Yamaha NP 30
As my niece is looking to buy a digital piano for under $500 we headed to our local music store to look at the Yamaha NP 30 Portable Grand Piano. It offers a really good sound and a solid yet lightweight feel. A really nice feature in the Yamaha NP 30 is that the keys have a graded touch where the higher keys gets easier to press down, just like a real acoustic piano. For less than$300 with the adapter it is a bargain and a great option for my niece. For that price you won’t get real hammer action keys, it is spring action, but Yamaha really did a great job imitating hammer action with their graded touch. They feel much more real than what you would get in previous budget models and are a pleasure to play.
76 keys is what you get with the Yamaha NP 30. Some purist would say that anything less than a full size 88 keys is going to be a problem. I beg to differ! At least for my niece and most beginners needs. None of the classical compositions and pop songs she likes to play make use of the few extra notes in the top and bottom end. So that is not really a big problem.
How does the Yamaha NP 30 sound?
We both loved the sound of the Yamaha NP 30. It comes with 10 different keyboard sounds like 2 acoustic grand pianos, electric piano, Rhodes, a couple of organs, vibraphone, strings and harpsichord. The Rhodes sound was really nice but most importantly for my niece, the acoustic piano sounds were wonderful. Grand 1 is a little darker than grand 2 and both sounds beautiful. If you have heard any of Yamaha’s more expensive pianos and keyboards, it is basically the same stereo AWM piano sound they have used here. The stereo sound really makes a difference. It used to only be mono samples, even in pretty expensive models. Glad to see manufactures are starting to use stereo sounds now also on their low-budget models. After all we do have two ears.
A nice feature on the Yamaha NP 30 is that you are able to combine 2 sounds simply by holding down a button while pressing the corresponding 2 keys for the sounds you would like to combine. For example when we combined strings and Acoustic Grand 1, we got a beautiful David Foster sound for those Celine Dion type ballads. You can even transpose and adjust the level of the individual sounds when combining. Also try combining vibraphone and stings for a smooth Latin jazz sound.
The built-in speakers on the Yamaha NP30 Portable Grand Piano sounds really nice for regular playing at home. It seems like the sweet spot of the speakers is perfectly balanced towards the player. It can play pretty loud too and compete with acoustic guitar on a small gig, but if you are taking it to a larger gig you will need more amplification. The Yamaha electric piano is very light, only about 12 pounds. Makes it a breeze to carry around for gigs or traveling.
Yamaha NP 30 Super Cool Features
A great feature we liked is that it is also battery powered. You can take it outside and play. We have a small lake at the end of our house. On a nice summer day, why not bring the piano out and practice with the sound of the ducks. I am sure they will appreciate it. Or why should the guitarist have all the fun at bonfires. Now she can join them.
Another feature is the built-in metronome. No need to buy a separate metronome here. It is easy to adjust the tempo to match the song you are playing. A great way to make sure you are learning the song in the correct tempo.
Finally it also has midi in and out. That means you can use the Yamaha NP 30 as a controller for any synthesizer module you might have or even connect it to a midi-interface for a computer. If you have garageband or a similar program, you can use the keyboard to play the built in sounds in garageband and make your own full orchestrated compositions and productions. You do need a midi interface for the computer to be able to do so.
My niece and I both agreed that for the money the Yamaha NP30 is a true bang for the bucks. The sound of the acoustic pianos is awesome. Better than most digital pianos costing twice as much. The speakers are great too. Loud and proud! And the portability is beyond anything I have seen before. Only 12 pounds and battery powered if needed. Perfect for a bonfire playoff! It’s not as playable as a piano with weighted keys, and only 76 keys will be a letdown for some people, yet it is still a very nice piano for the beginner. This electric piano will be a bestseller for years to come. And rightly so.
If you are going to pick up the Yamaha NP 30, remember to also get the AC adapter and a sustain pedal. They are not included but you should be able to get everything including the electric piano for less than $300.
“I’ve been waiting for something like this for years” says Anon from Brooklyn in New York.