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Yamaha YDP163B Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench, Black Walnut
- The Pure CF Sound Engine faithfully reproduces the tone of a meticulously sampled, acclaimed Yamaha 9' CFIIIS concert grand piano, allowing for incredibly dynamic and expressive playing.
- Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) weighted action provides increasingly heavier touch from the high keys to the low keys, with grand piano-style response and an outstanding dynamic range.
- 50 classic piano songs are provided in the built-in song memory as well as in a music book, "50 Greats for the Piano."
- The Controller App for iOS devices adds a rich graphical user interface, allowing for quick and easy navigation and configuration.
- The 2-track song recorder allows players to practice one hand at a time, or record their next hit single!
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From the manufacturer
Yamaha Arius Series Digital Console Pianos
From the makers of one of the world's finest acoustic pianos for over a century, come one of the world's best digital pianos. The Arius Series has all of the conveniences of an electric piano without sacrificing the performance of an acoustic piano.
The best digital piano is one that can grow with a musician as they progress. When a pianist's skill level rises, they require a keyboard action built for more serious playing. The Arius Series features Graded Hammer keyboard action and synthetic ivory keytops, giving the performer a tactile surface with a response reminiscent of some of the finest pianos throughout history.
Unrivaled Sound Quality
The Pure CF Sound Engine is the result of many years of piano-making history and expertise, combined with state-of-the-art sampling technology (not included on YDP-103).
The Pure CF Sound Engine faithfully reproduces the tone of a meticulously sampled, acclaimed Yamaha 9' CFIIIS concert grand piano, allowing for incredibly dynamic and expressive playing.
Yamaha's CFX 9’ concert grand piano was played by the winner of the prestigious International Chopin Competition in 2010, and has since gained recognition as one of the greatest concert grands of modern times (included with YDP-184).
Superb Playability and Feel
All Arius Series models feature a Graded Hammer 88-key piano keyboard action (varies between models, see comparison chart below). Graded Hammer Action provides a heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end, responding similarly to the hammers inside an acoustic piano.
The Arius Series is great for the aspiring pianist, because practicing with weighted action builds proper finger technique for playing on an acoustic piano. The synthetic ivory key tops provide a tactile surface to the white keys, absorbing moisture from the fingers and preventing them from slipping.
Realistic Pedal Performance
Stereo Sustain samples provide mellow reverberations when the player depresses the damper pedal. Similarly, Damper Resonance provides broad and deep resonance when the pedal is used. Similar to that of an acoustic piano, the result is more realistic sound.
Half-damper pedal control creates more detailed nuance and subtlety when playing, similar to pedaling on a grand piano. (included on YDP-181 and YDP-184) This feature allows for continuously increasing lengths of sustained notes, from slight to full, as the sustain pedal is depressed.
New Headphone Experience
The Stereophonic Optimizer is unique to Yamaha. When playing and listening to the instrument using headphones, the Stereophonic Optimizer adjusts the spacing of the sound and the separation from the piano, resulting in a spacious, surround sound quality that will inspire you to play for hours at a time. Within this private listening environment, the sound of the piano can be a more realistic and natural experience.
A standard USB cable can be used to connect the instrument to a computer or mobile device, opening up a world of creativity, entertainment, and education. iOS devices can be connected to the instrument using the the Lightning-USB Camera Adaptor or wirelessly using the Yamaha UD-BT01. The "Digital Piano Controller" app has an attractive interface optimized for iOS touch screens, adding a whole new level of functionality to your Yamaha instrument. Adjust settings, choose Voices, and even record performances.
Song Book Included
The Yamaha digital piano is pre-loaded with a variety of classic piano songs for your listening and learning pleasure. Players can use the accompanying book, "50 Greats for the Piano" to follow along with the music and learn how to play iconic pieces.
