Yamaha P45 Review / P45 vs P125 Comparison | Video & Review

Yamaha P45 Review
Chris Hammond

This Yamaha P45 Review / P45 vs P125 comparison will help to explain the differences between the P45 and it’s bigger brother, the Yamaha P125;

We get a lot of questions about choosing a Yamaha P45 vs P125 as a beginner piano, so hopefully this article can address those most commonly asked.

This P45 review should clarify the main differences between the P45 and P125 pianos, because as you’ve probably noticed, the Yamaha P45 is very similar to the Yamaha P125, and the truth is that there are many things that are the same on both the P45 vs P125 – so let’s take a closer look…

YouTube video
Watch our video to hear Chris demonstrate both the Yamaha P45 and P125

Yamaha P45 Portable Piano | Value for money

The purpose of this P45 review is to discuss both the similarities and differences between the P45 vs P125. Yamaha P45 and the P125 have the same amount of keys (88); which is the same as on a traditional piano. They are both more or less the same dimensions, and they look pretty similar as well.

So what do you get for that extra cost and is it worth it? The first major difference between these two pianos is in the tone generation. Perhaps you are thinking ‘what does Tone Generation mean?’ Well, when I play a note on the P125, what we hear is a recorded sample from a real concert grand piano that Yamaha made (and Yamaha make some of the best concert grand pianos in the world).  The technology used to transfer that into a digital piano is moving on very quickly.

One of the main things you’ll notice throughout this P45 review is that the P45 is getting left behind a little bit with its technology now, and it uses what’s called an AWM (an advanced wave memory) technology. The P125 has the pure CF sampling on it, which is a much more up to date technology. In basic terms, that is how the pianos transfer the sound from the real piano into these. It is much more modern, and much more up to date on the P125

The second thing is the maximum polyphony number. Now what does that mean? It is basically the amount of samples that can be produced at the same time. The P45’s maximum polyphony number is only 64. Whereas the P125 is a whopping 192. It is worth knowing that the polyphony is not the amount of notes you can play (you’ve only got ten fingers, and could only play 10 notes!).

Every time you play a single note, you trigger several samples and you never ever want to get near hitting the maximum polyphony number. 64 on the P45 is ok, but 192 of course is much higher, much more akin to the type of high polyphony number that you get on the premium range of Yamaha digital pianos. So the Yamaha P125 is the big winner there.

  • Sale

    Yamaha P125 | 88-Key Portable Piano with Rhythms

    £499.00£723.00 Select options
  • Yamaha P45 | 88-Key Student Portable Piano

    £358.00£487.00 Select options

Yamaha P45 | Sound

The next big difference between these two pianos is the speaker and the amplifier set up on the P45. We only have two 6 Watt amplifiers, and two 12 centimetre speakers. On the P125 we have two 7 watt amplifiers. We have the same 12 centimetre speakers on each side, but then we also have an additional couple of 4 centimetre speakers on either side of the piano. This is what gives the P125 that wonderful glassy ‘trebley’ effect up there on the top end. When comparing the P125 in comparison to the P45, the P45 is made to sound quite muddy and quite one dimensional (watch the video attached to this P45 review to hear for yourself).

Now, when it comes to recording onto the piano, this is a really important feature for beginners and advanced players alike. Recording is simply not possible on the P45, there is no recording function in there. Whilst the P125 has an excellent recording function, where you can record two layers on top of each other, save the recording on-board and then transfer it off of the piano as well if you want to. 

Yamaha Smart Pianist

You may have heard about this next feature that I am going to talk to you about next, which I am a big fan of. This is a functionality that lifts the P125 way above the P45, and it’s to do with what Yamaha call the Smart Pianist app.

This app is not just a controller app that swaps between the sounds (though you could use it for that if you wanted to!) It also allows you to play your iTunes collection through the speakers of the keyboard, and to be able to play along with it. Even further than that, it will show you the chords to that music on the screen as well. Even this feature alone is a fantastic feature to have for gigging musicians; you can save your sounds and settings that you’ve customized into what we call registrations in here. So when you get to a gig you can just load it up, and have it exactly as you set it up when you were at home.

This integrates with the recording feature on the P125 as well, you can do it all through the phone. You can tape recordings, and then share them online as well (as either a midi or an audio file). So that is the Smart Pianist app from Yamaha. For me this feature just lifts the P125 way above the P45 in terms of functionality, and how you engage with the piano. It just makes the whole experience much more fun as well.

What’s in the box?

Both the P45 and the P125 come with sustain pedals in the box, but it is worth knowing that there is no additional pedal unit you can get for the P45. The P125 however will allow you to put it on a wooden stand (available to purchase separately), and also a separate 3 pedal unit as well. This means that you can actually turn it into something that looks like quite a nice small compact piano in your sitting room.

The P45 is only available in black, but the P125 is available to purchase in black and white

In summary, this Yamaha P45 review is dealing with two pianos that look very similar, have many features that the same, but the P125 for not a great deal more expense actually gives us a much, much richer, more realistic sound. The P125 simply just has more functionality, of course with the Smart Pianist app available to use as well. The app makes it generally much more fun to play with too.

Yamaha P45 Review / P45 vs P125
The P45 offers an input for a sustain pedal (included), headphones, and a USB connection to host

Yamaha P45 portable piano | Final thoughts

If you’re a gigging musician, then you would be disappointed to find out that the P45 does not have a dedicated Jack output. This means that you couldn’t put it into a PA successfully. The P125 does have the dedicated Jack output, and it’s stereo as well. You have got two outputs on the left and right in one mono if you want to. 

Next in this Yamaha P45 review, I am now going to talk to you about some other common keyboard features, that are present on these pianos. Firstly, dual function is available on both. This is where you play two voices over the whole length, layered on top of each other. Both of the pianos also have a ‘duo’ feature as well, and this is where you can effectively have two middle C’s to be able to play for example. This is a great feature, good for people that are learning to play the piano with a teacher that is present.  

The P45 and the P125 also have a ‘split function’, where you can play one sound on the left of the piano and another sound on the right of the piano. Another great feature for gigging musicians a feature on here called Sound Boost. If you are familiar with playing a piano in a group, you often find that the piano sound can get lost in the mix of the band. When you have the ‘sound boost’ on what it does is it just gives the middle and the treble a little bit of a lift, and takes away some of the bass. This is a really nice thoughtful feature from Yamaha, and it is very useful for a gigging musician

So there we have it, hopefully this Yamaha P45 review has covered the really big differences between the P45 vs P125. In my opinion there are many other differences as well. Starting with the amount of voices that we have on the two pianos. The P45 has only 10 voices (when I say voices I don’t mean voices, I just mean different sounds that it makes). The P125 gives us more than double, we have got 24 different voices on here, including four different variations of the piano; there’s only two variations of the piano on the P45.

To conclude this P45 review, here is a quick-reference chart comparing the main differences between the P45 vs P125.

Yamaha P-45 Yamaha P-125
AWM Sound EnginePure CF Sampling
2 x 6 Watt 12cm Speakers2 x 7 Watt 12cm + 4cm Speakers
2 – Track Recording

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Chris Hammond Manager
Chris is the manager of and the driving force behind the demonstration, comparison and review videos that we feature on our website. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of the sales and marketing team, with extensive product knowledge and many years of experience as a musician and composer.
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