compatible sheet/chord music apps.
Just like the P71, the P125 comes with both Duo and Dual modes.
But it also comes with Split mode, which splits the keyboard into two halves and assigns a different voice to each half.
It also comes with the Intelligent Acoustic Control function or IAC.
With IAC, the overall quality of this instrument is automatically adjusted according to the overall volume.
Another unique feature is damper resonance, where, in addition to using the sustain pedal, the effect of strings that are not played can also resonate with the strings that are played.
This makes the non-existent strings start to vibrate and produce a faint noise. It ends up replicating an actual piano sound on a digital keyboard.
Finally, unlike the Yamaha P71, the Yamaha P125 has a recording function. It offers not one but TWO-track recording function capabilities.
With the ability to connect to a computer is USB, you will be able to record, edit, and even upload your music straight to YouTube or SoundCloud.
You can even connect it to Garageband!
- Size (width x height x depth): 1326mm (52.20″) x 166mm (6.54″) x 295mm (11.61″)
- Weight: 11.8kg (26.01 lbs)
- Keys: 88 GHS keyboard
- Sound Technology: Pure CF Sound Engine
- Max Notes on Polyphony: 192
- Voices: 24
- Headphone Ports: 2
- Adaptable Pedal Units: Sustain pedal or full pedal unit optional
- Dual mode, Duo mode, and Split mode are available
- Recording Function available
- 192 polyphony with Pure CF Sound Engine
- It supports both sustain pedal and triple pedal units
- Recording time is very short
- Way more expensive than the P71
- Not great for recitals and lie performances in large rooms
Yamaha P71 vs. P125: Side-by-Side Comparison
Now that we’ve broken down the two pianos, it is time to pit them against each other. Who will come out on top?
Build and Design (Verdict: Tie)
The Yamaha P125 and Yamaha P71 are built for elegance and portability. Both pianos can blend into your activity room and be brought for outdoor performances.
Both are beginner-friendly digital pianos, so the pianos won’t be covered in higher-quality elegant ebony and ivory keys.
Both come with black matte with anti-slip technology on their black keys, so they do not look cheap.
If you want a keyboard that looks on a different level, some Yamaha digital pianos come with wooden keys, although these would cost a fortune for the premium keys.
The only difference between the P125 and the P71 is that the former is a bit bulkier than the latter.
However, in terms of weight difference, you can barely tell the difference.
- Yamaha P71: 1,326mm (52-1/4”) x 154mm (6.0”) x 295mm (11-1/2”), 11.5kg (25lbs., 4oz)
- Yamaha P125: 1326mm (52.20″) x 166mm (6.54″) x 295mm (11.61″), 11.8kg (26.01 lbs)
Key Action and Feel (Verdict: Tie)
The two pianos come with the trademark Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard, which adequately mimics non-digital pianos’ feel and touch.
The fully weighted keys mimic the hammer weight also, allowing beginners to practice proper finger technique without breaking the bank!
For those who don’t want the heavy key simulation they’re providing, you can also opt to adjust the sensitivity of the keys, lessening their weight to your discretion.
Piano Sound Quality and Technology (Verdict: P125)
This is where the similarities between the Yamaha P71 and P125 end.
The most crucial thing differentiating between Yamaha P125 and P71 is the piano sounds each comes with.
- The Yamaha P71 uses the aged AWM Sampling, which means if you want a more realistic sound with a more comprehensive dynamic range and richer tone, that’s impossible.
- Meanwhile, the Yamaha P125 takes advantage of brand new upgraded CF sound technology. The Pure CF Engine is renowned for its rich tone and wide dynamic range.
In this segment, the P125 takes the cake with its CF technology; it guarantees you get more realistic sounds whenever you hit the keys, whether brighter or darker.
The best way to describe it is that it has the actual sound you’ll hear on a real Yamaha grand piano.
If you want such a realistic sound, you’ll find it on the Yamaha P125.
In terms of polyphony count, the P125 offers 192 notes of polyphony, while the P71 has just 64 notes. This difference is noticeable, especially when both play from the same music sheet.
A higher number of notes helps make the instrument more responsive and produces a sharper tone and a more profound sense of resonance, which has more detailed and dynamic music.
Connectivity (Verdict: P125)
The P125 comes with PLENTY of connections.
