The Yamaha YDP-143 was released in 2016. Three years later, we finally see an upgraded version from Yamaha in January 2019. The YDP-144 is replacing the 143. Unfortunately, not much has been changed. They are in many aspects identical to one another. I am honestly quite disappointed with this new model from Yamaha. In this Yamaha YDP-144 review, I will show you every aspect of this new digital piano from Yamaha. But more importantly, I want to highlight the difference between the new YDP-144 and the 3-years-old YDP-143.
The Yamaha YDP-144 has an identical design to the YDP-143. It is a console style digital piano with a clean and sleek style.
It should fit comfortably in most home decor. In fact, on the Yamaha website, you can see the effect of the new YDP-144 in different home scenarios.
Depending on your region, you can choose from Rosewood, Black and White finish. All of them have a simulated wooden texture on the surface.
The key cover slides in and out of the cabinet just like the one on the YDP-143.
The music rest on the YDP-144 is collapsible. This is again identical to the music rest on the YDP-143.
It is disappointing to see that there is no upgrade on the page holder beneath the music rest. It is still very small and does not hold pages effectively.
Since it is identical to the music rest on the YDP-143, I have the same complaint that it’s neither wide enough nor tall enough. This music rest is only effective to support a score book. If you use printed sheet music on A4 paper, it would quite often fold on itself over the music rest.
There is no upgrade in the control panel either. The controls are split into two parts on the YDP-144.
On the right side of the keyboard, you would find the power button and the volume knob.
On the left side, there is a single line of 7 buttons consisting of the most used functions and settings. It is a good selection that I found quite convenient to use.
To access more advanced features and settings, it requires a combination of buttons and piano keys.
Alternatively you can use the Smart Pianist app on your iOS device to tweak and customize the Yamaha YDP-144.
The keyboard on the Yamaha YDP-144 consists of 88 piano keys. The keys are made of plastic.
The white keys have a glossy finish while the black ones has a matte finish. This is consistent to modern acoustic pianos.
The keys appear to be well built and evenly spaced.
At the deep end of the keyboard, there is a single line of red velvet that adds a nice accent and a premium feel to the instrument.
Size & Weight
The Yamaha YDP-144 weighs around 38 kg (84 lbs).
Without music rest, it has the dimensions of 136(W) x 42(D) x 81(H) cm (53″ x 17″ x 32″).
I was hoping for a more advanced key action on the YDP-144. After all it has been 3 years since Yamaha launched its predecessor the YDP-143.
To my disappointment, the new YDP-144 features the same GHS action on the YDP-143. It is the most basic key action from Yamaha.
Each key is individually weighted and graded. It features an actual hammer behind each key to create an authentic feel.
Just like an acoustic piano, the keys in the bass area feels heavier and gradually gets lighter towards the tremble part.
Although the GHS is not bad, it is quite basic compared to other actions on the market, especially in 2019. It is a duel sensored action without any advanced features such as synthetic Ivory keytops, counterweights, triple sensors, etc.
The big upgrade of the Yamaha YDP-144 is in the sound engine.
Unlike its predecessor, this new model features Yamaha’s CFX sound engine that you would find on the more advanced YDP-184 and many Clavinova models.
It samples Yamaha’s flagship 9 foot concert grand piano CFX. The result is a truly pleasant experience to the ear.
The CFX sound engine on the YDP-144 also features Damper resonance, String resonance and key-off samples. These are important nuances to create an authentic sound of an acoustic piano.
Compare to the Pure CF on the YDP-143, the CFX is a significantly superior engine. It sounds bright and natural with far more details.
The speaker system on the other hand, is another big let down of the new YDP-144. Even though it is slightly more powerful than the YDP-143, it’s still not nearly good enough.
The Yamaha YDP-144 is equipped with two 8 watt speakers. They are certainly better than the 6 watt speakers on the YDP-143. But for a console style digital piano, it is way too weak. This is a speaker system better suited for portable digital pianos.
Just like the YDP-143, this weak speaker system creates an awkward situation. To fully utilize the amazing CFX sound engine, you will want to use a pair of external monitors/speakers. But that would ruin the clean and sleek aesthetics of the instrument.
There is no upgrade from the YDP-143 in terms of features. The YDP-144 has the same polyphony numbers, the same amount of voices to choose from and the same connectivity options.
Yamaha makes a big selling point of its Smart Pianist app on iOS devices. And yet, there is no Bluetooth on the new YDP-144. You still need an USB cable and a dongle to connect your smart device. This is so outdated in 2019!
