Best Yamaha Keyboards of 2020 – Complete Review

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Let’s take a minute and try to recall your famous ballad song from the 1980s. Got it? Good. Now, the chances that the song doesn’t have Yamaha electric piano track inside are close to none. That’s how much it means to the keyboard world. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Yamaha Keyboards

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Most advanced FM synthesis so far inside
  • Top-class professional stereo balanced outputs
  • Yamaha’s current flagship keyboard workstation
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  • Sound engine taken from Montage model
  • FM-X engine provides full support for DX7 sounds
  • Super knob feature that controls various features at once
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  • DAW control and iOS software compatible mode
  • Sounds, rhythm and arp patterns taken directly from Motif
  • Affordable keyboard workstation with 128-note polyphony
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  • Best Yamaha Portable Keyboard
  • Improved sound quality for MIDI files playback
  • 61 key keyboard compatible with 48 notes polyphony and 758 sounds
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  • Best Yamaha Electric Keyboard
  • Vintage keyboard sound engine for great sound
  • Box-style effects that are easy to control
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  • Best Yamaha Weighted Keyboard
  • Premium quality of acoustic and electric piano sounds
  • Very compact gig-ready 73 weighted keys stage piano
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  • Best Yamaha Keyboard for Beginners
  • 16-track song player and recorder on board
  • 88 full size weighted keys digital piano with 128 notes polyphony
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  • Best Yamaha 76 Key Keyboard
  • Nice piano sound with 3-step on-board lessons
  • 61 synth-action keys with 384 high-quality sounds
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  • Best Yamaha 88 Key Keyboard
  • Nine physical drawbar sliders
  • Compact 61 waterfall keys model with exceptional organ
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Who is Yamaha as a Brand? 

Yamaha Keyboards are part of Japanese Yamaha Corporation which was founded back around 1889 by Torakusu Yamaha under the name of Nippon Gakki Company soon after he was asked to repair a school’s reed organ. The name Yamaha, however, wasn’t used until the 1960s. 

Modern Yamaha logo depicts three tuning forks, symbolizing three pillars of music - melody, harmony and rhythm.

Their first keyboard was created back in 1974 and they had a leading role in the 1980s, especially regarding electric piano sounds. While being one of the most famous, their 1983 model, Yamaha DX7, is also the best-selling keyboard of all time.

How Does Yamaha Compare to the Competition? 

Yamaha is not a leading keyboard manufacturer currently like they were back in the 1980-2000 era and while maintaining reputation, their success varies which keyboard category are we talking about:

Keyboard Workstation

Yamaha currently has the best arranger workstation model in the world with some of the most realistic sounds ever met on this type of keyboard. But, concerning regular keyboard workstations, while they do keep the pace Korg and Roland have that extra edge to be considered as the better offer, currently.

Digital Pianos

Digital (home) pianos are doing just fine. However, regarding the stage piano models situation, Yamaha is trailing behind Nord while Casio has the better bang for buck ratio for budget models.

Portable (Home) Keyboards

Yamaha is still holding nice in this category. But, Casio and other smaller manufacturers are matching and most of the time offering products with more features than Yamaha.

Digital Piano (Source)

Keyboard Synthesizers

Unfortunately, Yamaha offers only one keyboard synthesizer at the moment and it’s more a tribute to the past in small-key factor than a full professional model.

MIDI Keyboards

Instead of creating a modern MIDI keyboard, Yamaha decided to provide all professional models with a dedicated MIDI controller mode. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best Yamaha keyboards:

  1. Yamaha Montage 6
  2. Yamaha MODX6
  3. Yamaha MX49

Review of the Best Yamaha Keyboards

Yamaha has a lot of different models currently, so lets break them down in several categories:

Best Overall:
Yamaha Montage 6

Yamaha Montage6 61-key Synthesizer Workstation, Black

PROS

  • Flagship keyboard workstation with 256 notes of polyphony
  • Available in 76 and 88 keys size. Also available in white color
  • Super Knob encoder can control various modifications simultaneously
  • 8 encoders and sliders with LED indicator to locate your current position
  • USB driver can send 16 stereo and receive 3 stereo channels simultaneously

CONS

  • Might be considered as expensive
  • Additional set of XLR main outputs would be nice

What Recent Buyers Report

Users comment that the display menu is perfectly designed and the all-around sounds such as brasses or strings are exceptional. Sound quality is reported to be the best you can find on the market. But, they are not so impressed by factory presets for modern electronic music.

