Yamaha has established itself as one of, if not the leading manufacturers of pianos. The range is extensive. It stretches from pianos that are designed for the complete beginner to concert grand pianos.
And these top-of-the-range instruments are found in some of the most important concert halls in the world. Today, I’ll be looking at a particular Arius Series model in my in-depth Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano Review.
This series is designed to be what we might call an ‘entry-level’ instrument. But that description doesn’t do any credit to the quality of this piano at all. There are entry-level pianos for beginners, and then there is the Yamaha Arius range.
Yamaha has grown from being a humble reed organ manufacturer established in 1887 to one of the big players in musical instruments. Furthermore, the largest instrument manufacturer in the world. And, we aren’t even talking about the other world-class manufacturing divisions they have.
The three-intertwined tuning fork logo is recognized the world over. It is accepted as a representation of quality. So, let’s take a look at this high quality electronic piano for beginners.
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano – Overview
Most people never get the chance to know what it feels like to play a Concert Grand. Similarly, most people don’t know what it is like to play a piano that sounds like one. The Arius range gives you that opportunity. It recreates the feel and the touch of a top-level acoustic piano. And it carries with it the sound of the Yamaha CFX concert grand.
All of this is placed inside a sleek design that will enhance your home. But, it is still compact enough to fit just about anywhere.
A Good Technique Builder
The touch creates an authentic acoustic piano feel. Therefore, it is a great stepping stone to allow you to move on later to an acoustic piano. The keyboard action of the YDP144 Arius will help you build good technique and strength for your fingers.
The sound, as we’ll see, is spectacular. Every effort has been made to recreate the sound and the ambiance of a concert grand in an auditorium. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the great things about this piano is the way it looks. It has stylish curves and has been designed to be compact, but it also looks great. A welcome piece of furniture for any home. It measures 53.5 inches wide by just over 32 inches high, and 17 inches deep.
Because the majority of the materials used in the build are wood, it is quite heavy at 83 pounds. It comes in either a Dark Rosewood or Black Walnut finish. There are three metal pedals. We shall look at those a bit closer later.
It has four 10-watt speakers that generate a reasonable level of volume. But, their main purpose is not volume. It is to ensure that the piano sounds at its best. If for any reason, you need extra volume, then you can connect up to an external speaker.
It has a full 88 keys. These are synthetic ivory and ebony and made to look natural. They have been given a special finish to absorb any moisture that may occur while in use. This prevents them from becoming slippery during longer playing or practice sessions.
As is usual with instruments like this, they are delivered carefully packaged. So, it will need to be assembled when it arrives. Putting everything together takes a little time, but it is all clearly explained in the instructions.
The only thing you will need to be careful of is the weight. You may need some help in lifting certain parts.
As this is mainly a piano, there are few controls to worry about. On the rear of the piano are a USB port, an Aux-in, and two standard headphone jack sockets.
This is a good idea as it allows you to practice in privacy. But, it will also allow a teacher to work with you and not disturb anyone else in the house or room. Or if you just want someone to listen to what you are playing privately.
Via The USB Connection
You hook up to your iPhone, iPad, or any other smart device. Using your device, you can connect up to the Digital Piano Controller or the Smart Pianist software. Here you can select one of ten piano voices.
For those that are working with a Digital Audio Workstation like Logic Pro, you can use this piano as a MIDI controller.
How Does It Play?
I have already discussed how good the piano looks. That is quite an important element when you are paying money for what is also a piece of furniture. But, there are two other rather important aspects. How does it sound, and how does it play?
The Weighted Action
If you play a real acoustic piano, you will know that the keys feel different in various parts of the keyboard. The low left-hand keys are heavier, and the high right-hand keys are lighter.
The Yamaha GHS weighted action keys recreate this to make it feel like an acoustic piano. This gives you the same responsive feel and allows a controlled touch when playing. GHS stands for “Graded Hammer System.” Real hammers are incorporated to create a ‘real’ feel.
If you eventually progress to an acoustic piano, it will feel the same as you play. This is a big advantage for those pianists who plan to make the transition to an acoustic piano in the future. Overall, it is one of the most responsive digital pianos you can buy.
Touch Sensitivity and Polyphony
You can adjust the overall touch sensitivity of the keyboard. There are four settings: hard, medium, soft, and fixed. This keyboard has a polyphony level of 192. That is quite good. The highest you can get on a piano like this is 256.
