Review: Yamaha P-125. 3 Years Ownership Review, Is It Still Worth Buying in 2021.
Updated: Feb 20
I acquired the Yamaha P-125 3 years ago. Since then, many new digital pianos have been released by competing brands with more features, functions and often with a lower price tag. In my opinion, this digital piano truly shines best when used with Yamaha’s very capable Smart Pianist mobile app.
Unfortunately, most owners I know do not bother to download the app and connect their iPad or smartphone to their P-125 which is really a shame. Earlier versions of the app gave users a bad experience. It was buggy, had connection issues, and didn’t offer many additional functionalities.
Yamaha has been constantly updating the app after listening to users’ feedback. The Smart Pianist app is now the best in the market. In fact, there are many features not physically available on the P-125 and these features can only be unlocked using the app. Without the Smart Pianist app, the P-125 is average. When used with the app, the P-125 becomes a supercharged powerhouse.
The Yamaha P-125 uses the GHS key action which is not the newest and shiniest action from Yamaha.
However, it has been time-tested and proven to be reliable. While there are 4 levels of touch settings, with the app, you can visually configure your own unique velocity curve.
This is a feature not seen in many other keyboards in this price range
For the extremely demanding pianist, you can even be your own piano technician and configure via the app the tuning and volume of each and every single key on the piano.
Voices and Sound Engine
With 24 sounds, the number of voices in the Yamaha P-125 may pale in comparison with the hundreds of voices found in other digital pianos.
However, the voices that matter, which are the default concert grand piano voice, electric piano, and organ voices, are above average. However, it would have been better if Yamaha offered 256 notes of polyphony on the piano.
Each and every one of the 24 voices on the P-125 is very usable, unlike some other brands where the piano voice is good but the remaining voices sound like they are from a 1980s keyboard. Selecting the voices from the panel is easy, however, there is no indication of what exact voice you are selecting without referring to the owner’s manual.
On the other hand, selecting and layering voices from the app is much easier and it is highly recommended it. As you can see the name of the voice you are selecting. You can easily layer and split the voices across the keyboard. Adjusting the volume mix of all the instrument parts is also extremely easy with the intuitive and visual volume mixer.
Applying reverb effects via the app is also highly visual and intuitive and If you prefer a comparable digital piano with a huge color LCD screen for selecting voices and using the features. Also, I have other recommendations as well if they do not suit your taste
Rhythm and Metronome
Practicing with a metronome is important to objectively play better. While you can set the metronome on the panel, it is more preferable to use the app.
With the app, you can get a visual indication of the tempo, time signature, and volume of the metronome.
While practicing with a metronome is boring. Yamaha has a solution to it. Yamaha included 20 rhythms encompassing popular genres for you to practice along with. Unlike the cheesy 1980s rhythm box drum beats found on competing keyboards, those on the P-125 sound better.
Once more, selecting the rhythm, setting the tempo and the volume as well as starting and stopping the rhythms is way easier with the app than on the panel of the instrument.
While 20 rhythms are nice, if you enjoy playing along with rhythms, you can find another digital piano with almost 300 rhythm accompaniments. At the same time, I have more recommendations for you to choose from.
The built-in audio interface on the P-125 is also extremely convenient for you to get digital audio directly to your computer for multi-track music production without the need to buy an additional external audio interface. The USB MIDI port is also useful for those who want to use this piano with music learning apps.
Smart Pianist App
Thankfully, the Smart Pianist app allows you to record an unlimited number of songs, not just as MIDI files but also as an audio file that you can quickly share on social media or on instant messaging.
The piano itself does not support the playback of audio backing tracks stored on a flash drive that pianos from other competing brands support. However, with the Smart Pianist app, you can playback any audio tracks on your smartphone and it will be played through the P-125’s built-in speakers.
For a digital piano that has the ability to layer and split multiple sounds, apply various effects and play along with rhythms, you would think there should be user registration memory slots on the keyboard. Unfortunately, there is no way you can save multiple sound setups on the piano itself.
Instead, the Smart Pianist app extends the functionality of the P-125 by allowing you to save an unlimited number of sound registration setups on your smartphone. One advantage of saving these registrations on your smartphone is you can easily load your favorite settings onto the P-125 whenever needed.
Without the highly capable and beautifully designed Smart Pianist app, the Yamaha P-125 is really just another boxy and ordinary-looking digital piano.
At the same time, if there was an LCD screen on the piano to achieve all the things the app can do without being tethered to a smartphone would be so much better.
The lack of wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth audio and wireless MIDI, also shows the Yamaha P-125’s age. For a portable keyboard, having the option of battery operation, either via AA batteries or a power bank, would be nice.
If Yamaha can make one jack 3.5mm and the other ¼”, we would have no trouble using whichever headphones we have without needing an adaptor.
I hope you found my review of the Yamaha P-125 useful. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest and most updated information and prices of Yamaha P-125. Do also take a look at my other articles to find the best and most suited instrument for your personal need. Also, check out my Piano App and beginner keyboard course available for you.