If you’re like most serious musicians, you want the absolute best instrument you can get, and from a manufacturer that you can trust. And you don't want to spend a fortune if you can help it.
This is why so many musicians depend on their Yamaha keyboards - because they know that they’re getting quality and the best piano sound backed by the Yamaha name.
But with a bunch of high-end Yamaha models to choose from, how do you know which is the best Yamaha keyboard for your particular needs?
That’s what we're going to do in this Yamaha P45 (Yamaha P45B) review - give you the low-down on one of Yamaha’s top models!
Yamaha P45 Review (Yamaha P45B) - Overview
The Yamaha P45 is part of the P series - an outstanding member of Yamaha’s line of contemporary keyboard pianos, and most cost less than $1,000. The most affordable of the P line was the P-35, an 88-key, weighted keyboard that was very popular, but is no longer manufactured by Yamaha.
Now, there is the P45B, which is the next incarnation of the P-35, with new features that may just make it even better than the popular P-35. The P 45B is smaller and even more portable than the P-35, and it has an upgraded, 64-note polyphony for awesome musical quality. It is the most affordable of the Yamaha P-series piano keyboards.
The P45B has the latest in Advanced Wave Memory technology (AWM), which means that the instrument sounds as close as possible to the real thing. The acoustic piano sound (also called a voice) is very authentic, because the AWM stereo sampling helps to create a sound that is richer and deeper.
The sounds can be played at many volumes and timbres. Every key has been sampled with AWM single key sampling technology. For a relatively inexpensive keyboard, you will be very impressed with the sound quality. You may very well believe you are playing a grand piano.
One of the best things about the P45B is the key action. Each key is weighted, so it is heavier in the low notes and lighter in the high notes.
This means that this is a keyboard that is the next best thing to playing an acoustic piano, at least when it comes to how it feels, and there are four settings for the key sensitivity. This is important because you can build good habits, and move to playing an acoustic piano easily.
The keys have a matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about your fingers slipping off, even if you are playing hard and sweating.
You can get the P45B in a bundle package that comes with an X keyboard stand, headphones, and a sustain pedal.
This is a great way to save money rather than having to buy each of these items separately, which can start to add up after a while.
Video Overview of Yamaha P45B
See one person’s impression of their new P 45B on this YouTube video.
Who is the Yamaha P45B Digital Piano Most Suitable for?
It is reasonably priced, with bundle packages costing less than $500 on Amazon, and it has plenty of features to offer players of all levels.
If you are looking for a good digital piano that is portable, sounds like an acoustic piano, and isn’t going to cost $1,000 or more, the P45B is definitely an option to consider.
If you are looking for a keyboard as a toy for a child, the P45B may not be the best option. If you are looking for an affordable entry level instrument for an aspiring pianist, however, then it is an excellent choice. Since it is in the $500 range, it is not something that you want to see treated as a toy, or have them lose interest in. If you have a child who is learning how to play the piano, the Yamaha P45 would be an excellent piano keyboard for them to learn on, and when they show that they have an interest to continue learning, you could upgrade to something more sophisticated like the Arius YDP 143 /Arius YDP 144. In fact, it could be used as an incentive to keep on practicing and getting better.
If you are an intermediate or even an advanced player, the P45 is still a fine keyboard to have, especially if you have space limitations. It is certainly more affordable and takes up much less space than a traditional acoustic upright.
What’s Included with the Yamaha P45B?
Depending on the seller, you can buy the P45B by itself, or you can get it in a bundle package. What is inside the bundle package again depends on the seller. Look for a bundle package that includes the Yamaha P45B keyboard, an X keyboard stand, a padded piano bench, headphones, dust cover, and a sustain pedal.
Even though this is a keyboard designed for professionals, some of the bundle packages even come with instructional books for beginner and intermediate players.
If you were to purchase the keyboard separately from all of these accessories, you would pay around $450. For an additional $50, you get at least $200 worth of accessories.
Also, when you get a bundle package, you have everything you need to sit down and start playing as soon as you take it all out of the box.
Features of the Yamaha P45B
This is a keyboard piano that is made for professionals, but it is also a good model for beginner and intermediate players.
