Home » Digital Piano Reviews » Yamaha YDP 184 Review – 5 Reasons Why You Want This Flagship Arius

Yamaha YDP 184 Review – 5 Reasons Why You Want This Flagship Arius

Yamaha YDP-184

8.3

Design

7.5/10

Key Action

8.0/10

Sound

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Accessories

8.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • CFX sound and good speakers
  • 256 Polyphony
  • Record 250 song with 16 tracks
  • Triple sensor key action
  • Classical design
  • Responsive pedal

Cons

  • Key action is heavy
  • No Bluetooth

Announced in Feb 2018, the YDP 184 is currently the flagship model of the Arius line from Yamaha. There are many advanced features that you would not find on any other models in the Arius line. Its classical look, CFX sound engine and the GH3 key action make this model more like a Clavinova than an Arius. As the flagship model from Yamaha, the YDP 184 is not cheap. In this Yamaha YDP 184 review, I will give you 5 reasons why it would be worth your money.

DESIGN


  • The look

The Yamaha YDP 184 has a more traditional upright piano style. Its cabinet is lifted a lot more than any other model in the Arius line. In general, you can clearly see that the YDP 184 looks more like the Clavinova CLP 635.

It is of course much smaller and slimmer than an acoustic upright. I would say it’s a good in between and will fit most decor styles.

Like many of Yamaha’s upright digital pianos, the YDP 184 also has the red velvet accent at the end of the keys as well as around the joints of the pedals. I always appreciate these because they give the instrument a classical and premium look.

The key cover slides in and out from the cabinet. Not only is that more functional and easier to use, it also gives that modern feeling and announces to you that this is a digital piano.

Yamaha YDP 184

For some reason, Yamaha decides to only offer the YDP 184 in rosewood. There’s no black color to choose. Personally, I don’t really understand their strategy here. But the YDP 184 is quite new and maybe Yamaha will push a black version later.

The finish is matte with wood grain, which looks and feels nice. The YDP 184 is also the only model in the Arius line that has a completely covered back panel, which you would find more often on a Clavinova.

  • Music rest

Yamaha YDP 184 music rest

The music rest of the Yamaha YDP 184 is fold-able backwards. That creates a clean and neat look when the instrument is not being used.

The size and shape of the music rest is identical to its predecessor, the YDP 181. Only this time they move the golden Yamaha label to the cabinet, thanks to its lifted design.

It’s wide enough to display about three A4 papers together and definitely wide enough for a score book.

However just like the YDP 181, the music rest is not tall enough. That’s not a problem with score book but if you are like me who print a lot sheets on A4 papers, they can quite often fold over the music rest from the top.

There is the small notch to hold the pages of your score book but because the music rest is tilted backwards, it doesn’t always work that well. The more expensive CLP 635 has those tiny clips that really helps keeping pages in place.

Thanks to the lifted cabinet of the YDP 184, the music rest is higher and more close to your eye level. I feel much more comfortable reading sheets while playing on the YDP 184 compares to other Arius models.

  • Control

Yamaha YDP 184 control panel

Another big upgrade you can find on the YDP 184 is the control panel.

You will immediately notice the large LCD display on the left side of the instrument. It makes fine-tuning your piano so much easier.

The controls of the YDP 184 are divided to the two sides of the key board. On the right side, you will find the power button and the volume slider. On the left side, there is the LCD display and some clearly laid out buttons.

The buttons on the left side can be divided into three sections. First are the navigation buttons to be used together with the display. Second are two voices button to quickly switch between grand piano sound and strings. The bottom section are quick function buttons and some of these have an LED indicator.

  • Keys

The Yamaha YDP 184 has 88 keys. They are made of plastic and covered with synthetic materials to mimic Ivory/Ebony.

Unlike the cheaper Arius models, these synthetic materials on the YDP 184 is much more prominent and actually helps a lot with grip and moisture absorption.

  • Size & Weight

Since the YDP 184 is more like a Clavinova, it’s much taller than the other models in the Arius line.

It weights about 26 kg (123 lbs).

After assemble, it has the dimensions of 146 x 46 x 93 cm (57” x 36” x 18”)

KEY ACTION


When you are shopping for a digital piano around this price range, The most important aspect you need to pay attention to is the key action.

The YDP 184 uses the GH3 key action from Yamaha. This is one of the few areas that you would find similarity to other models in the Arius line.

The GH3 key action uses actual hammers in the action to simulate a more realistic feeling. The weight of the hammers are graded. As a result, the bass is heavier and the tremble is lighter, just like an acoustic piano.

