Today we’ll be comparing two of Yamaha’s P series digital pianos- Yamaha P105 Vs P115. Yamaha’s P series is its “portable” series. Which means that both of these digital pianos will be easy to pick up, move around, and take to gigs.
The P115 is the direct successor to the P105. So, in this article, we would find out whether the incremental changes made to the P115 are substantial enough to worth its increase in price.
Ultimately, this would be a debate about which is the better economic decision, and not necessarily which is better than the other.
If you do not have the time to read through the whole article, check out the next three sections. These sections will help highlight and briefly explain the details in need to take into consideration when picking one of these pianos.
Yamaha P105 Vs P115 – Comparison Overview
Because the P115 is the direct successor to the P105, it is no surprise that these two digital pianos are very similar. In fact, they are so similar that they are also available in the same colors. Both of these pianos are available in black and white colors.
Apart from that, they also have the same build quality, the same number of keys (88), and the same feel. They both come with weighted keys with graded hammer action in them. Having these number of keys with this feel makes them very similar to acoustic pianos.
Even in terms of sound, there is not much of a difference between these two pianos. Both of them come with the Pure CF sound engine, which sounds incredible. They have the same size and number of speakers- 2 7Watt speakers.
Although, the P115 comes with a sound boost which balances the EQ such that your piano can cut through a potpourri of different instruments when playing with other musicians.
If you’re a beginner, you might never notice a difference between these two pianos. They would look, feel, and sound the same to you. However, as an advanced player, the differences between to become clear to you when you look closer at the two pianos.
The biggest difference is the app integration. Now, with the P115, you can connect your phone or tablet (only available on iOS devices) to your piano. This allows you to use the Digital Piano Controller App to control your piano via the smart device.
Furthermore, this app allows you to save your settings and reload them later when the need arises. This is great for playing gigs as you can simply save the settings you used during rehearsals, and just load them up when you’re on stage. No hassle.
Another major addition to the Yamaha P115 is the extra 64 notes in its polyphony. While the Yamaha P105 has just 128, the Yamaha P115 has an impressive 192. Just think about it like an artist having more colors to paint with.
Yamaha P105 Vs P115 – Cost To Performance Ratio
Both of these pianos are a great pickup for their price. In terms of cost to performance, both of these do a very good job. In fact, they are so good, that they are better than cheap acoustics and for acoustic pianos, “cheap” is still well over a thousand bucks, which is more than you’ll pay for either of these pianos.
One thing to note, though, is that these pianos are no longer in production. So, if you see a price that is too high, you can simply check elsewhere for a used version and you should get something that’s still very solid, but a lot more affordable.
Comparison Table — Yamaha P105 Vs P115
What Scenario Is What Piano Best Suited For?
| This piano is great for beginners, as well as intermediate players. For beginners who want to get into playing acoustic piano, it’s a good place to start because of its price. |
Also, you’ll be learning on an instrument that feels and sounds almost like the real thing, which is very helpful.
As a beginner, though, you do have to get used to the weighted keys and try not to get fatigued while you rehearse.
| This piano is also great for beginners, as well. However, it’s also great if you’ve only begun going for gigs, here and there. |
It’s portable, so it won’t be a pain to carry. The app also gives you the option of saving and reloading your settings, which is very handy so you don’t forget things on stage.
The polyphony number is good enough to give you a lot of room to play with. And finally, the sound boost will help you cut through the mix of other instruments while you’re performing.
Yamaha P105 Vs P115 – Features Common To Both Pianos
Because both of these belong to the same series and the P115 is a direct successor to the P105, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they come with a lot of similar features.
In this section, we would be going through all of those features that both of these pianos have, highlighting how they work in both of them.
88- weighted Keys With Graded Hammer Action
Digital pianos were created to be exactly like acoustic pianos. They are simply meant to be the more affordable and portable option that everyone can use. So, the aim is to get it to be as similar to the acoustic piano as possible, in both feel and sound.
This is why both of these pianos come with 88 keys, just like acoustic pianos have. With the same number of keys, you get a similar piano width and feel. This means that moving from one of these pianos to an actual acoustic piano would not feel like such a big difference.
Graded Hammer Action
To make the keys of these two digital pianos even more similar to that of acoustic pianos, Yamaha decided to add something they call “hammer action”.
When you hit a key in an acoustic piano, you push a lever that activates a hammer. This hammer then hits down on a string which causes the string to vibrate. This vibration of the string is what creates the sounds you hear.
