Achieving the perfect Grand piano sound while providing sufficient accompaniments has been a goal that digital piano makers have sought for a long time. Unfortunately, many manufacturers forget important aspects like equalizer, split points and sufficient voice variety when seeking to come up with the greatest sound and touch fidelity to the Grand piano. Yamaha claims that their Yamaha P255 fills this very gap, providing excellent sound reproduction, an unbelievable 24 voices, special speakers with tweeters and smartphone app compatibility for visual management of settings. Our trials proved most of these to be well worth the asking price, but some facets – like the added weight – may make prove to be discouraging in certain circumstances. Is it still a value for money proposition? Let’s run a detail review to find out!
Set Up and Build Quality
Yamaha generally does not encumber users with a huge number of parts and peripherals. Hence, most users can simply unbox the digital piano and place it on either the stand or on a desk. One of the gripes that folks upgrading from the P105 had was that the P255 comes with enhanced weight – 17.3kg for the product along as opposed to 16kg for the whole P105 setup. That said, we could lift and arrange the unit without requiring the help of a second person.
Due to the product’s weight, we found it prudent to purchase a separate stand. Our choice was the Yamaha YKA-7500 stand which comes with double-braces. However, other users could use their existing keyboard stands since the unit is compact and would not misbalance older stands.
Moving onto the build quality, we find that the unit is not prone to scratching or other accidental damage. It may not be rugged enough to survive repeated movement but it can still survive the occasional fall to the floor.
Ease of Playing
In this price bracket, it is assumed that the basic requirements for proceeding with the fundamentals of learning piano would be provided. Yamaha lived up to our expectations by providing an 88-key setup comprising of keys that were hammer-weighted and offered just the right amount of resistance. A few users went beyond the ordinary testing and chose to see how the keys’ action compared to that of the Yamaha Grand C3 piano.
In their testing, they found that the recording of the hammers striking the strings was so similar to that of the Grand that they could easily have been fooled into considering the unit a real Grand. One user found that the sympathetic vibrations that he could feel when trying out a real Grand piano could be replicated on the Yamaha P255 without there being any noticeable distortion.
Coming to the quality of the keys, the same user heaped praise on the unit because of the keys being of a porous quality that he had so far seen only on a real Grand piano. In comparison, he found – and our experience agrees with his – that the Roland and Casio offerings came nowhere close to what Yamaha could achieve.
The sustain pedal that came with the product managed to achieve sufficient results for a comfortable and enjoyable playing session. Considering the general run of pedals, this marks an important milestone as far as Yamaha’s pedals are concerned.
Finally, we found the music stand to be quite praiseworthy. Made of flexiglass instead of the standard metal, it is lighter and can be easily removed if the user has no need for placing the music on the keyboard. At the same time, users were surprised to note that the unit was quite unbreakable. Coupled with the fact that it is neither to far away nor too close, these features make it one of the best designs, especially if you are a beginner and are looking for to pick up learning notes for beginners.
Sound and Acoustic Features
Yamaha claims that this is one of the few products that can truly match up to the music of a Grand Piano and most people who purchased it had high expectations as a result of this promotional claim. In our experience, the sound proved to be every bit as realistic and deep as that of a Grand piano as the maker claimed it to be. If our testimony is inadequate, you can consult professional teachers who found that compared to the PX35, PX105 and competitors from Casio, Korg and Roland, this product achieved a sound that allowed them to achieve the same original music that they were used to in their training schools.
Entering more technical territory, we found that the unit produced a “warmer” sound compared to what other products managed. Some users compared that there was a slight “tinnying” of the sound on higher notes but as experts point out, this is due to the presence of tweeters that enhance some notes. Once they had used it for a few months, most users came to appreciate these tweeters, especially when playing a gathering.
For many though, mere presence of good sound quality is not enough because they consider a number of acoustic features to be an integral part of the key features to consider when buying a digital piano. To this end, Yamaha has provided 24 voices which include virtually every type of instrument that you’re likely to play the piano with. Despite this, some users have complained that the unit could have come with more piano voices so users could focus on perfecting their playback skills.
Other important features of the unit include a split point offering that allows for a simpler practice curve. Further, users can use the Sound Boost button to enhance the sound coming out of the speakers and thus modify their output according to the environs. Our trials on the other hand brought into focus the equalizer option that is also meant to improve the ability of the unit to adjust to various playing conditions.
Finally, we must praise the speakers for ensuring that the multifarious features offered in the product are expressed without the need for additional equipment. Indeed, the round-shape and excellent positioning of the speakers are such that many users did not even need to use amps or other supporting devices to obtain the sound quality they desired.
Controls and Connectivity
Yamaha believes in uncluttered control panels and for this purpose, has kept the number of control settings to a level that would be ideal for both professionals and amateurs. Users who did not have any training could acclimatize themselves to the controls within a few days.
For those seeking a truly power user experience, Yamaha offers an iOS app that allows you to observe the settings of the unit graphically while saving the space that such complex controls would have occupied on the keyboard. With this app, you can view the actual soundwave representations of the voices and based on them, choose the ones you find most admirable.
In terms of connectivity, we discovered that the USB ports could support virtually any major device, be it a smartphone or a laptop. Once connected, using and recording on the digital piano proved to be a breeze. Earphone connectors are also present, although the sheer quality of the speakers makes them somewhat redundant.
- Compact and no-frills design
- Fiberglass music stand that is durable, removable and positioned correctly.
- Superior hammer-weighted keys that feel like Grand piano keys
- “Warm” and deep sound that approaches the tones of a true Grand piano.
- Sound Boost and Equalizer provide great customization options
- iOS controller app provides unmatched control over product features
- Good connectivity for a range of devices
- Heavy compared to other models
- Some users complained that there weren’t enough piano voices available.
Though the lack of sufficient number of piano voices is surely something advanced users will complain about, average users are likely to be satisfied by the fact that the sheer range of voices is enough to handle most users’ requirements. Add to it the excellent sound reproduction and sound emitting (through speakers) capabilities and the great control options offered by the iOS app for Yamaha P255, and you have a product that matches up to most of the expectations Yamaha had led us to harbour. With excellent key action and a compact design thrown in, these make for a unit that can easily count among top choices for those seeking a well-balanced unit within an affordable price range.