Yamaha YDP-144 Review: What to Expect

Yamaha YDP-144 is an entry-level product in the YDP line. The YDP-144 is a very popular model for home and lesson studio use.

Yamaha YDP line is also known as Arius series home digital pianos priced between $1000 and $2500. The series comprises various models that have been upgraded throughout many years.

Specifically, Yamaha released YDP-144 at the beginning of 2019 to replace its predecessor YDP-143. While this review is focusing on the YDP-144, Yamaha released its successor YDP-145 in early 2022. Hence we are briefly touching on the YDP-145.

Yamaha YDP-144 vs Yamaha YDP-145

The brand new model YDP-145 has gone up in price due to new production and shipping cost increases. Overall, the new YDP-145 has not much changed over the predecessor YDP-144. They have the same cabinet and control design. The key action and built-in speaker system are the same.

Moreover, both are compatible with Yamaha’s free app Smart Pianist.

Since the new Yamaha YDP-145 has almost identical features to YDP-144, we include the YDP-145 for a side-by-side specification comparison of Yamaha YDP-144 vs Yamaha YDP-145. It is obvious that the specifications are pretty much the same.

On the other hand, Yamaha YDP-145 features some enhancements in its sound engine:

  • VRM Lite (Virtual Resonance Modeling Lite) technology reproduces the sympathetic resonance
  • The use of tone escapement construction provides the three-dimensional resonance like an acoustic piano

Specifications

   Yamaha YDP 144 Yamaha YDP 145
Sound Engine Yamaha CFX Yamaha CFX
Preset Voices 10 voices 10 voices
Simulator 4 types 4 types
Polyphony 192 192
Keyboard Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard; full 88-keys Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard; full 88-keys
Touch Sensitivity Soft, Medium, Hard, Fixed Soft, Medium, Hard, Fixed
Key Touch Matte black keys; glossy on white keys Matte black keys; glossy on white keys
Pedal 3 pedal with half-pedal support 3 pedal with half-pedal support
Speaker System 2 speakers; 8W x 2 amplifiers 2 speakers; 8W x 2 amplifiers
Onboard Recorder Yes, 2 tracks Yes, 2 tracks
Modes Dual (Layers), Duet (Duo), Split  Dual (Layers), Duet (Duo), Split 
Metronome and Transpose Yes Yes
Connectivity Two 1/4″ stereo headphone jack; USB-to-Host Two 1/4″ stereo headphone jack; USB-to-Host
Dimensions (W x D x H) 53 7/16″ x 16 5/8″ x 32 1/16″ (1357 mm x 422 mm x 815 mm) (same)
Weight 83 lbs 12 oz (38 kg) (same)
Release Date January 2019 January 2022
Full Spec on Yamaha’s Official Site YDP-144 YDP-145

Design

The YDP 144 has a modern stylish design available in three color finishes – dark rosewood, black walnut, and satin white – that will perfectly uplift any room. The compact design of the Yamaha YDP144 is ideal for a small apartment or lesson studio.

Controls

The YDP-144 does not have an LCD visual control penal. Normally, Yamaha reserves this feature for their higher-priced models.

yamaha ydp-144 onboard controls

The function buttons are on the left side of the keyboard while the power switch and volume knob are on the right side.

In addition, the YDP-144 control design leverages the piano keys of the second octave from the left combined with functional buttons. For example, you can change the voice to Pipe Organ easily by pressing the Piano/Voice button with the G key in the second octave. You can find the key assignments in the Owner’s Manual.

Overall, the Yamaha Arius YDP-144 presents a clean and minimalistic look and it also comes with a sliding cover with an integrated music rest that helps keep dust away from the keys.

The lack of an LCD control panel is well compensated by Yamaha’s free app Smart Pianist. It is very easy to manipulate the settings with a visual presentation.

Pedals

yamaha ydp-144 pedals

Just like an acoustic grand piano, the YDP-144 has three pedals for sustain (right), soft (left), and sostenuto in the middle. The sustain pedal supports a half-pedal function which usually is found in pricer digital pianos.

When you press the sustain pedal, the notes ring on even if you take your hands off. However, if you don’t press it down fully, you get the half-sustain effect. It is a brilliant design to truly replicate the pedals of acoustic grand pianos.

Sound

yamaha cf concert grand

The sound engine for the YDP-144 is CFX sampling. This means this digital piano has the sound of the iconic quarter-million-dollar concert grand piano CFX. It is a very high-quality sound engine that provides a clear tone.

The specific quality of the sound is its very stable tonal profile. In other words, you are not getting a huge difference from playing in lower dynamics ranges to the top end. Therefore, it has a consistent tone just like its acoustic version, the CFX grand.

Polyphony

The Yamaha YDP-144 has 192-note polyphony. Polyphony on digital pianos is the maximum number of notes that a keyboard can sound simultaneously.

