Yamaha P71 Review 2021: Is It The Best Piano You Can Buy For Under $500?
With so many digital pianos out in the market, this review will help you determine if the Yamaha P71 is the perfect piano for you. This review will go through every aspect of the P71, both the good and the bad as well as any unique features it might have.
Being a well-known brand, many people flock to Yamaha for the quality of their manufactured products. However, does the P71 live up to the market’s expectations?
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Yamaha created the P (portable) series to stand on the same level as Casio’s famous Privia series. With pianos such as the Casio Privia PX-160, being affordable and yet feature-rich, Yamaha figured it could create something similar.
Essentially, the P45 was a very welcome replacement for the P35 as it came with much better features. These features include an increased polyphony, an added USB port, and high-quality samples that had both beginners and experienced pianists interested.
Additionally, the P71 is fairly well-known for its extremely affordable price. Beginners and experienced pianists alike are intrigued as to whether or not the Yamaha P71’s features far surpasses the price. With that being said, let us go through all of the features the Yamaha P71 has.
One of the factors we consider when buying an instrument is the aesthetic profile and form. Now, when I say looks I do not just mean the design of the whole thing. Sure, the red gleam of the Nord Stage 3 is eye-catching and interesting for audiences to look at. However, the design of a piano also includes the feel of the keys and press the buttons. This Yamaha P71 review looks into these aspects and more.
In terms of appearance, the P71 looks exactly the same as the P35. This is not necessarily a bad thing especially because the P71, like the P35, prides itself on portability.
It is perfect for anyone looking for an electric keyboard that can fit into smaller spaces. The portability of this keyboard is also ideal for musicians who need to move their pianos around. If you are attending music school and need a piano that you can easily carry with you, then the P71 will serve you well in this regard.
Despite this though, let us not forget the fact that the P71 is still very much a full-size 88-key keyboard. Long trips with this keyboard might not be the best for its durability. You might be able to mitigate the effects of long travels by getting a padded travel case.
There are not a lot of variations for the P71 when it comes to color finishes but the standard black still looks elegant.
What I do not like about the P71’s design is the glossy keytops instead of simulated ebony and ivory. This takes away the extra traction. If you happen to have sweaty hands, your fingers might slip when you’re playing and mess with your tempo and accuracy. Still, I would not say that this is entirely bad as most entry-level keyboards have the same quality when it comes to the keys. Aside from that, the finish of the black keys is matte which provides you with a bit more grip.
The finish of the keyboard is sleek and matte which, for me, is perfect because one of my pet peeves is seeing fingerprints on my keyboard. The matte finish prevents this from happening.
1.2 Feel & Sensitivity
Despite its portability, the Yamaha P71 is a fully-weighted hammer-action keyboard. This means that this keyboard can replicate a similar feel of playing on a concert grand piano. Of course, we have to keep in mind that an electric piano cannot completely replicate all the glory of a concert grand because of natural acoustics. However, the feel of the Yamaha P71 is pretty close!
This is because Yamaha used their most affordable, but top-tier quality hammer action called the Graded Hammer Standard (GHS). Yamaha’s GHS essentially means that instead of springs, which is most common in semi-weighted keyboards, the P71 is equipped with little hammers just like an acoustic piano. This also makes the P71 a touch-sensitive keyboard. The lower end of the keys is on the heavier side and the higher end lighter.
Additionally, you can adjust the touch settings to respond to how hard or soft you play. The default setting is Medium but you can adjust it to Soft, Hard, or Fixed. The Fixed option stabilizes the entire keyboard and allows you to produce the same volume when you press each key–no matter how hard or soft you play.
Looking at the controls, they remain pretty simple and straightforward, which is perfect for beginners and is a standard for entry-level electric keyboards.
Another huge thing we all consider when buying any instrument is, of course, the sound quality. Many of us are worried about the compromises made to make an instrument as affordable as it is. A great example is the Alesis Recital. It has a huge library and a fairly decent sound quality but not every single song in its library is unique and usable.
In this section, we will take a deeper look into the Yamaha P71’s sound performance. Let us look into its sound quality and decide together if the value of this piano is worth more than its price.
The Yamaha P71, unlike most electric keyboards, comes with a built-in speaker. This means you do not need to connect the P71 to an amplifier or speaker to start playing. This is perfect for beginners who do not have fancy sound systems set up yet.