Additionally, the higher the number, the less likely you will get note dropouts. Note dropouts occur when the digital systems can’t keep up with the speed or the complexity of what you are playing. Therefore, notes can drop out. This is unlikely to happen to players on this piano.
I mentioned earlier that this piano has three pedals. These are Soft, Sostenuto, and Damper/Sustain. These pedals add to the realism of the sound and how you can create dynamics in what piece you are playing.
There is a “half-damper” pedal control that will give you an increase in sustain the more pressure you apply to the pedal.
How Does It Sound?
I suppose that might be the most important question. It is very unlikely you are going to be disappointed. The sound of this piano is what Yamaha seems to have invested most time and energy in producing. This makes it one of the best sounding digital pianos you will find in the price range.
One of the ten voices you have to choose from is the CFX Premium Grand Piano voice. Multiple samples are taken from each of the notes on the top-of-the-range CFX Concert Grand. These are assembled and put into the YDP144 Arius to create that Concert Grand sound. This recreates the sound and the power of their flagship CFX Concert grand.
Good Vibrations, Virtually
They go a little further in their design efforts to create this sound. The use of innovative modeling like VRM, or “Virtual Resonance Modeling,” recreates elements that affect the overall sound.
These include how the soundboard, frame, and rim resonate. All part of the overall sound of an acoustic piano. And the virtual model is included in this piano. Furthermore, this resonance applies even when you are using the headphones.
A Quick Return To The Pedals
I have already mentioned the extra expression you can create using the pedals. These can deliver a range of extra sounds. Most notably the “Damper” control. This digitally recreates the depth of tone that you hear on an acoustic piano.
Reverb options are built-in and can be adjusted to suit the sound you wish to recreate. This can be from a small intimate club to a huge concert hall. The addition of these options that create different environments is an excellent feature.
As mentioned, the volume from the four 10-watt speakers will produce an excellent, realistic sound rather than a high volume level.
You tend not to get too much in the way of what might be called ‘extras’ with Yamaha pianos and keyboards. This piano, though, is fitted with a recording and playback feature.
This allows you to record your practice sessions and then play them back to see where you can improve. It also allows you to record yourself if you’re pleased with something you have learned.
What You Get For Your Money
All told, you are getting one of the best value for the money digital pianos for beginners on the market.
- YDP144 Piano.
- Owners manual.
- Quick Operating Booklet.
- 50 Classical Music Masterpieces.
If you are thinking of getting an entry-level piano, it is likely you may need some help with beginning to play. These might assist:
- The Really Useful Piano Chord Progression Poster.
- Removable Piano Keyboard Stickers for 88/61/54/49/37 Key Piano.
- Piano for Beginners – Learn to Play Nursery Rhymes: The Ultimate Beginner Piano Songbook for Kids.
- Piano Book for Adult Beginners.
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano Review – Pros and Cons
- Compact design with great style.
- Full-size keyboard with 88 keys.
- Two headphone sockets.
- USB connection.
- Built-in sound system with four ten-inch speakers.
- Yamaha GHS weighted key system.
- Three metal pedals with a half-damper sustain option.
- Piano sounds from multiple samples.
- Virtual Resistance Modeling.
- The bench does not have built-in storage space.
- Quite heavy for one person to assemble easily.
- Some may find it expensive.
Looking for a Great Digital Piano?
We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Pianos For Beginners, the Best Digital Piano With Weighted Keys, the Best Digital Grand Piano, the Best Portable Keyboard Pianos, and the Best Digital Pianos for Under $500 you can buy in 2023.
And, don’t miss our comprehensive Yamaha Arius YDP-181 Review, our Yamaha Arius YDP-V240 Review, our Yamaha NP12 Review, our Yamaha MM8 Review, our Yamaha P-45 Review, and our Yamaha YDP 103 Digital Piano Review for more great items currently on the market.
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano Review – Conclusion
If you are looking for a great entry-level piano for a beginner, you will go a long way to find a better piano than this. Not only is it a good-looking piece of furniture, but it also plays beautifully, recreating the feel of an acoustic piano.
Whilst those are great assets for a piano such as this, it is the sound that is exceptional. Yamaha has gone to extraordinary lengths to recreate the sound of one of their concert grand pianos. This is an outstanding piano and another feather in Yamaha’s cap.
Until next time, let your music play.