Yamaha P45 vs Donner DEP 20: Which Model Is the Better Option for Beginners?

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The Donner DEP-20 is considered by many people to be the best beginner’s piano out there. However, the Yamaha P-45 gets many of the same praises from a lot of experts in the piano world.

So, which is the better model?

In this Yamaha P45 vs Donner DEP 20 comparison, I actually found the Yamaha P-45 to be the winner. This might come as a surprise, since the Donner model has more tones, polyphony, and piano effects. Despite that, the tone quality, piano features, and overall quality and feel of the Yamaha P-45 made it beat out the Donner DEP-20, but by a very thin margin.

Both of these pianos are great options for beginners, and you can learn why I found the Yamaha P-45 to be the better option in this in-depth comparison and review.

Yamaha P45 vs Donner DEP 20: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano
The Runner-up (#2)
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
Model
Yamaha P45
Donner DEP-20
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer Action
Yamaha Graded Hammer System (GHS)
Progressive Hammer Action
Split Mode
Polyphony
64
128
Effects
Reverb
Chorus & Reverb
Layer Mode
Pedal
Single-pedal
Single-pedal
MIDI
Yes, USB
Number of voices
10
238
Display
None
None
AUX Out
Audio Recording
Headphone Input
1 x ⅛’’ TRS
1 x ⅛’’ TRS
Lesson Mode
Tone Generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
AWM Stereo Sampling
What I like
Price
$549.99
$438.29
The Winner (#1)
Image
Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano
Model
Yamaha P45
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Yamaha Graded Hammer System (GHS)
Split Mode
Polyphony
64
Effects
Reverb
Layer Mode
Pedal
Single-pedal
MIDI
Number of voices
10
Display
None
AUX Out
Audio Recording
Headphone Input
1 x ⅛’’ TRS
Lesson Mode
Tone Generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
What I like
Price
$549.99
More info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
Model
Donner DEP-20
Number of keys
88
Hammer Action
Progressive Hammer Action
Split Mode
Polyphony
128
Effects
Chorus & Reverb
Layer Mode
Pedal
Single-pedal
MIDI
Yes, USB
Number of voices
238
Display
None
AUX Out
Audio Recording
Headphone Input
1 x ⅛’’ TRS
Lesson Mode
Tone Generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
What I like
Price
$438.29
More info

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yamaha P45 vs Donner DEP 20: The Differences

To figure out the winner between the two, I had to compare all the different features. And in the end, the score was 3-2 in favor of the Yamaha P-45. While the Donner DEP-20 had more voices, effects, and polyphony, I found the tones and the feel on the Yamaha P-45 to be much higher quality, which is why it was ultimately the winner.

Feel

The winner: Yamaha P-45

The GHS system of Yamaha P45 makes it be the winner when it comes to hammer action
The GHS system of Yamaha P45 makes it be the winner when it comes to hammer action

Since these are both beginner’s pianos, I wasn’t expecting much when it came to feel. However, I was definitely surprised by how realistic these two options felt compared to an acoustic piano. With that said, the GHS system of Yamaha is hard to beat out when it comes to hammer action, which is why the Yamaha P-45 won out over the Donner DEP-20.

+ Hammer Action

The Yamaha P-45 is equipped with GHS (graded hammer system) hammer action, which is one of the primary features of many Yamaha digital pianos. This system is meant to replicate the subtle differences in hammer action of an acoustic piano. So, when you play the P-45, you will feel that the keys on the left side have significantly heavier hammer action that gets progressively lighter as you move to the higher keys. This is the same way an acoustic piano is set up, and there aren’t too many brands out there that can replicate this as well as Yamaha.

The Donner DEP-20 also has a sort of scaled hammer action with heavier left keys and lighter right keys. However, the realism of the DEP-20 is nowhere near the Yamaha P-45. With that said, the Donner DEP-20 is still a great option with realistic hammer action, just not as good as the action on the Yamaha P-45.

