Yamaha YDP163 Arius Review (2021): Grand Piano Experience at an Affordable Price (copy)


Yamaha YDP163B Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench, Black Walnut

Please click image for more info

The Yamaha Arius series is designed to be a superior digital piano for both beginners and experienced players. These console-style pianos offer authentic piano quality, and the YDP163 is a keyboard built for more serious playing, to advance your skills with all the convenience of a digital piano, and the sound and performance of an acoustic piano.


Overview of the Yamaha Arius YDP163

Yamaha YDP163B Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench, Black Walnut

The Yamaha YDP163 is a console-style digital piano with authentic, grand piano sound and playing experience. The key surface and keyboard weight are designed to replicate the experience of playing a grand piano, to build fingering skills without slipping. The Pure CF sound engine provides the same rich, resonant sound of a Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano, with technologies that improve the audio quality when heard through headphones. Pedals mimic the feel, touch, and behavior of a grand piano, with accurate resistance and half-pedal functions.

 Even with all these features that mimic an acoustic grand piano, the Yamaha YDP163 also has special capabilities that only advanced digital technologies can provide. It’s compact and stylish, to fit into even small spaces. Digital technologies let you play back, record, change voices, transpose, and even save your settings for easy retrieval later. And you can adjust the volume or play with headphones, making this piano friendly for shared living spaces or apartments.

Yamaha YDP163 Video Overview


Yamaha YDP163 Specs

Specification

Description

Size57 x 22.9 x 18.9 inches
Weight92 pounds
Keyboard
  • 88 keys with synthetic ivory key tops
  • GH3 weight system
  • Hard/medium/soft/fixed touch response
Pedals
  • Three: damper, sostenuto, soft
  • Half pedal functions
Sound
  • Pure CF sound engine
  • Damper resonance
  • 192 max polyphony
  • check10 voices
Effects
  • 4 types of reverb
  • Intelligent Acoustic Control
  • checkStereophonic optimizer
  • checkAcoustic optimizer
MIDI PlaybackYes, MIDI playback and recording
Songs
  • 10 demo songs, 50 preset songs
  • Onboard song memory for 1 song, 2 tracks
Headphone Jacks2 standard jacks
Functions
  • Dual/Layers function
  • Duo keyboard function
  • Metronome function
  • checkTranspose function
  • checkLesson functions
  • checkFine tuning function
Sliding key coverYes
Onboard amplifiers2
Onboard speakers2
Headphone jacks2 standard jacks
Sheet music restYes
Auto powerYes, auto power off
FinishComes in dark rosewood or black walnut finish
USBUSB to host connectivity

Who the Product Is Best Suited For

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The Yamaha YDP163 is designed to closely reproduce the feel, sound, and experience of playing a concert grand piano in a home environment. It is intended to be a realistic, effective instrument for building the skills, techniques, and expressions that will be effective in an acoustic piano, while remaining more compact, versatile, and affordable than an acoustic piano. This is a digital piano designed to meet the needs of those who do or will play a grand piano.

For that reason, while the 10 piano voices may be a fun accessory, they aren’t really needed for concert practice. And it’s somewhat more piano than is necessary for absolute beginners to get started.

 Because the Yamaha YDP163 is a greater investment, with a larger footprint in the home than a simple digital keyboard, it is designed for those who take their playing seriously and intend to authentically replicate a grand piano experience. Early beginners and gig musicians may be better served by a digital piano that is more compact, portable, and affordable than the YDP163.


What’s Included With the Yamaha YDP163?

50 Greats for the Piano

The Yamaha YDP163 comes with a song book, “50 Greats for the Piano,” to accompany the 50 songs in the piano’s song library, so they can read and play along with iconic piano pieces.