Digital pianos do not need this because the sound is produced digitally, and not by a vibrating string. However, just to make the piano as similar to the real thing as possible, Yamaha decided to add little hammer systems underneath the keys of its digital pianos.
Underneath the keys of these pianos is a lever connected to a small hammer which generates the same amount of weight and resistance as that of acoustic pianos. Digital pianos that have this mechanism are called weighted pianos.
There are also “semi-weighted keyboards” which should not be confused with fully-weighted keyboards. Semi-weighted keyboards make use of springs in order to provide that weight and resistance, but the feel is just not the same.
Now, that describes the “hammer action”. To understand the meaning of “graded” we have to quickly look at the feel of an acoustic piano again. If you’ve played an acoustic piano before, you would know that each key gets heavier than the last as you go down the notes. So, the lower notes are usually heavier than the higher notes.
It’s the same with these two pianos- Yamaha P105 Vs P115, which is why their hammer action is referred to as being “graded”.
Although both of these pianos are fully-weighted, they still give you the option to pick your touch sensitivity. You have four options to choose from- hard, medium, soft, and fixed.
Touch sensitivity will help you to determine how much you have to hit each key before a sound is produced. Also, it will help you determine whether the loudness of the note played will be affected by how hard you play the key.
If you keep the setting at fixed, then no matter how hard or soft you hit each key, the same volume of the sound produced will be the same.
There is no general rule that determines which of these four is the best setting. This is something that you would have to figure out on your own. So, if you end up getting any of these two pianos, you might have to play with all the different settings in order to find the one that suits you best.
Both of these pianos come with Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine. Some people believe that this is simply a marketing term and as such, does not make any difference. However, we very much believe it does.
In fact, you only need to hear a piano like the Yamaha P45 that comes with AWM stereo sampling. The difference is very clear. For you to know how good the Pure CF sound engine is, it is the same sound engine used in Yamaha’s flagship digital piano lineup, the Yamaha P255.
The sound (001 Grand Piano) on these pianos is gotten from Yamaha’s CFIIIS 9’ Concert Grand acoustic piano. The sound from that piano was recorded at different volume levels for every note. With first-class sampling technology, this piano produces a clear and realistic piano sound that has beautiful decay and resonance.
The pianos also produce great bass. To get the best sounding bass, listen through a pair of great headphones (not included in the box).
Recording And Playback
Both of these digital pianos come allow you to record directly into them. This feature is really great for pianists of all levels. For beginners and intermediates, it gives you the ability to listen to what you’ve played and judge your progress.
It’s also a fun and interactive way of learning. For example, you can easily rehearse something and then once it sounds nice, you record it, gather your family around the piano and then play it back for them to hear how well you’re doing.
For professionals, you have the option of transferring the sound you’ve just recorded to your laptop or other devices as either an audio file or a MIDI file. This is important for professional musicians. It’ll help you get the exact sound you want unto your preferred audio software, instead of having to create it digitally.
Finally, these two pianos allow recording two tracks. This means that you can record the melody first, and then record the harmony on top. You can playback the two tracks together, or individually. And of course, you can also export them as one file.
Metronome, Transpose, and Rhythm
A metronome produces a steady series of beats to help you (a musician) play rhythms with time accuracy. It’s a great practice tool that would teach you to keep to the timing and rhythm of whatever song you’re playing.
The great thing about this metronome is that unlike a traditional metronome, this is built into the piano’s speakers. So, increasing the volume of the piano would also increase the volume of the metronome. This way, your piano would never drown out the sound of the metronome and you would always remain in the time sequence.
The next of these three features is “transpose”. Transposing means to change something from one form to another. In the light of pianos, it means to change the piano from one key to another. What this helps you do is you can now learn to play just one key and use that key to play whatever song on whatever key it is.
So you’ll be playing the song in the key you know how to play, and the piano would be producing a sound in whatever key you select.
Finally, rhythms give you an accompaniment drum beat to play on top of. Just like a metronome, rehearsing with this would give you a good understanding of musical timing and play with other musicians.
Intelligent Acoustic Control
This feature was created mainly for when the piano is connected to an external speaker system. It helps to balance the EQ automatically. The change of the EQ is determined by the volume setting.
This is done to provide good overall tonal balance, no matter the volume level. It prevents distortion and is great for both practices, as well as, live performances.
Pianist Styles (Auto-accompaniment)
Pianist styles, otherwise known as “auto-accompaniment”, is a function that basically works as a partner for you when playing duets. It plays rhythmic arpeggios based on the chord progression of your left-hand.