Aside from the standard power adapter plug and sustain pedal jack, it comes with two headphone jacks, an AUX out, and a USB port.
In addition, the P125 sustain jack is adaptable to work with a triple pedal.
On the Yamaha P71, you only have the power plug, sustain pedal jack, one headphone jack, and a USB port. This seriously limits what it can do.
NOTE: Both pianos don’t support MIDI output.
Additional Features (Verdict: P125)
Everything that the P71 can do, the P125 can also do, with more features.
But the P125 one-ups the P71 with its Split Mode!
On the P125, you can use the triple pedal to change the music to your liking. The Yamaha P125 can use the intelligent acoustic controller to adjust the music automatically.
The P125 also has a damper resonance function, mimicking what would happen on an actual acoustic instrument.
Additionally, you can use the P125 to RECORD your own playing, while the P71 has no such function.
Pricing (Verdict: P71)
The Yamaha P-71 comes in at $479.99. Although as an Amazon exclusive, you may find the Yamaha P45 in other retails at $439
The Yamaha P-125 retails at $1,004.99, making it more than double the price of the P71.
We know who the obvious winner is here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few commonly asked questions when it comes to digital pianos.
What Is the Difference Between Advanced Wave Memory and Pure CF Sound Engine?
The Pure CF Engine is an upgrade from its predecessor, the Advanced Wave Memory.
AWM or Advanced Wave Memory is a sampling technology that recreates the sounds of an actual piano by applying a high-quality digital filter technology to the audio samples.
With AWM Sampling, it can produce dynamic nuances by recording samples of various playing strengths. The more samples used, the higher the expression.
Meanwhile, the Pure CF Sound Engine is an upgraded sampling technology from Yamaha.
This is sampled from Yamaha’s CF grand pianos, mimicking the sound for more detail on their digital pianos.
What is Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard?
The trademark Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard, or GHS for short, is a technology on the weighted keys that mimics the similar hammer action found in acoustic pianos.
With this hammer action simulation, the student will build the proper technique and finger strength to play an actual piano in the future.
It is suitable for beginners as it delivers the graded, weighted keys touch teachers recommend for mastering proper technique before playing acoustic pianos.
An exciting feature of the Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard is the ability for fine-tuning the response of the keys. You can increase the touch sensitivity or disable it altogether.
What is Polyphony?
Polyphony refers to the instrument’s ability to play multiple sounds at once.
This is important because the more notes played simultaneously, the more expressive the output will be.
A low polyphony note count may not be a problem for beginners, but as you improve, you’ll search for a better piano with more polyphony notes.
What Are the Three Pedals Used For?
The pedals are there to adjust the sounds to your liking:
- The soft pedal on the left affects the hammer action. Typically, all three strings a hammer strikes give a full sound. The pedal makes it hit two strings, giving a softer sound.
- The sostenuto pedal in the middle holds notes currently being played when the pedal is stepped. Notes that begin afterward are not affected, allowing for selective sustain.
- The damper or sustain pedal on the right removes the “dampers,” finger-like wedges in acoustic pianos that stop a note from ringing. This allows notes to ring out for longer.
FUN FACT: Most triple pedal units also allow for half-pedaling, where the pedal is only stepped on lightly, so it does not reach the full effect, allowing more creative freedom.
Is an Acoustic Piano Better Than Digital Pianos?
An acoustic piano produces sound by its hammer hitting steel-wire strings.
A digital piano doesn’t use hammers; instead, it playbacks recordings taken from acoustic pianos.
Most digital pianos can also simulate the weighted keys of an acoustic. Some even have the option to adjust the touch sensitivity of the keys to suit a player’s preference.
Of course, nothing compares to a real acoustic piano during live performances or recitals!
Digital pianos are a viable option for those who don’t have the space or budget.
Final Verdict: Yamaha P71 vs. P125
The Yamaha P125 and Yamaha P71 are some of the best keyboards on the market. They both have some great attributes and a lot of great qualities about them.
Both look and sound similar, but the P125 knocks the P71 out of the park with its upgraded features.
Choose the Yamaha P125 If…
- You do not like switching to a new piano when the student improves
- You like recording your own plays and songs
- You plan to use it for live audiences
Choose the Yamaha P71 If…
- You do not plan on spending more than 1000 dollars on a piano
- You are unsure if you want to pursue playing the piano
- You want to bring it around and play at intimate gigs