Yamaha YDP-103 Vs 144: A Battle Of Two Arius Models

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Find out which Yamaha Arius model is the best option in this Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144 reviews.

In the world of console digital pianos, the Yamaha Arius collection is by far one of my favorites. This product line contains top-quality digital pianos that are relatively affordable. And two particular pianos that stand out are the Yamaha YDP-103 and the Yamaha YDP-144.

That’s why I decided to create this Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144 review. The YDP-144 is the more  expensive model, and with that came a bunch of additional features.

To be honest, the differences between these two pianos are few and far between. While the YDP-144 does come with more features, it is a bit more expensive, and these features may not exactly be that necessary for beginners.

With that said, I found that the Yamaha YDP-144 won out at the end of the day, but only by a little bit. Keep reading to find out how the budget-friendly YDP-103 held up against the more expensive YDP-144.

Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Yamaha YDP144B Arius Series Digital Console Piano with Bench, Black
The Runner-Up (#2)
Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Black Walnut
Model
Yamaha YDP-144
Yamaha YDP-103
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer action
Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
Split mode
Polyphony
192
64
Effects
4 x Reverb
Reverb
Amplifier
2 x 4.7"
Two 6W Amplifiers
Pedal
Three-pedal unit
Three-pedal unit
MIDI
No
USB
Number of voices
10
10
Display
None
None
Weight
83.3 lbs
82.86 lbs
Audio recording
Yes, 2-track
No
Headphone input
2 x ¼’’ TRS
Yes
Lesson mode
Tone generation
Yamaha CFX Sampling
AWM Stereo Sampling
What I like
Price
$1,016.55
$999.99
The Winner (#1)
Image
Yamaha YDP144B Arius Series Digital Console Piano with Bench, Black
Model
Yamaha YDP-144
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
Split mode
Polyphony
192
Effects
4 x Reverb
Amplifier
2 x 4.7"
Pedal
Three-pedal unit
MIDI
No
Number of voices
10
Display
None
Weight
83.3 lbs
Audio recording
Yes, 2-track
Headphone input
2 x ¼’’ TRS
Lesson mode
Tone generation
Yamaha CFX Sampling
What I like
Price
$1,016.55
More info
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Black Walnut
Model
Yamaha YDP-103
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
Split mode
Polyphony
64
Effects
Reverb
Amplifier
Two 6W Amplifiers
Pedal
Three-pedal unit
MIDI
USB
Number of voices
10
Display
None
Weight
82.86 lbs
Audio recording
No
Headphone input
Yes
Lesson mode
Tone generation
AWM Stereo Sampling
What I like
Price
$999.99
More info

Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144: The Features

To figure out the winner in this comparison, I decided to compare the features. And to my surprise, the Yamaha YDP-103 was tied in almost every aspect of the comparison. But at the end of the day, the Yamaha YDP-144 does have a significantly better tone, which is why it won out with a final score of 3-2.

Tone

The winner: Yamaha YDP-144

If you give both of these pianos a spin, you’ll find that they have an almost identical sound library. However, when testing them out, I found that the Yamaha YDP-144’s tone generator was superior to the YDP-103, which is why the YDP-144 won the point in this category.

+Tone Generation

Both of these pianos use samples to generate tones. However, the exact tone engines they use are a bit different. The Yamaha YDP-103 uses the AWM Stereo Sampling method. This method contains multi-layered samples designed to replicate the sound of real acoustic instruments.

When crafting this piano, Yamaha made sure to load it with additional memory. That way, the piano can handle more detailed samples that will beat out a lot of other options in this price range.

However, while the AWM Sampling method produces great tones, it can’t compare to Yamaha’s CFX Sampling, which you can find on the YDP-144. The piano tones on this instrument come directly from the Yamaha CF concert grand pianos, some of the most coveted models on the market.

So, when it comes to realistic piano tones, the YDP-144 is the better option. But if you’re a beginner or novice piano player, the YDP-103 can still produce great piano tones that exceed the expectations of its price range.

Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144: The different
Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144: The Different

+Sound Library

When it comes to the sound library, both of these pianos are identical. With digital console pianos, the focus is on quality over quantity. So, you won’t be able to find as wide of a voice range as you can with a digital keyboard.

With that said, both pianos come with a 10-voice sound library. The sound library covers all the essential tones you’ll need as a pianist. This includes a variety of acoustic piano and electric piano voices, some strings voices, and even bass voices for when you’re playing with a band.

Both of these pianos offer a fair amount of versatility. But since the Yamaha YDP-144 is the more expensive option, it would have been nice for it to include a wider sound library.

Feel & Playability

The winner: Tie

Both of these pianos feature the same hammer action system and the same type of keys. Because of this, they feel identical. So, when comparing the feel of both pianos, I couldn’t pick a winner between the two.

+Hammer Action

Both of these pianos use the Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard. In this price range, you won’t find a much better hammer action system. While other brands try to get the same weight as an acoustic piano, none of them really do it as well as Yamaha with their GHS system.

This Hammer Action system is specifically designed to replicate the feel of an acoustic piano. So, that means the lower keys will be significantly heavier than the higher keys. This results in a very realistic feel, making it ideal for people who are used to acoustic pianos.

On top of that, if you’re a beginner, practicing on a digital piano with realistic hammer action is essential. That way, you won’t have to worry about having to make major adjustments to your playing style when you move to acoustic pianos.