First there was the P35. Then, there was the P45 / P45B with upgraded features. It has a full sized, 88 key keyboard. Plus, it has GHS weighted action, so you get the heaviness in the low keys and the lightness in the high keys.
The sensitivity of the keyboard can be adjusted, depending on your own personal playing style. As we mentioned, this can be a good keyboard for beginners, and the GHS weighted action is one of the reasons why, because they will be learning on something that feels like a grand piano. Some of our favorite features of the P45B include:
One of the best upgrades from the P35 is the 64-note polyphony. This is going to allow you to be able to perform some pretty complicated musical passages, even when you are using a lot of sustain, and you won’t have to worry about any dropped notes.
In fact, you could play 64 notes at once, and hear each one as clear as a bell. It’s not likely that you are ever going to actually want to do this, but with this keyboard, it is an option.
When you are using the dual mode feature, you are able to combine two of the built-in voices (instrument sounds) for better creativity in your work. You could for example have strings and grand piano voices being played at the same time. Both these would be heard clearly through the built in speakers.
The duo mode feature enables two people to play side by side as if they were playing on two different pianos. The digital piano keyboard in essence becomes two keyboards.
This arrangement is perfect for a teacher and student playing next to each other, or for two pianists playing a four handed arrangement.
There are tons of great music apps out there, and you can use them with this keyboard. It has a USB to Host port that lets you connect it to other devices, including computers, laptops, and mobile phones.
This is going to let you use the various music education, entertainment, and creation software packages. The USB replaces the MIDI in and out; there is also a standard ¼” headphone output jack.
Note: You will need to use an A-male / B-male USB Cable (for example this one) to connect to the computer.
Here is a feature that is perfect for professionals and beginners in this digital piano. You can change the various settings using a single button, including changing voices, setting up the built-in metronome, playing demo sources, and more.
All you have to do is press the “Grand Piano/Function” button, and making changes is simple. This is going to speed things up if you are playing on stage, and beginners won’t have to worry about fiddling with a bunch of buttons.
You won’t find many digital pianos in this price range that have chorus and reverb effects. This is going to allow you to create sounds that have much warmer sound quality.
There is also a sustain pedal included with your purchase, so you will have this effect as well. These are just a few of the effects that set this digital piano apart from comparable models by other brands.
This 88-key keyboard has something that many digital pianos, particularly those in this price range, don't: eight octaves. This is a full-size piano, with a full eight octaves, which is going to let you play those really complex pieces.
This is because unlike other digital pianos that are small, this one, even though it is lightweight and portable, is going to give you plenty of room to play with both hands.
There are 10 instrument voices you can use on this digital piano, so you can get just the sound you want every time you play. The voices are: two grand pianos, two electric pianos, two pipe organs, strings, two harpsichords, and a vibraphone.
Sure, there are other digital pianos that have hundreds of voices, but when you come right down to it, you will never need more than a handful, and the rest are likely never going to be used anyway (except maybe when you first get the keyboard and you want to play around with it).
Here is one more reason why we like this keyboard for beginners. There are 10 pre-set songs, along with 10 demos that you can use to play along with.
This is great for beginners, because you can learn with songs and actually be playing something. You can also slow down the songs, which is going to help beginners to get the feel for playing at their own speed, and building up as they get better.
This keyboard weighs just slightly over 25 pounds and measures 52.25" x 6.0" x 11.5" (133 cm x 15.4cm x 29.5 cm). (The P35 weighed 35 lb. and measured 58.2” X 16.1” X 11.8”) , making it fairly lightweight, and very portable. The accessories (included when you buy a bundle package) are also lightweight, so they are quite portable as well.
Of course, you can always connect the keyboard to the Internet and do your recording through music recording software. It would just be a whole lot easier if you didn’t have to go through any extra steps to record what you are playing.
Pros and Cons of the Yamaha P45B
Yamaha P45B Manual
If you'd like to check out the nitty-gritty of the Yamaha P 45B, here's a link to the model's manual:
How to Use the Yamaha P45B
One great thing is that you can start using the P45B right out of the box. It is even easier if you order a bundle package so you have a stand and a bench. If you want to play undisturbed, the headphones will come in quite handy.