The 3 in the name of this key actions stands for triple sensor technology. There are three sensors in this key action. It ensures fast repetition and more accurate control of the keys.

Yamaha YDP 184 keys

The GH3 is quite similar to the GH3X key action you would find on more expensive Clavinova models, like the CLP 635. The difference is the simulated let off effect. It is to re-create that subtle notch feeling when play on a grand concert acoustic piano, also known as ‘escapement‘.

I would lose any sleep on that though. Because the let off is very subtle and doesn’t matter much to the overall playing experience. Also I find the simulated let off effect on the GH3X not very realistic. So I’d say it’s a good thing that the YDP 184 doesn’t feature that.

One thing I’ve noticed, as well as other reviewers, is that the GH3 on the YDP 184 is definitely on the heavy side. The forces needed to press the keys down are significantly more compares to key actions from competing brands. This is generally a bad thing unless you are specifically looking for some heavy action to build up your finger strength.

Overall, the keys on the YDP 184 are pretty quiet, smooth and well-built. I haven’t noticed any wobble to any of the keys.

If the heaviness doesn’t bother you, this key action could be a great choice.

SOUND


The YDP 184 uses Yamaha’s brand new CFX grand piano sound technology. It is the exact same sound engine you will find in the Clavinovas all the way to the top of the line CLP 685. It is also the only model in the Arius line that uses this brand new sound engine. The CFX grand piano is the best sound engine Yamaha can offer right now.

What makes this sound engine amazing is the sampling comes from Yamaha’s world-famous 9 foot concert grand piano, the CFX.

Yamaha CFX sound sampling

The sound sample is then combined with Virtual Resonance Modeling to produce a natural, detail rich and dynamic experience for the YDP 184. To my ears, it is far superior than any other models in the Arius line. This alone is worth the upgrade from the YDP 181.

However, unlike the more expensive Clavinovas, the YDP 184 does not include the Austria made Bösendorfer. The Bösendorfer concert grand pianos has been around since 1828. They are hand made in Vienna and is now a subsidy of Yamaha since 2008.

I find it a big disappointment that the Bösendorfer is not included in the YDP 184. The sound of Yamaha’s CFX is famous for its brightness while the Bösendorfer is famous for its mallow and sweeter characteristic. It would make the YDP 184 a lot more complete and versatile in its sound selection.

The Yamaha YDP 184 is equipped with two 30 Watt speakers, which is again identical to the Clavinava CLP 635. This is a huge upgrade compares to the 20 Watt speakers on its predecessor YDP 181.

It is loud enough to fill an entire home and the volume is close to an acoustic upright.

And even at maximum volume, the sound quality remains detailed and natural.

The Yamaha YDP 184 certainly does not need help from external monitor/speaker.

FEATURES


The best features of the YDP 184 are the key action and the sound engine. These two combined makes the YDP 184 more of a Clavinova than an Arius. Another important feature that might be of use to you is the amazing recording capability. The YDP 184 can record internally 250 song, each with 16 tracks. This means some serious creative work.

Here are some other features that you might find useful.

  • Sound (24 total):
    • CFX concert grand
    • Jazz piano
    • Pop piano
    • HonkyTonk piano
    • Rock piano
    • Electric pianos × 5
    • Pipe organs × 3
    • Harpsichords × 2
    • Strings × 4
    • Vibraphone
    • Bass × 2
    • Guitar × 2
  • Polyphony: 256
  • Reverb settings: 6
  • Chorus: 3
  • Brilliance: 7
  • Master Effect: 11
  • Modes:
    • Dual mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
    • Split mode: split the keyboard to two different instruments
    • Duo mode: divide the keyboard into two identical halfs
  • Internal recording:
    • MIDI: up to 250 songs, each up to 16 tracks
  • Connectivity:
    • MIDI (IN/OUT)
    • USB to Host
    • USB to Device
    • LINE IN STEREO
    • LINE OUT (L/MONO, R)
    • Headphones x 2

ACCESSORIES


Yamaha YDP 184 pedals

The YDP 184 comes with a music rest, three pedals, a music book and a bench.

All three pedals on the YDP 184 works nicely. They are of course the damper/sustain, sostenuto, and soft pedal. Each of them supports half pedaling.

The sustain function of the YDP 184 is another big upgrade and is much better than any other models in the Arius line. The decay time of each note is much longer and the tone is richer and more dynamic. These combined with the Virtual Resonance Modeling creates a realistic and responsive damper action.

A good pair of headphones is always recommended for a digital piano.

Due to its high performance speaker system, you won’t need external monitor/speaker to perform for your family and friends.