Capture your Performance
The recording function built into the instrument allows players to record performances* with a single touch. Additionally, players can record up to 2 tracks for simultaneous playback, meaning that both hands can be recorded separately.
|Number of Keys||88||88||88||88||88|
|Keyboard Type||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard with matte black key tops||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard with matte black key tops||GH3 3-sensor Graded Hammer keyboard with synthetic ivory key tops||Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) Keyboard with Matte Black Keytops||GH3 3-sensor Graded Hammer keyboard with synthetic ebony and ivory keytops|
|Finish Options||Dark Rosewood||Dark Rosewood, Black Walnut||Dark Rosewood, Black Walnut||Dark Rosewood||Dark Rosewood|
|Pure CF Sampling||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Compare with similar items
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Kawai CE220 Digital Piano
Yamaha P-115 Digital Piano - Black Bundle with Yamaha L-85 Stand, LP-5A Pedal, Furniture Bench, Instructional Book, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Zorro Sounds||Amazon.com||Instrument Trader||Austin Bazaar|
|Item Dimensions||22.9 x 57 x 18.9 in||16.7 x 57.6 x 20.6 in||22.99 x 57.05 x 18.86 in||16.1 x 58.2 x 11.8 in||20 x 54 x 35 in||60 x 18 x 23 in|
|Number of Keys||88||88||88||88||88||88|
The best digital piano is one that can grow with a musician as they progress. On the YDP-163, Graded Hammer Standard 3 (GH3) action combines with Pure CF sampling and a powerful 20W x 2 amplifier system to deliver authentic piano touch and tone. The optional iOS app, Digital Piano Controller, makes navigation and configuration easier than ever.
Top customer reviews
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On to the appearance. The piano itself looks and feels very nice. Once assembled it looks as if it cost much more than it does. Its pressed particle board of course but the finish is clean and even. There are no rough edges dings, dents, or areas that are unfinished or uneven. I cant see how anyone would have issue with this piano being displayed in their home. We got what I think they call black walnut but its just a deep basic black.Very nice to look at.
Assembly was straight forward. The instructions are on the top of the box so don't throw it out or rip it when opening. It basically comes down to 8 support screws that hold the stand an main unit together and a combination of 6 other screws that attach the decorative back. All the support screw holes are metal inserts so no need to torque them too tight for them to hold.The wood screws that hols the back on are all pre-drilled so as long as you line everything up properly there's no drama there either. We got the optional Yamaha headphones (which i do not recommend) so there's a headphone hangar that needs to be installed as well. Its just two screws on the bottom, goes on very easy. As long as you have help lifting the main unit on to the stand to install it shouldn't take more than an hour to put together. Once its done it feels very sturdy. I saw a review that said the seat that comes with it wasn't very sturdy. Either they changed it or that person got a lemon. The seat we got with ours is rock solid.
Lastly is how it functions. I'm not a musician so you may want to take this part with a grain of salt. I have compared this unit with a real piano and I cant tell the difference. Granted I haven't done a side by side but I'm guessing only someone with a trained ear would be able to tell. There is no detectable telltale sign of synthesized reproduction like with a Casio or other type keyboard. To me it sounds like a real piano. The keys also feel like the ones on a real piano. You get the sensation that you are moving something inside the unit when you press them. There is resistance and subtle feedback like with mechanical keys on an acoustic. I found myself pressing them over and over wondering "how did they do that". I haven't gone through any of the functions or connected my I-pad to the unit yet but the player function is nice. I could imagine using it for pleasant background music during dinner parties or something.
I'll probably add a little more detail to this review once my daughter has used this piano for a while but my initial impression is very positive. I feel that I got every penny's worth in terms of quality and look forward to my kid learning to play.
1) The box
The box is LARGE. If you buy it from a store, unless you have an SUV you will have to open it and put the parts in the trunk after folding the rear seats. It is HEAVY too. At 110 pounds, you need to help to move it around.
I found assembly straightforward. If you have assembled IKEA furniture, it is not more difficult than that. Again, because of the weight, you will need someone to help you lift the action so that it rests on the sides. After that, you tighten the screws, connect the pedal cord, the power supply, and you are ready to go.
3) The build
The included bench feels a bit tinny. It is not that wide and large, but unless you weigh 300 pounds, I think it will do the job fine. I am not expecting you would use it to play duets with someone else, it is not wide enough.
