Yamaha P-255 vs P-125: Finding the Better Option for Beginners

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Comparative reports on Yamaha P-255 vs P-125 are closely contested since both are favorably upgraded. But affordability gives the latter the upper hand for beginners.

Yamaha has one of the most enviable arsenals when it comes to digital pianos. Among these, the P-series (Portable) is considered by many as the best when it comes to functionality and, more importantly, competitive pricing. 

The two models featured in this review, Yamaha P-255 vs Yamaha P-125, are huge favorites among beginners. Aside from the pretty impressive feel and sound of these digital pianos – great enough even for mid-level players – the two are lightweight, portable, and incredibly affordable. 

After numerous revamps over the years (P-125 was P-115 and P255’s successor is the P515), the company is always trying to come up with new design ideas to be competitive with the time and other brands. And this is clearly obvious with their results

The question now is, which of these is the better choice – especially for those who are planning to get their own piece for home practice and even for gigs or performances in front of a crowd?

Yamaha P-255 vs P-125: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Power Supply and Sustain Pedal, White
The Runner-Up (#2)
Yamaha P255 88-Key Professional Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal, Black
Model
Yamaha P-125
Yamaha P-255
Number of Keys
88
88
Hammer Action
GHS Weighted Action
GHS Weighted Action
Tone Generation
Pure CF Sound
Pure CF Sound
Effects
Reverb, IAC, Damper Resonance, Sound Boost
Reverb (4 types), Chorus, Phaser, Rotary Speaker, Tremolo, Equalizer, Sound Boost
Polyphony
192
256
Number of Voices
24
24
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
2 tracks (approx 100KB/track)
2 tracks (approx. 550KB/track)
Connectivity
USB to Host
USB to Device, Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 12cm; Two 4cm; Two 7W amplifiers
Two 10cm + 2.5cm; Two 15W amplifiers
Line out
AUX Out [L/L+R][R]
AUX In; AUX Out [L/L+R][R]
Pedal included
Half pedal. Optional FC3A
Yes, with additional sustain pedal
What I like
Price
$899.99
Price not available
The Winner (#1)
Image
Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Power Supply and Sustain Pedal, White
Model
Yamaha P-125
Number of Keys
88
Hammer Action
GHS Weighted Action
Tone Generation
Pure CF Sound
Effects
Reverb, IAC, Damper Resonance, Sound Boost
Polyphony
192
Number of Voices
24
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
2 tracks (approx 100KB/track)
Connectivity
USB to Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 12cm; Two 4cm; Two 7W amplifiers
Line out
AUX Out [L/L+R][R]
Pedal included
Half pedal. Optional FC3A
What I like
Price
$899.99
More info
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
Yamaha P255 88-Key Professional Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal, Black
Model
Yamaha P-255
Number of Keys
88
Hammer Action
GHS Weighted Action
Tone Generation
Pure CF Sound
Effects
Reverb (4 types), Chorus, Phaser, Rotary Speaker, Tremolo, Equalizer, Sound Boost
Polyphony
256
Number of Voices
24
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
2 tracks (approx. 550KB/track)
Connectivity
USB to Device, Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 10cm + 2.5cm; Two 15W amplifiers
Line out
AUX In; AUX Out [L/L+R][R]
Pedal included
Yes, with additional sustain pedal
What I like
Price
Price not available
More info

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yamaha P-255 vs P-125: Head-to-Head Comparison

Just by glancing at the table provided above, anyone can see that there are very few differences between the two Yamaha portable models – especially where it matters.

In terms of outward appearance, the P-255 is larger and heavier weighing over 38 pounds compared to P-125’s 26 pounds. The design features are pretty much the same too, with the control dashboard positioned above the keyboard. Perhaps the most obvious disparity is the number of speakers – both have upward-facing speakers directed at the player but the former has two additional amplifiers at the back. 

But what’s inside matters more. And while there isn’t a lot of variance between the two, the actual disparities carry a lot of weight in determining which comes out on top. 

After a very meticulous assessment of these digital pianos, I personally go for Yamaha’s P-125 over the presumed higher-model P-255 2:1;because of the lack of differences and, perhaps more importantly, because of the price tag. 

But if you want to know more specifics, do read on. 

Feel and Playability

The Winner: P-255

While the P-125 came a bit later than the P-255 as the successor to the P-115, Yamaha did not really make a whole lot of changes to it in this regard. While both are equipped with the same hammer action and touch sensitivity, the actual keys on the latter is of higher quality, furnishing it with the same feel as more expensive models.  

+Hammer Action

The Graded Hammer System is Yamaha’s most basic hammer action, often used for their beginner-level digital pianos like the P-255 and the P-125. Aside from being sufficiently weighted, these are aptly weighted just like real acoustic uprights and grands with the bass keys on the left-most part of the keyboard having heavier pull than the trebles on the right-most side. 

The P-255 key action feels fantastic
The P-255 key action feels fantastic

+Touch Sensitivity

This particular function refers to the volume and (more importantly) expression that is produced when the key is pressed – the sound is soft and lilting when softly touched and loud and resonant when pounded hard. All P-models, including the two reviewed here, have four settings available: Soft, Medium, Hard, and Fixed. 

+Key Texture

This feature is where the P-255 becomes a better option than the P-125. The former’s keytops are made of synthetic ivory with moisture-absorbing capabilities that satisfactorily prevents the fingers from accidentally slipping. The latter’s plastic keytops may be laden with a matte material which also increases friction, but nothing beats the feel of ivory under one’s fingertips – even faux ones.   

