Yamaha YDP181 Review: A Top-Tier 88-Key Digital Piano

If you are searching for a full-size 88-key digital piano, you better try the Yamaha YDP181 (or Yamaha Arius for some).

This particular keyboard has impressive features and design. You will just love the fact it got a 128-note polyphony, which is relatively higher than those piano from the Portable Grand series of Yamaha.

Moreover, it has a sounding that somehow captures the aural nuances of an acoustic piano. This particular capability makes this digital piano an excellent choice for those that have keen ears.

If you want to discover the full features of this instrument, read this Yamaha YDP181 review.

But before that, let us take a quick but relevant detour. In the next section, we will be teaching you some of the essential considerations in choosing a digital piano. If you want to avoid getting the wrong and flimsy product, you have to pay to these details.


It is safe to say that the Yamaha YDP181 is an excellent digital piano to invest on. It is not an ordinary 88-key digital piano that you can see every day.

One of the best features of the Yamaha YDP181 is its 128-note polyphony. Even the other 88-key digital pianos don't have the same capacity. Because of its polyphony, this digital piano is extremely versatile.

It can play complicated passages just like a real acoustic piano. Moreover, you can guarantee that it doesn't suffer from voice cut outs when you sustain them.

Impressive Voice Sampling

There is no question in the sound quality of the Yamaha YDP181. As we mentioned earlier, it can replicate the tonal characteristic of a real piano.

Specifically, this device comes with a 14 different voices, thanks to its AWM Stereo Sampling technology. This is quite surprising since the instrument is a console type.

You shouldn't miss the opportunity to hear its amazing concert grand piano sample. Of course, the latter came from the Yamaha, too. Therefore, the sounding is nuanced, rich, and powerful.

Aside from the concert grand, the piano also has electric piano, harpsichord, choir voice, and jazz organ samples. All of these exhibits realism and presence, as well!

Responsive Keys

When it comes to playability, the Yamaha YDP181 is on par with other high-end 88-key digital pianos. This console piano has an integrated graded hammer mechanism on its key interface.

This is not the highest technology that Yamaha can give to their digital pianos. However, it doesn't mean that it is flimsy.

In fact, the graded hammer keys of the Yamaha YDP181 allows it to become like a real piano. The device is not claiming that it can match an acoustic or grand.

But because of this system, the keyboard lets you experience what it is like to play an acoustic or concert grand. Specifically, this action system gives enough weight to the bass part of the keys.

High-Quality Pedals

The Yamaha YDP181 comes with three damper pedals. Each of them has an integrated "half-pedal" effect. Through this system, you can have total control on the sustains that you can give to your notes.

If this feature is absent, the sustain would be static and remains to be in default. On the other hand, the half-pedal effect lets you augment the sustain, depending on how long or far you press the pedals.


  • 128-note polyphony
  • Excellent stereo sampling
  • ​Voice layering feature is available
  • ​Split function is present
  • ​Chorus and reverb effects
  • ​Comes with two jacks for headphones
  • ​Graded-Hammer keys
  • ​Touch responsiveness is adjustable
  • Damper pedals have an half-effect feature


  • It doesn't have a direct USB-to-device connectivity
  • The pedals are quite stiff.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Digital Piano

The Keys

Your digital piano will be incomplete if it doesn't have ultra responsive keys. Mainly, you should choose a digital piano with weighted keys (e.g. graded-hammer action system).

The latter is the same mechanism that is present on acoustic piano. It works by putting weight on the bass part of the key while leaving the treble part light. With this feature, you can have complete control to your playing style.

Moreover, you should decide the number of keys that your piano should have. Are you going for 61-key, 76-key, or 88-key piano models? It is quite confusing, right? But if you know your skill level, then choosing would be a lot easy.

Amateurs could either go for 61-key or 76-key pianos. They have simpler interfaces than their 88-key counterpart. However, if you are an advanced player already, you should get an 88-key digital piano.


The polyphony is the ability of the piano to play multiple notes and sound without cuts or interruptions. It is an essential feature for those who are aiming to play complex passages and chord progressions.

Today, most of the digital pianos have 32-note or 64-note polyphony. They are an excellent choice for players who are still new to this instrument.

But for pianists who want to hone their skills, a piano with 128-note polyphony (or higher) is their best option. The number of chords they can play would be limitless.


The sampling is the process of recording different sounds. Of course, manufacturers would record these sounds so that they can integrate to the piano. But why it is necessary?

Well, you should know that a digital keyboard doesn't have the components of an acoustic or grand piano. Therefore, it would be impossible for the former to sound like the real thing.

They used the sampling technology so that they can solve this problem. They would take sounds from concert grands, harpsichords, and string sections and put it on the piano.

Social Proof

The Yamaha YDP181 has a robust and esteemed reputation in the piano community. It is a device that received recognitions from pianists and music teachers alike.

People like to use this instrument because of its realistic sounding and playing experience. Many commented that it could capture the nuances of an acoustic piano. Other users even told that this is the best digital piano they got.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Yamaha YDP181 is an 88-key digital piano that is worth investing. From its classic design down to its hair-raising performance, there is no doubt that this instrument should be part of your shopping list.

You won't regret if you get this digital piano, regardless of your desired application. Moreover, it is an ideal choice for both amateurs and advanced players, too!

Did you learn from this Yamaha YDP181 review? Tell us your thoughts about this digital piano on the comment section below!

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