In this comparison review I’m going to analyze two cabinet style digital pianos head to head: Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770. Basically this is the battle between the most affordable cabinet style digital pianos of the two manufacturers. Th PX-770 is here to replace the pretty popular PX-760, and the YDP103 is practically the P45 installed into a cabinet setting, the two models having the same features and specifications. The next models in line for the YDP103 are the more popular YDP-144 and YDP-164.
Neither of the two digital pianos I compare today are spectacular in their characteristics, but they are not designed to be ground-breaking. They are designed to be cabinet style entry-level digital pianos, intended to be used mainly for practice by beginners. Are they good enough to match their intended purpose? And which one of the two is the better choice? These are some of the questions I’m going to answer in this comparison review.
Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770 Comparison Chart
|Model||Yamaha YDP103||Casio PX-770|
|Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Sound Engine||AWM Stereo sampling||AiR Sound Source (Sampled)|
|Key Action||Graded Hammer Standard action||Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II|
|Key Touch/Weight||Matte, 4 levels||Simulated Ivory/Ebony, 4 levels|
|Speakers||2 x 6W||2 x 8W|
Both the Casio PX-770 and the Yamaha YDP103 will come with all their components in a large box. The box can be relatively heavy to manipulate, considering the weight of the two pianos themselves: 70 pounds for the PX-770 and 82 pounds for the Yamaha YDP103. The YDP103 also comes with a bench. The bench isn’t phenomenal but it gets the job done. One minor weakness is the lack of place for sheet music storage.
Although the assembly process itself shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 minutes, a helping hand might be useful especially when placing the piano itself on the cabinet. If you have an electric screwdriver, the assembly process will be a lot easier and faster than using a manual screwdriver. The size of the two pianos, once assembled, is very similar to the size of most cabinet style digital pianos. The looks are rather elegant, nicely complementing most interior decors.
Both pianos come with integrated 3 pedal units for sustain, soft and sostenuto effects. The damper pedal of the YDP103 supports half-pedaling. This enables you to control the exact amount of sustain you want to imprint. This is one of the elements that raises the level of expressiveness that you can imprint onto your playing.
Another aspect that I like about these two digital pianos is the level of sturdiness of the built. Although the manufacturers didn’t use hardwood to build the cabinets, the fine grain imprints offer that wooden look that makes the object itself more beautiful overall. So, we get a nice mixture of sturdiness and authentic looks, while minimizing weight as much as possible. Again, these are not the lightest options, but I’m putting things in perspective here. as an extra, the YDP103 also has a sliding key cover that is a aesthetic way to keep dust from getting in between the keys.
Let’s continue with the control buttons. Neither of the two pianos have extensive control panels. This is clearly an advantage in terms of sleekness of looks, but also an obvious disadvantage in user experience. It’s a disadvantage because you will have to use button and key combinations to access many of the functions. But you should know that most other alternatives in this price range and of this type use the same system. So, there is no actual way around it. The inconvenience lessens with time though, as you learn all those often used combinations. The need to constantly check the user’s manual will fade slowly. Also there is no display that could possibly make navigating the settings easier.
Sound, next to the keyboard, is one of the most important parts of a digital piano. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to be very objective when I review entry level digital piano’s because I’ve tested out so many superior models that I rarely am pleased with lower standards. Maybe lower standards is not the beest way to describe the situation because we have to put things in perspective.
The Yamaha YDP103 uses the AWM stereo sampling technology. Yamaha has 3 kinds of sound engines for their digital pianos. the AWM is the basic type, and then there are Pure CF sound engine and the CFX, which are clearly superior. So, sound-wise, the YDP103 doesn’t excel in matters of sound compared to other superior models from Yamaha. But when comparing it to other alternatives in the same beginner group, it fits right in.
The Casio PX-770 uses the AiR sound source, Yamaha’s sound engine used by the PX-870 as well, although the PX-870 has a number of extra sound effects that makes its sound better than that of the PX-770. Because both digital pianos, the PX-770 and the YDP103, use samples from 9′ concert grand pianos recorded at different velocities, the sound coming from their speakers is surprisingly close to the real thing. And I say surprisingly because both are beginner digital pianos.
Both offer a few different vices, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is the fact that the piano voices on either one of the two are high quality, which is why you’d buy one of these in the first place, to practice piano at home.
One of the important aspects of a digital piano’s sound is polyphony. This refers to the number of different notes that can be sustained at the same time before the first played notes start cutting off. We have a clear winner between the Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770. That would be the PX-770 with a limit of 128 notes. The YDP103 has an upper limit of only 64 notes.
You would think that it’s difficult to reach even the YDP103’s limit, and that’s true as you’re starting out. But at a point down the road, when you start playing more complex musical pieces, you could reach certain points where that polyphony limit will be maxed out. This shouldn’t be of great concern for you, especially in the beginner stages.