192-note polyphony is plenty even if you layer one of two tracks or playback from recording.

Speakers

speaker disected

The instrument has a pair of 8W speakers built-in. It has plenty of power for personal or teaching studio use in a relatively small room, but it is on the lower end compared with other models in the price range.

When you get into higher-end models in the Arius series like YDP164 and YDP184, you’ll have more substantial power in speakers. Even in a comparable model like Kawai KDP120, it has a total of 40 Watt output.

While the output wattage does not linearly correlate to the decibels, the higher wattage output certainly provides a richer sound that makes material differences.

Build-in Tones

Besides the CFX Grand voice, the YDP-144 has nine more voices:

  • Mellow Grand; Pop Grand
  • Stage E. Piano; DX E. Piano
  • Pipe Organ; Jazz Organ
  • Harpsichord
  • Vibraphone
  • Strings

Although the YDP-144 does not come with a huge selection of voices, the quality of the voices is very good. Additionally, the YDP-144 comes with 50 preset songs for your listening pleasure and play-along with the included music book.

Keyboard

yamaha ydp-144 keyboard

The most essential part of a piano is the keyboard. The Yamaha YDP144 features a full 88-note keyboard with Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key action. It means the keys at the bottom are heavier than those at the top. That’s what you’ll find on a traditional acoustic grand piano.

Overall, the keys feel nice and they offer the resistance that you’ll find in an acoustic piano. The action system has a double sensor instead of the latest and greatest triple sensor system. However, it is still a very decent keyboard to practice your skills.

The black keys have a matte finish that provides a good grip. Unfortunately, the white keys with a glossy finish could be a bit slippery for fast and forceful play.

Additionally, the keyboard offers 4 different settings for touch sensitivity. You can choose from soft to hard, and anything in between.

Other Features of Yamaha YDP-144

Yamaha YDP-144 offers many digital features that further enhance your play and listening experience. All these features can be controlled via the Smart Pianist app on your smart devices or by using the onboard buttons and keys.

Modes

The YDP144 offers the layer mode, duet play mode, and split mode.

  • The layer mode enables you to play two sounds simultaneously.
  • The duet mode splits the keyboard into two sections with the same pitches.
  • The split mode allows each of your hands to play a different voice.

Recording and Playback

The two-track sound recording function on the YDP-144 is useful for practicing or playing along with the recorded songs. It allows you to record as a MIDI track or as an audio track (via the Smart Pianist app).

metronome-1

This could be very handy for someone who wants to get the MIDI files or just wants to have an MP3 file to share with friends.

Metronome

The onboard metronome provides convenience for practice. It helps regulate the tempo and rhythms. Nowadays, this is pretty much a standard function of all digital pianos.

Connectivity

yamaha ydp-144 connectos

There are some convenient connectors available on the Yamaha Arius YDP-144. These ports are under the keyboard and on the front side for easy access.

Standard Stereo Jacks

The two standard quarter-inch headphone jacks enable you to have convenient practice sessions at night without disturbing those around you.

However, there is no separate audio out jack. Thus, if you need to connect to externally powered speakers, you can leverage one of the headphone jacks. When you are doing this, the onboard speakers are off automatically.

USB Connector

The USB-to-Host (type B) is a simple plug-and-play port. It allows connection to any computer or mobile device you wish. There is no driver and no installation required. The USB port offers a convenient way to connect to Yamaha’s Smart Pianist App, which allows you to manage the piano setting or select songs on your mobile devices with visual presentation.

There is no USB-to-Device (Type A) connector on the YDP-144.

Yamaha YDP-144 Pros & Cons

pros & cons
Pros Cons
Yamaha’s CFX concert grand piano sound Low speaker power
192-note polyphony No Bluetooth connections
Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard; full 88-keys No LCD control penal (the Smart Pianist App mitigates this deficiency)
Stylish design with three color choices  
 Onboard recording and playback feature  
Wonderful beginners’ piano at a budget-friendly price range  

Our Conclusion On Yamaha YDP-144

The Yamaha YDP-144 is one of the most popular home digital pianos in the world. It is right up with instruments like Kawai KDP120 or Roland RP102.

Overall the YDP-144 or even YDP-145 is excellent value for your money. It features brilliant key action, fantastic sound, and an appealing design. As we mentioned at the beginning, there is not much difference in terms of Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-145.

We truly think either one is an outstanding and enjoyable instrument for any budding pianist.

Related Digital Piano Reviews:

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Casio Privia PX-870
Roland RP102

Yamaha YDP-184
Kawai KDP120
Donner DDP-100
Yamaha P45 & Yamaha P71
Yamaha P125
Roland FP-30X
Casio Privia PX-S3000
Kawai ES110

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