Yamaha’s CK88 and CK61 aren’t just stage pianos - they’re portable keyboards that you can play anywhere

Yamaha’s product roster isn’t exactly short on stage keyboards - it can already offer you the CP and YC models - but its new CK range sets itself apart by putting the focus on portability.

In a nutshell, the 88-note CK88 and 61-key CK61 promise the sounds of the CP and YC keyboards in a more compact, lightweight form factor (13.1kg and 5.6kg respectively). Both models can be powered by eight AA batteries and have integrated loudspeakers, so the theory is that you can pitch up and play pretty much anywhere.

The soundset is as you’d expect. Pianos, electric pianos, strings, brass, organs and “modern synths” are all present and correct, and you can spread these across three keyboard zones or layers to create more complex patches and increase your performance options.

Each part can be processed with the built-in effects - these include filters, envelopes, modulation processors, delay and reverb - and there’s also a final global effects section that features a master EQ.

Yamaha also promises intuitive control, with all important parameters right under your hands, and the three-part sound architecture is designed to make it easy to switch between sounds and combine them during a performance. The colour coding of the switches can be customised, so you can quickly see which parameters are active for each part.

There are dedicated organ drawbar controls, too, and the aforementioned effects are said to be quick to adjust.

As we’ve already mentioned, you can choose between 61- and 88-note versions of the CK keyboard. The smaller model features lightweight ‘Future System Basic’ (FSB) keys and has an action inspired by that of old Electone organs such as the FX-1. With a heavier initial key resistance and increased travel, we’re promised more expression and greater stability, and a feel that should be perfect for organs, electric pianos, strings, synths and more.

The CK-88, meanwhile, has ‘Graded Hammer Standard’ (GHS) keys for a more piano-like experience.

Other features include Bluetooth audio connectivity, mic/line-in, MIDI/DAW control and audio interfacing. 

The CK88 and CK61 will be available in April priced at £1,567 and £1,008 respectively. Find out more on the Yamaha website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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