Yamaha has slowly but surely become one of the big brands in digital pianos after making a name for themselves with their concert grand pianos first. There are different lines of digital pianos produced by Yamaha, but today I’m going to compare two portable keyboards, the Yamaha DGX-660 vs Yamaha P125.
Both have their strengths and their weaknesses, but which is the best choice for you?
That’s the question I will try and help you answer after trying out these two digital pianos and presenting my findings below. So let’s see how these two keyboards compare to one another.
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Yamaha DGX-660 vs Yamaha P125 Comparison Chart
|Model||Yamaha DGX-660||Yamaha P125|
|Click here to buy on Amazon||Click here to buy on Amazon|
|Keyboard||88 keys, Graded Hammer Action||88 Keys, Graded Hammer Action|
|Touch Response||3 Levels, Off||3 Levels, Off|
|Effects||Chorus, EQ, Reverb||Damper Resonance, Reverb|
|Functions||Split/Layer, Transpose, Tuning||Split/Layer, Dual, Duet|
|Data Ports||USB Type A , Type B||USB Type B|
|Speakers||2 x 6W||2 x 7W|
|Dimensions||55 x 5.8 x 17.6 ”||52.2 x 11.6 x 6.6|
|Weight||46.4 pounds||26 pounds|
Although the Yamaha DGX-660 is part of the Portable Grand line of Yamaha, its dimensions and weight make it considerably less portable than the P125, which is not only more compact but almost half the weight. But looking at features, it’s easy to understand where the extra weight comes from. Its significantly better equipped than the P125, so the name Portable Grand is kind of suggestive of this.
So, right off the bat, if portability is more important than features, the battle between the Yamaha DGX-660 vs Yamaha P125 inclines towards the latter.
What I like a lot about the P125, is the clean, elegant look, with the red felt strip above the keys and the minimalist dashboard. In total, the P125 has a total of 14 buttons comprising the control panel of the piano. Some of these buttons light up when pressed because of the LED indicators that are part of them. Aside from the sound sections that have dedicated buttons on the panel, six of them, and some of the features, there are further functions that can be accessed via button and key combinations. Another feature that I like is the volume slider which lets you turn the volume up or down gradually.
The design of the Yamaha DGX-660 is also a very nice one as well, but different to that of the P125. It’s a lot bulkier and has a far more complex control panel. It also comes with an included stand. The P125 doesn’t usually come with an included stand but there are usually options available.
Returning to the control panel, its complexity is a must in order to easily navigate the big number of features packed in this digital piano.
Sound, along keyboard is one of the most important elements of a digital piano. In this case, both the Yamaha DGX-660 and the P125 have the same sound engine, the Pure CF sound engine. This is a Yamaha specific sound engine, recorded from the Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano, which is one of Yamaha’s world renowned concert pianos.
The process of recording the sound is very meticulous. They recorded several velocities of each note in order to make their digital pianos be capable of rendering the richness heard from the original.
One of the main differentiating factors between the sound of one and the other digital piano is the number of tones that are part of the library of each model. Besides the 10 different piano voices present on the DGX-660, there are hundreds of other instrument voices that make up the music library of this digital piano. The P125, on the other hand only has 24 built-in voices. That’s quite the difference. But, we have to take into account that they were probably built for slightly different purposes.
Just so that you can better understand what types of voices you can expect from the DGX-660, these are some of them:
- 10 pianos;
- 12 electric pianos;
- 14 organs;
- 5 accordions;
- 14 guitars;
- 9 bass guitars;
- 16 strings;
- 9 trumpets;
- 14 saxophones and many others.
As a comparison, these are the 24 built-in voices of the Yamaha P125:
- 4 pianos;
- 4 electric pianos
- 4 organs
- 4 chords;
- 4 strings;
- 4 bass guitars.
As far as polyphony is concerned, there’s a tie between the 2 at 192-tone polyphony. This refers to the number of tones the digital piano is able to produce at any one moment. As a rule of thumb, the higher, the better, because you can play more complex musical pieces without losing anything to technical limitations. But, you need to take into account that these two digital pianos are best suited for beginner and intermediate pianists. By the time you’re going to be able to max out that polyphony you will probably already be searching for a more advanced digital piano.
I decided to have the section about speakers next to that about sound because they are connected. This is a section where one of the two pianos has the upper hand clearly, even if it’s just a slight difference. The DGX-660 has two speakers with 6W amplifiers each, whereas the P125 has 7W amplifiers. As I told you there is a clear difference on paper. But does it make much of a difference in practice, I’m not sure.
The location of the speakers on the P125 makes the sound travel upward as well as downward, creating an immersive sound experience for the pianist. The speakers on the DGX-660, on the other hand direct the sound towards the pianist, creating a sensation of clarity.
Both sound systems are well enough for home practicing and small performances. But if you want to perform for a larger crowd, you need an external amplifier.
This is another chapter the Yamaha P125 vs DGX-660 comparison is tied. This is because both digital piano models use the same type of keyboard: 88-key Graded Hammer Standard.
Most digital pianos under $1000 from Yamaha use this type of key action. The name comes from the graded hammers that are attached to every key, mimicking the weight of an acoustic piano’s key. The keys are heavier in the low end and get lighter towards the high end.
This feature s very helpful for developing the proper finger technique that can be easily translated onto an acoustic piano. The keys are also touch sensitive on both models, meaning that the harder you press them, the more more powerful the sound is. Again, a feature that mimics the way the keys of acoustic pianos work. And I must say, they managed to do a pretty good job with this feature. When I think that only a few years ago these characteristics couldn’t be found on such affordable pianos, I can’t but wonder how fast things are developing in this segment as well.
