If you’ve ever to a professional classical concert, chances are you’ve heard one of Yamaha’s concert grand pianos.
To replicate the feel and sound of these pianos but in a more affordable and portable container, Yamaha produced the “P” series digital piano. Two of which we would be looking at today- Yamaha P45 Vs P115.
The “P” series is a series that’s known for its portability. Hence the prefix, “P”. From their numbers, you can easily tell that the P115 is an “elder brother” to the P45 in the P series. So, our aim today is not to find out which is better, because the P115 (an updated version of the P45), obviously is.
However, what we want to do is to help you decide whether the P115 is worth all that extra money. Or whether it’s more economical to simply buy the P45.
It’s going to be quite a lengthy read. However, if you don’t have the time, check through the next three sections. We have designed them to pack all the information we would be going into details about throughout the article.
The two digital pianos we are going to be looking at today are not that similar. Reason being that the P115 is a massive improvement on the P45. Although, basic things like look, feel, style, number of keys, were left untouched, there were major improvements.
First, The Similarities.
Both of these pianos have 88 weighted keys. The number and feel of the keys are made that way to make them as close to acoustic pianos as possible. They also use a type of action called the “graded hammer action”.
This makes them even closer to acoustic pianos by making the lower notes have more resistance, compared to the higher notes.
Both of these pianos are very portable. You won’t have any problem lifting either of them and placing at the back of a car and driving to a gig. While the Yamaha P45 weighs 11.5 kilograms, the P115 weighs 11.8 kilograms. The difference is so small that you won’t notice it.
Next, The Improvements In The P115.
There are three major improvements in the P115 that you definitely need to know about before making your purchase decision. The first one is the choice of sound engines used. While the P45 makes use of AWM Stereo Sampling, the Yamaha P115 makes use of Pure CF Sound Engine.
The Pure CF Sound Engine is a lot better than AWM Stereo Sampling and produces a sound much closer to Yamaha’s finest concert grand pianos.
The second is the speakers. If you intend playing this at home or anywhere without amplifiers, then this is really important. While the P45 just comes with two 12 centimeter speakers, the P115 adds two extra 4 centimeter speakers. This gives a richer, fuller sound.
The third improvement in the options you have to play with this thing. The P45 has just 10 present sounds and 10 demo songs. The P115, on the other hand, have 14 different voices available, 50 present songs, and 14 demo songs.
Also, the P115 has dual mode, which would allow you layer two of these voices to create one full, unique sound. The P45 does not have that.
Price To Performance Ratio
The most important thing to take away from this article is whether the P115 is worth all the extra cash. Well, in simple terms, yes it is.
If you can afford it, we would always prefer you opt for the P115 instead. Even if you stop playing after a few months, you can still sell it and get some of that money back. It’s a lot better than buying the P45 now and needing a better piano in a few months.
However, if you’re hard-pressed for cash and you need a piano right now, then the P45 is definitely not a bad pickup and is worth your consideration.
Comparison Table — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
|Number of Voices Available||10||14|
|Number of Songs Available||10 preset songs, 10 demo songs||50 preset songs, 14 demo songs|
|Weight||11.5kg (25 pounds, 6 ounces)||11.8kg (26 pounds, 3 ounces)|
|Speakers||6 W x 2 amplifiers (12cm X 2cm)||7 W X 2 (12cm X 2 + 4cm X2)|
|Modes||Duo and dual||Duo, dual, and split modes|
|Connectivity||USB connectivity, headphone, and sustain jack.||USB, two headphone jacks, sustain jack, line out.|
|MIDI recorder||No||Two-track MIDI recorder|
|Tone Generation||AMW Stereo Sampling||Pure CF Sound Engine|
What Scenario Is What Piano Best For?
| If you’re an absolute beginner who has a tight budget, this piano would be a great pickup for you. |
The best thing about this is that it feels like an acoustic piano. So, if you later move on from this to an actual acoustic piano, you won’t need to relearn anything.
| The only people this piano might not be good for are really advanced players. They would prefer something at a more flagship level and quality. |
However, anyone from a beginner to an intermediate player would highly benefit from the P115.
|The weighted keys and graded hammer action sure do a lot to make this feel like an acoustic piano.||The great thing about this piano is that it not only feels like an acoustic piano, but sounds like one also. So, your ears would be trained properly as you would be hearing pretty close to what you would on an actual acoustic piano.|
Features Common To Both Pianos — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
Because these two pianos belong to the same series, it is no surprise that they come with a lot of similar features. For some, the features are identical, while for others, there is only a slight difference in the quantity or quality.
