Yamaha P-115 - almost perfect

The Yamaha P-115 is a great stage piano, but the factory settings don't really do justice to this instruments capabilities. 

The P-115 sounds ok out of the box - but can sound awesome with just a few simple tweaks.

I own a Yamaha DGX-650 digital piano which sounds amazing from switch-on, so I had hoped the P-115 would sound as good, though I was initially disappointed  - until a few setting changes were made. 

That's one area in which the P115 really excels - settings for reverb, touch senstivity & tuning (pitch) are remembered after power down, so your preferred settings remain every time you switch on - which is priceless!

The changes were:

  • overall tuning down 8Hz to A=432 (as opposed to A=440)
  • velocity sensitivity setting to Hard (which makes it play softer)
  • increased reverb depth (to add space & smoothen out the sound)

I was therefore, able to recreate the irresistibly classy  default piano sound that exists on the DGX-650, quite easily.

The Yamaha CFIIIs 9ft concert grand sample is rich, smooth, dynamic & inspires confidence in the player - almost making you feel like a much better musician. 

You can also set the relative levels of split or layered sounds (piano & strings for example) which is also remembered after power-down ....nice!

All the acoustic & electric piano sounds are excellent & should exceed the requirements of even the most demanding professionals.

Other sounds like Strings & Church Organ are truly outstanding,  but I found the Hammond & electric organs to be just ok.

Proper stereo audio output & huge polyphony means no major concerns for professional musicians, especially those playing layered sounds or lots of sustained notes.

The two main shortcomings of the P-115 are:

1. No 'layer button'  - switching on & off a layered sound is awkward without it, during your performance. You have to press two sound selector buttons simultaneously, one of which might switch on an alternative voice you don't want .....not very performer friendly! 
2. No 'MIDI' - USB cannot do 'peer-to-peer' communication, so if you prefer hardware sequencers  or wish to layer your piano with a classic hardware midi synthesizer, there is no way to do this .....a rather cheap decision  on Yamahas' part.

Considering that during the 80's & 90's all but the most rudimentary toy-town instruments. came with a MIDI interface, their decision to produce an instrument at this level without MIDI is rather arcane, to say the least.

All in all, the Yamaha P-115 is almost perfect - still recommended as a product because the Acoustic Grand Piano sound in particular is simply beautiful!