For the P71, Yamaha uses its Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Dynamic Stereo Sampling to reproduce the grand piano sounds pre-installed in the device. Basically, this means that the piano voices included in the P71 are recorded from an actual concert grand piano in varying dynamic levels. This allows the P71 to reproduce accurate, clear sounds. As I mentioned previously, no matter how advanced the technology on the P71 seems, we still need to manage our expectations. A digital piano will not be able to fully capture the full sound of a concert grand due to natural acoustics.
Speaking of piano voices, if you are a musician who is looking for plenty of instruments and piano voices, then you might not like what the P71 has in store. It only has a few basic voices pre-installed. These might not be enough for people who are looking for a lot of variety but it is certainly more than enough to take lessons, practice, and play. We have to keep in mind that the P71 is generally marketed towards entry-level pianists which is why the voices included in it are basic but useful.
You get the following voices on the P71:
- 2 Types of Grand Piano Voices (Concert and Bright)
- 2 Types of Electric Piano Voices
- 2 Types of Pipe Organ Voices
- 2 Types of Harpsichord Voices
- A String Voice
- A Vibraphone Voice
Moving on to the Yamaha P71’s speakers, these 6W+6Wamp speakers come together as a pair and are installed on either side of the piano’s console, tactfully hidden between small slats. These speakers are loud enough to fill a small room with a few people but if you plan to perform with this electric piano, you will certainly need to plug it into an amp or external sound system.
Aside from that, the speakers on the P71 are of decent quality. On its own, the sound from the speakers is crisp and clear and does not get any distortion even at its maximum volume. With a pair of good quality headphones, it sounds even better!
Unlike its predecessor, the Yamaha P35, which has 32-notes for its polyphony, the Yamaha P71 has double the amount. This allows the P71 to create a fuller, richer, and deeper sound compared to the P35.
Equipped with 64-note polyphony, this electric piano, unlike the P35’s 32-note polyphony, can play most complex classical pieces without any cut-offs.
Another thing that we look into when purchasing instruments are the features that come with it. As a beginner, you are most likely looking for a piano with some lesson features to help you through your study. However, you probably also want something that has the right modes and a great handful of effects to add a little bit more character and fun to your playing.
Being considered a “beast under $500”, let us take an in-depth look into the unique features and modes of the P71.
Being an entry-level electric piano, the P71 does not have too many modes. However, it does cover enough basics that would satisfy beginners to intermediate level pianists.
The P71 has a Dual Mode that allows you to program and play two instruments on the keys at the same time. Say, you wanna play a concert grand piano voice and a harpsichord voice at the same time, this can be done with just a few button presses.
Aside from this, the P71 also has a Duo Mode which is extremely useful for anyone taking lessons or for someone who would like to play together with someone on the same keyboard. Essentially, the Duo Mode splits the keyboard sounds in two, giving each side an equal amount of octaves and the same tones. This makes it much easier to replicate a tutor’s exercises on the same piano.
Unfortunately, a Split Mode, which is fairly common in most digital pianos, is not available on the P71. Despite this, you still have enough play modes to serve its function as an entry-level beginner keyboard.
As you would expect with every single digital piano, the P71 does not need to be tuned. It is tuned with the standard A440 pitch.
However, this keyboard does come with a Fine-Tuning Function, which is extremely useful if you want to raise or lower the pitch of the entire keyboard by 0.2 Hz. This is perfect if you would like to play a complicated piece that needs to be played in a higher or lower octave or if you need to match a singer’s tone.
The P71 also comes with a Transpose Function that is extremely similar to the Fine-Tuning Function. The difference between the two is that you can change the tune of the piano one semitone above or below the standard. This is helpful if you are playing a piece that is higher than usual. You would not need to move your hand too far from middle C and will be able to play more comfortably.
One thing I do not like about the P71 is that it does not come with a built-in MIDI recorder as other digital keyboards do. I understand that this might be to lower the price and keep it affordable for beginners but it would have been an added function. Despite this, it does have connection options that allow you to hook it up to a computer or an external recording device. We will dive more into this later!
Another cool thing about the P71 is its Built-In Metronome. A metronome is extremely helpful for beginners as it helps them with developing their timing and rhythm. Having one installed on their practice keyboard is simply practical. Furthermore, you can change the tempo, beat, and volume of the built-in metronome to fit your needs.
Finally, if you are someone who wants to be able to save some money on the electricity bill, the P71 also has an Auto Power-Off Function which automatically turns the device off after some idle time. The P71 is programmed to shut down after 30-minutes of inactivity. If you find this bothersome, you also have the option to turn this function off.
The P71 does not lack in connectivity options! It has everything you need from USB ports to sustain pedal jacks. All found at the back of the piano.