Another feature of the keyboard that both digital pianos possess is the ability to set the touch sensitivity to 4 different levels: fixed, soft, medium and hard. Depending on your style, you can adjust the touch sensitivity accordingly. Fixed means that the touch sensitivity is turned off, so it doesn’t matter how soft or hard you press the keys, the volume of each sound will be the same. I recommend medium or hard, so that the piano playing experience is as close as possible to the real thing.
The material the keys are made of, in both cases is plastic. Truthfully, all the keyboards in this price range have similar keys. Although the white keys are shiny, the black ones have a matte finish which will turn out to be a nice aspect after playing for a long time, when the fingers start being a bit moist. This finish will prevent your fingers from slipping.
From a functions perspective, the Yamaha DGX-660 is more versatile than the P125. It doesn’t only possess the important requirements to render a truthful piano playing experience, but so many more features that bring it closer to a workstation.
Exactly because of this multitude of features, Yamaha has installed the so-called Piano Room Setting, with a dedicated button for easy access. This helps a lot in navigating all those customization capabilities. You will be introduced directly into the optimal piano settings, activating the grand piano tone.
Don’t worry, you will be able to modify those settings easily according to your preferences and opt for one of four piano sounds: honky tonk, pop grand, warm grand and grand piano. You can further customize the settings in the piano room feature according to these parameters: lid position, environment type, damper resonance, touch response and tuning.
The Yamaha P125 is missing the piano room feature, but wouldn’t really need it anyway, because it isn’t as rich in settings as the DGX-660.
There are two further features that both digital pianos compared in this review share: split mode and dual mode (layering).
When activated, split mode will split the keyboard in two parts, each part playing a different instrument, that you can assign. A classic combination would be piano and strings, but you can assign any two instruments.
Dual mode, or layering mode lets you mix two different instruments, or layer them, creating a new harmonious sound. There are classic combinations that sound well together, but you can let your creativity fly and see what new sound you can come up with.
There’s also a third mode, called duet mode. The Yamaha P125 has this mode, the DGX-660 doesn’t. What it does is letting you split the keyboard into two equal halves, with a middle C on each half. This is especially useful for beginners who take lessons with a piano teacher. But it’s also great if you want to play a duet on the same keyboard.
There are also certain lesson functions available on both digital pianos. You can select one of the songs in the music libraries (50 songs for the P125 and 100 songs for the DGX-660) and choose which hand you would like to practice. The DGX-660’s lesson function also has certain interesting and helpful features that aid the learning process greatly. These are: waiting, your tempo and minus one.
‘Waiting’ will wait until you play the right note. The note will be shown on the display, as well as the exact key on the virtual keyboard. This way you can learn to read music in an interactive fashion. The song will only advance once you played the right note.
‘Your tempo’ is a lesson function that will vary the tempo of the song you’re practicing in order to force you to develop the right tempo. For example, if you play the song in a faster tempo than you should, the playback will slow down until you match the right tempo.
‘Minus one’ lets you practice the left or right hand part of a song, with the piano playing the other part.
If you want to sound like a one-man orchestra, it’s entirely possible with the accompaniment styles of both pianos. There is a difference, though, between the Yamaha P125 vs DGX-660 in this aspect. The P125 has 20 styles you can choose from. The DGX-660 has 200. So, quite the difference there. But then again, it depends a lot on the exact expectations you have from your future digital piano. In some cases, this difference may not be as important as in others.
The Yamaha DGX-660 has a further interesting function connected with the one above: style recommender. This is especially helpful if you don’t know what type of accompaniment style to choose. All you need to do is play one or two measures, and the function will suggest the best matching styles according to the rhythm you play.
Even if you don’t know how to play the right chords, smart chord will enable you to play with accompaniment styles. But you will have to know the key you’re playing in to control the styles.
Then there are three further features that the DGX-660 and P125 have in common: metronome, transpose and tuning.
The metronome function is especially helpful if you have trouble keeping the right rhythm. With the input of this function you will be able to improve your timing.
Transpose and tuning are similar in the way that they both refer to adjusting the pitch of the instrument. With transpose you can adjust the pitch in semitone steps and tuning allows you to adjust the pitch in 1 Hz steps.
There are no major differences between the Yamaha DGX-660 vs Yamaha P125 when it comes to connectivity capabilities. Both offer multiple types of connectivity options that are very useful, and are usually found on higher end digital pianos.
Both pianos’ jacks are on the rear part of the instrument. There are only two exceptions. The DGX-660’s USB to device terminal is located on the front and the P125’s headphone jacks are on the front, which is very comfortable because that’s the exact spot where you need them.
The DGX-660 has the following ports: USB to Host, USB to Device, headphone jack, mic input jack, aux in, sustain jack, pedal unit jack.
The P125 has the following ports: 2 headphone jacks, aux out jack, USB to Host, sustain pedal.
We finally reached the part of our comparison review where we weigh the pros and cons, and make some recommendations.
The big difference between the Yamaha DGX-660 vs Yamaha P125 is the number of features, not necessarily types of features. Both have approximately the same types of functions but the DGX-660 has more of some types.
Another big difference, especially if you plan on carrying the keyboard with you a lot is the portability factor. This is where the P125 is better, because it’s lighter and more compact than the DGX-660. Also the headphone jacks of the P125 are located in a more convenient place.
If I were to choose between the two I must say that the Yamaha DGX-660 is the superior digital piano. But if portability is a big factor for you, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option in terms of features and ease of transportation than the P125.