Without further ado, let’s look at all the features that you can find on both the P45 and the P115.
88-weighted Keys With Graded Hammer Action
Yamaha designs its digital pianos to mimic the sound and feel of its acoustic pianos. To make sure that the feel of the digital piano and the acoustic piano are the same, or at least, very similar, the number and design of the keys have to be the same.
So, acoustic pianos have 88 keys, and so do these pianos. That means you get the same number of notes, scales, and the same finger movement. This is great because you can easily switch from this to an acoustic piano without much effort.
Graded Hammer Action
In an acoustic piano, there is a mechanical system that creates the sound after a particular key has been pressed. Each key is connected to a hammer through a level system.
When the key is pressed, the lever system activates the hammer which then hits down on a string, or two, or three, all depending on the pitch you’re going for. This causes the string (or strings) to vibrate, which then produces the note you were trying to play.
This whole mechanism under each key gives it some weight and resistance. On the other hand, however, digital pianos do not require any mechanism as the sound is created digitally.
But to get as close to the original as possible, Yamaha decided to add what is called a “graded hammer action” to their digital pianos. Although not needed to produce the sound, there is a small lever system under each key, which attaches them to a small hammer. This is what is known as “hammer action”.
Graded hammer action, is basically “grading” how much resistance each key has. In an acoustic piano, the lower the key, the more resistance it has. It’s the same with these digital pianos.
There is a slight difference between the keys of the P45 and the P115 though. the P115 comes with matte black keys, while the P45 doesn’t. This is a very slight difference and would only make the P115 feel slightly smoother to the touch. It doesn’t affect the sound, at all.
Because both of these pianos are designed to be portable, their weights are very important features. With that said, both of these pianos have nearly identical weights, with the P115 overweighing the P45 by just 0.3 kilograms. That is mostly inconsequential if we’re being honest.
These two pianos are light enough for you to travel with, or slap in a bag and carry to a gig or something. All in all, moving either of these pianos shouldn’t be a problem.
Metronome And Transpose
These are two very important features that any pianist needs when he’s rehearsing. In fact, these are also two of very important features that make some people prefer digital pianos to acoustic pianos.
First, metronome. A metronome is basically a “rhythm counter”. It drops a sound at a predetermined pace, which helps the musician dictate how the speed of the music he should be playing.
Digital metronomes are a lot better than traditional metronomes because you can easily tweak them to play at half and even quarter bars. Traditional metronomes only make a sound at every full bar. Also, because the sound is coming out from your keyboard speakers too, it’s difficult to overshadow a digital metronome, at any volume.
While metronome is for following the beat of the song, transpose is for following the key of the song. Unless you are a professional who can play on all 12 keys, there would definitely be some songs you would love to play but can’t because you don’t know how to play that key.
With a transpose, that doesn’t need to happen. You can easily play whatever key you know how to, while the piano plays it out in its transposed key. So you can be playing on C major but the sound coming out of the piano will be on B flat.
Different Voices And Song Library
Both of these pianos come with a number of different instrument sounds you can use to play (otherwise known as voices). This gives you more flexibility with the sounds you can create and the songs and styles you can play.
Although both of these pianos have this feature, the P115 has more options than the P45. On the P45, there are just 10 different instrument sounds available. These are:
- 2 Grand Pianos
- 2 Electric Pianos
- 2 Pipe Pianos
- 2 Harpsichords
The P115, has 4 more than the P45, with 14 different instrument sounds available. These are:
- 3 Grand Pianos (including the famous CFIIIS 9’ concert grand sound)
- 3 Electric Pianos
- 3 Organs (Jazz, Pipe, Rock)
- Wood Bass
- Electric Bass.
With dual mode (see “features unique” for full explanation), you can take any of these sounds and layer it on top of another sound. That way you can create a more unique sound. You can only do this on the P115.
Both of these pianos come with the necessary ports you would need for external connectivity. They both have a USB port, a headphone jack, and a sustain pedal jack. The USB port allows you to transfer data (in MIDI format) to your computer.
The headphone jack provides you with the option of practicing in quiet, without disturbing the peace of the whole neighborhood. Once you plug in your headphones, the speakers immediately go mute.
