Yamaha introduced the P125 as a replacement for the popular P115 in 2018. It was well received and many people liked this portable digital piano. In this Yamaha P125 review, I want to show you why I can’t honestly recommend it any more in 2019.
The Yamaha P125 has a modern minimalist design. It is clean and sleek. This instrument would fit most modern decor style and you can use the P125 as a focal point of the room.
Compare to the entry level model P45, the P125 looks much more premium and well-built. Yamaha has also put some good details on this model. Unlike its predecessor, the control panel on the P125 no longer has that concave curve. Instead, two straight lines from end to end wraps the buttons.
The included music rest of the P125 is a solid piece of plastic. It is quite wide to display any music book you have and is quite tall as well to properly support any printed sheet music.
The music rest is identical to its predecessor the P115, but a big improvement compares to the entry level P45.
Like many of its competitors, the music rest of the P125 sits at the very back end of the instrument. Due to its sloped angel, you can not have the piano back against a wall.
The control panel on the Yamaha P125 is clean and straightforward. There is the power button, volume slider and some quick access buttons.
Much like its predecessor and other models of the same price range, many settings and features require a combination of buttons and piano keys.
The buttons and keys are well labeled. You can get to the most commonly used settings and features without consulting the user Manuel.
There are LED indicators on some of the buttons to highlight which setting/feature you are currently using.
The Yamaha P125 comes with a full 88 keyboard. The keys are plastic. There is red velvet at the back end of the keyboard and it looks premium and adds a nice accent to this sleek instrument.
This keyboard is well-built and the gap between keys are minimum and even.
There have been several reports that some of the keys are stuck or doesn’t produce a sound. Usually having a replacement unit would fix that issue. If you purchase the Yamaha P125, I would encourage you to try every key immediately after unboxing.
Size & Weight
Being the mid range model of the Portable series from Yamaha, the P125 is small and lightweight. You can comfortably move it around between gigs.
It weighs about 11.8 kg (26 lbs).
Without stand and music rest, it has the dimensions of 132 x 31 x 17 cm (52” x 12” x 7”)
The P125 uses Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) key action. It is the entry level action from Yamaha.
Each key is weighted with actual hammers and the weight is graded. You get that authentic acoustic key feeling that it’s heavy on the bass side and gets lighter towards the treble side.
Touch sensitivity of the keys can be adjusted with 3 levels or turn it off completely. This is the setting that determines how loud the sound would be produced in relation to the force you put to press the key.
These 88 keys are made of plastic. The white keys have a glossy finish while the black ones have a matte finish. It is supposed to help with grip and absorb moisture for long playing session. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any real improvement from that matte finish.
The GHS is a dual sensor key action. There are only two sensors under the keys and this puts the P125 at a weaker position compares to its competitors on the market. Many of the current generation models from other manufactures are using three sensors for better responsiveness and faster repetition.
Overall, the GHS on the P125 is a good key action for any beginners. However, if you are experienced with piano play, especially with an acoustic piano, it will take you a little time to get used to the GHS action. At the same time, I fell the key actions from Kawai, Casio and Roland at this price range are much better than the GHS.
The Yamaha P125 uses the Pure CF sound engine. Unlike the key action, this sound engine is currently the mid range engine from Yamaha.
It contains a 4 layer sampling of Yamaha’s famous 9 foot concert grand CFIIIS. Compare to the 3 layer sample from its predecessor, the P125 sounds a lot more detailed and rich.
Another significant advantage of the P125, compares to the entry level P45, is that the Pure CF sound engine uses computer modeling to simulate resonance that would occur in an acoustic piano. These include damper resonance, string resonance, and key-off simulation. They add a significant layer of realism to the piano sound.
The P125 is equipped with two 7 watt amplifiers. While these are not very powerful amplifiers, they do drive four speakers facing different directions. This creates an envelope effect and adds immersion to the player. The 4 cm tweeters produce clear high frequency notes, that suits the Yamaha’s bright tonal characteristics.
The speaker system is not the most powerful on the market but it’s loud enough to fill a medium-sized living room or a small venue. For gigs at larger places, external speaker/monitor would be needed.
The P125 is a simple mid range digital piano from Yamaha. It does not have many features besides excellent sound quality.
There is the Rhythm function that intellectually adds matching drum or bass part to your play. It’s fun to play around but I don’t find myself using it much often.
Here are some other features that you might find useful.
- Sound (24 total):
- Pianos × 4
- Electric pianos × 4
- Pipe organs × 4
- Strings × 4
- Vibraphone × 4
- Bass × 4
- Polyphony: 192
- Key sensitivity:
- Fixed (off)
- Reverb settings 0-20:
- Recital Hall
- Concert Hall
- Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Split mode: split the keyboard to two different instruments
- Duet mode: divide the keyboard into two identical halfs
- Internal recording:
- MIDI: 1 song with up to 2 tracks
- USB to Host
- AUX OUT
- Sustain pedal
- Pedal unit
- Headphones x 2
The P125 comes with a music rest and a foot switch. There are many bundle deals you can find that includes a stand, bench and an upgraded pedal unit.