Tone

The Winner: Tie

Priced at almost two thousand bucks, I was really hoping for a better sound engine and a wider sound library on the P-255. Unfortunately, it has essentially the same specs as the P-125 in this regard.

The two P-models are tied in this section only because they have the exact same features; but the P-125 is my personal choice if its price tag of less than $1000 were to be included in the mix.  

+Tone Generator

While most models from the P-series make use of the basic AWM sampling, these two are outfitted with the Pure CF Sound, generated from the world-class Yamaha CF grand pianos. 

However, there are three functions added to the P-255 which makes it slightly better than the P-125: Key-off sampling, sustain sampling, and string resonance. Without going much into detail, these three help create piano sounds almost similar to real acoustic ones. 

+Sound Library

With a whopping 24 voices, both the P-255 and the P-125 do not disappoint. The list includes a grand piano section, electric pianos, organs, vibraphones, strings, and bass.

Because the two are outfitted with the Pure CF tone generator, the grand piano instruments on both are no less than stunning. I do have to say that I was a bit more awed by the strings on the P-255, with the individual notes blending incredibly well. Its bass section is also wonderfully made. 

Piano Functions and Features

The Winner: P-255

The P-255 does have an edge over the P-125 in this category, thanks to its higher polyphony count and more powerful speaker system. Usually, that’s enough to make me gush over a digital piano. However, that’s a very tiny edge here, in my opinion. Aside from the sheer similarities in other features and functions, it’s really hard to ignore the disparity in price. 

+Polyphony

This feature is defined as the number of notes which can be played at once. The digital pianos in question are outstanding in this regard, with the P-125 having 192 and the P-255 having a massive count of 256. In fact, anything over 100 is already a great piece, especially for beginners. But the P-255’s count is the same as a Clavinova already – and that’s a huge treat even for expert musicians.  

+Playing Modes

Both the P-255 and the P-125 share the often-required playing modes: Lesson, Layering, and Split. The first one is a must-have for beginners since this allows them to practice with their tutors.The last two are great for intermediate-level players who like to experiment with music, especially when mixing two or more instruments together for a composition. 

Yamaha-p125-sound-is-so-close-to-a-real-acoustic-piano
Yamaha P-125 sound is so close to a real acoustic piano

+Effects

The two share the same basic effects including four types of Reverb, Sound Boost, and Damper Resonance, just to name a few. Aside from the additional functions that enhance the P-255’s sound engine, Yamaha sprinkled a few more to it like the Rotary Speaker, Phaser, and Tremolo or Auto Pan.  

+Recording Capability

Apart from the numerous preset songs on these digital pianos, it is possible to record additional tracks – an awesome function especially for those who want to listen to their practice sessions or new compositions. 

Both the P-255 and the P-125 can record two tracks as a standard MIDI file. However, only the former can save files on an external drive. 

+Speaker System

The P-255 is ahead of the whole P-series pack in this aspect, having four separate speakers (two facing up and two facing the back/audience), making it a great stage digital piano. On top of that, there is no sound distortion heard at full volume – a real feat for Yamaha to effectively execute. 

+Accessories

The two usually come with a music rest and a foot pedal in the set. 

Yamaha P-255 vs P-125: The Similarities

As I have voiced several times, the two are matched in almost every single feature – from the very important hammer action and tone generation to the less noted playing modes and connectivity concerns. 

It is undeniable that the P-255 is packed with amazing add-ons, particularly the three awesome functionalities on the sound engine and the synthetic ivory keytops. While more accomplished players would appreciate such wonderful extras, the truth is expert pianists would also choose a higher Yamaha model which has better features but are at the same price range.

The numerous uniformities yield to one conclusion: the Yamaha P-255 vs P-125 bout basically boils down to a tie. And if I were a beginner or intermediate-level player, I would go for the more affordable option. 

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha P-255

Yamaha P255 88-Key Professional Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal, Black
  • Impressive Piano Voices Reproduce the Sensation of Playing a Concert Grand Piano
  • Synthetic Ivory Key tops 
  • 256 Notes of Polyphony

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • 256-count polyphony is impressive
  • Incredible add-on functionalities in the sound engine
  • Uses high-quality synthetic ivory for the keys
  • Great for beginners, perfect for intermediate-level players
  • Amazing speaker system
  • Possibility of additional amplification makes this a great piece for performances
Cons
  • Good enough hammer action, but not for the price
  • Pure CF tone generator is good, but not for the price
  • Discontinued

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha P-125

Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Power Supply and Sustain Pedal, White
  • A fully weighted digital piano with 88 full-sized piano-style keys
  • GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano
  • The pure CF sound engine faithfully reproduces the tone of the acclaimed Yamaha 9' CFIIIS Concert Grand piano
  • Split Mode lets you play a different voice with each hand
  • USB to host connectivity with MIDI and audio transfer means you only need one Cable to connect to your music-making software

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • GHS hammer action is perfect
  • Pure CF sound engine is impeccable
  • Great for beginners, perfect for intermediate-level players
  • Truly portable at only 26 pounds
  • True bang for buck! Awesome price for its features and functions
  • Still available in the market today
Cons
  • 192-count polyphony is great, but not as good compared to the P-255
  • Speaker system is unremarkable

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