Yamaha YDP144 vs S34: Which Suits Your Style Better?

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Both from the Arius series, there are very few points of comparison in the Yamaha YDP144 vs S34 match up. The choice ultimately boils down to personal preference. 

The Arius series (also known as the YDP) from Yamaha is a favorite among novice and intermediate-level pianists mainly because of its great functionality and amazing affordability. Two of the most sought-after in this line are the YDP144 and the S34

The distinction is quite obvious at first glance: the former is bulkier and more traditional-looking just like an upright piano, while the latter is sleeker, boasting a more modern flair. But truth be told, there is almost nothing that differentiates the two when it comes to the sound or feel, especially when you take a peek under the hood. 

It’s hard to say which is the better pick in the Yamaha YDP144 vs S34 head-to-head because of their shared traits. I personally like the more compact feel of the latter, but do check out the specifics listed down below and maybe you can choose which you would favor.  

Yamaha YDP144 vs S34: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Yamaha YDP-S34 Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black Walnut
The Runner-Up (#2)
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Dark Rosewood
Model
Yamaha YDP S34
Yamaha YDP144
Number of Keys
88
88
Hammer Action
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer Standard)
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer System)
Tone Generation
Yamaha CFX
Yamaha CFX
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Polyphony
192
192
Number of Voices
10
10
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
-
-
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
Standard MIDI, 100KB per song
Standard MIDI, 100KB per song
Connectivity
USB to Host
USB to Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 12cm x 6cm speakers
Two 6W speakers
Line out
Pedal included
Three-pedal unit
Three-pedal unit
What I like
Price
$1,499.00
$1,149.99
The Winner (#1)
Image
Yamaha YDP-S34 Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black Walnut
Model
Yamaha YDP S34
Number of Keys
88
Hammer Action
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer Standard)
Tone Generation
Yamaha CFX
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Polyphony
192
Number of Voices
10
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
-
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
Standard MIDI, 100KB per song
Connectivity
USB to Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 12cm x 6cm speakers
Line out
Pedal included
Three-pedal unit
What I like
Price
$1,499.00
More info
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench, Dark Rosewood
Model
Yamaha YDP144
Number of Keys
88
Hammer Action
Yamaha GHS (Graded Hammer System)
Tone Generation
Yamaha CFX
Effects
Reverb (4 types), IAC, Stereophonic Optimizer, String and Damper Resonance
Polyphony
192
Number of Voices
10
Layering/Dual mode
Split Mode
-
Twin/Lesson Mode
Audio Recording
Standard MIDI, 100KB per song
Connectivity
USB to Host
Headphones
Standard stereo phone x 2
Speakers
Two 6W speakers
Line out
Pedal included
Three-pedal unit
What I like
Price
$1,149.99
More info

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

Yamaha YDP144 vs S34: Head to Head Comparison

There is very little to complain about Yamaha’s handiwork. Whether you’re a beginner or a well-trained pianist, you can pick out any digital or acoustic piano in their arsenal that suits your needs and be satisfied or impressed. 

That is definitely what you can expect from any of the models from the Arius or YDP series – the more affordable version of the much-loved Clavinova. If you’re looking for an upgrade but are on a budget, any of the six digital pianos in the Arius line would be an excellent option. But let’s focus on the Yamaha YDP 144 vs S34. 

As mentioned earlier, the two are fundamentally similar, from the sound engine and hammer action to the individual effects and playing modes. The main difference between these equally wonderful pieces is the facade. 

The YDP144 is wider (in depth), with a slanted top cover. Many complain that nothing can be placed on top of it because it would slide off. It also has the traditional upright piano appearance, great for those who prefer a more old-world style. The S34, on the other hand, is sleeker and more modern. The flat cover can be used as a top surface for anything – framed photos, notebooks, and other items. But more importantly, the simpler lines would fit any room aesthetic. 

It may not matter to some but I find that it does to me, hence my crowning of the Yamaha YDP S34 as the victor. It is quite unfortunate that it is currently discontinued in the brand’s website. Now, if the same goes for you, read on because I will be describing all these in detail.  

Feel and Playability

The Winner: Tie

Both the Yamaha YDP144 and the S34 are equipped with 88 textured plastic keys supported underneath by the GHS or Graded Hammer Standard, a satisfactory system that mimics the feel of an acoustic piano. 

I did wish that these two were outfitted with the more advanced GH3 key action, especially considering the two are over a thousand dollars each. But all in all, both are still good pieces for those looking for an upgrade.

As it has been summed perfectly well in the chart provided, the two are equally matched in this regard.

Yamaha YDP S34 has a dual mode
Yamaha YDP S34 has a dual mode

+Hammer Action

The Graded Hammer Standard essentially means that all 88 keys of the YDP144 and the S34 are fully weighted, with the left-most side of the digital piano having a heavier pull than the right-most side. Again, this is meant to emulate the realistic feel of the real deal – an acoustic grand. 

To be honest, it’s not much of a step-up from their entry-level P-series pieces but if you used to own non-weighted keyboards, playing either of the two would be a treat. 

+Touch Sensitivity

This feature is very much needed in high-quality digital pianos, particularly those aimed at intermediate-level players because this mimics the intensity of the sound on an acoustic depending on how hard it was hit. 

