What is it?
The Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 is a rather strange product to categorise - is it a keyboard or a piano? Well, we believe it's trying to be a little of both. Its compact and lightweight nature clearly puts it squarely into the realm of an affordable home keyboard, whereas, the piano-sized keys and high-quality sounds make it a valuable option for the budding pianist.
Most of the other home keyboards on the market come loaded with an extensive bank of sounds - but let's be honest, you aren't exactly going to use that marimba setting all that much, are you? The NP-12 takes a refreshing approach, focusing on just 10 high-quality voices. These are Piano1, Piano2, E.Piano1, E.Piano2, Organ1, Organ2, Strings, Vibes, Harpsi1, Harpsi2. Of course, as you'd expect, you can layer two of these sounds together to create more complex voicings.
The 61 full-size, waterfall-fronted keys - although not weighted - are touch-sensitive and are perfect for novice piano players, and the handy record button allows you to capture your practice session so you can track your progress.
The NP-12 is designed with the modern player in mind, giving you the ability to connect to an iOS device via the USB port (and lightning camera adaptor). This gives you access to a wide range of Yamaha apps such as Digital Piano Controller and NoteStar.
Performance and verdict
The first thing that strikes us when getting the Yamaha NP-12 out of the box is the build quality. Although, that shouldn't be all that surprising, considering it's made by Yamaha. Whether they're making beginner keyboards, electric guitars, drums, or motorbikes, they do it to the highest standard. This sleek little keyboard feels robust and sturdy enough to be carried around without fear of it being easily damaged. That said, if you’re planning on keeping it in one place at home, we’d recommend investing in one of the best keyboard stands.
The next thing we turn our attention to is the keys. Overall they feel great and definitely look the part. We can imagine the piano-like styling and size of the keys will keep most piano teachers happy, as well. Although don't let the look fool you, these keys aren't weighted at all, which may put a few people off. That being said, they are touch-sensitive and fairly reactive. So if you're a complete beginner or looking for a functional keyboard that easily transportable, then we believe this key action will be more than serviceable.
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The entire ethos of the NP-12 is to be as simple as it can be, with only the sounds and buttons you really need - and we must admit we love this. The lack of excess buttons and screens gives this keyboard a modern look that makes it stand out in the crowded home keyboard market. All ten of the sounds are of really high quality and all incredibly usable. The highlights have to be the grand piano sounds, modeled after Yamaha's famous concert grand and the rather authentic and fun electric piano sounds. You do have the option of layering two sounds together, which can be inspiring. Combining the strings with one of the grand pianos is particularly lovely for adding some depth to your sound.
This keyboard does feature a handy record function for recording a song and playing it back - ideal for those using the Yamaha NP-12 for learning the piano. This can really take your practice session to the next level, by allowing you to analyse your playing and pinpoint problem areas in your technique. You could also use this feature to record the left-hand parts and play the right-hand melody over top. Although, bear in mind that you can only have one song stored on the keyboard.
The Yamaha NP-12 does come with its own in-built speakers, which for their size sound pretty good, albeit a little lacking in the bottom end. For the best results, we recommend a good set of studio headphones, so you can hear the sounds in all their glory.
Yamaha is clearly marketing the NP-12 towards the beginner piano player, and we think that's a smart move. That being said, it is a little disappointing that there's no sustain pedal included in the box. Now, we aren't looking for a full piano-style pedal at this price point, but it would be a nice touch if they supplied the Yamaha FC5A that comes with the Yamaha P-45. This isn't a big complaint, a sustain pedal won't exactly break the bank, but as your skills develop you will need one to get the best out of this keyboard.
For us, the Yamaha NP-12 is a fantastic compact keyboard that behaves like a piano. It's the perfect option if you're just starting out or you're tight on space. The ten onboard sounds are more than enough for most players and are of the high quality you'd expect from Yamaha.
- Keyboard: 61-note
- Polyphony: 64-note Polyphony
- Effects: Digital Reverb (4 Types)
- Connectivity: USB-to-Host, Sustain pedal, Headphones
- Dimensions: Width 1,036mm (40-13/16"), Height 105mm (4-1/8"), Depth 259mm (10-3/16")
- Preset Number of Voices: 10 (Piano1, Piano2, E.Piano1, E.Piano2, Organ1, Organ2, Strings, Vibes, Harpsi1, Harpsi2)
- Power Supply: AC Adaptor (PA-130) or 6 x "AA" size batteries (alkaline, manganese, or Ni-MH rechargeable batteries)
- Power Consumption: 8W
- Battery Life: 16 hours (with alkaline batteries)
- Contact: Yamaha