The Yamaha YDP-103 is one of the most economical console keyboards available in the market nowadays. It can be considered as Yamaha’s humblest console piano. You don’t hear as much talking about it as about its higher versions: the YDP-143 and the YDP-163. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks good features and advantages.
Ok, the YDP-103 is a really basic model lacking interesting functions that could compete with those advanced models. Actually, it looks like the brand took a shortcut and made a console version of the P-45 by giving it a cabinet.
But it is just what you need if you want a real-looking piano for your living room for less than $1000. Now we are going to make a thorough review in order to help you make a conscious buying decision.
Bottom Line for Hasty People
The YDP-103 has almost the same functions and characteristics as the portable P-45. In general terms, it is an ideal keyboard for beginners that could also fit perfectly as a recreation instrument.
But let’s be honest, this model has many limitations that will be a hindrance for mid-level or advanced pianists.
Like its higher versions, it barely comes with 10 tones. But the 143 and the 164 make it up for their simplicity by adding the Start-Up Lesson system, MIDI recording mode, split function, and a lot of cool features. The 103 lacks all of them.
Yamaha applies its mot primary sound system and hammer action on this model too. Again, these are quite right for the truly affordable price it has. But still, they lack the consistence and realism that more seasoned users would expect from a keyboard.
In the end, we recommend you make your mind for it under one only condition, which would be that you like the P-45 and you want it in a more piano-looking version.
As we already said, this piano has a very simple layout. But it still has to be assembled like all console keyboards. Anyway, the assembly isn’t hard at all. It should take you less than half an hour.
Make sure, anyway, that you will set up the base first, and then you will adjust the keyboard to it.
As you can imagine, this instrument is kind of heavy. The piano itself weighs around 82Lbs. Inside the box, it must be weighing about 100Lbs. If you want to set it up by yourself, go ahead. But a wiser decision would be to have some help.
Yamaha YDP103R Arius Digital Console Piano
In terms of solidity, this keyboard is like a rock. We wouldn’t expect less from a Yamaha product. This is luckily not the exception. Though it is not made of actual wood, it has a realistic dark rosewood finish. It really looks and feels good.
Then, even if it is the least model of the Arius line, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap nor look cheap. It is actually a very strong and efficient product.
It even adds a sliding key coat that prevents the keyboard from dirt and dust.
At last, let’s look at the color: It only comes in dark rosewood. So, there is no black finish version. Of course, many users would prefer a black finished piano, but come on, it’s healthy to try new things.
If it actually matters to you, think that the dark rosewood will look nearly black from a certain distance. So, this shouldn’t make you give up on this piano.
Easy Controls and Settings
In this case, Yamaha kept the controls very simple, unlike the YDP-143 with its complicated user interface.
Actually, on the YPD-103 there are only two buttons and one volume knob. To get to every trait and function of this model, you must make some button-key combinations. For example, you need to keep pressing a function button and the respective key at the same time.
It is not that handy, ok, but it is not an exclusive characteristic from the YDP-103.
Yamaha YDP103R Arius – Another Standard Keyboard
The keyboard seen on the YDP-103 is similar to other Yamaha’s portable digital pianos for beginners like the P-115 and the P-255. They also have the Graded Hanner Standard action or GHS.
For a beginner keyboard this action works pretty well. It provides enough action and feels quite authentic to the touch. Anyway, the GHS is yet the cheapest action made by the brand. And we saw lots of pianos at similar prices that beat the GHS hands tied.
A great sample is the Casio’s Tri-Sensor Hammer Action II, which is made by the brand that allegedly makes toy pianos. It is only our point of view. To each craftsman his tool.
But the keys are graded after all, so they will feel heavier on the lower notes and lighter on the high end.
And they are also touch sensitive, so the volume of the sound emitted by the keyboard will vary depending on how hard or soft you press the keys. And you can even adjust the touch response at ease because the sensitivity is modulable.
The keyboard has three response levels that are soft, hard, medium, and fixed. Turning it to “fixed” you will get the same volume no matter how hard you hit the keys. In the case of “soft”, the piano varies the volume according to the intensity of your playing but just delicately.
And if you want it to have a more pronounced variation on the key response, you can turn it to “hard”.
When it comes to the touch of the keys, they don’t feel like ivory and ebony. They are plastic and feel like plastic. But there is a good detail Yamaha added: a matte finish on the black keys. That’s not bad.
Sound quality: good but not the best.
Yamaha applies three sound systems on its keyboards which are the AWM Stereo Sampling, the Pure FC, and the CFX Sampling systems (listed from the lowest to the highest quality).
The higher models from the YDP series use the Pure CF system. But the YDP-103 has the most basic from the sound systems made by the brand, which is the AWM Stereo Sampling.
Well, this system won’t give you the sound quality the Pure FC and the CFX do, but it is not that bad either.
The samples for the YDP-103 were captured from a real grand piano. And they were captured at different speeds in order to give the instrument a broad range of tonalities.
Ok, let’s talk about the inbuilt voices. We must say this is another feature that let us down. With only 10 voices, this piano doesn’t outdo the older versions. This makes the instrument a bit lame for most users.
However, these are the voices:
The Concert Grand voice is kind of warm just as the sound of a Yamaha piano. The Bright Grand is much shinier and sharper. That’s a sound you will cherish if you are part of a band.
- Two Grand Pianos: Bright and Concert
- Two Pipe Organs
- Two Electric pianos
- Two Harpsichords
- One Vibraphone
- One String Ensemble
- It has a simple and formidable structure.
- Comes with a three-pedal kit.
- There is a bench included in the box.
- Full-sized 88 weighted-key keyboard with graded hammer action.
- The Grand Piano voices sound pretty authentic.
- Has a USB port.
- Very affordable price.
- Doesn’t have split function.
- Doesn’t have recording function.
- Not many instrument voices available.
- It would have been great if they included a lesson system.