This leaves your right hand free to play whatever you want. This feature is great for practice as you can simply hold a chord on your left-hand and have an accompaniment to fill up the melody, and then practice your right-hand.
Both of these pianos come with 10 Pianist styles to choose from which include- Boogie Woogie, Blues, Swing, Slow Rock, and so on.
Modes- Split, Dual, Duo.
Both of these pianos come with these 3 playing modes available.
When split mode is turned on, your piano is divided into two sections. You can then play different instrument sounds (voices), in each of these sections.
Say you want to play piano with your right hand and electric bass with your left, you can easily do that on split mode. Furthermore, you can change the point where the piano is divided if you want to.
Dual mode is also referred to as “layering”. From that name, you can easily tell what this function does. It allows you to layer two instrument sounds so that they sound as one, across the whole range of the piano.
The most popular example of this is layering strings on top of the grand piano sound. This provides a very full and rich sound, which you are definitely going to love. You can choose from all the voices available, any two that you prefer.
Finally, duo mode, otherwise called “duet mode” allows you to split the keyboard into two sections. However, unlike split mode, you are playing the exact same thing on each side.
The piano is split right down the middle, and each side has an identical pitch range, beginning at the middle C. This allows two players to play the same exact notes at the same time.
This is especially important for learning situations. The teacher can play a tune on one side, and the student can replicate it on the other side, without anyone having to stand up for the other.
Instrument Sounds (Voices)
Both of these pianos come with 14 different playable voices. These 14 sounds include-
- 3 Grand Pianos (001 being the CFIIIS 9’ concert grand piano)
- 3 Electric Pianos
- 3 Organs (Jazz, Pipe, Rock)
- Wood Bass
- Electric Bass
Although this is normal for this price range, it would have been nice if they had added a few more options to play with. However, we still have to put into consideration that this is not necessarily for making music, but a digital piano.
A great use of these voices will be in layering, which we’ve talked about above. You can easily add two of any of these voices together to form a new rich, authentic, sound.
These two pianos come with the same connectivity features. Let’s quickly look at them, individually:
Unlike their younger brother, the Yamaha P45, these two pianos- Yamaha P105 Vs P115, have their headphone jacks at the front of the piano. This makes connecting and using a headphone on this piano really easy and convenient. They both come with 2 headphone jacks which means you can connect two different headphones to use at the same time.
Once you connect a headphone to either of these pianos, their onboard speakers automatically shut off. If you live in a quiet neighborhood, you don’t have to worry about disturbing everyone. You can easily rehearse in absolute silence.
This is what allows you to connect these pianos to a computer, tablet, or even a smartphone. To connect these to a computer, you require an A to B USB cable.
Once your piano is connected to a computer, you can transfer the MIDI files you have recorded with your piano, on to your laptop. That way, you can even use your piano as a MIDI controller.
To connect to an iPhone or an iPad so that you can use the Digital Piano Controller App (only on the P115), you’ll need a Lighting to USB adapter, plus the USB cable we mentioned earlier.
These two pianos also come with 2 output jacks that allow you to connect the piano to an external amp or speaker. This allows you to get clearer and more powerful sound when you’re playing at a gig.
There is a little difference in the operation of these two AUX jacks. With the P105, even when you connect to an amp or speaker, the onboard speakers are still turned on. With the P115, the onboard speakers turn off automatically, just like with the headphone jack.
This is great as you don’t get interference when you’re playing at a gig or trying to record your voice with a microphone.
Sustain Pedal Jack
This is used to connect the sustain pedal, otherwise known as footswitch, to your digital piano. Both of these pianos come with a sustain pedal. However, if you don’t want to use that one, this jack will also work with other sustain pedals.
Pedal Unit Jack
You can add the 3-pedal unit into either of these pianos. That’s if you want to have the exact same pedal unit as acoustic pianos.
To use this though, you would also need to buy wooden furniture stand as this pedal unit can only be assembled into that stand.
Both of these pianos come with the following accessories:
- A music rest,
- A sustain pedal, or footswitch,
- An AC Power Adapter,
- An Owner’s Manual.
What’s New With The P115?
Higher Polyphony Number
Polyphony basically refers to the number of notes you can play at the same time, without anyone dropping off. With an acoustic piano, there is no limit to how long the string can vibrate. So, as long as you hold the sustain pedal, whatever notes you play won’t drop off.