It also comes with a Yamaha bench for seating.
Yamaha BB1 Padded Wooden Piano Bench - Black

Yamaha YDP163 Features

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The Yamaha YDP163 is carefully designed to provide the sound and physical sensation of playing a high-quality analogue piano, along with the convenience, features, and customization options only available in a digital instrument, and still remain compact in size and affordable in price. It’s an ambitious balancing act, and Yamaha succeeds admirably in the YDP163. It’s loaded with advanced features and capabilities that are hard to find in this price range.

FEATUREDESCRIPTION
Synthetic ivory key

Synthetic ivory key tops provide a non-slip, tactile surface for the keys, reducing moisture and improving control.

Pure CF Sound

The Pure CF Sound Engine faithfully reproduces the sound of the famous Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano, for exceptional quality, dynamics, and expressiveness in a digital piano.

Graded hammer 

The graded hammer 3 standard for keyboard weighting in the Yamaha YDP163 uses the same hammer system and springless mechanism of a grand piano. It reproduces the touch of an acoustic piano, with heavier feeling in the lower register, to a lighter touch in the upper octaves. The advanced 3-sensor configuration senses and interprets key behavior to provide the response and feel of a grand piano, with expressive control and authentic key repetition.

Three pedals

To fully simulate the look and feel of an upright piano, the Yamaha YDP163 has three pedals. The sustain pedal removes all the dampers to allow the strings to continue to vibrate and… well, sustain a note.The soft pedal (also known as the “una corda” pedal) enhances the sound of notes that are played softly.The sostenuto pedal is used to sustain only selected notes, rather than all the notes overall like a sustain pedal; one note can be sustained while others are played more percussively.

Stereophonic Optimizer

The Stereophonic Optimizer is a proprietary Yamaha technology that enhances the sound of the piano when played wearing headphones. It separates headphone sound from the piano sound, to create a spacious surround sound experience.

Intelligent Acoustic Control

Another Yamaha exclusive is Intelligent Acoustic Control. Without it, digital pianos can lose sound quality when played at a low volume (for example, practicing at home).IAC automatically adjusts speaker equalizer settings to compensate for speaker volume, and allows for more clarity and depth of sound, even when played quietly.The cabinet itself is designed with Acoustic Optimizer technology, that regulates the flow and control of sound as it moves from the instrument to the cabinet. It creates greater tonal richness and smoothness as you play.

Compatible with App

The Yamaha YDP163 is compatible with the Digital Piano Controller app, optimized for iOS touchscreen devices.It makes accessing and adjusting settings faster and easier, and streamlines recording and playback. It also stores your settings, so you can retrieve them quickly.


How to Make The Most of a Yamaha YDP163

Here are a few things to remember to help you make the most of a Yamaha YDP163:

Test the keyboard before assembly

Because the console can be a challenge to assemble, it’s important to test the keyboard first. While it is rare, there are sometimes audio or performance issues with the keyboard, and it is easier to return and manage a warranty repair before the console is assembled than it is afterward.

Use high-quality headphones

Audio-Technica Studio Headphones, Black, (ATH-M50x)

Not only will headphones help you practice without disturbing anyone, the Yamaha YDP163 has features purpose built for them. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are designed for professionals, with exceptional audio quality, durability, and sound separation. If those are a bit too pricey, consider the Roland RH-5 stereo headphones, designed for musicians.

Consider upgrading to a storage bench

While a piano bench is included with the Yamaha YDP163, it doesn’t have storage. But keeping sheet music inside the bench simply makes good sense. There are several high-quality storage benches that will go with whatever your chosen finish is on the YDP163, and make good use of your space, without costing too much.
SONGMICS Padded Wooden Piano Bench Stool with Music Storage Black ULPB55H
Consider the SONGMICS Padded Wooden Piano Bench with music storage, or the Griffin Premium Antique Piano Bench, which not only has storage, but is adjustable in height for lasting comfort.