Like all Yamaha digital pianos, even the low-cost ones, the YDP144 and S34 comes with four pre-set touch sensitivity options: soft, medium, hard, and off. 

+Key Texture

If I had a main beef with the most models in the Arius series, it would have to be this particular facet. For its price range, the YDP144 or S34 should have something better than plastic keys. Sure, they’re textured so your fingers won’t slip when you’re playing but Yamaha could have done so much better, in my opinion. 

Tone

The Winner: Tie

In the same fashion as the chapter above, Yamaha YDP144 and the S34 have the very same features in this particular aspect. But while I am slightly underwhelmed by the feel and playability component, I am quite impressed by the sound engine used for the two.

+Tone Generator

Most of the digital pianos in the Arius series are actually upgrades (YDP143 to YDP144, YDP 163 to YDP164, and so on…) and the improvements they have made were focused on the tone generation.

The older variant used to have the Pure CF sound engine, but it was bested by some of its competitors like Roland’s SuperNATURAL sampling system. Now, the Arius is equipped with Yamaha’s jewel, the CFX concert grand. This is such a treat because only the pricier Clavinovas had this sound engine in the past. 

Yamaha YDP144 has realistic voices
Yamaha YDP144 has realistic voices

+Sound Library

The YDP144 and S34 have the same specs in this section. Each has 10 voices (3 acoustic pianos, jazz organ, and DX electric piano, to name a few), 10 voice demos, and 50 preset songs. 

Piano Functions and Features

The Winner: Tie

Despite the risk of sounding repetitive, it would have to be said in this section as well: there is no difference between the YDP144 and the S34 when it comes to their specific functions and features as well. 

+Polyphony

If you’re on a hunt for an upgrade and you are used to digital pianos with polyphonies of less than a hundred, both the YDP144 and the S34 with 194 would sound incredibly wonderful to you. Flex your fingers and get ready practicing your Chopin and Brahms pieces, whichever of the two you decide to get.

+Playing Modes

There are three specific playing modes that most musicians look for in digital pianos: Layering (capability to play two instruments at the same time), Split (bisecting the 88 keys into two sections and allowing the digital piano to play two instruments, and Twin (bisecting the 88 keys into two sections with the same voice and keys).

The two models presented here have Layering and Twin mode. Personally, the mode left out is not as desired as the other two so it wouldn’t be missed by many. It is good that the Twin function is still included. Beginners would agree because they might want to practice side by side with their tutors.   

Yamaha YDP S34: Playing modes
Yamaha YDP S34: Playing modes

+Effects

These additional features are must-haves in digital pianos so that musicians can get the feel of how it would sound in certain scenarios. The YDP144 and the S34 are equipped with 4 different kinds of reverb, string and damper resonance, stereophonic optimizer, and Intelligent Acoustic Control, among others. 

+Recording Capability

The two Yamahas can record one song and two tracks, with each having up to 100KB or approximately 11,000 notes.  

+Connectivity

The YDP144 and S34 aren’t the most technologically advanced with just the standard stereo phone jacks and USB to host connectivities. But to be fair, state-of-the-art tech isn’t something expected of the Arius series. By the mere looks of it, these are meant to be played in the comforts of the home. 

+Speaker System

If there is another thing which really disappointed me about the YDP144 and the S34, it’s the amplification. With only two 12cm x 6cm speakers and two 8W amplifiers, the two can really just be enjoyed in small spaces for recreational playing and practice. 

+Accessories

The unit comes with a three-pedal system and the cabinet it is housed in. Some stores throw in a matching bench but don’t always expect that to be a freebie. 

Yamaha YDP144 vs S34: The Similarities

As reiterated numerous times in this article, it would be very hard to choose a clear winner in the Yamaha YDP144 vs S34 competition because the two are practically the same. Even the pre-recorded songs are similar. If you simply browsed through the detailed descriptions above, this would be very apparent in the outline of the pros and cons of each model below. 

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP144

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

Pros
  • 192-count polyphony is impressive
  • Graded Hammer Standard mimics the feel of an acoustic piano
  • CFX sound engine is top of the line
  • Great for beginners, perfect for intermediate-level players
  • Comes in three different colors: Black, Rosewood, and White
Cons
  • Although textured, white keys still feel rubbish
  • Sound system is not too impressive

Quick Rundown of the Yamaha YDP S34

Yamaha YDP-S34 Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano, Black Walnut
  • The Arius YDP-S34 digital piano helps you express that creativity through a stylish, compact design that brings elegance to any room
  • Features the sound of the flagship Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, and renowned GHS keyboard action, bringing the most important elements of a piano together - touch and tone
  • GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano
  • String Resonance recreates the sympathetic sounds of other strings resonating, just like the behavior of acoustic pianos.
  • Acoustic Optimizer physically adjusts the acoustic flow by using a special design and position within the instrument to control resonance and enrich the overall sound.

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

Pros
  • Superior polyphony count at 192
  • Reproduced the feel of an acoustic piano with the Graded Hammer Standard
  • CFX sound engine is top of the line
  • Great for beginners, perfect for intermediate-level players
  • Numerous color options: Black, Rosewood, and White
  • Sleeker, more modern style
Cons
  • Keys may be textured but aren’t good enough for its price
  • Sound system is slightly substandard
  • Yamaha recently discontinued the product

Product Video

References:

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