WHO IT’S FOR


The Yamaha YDP 184 is recommended for intermediate and advanced players.

It would be an excellent choice for home use because of its design style and build quality.

Thanks to its 16 track internal recording capability, the YDP 184 is also great for creative music works.

As for beginners, I can only recommend it if money is not an issue for you. Many advanced features will not be useful to you in the beginning of your piano learning journey.

CONCLUSION


The new Yamaha Arius YDP 184 is currently top of the line in the Arius series. It is a huge upgrade from its predecessor the YDP 181.

The design, sound engine and many advanced features makes the Yamaha YDP 184 more of a Clavinova than an Arius.

Though it lacks the Bösendorfer sample, the CFX and other instrument voices are nothing short of excellence. Combined with its strong speakers, you will not be disappointed by the sound of the YDP 184.

The key actions is realistic with triple sensors. It doesn’t have the simulated let off effect but I would say that’s a good thing.

There are only two things I could want more with the YDP 184. Bluetooth would be nice to have. And the key action is a bit on the heavy side. You will need to go to a store and try the keys for yourself before you make a purchase.


>> Click here to check price and availability <<


OTHER OPTIONS

Yamaha YDP 184 vs. Kawai CA48

The biggest advantage of the Kawai CA48 over the Yamaha YDP-184 is the key action. While you get full wooden keys on the CA48, the keys on the YDP-184 are plastic.

There are also counterweights and escapements on the CA48 that you won’t find on the YDP-184.

The keys on the CA48 feels a lot lighter and fluid than the YDP-184. I find myself perform better on the CA48, especially for fast passages.

Sound wise, both are great. While you get Yamaha’s 9 foot CFX concert grand, you also get Kawai’s SK-EX and EX concert grand on the CA48. Kawai sounds more mellow and European while Yamaha sounds a lot more bright. It depends on your personal taste and the genre you are interested in. The YPD-184 does has a bigger polyphony number of 256 compare to CA48’s 192.

The Yamaha YDP-184 has a stronger speaker system than the CA48. The extra 20 watt output makes the YDP-184 much louder. Meanwhile, the Kawai CA48 has two extra speakers to produce clear treble notes.

Recording is another advantage of the Yamaha YDP-184. It can record internally up to 250 songs and each song can contain up to 16 tracks. The CA48 on the other hand can only record 3 songs without multi-track recording capability. This could be a big deal for those who are interested in mixing and composing their own music. To compensate for that, the CA48 does have Bluetooth.

Overall, both are great instruments at around the same price range. If you are more focused on piano play experience, I would recommend the Kawai CA48 for it’s better key action over the Yamaha YDP-184.

For more details about the Kawai CA48, click here for my full review.


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-184, please share with us in the comment below.

34 thoughts on “Yamaha YDP 184 Review – 5 Reasons Why You Want This Flagship Arius”

  1. Great post and very informative.
    We are planning to buy a piano for my 6 year old daughter. We have to make a choice between YDP -184 vs CLP-625 and are really confused which is good for her to start with and will long last (thinking of keep it at least for 5 year)

    1. Hi Amit,

      Thank you for your kind comment. While the YDP 184 is excellent, the CLP 625 does have a few advantages. The voice of Bösendorfer Imperial and the binary samples would be the main reasons I choose CLP 625 over the 184.

      The question I guess is whether the advantages are worth the price difference. If you can find them at similar price, the CLP 625 is clearly a better choice.

      Quality wise, they are both from Yamaha and as a premium brand, I wouldn’t worry about any issue on that.

      1. Like Amit, I’m also trying to decide between the CLP-625 and the YDP-184. Basically it comes down to weighing what is more important: the 625’s escapement or the 184’s VRM. So, what IS more important for a beginning student? I’ve read in some reviews that the escapement isn’t that realistic feeling on the CLP and people can do without it. On the other hand, I’ve read that the VRM found in the 184 is amazing and creates a much more realistic acoustic experience. From what I’ve read, the 184 is a trimmed down version of the CLP-635 and only missing the escapement and Bösendorfer sample. So, can you please explain what is more important: simulated escapement on the 625 or the VRM sound on the 184. Right now I can get the YDP-184 for $2,000 and the CLP-625 for $1,800.

        1. Between the two, I would personally go for the VRM on the 184. The improvement on sound is significant.

          Meanwhile, the simulated escapement on the 625 is neither realistic nor helpful in anyway to a beginning student.

          1. What about the Binaural sampling on the CLP-625? I’ve heard it’s amazing using headphones and that is how she’ll be practicing for the most part at home. Someone told me that it’s a brand new sample with incredible depth and clarity – far better than the (old) Advanced Wave Memory technology you’ll find on the Arius.

