Many of you will be aware of the P-Series and how it represents exceptional value in digital pianos. In more recent years, we have seen certain models in the P-Series open up the world of 88-note weighted keyboards to users at price points never even considered for this type of instrument. Now, the P-115 and P-45 models are almost ready for release, hopefully landing later this month. I got an early look at both of these models that will replace the P-105 and P-35 models respectively and was able to gain a little insight into the what the future holds for Yamaha.
This model represents the big win for those looking for a new digital piano. Although not greatly different from the earlier P-105 in looks and style, it boasts an all new piano sound that has been sampled from a Yamaha CFIIIS Concert Grand Piano. This is unlike any sound bank found in a digital piano of this price range and it’s the component that will have the P-115 stand out in the range. I guess I could tell you how ‘lively’ this piano sounds and how ‘warm’ and ‘realistic’ it is when compared to other piano sounds available in digital pianos, and yes, these adjectives are all true, but they don’t really do the P-115 any justice as the grand piano in this thing just defies description.
You need to hear it. As with all the models in the P-Series, both these models include newly designed built in speakers that fairly do justice to the piano sound it carries. In a quiet room it sounds really nice, delivering the sound both through the top and through the underside of the unit, so it fills the acoustic space for a more natural representation of the sound. Then, plugged in to a really nice set of monitor speakers, this digital piano sounds incredible. The sound quality will no doubt translate well into recording too, so it can be a handy song writing tool in any studio and still be able to provide a recordable signal.
The P-45 isn’t as great a leap away from its predecessor as the P-115 is. Still, every couple of years manufacturers need to overhaul their entry level models, just to keep it fresh. The P-45 still represents great value in digital pianos, like the P-35 does and opens up the option of using a fully weighted 88-note hammer action keyboard to a lot of users that would otherwise not be able to afford such an instrument. I found the keyboard on this model to be somewhat similar to the P-35 in that is fell slightly behind its counterpart. But, it is still a great feeling keyboard for the price tag.
For anyone wanting to learn piano, not keyboard, and needs the feel of a graded hammer action on a budget, you are not going to know how the feel of this differs to a model that you are not using side by side. It still has a balanced feel right up the octave range, with a very light and delicate touch response on the very high notes, as one would expect of an acoustic piano. It was sad to see the departure of the 5-pin DIN MIDI output on this model though. Now offered with a USB to host connection for running the P-45 into a computer, I guess this is just a sign of the times when hardware synthesizers are not being connected on certain levels any more. That said, it brings the P-45 one step further into the future to keep up with other models on the market. Though it doesn’t thrust us quite as far forward as the P-115 which now has remote control available through an iOS app, something that I am sure we will see getting extended to the entire range at some point in the future.
As is often the case with these upgrades to the P-Series from Yamaha, you don’t necessarily get a whole lot of surprises or ‘wow’ factor. That’s not the point. It’s more a matter of bringing each model forward to meet the demands of today’s growing musicians and ensure they are kept up to date. So, there are many of you that will want to upgrade from earlier P-Series models to these new ones and I am sure there will be plenty of first time Yamaha pianists that will relish in the sound and feel of both these digital pianos. Keep an eye out for the white versions too. They represent a real challenge in maintaining a clean surface, but really look the part if you are into a little flash in your instrument and studio.