Published April 11, 2018 by Patrick H.
Quite successful in their own right, the best-selling P-105 and P-115 digital pianos brought sought-after features like Pure CF sampling, drum rhythms and pianist accompaniments, stage-ready aux line outs, and iOS app control to Yamaha's entry- to intermediate-level portable digital pianos. Now, just a few short years later, the P-125 adds an even deeper selection of features while further refining the sound and playing experience of its predecessors.
With the P-125, Yamaha has given careful consideration to the approachability and accessibility of its user interface, as well as both the physical aesthetics and acoustic properties of its design. Intended to keep the player focused on their playing, the panel and controls are simple and user-friendly, with light reflection minimized by the continuous surface. The subtle curve of the panel is inspired by the Yamaha CFX grand piano, echoing the sophistication of the P-125's Pure CF Sound Engine. Projecting from both the top and bottom of the piano, the P-125's 2-way speaker system creates a rich sound field, enveloping the player in their own performance space as if they were sitting at an actual acoustic piano.
Even with these subtle design elements, an instrument that's likely to be purchased as a first piano or as an upgrade from a portable keyboard is often judged primarily by its ability to meet a couple of basic requirements for sound quality and keyboard feel. On this front, the P-125 carries forward with Yamaha's Pure CF Sound Engine, reproducing the sound of the Yamaha CFSIII 9' concert grand piano with meticulous detail. As an improvement over the P-115, the P-125 includes 4-level Pure CF sampling for an extra layer of dynamic and expressive possibilities.
The P-125 also features Yamaha's Graded Hammer Standard 88-key weighted keyboard action to simulate the playing feel of an acoustic piano, providing a heavier touch at the low end of the keyboard and a lighter touch at the high end. Combined with the multiple dynamic layers of the Pure CF engine, the GHS keyboard helps the P-125 acclimate players to the musical response of an actual piano.
In addition to its more detailed piano sampling, the P-125 offers a number of other upgrades over the model it replaces. The P-125 now includes 24 instrument voices (the same number as the upper-level P-255), as opposed to the P-115's 14 voices. The P-125 also expands on the rhythm patterns available in the P-115, with 20 drum rhythms that now include bass parts instead of 14 drum-only patterns. A single USB cable can carry both audio and MIDI to your music-making software, eliminating the P-115's need for a separate audio interface for recording. The optional 3-pedal unit has also been redesigned with metal pedals for true piano-like pedaling.
One of the P-125's most exciting new features is its compatibility with Yamaha's "Smart Pianist" app for iOS. Originally developed for Clavinova CSP Series digital pianos, Smart Pianist offers intuitive touchscreen control of voices, rhythms, and other instrument settings. While not every function available to the CSP Clavinovas is accessible from the P-125, Smart Pianist still provides a variety of new ways to enjoy learning and making music with the P-125, such as creating chord charts from audio tracks stored on your iPhone or iPad.
Yamaha is known for their pianos, both acoustic and digital, and the P-125 draws on over 100 years of piano craftsmanship and a longstanding history of electronic musical instrument technology. With a well-measured set of updates to an already solid platform, the P-125 continues a trend of accessible digital pianos with the sound quality and touch response expected from a Yamaha instrument.