(Notice: The P85 is now the P95, I didn’t see a difference, I was told the sound chips are improved with a couple of voices replaced. The action was the same and the sounds were the same to me when I played one at the music store, but I didn’t check the organ and harpsichord because I never use them. To me it’s all about the piano sounds.)
I just had to post a review on my Yamaha P-85 digital piano. Why, because I researched way too much before I bought and compared it against the different Casio’s in a similar price range.
Here was the deal. The casio’s I looked at Privia, PX 110, PX 120, and PX 330. The hard decision was the sounds. The Yamaha p85 played a lot better. The action was quicker in that the keys were more like a real piano as opposed to the somewhat clunky Casio keys. But the Casio 330 for example had a lot cooler support sounds like the electric piano.
The 330 had a snarly wurlitzer or a clean electric piano, the ability to do a lot more with them. Had much cooler organ sounds. I don’t know what Yamaha was thinking with the organ sounds. In my opinion if people want the church organ sound, they’re not going to want a low priced Yamaha.
Anyway I don’t know what they were thinking other than they want people to buy their higher priced flagship models for all the bells and whistles.
I remember when I was doing a lot of keyboard repair, sometimes at the factory. I never had a call in which someone complained of the harpsichord not sounding right… :) They put 2 harpsichords on this unit… Oh well, then why did I buy it you ask? I’ll tell you why. The grand piano sounds are killer on this unit. I mean killer. They sound great through the onboard speakers, even know some people complain about the volume. But being a tech I can see what they were doing. Cutting cost obviously but the way they are installed both physically and electronically, you would have to run them full blast forever before you blow them, which is cool.
Another reason I bought it and continue to be happy with it. The action is so nice while I was playing it for the first time I was jamming, the music was just coming out, I wasn’t fighting the keys or being distracted. The Yamaha p85 is built very well and seems to have improvements from earlier model complaints that I’ve read before purchasing. Get a pedal though, the one that comes with it is a joke but will get your through till you get a nice one.
I’ve taken it to several gigs now and have used it in different places and still love it after 6 months. Remember it’s Yamaha quality that you’re getting also. Now with all that said, if my bank account and gig money picks up I would consider getting the casio px-330 also for the electric piano sounds or if they make a sound module with that sound, because it’s killer compared to the yamaha electric sounds, unless you like their sounds which a lot of people do.
UPDATE: Aug, 2014
I pretty much stopped playing out with the p85 so I went ahead and sold it. I kept it in pretty nice condition (considering I was gigging out). I still had the shipping box so it looked good for the pic. I sold the piano with the music stand and pedals and got $275. Sold in one day with extra inquires before I took the ad out. So that tells me I could have gotten more. The buyer was interested in the weighted keys the most. He’s going to use it as a midi controller. I told him it was limited in that area but all he was doing is accessing piano sounds in a module.
Here’s a good video on the Yamaha P 85. The gentleman can play and he puts the keyboard through all the sounds. Excellent demo if you’re thinking of buying one of these. I liked the action on the keys a lot, they are graded just like a real piano, meaning the treble keys are lighter to push down than the low bass keys.
Also remember this Yamaha P-85 is light, I can carry it with ease in a soft gig bag with the music holder, sustain pedal and power supply included and be out the door with ease. Of course for heavy gigging you’re going to want a hard case but for friends houses or weekend warriors it’s perfect.
Here’s another of P-95 where he is playing slow with feel so you can hear the notes ring out…