          2. Binaural recordings are amazing when the sound source moves. Check out this fun video. Put on headphones and close your eyes.
            https://youtu.be/IUDTlvagjJA

            But when the source is not moving, as in the case of a piano, Binaural recordings are much less impressive. It still provides more depth but I wouldn’t make a purchase decision because of it.

          3. Thank you for the replies. I managed to solve the “which one” issue by getting the best of both worlds – CLP-635 – at the same price of the YDP-184! Thank you for your helpful responses. That virtual barbershop YouTube clip to illustrate binaural recordings is great!

          4. I’m glad to be helpful. You got a really wonderful deal there! CLP-635 is usually much more expensive than the YDP-184.

  2. Great Review. Could you please help me with a decision as I am an absolute beginner? I am torn between the below choices. Here, I can get a YDP-164 or a CLP-625 for the same price. For CLP-635 I have to pay 30% more. Answers I am seeking are:
    1) Between YDP-164 and CLP-625 which is better since it is same price for me.
    2) Is CLP-635 worth the 30% premium I need to pay.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Nayla,

      If it’s within your budget, the YDP 184 is absolutely great for beginners. You start from the beginning with great sound and great key action and you don’t need to worry about upgrade in many years to come.

  3. Hello,
    How does YDP 184 comapre with Casio PX-870. Looking to buy one for my daughter and confused between Yamaha YDP 184 and Casio PX 870
    Thank you for your advise

    1. Hi Binu,

      Generally speaking, the Yamaha YDP 184 has quite some advantage over the Casio PX-870. After all, the YDP 184 is a much more expensive piano. The biggest benefit you would get from the YDP is the more powerful speaker system, more sophisticated internal recording capability and more connectivity possibilities.

      You do pay quite a lot for the Yamaha brand though. So if you are looking for the better bang for your buck, I would recommend the Casio PX-870. But if you have the budget, the YDP-184 is a better instrument.

  4. How did you get all these fake comments to your articles? It’s probably against Google ToS, plus doesn’t really add any value and misleads the readers. Tired of seeing these fake low-quality sites online, especially on the first page of Google

    1. Hi James,

      First of all, welcome to my site and thank you for your comment.

      I’m sorry to hear that you are not satisfied.

      I don’t know why you think the comments here are fake. They are not. These are real people interested in the Yamaha YDP 184 and I’m certainly not paying them to leave a comment on my site.

      It is true that the internet is full of fake stuff. I have certainly been fooled several times. So I can understand your skepticism.

      I also understand your frustration with Google. When I search on Google, the high ranked sites don’t always have the best content. However, quality of the content is a subjective matter.

      I certain don’t claim that I have the most valuable reviews on the internet. You might find it utterly useless and I respect that. It is your opinion.

      What I can tell you is that I do put in a lot time and effort for these reviews. I try to make them as helpful as I can. If you think about it, this is exactly the essence of a blog. If I’m an expert in digital pianos, I would be working for one of the manufactures, or writing columns for magazines. A blog is where I share my personal take on things no matter how unprofessional or even biased it is.

      If you can let me know specifically what you are looking for, I might be able to help you better. You can check my Best Digital Pianos of 2019 and see if there’s any information that’s useful to you.

      Again, I’m sorry that you don’t find my reviews helpful. I wish you all the best and hope to see you here again.

      Cheers,

      Wei

          1. Hi,
            Actually, I have found your review very helpful and try to be as subjective as possible.
            At least I started to be able to understand the meaning of all those professional terms from different manufacturers after reading your reviews.
            Back to James comment, I am not surprised that YAMAHA is over pricing its product for the brand. That is any manufacturer will do when there is a strong brand. For the buyer who doesn’t know all the technical details, it is always safe to go with these famous brand. The quality and after sales service is often very reliable. But on another hand, it is not necessarily the most cost efficient choice.

          2. Hi Liz,

            Thanks a lot for your kind comment. I’m glad you enjoy my reviews. I do try to make them as subjective as possible although some aspects like key action can be challenging.

            I myself started with a Yamaha digital piano. It is a bit more expensive but is a safe bet for those who are not quite familiar with the industry.

            There’s always a trade off when it comes to any purchase. Either you pay extra or you spend time doing research.

  5. First I’m glad this looks like a traditional Grand.  Too many look cheap and uninviting to me.

    I’m amazed at the technology in them and this post was an eye opener to me.  We grew up with a Grand in our house.  Don’t know what kind and everyone played but me.  Now I have an interest in learning.

