Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54: What’s the Difference?

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Learn the differences between these two pianos and which one is the better option in this Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54 review.

The YDP-144 and YDP-S54 are great Yamaha digital pianos. And at first glance, they might even seem identical.

But what’s the difference between these pianos, and which one is better?

Well, the main difference between these pianos is the fact that the YDP-S54 comes with GH3 action. This is a premium hammer action system that’s reserved for some of Yamaha’s best pianos, and it’s the only reason I think the YDP-S54 is better than the YDP-144.

In fact, if it weren’t for the hammer action system, I would say these two pianos are tied as they share a lot of primary features. And if you’re looking to figure out the best pick for your needs, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, I’m conducting an in-depth Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54 comparison, where I talk about all the main features and differences between these two pianos. So, by the end, you’ll knwo exactly which one to buy for your home, studio, or performance venue!

Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Yamaha YDPS54B Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black
The Runner-Up (#2)
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Dark Rosewood
Model
Yamaha YDP-S54
Yamaha YDP-144
Product line
YDP
YDP or Arius
Product type
Console Digital Piano
Digital Piano
Number of keys
88
88
Hammer action
GH3
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer System)
Split mode
Polyphony
192
192
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Duo mode
Pedal
Number of voices
10
10
Auto recording
Tone generation
Yamaha CFX
Yamaha CFX
What I like
Price
$1,599.99
$1,379.99
The Winner (#1)
Image
Yamaha YDPS54B Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black
Model
Yamaha YDP-S54
Product line
YDP
Product type
Console Digital Piano
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
GH3
Split mode
Polyphony
192
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Duo mode
Pedal
Number of voices
10
Auto recording
Tone generation
Yamaha CFX
What I like
Price
$1,599.99
More infor
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Dark Rosewood
Model
Yamaha YDP-144
Product line
YDP or Arius
Product type
Digital Piano
Number of keys
88
Hammer action
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer System)
Split mode
Polyphony
192
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Duo mode
Pedal
Number of voices
10
Auto recording
Tone generation
Yamaha CFX
What I like
Price
$1,379.99
More infor

Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54: A Head-to-Head Comparison

There are three qualities I believe are the most important considerations when buying a digital piano. This is the piano’s tone, feel, and polyphony. While these aren’t the only features of the piano, it does give you a good idea of the piano’s functions and capabilities.

So, I compared the YDP-144 and YDP-S54 based on these comparison points. And when all was said and done, the YDP-S54 won with a score of 3-2. It was a really tight comparison, mostly because the YDP-144 and YDP-S54 share many of the same qualities.

But since the YDP-S54 had better hammer action and a more realistic key texture, it edged out a narrow win. Keep reading to learn the details of this digital piano comparison.

Tone

The winner: Tie

Yamaha YDP-S54 features the sound of the flagship Yamaha CFX concert grand piano
Yamaha YDP-S54 features the sound of the flagship Yamaha CFX concert grand piano

Whenever you buy a digital piano, the first feature you should check out is the tone. At the end of the day, the most important feature of a digital piano is how it sounds. And between the YDP-144 and YDP-S54, there was no clear winner.

This is because these pianos share the same tone generator and tone library. Luckily, these pianos use one of Yamaha’s best tone engines and come with all the voices you need from a digital piano. So, both of these pianos came out of this category with a point.

+Tone Generation

My favorite feature of these pianos is that they come with Yamaha’s CFX sound engine. This is one of the newest options from Yamaha, and it’s considered an improved version of the Pure CF Sound Engine.

Like its predecessor, the CFX sound engine is built around samples of Yamaha CF Grand Pianos. This engine produces exquisite piano tones that are really bright and modern. And in my experience, this is about the closest you can get to an acoustic piano sound in this price range.

The best part about this tone engine is that all the sounds are built around real instruments. This is what gives the YDP-S54 and YDP-144 realistic character that is instantly recognizable. So, if you’re particular about how a piano sounds, rest assured that the YDP-144 and YDP-S54 offer some of the best tones in their price range.

Yamaha YDP-144 is great for beginners
Yamaha YDP-144 is great for beginners

+Sound Library

You don’t get the largest or most versatile sound library with these pianos. Since the YDP-S54 and YDP-144 are part of the Arius series of digital console pianos, you shouldn’t expect a large tone set. Instead, you’ll find a smaller sound library comprised of very high-quality tones that are very realistic.

