I’m excited, to say the least. This is my first chance to provide you with a full review of a product here on the Best Buy Plug-In Blog! I have for you what looks to be an exciting digital piano from Yamaha. The Yamaha NP-32B is a lightweight, nearly full-size 76-key piano keyboard, featuring touch sensitivity and the famous Yamaha Grand Piano sound! It’s available at Best Buy, part of their selection of digital pianos.
The Yamaha NP-32B Digital Piano
Before I even open the box, I thought I’d do some research on the instrument. I must say, it looks very promising! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, this piano keyboard has something for you. But first, a little background for you …
The NP-32B is Yamaha’s “upgrade” from their NB31 model. Yamaha has made some changes—making the instrument simpler to use with a computer, as well as improving the quality of the digital piano sound. Just looking at the box, the NP32B looks very straightforward and simple to use. I’m a big fan of easy-to-use technology, so Yamaha already has me quite intrigued!
In the box
It looks simple from the outside. Once we open the box, we see this is indeed true. Inside there are four items:
- The NP-32B piano;
- A clip-on music stand for your sheet music;
- Owner’s manual;
- Power adapter
It’s so straightforward, I’ve got everything set up in under two minutes!
The Yamaha Piaggero NP-32B contains quite a number of features for it’s size. On the top of the piano you’ll quickly find the features Volume Control, “DEMO” mode, and Metronome. Right beside these buttons are the Voice Select buttons, giving you very easy access to each of the ten voices the NP-32B offers: Piano 1, Piano 2, E.Piano 1, E.Piano 2, Organ 1, Organ 2, Strings, Vibes, Harpsichord 1, and finally Harpsichord 2. In addition, you’ll find four different types of Reverb to help refine your sound.
The NP-32B features “graded soft-touch keys” (GST, for short). GST is an interesting feature Yamaha includes that helps recreate (to a degree) the feel of an acoustic piano. In a nutshell, the keys toward the Bass (left) side of the keyboard have a little more resistance or weight to them, and the keys on the Treble (right) side are lighter. When you play you feel a slight difference, giving you the feeling that you’re working those big “strings” on the Bass end. Then as you move to the right, you’ll feel like you’re dancing lightly in the Treble region as well. The change is progressive between the Bass and Treble sections. It’s quite similar to an acoustic piano.
A little more about the “feel” of the piano: Yamaha has three main types of “touch” that it offers on it’s different digital pianos. The most basic is the GST, followed by Graded Hammer Standard Action (GHS) and finally the top-of-the-line Graded Hammer (GH) feel. This article provides a more detailed look at these technologies. It’s an interesting read for sure.
Yamaha offers a variety of models for their digital piano products. You can find them on Best Buy’s website, where you can take closer look at their selection.
There are other standard features included with the NP-32B. These include the clip-on music stand, and the all-important headphone output. Last but not least is the USB output that allows you to plug your NP-32B into your computer, or your tablet. Yamaha’s Digital Piano Controller app is also available to enhance your music-making experience. You can also layer different voices in the piano, allowing for interesting combinations of Piano/Strings, E. Piano/Vibes … or anything else you that tickles your ear!
You can use the built-in metronome to help with your practicing, then use the Record feature to capture your great performance as well! The NP-32B will record up to 7000 notes (1 song at a time), which seems plenty for anyone’s basic needs.
You’ll also be able to use a sustain pedal. Yamaha’s FC3 Sustain Pedal (not included) features a Half-Damper effect which will add even more to your playing experience.
The NP-32B’s biggest strength is the quality of its sound. Yamaha has a reputation for it’s great-sounding Grand Pianos, and they’ve put a lot of effort to making their digital keyboards reflect that sound. As I play through the range of notes, I notice how deep the sound is. I can feel the keyboard vibrating under my fingers, much like if I were playing an acoustic instrument. This is due to the two 6-watt speakers on each end of the keyboard. When I plug in the headphones, naturally the feeling disappears, but in the headphones I hear the richness of the sampled piano sound just as well. If I close my eyes for just a minute, I can begin to imagine myself in a concert hall—the sound is that good. The other sounds (see the “Features” section) are of very high quality too. They’ll inspire you to express many of your musical ideas!
What’s striking about the NP-32B is it’s size. It’s compact; it’s lightweight. At 13 lbs., you could even move around the house with it, playing anytime and anywhere you please. I can see this model being used in many situations, from your child’s concert at your local community centre, to an impromptu afternoon of music at Grandma’s house, to an intimate cocktail reception at that chic restaurant downtown. It’s lightness is largely due to the GST technology, which uses much fewer (Zero!) heavy metal pieces as a part of the key mechanism. It’s powered by a traditional AC power adapter, but the NP-32B can also be powered by 6 AA batteries, making portability even easier (and it has an auto “power-off” so you won’t waste your batteries time and again!) I feel this digital piano could be used professionally too, simply because of it’s transportability and great sound.
For the price, I think that Yamaha has created solid value. The NP-32B has more than everything you’ll need, with a BIG bonus—the Yamaha sound. It’s highly portable, and usable in a vast variety of situations. This digital keyboard could fast become a welcome addition to your home, and beyond! As you expand your musical horizons, you’ll find the other sounds fun to use too. The GST keys are nice feature, and although the keys are not fully-weighted, GST gives us the feeling we’re working with something more than than your standard digital piano. Add in the Digital Piano Controller app, and the possibilities are endless!
What do think you’ll do with with your Yamaha NP-32B? Is it for home? For gigs?
Heads up! I’ll be posting about Yamaha’s P-115B digital piano in the coming weeks.
Now, visit Best buy.ca to check their complete selection of digital pianos, and let the fun begin!