In this review, we will examine one of Yamaha’s latest pianos in the P (portable) series, the Yamaha P115. Replacing its best-selling predecessor—the Yamaha P105–the P115 has several features that are in common with the P105 and the P255, which we’ll discuss further in depth a little later. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of the P115, so that you can better get a sense of whether or not this is a piano worthy of your time and money.
P115 vs P105: Similar Features
- Full 88-key keyboard
- Pure CF sound engine
- Fully-weighted keys with lower keys weighing more (graded action)
- Reverb effects
- Metronome, Record function, Split, and Transpose
- Headphone and USB ports
- Music stand and sustain pedal included
When comparing the P105 to the brand new P115, let’s first talk about this great “pure CF sound engine” these two 88 key digital pianos have. Both the P105 and the P115 boast sound recorded from Yamaha’s CFIIIS concert grand piano, a piano that has graced concert halls around the world. But even though the P105 also has a CF sound engine, to my ear, the P-115 has a clearer, more vibrant sound that is more representative of an acoustic piano. The P115’s built-in, true circle speakers produce full low frequencies and pure bright tones in the higher register, adding to the purer sound quality.
Both the P105 and the P115 have Graded Hammer technology, the feel of a real piano with greater resistance in the lower register and less resistance in the higher register. The graded hammer action mimics the resistance one feels when playing on an acoustic piano. This is an important feature for building proper technique that easily transfers to an acoustic piano.
Both pianos also come with four levels of touch sensitivity: soft, medium, hard, and fixed.
Before continuing with our review, please take a moment and use the interactive table below to compare the Yamaha P-115 against some of the great digital pianos currently available on the market:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
So What Has Changed?
So where does the P115 differ from the P105?
Well, an important feature the P115 has on its predecessor is the higher polyphony count–polyphony being the number of keys that can be played at the same time.
In short, the higher the polyphony count, the closer you will be to an authentic acoustic piano sound—at least in terms of being able to play multiple notes or layers simultaneously without hearing any note or sound dropping out.
The P105 has an impressive 128-key polyphony, but the P115 has a sizeable increase in polyphony at 192 keys. Also adding to the improvements are the P115’s 17 different instrument sounds compared to the P105’s 14.
The P115 has instrument options such as the grand piano, bright piano, Wurlitzer, and rock organ. The number of rhythms has been increased as well.
The P115 also has ten available piano styles, a cool function that allows you to play a chord and choose a style–such as the “boogie woogie”–and the keyboard will act as an accompanist, playing chords in the chosen style, leaving your hands free to create fuller melodies.
An additional component that has been also been improved upon is the connectivity. The P115’s connectivity options are numerous and they actually make connecting to a computer or tablet much easier than the P105 did.
The P115 has both MIDI and USB ports as well as a new “Digital Piano Controller” app for iOs devices (iPhone and iPad). This app allows the player to control the keyboard from the device, which makes changing settings and sounds more convenient. Currently, the device must be plugged into the keyboard because there is no wireless option. This should be something Yamaha fixes in the future, however.
Which to purchase?
If you are a beginner just learning the piano ropes and have to choose between the P105 and the P115, I’d actually say go for a second hand digital piano and get a used P105, since they are not in production anymore. They will be cheaper than the P115 and were a best seller for a reason. The high quality people expect from Yamaha is evident in this piano, so beginners do not need to spring for the P115 if it is out of their price range.
The P115 caters more towards the professional, gigging musician who is always on-the-go and likes the many options of the P115. Options like Sound Boost–a sound increase option that adjusts the EQ, allowing for the sound to brighten so the piano doesn’t get drowned out by other instruments–are geared more towards the working musician.
The variety of piano sounds, the ability to split or combine instrument sounds, and the option of turning off the speakers to be able to plug into a PA system are other functional features that a professional would utilize more often than a beginner. However, keep in mind that the P105 only allows you to record one song at a time and has no MIDI output connector, so if these are deal-breakers for you, then by all means go for the P115.
Comparison to the P255
The P255, like the P105, is also a best seller in the Yamaha P series, but has features that trump both the P105 and P115, such as 24 instrument voices (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and synth piano to name a few) and a whopping 256-note polyphony, the highest of the three digital pianos.
Like the P115, the P255 has circular speakers that produce rich lower tones and bright high notes, using tweeters that face the direction of the performer. Here are several other features the P255 and P115 have in common:
- Graded Hammer technology
- Pure CF sound
- The Sound Boost option, allowing for the piano to cut through an ensemble
- 4 different reverb effects
- The Controller app for iOS devices
- Record function
- USB and MIDI ports
- Music stand and pedal included
This digital piano is a high-end, high quality instrument, aimed at the serious professional pianist. Weighing in at 38 lbs, the P255 model dwarfs the 26 lb P115 in size, making it a little less convenient for frequent travel.
Compared to the P115, the P255 wins in authentic touch, with its 88 keys made of synthetic ivory. Many owners of the P255 rave about the feel of the keyboard, so if this is an important feature to you as a serious musician and/or live performer, the P255 may be the one for you.
The P255 has 3 EQ settings, one each for the low, mid, and high frequencies, allowing the pianist to adjust the timbre of the instrument to his or her liking. The P255, like the P115, also has various effects, such as chorus, tremolo, and phaser.
Which to purchase?
If the P115 caters more towards the advanced musician, the P255 is geared toward the serious, working professional who would enjoy the various bells and whistles the P255 has to offer way more than an individual who primarily plays at home would. I don’t want to dismiss the P255 as just a P115 with fancier features, but that is kind of what it is.
There are so many similarities between the two pianos that it seems that the main distinguishing features are the polyphony count, the key material, and the increased number of instrument voices. These are important features undoubtedly, but if you are a pianist who gigs occasionally and are looking for a high quality piano with an authentic sound with connectivity options, I believe the P115 would work well for you. If you are a touring musician who likes to have more control over sound timbre, quality, and instrument options, then the P255 would be a good fit.
I would personally choose the Yamaha P115 because I enjoy the timbre a bit more than the P105, and while the P255 has a rich, luscious sound and the synthetic ivory keys intrigue me, for my purposes it is not worth the extra cash.
But you are the best judge of what would work best for you and hopefully this review helps you to find which keyboard would best fit your needs. If you consider yourself to be in the beginner-to-intermediate category, or perhaps you’re just an occasional performer, then go for the P105. If you’re more of a serious or advanced musician, then the P115 is probably a better fit.
And if you’re on tour with Billy Joel (or maybe are a regular working musician yourself), then you might want to opt for the P255, which is the best digital stage piano of the three. However, any of these three digital pianos would offer a high quality sound and graded hammer action, which are, for me, two basic but foundational features that a digital keyboard should have.
As mentioned in the beginning, Yamaha is known for its P series pianos. Their high sound quality, voice options, and graded hammer technology make any of these instruments a good pick for a beginner or a pro. With these pianos, you likely won’t just outgrow the instrument after a short time. These three are great instruments that come loaded with features. It’s all just a matter of knowing what you need your piano to do based on your commitment and experience with playing piano personally or professionally.
And finally, please take a look at 3 of the best selling digital pianos available on Amazon, and see how their prices and specs stack up against the P-115:
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