There is a major difference between the headphone jacks of these two pianos, and that is their location. The P45 puts the headphone jack at the back of the piano which is simply uncomfortable.
You have to get a headphone with a really long chord that can go across the piano. Also, you have to worry about the wire hanging over the piano as you’re playing.
On the P115, the headphone jack is at the front of the piano which is just brilliant.
Finally, there is a sustain pedal jack that allows you to connect the sustain pedal (included in the box) to the piano. The jack doesn’t only work with the included footswitch. It also works with third-party sustain pedals, as all of them use the same connector.
The three we’ve talked about above are present in both of these pianos. However, there are two other connectivity options that only come with the P115- Aux out, and Pedal Unit Jack.
The Aux out allows you connect your piano to an external amplifier or speaker for live performances or just generally more power sounding audio.
The Pedal Unit jack allows you to add the 3-pedal unit to this piano, just like you have on acoustic pianos. Note, though, that this can only be used together with the furniture stand.
The final similarity between these two pianos is in the accessories that they come with. Both of them come with the same four accessories. These are:
- Music Rest
- Sustain Pedal (otherwise known as Footswitch)
- AC Power Adapter
- Owner’s Manual.
Features Unique To Each Piano — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
We’ve mentioned all the features that these two pianos come with. Now, we’re going to be talking about the features that either of these pianos come with, that the other does not.
Because the P115 is an improvement on the P45, it has a lot more features than the P45. So without further ado, let’s look at those features.
While the P45 has just two modes available, Dual and duo modes, the P115 has three, which includes “split mode”. Let’s look at these different modes and what they do:
Dual mode, otherwise referred to as “layering” is a feature that allows you to place one instrument sound over another, such that they both sound simultaneously, for any key you press.
A popular use of this is to layer a piano sound, on top of strings. This provides you with a very rich sound. You can also try something like “organ + strings” or whatever two sounds you prefer.
Duo mode, otherwise known as, duet play, divides the piano into two halves. However, unlike in split mode, this does not allow you play two separate instrument sounds at the same time.
Rather, it creates two identical pitch ranges, starting from the middle C. This allows two players to sit and play at the same time.
The best use of this is by a student and a teacher. The student can easily sit side-by-side with their teacher to practice, without playing on two separate pitches. So, the teacher can play something on one side, and the student plays the exact same thing on the other.
Split mode is a very simple function that divides the piano into two sections. This enables you to play two different instrument sounds on the piano, one on each section.
Originally, the split is done right at the middle of the piano. However, you have the option of changing this to, if you want.
Polyphony is broken down to “Poly” and “Phony”. Poly, meaning “many” as in “polygon”, and phony, meaning “sound” as in “phonetic”. Put them together and you get, “many sounds”.
So, in the most literal terms, polyphony number basically refers to the number of sounds (in this case, notes) that you produce at the same time on your piano.
The Yamaha P45 comes with just 64, while the P115 comes with a massive, 192. We know the first thought in your mind is “I have just ten fingers, how the heck would I ever play 64 notes?” Well, when you keep your foot on the sustain pedal and continue to play, all those additional notes are piling up.
Once the polyphony number is crossed, the initial notes you played will fade away.
As a beginner, 64 is more than enough. You would not even be able to tell the difference between 64 and 192. However, if you’re an advanced player with a lot of experience under your belt, then 64 might be a little too limiting. You definitely want to put this into consideration.
Also remember that if you’re layering in dual mode, each note played will count as two, one for each instrument sound.
Recording And Playback
This is one feature that clearly sets the P115 above the P45. Unlike the features we’ve talked about before that are only incremental differences, this is one feature that does not come with the P45, at all.
To do this, the P115 comes with a 2-track MIDI recorder. This is what allows you to record what you’re playing on the piano’s internal memory in MIDI format. This records MIDI data, and not the actual sound the piano is making as you’re playing it.
MIDI data refers to a sequence of notes, their lengths, and their velocities. This is what allows you to change the instrument sound, the tempo of the recording, and even add or remove notes from the recording, even after you’re done.
It’s a 2-track recorder because it allows you to record two tracks per song. Which means you can record the melody first, and then record the harmony, while listening to the playback of the initial recording. After recording the two tracks, you can either play them back as one song, or mute one part and listen to just one part.
This feature allows you to be more creative and expressive with your piano and it is just quite sad that you can’t do it with the P45.