Here’s a list of features on the brand new Yamaha YDP-144:
- Grand pianos × 3
- Electric pianos × 2
- Organs × 2
- Polyphony: 192
- Key sensitivity:
- Fixed: turns off key sensitivity
- Medium (default)
- Reverb settings (each with 10 levels):
- Recital Hall
- Concert Hall
- Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Duo mode: split the keyboard to identical halfs
- 1 song with 2 tracks
- 10 Demo songs and 50 piano songs
- Headphone jack × 2
- USB to Host port
Being a console style digital piano, the Yamaha YDP-144 comes with three piano pedals. They are identical to the pedals you would find on an acoustic piano.
The pedals support half pedaling, which is an important feature for many classical pieces.
Depends on the bundle you choose, it might also comes with a Yamaha branded bench. This however is not a very good bench. It’s not height adjustable and is not the most comfortable bench I’ve used.
As with any digital piano, a good pair of headphones is always recommended.
Due to the weak speaker system on the YDP-144, you might want to consider a pair of external monitors. It is not a must but would enhance the sound significantly.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Yamaha YDP-144 is best suited for beginners due to its basic GHS key action. It can also be used as a casual instrument or a secondary practice piano.
Overall, I’m quite disappointed by the new Yamaha YDP-144. It feels to me like a lazy upgrade from Yamaha. The only meaningful difference from its predecessor is the sound engine.
It still features the old GHS key action from many years ago and the lack of Bluetooth in a brand new model in 2019 is simply confusing.
There are many other models on the market that are far superior than the YDP-144. Unless you’ve already decided on the CFX sound, I would encourage you to take a look at other options.
Yamaha YDP-144 vs. Yamaha YDP-143
They are identical in almost all aspects. The only difference is the more advanced sound engine on the new YDP-144. The CFX is significantly better than the Pure CF on the YDP-143.
The speakers are slightly more powerful but they are still pretty weak.
If you already own the YDP-143, I see no reason to upgrade to the new YDP-144.
Yamaha YDP-144 vs. Roland F-140r
The F-140r from Roland is similarly priced as the Yamaha YDP-144. It however offers much more value for your money.
The Roland F-140r features a more advanced key action, the PHA-4. It has synthetic Ivory keytops and simulated let-off effect. The playing experience is a lot more authentic, natural and expressive than the GHS on the Yamaha.
The F-140r also wins on features. It has Bluetooth, more than 300 voices, a USB to device port and a lot more internal recording capability.
There are two 12 watt speakers on the F-140r compared to the two 8 watt on the YDP-144.
Overall, for about the same price, the Roland F-140r is a much more capable digital piano than the Yamaha YDP-144.
Yamaha YDP-144 vs. Kawai KDP 110
Kawai is famous for the authentic key actions on its digital pianos. The RHCII action on the Kawai KDP 110 is simply the best key action I have tried in this price range.
It is a triple sensored key action while the GHS on the Yamaha is dual sensored. The control, timing and expressiveness of the RHCII create a natural playing experience.
The sound of these two models is also very different. While the Yamaha is more bright, the Kawai sounds mellower. The Kawai however does have another advantage here. Each note on the KDP 110 is individually sampled.
The Kawai KDP 110 also has much more powerful speaker system than the Yamaha YDP-143. The two 20 watt speakers on the Kawai sounds much more detailed than the two 8 watt speakers on the Yamaha.
To top it off, the Kawai has Bluetooth for easy connectivity with smart devices.
Personally, I would recommend the Kawai KDP 110 over the newly released Yamaha YDP-144
Yamaha YDP-144 vs. Casio PX-870
The Casio PX-870 is about $100 cheaper than the YDP-144.
It features Casio’s Tri-Sensor II Scaled Hammer Action, another triple sensored action that beats Yamaha’s dual sensored GHS.
The Casio play a lot more expressive and grants you far more control than the Yamaha.
I do like the Yamaha CFX sound a lot more than the Casio. It’s more much detailed and just sounds lovely with headphones.
However, the weak speaker system on the YDP-144 is again a big disadvantage comparing to the Casio. The PX-870 features two 20 watt amplifiers firing 4 speakers in two directions. Although I find the base notes on the PX-870 sound a bit muddy through its speaker system, it is still a better experience than the YDP-144 at high volume.
The Casio PX-870 does not have Bluetooth, just like the YDP-144. However, it does feature 256 polyphony notes comparing to the 192 on the Yamaha. The Casio also has a USB to device port that support exporting recordings in WAV format.
The Casio PX-870 is my pick for best console style digital piano under $1,000. And even up against the new YDP-144, the PX-870 still wins with its better key actions and more advanced features.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this review. And if you happen to have some experience with the Yamaha YDP-144, please share with us in the comment below.