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Yamaha P-145 review: New benchmark in beginner pianos

The Yamaha P-145 is the successor to one of the best-selling keyboard pianos of all time, the industry standard P-45. With the P-45 discontinued, Yamaha’s new kid on the block has much to live up to.

The P-145 promises the same reliability as its predecessor, better sound, and a smaller, lighter chassis. In this review, I’ll find out how well the new P-145 and its variation, the P-143, fit the legendary Yamaha P-series.

About the author

I’m a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience in the music industry. As a professional pianist, I’ve played and tested everything from a Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano to budget-friendly beginner keyboards.

Yamaha P-143 and P145 review
Image: Yamaha

Final verdict on the Yamaha P-145 4.5

The P-145 is fantastic; it does everything that the P-45 does, but slightly better and in a more compact, lightweight body. I’m very impressed that the new compact action feels so similar to the older P-45. It’s a well-designed keyboard piano and an ideal choice for any who wants full-size weighted keys and a great piano sound.

What I like

  • Great piano sound.
  • Improved speaker system.
  • Three-pedal unit input.
  • User-friendly.
  • Slimmer/lighter than ever.

What I don’t like

  • No built-in recorder.
  • Only 10 voices.
Buy Yamaha P-145 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Sound quality 4.6

The P-145 promises better sound than the older P-45; in short, it delivers. The primary difference in sound between the two models comes from the upgraded tone generation, from AWM sampling to Yamaha’s CFIIIS premium grand piano.

I have to say, while the sound quality is better, it’s not overwhelming; it’s very close. It’s fair to say that the older P-45 sounded great as an entry-level instrument, so it’s by no means a complaint to have a new model that sounds slightly better (it may be more of a concern if you’re considering upgrading from old to new).

The CFIIIS concert grand with damper resonance is one of Yamaha’s best sampled pianos and sounds sublime. It’s crisp, articulate, and harmonically rich; there’s a brighter option that might work better for some rock and pop, too.

There are 10 voices, including two grand pianos, two electric pianos, two pipe organs, a harpsichord, an accordion, di zi, and strings.

The voice selections are almost the same as the older P-45, with a few exceptions: the accordion and di zi. These two new voices replace a second harpsichord and a vibraphone. The di zi is somewhat of a surprise addition; it’s a Chinese transverse flute and sounds very interesting.

Now seems a good time to mention the P-143, a variation of the P-145 (available in some regions, including United States) that has most features of the P-145 but keeps the second harpsichord and vibraphone from the original P-45 (rather than the accordion and di zi).

The P-145 has a max polyphony of 64 notes, enough for beginners and early intermediate players.

Overall, I’m happy with the sound quality; the grand pianos are fantastic, the rest is good, and it’s all slightly better than before.

Built-in speakers 4.5

The built-in speakers are slightly bigger, now at 4.7 inches (previously 4.5 inches), and the P-145 features two 7-watt amplifiers (previously 6-watt).

The most impactful change in this department is the position of the speakers, which are now on the back of the instrument rather than the bottom. You might not notice a huge difference when using a keyboard stand, but when it’s sat on a desk, the P-145 sounds significantly clearer than the P-45.

The P-145 brings Yamaha’s entry-level P-series instrument in line with modern keyboard pianos, and it sounds terrific. There is a boost in volume, but the enhanced clarity is the major development here.

Keyboard feel 4.5

The P-145 marks the transition from the GHS action (Graded Hammer Standard) to the GHC action (Graded Hammer Compact). Yamaha decided to adapt the action to be more compact, making the instrument more lightweight, and it was a success.

The P-145 is noticeably lighter and slimmer than the P-45, but there’s no significant difference in how the action feels. In fact, I’d be confident that very few beginners could tell the difference.

Yamaha P-145 on the table
Image: Yamaha

We still have 88 graded keys, meaning the keys are heavier at the bottom of the keyboard and lighter at the top. Of course, it’s not the most realistic keyboard action on the market, but it’s excellent in the beginner range.

The action is fast but heavy enough to create levels of expression and dynamics; it’s an ideal starting point.

Features 4.5

As expected, the P-145 sticks to the P-series tradition and doesn’t have many features to discuss. But, as Yamaha says, you get everything you need and nothing you don’t.