Why it Stands Out to Us

As it glows so beautiful, it’s hard to miss a Super Knob. Once you had to tweak four or five knobs simultaneously to achieve what you can do now with a simple turn on a Super Knob. Also, it’s absolutely stunning that you can send 16 stereo channels by using a single USB cable.

Who Will Use This Most

World renewed keyboard players will use it the most. Correction - they are already using it. It was made for big stages, where sound quality is important. Studio producers may especially love the quality of drums sounds and its seamless MIDI control integration with all major DAW softwares. 

Bottom Line

Sounds, features, interface, everything is revamped from the Motif series and pushed upfront. If you’re looking for the best and the most versatile Yamaha keyboard ever designed, look no further ‘cause you have a winner.

Runner-up:
Yamaha MODX6

Yamaha MODX6 61-Key Synthesizer Workstation

PROS

  • Available in 76 (MODX7) and 88 (MODX8) keys version
  • 61-key keyboard workstation with 192 notes polyphony
  • Super knob feature that controls various features at once
  • Advanced USB audio transfer with 10 send 4 receive interface
  • Comes with FM-X engine that provides full FM support for legendary DX7 sounds

CONS

  • It could come with an aftertouch feature
  • We’ve seen better keybeds on the market

What Recent Buyers Report 

Buyers say it’s an outstanding synth that makes you feel like DX7 is reborn and that it provides you with unlimited possibilities. They only have a feeling that it’s quite portable when you compare what capabilities it provides you with. The only complaint that the keys feel a little bit cheap.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We appreciate how portable this 61 keyboard is. Pitch and mod wheels are placed above so this keyboard is significantly shorter than other models. The big and full color touch screen is a nice improvement from previous Yamaha workstations, too and Super Knob can control multiple real-time controls within a single turn.

Who Will Use This Most

While it can be used as a MIDI controller or home keyboard, it was designed for studio recordings and especially for live performances. It’s very professional so beginners should be careful if they decide to buy one. Piano players may prefer the 88 key version as it comes with weighted keys.

Bottom Line

If you’re on a short budget to purchase flagship models, consider this one. It gives you about the same sound quality while coming short on a few features which easily may turn out to be not so necessary for your performance after all.

Best for the Money:
Yamaha MX49

Yamaha MX49 Music Production Synthesizer, Black

PROS

  • Excellent built-in rhythm and arp patterns
  • Affordable keyboard workstation with 49 full-size keys
  • Also available in 61 and 88 keyboard size and two colors
  • Special mode for using with DAW software and iOS software
  • Comes with 1000 sounds of Motif sound engine at 128-note polyphony

CONS

  • Almost non-existing tiny display
  • Battery operational mode could be provided

What Recent Buyers Report

People are shocked by the sound quality Yamaha provided at this price. They also comment that the more they play it, the more they enjoy it. They see this unit as a huge upgrade from their former equipment. The only flaw they find is a deep menu diving system.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s rare to see a keyboard workstation designed in a 49-key model and it’s an excellent decision from Yamaha. Sounds and filters are taken directly from their flagship model, while rhythm and arp patterns call for instant jamming. USB connection is capable of recording both USB MIDI and stereo audio output.

Who Will Use This Most

Newbies will appreciate the studio-quality sounds they get at this price. And based on its straight-forward design it will be more popular with people who prefer playing than producing. Full MIDI support makes this unit to be useful as a MIDI controller for your external sound sources, too.

Bottom Line

This might be one of the cheapest ways to get a premium quality sound and enter the world of professional keyboard players. Rest assured that you can take on any stage with this keyboard and do an amazing performance.

Best Yamaha Portable Keyboard:
Yamaha PSR-E463

Yamaha PSR-E463 61-Key Portable Keyboard

PROS

  • 758 sounds and 235 rhythm styles provided
  • Provides USB-MIDI, USB flash and audio recording options
  • Assignable knobs for real-time editing of sound parameters and effects 
  • 61 full-size key keyboard with 48 notes polyphony with built-in speakers
  • XG lite sounds and Groove creator feature allows you better backing track workflow

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

They feel that the features provided can enhance your creative abilities and improve your music workflow. Buyers would easily recommend others to buy this model over others. Yet, they do complain how Yamaha handled the registration memory interface and that you should check if power supply comes within the bundle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Groove creator allows you an instant song creation with using up to 5 different song parts. Backing tracks can play along based on the chords you’re playing and you can choose between 235 different styles. And on top of that, you can control effects and filters in real time thanks to two assignable knobs.