On digital pianos, it’s quite different. This is because, the sound is produced digitally, not by a vibrating string. So, the amount of notes that can be sustained at the same time is dependent on the processing power of that piano.
Now, you might be wondering “I have just ten fingers, how can I play more than ten notes?”. Well, when you step on the sustain pedal, you can easily add a bunch of other notes.
As a beginner, you might not notice the difference. However, if you’re a professional, you would definitely enjoy having a lot more notes to play around with.
Just think about it like this. It’s basically like an artiste having a wider range of colors. As a beginner, you might not necessarily make use of that many colors. But as a professional, you would highly benefit from the array of options.
While the Yamaha P105 has a polyphony number of 128 notes, the Yamaha P115 has a polyphony number of 192 notes. That’s 64 more notes (colors) to play with.
You would also benefit greatly from a higher polyphony number when you’re recording tracks on your piano. It will give you the ability to layer a lot more sounds to create a rich and full multi-track recording.
Still don’t understand the benefit of polyphony? Watch the video below:
This is an intelligent feature that gives the volume a boost, such that, all notes are clearly audible, even the softly played ones.
This is especially important if you go out on gigs and play with a band of other musicians. If you’ve ever used a piano without this feature before, you would notice that your instrument would normally get drowned out.
This feature makes sure that your piano doesn’t get drowned out and has the ability to cut through the mix of other instrument sounds.
This is probably the biggest improvement on the P115. Neither of these pianos comes with a display screen. So, you can’t actually see what you’re operating on the piano which can make changing settings quite difficult, at times.
However, the P115 makes up for it with its Digital Piano Controller App. This app basically acts as the screen that you would have wanted on this piano. Through the app, you can remotely control all the piano’s settings in a very intuitive way.
You can also save settings on this app and reload them on to your piano. This acts as a register on other pianos and synthesizer.
Although this app is a great addition to this piano, there are three things we do not like about this app. First, this app is only available on IOS devices. It would have been a lot better if this was available on other operating systems. Now, if you don’t have an iPhone or an iPad, you won’t be able to use the app, which is just sad.
Second, the app is just a basic controller. Comparing this to the more recent apps created by Yamaha like the “Smart Pianist App”, you would see a lot of lacking features.
Lastly, it’s not wireless. We would have preferred a wireless connection between the phone and the piano. With wires, everything can get messy and flimsy very quickly. However, if you take good care of your piano on stage, or this is permanently stationed at home, then this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Unique Pros — Yamaha P105 Vs P115
- It’s more affordable.
- It’s higher polyphony number gives you more notes to play with at once.
- The sound boost feature balances the EQ such that your piano does not get drowned in the mix of other instruments.
- The best pro about the Yamaha P115 is the integration of the Digital Piano Controller App. This app allows you to use your phone or tablet as an intuitive touchscreen controller for your piano.
Unique Cons — Yamaha P105 Vs P115
- Without a sound boost feature, if you take this piano to a gig, the sound can easily get drowned in the mix of all the other instrument sounds.
- Without an app integration, you’re basically operating this piano blind, which isn’t that easy or intuitive.
- The polyphony number might be good enough for a beginner, but for an experienced player, the more the merrier.
- It’s more expensive.
Common Pros — Yamaha P105 Vs P115
|Portability|| Like we mentioned at the beginning of this review, both of these pianos belong to Yamaha’s P series. With the “P” meaning “portable”. |
With this type of portability, you can easily move this around the house or pick it up and go for gigs.
The Yamaha P105 weighs 11.7 kilograms.
|The Yamaha P115 weighs 11.8 kilograms.|
|Same Number of Keys as an Acoustic Piano|| For a digital piano to be considered good enough, it has to mimic an actual acoustic piano as realistically as it can. |
The first way to do this is by having the same number of keys.
Both of these pianos come with 88 keys, which is the same as an acoustic piano.
So, you have the same pitch range and the same number of notes playable (not to be confused with polyphony).
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|Same Feel of Keys as an Acoustic Piano|| Mimicking the acoustic piano transcends just the number of keys. It also refers to the feel of these keys. |
To mimic the feel of acoustic piano keys, both of these pianos come with “graded hammer action”.
This gives weight and resistance to these keys and makes them feel exactly like acoustic piano keys.
The lower ends have more weight than the higher ends, also like an acoustic piano.
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|Recording and Playback|| This feature makes practicing and learning fun. You can record yourself playing and then play it back for the people you love, which is very morally uplifting. |
For professionals, it helps you create MIDI tracks in the production of music.
