Our Yamaha YDP-105 review looks at the latest addition to the Arius series of digital pianos. The YDP-105 is the successor to the YDP-103, Yamaha’s popular entry-level model.
We will go through the best and worst things about the YDP-105 and see how it compares to its predecessor.
We will also discuss who it suits most and if it’s worth upgrading for existing YDP-103 owners.
Our verdict on the Yamaha YDP-105
We’ve landed on the same score we gave the YDP-103, and we have a few reasons.
Firstly, we wanted to go a little higher because the YDP-105 has a couple of upgrades over the older model. Unfortunately, the upgrades aren’t in the areas that we’d like to see the most, and it comes with a price increase of around $100.
The YDP-105 is still a fantastic beginner digital piano, and while we wouldn’t suggest upgrading from the YDP-103, it’s worth the extra money if you are a first-time buyer.
In a perfect world, we’d have seen a few more improvements without a price increase.
Like the older YDP-103, the YDP-105 features Yamaha’s AWM sampling technology. The main thing to point out here is that while it’s not a match for Yamaha’s high-end concert grand tones (CFX), it’s excellent for an entry-level option.
The grand piano voices are very detailed for a budget digital piano, and they don’t have the kind of plastic quality that many cheaper sounds have. It has more depth than most in its class, and it has a lovely tone, especially in the midrange.
There are 10 sounds in total, including electric pianos, organs, etc. The sounds are good enough, but we are a little disappointed not to see more improvement over the YDP-103 here.
If there wasn’t to be a significant sound engine update, it might have been nice to see some additional voices.
The max polyphony remains at 64 notes, too, and again, that’s a little disappointing; a jump to 128 would have been great.
The YDP-105 isn’t worse; it’s very good; it’s just not as significantly better as we’d have hoped.
The Arius YDP-105 seems to have exactly the same built-in speaker system found in the YDP-103. It has a pair of 4.7″ speakers powered by two 6 W amplifiers.
We already liked the speaker system in the YDP-103, so we have to say that opinion still stands. The sound is surprisingly crisp.
It’s not a hugely powerful system, so don’t expect to be filling any halls with it. However, the YDP-105 is intended for beginners to early intermediate players, and it’s more than enough for the average student’s needs.
The Arius YDP-105 features Yamaha’s GHS keyboard, which stands for Graded Hammer Standard. It’s a significant step up from standard hammer-action keys that are progressively weighted.
It also features matte black keytops that help absorb moisture, which can be a lifesaver while performing (at least a tunesaver).
Again, we have specs that match the older YDP-103, which means the keys might be a touch light overall. But, we aren’t sure what Yamaha could do to improve the keyboard feel without a drastic price hike.
Having good graded hammer-action keys with matte black keytops is an excellent start for any beginner. You might outgrow it in time, but it will have served its purpose well when you do.
Finally, we have a section where we can score the YDP-105 slightly higher than the previous version. The YDP-105 still isn’t feature-packed by any means, but it comes with one of two little extras.
The YDP-105 comes with four built-in reverb types. The reverb effects are nothing out of the ordinary, but they can enhance the piano sound, giving it more space.
It also comes with a hand Volume Limiter feature that maintains a safe level whether playing through the built-in speakers or headphones.
The YDP-105 comes with Duo Mode and Layer Mode. These modes are standard on most digital pianos, but they are incredibly useful.
Duo Mode creates two identical zones for student and teacher practice. It allows the teacher to demonstrate at the same pitch without switching positions.
Layer Mode lets you combine two sounds to make a new voice.
Yamaha is typically one of the best when it comes to digital piano apps. Between the Digital Piano Controller app and the Smart Pianist app, you are covered from everything from remotely changing piano settings to tutorials and sheet music.
There are 10 voice demo songs that showcase the onboard sounds and 10 piano preset songs.
When we first looked at the YDP-103, we said we’d have liked to see more onboard tutorial content since it’s aimed at beginners. Sadly, the YDP-105 doesn’t offer an upgrade in that area.
When you start playing the YDP-105, any of the complaints we’ve mentioned will fade away.
One of the things we love most about the Arius range is that they have well-defined target users. The YDP-105 is absolutely a beginner digital piano, and it doesn’t try to be anything else.
It has simple, straightforward controls and limited features. But, for any beginner, it will feel like a massive step closer to a real piano.
Sometimes people can get a little carried away and buy a high-end instrument before learning to play to a decent standard. In that scenario, high-end digital pianos are often a bit too much for a beginner, and they struggle to get a feel for them.
That’s why we can say, despite any slight complaints we have, the YDP-105 is a lovely piano for a beginner to use.
If you consider the price, the build quality of the YDP-105 is very good. Realistically, it’s not as sturdy as a high-end Clavinova model, but it’s solid enough.
Since a digital piano takes up a considerable position in your home, how they look is often just as important as how robust it is.
The YDP-105 looks excellent for a budget digital piano, and to younger players, it will look like the real deal.
It comes with a nice music stand, sliding key cover, and a lovely Yamaha branded piano stool.
No enhancements here either, we’re afraid. It comes with dual 1/4″ headphone jacks, which are always great to see, and USB (Type B).
Compared to other digital pianos
There are many great beginner digital pianos on the market right now. Here are a few more that we like.
Yamaha YDP-105 vs. Kawai KDP75
In our opinion, the Kawai KDP75 looks, feels, and sounds better. It’s a steal in the beginner price range.
Yamaha YDP-105 vs. Casio PX-870
Casio’s Privia range is typically a safe bet for beginner or intermediate digital pianos. The PX-870 is a great option and has a few more sounds and features than the YDP-105.
Yamaha YDP-105 vs. Yamaha YDP-144
It’s a little step up in price, but if you like the Yamaha sound and have the budget, it’s worth stepping up to the CFX grand piano tone.
Who is the Yamaha Arius YDP-105 best suited for?
The Yamaha YDP-105 digital piano suits absolute beginners to early intermediate players.
- Very beginner-friendly.
- Looks great.
- Very nice piano tones.
- Great value for money.
- No built-in recorder.