Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hands-On Product Review: Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano

Hands-On Product Review: Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano
Digital skin, acoustic soul
By William Land
Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano

It’s an age-old dilemma. You want something. Unfortunately that something you want does not fit within your budget or the physical confines of your life. When you were young, it was a pony or a motocross bike or a full Marshall stack for your garage band. Man, you were an active kid. Now that you’re older, it’s an Olympic-size swimming pool or a Harley or perhaps a full-size grand piano for the family room. I won’t be able to help you with the swimming pool or the motorcycle today, but for those who’ve been pining for their own piano, you’re in the right spot.

The Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano is made for those musicians who want full grand piano sound and feel, but don’t have the space or budget for one. It delivers superb piano sound and play in a compact package stylish enough to fit into any decor. With its premium tones, convincing acoustic-like touch, and walnut-finished cabinet with sliding key cover, it’s an affordable part of Yamaha’s legacy of piano excellence.
Acoustic origins

Yamaha’s legacy of creating exceptional pianos goes back over 100 years to the time the company first began crafting grand pianos in its Japan workshop. They worked hard to master the art of piano building and it has paid off. Some of the most renowned grands in the world bear the Yamaha name. And whether the piano is digital or acoustic, the same quality and care goes into them. So you get the full advantage of a century of expertise and craftsmanship with the YDP-213.

It all starts with the sound, and that’s where Yamaha’s engineers begin. They take one of Yamaha’s grand pianos and sample every note at various velocities and different levels of sustain using state-of-the-art recording equipment to perfectly capture the sound. Those sounds are then carefully converted to digital form and stored in the Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) sound engine, the heart of the YDP-213. But the AWM engine does more than simply play back recorded sounds. Its innovative technology responds to your touch and playing dynamics to give you responsive, inherently musical tones that inspire you.

The most-used sound on any digital piano is the grand piano. The YDP-213 gives you a choice of two grand sounds—Grand 1 and Grand 2—and both of them have recently been updated. Yamaha accurately captured the rich, musical voice of one of their full-size concert grands with special techniques that deliver a strong, clear sound. So when you play you hear the same rich sound concert pianists from Carnegie Hall to Davies Symphony Hall hear.
Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano
Yamaha YDP-213 Digital Piano
Touch and feel

The sound isn’t the only thing about the YDP-213 that’s convincingly true to the original. The feel of the keys is also topnotch. The keyboard uses Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard mechanism to provide expressive touch sensitivity and weight the keys like an acoustic grand. The GHS keys have a heavier feel in the lower register and gradually become lighter as you play up into higher notes. The touch can also be adjusted to the preference of the individual player. Those who have a heavier attack will likely favor the Hard setting while beginners and other light players will appreciate the easy feel of the Soft setting. No matter which setting you use, the touch is as natural as the real thing.
Easy to own

Just like Yamaha’s standard acoustic grand pianos, the YDP-213 also has a sliding key cover; music stand; and damper, soft, and sostenuto pedals. The top of the console features a lustrous walnut finish while the ends are a satin black. Together the combination is attractive and classy. The entire full-size cabinet is lightweight too, so you can move it without enlisting a piano service or your friends and neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, you’ll never have to worry about making yours angry while you’re practicing. The YDP-213 has a volume control for the integrated stereo speaker system and it also provides two headphone jacks—one for you and one for a friend or instructor—so you can plug in and play silently.

Another big benefit of the YDP-213 is there’s no upkeep involved. With an acoustic piano, especially a full-size grand, you constantly have to pay attention to environmental issues. Rapidly fluctuating temperatures and changing relative humidity can cause damage to the soundboard and cabinet. You’ll also never have to restring or tune the AWM sound engine like a standard piano. Its elegant and authentic sound will never go sharp, flat, or fade. The AWM engine supplies more than just piano sounds too. For a change of pace you can use the electric piano, harpsichord, church organ, or strings sounds. You also get reverb and chorus effects to add to the ambience of your performance. Other performance enhancing features include a metronome, song recorder, MIDI I/O, and 50 preset piano songs with sheet music to help you learn.

If you took the sound, feel, and soul of one of Yamaha’s famed acoustic grand pianos and shrunk it to bedroom-friendly dimensions, the result would be the YDP-213 Digital Piano. If you’re just starting out on piano or need a piano for your home but are short on space, buy the YDP-213 and be confident you’re not compromising.
Specs & Features:

* 88-key graded hammer-action keyboard
* 64-note polyphony
* AWM stereo-sample sound engine
* 30 sampling banks
* 2 updated Grand Piano voices
* 6 total voices
* 2 - 6W amplifiers
* 2 - 4-3/4" speakers
* Walnut cabinet finish
* Sliding key cover
* Reverb and chorus effects
* 11,000-note song recording capacity
* Sustain, soft, and sostenuto pedals
* Metronome
* MIDI in/out
* 2 headphone jacks
* 6 voice demo songs
* 50 preset piano songs with included sheet music
* 81 lbs., 8 oz.
* 53-5/8"W x 32-1/4"H x 16-5/8"D
* Bench included