When shopping for a portable digital piano, the Yamaha P-line is the series that you can not overlook. There are quite a lot choices inside this product line. From P-515, to P-125, and P-45; all members of the P-Line were champions when they were made. In this Yamaha P115 review, I will show you why this discontinued model can still be a good choice if you can get it on the cheap.
P-115 became one of the most sought-after digital pianos immediately it was introduced in 2015. This was possible because it was not just the most affordable digital piano on the market, it was satisfying an array of needs for a lot of pianists at the time.
Although the piano has been discontinued by Yamaha and has been replaced by the newer P-125, a lot of people still refers to it whenever they see a member of the P-Line.
This review will shed light on why the P-115 sold greatly when it was released, what mandated its discontinuation, and what we can still enjoy in it.
P-115 was designed for both top notch piano functions and great aesthetic appeal. Its compacted body is made of durable plastic and its structure hums elegance and simplicity.
To cater for user preferences, Yamaha made sure that users have the opportunity of choosing between two colors. Therefore, unlike other members of Yamaha’s P-Line, P-115 comes in black (P-115B) and white (P-115WH) glossy finishes; and both have a similar red stripe that runs throughout the length of the keyboard, at the rear of the keys.
Its music rest stands easily at an angle upon fixing, the music sheet is oriented on it for convenience, and it allows multiple sheets at a time.
A notable demerit of the P-115 is the lack of an LCD screen that can aid in the exploration of its features. Nonetheless, this problem was partially solved through its free Digital Piano Controller App that affords users quick and easy-to-use interface for navigation and configuration of the piano. The App also affords you the opportunity of using new features as you update it. You can also personalize the settings to suit your needs, safe them, and use them when the need arise.
However, the iOS-based App remains useless for many users not using iPhones or iPads.
The piano was, however, designed in such a way that you will be able to adequately operate it and access its functions without a screen. It features 14 dedicated buttons for different functions – playback, recording, accompaniment, metronome, and sounds – and the manual provides great information about different “Button + Key” combinations to access several functions.
Size and Weight
Many people were satisfied with the size and weight of P-115 when it was released. In fact, portability was one of its selling points. It weighs 26 pounds (11.8 kg), a weight that still remains competitive for digital pianos; and it is 52.2 x 11.6 x 6.4 inches in size without stand, a size that is currently less competitive when compared to the digital pianos on the market now.
Although I don’t know why the P-115 package didn’t include a Yamaha stand and bench, which will surely be great inconvenience for a lot of users, its absence probably contributed to it’s relatively affordable price. And since it is better to use this instrument with a piano stand, you have the privilege of selecting a stand you truly like. Yamaha’s L85 stand quickly comes to mind because of how adequately it suits the design of this piano, but its not as portable as the X-type piano stands you can find on Amazon.
Alternatively, a desk in your home or studio that will also accommodate your computer or media player is an option, if you want to avoid the extra dollar cost of a stand.
P-115 features 88 Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keys that simulates an acoustic piano by being heavier in the lower octaves while being lighter in the higher octaves. Although the GHS is the standard for all affordable Yamaha digital pianos and was acceptable when it was released, it is currently under-performing on the basis of the advent of better technologies.
The touch sensitivity of the keys are decent, each uses two sensors, and you have control over this sensitivity. You’re able to choose one of 4 preset sensitivity settings – Hard, Medium (default), Soft, and Fixed. If you wish to strike the keys very hard before getting the loudest sound, then the Hard setting will suffice; and the Soft setting is adequate for the opposite. The Fixed setting will give you a single level of sound no matter how hard you strike the keys. The default Medium setting simulates a traditional piano and an average pianist may not have to ever change the setting.
Although its keys do not feature the Ivory and Ebony finish of Yamaha’s pricey pianos, the glossy finish of its white keys and the matte finish of its black keys stabilize your hands, even during an extended play. These weighted keys provide an incubation medium for beginners who are looking forward to playing an acoustic piano in the future.
To simulate the sound quality, in each note, of Yamaha’s famous 9 feet CFIIIS Concert Grand Piano, the P-115 utilizes the Pure CF Sound Engine.
