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As I ran up and down the scales of the Yamaha YDP-161 digital piano, I immediately felt comfortable with its sound quality, construction and features. The affordable, reliable piano features everything you’d expect from the Yamaha Airus series in an affordable package. Each detail on the piano, from the dark wood finish to the hammer-graded 88 key console provides a realistic piano playing experience.
Unbeatable Value for the Money
While there are advantages to some of the pricier models I have tried, the value from the YDP-161 is hard to match. From a distance, one may think the Yamaha is actually an upright piano. That’s a good thing especially when you consider the performance under the console is impressive as well. The sensitive, weighted keyboard delivers impressive performance while playing and listening, resulting in a user experience that transcends most digital models. While the overall package in the YDP 161 digital piano is impressive, the underlying musical quality is what makes it worth considering.
The realistic graded keyboard provides a high quality experience, and each note is reproduced with a high level of realism. One particular feature I liked is the variable sensitivity, which allows you to adjust the responsiveness of the keys – this is essentially a virtual tuning of your keyboard, creating a hammer response that accurately reflects what you would expect. At the core of the musical quality is a realistic, sustained pedal system that provides impressive response.
You can easily dampen and amplify your pieces with a high level of precision. Since the underlying digital music technology is impressive, the extended features of the Yamaha YDP 161 perform well.
While upgrading to top of the line Yamaha models provides additional options, most beginning and intermediate players will be happy with the fundamental musical quality of the piano.
Stereo Sampling with 128 Note Poyphony
Remixing and Replaying: Digital Technology in the Piano Powering the sounds from the YDP 161, the underlying stereo sampling delivers impressive 128-note sounds which reproduce complex scales with a high level of accuracy. With dynamic stereo sampling, the advanced wave memory (AWM) feature accurately conveys the voice of each of the different settings of the piano.
While there are differences between acoustic playback and the stereo settings on the digital model, the high level of precision delivers impressive performance:
- Impressive, 88 key realistic graded hammer keyboard
- High quality, 128-note stereo polyphony
- Integrated Flash memory for track recording
- Complete, durable pedal trio for detailed play Integrated features such as a metronome, track recorder and multiple voice settings make the model great for those looking to take their play to the next level
While the model only has enough storage for two basic tracks (337 KBs), you can upload and import tracks via MIDI. You can record and upload songs as well for reference, as this greatly aids in the development of playing skill. The 128-note polyphony provides realistic, resonate sounds while the 10 integrated voices offers a great way to amplify the options during playback.
New models of the piano also feature impressive software that you can pair with your machine – combining the digital features with a structured learning guide (or teacher) can provide for accelerated learning.
Play Along with 50 Preset Songs to Get Your Musical Juices Flowing
The piano also features 50 integrated, preset songs so you can sound out popular tunes at any time – this is great for entertaining guests or improving your musical listening skills for ear training.
Overall, the basic digital features enhance a fundamentally sound piano. At a base level, the piano is slightly heavy at 88 pounds and measures 53x32x16”, making for an impressive, sturdy console. A complete integrated pedal system and console make it a semi-permanent fixture, great for those looking to have something more substantial.
The sliding key cover is also a nice touch to provide for storage, as is the storage for headphones, while the included BC-100 bench works for most purposes. Finding a spot to hook up the piano to an AC outlet is easy, and the included power supply cables are sufficiently long to allow for flexible placement.
Impressive 3 Year Warranty
Yamaha backs up the construction with a limited 3-year warranty, and smart buyers can plan on having the item in their care for years to come. The quality of the brand extends throughout their entire line of digital and upright pianos, and the YDP 161 Airus delivers in that regard.
I came away impressed with the value and durability provided by the model, and am confident you will feel the same way after playing it for a few measures. Should you buy the YDP-161? If you’re in the market for a beginner or basic digital piano to get you started, then the YDP-161 is a great option. Its compact space and value-driven price point provide a great entry level model.
Upgrading from the basic stand alone digital keyboards is a smart idea since the extra features and durable structure makes it more of a permanent piece (as opposed to a portable keyboard.)
You can practice with a high level of focus with the headphone option, allowing you to hone in on the subtle tones. While the speakers are great, a pair of headphones can really amplify the sound quality from the machine.
Best Value in Yamaha Product Line
The model features high quality speakers and playback which really separate it from other entry level digital models – this is one of the best values in the Yamaha line, and the realistic keyboard is enough to justify the upgrade for most players. Whether you’re looking for a basic piano to get started, want to play more regularly at home or need a model for a teaching studio, I’m confident you’ll find the YDP 161 delivers the right notes every time. The bottom line is the value and durability of the YDP-161 provides for impressive performance.
There are few models which combine the output quality, durable casing and digital features of the YDP-161 in this price point. Since Yamaha backs it with a multi year warranty you can feel confident in the performance. Comparable models in the Yamaha and Casio line deliver decent quality, but the YDP-161 is really the first entry level digital console I can recommend fully. There is a good reason why Yamaha has earned a reputation for quality, and that track record really shines through in the 161 models.