The console itself feels reasonably solid. The pedals have an adjuster screw that rests on the floor so that you don't bend everything while pressing the pedals. The back board feels a bit flimsy. It is very thin, and I am not sure it has any structural reason being there.
Obviously, it's not the same sturdiness as an upright, nor is it as shiny, but it doesn't feel too cheap either. There is a sliding key cover to protect the keys from dust and other things.
Due to the light weight compared to an upright, you can move it around a room easily. On carpet you can move it one side at a time by yourself, but on hardwood, I would get help to avoid scratching the floor.
I found the pedals require a bit of force to operate. To avoid damage to the unit, you need to make sure the adjuster makes contact with the floor.
4) The action
I was surprised how close the action felt to my upright. Except for the "let-off" (right before the hammer takes off, you feel some resistance on the key) which you won't feel on a digital, the feel is really good. I would say it is lighter than an upright, but I am not sure it is lighter than a grand. So if you move from this digital to an upright, you will need more force, but if you move to a grand, it will likely be similar.
The keys are sensitive to velocity and again here, I am surprised how good it is. You can press very lightly and get a pp or press fast and you will get a ff. It feels easier to control the dynamics than on an acoustic (where it is probably not as linear, I guess), thus when moving to an acoustic, you will need some adjustment. Playing pianissimo on acoustics is one of the difficult things to do.
On an acoustic, you can miss a key by not hitting it fast enough. The hammer barely moves and doesn't strike the strings. On this model, you can miss a key as well, if you hit below a minimum velocity it will not produce any sound. As with a real piano too, the sound is only produced when you reach the bottom of the key.
There are 3 key sensitivity settings. I liked to set it to "hard" so it feels a bit like my upright and allows for more expressive control.
5) The sound
I really liked the sound of the "piano 1" voice. Of course, it is a digital piano, so you will not get the full richness and amplitude of a real piano, and on the upper registers, there is a bit of an "electronic" feel to the sound. Damper resonance also adds another bit of electronic feel to the upper notes, though with chords on the lower registers, it sounds pretty good. It actually sounds better than my upright (crisper sound, and always in tune) and I have seen a couple of uprights in my family that just sound horrible. The 2 speakers have a power of 40 W and they are loud enough so that you won't need to push the volume to the maximum.
Piano 2 sounds more "muffled" than Piano 1. You can adjust how bright you want the piano to be, between "mellow" and a few degrees up to "bright".
I found the soft pedal effect a bit light by default, but this can be changed in the settings to get a more pronounced effect. The middle pedal is "sostenuto" introduced by Steinway a while back, which I think is some gimmick since most repertoire comes from Europe.
The sustain pedal retains notes shorter than a typical upright (which would retain for something like 15-20 seconds). I measured 15 seconds on the leftmost note and 10 seconds for the middle C. This brings a clearer and less muddled sound, but on the other hand, you lose a bit of amplitude with that. I couldn't find an advanced setting. It would have been nice if Yamaha provided it, especially since the settings system based on sections and sub sections allows for adding settings without extra buttons on the unit.
6) The fun
It's always nice to have a few more voices, like organ and harpsichord. You can play Bach the way it sounded when he was alive, or imagine yourself in a church playing the organ. I care less about the "strings" voice, the "guitar" or the "choir" though.
One of the more interesting aspects of a digital piano is the ability to instantly record and play. The keyboard has memory for 3 user songs, and you can plug in a USB drive to store up to 100 songs on it. You can transfer songs back and forth between the user memory and the USB drive.
For practicing, you can record one hand, then listen to it and play the other hand. Or, you can record the "piano 1" part of a 2 piano piece, have the digital piano play it for you while you play the "piano 2" part along. During playback, you can adjust tempo so that you can practice slowly and increase the speed as you feel more comfortable. I find this increasingly useful for working on 2 piano pieces, piano duets, or working with one hand at a time.
I can imagine a whole lot of possibilities with educational software using MIDI. I am sure the software could record yourself, measure your accuracy, compare your playing against a reference, and ask you to practice various exercises.
Another bonus is the ability to play silently and use headphones. You need a 1/4" headphone jack. If your headphone has a 1/8' jack, you can buy a 1/8" to 1/4" converter.