Sound Boost And Intelligent Acoustic Control
These are two more features that do not come with the P45, at all. Sound boost, like the name implies, gives the volume of the piano a boost. This increase in volume means that even notes played softly are clearly audible.
The effect of this feature would be felt when playing with a group of other musicians. It would help your piano cut through the ensemble of different instruments.
Intelligent Acoustic Control, known as IAC, for short, also adds to the overall sound quality produced by the piano. When the volume of your piano is low, some high and low frequencies are not clearly head.
With IAC, that would not be the case as it adjusts the sound quality, such that, the piano provides a well-balanced and clear sound, no matter the volume level.
To be fair, though, unlike “Sound Boost”, IAC does not have much of an effect when you listen to it. Whether on or off, the P115 sounds great.
This is one of the biggest differences between these two pianos. The P45 comes with 6W speakers, while the P115 comes with 7W speakers. Furthermore, the P45 comes with just two 12 centimeter speaker cones.
The P115, on the other hand, comes with the same 12 centimeter cones and two extra 4 centimeter cones. Compared to the P115, the P45 is a lot thinner sounding. The P115 had fuller sounding bass, great mids, and crispy highs.
If you play both of these pianos side-by-side, you would definitely notice the difference in the speakers, with the P115 doing a much better job than the P45.
Tone Generation: AMW Stereo Sampling Vs Pure CF Sound Engine
The P45 uses AWM dynamic sampling technology. This is used to capture the sound from various acoustic instruments and then create samples of high quality which would be played back on the digital piano.
The sound from AWM is a true stereo sound which has been recorded from a concert grand piano at various dynamic levels.
But this technology cannot compare with the technology used on the P115, the Pure CF Sound Engine. Before even listening to how it sounds, the fact that this is the same sound engine used in their flagship portable digital piano (P255), tells you how good this is.
The first sound playable on this piano (001 Grand Piano) is the sound of the marvelous Yamaha CFIIIS 9’ Concert Grand which was recorded at different volume levels for each and every note. This produces a clear and realist piano sound that has great decay and resonance.
Below you’ll find two videos so you can listen to what each of these pianos sounds like:
Unique Pros — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
- It’s more affordable.
- It’s great for beginners who don’t need that much Polyphony.
- It’s great for intermediate and advanced players.
- Recording and playback feature allows you to record two separate tracks one on top of another and also listen to them separately or as one track.
- The sound on this piano is simply amazing with the Pure CF Sound Engine.
- It has two extra 4 centimeter speakers to give it great sounding audio.
- You get a feature called “rhythms” which gives you a drum pattern for you to play over.
- It comes with a higher polyphony number which allows you more notes at once.
Unique Cons — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
- There is no sound boost, which means that if you’re playing with other musicians, your piano can easily get overshadowed.
- No recording or playback feature which keeps learning fun and interactive.
- The AWM stereo sampling is not as good as the Pure CF Sound Engine.
- It has a polyphony number of just 64 which okay for a beginner, but not anyone else.
- The headphone jack is placed at the back of the piano.
- The speakers are not loud.
- It’s more expensive.
- There is no USB Type-A port with this piano.
Common Pros — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
|Number and feel of Keys|| Because the aim of digital pianos is to get as close to acoustic pianos as they possibly can, it is a huge pro that these two pianos come with 88-weight keys. |
Why? Simple. Because acoustic pianos also come with 88-weighted keys.
Furthermore, these keys come with something called “graded hammer action”. This is what gives the lower notes more resistance than the higher notes (graded), which is exactly like on acoustic pianos.
|Same as the P45.|
|Portability|| One thing that digital pianos try to do completely differently from acoustic pianos is portability. |
While acoustic pianos are really heavy and large, and aren’t meant to be moved around too much, these two pianos are the opposite.
The P45 weighs just 11.5 kilograms. You can easily take this for any gig or even travel with it.
|The P115 weighs slightly more at 11.8 kilograms.|
|Digital metronome and transpose|| Digital metronomes are a lot better than traditional metronomes because they can be a lot louder. |
Why? Because they connect to the piano’s speakers.
Transposing your piano allows you to convert the key you can play on, to the key you want to sound.
This is great for beginners or anyone who can’t play all 12 keys.
|Same as the P45.|
|Flexibility and Creativity|| Both of these pianos come with a number of voices and songs in their music library. |
These different voice (instrument sounds), give you a lot of room for flexibility in the sounds that you create.
The songs in the music library also help boost your creative juices and can provide as a source of inspiration.