It comes with sounds from 14 different instruments – Grand Pianos, Electric Pianos, Strings, Organs, Vibraphone, Harpsichord, and Wood Bass – and 64 songs.
It features Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) that maintains clarity of sound no matter the level of volume. This was a new feature when the piano was released and it’s one of its superiority to its predecessor, P-45.
In contrast to some pianos that feature a lot of sound effects, the P-115 features only reverberation that is able to simulate the acoustic sounds in a Chamber, a Concert hall, a Recital hall, and a Club. Also, each of these simulated acoustic environments can be adjusted to suit your taste.
It also features two on-board speakers that give better sound quality than expected of their sizes. The speakers can suffice for home and studio use, and you can connect the piano to external speakers to meet other sound needs.
Unlike it’s predecessor, the P-45, that utilizes 64-note polyphony; P-115 uses 192-note polyphony. This amount of polyphony is an extraordinary feature found in a piano of this class and it enhances its ability in producing multi-layer sounds.
You can record new songs using the MIDI recorder. Through this, you’re able to separately record two tracks for each song, edit the parameters of each track, play the two tracks together as one song, and combine the two tracks.
Although P-115 can play audio files from your computer, it can only record in MIDI format and it can not play music from a USB flash drive. Also, its memory will only allow you to save only a single file. So you must transfer the MIDI file to an external device whenever you want to record another song or when you want to transfer another file into the memory of the piano. Not doing so will result in the loss of the former file you have on the piano.
P-115 has some beautiful features that make it very enjoyable for beginners and enthusiasts.
It features 3 modes that offer you amazing functions.
The Split Mode split the keyboard into two parts and enables you to play different instrument in each section simultaneously. Play piano in one section and guitar in another, or any combination of instrument you desire.
The Dual Mode allows you to layer the keyboard with two different instruments and the keys are able to play the two instruments together as you strike them.
The Duo Mode enables two people to use the keyboard at the same time, as it divides the keyboard into two sections of equal pitch ranges. This feature is suitable for classroom use: learners are able to conveniently play after their tutors using the same piano.
Other Feature Include:
- 88-key fully weighted keyboard with matte black key-tops.
- Graded Hammer Standard action.
- Touch Sensitivity (Hard, Medium, Soft, Fixed).
- Pure CF Sound Engine.
- 192-note polyphony.
- 14 sound instruments (3 Grand Pianos, 3 Electric Pianos, 3 Organs, Vibraphone, Strings, Harpsichord, Wood Bass).
- 64 preset songs (50 piano and 14 demo).
- 100MB storage memory (11,000 notes).
- Duo, Split, and Dual modes.
- Lesson Function (practice each hand’s part separately).
- 2-track MIDI recorder and Audio recorder.
- Metronome (14 rhythms), Transpose, Fine-tuning.
- Sound Boost, Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC).
- 2 Speakers (7W + 7W).
- DC IN: 12V
- Connections: USB to Host, AUX. Host, Headphone jacks (2). Sustain Pedal jack.
Like most portable digital pianos, the Yamaha P115 comes with a binary foot switch. It can only detect on/off and doesn’t feel at all like an acoustic piano. If there’s only one thing you should upgrade for the P115, be it the pedal.
Choose the stand and bench to your need. If you want the furniture look, you are stuck with Yamaha’s own stand. But if you are open to portable stands, there are many solid choices on the market.
Another common downside of portable pianos are their weak speakers. For that reason, external speakers/monitors are recommended.
Last but probably most important, a good pair of headphone makes a huge difference to your playing experience.
WHO IT’S FOR
The P-115 may not be best piano you will ever play, but if you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or just an enthusiast, it is a very great instrument to start with. Also, if you’re an expert that doesn’t have the financial muscle for an acoustic piano, the P-115 will be a good investment for you. However, P-115 is no more the ideal piano for creating music. I can only recommend this model in 2019 if you can find a good deal to get it on the cheap.
It’s not also a bad choice for concerts, especially if you will have to play with other players. It’s one of the easiest pianos for collaborations, without the complexities found in many other digital pianos.
For a piano that cost far less than $1,000, the P-115 is able to successfully get you started on a challenging and rewarding hobby.