The included foot switch is the same one you would get from the entry level P45. It is just terrible. You need to upgrade it immediately. This foot switch is a simple binary switch that can only detect on vs. off. It does not support half pedaling.
If you are gigging with the P125, you will need to invest in a travel bag. Not only is it easier to carry the instrument, but the bag also serves as a protection for the piano.
Depends on the size of your home or the venue of your gigs, you might want to use an external speaker/monitor system to enhance the sound quality of the P125.
Last but probably the most important, a good pair of headphone is essential for any digital piano.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Yamaha P125 is designed for beginners to explore the instrument and start their learning journey of piano. It is also a good choice as a secondary practicing instrument for any pianist.
As for gigging musicians, if you have the budget, there are better options on the market. But the P125 for its price is a solid option.
If you are interested in tons of instrument voices, mixing and composing your own music or the most authentic touch and sound of an acoustic grand piano, the P125 is not for you. There are other models on the market that serves those purposes.
The Yamaha P125 is a solid mid range portable digital piano.
It’s good-looking, small and lightweight. The sound is natural and rich in details.
The key action, though not the best on the market, is adequate for any beginners.
Unfortunately, there are several new models in 2019 that are better in many ways.
The P125 was a popular choice in 2018 but I can’t recommend it in 2019.
Yamaha P-125 vs. P45
Besides the same key action they use and same terrible foot switch, the P-125 is superior in almost every way to the P45.
It has a much more advance sound engine. The speaker system on the P-125 is also much better. The output power are similar but the P-125 has 4 speakers facing two different directions. The P45 has only 2 speakers.
If you play them side by side, you would be surprised how much better the P-125 sounds.
The P-125 also has a much larger polyphony number of 192 compares to the 65 notes on the P45.
Although you can only record one song up to two tracks on the P-125, the P45 simply does not have an internal recording capability. This could be a deal breaker for many since it really is a convenient function to have on a digital piano.
However, the P45 is couple hundred dollars cheaper than the P-125. Many would say the P-125 is worth the extra money and I would agree on that.
Yamaha P-125 vs. Kawai ES110
These two comes head in head on the market. They cost nearly the same price.
The sound from both instruments are really convincing. Each has its own characteristics but both are natural, rich and dynamic.
The RHC key action on the Kawai ES110 is in my opinion the best key action at this price range. It feels more authentic and expressive to the GHS on the Yamaha P-125.
Recording wise, the P-125 can record only one song but can mix two tracks. While the ES110 can record 3 songs but doesn’t have the ability to mix tracks.
There are two significant advantages of the Kawai ES110. First, the sustain pedal included is much better than the foot switch of the P-125. It is a proper piano pedal with half pedaling support. Second, the Kawai ES110 has Bluetooth. You need an adapter and some cables to connect the P-125 with a smart device. This in 2018 seems a bit outdated.
Overall, they are both excellent digital pianos. But you do pay a bit premium for the Yamaha brand. In my opinion, the Kawai ES110 offers better value than the Yamaha P-125.
Yamaha P-125 vs. Casio PX-160
The key action on the Casio PX-160 is slightly better than the GHS on the P-125. The PX-160 uses three sensors and the keys have synthetic Ivory/Ebony key tops. These are much better materials than the matte finish on the P-125.
They both sound pretty good and it really comes down to personal preference. I myself prefer slightly toward the Yamaha for it’s brighter tone.
They have the same binary foot switch and same internal recording capability. But the Yamaha P-125 has a larger polyphony number of 192 compares to 128 on the Casio PX-160.
Currently the P-125 is about $200 more expensive than the Casio PX-160. They are equally good and you can choose between them based on your personal preference in terms of sound and touch.
Yamaha P-125 vs. Yamaha DGX-660
The DGX-660 is aimed at different audience of the market. But since they cost about the same price, I think it’s a good idea to put them together and see which is a better choice.
The P-125 and the DGX-660 have many similarities. They use the same key action, same sound engine, same terrible foot switch and both have the same 192 polyphony number.
However, the DGX-660 has many features. It has 530 more instrument voices than the P-125 and about 40 more settings to tweak the sound.
The DGX-660 can record up to 5 songs each with 6 tracks compares to P-125’s one song two tracks. There is also a USB to device port on the DGX-660 and you can record unlimited WAV files to a USB stick.
You can even karaoke on the DGX-660, thanks to its microphone jack.
All these features comes with some costs. First, the DGX-600 is about $100 more expensive than the P-125. Second, it almost weights twice as heavy as the P-125 and is almost twice as big.
If you are a gigging musician, the P-125 is a better instrument to carry around. Otherwise, the features and functions of the DGX-660 more than covers the extra $100. I would choose the DGX-660 over the P-125.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this review. And if you happen to have some experience with the Yamaha P-125, please share with us in the comment below.