I always say Yamaha has something to offer everyone, no matter what level or budget. In this review, I’m checking out the Yamaha P-125, the bigger brother of the P-45. It has some features not included with the cheaper models, but it’s still essentially a lightweight, 88-key stage piano with a streamlined design.
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Final verdict on the Yamaha P-125
Above all else, the P-125 is a great stage piano. The only issue is price because when you’re spending around $1000, you might start to think if I stretch a few hundred more, I can get the next level up.
If you only need a good piano sound and feel, you could easily decide to buy the cheaper P-45. Overall, it’s better than the P-45, it’s worth the money as long as you do your research, and if you can get it on sale, it’s a steal.
What I like
- Pure CF sound engine.
- Improved speaker system.
- Sound Boost and Stereophonic Optimizer.
- Smart Pianist app.
- Improved connectivity.
What I don’t like
- At full price, it has stiff competition.
Note: Newer model
The P-125 digital piano has been discontinued by Yamaha. The new P-225 comes with the flagship CFX concert grand piano sound, which is awesome. Read the full Yamaha P-225 review for more information on the successor.
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The Yamaha Pure CF sound engine powers the P-125. It gives you one of Yamaha’s flagship piano voices, a beautiful recreation of the CFIIIS concert grand. In total, there are 24 voices, including grand pianos, electric pianos, organs, clavs, harpsichords, and strings.
The P-125 outdoes the P-45 for a few reasons. Firstly, the addition of the flagship piano sound is excellent, and the resonance effects enhance that. Secondly, the variety of voices make for a more versatile performance instrument. Lastly, the improved speaker system and max polyphony of 192 notes.
The P-125 sounds very good, and it does edge out the P-45 in this department. However, the gap between the piano voices is not drastic enough that you shouldn’t consider the Yamaha P-45 if you want to save some cash.
Compared to the P-45, the speaker system has had a fairly significant overhaul. You get a pair of 4.7-inch woofers and 1.5-inch tweeters. Thanks to the tweeters, the clarity in the high-end is better than ever.
The P-125 has dual 7-watt amplifiers, delivers a little more power than the P-45. While the built-in speakers will never be enough for every kind of gig, the P-125 is better equipped to hold its own.
Again, the P-125 employs Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keys, heavier at the bottom and lighter at the top. You could probably assume that the weight and balance of the keyboard are as good as most that you’d get for under $1000.
It’s not surprising, Yamaha seems to deliver better feeling keys than the price would suggest, time and time again. The improvement from the P-45 is that you get the matte black key tops to help absorb moisture.
While the Yamaha P-125 shares some features with the cheaper P-45, we can start to see some improvements straight away.
Even with some physical upgrades, the P-125 remains just as light as the P-45. At just 26 lbs, it’s portable enough for any setting.
Playing with headphones isn’t ideal for a few reasons: apart from getting uncomfortable, it’s not the most natural way to receive the sound to your ears. It takes away any real sense of space or surroundings, and that’s what the Stereophonic Optimizer brings back.
It makes it seem like the sound is coming from the piano rather than the headphones. While it’s not exactly like playing without headphones, especially when your ears get sore, it does make a difference.
The P-125 features Duo mode and Layer mode, just like the P-45. Duo mode allows you to split the keyboard into two identical zones, which is perfect for student/teacher lessons. Layer mode allows you to layer two sounds to create new voices.
It also has Split mode, a feature not found on the P-45. Split mode, as the name suggests, lets you split the keyboard and play with a different sound in each zone.
Sound Boost adds to the performance quality of the upgraded speaker system. It adds EQ and volume to your sound to help you cut through a mix. This feature is helpful if you perform with other musicians in a small combo, especially if you have a drummer.
The smart thing about Sound Boost is that it doesn’t apply a blanket EQ then forget about it. With Yamaha’s Intelligent Acoustic Control, the EQ can adjust itself according to your volume settings. It’s a clever feature that means as well as cutting through a mix, you can maintain a well-balanced tone throughout.
Damper and String Resonance
Damper snd String Resonance mimic the mechanical sounds and behavior of a real acoustic piano. It’s common for stage pianos to have these features to add to the realism. But you don’t always get it with the cheaper instruments. Given that the P-125 is still relatively cheap, it’s a sign of a more professional approach.
Key-Off samples feature mimics the sound of the damper falling back to the string on a real piano. Simple but effective.
Smart Pianist app
You can access the app via your smartphone or tablet, connected to the P-125 via USB.
The Smart Pianist app does a lot of cool things, like creating smart chord charts. Whether you take a demo song from the P-125 or upload your own, the app can create a chord chart with a playhead that follows the song. It’s fantastic for jamming along to backing tracks.
The app also allows you to control the basic functions of the piano. For example, you can change from one voice to the next by swiping on your smart device. On your screen, you’ll see nice graphic representations of the instruments and settings, etc.
The P-125 comes with a simple two-track, one-song recorder; good for tracking progress or recording ideas.
Demo songs are often ignored, but the 21 demos and 50 piano songs are good learning tools when used with the Smart Pianist app.
Matte black key tops
Not as luxurious as the higher-priced synthetic ebony/ivory feel, but it does help absorb moisture.
A few things sum up why the P-125 is so nice to play: its simple design/functionality, great sound, and it’s portable. With those qualities in mind, the P-125 is a good choice for almost any scenario.
It’s an ideal stage piano for performance, although it’s one you will want to be careful with in transit. At home, it’s close to perfect, whether it’s just for practice or as a master keyboard for your home studio setup.
It’s lightweight, it’s pretty slimline, and it’s not a solid metal body. That’s probably not what you want to hear about a stage piano that you plan to take on the road. But, in truth, it’s sturdy enough that you should have no worries unless you really mistreat it.
So, I’d say the build quality is good. The only downside is that you have stiffer competition for comparison as you get closer to $1000.
Thankfully, the price increase comes with increased connectivity. Like the P-45, you get a 1/4-inch sustain input and USB connector.
The significant difference is that you now get dual 1/4-inch headphone jacks and two dedicated 1/4-inch audio outputs. The extra headphone jack gives you the option of student/teacher playing without disturbing the whole house.
For anyone planning to use the P-125 for gigging, the dedicated audio outputs will be a very welcome addition.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
As the P-125 is verging closer to spending serious money, it’s essential to ensure it’s right for you. Here are a few alternative options.
Yamaha P-125 vs P-45
If you just need it for the piano sounds, the P-45 is a value for money star. If you’re happy to pay a bit more, the P-125 is a significant step up.
Yamaha P-125 vs Korg D1
I love the sound, look and build of the Korg D1, but it doesn’t have built-in speakers. If you can live without speakers, it’s a serious contender.
Yamaha P-125 vs Casio PX-S3100
Another step up in price, but it looks fantastic and comes with 700 voices. Well worth checking out.
Who is the Yamaha P-125 best suited for?
The Yamaha P-125 portable digital piano is a great choice for serious piano students and performers who need a lightweight stage piano.
Note: The P-125 is discontinued and is out of stock in most places, so be sure to check out its successor here.