Low-end musical instrumentals, while aiming to deliver pocket-friendly value, do not always have to compromise a great deal on quality. The Yamaha NP-12 Piaggero follows that notion and is one of the best options out there in the sub-$200 range.
In this Yamaha NP-12 review, we will go through all factors that need to be considered before making a purchasing decision regarding this instrument, which is the successor to the Yamaha NP-11. We will be exploring its features, its aesthetics and build, sound, other features, and summarized pros and cons list to help you get to grips with what this product is all about.
If you are out in the market for an upgrade to the NP-11 and want better sound quality and a recording feature, NP-12 should serve the purpose without you having to break the bank at all.
To compare and explore other options, you might want to take a look at the Yamaha NP-32 and the Yamaha PSR E-363 as well, to be able to discern and relatively evaluate the NP-12 and see if it can deliver the value that you are interested in.
Yamaha NP-12 Review
Aesthetics and build
The Yamaha NP series is also dubbed “Piaggero” (“light” in Italian), and that is the theme that has been followed with the NP-12 too. Weighing in at 4.5 kg, this 61-key keyboard is lighter than its PSR-line counterpart with the same number of keys. It is a compact unit, with a streamlined and minimalistic interface housing 10 buttons only instead of a multiplicity of controls; this encourages to-the-point and optimized usage without having to fiddle around for options, enabling the player to start playing instantly.
The volume knob does not offer much resistance so setting very precise volume levels might be an issue. The number of keys, however, might not be enough for advanced or classic players who are looking for an extended range of notes to hit and play around with.
The keyboard comes in black and white colors. We prefer the black one, as it looks sleek, while the buttons and speakers stand out (in a not-so-positive way). A stand does not come with it, but the keyboard is compatible with “X” stands that can easily be sourced. For use on a table or a desk, there are tiny rubber feet that would help with eliminating movement and wiggling, when played.
The sounds on offer should be enough for a beginner or an intermediate player for practicing, performing, and recording. The range of sounds is not expansive, but compact and to the point. There is a grand piano sound, which is very bright sounding, as it is based on a Yamaha Grand Piano.
There are two kinds of organ sounds, the first one being a kind of smaller organ sound, and the other one sounding more like a pipe organ. There are two types of electric piano sounds, as well; one being a warm, vintage sound, and the other on having a very bright but clean sound that shimmers across all octaves for smooth playing.
The strings sound is very huge and massive, and even though it does sound like a digitally synthesized sound, the dynamics are quite realistically modeled. There is also a feature that enables the player to layer two sounds on top of each other in order to add diversity and thickness to the sound, which would also help it cut through the mix.
The keys do not feel premium, but you can hardly expect them to do so at this price range. However, they do not feel cheap, either. The keys are not fully weighted but are touch-sensitive. This serves to keep the overall weight of the instrument on the lower end.
Touch sensitivity aims to mimic the playability and feel of an acoustic/grand piano, but in this price range, almost no option would be able to perfectly replicate that. A step that has been taken to make the keyboard more compact is narrowing each key down by 1mm than a real piano.
The “graded soft-touch” feature is there, implying that lower notes would be heavier/require more weight to play and vice versa, but do not buy the NP-12 solely for this reason as it hardly stands out in this keyboard.
The keyboard is compatible with any sustain pedal out there. Its speakers are loud and articulate enough for an in-home setting, but for live-performances and situations in which other instruments are also there, an amplifier would have to be used.
A USB MIDI port is also provided, enabling you to connect the instrument to a computer for recording or editing. Another feature is a ¼ inch audio output jack, as well, which can also serve as a source for running mono out to an amp.
With its wattage, the keyboard is said to have 12 hours of battery life, and it also comes with a 12V adapter used for Yamaha keyboards. It has 64-note polyphony, and can the recorder can record up to one song (roughly 7000 notes).
Pros and Cons Of Yamaha NP-12:
- Sleek body and design
- Streamlined and decluttered buttons and panel
- Good sound quality for the price range
- Portable and compact
- MIDI functionality
- Good battery time
- Compatibility with pedals
- Poorly graded keys
- The build cannot take a thorough beating
- The graded soft-touch feature is not much use
Beginners and intermediate players who are on a budget might find a lot of value in this low-end instrument, which is not a bad value-for-money proposition. Buyers would be remiss to expect any premium features, which is of course does not pack, but its simplistic, effective, and compact nature encourages hardcore practice and convenient use.
The lack of weighted keys and the lack of a diverse range of sound options might deter prospective buyers, but for someone looking for a budget option, the Yamaha NP-12 can be the perfect product. A buying decision can definitely be made by reading this Yamaha NP-12 review.