Yamaha has just launched the P-S500. This new smart digital piano takes its place as (arguably) the top-of-the-range model in Yamaha’s P-Series.
P-Series instruments first appeared back in 1994, and 20 different models have graced the range over the years. The P-S500 joins the P-515, P-125a, P121 and P-45 in the current line-up.
The “P” stands for “Portable”. Models in this series are generally more compact and lighter than comparable Clavinova pianos.
Yamaha’s Acronyms Explained
The letters used to identify Yamaha’s digital pianos can be confusing so here’s a quick guide…
C refers to pianos in the Clavinova range – digital pianos that look, sound, and feel like an upright.
There are various sub-categories of Clavinova models:
CLP- , this simply stands for CLavinova Piano. These have just the core piano features, few frills.
CVP- , Clavinova Versatile Piano. This range includes many additional facilities and sounds akin to those found on a digital keyboard, as well as including the core piano elements.
CSP- , Clavinova Smart Piano. These pianos are smart because they integrate with the “Smart Pianist” app enabling everything to be controlled on screen. The CSP smart range also includes Stream Lights.
CGP- , Clavinova Grand Piano. The CGP-1000 was the only model in this range. With a grand piano style cabinet it featured an actual wooden soundboard.
YDP- , the ARIUS Range of digital piano uses the acronym YDP, which presumably stands for Yamaha Digital Piano. YDP-S models are Slimline versions.
DGX- , the Portable Grand range of digitals is identified by DGX- (Digital Grand).
P- , as detailed above refers to Portable. A P-S model is Smart.
The P-S500 is a high quality instrument, and provides the user with an authentic alternative to an acoustic piano. The action of the 88-note keyboard (with weighted keys) captures the feel of the traditional instrument and the piano voices include samples of the Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand pianos.
Although this is the joint most expensive instrument in the range, Yamaha has tailored the specifications to appeal to those wanting to learn to play a wider repertoire.
The P-S500, therefore, incorporates Yamaha’s Stream Lights technology. This is the first “compact” digital instrument from Yamaha to feature this facility, although it has been available from the Yamaha CSP range of Clavinovas for a few years.
Stream Lights are a newer version of Yamaha’s Follow Lights system that has been around for decades. Follow Lights had just one light per key indicating which note to play. The Stream Lights technology has three lights (red for naturals, blue for accidentals). These stream down giving you time to prepare for the next note/chord. Stream Lights can make learning a piece quicker and more straight forward for those who don’t read music.
Furthermore the Smart Pianist app, which can be paired with the P-S500 to provide full access to all the instruments controls, provides the powerful Audio to Score feature. This takes an audio feed from your favourite songs and turns it into an accompaniment that drives the Stream Lights, so you can play along with your favourite song.
Yamaha P-S500 Key Features
- 88-note weighted GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) keyboard
- Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM)
- Yamaha CFX, CFX Binaural, and Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano Voices
- 660 instrument Voices
- 403 preset Songs (ranging from pop to classical)
- Built-in Auto Accompaniment features with 370 Styles
- Compatible with the Yamaha Smart Pianist app installed on a mobile/tablet
- Stream Lights performance/teaching aid
- Audio To Score function converts audio songs into piano accompaniment
- Microphone input and automatic Vocal Harmony
- Available with black or white cabinet.
The Yamaha P-S500 is available from January 2023 for a suggested retail price of $2,499.00 / £2,013.00 / €2,139.00. More information can be found on the Yamaha website.