Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144

Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144

At first glance, the choice between the Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144 shouldn’t be that difficult, because both are qualitative digital pianos. Or is this fact the one that makes the choice difficult? And which one is best suited for whom? These are some of the questions that I wanted to find an answer for when I decided to put these two digital pianos to the test. Especially because digital pianos are not the cheapest products, you should be as sure as possible about your choice. Remember, these are products meant to be used for multiple years. But who has the time to do all the research that needs to be done before making a decision like this? Well, I do. So, if you narrowed your choice down to these two pianos, today you will find out which one of these two is the better choice for you.

Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144 Comparison Chart

ModelCasio PX-870Yamaha YDP-144
ImageCasio Privia PX-870 Digital PianoYamaha YDP-144 review
Check Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Keyboard88 keys88 keys
Touch Response3 Levels + Off3 Levels + Off
Sounds1910
Polyphony256192
Speakers2 x 20W2 x 8W
Dimensions54.61″ x 31.54″ x 31.54″53.4″ x 32” x 16.6”
Weight72.8 lbs.83 lbs.

Design

I’ll start with the similarities in design between the two pianos. Without getting too close, you can already notice that both digital pianos are console style pianos meant for home use. If you want, you can disassemble, and reassemble them at another location, but they’re really not designed to be transported. So, if you plan on installing them in your home, or school or another fixed location, either of these two will be fit for the job.

They also come with an integrated 3 pedal unit, with the help of which you can use the sustain, soft and sostenuto effects. Both have 88-key weighted keyboards. Basically, both offer the entire package that you need to start playing or practicing, once either of them is installed and all set. The dimensions and weight are similar. But having in mind that they are meant to be used in a fixed location, weight doesn’t make much of a difference anyway.

Installation will not be a hassle because you will find everything you need in the box. If you can’t figure out the installation steps, you can always take a look at the instructions. You should be able to install any one of these digital pianos alone. Depending on your handiness, that will take a longer or shorter period.

The look of the Yamaha YDP-144 and the Casio PX-870 is sleek and elegant. According to my opinion, they both fit in very nicely in any setting, no matter what your home décor style is.

The number one main advantage of digital pianos compared to their acoustic counterparts is that they don’t need tuning. But a further advantage is the number of extra functions and voices digital pianos have compared to acoustic pianos. At this chapter, the PX-870 and YDP-144 aren’t the best examples, because they don’t have so many functions and voices as other models, but still, they have a package of features which are there for you to use. The lack of an extended palette of functions and features brings with it a sleeker design, without all the buttons that clutter other digital pianos’ control panels.

Because there are not as many buttons to access all the features, some features can be accessed through a button and key combination. You’ll have to learn these combinations by heart if you plan on using them, so that you don’t have to consult the instructions every time. So yes, there’s a learning curve involved, that’s the trade-off of having a clean design. And also, it’s a common aspect among low to mid priced digital pianos.

Sound

Sound is emitted by digital pianos using two different alternative methods of creating it. On the one hand, there’s the classic method of using samples. This happens by recording samples of every key on an acoustic piano, in all velocity variations, and then attributing these samples to a certain digital piano. On the other there’s the modeling alternative. This is a newer method. It works by recreating the sound from zero every time you press a key.

Both methods have their ups and downs. There are people who are for the sampling method and others who are for the modeling method. There are strong arguments for both sides. I don’t have a definite, strong opinion on this matter. There are digital pianos that employ the sampling method for their sound, which I like a lot. And there are also digital pianos that use the modeling method, which I like a lot as well.

As for the two digital pianos that I’m comparing in this head to head review, they both employ the sampling method to produce their sound. Casio and Yamaha both took the samples from a 9′ grand piano. This is a nice improvement of the Yamaha YDP-144. The former model had a lesser sound engine, but Yamaha decided to bring the sound engine, formerly used on the superior Clavinova series to this generation of Arius digital piano.

The sound on both digital pianos is very realistic, especially the grand piano voices. The Casio PX-870 has 5 variations and the Yamaha YDP-144, 4 variations. Overall, the PX-870 has more voices than the YDP-144, 19 over 10. But, the number of voices isn’t the strength of any of these two pianos. There are other models that have many more voices. I guess people buy one of these two especially for the grand pianos sounds, which is the strength of these two.