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|Metronome, transpose, and rhythm.||These three features are great for practice. A metronome helps you with timing, transpose helps you with playing different sounds in different keys, and rhythm gives you a background drumbeat to play on top of.||Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|External Connectivity Features|| These two pianos come with enough connectivity features. |
With 2 headphone jacks, 2 AUX out ports, a sustain pedal jack, and a 3-pedal unit jack, there is enough for you to work with.
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
Common Cons — Yamaha P105 Vs P115 –
|No Bluetooth Connectivity||This is not important for the P105 as it does not use a digital controller app.|| For the Yamaha P115 that has a Digital Controller App, it would have been a lot better if it came with Bluetooth connectivity. |
With Bluetooth connectivity, you can wirelessly connect your phone to your piano.
That way you won’t have to mess around with any wires while using your phone.
|Limited Sound Selection|| Both of these pianos have a limited selection of voices (instrument sounds) to choose from. |
With just 14, we feel that Yamaha could’ve added a lot more. Some pianos have over 100 voices to pick from.
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|Flimsy Sustain Pedal|| The footswitch that comes with both of these pianos is rather flimsy. |
In fact, it’s the same problem with all budget-friendly options in the Yamaha’s P series.
You just might have to get a more solid sustain pedal for yourself.
|Same as the Yamaha P105.|
|No LCD Screen|| It’s worse for this piano because you can’t use an app to see the functions. |
So, you’ll have to operate the piano without any visual aid.
|This too doesn’t come with an LCD screen. However, because you can use the app, it isn’t such a big deal.|
What Do People Think About Them?
|This was one of the most popular pianos in its days, and for good reason. It’s a very solid option for most people, especially for its price.||Just like the P105, many people who bought the P115 were beginners and intermediate players.|
| A lot of people who bought this piano were glad with the feel of it. People who had been studying acoustic pianos for a while bought this and considered it a great comparison. |
In fact, one customer said that while playing sometimes, he actually forgot he was playing a digital piano, because of how good the sampling is.
| Although it’s a great thing that this piano comes with weighted keys, it was quite new to beginners. |
So, if you’re a beginner, the weighted keys might take some getting used to. However, if you want to play acoustic piano, this feels exactly the same, and as such, is the best for you.
| Some people also believe that this is far superior to a cheap acoustic piano. In fact, some professional musicians record this over an acoustic piano for three reasons. |
One, unlike an acoustic piano, this does not need to be tuned almost every three months.
Two, a proper acoustic would definitely not fit in the backseat of a car.
Three, recording on this piano is much easier than having to mic an acoustic piano to record.
| The portability of this piano is not something that goes unnoticed. People love the fact that the piano is light enough to carry around. |
With this type of portability, you can easily move this around your house or throw it in your car and take it for a gig.
Another thing people like about this piano is its elegant design. It acts as excellent home furniture.
To make it look even cooler, try getting the wooden stand and a piano stool.
| One advise people give to other buyers is that this piano is quite stiff. So, it’s better to raise the volume to the top so you don’t have to play with so much strain. Unless you can easily get fatigued. |
If you’re worried about making too much noise, you can easily attach a headphone and play in silence.
| One issue people had with this piano are its speakers. The speakers are not loud enough, most times. However, if you live in a quiet environment, this is definitely not bad news to you. |
Also, it shouldn’t be a big deal as you can easily connect a headphone or external speaker to enhance your listening experience.
What Do We Think?
Both of these pianos are really good, especially looking at their prices. They have a good feel, great sound, and good enough features for a good learning and playing experience.
However, is the P115 worth the upgrade?
Well, in our opinion, it depends on who is using the piano. If you’re a beginner who’s just learning how to play the piano, then the P105 is great for you. You won’t be able to notice the difference in polyphony number and you won’t need the sound boost, as you’re not playing gigs yet.
The only feature you might miss is the app integration and we don’t think that is worth a couple of extra bucks, to be honest. You can do just fine without it.
On the other hand, if you go out and play gigs, the sound boost and higher polyphony number are really important features. Furthermore, the app will allow you to save piano settings, just like a register, which you can easily load up once you want to play a gig. That way, you never get a setting wrong on stage.
So, you definitely want to invest a little more and get the P115 over the P105. In the long run, it’ll be a much better economic decision. However, if you’re pressed for cash and simply cannot squeeze out the extra cash from anywhere, the P105 should be substantial enough.