Who Will Use This Most

While still being an affordable portable keyboard made mostly for newbies, this keyboard has a lot of features that might be appealing for experienced players. Instant sampling features can be useful for electronic music lovers while auto accompany style can help you for a quick jam on your own.

Bottom Line

This is the best portable keyboard Yamaha made so far. It comes with many features you would expect semi-pro keyboard models to have so it can keep you amused for a long time as you learn more about music.

Best Yamaha Electric Keyboard:
Yamaha CP73

Yamaha CP73 73-Key Balanced Hammer Action Stage Piano with Sustain Pedal

PROS

  • 73 weighted keys stage piano
  • Bunch of synth sounds available
  • Available in 88 keys model format
  • Comes with five acoustic and five electric piano models
  • Sound split in three sections with both master and part-dedicated effects 

CONS

  • Organ sounds are not so good
  • Comes little bit short in sound varieties

What Recent Buyers Report

Pro musicians appreciate its compact factor that allows them to travel with while still having the best Yamaha sounds available. But, bear in mind that keybed wasn’t anything special if you heavily rely on playing acoustic pianos and the same goes for Hammond sounds. Vox and Farfisa sound excellent, though.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Yamaha is famous in the keyboard world because of their authentic electric pianos. All of those sounds are included in this model and the best part is that Yamaha took a step further and included some of the best piano samples they made so far.

Who Will Use This Most

This model was designed for gigging musicians first. The front panel is designed for hands-on control so that you could change sound instantly while you jam along. It can be used for studio recordings directly thanks to exceptional sound quality and professional outputs.

Bottom Line

This is one of the most compact stage pianos that come with weighted keys. Sounds are just wonderful, so either you plan to use it as a piano or electric piano you can’t get wrong with this model.

Best Yamaha Weighted Keyboard:
Yamaha C300

Yamaha CP300 Stage Piano with Built-in Stereo Speakers

PROS

  • 16-track song player and recorder on board
  • 480 voices, 12 drum kits, and full-size effect generator
  • 88 full size weighted key digital piano with 128 notes polyphony
  • Large and loud stereo speakers with professional XLR outputs on board
  • Advanced Wave Memory Stereo Sampling enhances natural instrument sound

CONS

  • Heavier than other premium stage pianos
  • Not so well designed user interface with small LCD display

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love how the acoustic piano sounds like. Keybed resembles the real piano feel and it’s confirmed with many trained pianist reports. They also complain that it feels heavier and bulkier than the other digital pianos and they wish if it could have more than just two sounds layered.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is one of the best Yamaha stage pianos out there. It may be considered as heavy, but that’s because the build quality is exceptional and no cheap plastic parts are used. Compared to other models, Yamaha has very large and decent built-in speakers with a dedicated power button.

Who Will Use This Most

While it is designed as a stage piano, it will be more used as installed equipment at your studio. It has excellent samples that can be used in professional recordings thanks to XLR stereo outputs. A traditional piano can use it for home piano practicing thanks to the sound and keybed it provides.

Bottom Line

This is a professional model that might be overwhelming for a newbie. But if you’re used to Yamaha piano sound and want to invest in a more advanced model, this is currently our best choice.

Best Yamaha Keyboard for Beginners:
Yamaha PSR-E360

Yamaha PSRE360 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard with Power Supply, Maple Finish

PROS

  • On board 3-step piano lessons for beginners
  • 384 sounds, 130 styles and 112 songs on board
  • Built-in speakers with aux input for external device playback
  • Beautiful maple or walnut front panel wood-like finish to choose from
  • 61 synth-action keys slim and portable keyboard with 32 notes polyphony

CONS

  • Could come with pitch bend wheel
  • Dual headphones output would be nice

What Recent Buyers Report

Users say they bought it mostly for their children and appreciate that it came with the music stand. They find it ideal for beginners, feel like it comes with many sounds to experiment with and love how stylish it looks and that it can work on batteries.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from decent sound quality and built-in speakers volume, this keyboard stands out because of one of the most beautiful portable keyboard finishes that resembles a wooden style and two color variations. It will fit nicely in any home so you may even consider leaving it as a part of your furniture.

