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If you’re like most serious musicians, you want a digital piano with the most advanced features and the best sound quality. But just because you want the best, it doesn’t mean you have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford it!
If you really want a great keyboard that has everything you’re looking for (and then some) but costs less than $1,500, you need to check out the Yamaha P-255, with impressive piano voices that are second-to-none.
In this comprehensive Yamaha P255 review, we cover the most important features of this model, tell you what's included, and compare the Yamaha P255 with another popular model, so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Let's jump in!
When you want a quality musical instrument, one of the first names that comes to mind is Yamaha, especially when you are talking about keyboards of any kind. Yamaha is a pioneer in the piano and digital keyboard industry, and they have instruments for all musicians, no matter what level they are at.
If you are looking for something that is going to give you that true, grand piano sound, without having to spend thousands of dollars on a real grand piano, the P-255 is probably the next best thing. The sound has been sampled from the best of the Yamaha grand piano line, so you are getting that same sound quality, in digital form.
You may be thinking that at a price of around $1,300, the P-255 may not really be worth it. Believe us, it is. This is a keyboard that has all of the features any professional musician could ever want or need, and then some. It Is definitely worth the money, especially if you choose to buy it in a bundle package and get a few hundred bucks worth of accessories pretty much for free.
Who is This Keyboard For?
This is a keyboard for the serious musician. It is designed for professionals, and there are loads of ways that it can be customized so that it is always your go-to keyboard, even if you are on the road. The P-255 offers 256 polyphony, so you are never going to have to worry about dropping notes, even while playing the most intricate pieces.
This keyboard has outstanding sound quality, with sound characteristics that are among the best in the world. This is because the entire spectrum of every note was recorded using the Pure CF Sound Engine. The concert grand piano sample comes from the very best concert grand that Yamaha has to offer.
This is not likely going to be the best choice for anyone who is just starting out. For one thing, the cost is enough to keep anyone but serious musicians from buying this keyboard. But, if you are looking for the best, in a price range that isn’t going to completely break the bank, this is definitely an option you need to consider. Whether you are using it in the studio for recording, or you are taking it on the road, the P-255 is going to deliver every time.
The P-255 can be purchased in a bundle package that comes with everything you need to start playing right out of the box. Also in the box you will find an X keyboard stand, a cushioned bench, a dust cover, headphones, a 3.5mm cable, and a polishing cloth.
You may even want to let the beginners in your life give it a try, because the bundle package also includes an instructional book and an instructional DVD that helps to make learning how to play the piano fun and easy. Because there is a powerful built-in speaker, you don’t need an amp, but if you want to get louder, it is always an option to get one later.
Buying your keyboard in a bundle package is a great way to save yourself a few hundred dollars. You can buy the keyboard alone, at a cost of around $1,200, but for an extra $100, you can get several hundred dollars’ worth of goodies. The stand alone can cost over $50, as well as the bench, and a decent set of headphones isn’t cheap either.
Overview of Features
This keyboard has 24 different voices or instrument sounds that you can use to give your music a unique sound quality.
These voices include grand piano (sampled from a top of the line concert grand piano from Yamaha), guitar, synthesizer, piano, vibraphone, and many others. Each voice has its own demo song, so you can listen to how it is supposed to sound before using it.
There is even a dual mode that you can use that lets you layer two voices, so they can be played together at the same time. Or, you can use the split mode, which lets you play two voices at once without layering, so each is controlled by one of the two keyboard sections. This is going to really add to your musical creations. Other features that we love about the P-255 include:
In addition to the sustain pedal (included with your purchase), there are many other options you can use to digitally enhance your music. You can make it sound like you are performing in a concert hall instead of just your living room by using the reverb option that gives you the reverberation effect to the various voices.
There is also an Effects function, which you can use to add other audio effects, including chorus, phaser, tremolo, and vibrato. You can even change the pitch of the keyboard by using the Transpose function. You will be playing in one key, but the keyboard will transpose it to a different one.