  • Rec’n’Share. I would have liked to see a built-in recorder, but Yamaha’s Rec’n’Share app is a great way to record yourself and share it with friends and family.
  • Built-in effects. The P-145 features four onboard reverb types.
  • Demo songs. There are 20 demo songs, some specific to the 10 voices of the P-145. The best thing about the demo songs is that they cover diverse musical genres, which is excellent for beginners.
  • Metronome. The P-145 offers a metronome ranging from 32 to 280 BPM.
  • Sound Boost. The Sound Boost feature adds a little more power and punch to the sound, and it’s especially useful if you’re getting lost in the mix when playing with others.
  • Keyboard modes. You can layer sounds with Layer mode, and create two identical keyboard ranges with Duo mode, which is perfect for piano lessons.
  • Smart Pianist. It’s one of the best free piano apps on the market, offering a vast collection of educational material and many fun features to help students learn their favorite songs.

In use 4.7

Not much has changed in this department, and that’s a good thing. Yamaha P-series keyboard pianos are known to be incredibly user-friendly, and the P-145 is just that.

You can control/access almost everything by holding down the Grand Piano/Function button and pressing a corresponding key. For example, holding the Function button and pressing the low C key engages the first grand piano voice, but if you press C sharp just above instead, you get the second grand piano voice.

Yamaha P-145 - function and control buttons
Image: Yamaha

Other functions are triggered the same way, and available functions are described/listed above the correct keys. It’s easy enough for absolute beginners, and more experienced players will love the speedy workflow.

Build quality 4.4

I’ve gone with a higher score than I gave the P-45 here despite the fact this new model isn’t any more robust. In terms of being built to last, it’s about the same as before, which is not exceptional but more than good enough for the price range.

I gave a higher score because Yamaha has done a fantastic job of maintaining the same quality in a slimmer and lighter product. The P-145 chassis is shorter than previous models and more portable than ever. Again, I want to acknowledge how good the keyboard action is despite the new compact design.

For me, the design choices, like the new keyboard action and speaker placement, etc., make the build quality of the P-145 impressive.

Connectivity 4.2

The Yamaha P-145 offers USB connectivity but no Bluetooth, which might disappoint some users. It features a single headphone jack, a 1/4-inch sustain pedal input, and a three-pedal unit input.

Adding the three-pedal unit input is wonderful because it allows beginners to get closer to a real acoustic piano experience. It also makes the P-145 a better practice piano for more advanced players who need to use all three pedals for certain pieces.

Yamaha P-145 and P-143 connectivity comparison
Image(s): Yamaha

The P-143 offers all of the above besides the three-pedal unit input.

Compared to other beginner pianos

The P-145 might be the new industry standard for beginners, but no keyboard is perfect for everyone. Here are some great alternatives.

Yamaha P-145 vs P-143

These two instruments are virtually identical, so I want to highlight a few differences to save any confusion.

There is a slight difference in the voice selection that I mentioned above. Where the P-145 has a di zi and an accordion, the P-143 has a second harpsichord and a vibraphone. The only other difference, which might matter most, is that the P-143 does not include a three-pedal unit input.

Otherwise, they are the same instrument. If you have a choice of either, I recommend the P-145 for the additional input, but if you only have access to the P-143 in your region, you aren’t missing much.

Yamaha P-145 vs P-45

The P-45 is slightly outdated and not as refined as the P-145. If you have a P-45, there’s no rush to upgrade; otherwise, the P-145 is the better choice.

Read the full Yamaha P-45 review

Yamaha P-145 vs P-225

It comes down to the flagship CFX concert grand sound for me; the P-225 has it, but the P-145 doesn’t. If you can afford the extra cost, go for the P-225.

Read the full Yamaha P-225 review

Yamaha P-145 vs Korg B2

I like the Korg B2, and it’s better than the P-145 in some areas. But it’s close, and the more compact body might sway me toward the Yamaha P-145 here.

Read the full Korg B2 review

Yamaha P-145 vs Roland FP-10

I have a soft spot for Roland keyboard pianos, and the FP range has been around for a long time. In this instance, I’d go for the P-145; it’s fresher and more modern.

Who is the Yamaha P-145 best suited for?

The P-145 has something to offer players of all levels in different ways, but it’s best suited to beginners, young and old.

Buy Yamaha P-145 at: SweetwaterAmazon
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