Who Will Use This Most

It was made for beginners. It can be useful for teaching lessons as well because of the split function so both teacher and pupil can play along with the same octave sound. And total beginners can break the ice thanks to Yamaha Education Suite installed on board.

Bottom Line

Whether because of inspiring sounds, teaching features or the way it blends into your living space, you can rest assured that this portable keyboard won’t pass unnoticed. It will be a great first instrument coming at any age.

Best Yamaha 76 Key Keyboard:
Yamaha Genos

Yamaha Genos 76-Key Digital Workstation

PROS

  • Vocal Harmonist and Vocoder effects
  • 1.8GB of flash memory available for user samples
  • Revo Drums! produces the most realistic MIDI drums ever created
  • Arranger keyboard with 76 synth-action keys and 9” LCD touch display
  • Regularly updated and a bunch of additional content available for download

CONS

  • Quite expensive keyboard
  • Steep learning curve of utilizing its features

What Recent Buyers Report

Reports say that this is the best Yamaha model for writing music and they like how Yamaha keeps the pace for this unit with regular system updates that add new sounds and features. However, bear in mind that the transition from Tyros (former model) won't be seamless.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the first time a manufacturer decided to put their flagship sounds in this format so it may be easily considered as a hybrid model. And on top of that, Revo! Drums and its cycling sample feature give us the best drums we ever heard on a keyboard so far.

Who Will Use This Most

It was designed for one-man bands who would either play a backing or MIDI track or perform live with a lot of accompanying sounds and rhythms triggered directly from the keyboard. The fun part is that this Genos is also a very capable MIDI keyboard controller device, too.

Bottom Line

Yamaha Genos is currently the best arranger in the world. If you’re one of those one-man-band players who don’t want to waste time in model comparison, this is a model for you. Every part of it is spot-on.

Best Yamaha 88 Key Keyboard:
Yamaha MOXF8

Yamaha MOXF8 Music Production Workstation

PROS

  • Motif XF sound engine inside
  • Expandable flash memory for user multisampling
  • Seamless integration as a MIDI controller for DAW software
  • Very portable keyboard workstation with nice piano action 88-keys
  • USB cable capable of recording up to four inputs and playback a stereo output

CONS

  • Display may be a bit outdated for modern users
  • Not so many modern electronic sounds in factory presets

What Recent Buyers Report

Experiences are vastly positive. Sounds are described as excellent and are considered as affordable for features it provides, especially the option to expand flash memory with more samples. However, the manual is not written so well, so maybe you should use it as a last resort.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Motif XF was a flagship workstation for a while. Now that the Montage is out, Yamaha gave you that same sound engine at a much more affordable price. It’s also really nice to have such a capable workstation in a portable weight of 33 pounds while piano keys remain uncompromised.

Who Will Use This Most

This keyboard is intended for everyone. Piano players will enjoy the response, keyboard players will especially like how acoustic instruments presets sound while studio producers can utilize it as a very capable MIDI controller for their DAW and virtual instruments software. The same applies whether you’re experienced or a newbie.

Bottom Line

Motif XF is far from being outdated and it’s still being used worldwide. If you’re all about playing, and you’re more about buttons than the touch screen display that MODX8 provides, MOXF8 might be your best Yamaha choice then.

Best Yamaha 61 Key Keyboard:
Yamaha YC61

Yamaha YC61 61-key, organ focused stage keyboard

PROS

  • Very compact and lightweight design (15 pounds)
  • 61 keys waterfall keybed for realistic organ sound playing
  • DX7 FM synthesis inside for additional electric piano sounds
  • Yamaha CFX and S700 premium grand pianos sounds installed
  • Nine dual drawbar sliders for complete organ control with editable LED lights

CONS

  • Keys don’t support aftertouch feature
  • Atypical pitch and mod controls in the form of levers 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers comment that the effects seem to be an upgrade compared to current flagship models and that the physical layout is very good. They approve that Yamaha provided the full FM synth engine and best piano samples so it can be used as an electric or acoustic piano, too.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s nice to see a model dedicated to organ sounds. It does come with many high-quality synths sounds and even adds up an FM synthesis for that special low-end character. Physical drawbars with LED lights makes it ideal for editing your upper and lower organ sound settings in real-time.

Who Will Use This Most

With sound given on board this is a dream keyboard for any vintage and prog rock keyboard players, especially because of the waterfall keybed that allows players to perform a lot of glissandos effortlessly. It aims for professional players that perform both live or studio session recordings.

