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Yamaha P-45 review

Yamaha is one of the few manufacturers that cater to every musician from beginner to professional. So, it’s no surprise that they produce one of the most popular budget stage pianos on the market. That piano is the Yamaha P-45, and we’ll be taking a look at everything it has to offer in this review.

Yamaha P-45 review
Image credit: Yamaha

The Yamaha P-45 is a full-size, 88-key stage piano that comes at a reasonable price. It focuses more on delivering a great piano sound and feel than versatility. That means it provides a specific set of qualities without trying to be a jack of all trades.

Our verdict on the Yamaha P-45 4.5

It all comes down to value for money. With the price in mind, it sounds fantastic, feels very good, looks great, and it’s lightweight. It isn’t going to blow you away in every area, but it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best performers in its class. If you buy one, it’s hard to imagine anything but a happy customer.

Check availability and current prices: SweetwaterAmazon

Who does it suit?

It suits students/learners who need a solid stage piano for home practice. Also, performers who want a lightweight instrument either as a primary or backup piano.

  • Value for money.
  • Lightweight/portable.
  • Great piano sound.
  • Suitable for beginners.
  • Limited connectivity.

Features 4.0

As we alluded to above, the Yamaha P-45 isn’t the most feature-heavy stage piano around. But, we can take a look at the things that make it such a popular choice.

Lightweight design

The lightweight design is something that attracts many pianists to this instrument. If you are someone who often gigs, carrying a hefty keyboard around becomes a pain quickly. At approx 25 lbs, the P-45 offers a cheaper and more portable alternative to the high-end options. It’s also easy to move around the house if you need to escape to a quieter room for practice.

Built-in effects

Although we highlight the built-in effects as a key feature, there are very few to speak of. In fact, there are just four reverbs.

We felt they were worth mentioning because they add real value in the right setting. The right reverb with the right piano voice adds to the ambiance and realism, whether practicing or performing.

Layer Mode

Layer Mode is another simple feature that can go a long way. It allows you to layer two voices to create more complex sounds. It’s one of those features that people might not rave about, but if it weren’t there, you’d miss it.

It’s particularly useful when layering strings with piano for something more cinematic. Also useful for doubling acoustic and electric pianos for a distinctly 80s sound.

Duo Mode

Similar to layer mode, it’s not a huge feature, but Duo Mode is fantastic for students. It allows you to create two identical ranges on the keyboard for student/teacher playing.

Built-in speakers

The Yamaha P-45 sports a pair of 4.5″ woofers with dual 6 W amplifiers. The obvious advantage of built-in speakers is that you can play anywhere without the need for external amplification.

For leaners at home, it means you can play without headphones and save money on a keyboard amp or speakers. They are more than loud enough to put on a little home concert for friends and family. It’s possible they could be enough for a small intimate performance, too, like a piano recital. For anything a little rowdier, you’ll need to through an amp or PA system.

In terms of quality, they are as good as most in the same class. All that means is that you might hear a difference if you were going through a high-quality amp or speakers, but it’s unlikely you’d have any complaints.

Connectivity

Connectivity is scarce, but there’s a couple of important things to mention. The first is that you get USB MIDI so that you can use the P-45 as a controller in your DAW. The second thing is that the 1/4″ headphone jack is the only audio out. It would be better to have a dedicated (line level) audio output. If we were greedy, it would be nice to have a second headphone jack for use in Due Mode, too.

That being said, it’s not a dealbreaker. There’s also a 1/4″ sustain input (pedal included).

Sound quality 4.5

We may have undersold the P-45 on features, but now we are getting to the good stuff. Yamaha’s full-stereo AWM sampling powers this stage piano.

There are 10 voices in total, including two grand pianos, two electric pianos, two organs, two harpsichords, strings, and a vibraphone.

As we said earlier, the main focus here is the piano experience, and AWM sampling is a good assurance that you are getting some rich and detailed piano voices.

The two available piano voices offer enough variation to suit different playing styles, such as Jazz, Classical, or Pop music. What they all have in common is clarity and articulation through the ranges. The electric pianos are very playable, too, covering you for anything from Fusion/Funk to Pop ballads.

If sat next to a Nord Piano 5, or Yamaha CP-88, it would be easy to say they sound better. However, in and around this price range, the P-45 is amongst the best on sound.

A potential downside could be the polyphony, which is 64-note max, but we wouldn’t let that affect our score too much at this price.

Keyboard feel 4.5

The second part of the piano experience is the keyboard feel, and the P-45 performs well here, too.

It features Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keys. Graded means that the weight increases from the highest to lowest notes, like a real piano.

Again, when compared to high-end instruments, it’s not the best feel available. However, it’s amongst the best in the price range. There’s enough weight to make you feel like you are working for it and can be expressive. Also, the weight is well-balanced as it transitions across the keyboard.

Layout 4.5

The layout is exactly what you want from a keyboard of this kind. It’s simple and has very few controls.

If there is a possible complaint, it’s that some people might prefer addition buttons for voice selection. Although, with so few voices, it’s not a big problem.

At home 4.8

We can keep this fairly short. It’s easy to move around to store, and it has built-in speakers. So, it makes a very good practice piano for players of all levels at home.

On stage 4.0

It’s a great stage piano for anyone playing small gigs where the built-in speakers are enough. It’s also a great piano for professionals who perhaps want a lighter option for certain performances.

The downside is that more advanced players might take issue with having to use the headphone output rather than a dedicated line out.

Build quality 4.0

Like most things about the Yamaha P-45, the build quality is pretty hard to fault for the money.

It’s lightweight, so it isn’t what you’d call built like a tank, but it’s robust enough to feel secure. A solid metal case would be ideal, but then you’d gain weight, and we can’t have it all.

The design also deserves mention here, as it’s pretty sleek and modern. Some cheaper stage pianos have more of a beginner keyboard look; fortunately, the P-45 isn’t one of them.

Compared to other keyboard pianos

The Yamaha P-45 is definitely a steal in the budget price range. But, you should never buy without checking out alternatives.

P-45 vs. Yamaha P-125

An upgraded version of the P-45. It’s a better stage piano but comes at a higher price. If you can get it on sale, go for it.

P-45 vs. Studiologic Numa Compact 2

We love this keyboard! It delivers sound quality and versatility beyond its price. The drawback is that it only has semi-weighted keys.

P-45 vs. Alesis Recital Pro

If you want to stretch your budget even further, the Recital Pro is outstanding value. Perhaps less professional than the P-45, but it’s cheaper and ticks most boxes.

Check out our Alesis Recital Pro review

Yamaha P-45 prices and deals

Check availability, prices, and deals: SweetwaterAmazon
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