The unit comes with 50 preloaded songs, as well as a sheet music book for these songs. They range from beginner (a few) to intermediate and advanced. Yamaha included many classics: Arabesque No 1 by Debussy, some Chopin Etudes, the Raindrop Prelude, the Moonlight Sonata. They will keep you busy for quite a while.
7) Playback and the pedal
The pedal gets recorded for each part independently (recorded songs can have "left" and "right" parts), and at playback it almost behaves like I have two pianos. I can play along with the pedal, and the pedal only applies to what I am playing, not to what the digital piano plays back. Damper resonance on the other hand applies to everything that is being played. I have yet to see how this behaves with piano software on the PC. I am guessing the pedal changes from the separate parts will get merged by the software. Or, I would have to use a MIDI editor to extract the left and right tracks, play them separately and then merge the resulting wave files so that it feels like there are 2 pianos playing.
8) Other considerations
Unlike an acoustic piano, where you can get a tuner to come by to your house, open the panels, and tune it, voice it, regulate it, etc. on site, for a digital piano, in case of problems, you would need to ship it to Yamaha. The manufacturer's warranty for this model is a 3 year limited parts and labor warranty, according to Yamaha's web site. Stores may offer an extended warranty which covers shipping. Considering the weight of the item and how much it might cost to ship, this might not be a bad idea.
Another consideration is reliability. Since this model just appeared on the market a year ago, I cannot have a record of how it will deal with use and abuse, repeated use of the pedal, hitting some chords hard, plugging/unplugging the headphone jack many times. I trust Japanese products and I am hoping the quality is there.
There are 2 MIDI connectors, one for in, one for out. There are quite a few options available to configure MIDI, the channels, the control mode, and so forth.
You should use only the Yamaha UX-16 USB to MIDI interface. I tried the Roland UM-One and it skipped notes. The Yamaha USB to MIDI cable works flawlessly. It may be more expensive than other cables but at least you know that it will work because it is from the same brand. Of course, MIDI should be a standard, but I don't know whether the problem is with Roland or Yamaha not being totally compliant with the MIDI specification.
10) The verdict
I hope this review will be useful as I have been quite frustrated with the lack of real reviews on this product on this Internet. Most information I found is the same description, likely translated from Japanese, that says things like "for the beginner and the experienced player alike, this piano will provide playing pleasure, blah blah ...", pretty much copied/pasted everywhere. Obviously this is an expensive product sold in limited numbers, so that plays a factor in the lack of reviews.
Although I am giving it a very favorable review, in the end you should try it out for yourself in a real store before buying online. Feel the touch, listen if you like the sound, bring to the store a flash drive and record on it, then play the resulting MIDI file on a PC, etc.
- Crisp, clear sound, good volume
- Strong bass
- Two kinds of pianos, plus organ, harpsichord, and other goodies (choir, guitar, anyone?)
- Action feels similar to real piano, not too springy
- Good control over dynamics (key sensitivity)
- Half pedal capability
- Ability to use headphones for practicing at night
- Ability to record and replay, on internal memory or using USB flash drive
- Ability to transfer MIDI songs to PC and replay with high quality virtual piano software
- 50 songs to listen to, plus the sheet music for these
- Bench is narrow
- Music rest is a bit narrow too, makes it a bit clumsy to keep an "accordeon" style sheet music in place (I do that for pieces up to 6 pages)
- Back panel is very thin
- Wish there was a real screen like the more expensive Clavinovas
- On the upper registers, the sound feels a bit "electronic", especially with damper resonance enabled
- Wish there was a bit more volume on the upper registers
- Pedals a bit tough to operate (but it's like a new car, you get used to it pretty quickly)
- Might be expensive to repair with shipping
I saw her do it and it really wasn’t that hard of a push open that did it.
I had to unscrew the top cover and repair the flimsy fasteners that held the hinges in place...very poorly designed/engineered Yamaha...had to use slightly larger wood screws which was challenging along with some strong 3M fiber tape to cover the hinges (all out of sight under the back cover.)