Using this digital piano is relatively simple for the most part, thanks to that one-button function we were talking about earlier. Also, if this is for a beginner, make sure that you get the bundle package that offers instructional books that can be used alongside regular piano lessons.
Yamaha P45 vs P45B
We occasionally get emails asking us "how does the P 45B compare to the Yamaha P45?" These are two different ways of referring to the same item. It turns out that "P45" is the model number and "P45B" is the part number. The "B" stands for "Black." Other Yamaha pianos in the P-series are made in both black and white. The P45 is made only in black, and so the part number is "P45B."
Now, if you were comparing the P35 and the P 45B, you would see some differences. (Note that, at the time of this review, the P35 was not available for purchase, because it has been discontinued).
The biggest difference between these digital pianos is the 64-note polyphony. The P 35 only had only 32-note polyphony. Also, the P 45B has a much better sound quality than did the P35.
The other main difference is the USB connection. On the P 45B, there is a USB to Host port. The P35 had a 5-pin din MIDI. All in all, as for the answer to the Yamaha P45 vs P 45B, it is the same piano. If you want to know if the P 45B is better than purchasing a P35, we recommend the P 45B.
Sweetwater's Yamaha P45 Digital Piano Review
Yamaha P45 Review - What Makes it Special?
If you were to play an acoustic piano (traditional piano), you would notice that it takes more force to play the lower notes than it does to play the higher notes. On an acoustic piano, when you press a key, a series of levers cause a hammer to strike the strings. The "feel" of an acoustic piano is is known as its "action." The lower notes are created by thicker piano strings, and it takes more force to make them vibrate. The keys themselves weigh more in the lower registers than in the upper registers which aids in supplying the necessary force to the hammer. In fact, every key on a grand piano has a different weight. Additionally, an upright piano has vertical strings and a grand piano has horizontal strings, so these also have different actions due to how gravity affects the striking mechanism.
You might imagine that with an electric piano, all keys would feel the same. And that would be true, except that Yamaha gave the P45 88-key weighted-action. It uses Graded Hammer Action so that when you play the Yamaha P45, you feel the same action as when you play a traditional piano.
The advantage to this is that you will be able to easily transition from your Yamaha 45 to a piano teacher's upright, for example, or to the grand piano in a concert hall.
Yamaha uses several different Graded Hammer actions in its electric pianos.: GH/GHE, GH3, and GHS. The Yamaha P45 uses GHS, which stands for Graded Hammer Standard Weighted, which is perfect for beginners so that new pianists learn the proper technique.
When you hear electronic music, or synthesizer music, it can sound - well, electronic. The notes are true, but the sound is flat. Music from an acoustic piano - or any acoustic stringed instrument, really - sounds rich and complex. This is because the sound is not generated just once. Once stuck, the strings continue to vibrate, and the sound continues over a short period of time, while decreasing in intensity. Additionally, the sound is slightly different depending on where you are in relation to the strings.
Yamaha, which was founded in 1887, has a proud history of making acoustic pianos, and they have found a way to keep that rich sound in their electronic pianos. The process is called Advanced Wave Memory Sampling, or AWM for short. They put multiple microphones inside of a grand piano and record the sound of a note from different locations. These recordings captures the complex sound of the strings. They also made recordings at different volumes - when the piano is played softly (piano), medium (mezzo forte) and loud (forte). The recordings are combined and integrated into the electronic piano. When you play a note on the Yamaha P45, you don't just hear a tone - what you hear is the complex sound of a note as if it originated on a grand piano.
So, to conclude this Yamaha P45b review, whether you're looking for a stage piano, or one that is ideal for learning on, the Yamaha P45B is an excellent choice. It has plenty of features, without being too overwhelming for the beginner, or too complicated for stage use.
It has a full keyboard with weighted keys that have a matte finish, for that acoustic piano feel. At a price of less than $500, you really can’t go wrong, especially when you consider all of the extra goodies that come along with the keyboard.
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