Both of these pianos come with 10 voices. This isn’t a lot, but it covers all the basic voices you might need as a pianist. For example, you have a selection of piano voices, from grand piano to electric piano sounds. On top of that, you can use strings, organ, and harpsichord voices which allow you to play many musical styles.

Again, you don’t get the widest range of voices with either piano, but you do get all the essentials, allowing you to play classical music, jazz, pop, and any other genre you can imagine. And since these pianos are built to stay in one place anyway, you don’t necessarily need all the different voices on an arranger piano or digital keyboard.

Feel

The winner: Yamaha YDP-S54

Another important aspect for me when I was conducting this comparison was the way the piano felt. And this was the major difference between the YDP-S54 and the YDP-144. The YDP S54 has a superior hammer action system and more realistic key texture. This is what puts it one step above the YDP-114 and the reason it won the entire comparison.

+Hammer Action

Yamaha YDP-S54 has a great hammer action
Yamaha YDP-S54 has a great hammer action

Let me start by saying that the Yamaha YDP-144 has great hammer action and key texture for the price. It has the Yamaha GHS or Graded Hammer Standard. This is a hammer action system that captures the subtle weight differences between the lower and higher keys on an acoustic piano. And in this price range, you won’t find hammer action systems that can beat the GHS.

That said, the YDP-S54 is a bit more expensive, and that’s because it comes with GH3, the next step above GHS in Yamaha’s hammer action tier.

The major difference between GH3 and GHS is that GH3 keys offer better and more realistic spring back. This means that the keys will bounce back a bit smoother and faster, akin to how the keys bounce on a premium acoustic piano.

On top of that, the GH3 keys have a synthetic ebony and ivory coating. This means that the piano keys really resemble the way an acoustic piano feels. If you’re looking for a digital piano that looks, feels, and sounds like an acoustic piano, the YDP-S54 is a great option.

The YDP-144 only comes with a basic matte coating on the black keys. This gives you a slight textural difference between the white and black keys, but it’s far from as realistic as what you get when you play the YDP-S54.

Polyphony

The winner: Tie

I’m serious when I say that the only difference between the YDP-144 and the YDP-S54 is the hammer action. Every other aspect of these pianos is the same, including the polyphony.

Both of these pianos come with 192-note polyphony. This is about as good as it gets in this price range. With this high polyphony, you can play just about any piece on the piano. Pianos with high polyphony like this allow you to play much more expressively and have notes ring out for much longer.

On top of that, the high polyphony allows you to utilize the dual and split modes of these pianos fully. Since these pianos have high polyphony, you can blend different voices and tones together, and rest assured that the piano can handle all these simultaneous notes.

Digital piano Yamaha Arius YDP-144
Digital piano Yamaha Arius YDP-144

Yamaha YDP-144 vs YDP-S54: The Similarities

Aside from the hammer action system, these pianos are identical. Granted, the YDP-S54 has a flipping key cover, while the YDP-144 has a sliding key cover. But when you look at the details of the piano and how they work, they are basically the same.

For example, these pianos share the same tone library and tone engine. That’s why if you’re doing a blind ear test, it can be hard to hear the difference between the YDP-144 and the YDP-S54.

On top of that, these pianos come with the same playing modes and polyphony. This allows you to use the piano for duets, experiment with different sounds, and even playing two instruments at once. While they don’t offer the widest set of tones and functions, they offer all that you need from a console digital piano.

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP-144

Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Dark Rosewood
  • 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 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • GHS hammer action
  • 192-note polyphony
  • CFX sound engine
  • Comes with a basic set of tones
  • Great value for the money
Cons
  • Very limited sound library
  • Hammer action could be better

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP-S54

Yamaha YDPS54B Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black
  • Slim 88-Key Weighted Digital Piano with Stand and 3-Pedal Unit (bench sold separately)
  • 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.
  • CFX Stereo Sampling faithfully reproduces the sound of Yamaha's flagship CFX Full Concert Grand
  • Half-damper pedal control allows for continuously increasing amounts of sustain as the pedal is depressed
  • The Smart Pianist app not only gives you full control over your piano's major functions, but also analyzes your favorite songs right out of your music library using chord tracker technology

Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • GH3 hammer action
  • CFX sound engine
  • Decent sound library
  • 192-note polyphony
  • Split, dual, and duo modes
Cons
  • Limited sound library

Product Video

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