You get functions like string and key off resonance with both digital pianos. There are also has a feature that lets you adjust the position of the virtual lid of the piano to your desire. They also give you the ability to set hammer response and hall simulator according to your intended effect.

As for polyphony (the ability to play multiple notes at the same time) the PX-870 is better than the YDP-144, with a 256-note polyphony compared to 192. Truthfully, even a lower level of polyphony will be enough in most cases. It’s incredibly difficult to reach such a high value ever. You would need to play a very intricate musical piece to max out the capabilities of these two digital pianos.

The sound of the Casio PX-870 is slightly better than that of the YDP-144, but neither of the two is among the models that offer most customization options. On the other hand, you probably don’t even need so many bells and whistles with these two digital pianos. They’re primarily intended to render a high quality, realistic piano playing experience. And that’s where both excel.

Speakers

There’s quite the difference when comparing the speakers of the Yamaha YDP-144 vs Casio PX-870. Although the speaker system of the Yamaha, made up of two 8W speakers, is a nice upgrade from the former model, it’s still considerably below that of the PX-870, which has 4 speakers adding up to 40W of power.

Both digital pianos’ speaker systems have a more than satisfying dynamic range, but that of the PX-870 is definitely the best of the two. Just by dividing the total power output into 4 speakers distributed above and below the keyboard, the sound has far more amplitude and creates a very hard to beat immersive experience.

Not that the the new, enhanced speaker system of the YDP-144 is bad. By all means, the sound that comes from these speakers is better than that of many other comparable digital piano models. But strictly referring to this comparison, with the Casio PX-870, they are physically a bit more underdeveloped. But, if you plan on using the piano at home, the speaker system of the YDP-144 is more than enough to fill most spaces with an ample sound. It’s enough even to bother the neighbors if they live close enough.

The superior speaker system of the PX-870 almost ties the sound of an acoustic grand piano. It’s perfect for a home setting as well as in a school, or church environment, for example. It’s definitely a lot more than you need to practice at home. But volume is not everything. There’s also the aspect of recreating that immersive experience, which I have to say, the PX-870 is better at.

Keyboard

The keyboard is arguably the most important part of a digital piano, next to sound. This is because it plays a vital role in delivering that specific piano playing experience. This is why I pay a lot of attention when analyzing the keyboard of each digital piano I review. In this Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144 comparison I’ll start by presenting the keyboard of the latter.

Being priced between the low and mid ranges, one wouldn’t expect too much from the keyboard of the YDP-144. But, contrary to expectations I must say the keyboard behave pretty nice. Although Yamaha didn’t upgrade the 88-key keyboard compared to the former model, it’s still the company’s own Graded Hammer Standard, I must say that the graded hammer action as much as the matte finish of the black keys combine to offer a pretty realistic sensation. Of course, I’m putting everything in the perspective of the price range.

What I don’t like about the keyboard of the Yamaha is that they kept them plastic. And the real issue here is not that the material is plastic, it’s that you can feel they’re plastic. With a bit more attention to detail, I think they could’ve managed to ‘trick’ me into feeling the plastic less. But maybe that’s just me. You might find this aspect to be less disturbing.

You also have the ability to choose between 4 different touch sensitivity levels: off, hard, medium and soft. The preset touch sensitivity level is medium, and I think it’s the best setting that let’s you feel the difference between the keys across the entire keyboard.

People usually tend towards a digital piano in this range after graduating from a beginner digital piano, that hasn’t got any touch sensitivity in most cases. If this is you, then you will feel a world of difference playing the Yamaha YDP-144. So, overall, for beginners the keyboard of this piano is an option, but let’s take a look at how it compares to the keyboard of the Casio PX-870.

The PX-870 features Casio’s tri-sensor scaled hammer action II on its 88-key keyboard. The difference here is that this keyboard uses real hammers to recreate feeling of acoustic piano keys. Practically they tried to mimic the behavior by employing the same principles that acoustic piano keys use. And, according to my opinion, they succeeded.