+ Key Texture

The key texture of both of these pianos honestly leaves a lot to be desired. Since they are on the more affordable side of the spectrum this is forgivable. However, it would have been very nice if the pianos featured textured keys to mimic the ebony and ivory keys of an acoustic piano. This isn’t the case. Instead, both of the pianos feature glossy plastic keys, which don’t make too much of a difference, but any experienced pianist will be able to tell that the keys are made out of plastic. This could have been fixed with a simple coating on the keys, but that is sadly missing on both models.

Tone

The winner: Tie

Both of these pianos use the same tone generation method
Both of these pianos use the same tone generation method

At first glance, it may seem like the Donner DEP-20 has a better tone than the Yamaha P-45 because of all the different voices it has. On top of that, both of these pianos use the same tone generation method. However, after testing out the different voices on the DEP-20, I found that they weren’t as high-quality as the ones on the Yamaha. When buying a beginner’s piano, quality is definitely better than quantity, which is why these two pianos are tied in terms of tone.

+ Tone Generation

Both of these pianos use the Yamaha AWM sampling method. This is one of the best ways to produce top quality voices through the standard sampling method. Instead of using low-quality samples with artificial and digital decay, both of the pianos use the best samples out there with completely natural decay. While this takes up more memory, both brands chose to give their pianos more storage capabilities so that they can play higher quality samples.

And to be honest, I found that the tones of the Yamaha P-45 sound better than the DEP-20 despite using the same tone engine. This may be because the piano was made by Yamaha, the better sound system, or my own personal taste. With that said, there are a bunch of pianists out there who agree with me on this, which is a clear testament to the quality and consistency of Yamaha pianos.

+ Sound Library

The Yamaha P-45 only has 10 different voices. While this may sound limiting, the library actually contains all the different instruments you’ll need, especially as a beginner. You have a variety of acoustic piano, electric piano, strings, bass, and even synth tones with the Yamaha P-45. This gives you a lot of versatility, and since all the tones are very high quality, you won’t be disappointed.

The Donner DEP-20 arguably has more variety than the Yamaha P-45 with over 238 different voices. Now, this may make it seem like the Donner DEP-20 is the superior option when it comes to tone. However, I was fairly let down while going through the different sounds on this instrument. While the piano and a couple of other voices were definitely top-quality, there were more than a handful that weren’t up to par. So, while you get more voices, they aren’t as high-quality as the Yamaha P-45, which is very important to consider when buying a digital piano.

Piano Features

The winner: Tie

These two models are definitely tied is in the extra piano features
These two models are definitely tied is in the extra piano features

Another area where I found that these two models are definitely tied is in the extra piano features. Both the Yamaha P-45 and the Donner DEP-20 come with a variety of different playing modes, a couple of effects, and other features that make them great options for any beginner. Both of the pianos come with their own set of benefits that would be ideal for different types of pianist, which is why I found these two options tied when it came to the piano features.

+ Polyphony

This is the one aspect where the Donner DEP-20 beat out the Yamaha P-45. One of the main complaints I had with the P-45 is its 64 note maximum polyphony. Now, this is still good enough for a beginner, but if you start playing pieces with dense chords that require the sustain pedal, you might start running into some problems. The polyphony also becomes a problem when trying out the different piano modes that use a variety of samples every time you press a key.

The Donner DEP-20, on the other hand, has 128-note maximum polyphony. This is twice as much as the P-45, and it allows you to play denser chords with more notes. Granted, if you’re a beginner, you won’t need 128 note polyphony, but it’s still a nice feature to have handy.

+ Playing Modes

Both of these pianos have a couple of different playing modes that have different benefits. The most notable of these modes is lesson mode. With this mode, you can divide the piano into two different zones with the same voice and tuning. This is a great feature for piano lessons, as the teacher can demonstrate a bunch of different music techniques the exact same way you should play it without having to use the student’s side of the piano. This feature also comes in handy if you’re playing piano duets, as you won’t need two separate pianos if you activate this mode.

The Donner DEP-20 model comes with split mode, which is another useful feature. This mode also divides the piano into different zones, this time with different voices. So, for example, you can have a drum kit on the left side to play grooves and a piano voice on the right to play melodies and chords. This gives the illusion of playing two instruments at the same time, which is very useful if you’re a performer.

