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Yamaha P-45 review

The Yamaha P-45 is an affordable keyboard piano aimed primarily at beginners. While it’s a beginner-focused instrument, it’s also a popular choice for intermediate players who want a lightweight/cheap alternative for gigging.

This 88-key stage piano has been around for a long time and manages to remain relevant. In this Yamaha P-45 review, we will discuss what it has to offer and if it’s still as good a buy as ever.

About the author

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

Yamaha P-45 digital piano review
Image: Higher Hz

Our verdict on the Yamaha P-45 4.4

The Yamaha P-45 may be starting to show signs of age, but it’s still one of the best instruments in its class.

There are more budget-friendly options than ever now, and some are better in certain areas. But with the P-45, you know you are getting a solid performance from a trusted brand. It’s still worth the money.

What we like

  • Value for money.
  • Lightweight-portable.
  • Good acoustic piano sounds.
  • Great for beginners.

What we don’t like

  • Limited connectivity.
  • Cheaper alternatives available.
Buy from: SweetwaterAmazon

Sound quality 4.5

The P-45 is powered by Yamaha’s full-stereo AWM sampling. It’s a few steps down from Yamaha’s CFX engine, but it’s one of the best sound sources in this price range.

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

Outside of the acoustic piano voices, the sounds are good but not great. That’s a relatively common assessment of entry-level keyboard pianos, so it’s not a huge complaint.

If you’re a beginner or perform in a working band, playing cover songs, the P-45 should sound great. The two available piano voices lack the depth and dynamic quality of the more expensive Yamaha stage pianos, but they are crisp, clean, and suitable for various styles of playing.

Yamaha P-45 sound and master volume
Image: Higher Hz

The max polyphony of 64 notes could be a problem for highly advanced playing, but you probably aren’t buying a P-45 anyway if you play at that level.

The quality is relevant to the price; we still think it has one of the best piano tones in its class.

Built-in speakers 4.3

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 learners at home, you can play without headphones and save money on a keyboard amp or speakers. They are loud enough to put on a small home concert for friends and family. They could be enough for a small piano recital at a push, assuming a very quiet audience.

There are cheaper keyboard pianos these days that have noticeably better speaker systems than the P-45. In our opinion, the P-45 has a better sound engine than most, so while you might gain volume elsewhere, you are likely turning up an inferior sound.

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) keyboard. Graded means that the weight increases from the highest to lowest notes, like a real piano.

Yamaha P-45 keys and feel
Image: Higher Hz

Again, when compared to high-end instruments, it’s not the best feel available. However, it’s excellent value for money.

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.

It’s good enough to give intermediate players dynamic/expressive freedom, and it’s a fantastic starting point for complete beginners.

Features 4.1

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 often gig, 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. In fact, there are just four reverbs.

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

Piano modes

The Yamaha P-45 features Layer and Duo modes.

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 you’d miss it if it weren’t there.

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

Duo mode is fantastic for students. It allows you to create two identical ranges on the keyboard for student/teacher playing.

In use 4.7

The layout is exactly what you want from a keyboard of this kind. It’s simple and has very few controls. It’s a very user-friendly keyboard piano, even for younger beginners.

It’s an excellent keyboard for home practice because it’s lightweight and easy to move around the house or store away.

If you plan to gig with the P-45, it’s excellent, providing you stay within its capabilities. Many users who need a good piano tone and don’t want to carry around a much heavier instrument absolutely love the P-45.

Build quality 4.2

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 you’d gain weight, and we can’t have it all.

Yamaha P-45 build quality
Image: Higher Hz

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.

Connectivity 4.0

Connectivity is scarce, but there are a couple of important things to mention.

The first is that you get USB MIDI to 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. It would be nice to have a second headphone jack for use in Due mode if we were greedy.

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

Compared to other keyboard pianos

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

Yamaha P-45 vs Yamaha P-125

It’s 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.

Check out our Yamaha P-125 review

Yamaha P-45 vs Studiologic Numa Compact 2

We love this keyboard! It delivers sound quality and versatility beyond its price (higher than the P-45). The drawback is that it only has semi-weighted keys.

Check out our Studiologic Numa Compact 2 review

Yamaha P-45 vs Alesis Recital Pro

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

Check out our Alesis Recital Pro review

You can also check our recommendations for the best beginner keyboard pianos and the best cheap pianos under $500.

Who is the Yamaha P-45 best suited for?

The Yamaha P45 suits beginner to intermediate players and is best for home practice.

Buy from: SweetwaterAmazon