The triple sensor system that they added to the keyboard better recognizes the velocity with which you play the keys, allowing for faster note repetition and a realistic playing experience. The keys are graded as well, meaning the keys on the higher end will respond lighter and the ones towards the lower end progressively lighter.

As with the keys of the YDP-144, the keys of the PX-870 are also touch sensitive. There are 4 levels of touch sensitivity here as well: off, hard, medium and soft.

And last, but not least, a feature that I considered to lower the overall playing experience realism of the YDP-144, the keys of the PX-870 have a top surface of artificial ebony and ivory. This is a detail that contributes to my opinion of this keyboard.

Functions

As with all digital pianos that have a clean design, many of the functions available, especially and the YDP-144, are accessed through various key combinations. This is quite annoying at first, because you will have to keep the instructions manual at hand. But in time, you will memorize the most used combinations. But, there’s a way to make everything easier. Yamaha has thought of that when they developed the Smart Pianist App. You can download it on iOS or Android and manage the settings from within the App.

Unfortunately, the YDP-144 can’t show any advancements in this department neither compared to the former model.

In terms of modes, we have the same duo and dual modes on both the YDP-144 and PX-870 digital pianos. The mode that is missing on the YDP-144 but existent on the PX-870 is the split mode.

The duo mode gives you the ability to play with a partner, each of you having 44 keys with a middle C on each side. The dual mode, also called layering mode let’s you play two different instruments layered one over the other. Split mode lets you split the keyboard at a point of your choice and then allocating a different instrument for each side.

A very interesting feature of the Casio PX-870 is the Concert Play. This function allows you to play along recordings of an orchestra. There are in total 10 different musical pieces you can access through this feature. I think this feature has only one weakness, and that’s the fact that they didn’t add more musical pieces.

Before attempting to take part in one of the concerts, you can practice the piano part separately, by turning off the rest of the orchestra. You can also practice the part of each hand separately.

You have additional 60 songs as part of the music library of the PX-870. As with the concert play pieces, you can play each hand separately as well when practicing. You can also upload 10 MIDI songs. The YDP-144 comes with 50 songs. Here too you can upload 10 songs yourself.

With the PX-870 you can make two types of recordings, MIDI and audio. With the YDP-144 you can only make MIDI recordings.

Two further differentiating features between the YDP-144 vs PX-870 are the Headphone Mode, that optimizes the sound for the use of headphones and the Volume Sync EQ which balances the sound at low volume so that you can hear every note clearly. Both these features belong to the Casio PX-870.

Apart from these, both digital pianos have the usual functions that you would find on most digital pianos nowadays: metronome, transpose, tuning and others.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, there’s no big difference between the two.

You’ll find two 1/4″ stereo jacks that are great if you want to practice with headphones and not bother others. These stereo jacks serve also as line out jacks if you ever need to connect your digital piano to external amplifiers, speakers and so on.

Both digital pianos lack dedicated line out jacks, but that’s easily understandable because the stereo jacks fulfill this function as well.

Next, you have a USB to Host port on both pianos, which you can use to connect them to supported devices.

The difference in connectivity between the Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144 is the presence of a USB type A port on the PX-870. This type of port is for the use of flash drives. You can exchange files fast and easy this way between the digital piano and flash drive.

Remember when I told you have the Smart Pianist App from Yamaha make controlling the settings easier on the YDP-144? Casio has also a similar App called Chordana. It’s also available for both iOS and Android. The app also contains additional 198 songs.

Conclusion

So, here we are, at the end of my comparison review between the Casio PX-870 vs Yamaha YDP-144. I’m sure that by now you’ve already formed an opinion about which of the two is the better choice for you. Are you curious about my verdict?

I will start by saying that the Yamaha is a very good beginner digital piano, offering a realistic enough piano playing experience, and comes completely equipped for home use. The Casio, on the other hand is a more advanced musical instrument with more features and most important, a superior, more realistic piano playing experience. The hammer action, key finish and superior sound make it my favorite pick of the two.

If you want more information on either of the two, you can read my Casio PX-870 review or my Yamaha YDP-144 review.

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