The Yamaha NP-V80 is the high-end model in Yamaha’s budget line of Piaggero electronic pianos. These keyboards have good sound reproduction for the price, and the NP-V80 has a 76-key keyboard. Yamaha offers this line of instruments for musicians on a budget who want good sound quality and don’t really care about realistic weighted key action. The action of the NP-V80 is what Yamaha calls Graded Soft Touch, which is a semi-weighted action that feels much better than cheaper keyboards but isn’t very much like an acoustic piano.
The NP-V80 has a whole slew of controls on the front of the keyboard, above the keys. It includes a large LCD panel for queuing up sounds, drum beats, chord patterns and user preferences. There are 18 sliders for controlling parameters such as attack, decay, sustain, release, pitch, volume, modulation, bass, mid, treble and other instrument-specific parameters. The instrument is quite large but not as heavy as you might expect; it can be transported easily for gigs, rehearsals, practice sessions or other engagements.
For the type of keyboard the NP-V80 is, it offers a good value for the price. Due to its portability, it would be useful for session musicians playing keyboards in a band or for a piano player hired to play for an event. However, anyone concerned with realism, such as a piano teacher or concert pianist, should consider a digital piano with realistic weighted keys. The lighter-weight keys of the NP-V80 change the way you play to an extent; they don’t allow you to put the same subtlety and dynamics into your music because they lack the ability to play the almost silent grace notes found in a lot of pianissimo music. If you aren’t playing a formal recital, however, and you don’t need to play anything as subtle as Chopin or Debussy, then there’s no need to spend the extra money on realistic weighted keys.
The semi-weighted keys are useful in their own right. The NP-V80 supports MIDI input and output, as well as USB input and output. You can control the NP-V80 with an external sequencer or use it as the controller for a synthesizer. The USB output allows you to transfer recordings directly to a computer so that you don’t need to invest in a sound card or break-out box for your PC; you can just copy the audio files to a USB stick and then drop them into your DAW. As a sound source, the NP-V80 supports 128-note polyphony, splitting and layering the keyboard, programming accompanying music, modulating the sound output and basic sequencing. It’s not a synthesizer, however, and it doesn’t include any way to build modular sounds or change the built-in sounds in any meaningful way.
It’s a digital piano with built-in grand piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, organ, synthesizer, bass, string, percussion and horn sounds. They sound good but not as good as some of the more expensive electronic pianos that have more on-board memory and more powerful sound processing. Yamaha markets this device as either a practice instrument or a keyboard for amateur or hobbyist players. It has celebrity endorsements from professional musicians such as Jamie Cullum, who says that it’s the perfect keyboard for rehearsing before a concert. Some professional players may disagree with this sentiment due to the unrealistic key action, but for non-professionals or players who don’t need perfect realism, it’s a good keyboard made by a reputable brand. It would be a good investment that would hold its value for a long time.