Yamaha YPG-535 88-Key Portable Grand Piano Review
Digital pianos are a great way to practice the piano, learn how to play it, record songs, and experiment with different tones and effects. The Yamaha YPG-535 beginner piano to intermediate players, stands out for its value and for the features that it showcases, it is applicable for .
Things To Consider Before Buying A Digital Piano
Digital pianos tend to specialize in one particular role. For some, that's recording and interfacing, while for others it could be composing songs with multiple instruments or creating a playing experience similar to an analog piano. Decide in advance what you want to do with your digital piano and then look at the various offerings and what they cost before making a final decision.
The Yamaha YPG-535
The market for digital pianos is divided into three main parts. The beginner pianos cost about $400 and under. Everything between $400 and around $800 is an intermediate digital piano. Everything over $800 is an advanced piano. The 535 is in the lower half of the intermediate market at a price of $500. It comes with a very large set of features along with several ports for connectivity. The 535 follows the typical Yamaha approach of loading up as many features as possible to make the digital piano a credible purchase for many different possible users. It has 500 different voices and 160 accompaniment styles.
Features and Benefits
The number of voices that the 535 has is much larger than average. The large selection means that it is easy to try out different instruments and combinations to simulate a band. The ability to split and layer different voices just adds to the possibilities. In addition, the 535 has a Performance Assistant that can generate accompaniment using the included styles based on the tempo of the play. There's also several different reverbs, chorus effects, and harmony effects that can further modify the tone. The 535 has a pair of 12 centimeter speakers and a pair of 3 centimeter speakers for playback.
The split and layer features are key for learning with a teacher playing the keyboard at the same time, but those are more or less standard for an intermediate digital piano. The 535 includes the Yamaha Education Suite, which is a set of training tools. The Chord Dictionary displays chord information on the LCD. Minus One grades your performance of a song. Your Tempo adjusts your tempo based on your accuracy. Waiting lets you set up a trigger for the accompaniment to turn on at a certain note.
The list of features that the 535 has is very large. In fact, it is surprising to see so many features on a keyboard that costs less than $800. Many of them are demanding in terms of software, so they were not easy to include. The engineers had to make a real effort to fit this many features into the memory and still leave room for custom songs, 6-track recordings, and USB and MIDI connectivity. It's clear that Yamaha has compromised a little on the quality of the samples, particularly the more exotic voices, but the sheer quantity of them unlocks many uses for the digital piano.
Value for the Money
The DGX-660 from Yamaha is a more expensive option from the same company. The DGX-660 costs $800 and takes a different approach. It has a singular focus on the piano, so there's only a few voices and styles and no automated tools. It has a bench and a stand included and an instructional DVD that includes lessons. The samples are high quality, the keys are weighted like an analog piano, and the feature set allows you to customize the tone to the size and material of the room for the best sound.
Approach: Piano Focus
Alesis Coda Pro
The Coda Pro costs $340 and focuses on the teaching aspect of the digital piano. It has splitting and layering along with a lesson mode for trying to learn a certain song. It also has USB and MIDI ports, as well as an AUX port, to connect to other instruments and sources for song data. The Coda Pro has 20 voices and 50 styles with a polyphony of 64.
Alesis Coda Pro
Approach: Teaching Focus
The Korg B1SP is a $570 digital piano with just 8 voices. It forgoes most other features to focus on delivering piano sound with minimized distortion and alteration of the source, which is a high-quality piano sample. The B1SP is more of a performance instrument than the Yamaha DGX-660 or Alesis Coda Pro. It has speakers directed by a servo for the lowest distortion possible. It comes with three pedals.
Approach: Performance Focus
Intermediate digital pianos are popular because they are so good at combining value and features with an accessible price. The Yamaha YPG-535 is one of the most appealing of these because despite the fact that it has one of the lower prices, it manages to include one of the most deep and wide feature sets of the segment. The alternatives are also good choices for particular specialties like teaching or performance. The 535 can satisfy many different roles because it has so many features and tools included, although it is necessary to get a bench.