At the back of the P71, instead of the usual MIDI port found on the P35, you get a USB Port Type B instead, which is a lot more versatile as more devices can be connected to the piano. With the USB Port, you can use the P71 as a MIDI controller by connecting it to your computer, although you will need to purchase an extra USB Type-A to B cord. Additionally, you can also use this port to connect it to a recording device if you would like to record yourself playing.
With this change on the P71, you now have more control over which music software to use such as GarageBand, FLIStudio, and many others. Personally, I think this makes the P71 even more versatile and functional.
The P71 also has a Headphone Jack for those who would like to practice without disturbing anyone. As I have said previously, plugging in a pair of good quality headphones into the P71 will make it sound even better than it already does! Although, one thing I do not like about the setup of the jack is that it is placed at the back of the piano. This means you will have to reach around to plug or unplug your headphones and you might need a longer cord. It would have been much better if the jack was placed on the side, or better yet, upfront. Despite this small inconvenience, the jack does what it is supposed to do.
Finally, the P71 comes with a Sustain Pedal Jack which allows you to plug a sustain pedal in for even more control over the sounds of your piano.
3.4 Sound Effects
As for sound effects, the P71 does not have much but what it does have is more than enough and is very well-executed.
The P71 comes with 4 Reverb Types:
- Hall 1
- Hall 2
These effects make the P71’s sounds even fuller and richer. Furthermore, you can fiddle with the depth of the sounds from 0 to a maximum of 10.
Other than these 4 effects, the P71 does not have anything else.
3.5 Amazon Exclusive
I mentioned somewhere above that the P71 is the exact same thing as the P45. It has the same functions, same features, same build, and same look. The only difference is that a P45 can be easily found in your local music stores. The P71 is an Amazon exclusive.
This means that you can only purchase it from Amazon (1).
The P71 comes with a set of accessories that is pretty standard with most digital pianos. It comes with a Music Rest, a Power Adapter, a Sustain Footswitch, and a User Manual.
You will notice that it does not come with a stand or a bag. Unfortunately, these are things that you will have to purchase separately.
Price is a huge factor when we buy an instrument or any product for that matter. Of course, we do not want to pay overly high for an instrument with the same features we can find on something much cheaper.
In this section, we will be comparing the P71 with several other electric pianos within its price range. We will be comparing each piano’s price and best features to see if the P71 is a bang for your buck.
As you can see here, compared to these other two, the Yamaha P71 is still at a higher price range. However, it is also evident that it is the only one with fully weighted keys with hammer action.
6.1 Unbiased Text Reviews
To help you decide whether or not the P71 is an ideal purchase for you, I have gathered several reviews all over the internet from people who have owned the P71 previously. Here is what they have to say:
According to a Reddit user from a thread asking if the P71 and the P45 are different and if it is any good (4).
This one is taken from a Reddit thread (5) where a Reddit User is explaining whether to get a Yamaha P71 or a Casio PX-160.
However, it is clear that some people still find the P71 a little bit lacking. This review is taken from a Reddit thread (6) where the user is talking about how their P71’s volume is too low.
Being an Amazon exclusive, I decided to include some reviews from its official Amazon page (7). Here’s what some of the users have to say about it:
6.2 Helpful Video Reviews
Additionally, here are some video reviews for a more in-depth look at the P71:
I am giving the Yamaha P71 4.5/5 stars.
For an entry-level digital piano with an affordable price, the P71 really breaks through expectations. It is a decent piano with plenty of useful, beginner-friendly features that many will surely enjoy.
The fact that this piano has authentic hammer action at its price is incredible to me. Not to mention the quality of its sound and the few but incredible voices included in it. While many might think that these effects and voices are far too few, I still stand by what I said that it is more than enough for beginners and even some intermediate players. This is impressive considering that the P71 is marketed towards entry-level beginners.
Additionally, despite its price being a little bit higher than some other digital piano brands, the build and durability of the P71 are beyond doubt.
I do wish that some features were installed or changed. Simple features like having the headphone jack at the front instead of at the back have no extra cost but are convenient for the user. However, these are all minor discrepancies that do not really take away from the experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
The difference between a Yamaha P71 and a Yamaha P45 is that the latter can be bought from any music store but the latter is only available on Amazon.
You get a music rest, a sustain footswitch, a user manual, and a power adaptor in the Yamaha P71 bundle.
The Yamaha P71 is suitable for entry-level beginners to intermediate piano players.
No, a Yamaha P71 cannot record samples. However, it does have a USB port which allows you to connect it to external recording devices.