Add a Bluetooth adaptor

Yamaha Wireless USB to Host MIDI Adapter

While the USB out of the Yamaha YDP163 is a convenient feature, the USB port is beneath the keyboard, and a cable connection may be something of a hassle to manage. And, let’s face it, a USB cable dangling beneath the piano doesn’t look great. Consider getting the Yamaha Wireless USB to Host MIDI Adapter to use apps with the piano easily and seamlessly


Pros & Cons of the Yamaha YDP163

PROS

  • Superior key weight and feel thanks to graded hammer 3 standard
  • Authentic concert grand piano sound
  • Compact size
  • Key cover protects from dust
  • Has built in music rest
  • Synthetic ivory key tops provide quality feel, prevent slipping
  • 4 levels of touch response to suit any playing style
  • Authentic grand piano pedal functions
  • 192 max polyphony
  • 10 present voices
  • 4 types of reverb
  • Intelligent Acoustic Control for great sound at any volume
  • Stereophonic Optimizer for fantastic sound in headphones
  • Comes with 50 preset and 10 demo songs
  • MIDI playback and recording
  • Duo keyboard and metronome functions are great for teaching and learning
  • Dual/layered function doubles voices for more complex performance
  • Transpose and fine tuning functions let you customize and perfect notes
  • 2 headphone jacks for great versatility
  • Auto power off saves energy

cons

  • Included bench does not have storage
  • No included rhythm library
  • Difficult and time-consuming to assemble

An Alternative Product to Consider

Casio PX860 BK Privia Digital Home Piano, Black with Power Supply

If you love having and playing a piano at home, and want to play for fun and pleasure, to entertain yourself and family or friends, you may not need to invest in the full grand piano experience of the Yamaha YDP163. In that case, a good alternative is the Casio PX860 BK Privia. It produces great sound, with a scaled hammer weighted action, and three levels of touch sensitivity.

It has 18 instrument voices and is capable of up to 256 notes of polyphony. While professionals all agree that Yamaha pianos produce a more authentic, analogue grand piano sound and playing experience, the Casio is a more affordable option for gig musicians, hobbyists, and those who enjoy playing piano for its own sake, and has a great range of features and capabilities that any musician will enjoy.


Yamaha YDP163 Digital Piano UK Buyers Guide & Demo


Conclusion

It is particularly important for concert pianists to learn and practice on an accurately weighted keyboard, and the Yamaha YDP163 provides a feel that is exceptionally close to the real thing.
Yamaha YDP163B Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench, Black Walnut
Yamaha YDP163 (click image for more info)

When a person practices on an accurately weighted keyboard, they build finger strength and accuracy, and learn skills that translate easily to analogue pianos. 

Even better, the simulated ivory of the YDP163 keys provides a good texture and feel, unlike the plastic of other digital pianos, that can be slick and get moist over long practice sessions. This digital piano is designed to train musicians to polish skills that apply to any piano, at any time, and grow in their abilities and dexterity.

The Yamaha YDP163 is an exceptional digital piano. The simulated ivory and realistic weight of the keys make it feel like you’re playing a concert grand piano. Authentic pedal and half-pedal action give all the experience of a grand piano.

The rich, resonant, layered sound and high-quality acoustics make it sound like you’re playing a concert grand piano. But the advanced digital features and functions can make it sound like anything you like, for versatility in composition, instrumentation, complexity, and performance.

USB capabilities and intelligent apps further extend the capabilities of the YDP163, and make it fast and easy to access and control the features and capabilities, as well as enable advanced recording, playback, and mixing options. The attractive console brings the warm pleasure of simply having a piano into your home, with a great furniture finish and dust-protective keyboard cover.

The Yamaha YDP163 is a fantastic way to have the sound and experience of a grand piano, any time you want it, but with more options, features, and customization than any acoustic piano could provide, and without sacrificing all the space an analogue piano requires. 

Even better, it never needs tuning, and it’s much more lightweight and easy to move. It’s a wonderful example of Yamaha’s celebration of sound and technology.

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