*** as the NP12 and NP32 are no longer available - SEE THE UPDATED ARTICLE HERE ***
The new Yamaha NP15 Piaggero is the first big change to Yamaha's entry level keyboard in the Piaggero range. for many years. But which is best, the new NP-15 or the outgoing NP12? I was surprised to find out that the NP15 has a BIG problem, as I will explain in the video below (or you can read the text transcript):-
Why I like the Yamaha Piaggero NP12 and NP32 piano keyboards
If you've watched my previous videos you will know that I'm a big, big fan of the Yamaha Piaggero piano range, especially the NP-12 and the big brother, the NP-32. I've been using these for years, as well as the NP-11 that preceded it.
The NP-12 is one of my favourite portable keyboards. I bring one of these with me everywhere. I put it in the back of the car, the battery power lasts for hours and hours, so its great for playing piano at parties or festivals.
It's got good piano sounds and just enough volume for most acoustic type of environments, at a great price.
The new Yamaha NP15
Piaggero and NP35 piano keyboards
Now something big has happened, Yamaha has brought out the NP-15, so like most people, I was thinking, 'wow, this is going to be even better'.
...... and it's sort of is ....... but there's a BIG CATCH and right now I would not buy the NP-15 or the NP-35 (the big brother, which is the new version of the NP-32).
I wouldn't buy either of the two new models ... . I would buy the predecessors, the NP-12 and the NP-32. Let me explain why......
The problem with the Yamaha NP15 and NP35
With the NP-15 and NP-35, I was expecting a big step forward in features and functionality and sounds, compared to the NP-12 and NP-32 and there are some improvements. For example, there are 15 sounds now, rather than the 10 that were before. But how much is that in practice?
Which piano sounds I use
I tend to just leave my NP12 on the default piano sound, so I don't really use any of the other sounds, other than strings, which I occasionally use (and sometimes layer on top of the piano sound).
Extra sounds on the NP15 and NP35 compared to the NP12 and NP32
So the new versions, the NP-15 and the NP-35 give you one extra piano sound and they give you two extra string sounds. But apart from that, with regards to the extra sounds after that, I wouldn't use them at all.
And because I'm happy with the default single piano sound and I'm happy with the strings sound, although the extra 2 strings sounds gives a bit more choice, does it make a big difference to me? No.
Similar features between the Yamaha NP15 and NP12
Regarding features that would make a difference to me eg volume, this is the same (between the NP15 and NP12). It's the same power in the speakers. The speakers are slightly larger (on the NP15), but it's the same power rating. So that's no difference in volume.
Not many new features
So what extra is there? So there's not a lot really that I'm seeing that is different. Even the MIDI socket is the same. You have to buy a separate extender if you want to get Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, which for this day and age, I was expecting it to be built in.
So, okay, slightly better, but not really in a way that I would see any real benefit.
The big problem with the Yamaha NP15 and NP35
But there's a BIG downside. The big, big downside is the price.
The NP12 was always been really cost effective, and that's the keyboard I recommended to students as their starter keyboard. The NP12, if you want the lowest price for a decent touch sensitive keyboard and the NP32, if you want a few extra keys and a bit more volume. These are great options if you don't want to venture into the higher price points of fully weighted keys.
With regards to the price of the NP15, the official price in sterling is around the £300-pound mark. At the time of filming this video however, there is an advert from Thomann.de for the NP15, at £ 284 pounds. The NP15 is only available for pre-order at the time of shooting this video. They won't be fully available for another few weeks.
Sale price of NP12
But the NP12 is in stock and available now. You can get the NP12 at £150 on Amazon, which is a massive 47% lower than the NP15 price of £ 284!
Why not to buy the NP15 (or NP35)
So when I look at what extra features on the NP15 that you get for such a big difference in money, none of these features I would need.
To me, it's a total no-brainer.
I would buy the NP12 all day long (or the NP32). Now they're not going to be around forever. There's obviously stock out there that they're going to sell off.
Conclusion NP15 vs NP12
So I would highly recommend if you are looking for a keyboard right now, the NP12 or the NP32 is definitely the way I would go.
Once they are no longer available, it's a slightly different question then. Then it's a case of looking at how does the NP15 compare with other keyboards around the same price from Roland, Korg, Casio etc .. which I'll cover in a separate video.
But for right now, I would go for the NP12 and the NP32. If you're comparing the NP35 with the NP32, again, very little difference (similar to the differences between the NP15 and NP12). The NP35 sounds are the same as the NP15, ie five extra sounds compared to the NP32. One of which is an extra piano, two of which are extra strings.
Difference in dimensions NP15 (and NP35) vs NP12 (and NP32)
Both of the new keyboards are slightly longer than the old ones, but the height and the depth are only one millimeter difference. Pretty similar.
The new keyboards are slightly heavier, but again, not so much that it would pose a problem.
But they are the same volume as the old ones, so no real big step up there at all.
So, yeah, I hope you find that useful. And I'll keep you updated as and when things change.
Technical Spec for NP15 and NP35
Click here to view or download the NP-15 and NP35 technical specifications PDF from Yamaha for the new Piaggero keyboards