Bottom Line

There are not so many organ oriented keyboards on the market so it’s very nice to see that Yamaha has something new to offer. Additional sound synthesis provided will make it a good keyboard for more than just good B3 or Farfisa clones.

Types of Yamaha Keyboards

Yamaha has a lot of keyboards to offer, so let’s discuss what makes them different:

Portable Keyboard

A portable (home) keyboard is a beginner and kids-oriented device. It doesn’t excel in sound or build quality at all but it’s very portable, affordable and suitable for teaching basic music lessons.

MIDI Keyboard Controller

These affordable models don’t generate sound on their own, but can be linked by USB cable with computer and play virtual instrument software. 

Keyboard Workstation

Keyboard Workstation are those keyboards used by professionals. They come with not just piano premium sound quality but other sounds as well and are all about live performance..

Yamaha Montage6

Arranger Keyboard

The Arranger keyboard is one-man’s band swiss knife. It can playback backing tracks or generate patterns for rhythm or backing instruments while you perform over it by using the keys.

Digital Piano

Digital piano excels in recreating in playing acoustic piano experience by the sound quality and keybed feel and response. They may be designed like upright piano, full concert grand or more portable, stage piano size.

Boutique Keyboards

There is a trend on the keyboard market for revamping most famous keyboards in a smaller, ultra-portable, boutique format with mini keys while delivering the same sound features. Thus, Yamaha created the REFACE series.

Casio vs Yamaha Keyboard - Comparison Overview 

Casio and Yamaha have a sort of rivalry in digital piano categories. Casio came based on foundation Yamaha created along with other manufacturers and decide to take a chance and

Sound Quality

While Casio piano sound will sound great for most users, Yamaha always invested a lot in fine-tuning their samples in order to recreate the best sound possible.

Build Quality

Yamaha always treated their instruments with extra build quality care. They may appear heavier, but that’s because they were very strict about their built-to-last motto. Casio isn’t a low-quality build, though, it’s just that Yamaha models are at top professional-grade level.

Price Range

But, with such a motto and research the bigger price steps-in unfortunately. That’s where Casio excels as it delivers the best bang for your buck on the market currently.

Other Keyboard Features

If we take a look at other sounds, Casio doesn’t stand a chance with Yamaha as they fine-tuned all the sounds throughout various versions of analog synths and Motif workstation series and these sounds come now in other models as well. 

Needless to say, Casio workstations are considered almost like a toy when compared to Yamaha professional models.

Conclusion

We hope we managed to depict for you the world of Yamaha keyboards. Now you also know that they offer a keyboard for everyone based on their needs without compromising build quality. Without them on the market, synth sounds wouldn’t have such an important role in modern pop music.

People Also Ask

By now, you might get a better picture of Yamaha’s importance on the keyboard and digital piano market, so let us cover some of the most frequently asked questions people asked about. Also, let’s solve some of the usual troubleshooting people get with Yamaha models.

Yamaha MODX6

How Much is a Yamaha Keyboard?

Yamaha keyboard price range from $100 for beginners and kids model up to $4.000 for a flagship professional keyboard workstation such as Montage 8. However, currently the most expensive Yamaha keyboard is electrical grand piano Yamaha Avant N3X coming with the current price of $13.000

How Many Keys Are on a Yamaha Keyboard?

Keys number depends on the model we’re talking about. It can vary from 25 keys like KX25  has or 37 on REFACE series, over most used 61 size like every PSR model has, up to 76 keys on MODX7 or 88 weighted keys on CP88.

Is Yamaha a Good Keyboard?

Yamaha is one of the most famous keyboard manufacturers in the world. They had been creating a model for everyone, from a kid or total beginner over bedroom studio enthusiasts up to top-class professional musicians since the 1980s. They are also well known for their excellent build quality.

How Do I Put Music on my Yamaha Keyboard?

Yamaha keyboards have special MIDI files with .psr extension. MIDI files generate songs in a  very small size compatible with a keyboard interface. Once you transfer it from your flash drive by using USB to the device port you can play it directly from the device or store for later use.

How Do I Tune my Yamaha Keyboard?

Generally speaking, tuning, or also called “master tune” should be located at some tab in your menu under general or global settings. Please remember that some basic models probably won’t provide you with such an option, though.. And another reminder - western world music standard and also factory setting tune is set at 440.0 Hz.