    1. Hi Stew, thanks for dropping by. Being the flagship of the Arius series, the YDP-184 can be considered a premium digital piano. Most of the premium ones feature the traditional upright cabinet design. I guess the others look cheap to you because they are cheap. 🙂

      If you have previous experience, then the YDP-184 could be a great instrument to start your piano journey. Although, please do go to a store and try it first. Because key action is a very personal issue and to me the keys on the YDP-184 is a bit heavy. You really need to try it yourself before you buy.

  6. This looks like a fabulous piano. I prefer a keyboard myself as well, just for practical reasons (no tuning, can actually take it with you when you move, hah). I’ll keep this one in mine for when we are going to upgrade. Right now we have a budget one from costco. It works for now, but once the kids have gotten better I know I’ll want to invest.

    1. Hi Holly, thanks for your comment. Indeed, digital pianos have so many advantages for home use. That’s why I do believe some day in the future they will replace acoustic upright. And maybe, just maybe, upright pianos will disappear. 

      The YAMAHA YDP-184 is definitely a good choice for your future upgrade. Just like many Yamaha digital pianos, it’s solid all around. 

      Do take your kids to the store and have them try it first. It’s important that they enjoy the key action. 

  7. Yamahas are always a good bet when it comes to keyboards and pianos  and this  model is no exception.

    I like the style and size of the Yamaha  YDP 184.

    Do the keys press down as firm as a normal piano  keys or is it easier being electric?

    I do agree that the 184 would fit most decors and most likely be an asset to the room it was in.

    1. Hi Darren, thanks for being here. Yamaha is indeed solid in many ways. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of time checking reviews and compare products, Yamaha is probably a safe bet most of the time.

      Personally I prefer a more sleek and modern design for digital pianos. But those might not fit every decor style, while the Yamaha YDP-184 kinda sits in the middle of modern and traditional. Making it more versatile in terms of home decor.

      The keys are firm, definitely. I would even say it’s a bit heavier than an acoustic piano. If firm key press is your preference, you should definitely check it out and give it a try. 

  8. Hey there! This piano looks awesome! I have a friend who in as entertainer and also plays piano for my local church. He was in the market for a piano with triple sensor key action so I will definitely show him this piano. I love the design just too bad that it doesn’t connect to bluetooth.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Marlinda

    1. Hi Marlinda, nice to see you again. The YDP-184 should perform well in a church due to it’s good sound sample and decent speaker system. The other Roland LX700 series you commented on are also viable options. Although we have to wait and see if those new models deliver their promises. 

      One more thing to consider is budget. If your friend’s church has a much bigger budget, there are much better choices out there. Like the Yamaha Clavinova series, or the Kawai CA series.

      Come back for more reviews and I hope I can help your friend finding the right digital piano for his church!

    1. Hi Stu,
      To get the best sound quality, definitely record internally or use the line out.
      I sometimes use microphone to record but only to show how the intrument would sound with their built in speakers.

  9. I’ve been playing piano for close to over 20 years now but hadn’t come into contact with Yamaha YDP 184 which looks cool and the best choice in the market today. The piano I am used to play is so acoustic not like this one and so I need to congratulate Yamaha for great work they are doing in improving their products.

    This review is good enough for me because it gives much details as I wanted however, I’m currently shopping for a keyboard digital piano which I can use for my music promotion and according to your review, YDP 184 has all the qualities I was looking for except portability. From the photos, it looks a little bit bulky.

    I need quite a smaller machine I can easily carry and move around anywhere without much hustle. I wonder if you have any recommendation for me.

    1. Hi there, thanks for dropping by. If you’re giging and need to move the instruments around, the YDP 184 is obviously not for you.

      Take a look at my review on the Kawai ES8. It’s a portable digital piano that had amazing sounds and realistic key action. Personally I’d take the ES8 over the YDP 184 even for home use. Because I find the keys being a bit too heavy for me on the YDP184.

  10. Great post and very informative.

    I am a lover of pianos, and sooner or later I will buy one, certainly now we have a big house.

    I love the fact it looks like an older piano, but has the modern touches.

    For me the bluetooth that is missing isn’t so bad, I’m not a fan of it anyway.

    The price is reasonable, for the quality it brings, but it is known of Yamaha that they bring good products.

    I want to put it in the living room, in the winter will look so nice.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Hi Emmanuel,

      Thanks for dropping by. It is a solid digital piano and it looks great in the living room. 

      However, if you are a total beginner, I think you should start with something cheaper. Something like the Casio PX870, or the Kawai ES110.

      Come back for more digital piano reviews.

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