We have a clear winner between the Casio PX-770 vs Yamaha YDP103 concerning speakers too. And it’s still the PX-770. With its pair of 8W speakers it’s considerably more powerful than the YDP103, with its pair of 6W speakers.
What I like about the speaker system of the YDP103, though, is its placement, and that’s inside the cabinet. This fact creates a more ample, richer sound because of the resonance created by the cabinet. It’s an intelligent way to take advantage of the cabinet design.
Both digital pianos are intended for home use, and were designed in accordance. For their intended purpose, they’re well enough too fill most living rooms when turned up. But, if you plan on installing any of the two in bigger spaces, for example in a school or church, you’ll find that you’ll need external amplification to be able to transmit the full extent of your expressiveness.
The one big difference between the keyboards of the Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770 is that the key surface of the PX-770 is made of artificial ebony and ivory, thus contributing to the authentic feeling of the keys. The white keys of the YDP103, on the other hand, have a plain plastic top, and the black ones have a matte finish. Apart from this, the two keyboards are very similar.
Both keyboards have 88 fully weighted keys. They both have the graded effect. This makes the keys towards the lower end heavier, while progressively getting lighter towards the high end.
Yamaha uses the Grade Hammer Standard as the keyboard action for the YDP103. Truth be told, it’s a pretty old technology. They have two further key actions which are superior. But comparing it to the PX-770’s Tri-sensor Hammer Action II, opinions are divided as to which one of them is better. I personally prefer the key action of the PX-770. I find that Yamaha’s GHS is the least authentic of the key actions available on competing models.
Both keyboards are touch sensitive, offering 4 levels of sensitivity, also including the Off setting. I recommend you use the hard setting so that you can develop the right finger technique. It also offers the most authentic behavior, most similar to that of an acoustic piano. You will be able to be as most expressive this way, because you will have the greatest dynamic range at your disposal. You will have to press the keys harder, though, if you want to play a fortissimo.
These two digital pianos are not the most gifted in matters of functions. Both have a set of common functions you would expect from digital pianos nowadays. But, even at this level, the YDP103 seems a bit more basic than the PX-770.
For example, it lacks the split mode, the feature that lets you split the keyboard in two parts, assigning a certain instrument for each part. The other two usual features, dual mode and duet mode, are found on both pianos.
The YDP103 also lacks lesson features such as the PX-770’s concert play, which can be pretty helpful for beginners. This feature gives you a few tunes that you can the piano part of in an orchestra. It can be pretty fun, giving you more reasons to practice the piano for longer periods.
And then there’s the set of features that can be found on most digital pianos, such as metronome, transpose and tuning. Metronome is useful, especially as you’re starting out, when you experience difficulty in keeping the right rhythm. Transpose and tuning are features that help you tune the pitch of the instrument according to your needs.
There’s also a difference between the music libraries of the two digital pianos. The Casio PX-770 has 60 songs at your disposal, whereas the Yamaha YDP103 only has 10.
Overall, if you buy a digital pianos, primarily to practice playing the piano on, then you’re not that interested in bells and whistles anyway. So, the basic character of the feature set of the YDP103 is not such a big deciding factor for you. If this is not the case, and you also want to have a bit of fun with your keyboard, then extra features are a welcome advantage. In this aspect of the Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770 comparison, the latter has the upper hand.
I will start with the things that lack as connectivity options in the case of both digital pianos: Bluetooth. Unfortunately you will not be able to connect the pianos to other electronic devices in a wireless fashion. You are able to connect them to a computer or a mobile device by using the provided USB to Host port. For that you’ll need a A-B USB cable, which you can easily find at affordable prices. In the case of an iOS device you’ll need a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.
You will also find two 1/4 inch headphone jacks that are very convenient, especially as you practice a lot, not sounding very well in the beginning. Your neighbors or the other people in your house will be very thankful.
There are also apps that you can use to enhance the user experience of your digital pianos, once you connect it to a mobile device.
No that we reached the conclusion part of my Yamaha YDP103 vs Casio PX-770 comparison review, it’s time to sum up all the pros and cons and reach a buying decision.
Overall, I must say that I like both digital pianos. They are good musical instruments, that offer everything you need to start practicing piano at home. But, keeping in mind the slight advantage of the PX-770 over the YDP103 in almost every category, I recommend you to buy the Casio PX-770. It has a better keyboard, superior sound and is has a more powerful speaker system (if that matters to you). It also has that artificial ebony and ivory key tops that contribute to the overall authenticity of the entire piano playing experience. And it’s well worth its price.
If you want to see how the PX-770 compares to the PX-870, read my Casio PX-770 vs PX-870 comparison review.