With that said, it would have been nice if the YDP-144 featured the Graded Hammer 3 (GH3). This is Yamaha’s most sophisticated hammer action system, able to deliver a more realistic springback that you’d expect from premium pianos.

So, in terms of value of the money, you might be getting a better bang for your buck with the Yamaha YDP-103.

Yamaha YDP-103 is suitable for learning as well as long term play
Yamaha YDP-103 is suitable for learning as well as long term play

+Key Texture

When it came down to the key texture of the pianos, I could barely tell them apart. This is because they have a subtle coating designed to replicate the feel of real ebony and ivory keys. This is a great feature, since most digital pianos usually just have either plastic or wooden keys.

Wooden keys are by far the best option, but considering how much they add to the piano’s price and maintenance, you might be better off with plastic keys. Both of these pianos feature plastic keys with a textured coating. While they do feel more realistic than glossy plastic keys, they still don’t feel identical to wooden keys.

Piano Features

The winner: Tie

Another area where these two pianos were tied are the piano features. Both models feature the same playing modes and effects. This is kind of a let-down considering the YDP-144 is the more expensive model, but all of these extra features are incredibly useful nonetheless.

+Playing Modes

Both of these pianos come with lesson mode and dual mode. With lesson mode, you can divide the piano into two mini-keyboards. That way, the teacher and student can play along together without having to cross over to the other side. And with dual mode, you can blend two different voices together to produce a unique voice that you can customize.

These are some of the most useful playing modes that any pianist would greatly enjoy. But since the Yamaha YDP-144 is the more expensive model, it comes with one additional playing mode. This is split mode, which allows you to load two different voices at the same time.

This is a great feature for experienced and performing pianists as it can give off the illusion that you’re playing two instruments at a time.

+Effects

In terms of effects, both of these pianos are largely lacking in my opinion. In this price range, you can usually find reverb, chorus, DSP, and even brilliance effects. However, with these Yamaha pianos, all you get is reverb.

Granted, if you’re a beginner or even an experienced pianist, reverb is the only effect that’s absolutely essential in getting a rich tone. However, it still would have been nice if these pianos offered a bit more versatility.

Yamaha YDP-103 vs 144: The Similarities

Yamaha YDP-103 Vs 144: They have a fair amount of similarities
Yamaha YDP-103 Vs 144: They have a fair amount of similarities

These pianos come from the same brand and product line. Naturally, they will share a fair amount of similarities. We’ve already mentioned that these pianos share the same hammer action system and key texture. That means if all you need is a realistic feel, you might be better off saving some money with the YDP-103.

Additionally, both pianos have the same sound library. While the YDP-144 definitely has richer and more realistic tones, the types of voices on both pianos are about the same. These similarities go all the way down to the types of effects on the piano.

At the end of the day, the Yamaha YDP-144 won out, but only by a very slight margin. So, if  you’re shopping on a budget, then the  Yamaha YDP-103 can serve you just as well, the only  catch is the tones won’t be as rich.

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP-103

Yamaha YDP103 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Black Walnut
  • Your purchase includes One Yamaha Arius Series, YDP103 model | Bench, Owner’s manual & Quick Operation Guide
  • Piano dimensions – 53-7/16” W x 32-1/16” H x 16-5/8” | Weight – 82 lbs. | Number of pedals – 3 | Max polyphony – 64 | Number of voices – 10 | Headphones – (2) Standard Stereo phone jack | No recording nor playback capabilities
  • GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano
  • The special matte black key tops are designed to absorb moisture and remain tactile after extended use without becoming slippery
  • The controller app for iOS devices adds a rich graphical user interface, allowing for quick and easy navigation and configuration

Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • A great digital piano on a budget
  • AWM Stereo Sampling
  • Comes with a three-pedal unit
  • Coated keys provide more realism
  • Comes with built-in reverb
Cons
  • Doesn’t have split mode
  • Limited range of effects

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP-144

Sale
Yamaha YDP144B Arius Series Digital Console Piano with Bench, Black
  • Your purchase includes One Yamaha Arius Series, YDP144 model | Bench, 50 Classical Music Masterpieces Book, Owner’s manual & Quick Operation Guide
  • Piano dimensions – 53-7/16” W x 32-1/16” H x 16-5/8” | Weight – 83 lbs. | Number of pedals – 3 | Max polyphony – 192 | Number of voices – 10 | Headphones – (2) Standard Stereo phone jack | With Recording and Playback capabilities
  • GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano
  • Half-damper pedal control allows for continuously increasing amounts of sustain as the pedal is depressed
  • The CFX Premium Grand Piano Voice recreates the power and tone of the flagship CFX concert grand piano from Yamaha

Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Features the Yamaha CFX Sampling tone generator
  • Great feel and key texture
  • Has a built-in recording function
  • App integration
  • Features MIDI connection, dual mode, and a great sound system
Cons
  • Relatively limited sound library
  • Doesn’t have a chorus effect

Product Videos

Related Articles to Yamaha Ydp 103

  1. Yamaha P45 vs YDP 103: Should You Get a Portable or Console Digital Piano?

Related Articles to Yamaha Ydp 144

  1. Yamaha YDP-143 Vs 144: Is The YDP-144 A Worthy Upgrade?
  2. Casio PX-870 Vs Yamaha YDP-144: Which Is The Better Console Digital Piano?
  3. Casio PX-770 vs Yamaha YDP-144: Which Is The Better Digital Piano?

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