This piano comes with 10 instrument sounds, 10 preset songs, and 10 demo songs.
|This piano comes with 14 instrument sounds, 50 present piano songs, and 14 demo songs.|
|Connectivity||With a USB port, a headphone jack, and a sustain pedal jack, this piano comes with all the basic ports you’ll need.|| In terms of connectivity, this piano takes it two steps further with its AUX out port, and it’s pedal unit jack. |
The AUX out port allows you connect your piano to an external speaker or amplifier.
The pedal unit jack allows you to connect your piano to a 3-pedal unit.
|Accessories|| Apart from the piano, you also get a music rest, a sustain pedal (otherwise known as a footswitch), an AC power adapter, and the owner’s manual. |
This seems fair enough for the price of these pianos.
|Same as the P45.|
Common Cons — Yamaha P45 Vs P115
|Flimsy Sustain Pedal|| The sustain pedal included in the box of these two digital pianos is quite flimsy. |
It’s a basic footswitch that does not even have half-pedal support.
Yes, it’s small and looks nice, but apart from that, it’s not good at all. And unfortunately, this is the same for a lot of pianos in this price range.
|Same as the P45.|
|No Sound Customization|| Neither of these pianos have many options for sound customization. |
These options include things like- sound effects, altering acoustic noise, resonance, and so on).
Which means that if you don’t like the sound of the piano, there’s not much you can do about it.
|Same as the P45.|
What Do People Think About Them?
| Most people who got this piano were beginners. A lot of them practice with an acoustic piano while at their class and just needed something similar they could use to practice at home. |
In line with this, a lot of customers were satisfied with the feel of the piano. Because the keys are weighted, they feel almost identical to acoustic pianos. So, switching from this to an acoustic piano is very easy.
| This piano was purchased by people of all skill levels. Beginners, intermediates, even advanced players, all got this piano and here’s what they thought. |
A lot of people kept complimenting the feel of this piano. Similar to the P45, the weighted keys on this piano make it very similar to acoustic pianos.
| The first thing people complained about, though, is the sound. Now, if you haven’t played an acoustic piano or you don’t really know how that sounds, this piano would be absolutely fine. |
However, if you do play acoustic piano regularly, you would definitely be able to tell the difference.
This is mainly down to the sound engine. Like we’ve mentioned multiple times throughout this article, the AWM stereo sampling engine is just not that great.
| Although, for some beginners who were not used to acoustic pianos, there was a slight learning curve with the weighted keys. |
However, for more experienced players, it was great to have something feel so similar to acoustic pianos.
Another thing that people absolutely loved about this piano is its sound. The Pure CF Sound Engine is simply amazing.
| Another thing people complained about is Yamaha’s customer service. |
A few people who had one or two complains or issues that needed repairs said that the customer service they got from Yamaha is simply bad.
| The fact that this is the exact same engine used in their flagship piano in the P series (P-255), you can tell how good it really is. |
Although, a few people complained that at maximum volume, the sound started to get a bit distorted.
| The volume of the speakers on this piano got a mixed reaction from the customers. |
Some people like the fact that it’s a little quieter, while some others wished that it could go a little higher.
| The intermediates and advanced players who bought this piano were really happy with the different voices, songs, and rhythms available to play with. |
The recording and playback feature was also something that did not go unnoticed by customers.
What Do We Think?
Like we clearly stated at the beginning of this article, this was not a battle to determine the better of the two pianos. That title clearly belongs to the P115, being an upgrade to the P45. Rather, the aim of this article was to determine which one of these makes a more economical sense for you.
Now, the answer to that entirely depends on what type of player you are. If you’re looking to get a piano as just something to look cool in your living room, or something for the kids to play around with, then the P45 is great.
Also, if you’re a beginner and you just want to test things out, you don’t know whether you’ll still be playing in a few months, then the P45 is also great for you.
However, if you’re a fast learner and are very interested in the piano, you might quickly outgrow the P45. Which brings us to the higher-level players.
If you want to get serious with music, or you already go to a few gigs, then there is no competition. You definitely need to pick the P115.
There is a slight argument that the better speakers on the P115 won’t matter when playing a gig as they would be connected to much better amplifiers.
However, that point immediately becomes moot when you look at the fact that the P45 lacks sound boost. So, if you’re playing with other musicians, the piano sound would easily get swallowed in the crowd.
We’ve done our bit. The big decision is up to you. Which is better for you?