Authentic sounds and elegant looks
By Park James
Yamaha YDP 323
Yamaha was among the first to create an authentic-sounding digital grand piano back in the '70s - deemed good enough to tour with by jazz great Herbie Hancock. Since then Yamaha has had many years to refine their tone generation technology. The new YDP-323 digital piano uses AVM (Advanced Wave Memory) voices made from digital recordings of high-end instruments, meaning the sound is not synthesized - it's the real thing. These realistic sounds are housed in a cabinet that makes a beautiful addition to any home, yet is so easy to transport that pros will also find it attractive.
The sound is only part of the story when it comes to playing a musical instrument - it's also about feel and touch. Yamaha has been crafting very highly regarded upright and grand pianos for over a century, so they know what a piano is supposed to feel like.
YDP-323's 88-key graded hammer action uses graduated weighted keys (unlike other keyboards that may use springs or dampers) to replicate the action of a grand piano, which has thicker hammers in the bass end and lighter hammers toward the treble end. This translates to a heavier feel in the lower octaves and a lighter touch in the higher, and the YDP-323 re-creates this dynamic range very accurately.
Three levels of touch sensitivity (hard, medium, or soft) let you customize the touch response of the keyboard for different players or instruments. You can turn off the touch sensitivity when a fixed response is desired, as in playing the organ or harpsichord voices.
Part of the authentic experience of playing an acoustic piano comes from the use of the damper, soft, and sostenuto pedals. The YDP-323 includes these three essential pedals for bringing out all the nuance and expression of your performances.
The YDP-323 not only makes you feel like you're playing the real thing, but it also offers a lot of advantages a real piano does not. You get two extraordinary grand piano sounds to choose from: a full concert grand perfect for classical and a spacious, bright piano with a touch of reverb that is perfect for popular styles. Eight additional voices include electric piano, strings, two harpsichords, vibraphone, and two church organs.
A dual mode lets you layer voices for rich, complex sounds. You'll be amazed when you hear a string section lend depth and color to your latest piano composition. You can even layer the piano/strings voice with another of your choice for a total of three sounds on the keyboard at one time. The effects section lets you enhance the sound in various ways. Digital reverb adds a breathtaking spaciousness, with settings that emulate two different hall sizes, a medium-sized room, or onstage ambience. Chorus gives electric piano settings warmth and richness of tone.
Musicians with many levels of experience and expertise will get a lot of use out of the included creative tools and connectivity. The keyboard's MIDI jacks give you the capability to save songs, record to your computer, and print out your composition in notation with the appropriate software. You can send your songs to your friends and family and archive them as you would digital photos or MP3 songs.
The single-track recorder built into the YDP-323 is intuitive, easy to use, and great for analyzing and critiquing your performances. It's also a lot of fun to use and encourages creativity in users of any age. A built-in metronome keeps you right on time when recording or practicing. 64-note polyphony (the number of notes that can sound simultaneously) means you won't run out of notes, even in complex, sustained musical passages.
The YDP-323 comes with 50 demonstration songs and includes sheet music for each one so you can follow or play along.
The gift of music
The YDP-323 is an ideal keyboard to bring into your home if you have kids. The varied sounds, recording capability, and computer connectivity are sure to keep younger players engaged while the simple control interface never seems overwhelming. The 88-key weighted action develops strength in the fingers so that when your children perform on an acoustic piano they'll feel right at home.
The built-in speaker system delivers full, richly satisfying sound quality. Dual headphone jacks let you play anytime without disturbing others, yet share your music with someone special if you want. This is a great feature for music teachers and students. A convenient headphone clip under the keyboard keeps your headphones neatly stowed away when they're not in use.
Those who have had an acoustic piano in the home know the importance of having it tuned and adjusted periodically. This is not necessary with the YDP-323: it stays perfectly in tune so you don't ever have to be concerned with adjustments of any kind.
Sound and vision
The YDP-323 is beautiful to behold with its gleaming walnut-finish woodgrain cabinet - it looks like a fine musical instrument, not like a hi-tech machine. The 10 voices are excellent, and if you want more you can always expand the palette with a MIDI sound module.
Yamaha's newest electronic wizardry, combined with the realistic feel of 88 weighted keys in an instrument that has the look of fine furniture, will undoubtedly make the YDP-323 a big hit in living rooms everywhere.
Features & Specs:
* Graded hammer action keyboard
* Tone generation
* 64-note polyphony
* AWM piano voices with stereo sampling
* 10 voices
* Dual voice capability
* 3 pedals
* 20W x 2 speakers system
* Walnut-finish cabinet
* Sliding key cover
* Headphone hanger
* Bench included
* Song recorder
* MIDI In/Out/Thru
* 2 headphone jacks
* Demo songs
* 10 voice demo
* 50 preset songs
* Sheet music book
* 53-5/8"W x 32-3/8"H x 16-5/8"D
* 90 lbs.