Have you always wanted an impressive digital piano but found them to be out of your price range? Wouldn't it be nice to have a high quality digital piano that feels like a real piano and sounds like one? The Yamaha P70 is that digital piano. The P70 comes with a stunning concert grand piano, electric pianos, organs, strings, and more. Note: if you have already read our September 27, 2007 review of the P140 then some of what we will be reviewing here will be familiar, and it should—the Yamaha P70 is the P140's sibling.
When we sat down to review the Yamaha P70, we were surprised by the very natural keyboard feel. Yamaha calls this their Graded Hammer Technology (GH). In a nutshell, like a real piano, the weight of the keys on the bass side is heavier than on the treble side. The result? A fantastic feeling digital piano that articulates the nuances of your playing dynamics while building confidence.
Now, for some specs: The Yamaha P70 has 10 different voices that range from pianos, electric pianos, organs, to a harpsichord, and strings. The P70 has 32 voices of polyphony which mean the maximum number of simultaneous voices that can be played at once without any voices cutting out. For playing solo piano, 32 voices should be adequate; however, if you have two voices layered, say strings and piano, then your maximum polyphony will be down to 16. The P70 also has 50 preset songs you can practice with and comes with the FC-5 sustain pedal (advanced piano students should use the optional FC-3 sustain pedal with the Yamaha P70 which senses how much damper you want; useful for complex dampering techniques).
It's worth mentioning that the P70 also comes in the P70S version which is just the P70 in a metallic trim. You can also get the optional L-70 or L-70S keyboard stand to prop up the 28lb P70 or P70S.
The heart of the Yamaha P70 is the piano sounds—and they are good. Yamaha used dynamic stereo sampling to achieve this by recording a real Yamaha concert grand at three different dynamic levels: soft, medium, and hard playing styles while capturing the stereo ambience. In addition, Yamaha took a few extra steps to achieve even more realism by recording release key samples, and sympathetic resonance which you can really notice in the high treble range with the damper pedal down.
There are two piano programs on the P70: the normal and bright piano programs. We really enjoyed playing the normal piano program most. The normal piano program is best suited for classical and new age, while the bright program is best suited for pop. You can also layer the piano with any other voice, say, strings having the strings accompany your piano—great for pop and new age music. Just be careful about staying too long on the sustain pedal—the strings can drown out your piano!
The Yamaha P70 also comes with a couple organ programs that are great for Jazz and Church music, and among other sounds including a vibraphone, harpsichords, strings, and an electric clavichord.
It's a Piano Teacher Too?
The P70 has a wealth of piano pieces for piano students to master. Fifty popular piano pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, etc are preloaded from the factory. You can practice these pieces by playing along with sheet music or develop your ear by playing along. This feature makes learning the piano fun.
The Yamaha P70 gives you the ability to tweak your sounds. The P70 allows you to select and adjust the amount of reverberation. You can choose from a hall, room or stage—it gives you the feeling of playing the piano in one of these environments plus you can adjust the sensitivity of the keyboard from soft, medium, hard, or fixed.
The Yamaha P70 also has a transpose function, and a fine tuner to adjust the P70's pitch in case you decide you want to play along with your favorite CD or a fellow musician.
The best part of the Yamaha P70 is the piano sounds—they are so authentic and playable. They will inspire music to pour out of you. The other sounds are good but, it's the piano that makes the P70 sparkle. We didn't understand why Yamaha included a harpsichord program—maybe they were trying to appeal to Baroque music fans. In addition, Yamaha doesn't include the FC-3 half-damper pedal as an included accessory and they could have beefed up the on-board speakers a bit as they can buzz if you play them too load but they are decent for most situations, and besides, you can route the P70 to an external system anyway.
We definitely think this digital piano is a great choice for a music student—it will build confidence and inspiration and it's fun to learn the on-board songs. From the quality of sounds, to the touch of the keyboard, and its price tag, the Yamaha P70 is an outstanding value and would make a great home digital piano for the music student in the family.