The extra mode of the Yamaha P-45 is layering mode. With this mode, you can load two voices at the same time which you can blend together. This mode offers a way for pianists to achieve unique tones that they won’t get when using just one voice. 

+ Effects

 terms of effects, the Yamaha P-45 only comes with reverb
terms of effects, the Yamaha P-45 only comes with reverb

In terms of effects, the Yamaha P-45 only comes with reverb. However, this is really the only effect you’ll need as a beginner. With the different types of reverb on the P-45, you can add a lot of depth and texture to your tone, which allows you room for customizability. You can make it sound like you’re playing in a concert hall, auditorium, or any other venue by tweaking the reverb properly.

The Donner DEP-20 also has this feature, but it also has an additional chorus effect. As a beginner, you probably won’t use this effect too often. However, if you combine this effect with an electric piano voice or even a piano voice, you get a really unique sound that’s instantly recognizable.

Yamaha P45 vs Donner DEP 20: The Similarities

These pianos come with a lot of differences. However, they do share a couple of similarities as well. For example, these are two models specifically geared towards beginners. They are affordable, come with all the necessary features, and are some of the best entry-level digital pianos on the market today. On top of that, both of these pianos are affordable, which makes them great picks for anyone on a budget.

Since these pianos are designed to help beginners get used to playing a real piano, they also have graded hammer action. That way, playing these pianos will feel similar to pressing the keys on an acoustic piano, which is one of the most important features of any beginner’s piano.

And while they both have a bunch of different benefits, the Yamaha P-45 was the better option overall. With its better voice quality and more realistic feel, it would last any beginner pianist for a long while during their journey into music.

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha P45

Yamaha P45 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano
  • Includes the P45 Digital Piano, power adapter, sustain pedal and music rest
  • 88 fully weighted piano style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
  • GHS weighted action is heavier in the low end and lighter in the high end, just like an acoustic piano
  • Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos
  • Dual mode lets you combine 2 voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience. Tuning- 414.8 - 440.0 - 446.8 Hz

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Comes with top-quality Yamaha piano tones
  • Equipped with built-in reverb
  • Very realistic GHS hammer action
  • Comes with lesson and layering mode
  • Portable
Cons
  • Lacks a varied voice library
  • No MIDI connectivity

Quick Rundown of the Donner DEP 20

Sale
Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full Size Weighted Keyboard, Portable Electric Piano with Sustain Pedal, Power Supply
  • 🎹 【Full-Weighted 88 key keyboard】The digital electric piano is constructed by 88 full-sized hammer action keys with adjustable touch response. This 88-key weighted keyboard allows to adjust your desired playing style.
  • 🎹 【238 Tones & 128 Polyphony】 The 88-key weighted keyboard loaded with 238 types of tone like Ukulele, drum, bass, etc. vividly presenting voices of different instruments, arousing your keen to learn music. The digital electric piano with 128-note max polyphony, players could distinguish tone clearly in Chorus & Reverb under various occasions.
  • 🎹【Double Keyboard & Control Panel】This 88 key weighted keyboard provides dual-tone mode for combining two voices together, like piano and drum, inspiring to make a new creation. Panel includes sustain pedal, triangle pedal and audio inputs & outputs, perfectly used for music arrangement and an ensemble.Eludes sustain pedal, triangle pedal and audio inputs & outputs, perfectly used for music arrangement and an ensemble.
  • 🎹 【Multi-Media Settings】This digital piano features with a backlit LCD screen for clearly showing chords names and notation and adjusting wanted tones, recording mode-MIDI, MP3 Player and two 25W amplifiers, bringing you richer and better experience of practice and performance.
  • 🎹【Multi-Purpose 88 key keyboard】This streamlined 88-key piano is designed for rehearsing, learning and creating, practice or performance.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Portable and easy to move around
  • Has a massive sound library of 238 voices
  • Comes with MIDI connectivity
  • Built-in chorus and reverb effects
  • Has scaled hammer action keys
Cons
  • The hammer action could be much more realistic
  • The voices aren’t the highest quality

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