Even though you can’t bring a traditional piano to a bar gig, you can have the next best thing with the P-255. This keyboard has 88 keys made from synthetic ivory. They have graded hammer weighting, so the low notes need to be hit harder than the higher notes, just like you would play on an acoustic piano.
These keys are touch sensitive, and the touch sensitivity can be changed to match your personal playing style. When you are playing the P-255, it will feel like you are playing a real concert grand piano.
This keyboard has 10 rhythm tracks, each of which can be used behind the various voices you use. These tracks include 12/8, shuffle, bossa nova, and 8 beat. The default temp is 120 beats per minute, but you can adjust it to as little as 5 beats per minute all the way up to 500 beats per minute. You can also adjust the tone to get just the right balance for the music you play. This is done with the built-in equalizer with three sliders, low, mid, and high.
Some keyboards have no recording options at all. Others have one recording option. The P-255 actually has two recording options, which is going to take your recording to the next level. Many newer types of digital pianos do not have the standard in/out MIDI port, but this one does.
This means that you can record two separate parts, and even change one without touching the other. You can re-record parts, alter tempos, try out different voices, etc. Save as many as 10 MIDI songs with 1 MB of internal memory. You can also use direct audio for recording, which you will need to have a USB flash drive for, using the WAV format in 16-bit stereo. You can create recordings as long as 80 minutes each.
This keyboard has a free controller app for use with iOS devices. You will be able to adjust most of the features of the P-255 with your phone, including managing songs, storing and recalling settings, choosing which voices to layer, adjusting the split, and a whole lot more. You can also let beginners download music learning apps and other music software that will help them to learn and become good enough to hit the stage with you.
How to Use the Yamaha P-255
As soon as you take it out of the box, you're going to want to plug in the P-255 and start playing (obviously!) Using it may take a bit of getting used to at first, until you learn each of the different functions and how to activate and use them.
You're going to love the true, grand piano sound that comes out of this digital keyboard. Just have a listen to the sound on this YouTube video from Long & McQuade Musical Instruments:
Comparisons With Two Other Popular Yamaha Models
When you're spending more than $1,000 on a keyboard, you need to know that you're getting the exact right instrument for you.
So we want to give you a couple of other options from Yamaha that you can compare to the Yamaha P-255: the Yamaha P-115 and Yamaha DGX-660.
Yamaha P255 vs P115
Let’s start with the Yamaha P-115. Like the P-255, t has GHS weighted action so it is heavy in the low end and light in the high end, just like an acoustic piano. It has the sound of a concert grand piano, with Damper Resonance DSP that creates the same sound as the inside of a grand piano. This also comes in a bundle package, complete with a stand, dust cover, sustain pedal, headphones, polishing cloth, instructional book, and instructional DVD.
When compared to the P-255, you might find that the P-115 is a bit more user-friendly. It has the same great sound quality as the P-255, and it is in the same price range. Either of these keyboards is a good choice.
Yamaha P255 vs DGX 660
Another option is the Yamaha DGX-660. Like the P-255, it has world class concert grand piano sound, and it has a record and playback feature. It has 88 GHS weighted keys for an authentic piano feel, and features many interactive features that make it ideal for anyone, from beginner to professional.
We like these features better than the learning features on the P-255, but if a professional is going to be using the keyboard, it doesn’t really matter if there are learning features or not. This keyboard is available in a bundle package that includes a stand, a bench, a dust cover, and more. Both keyboards are excellent choices for professional musicians, and are great for the studio and for the road.
Having an instrument you can depend on is important for any musician, not to mention the fact that it must have outstanding sound quality. When you have the Yamaha P-255, you know you have an instrument that is going to meet all of your demands, and then some. This keyboard has all of the features that you need to play and create amazing music.
You'll enjoy the record and playback feature, and the fact that you can connect this keyboard to your iOS devices so you can use a variety of different music software, including editing packages and other apps.
Many of the greatest musicians have enjoyed playing on keyboards from the P series, and there is no exception with the P-255. If you need a new keyboard, this is definitely an option you need to consider!