The subject of our review today is the Yamaha YPG-535. The YPG-535 is perhaps one of Yamaha’s most versatile keyboards in the sub-$500 category. This is probably why this piano still remains so popular despite being released into the market a very long time ago.
We don’t know if you know or remember the Yamaha YPG-235. Well, if you do or don’t, that’s unimportant. What you need to know now is that the YPG-535 is the upgrade to said YPG-235.
These two pianos are practically the same barring a few differences. For instance, the YPG-235 comes with fewer keys (about 1 octave). So, ultimately, it is more compact and more affordable too.
But, back to the YPG-535… It’s a part of Yamaha’s Portable Grand series. So, two things… expect this piano to be really portable with loads of features especially that of a Grand Piano sound.
But even besides the Grand Piano sound, you’ll also find 500 other instrument sounds. Plus, you’ll also get other features to enable you learn and get entertained while using this keyboard.
There’s a lot to talk about, so we won’t dawdle anymore. Let’s get straight into it.
The Yamaha YPG-535 Specs
- 88 semi-weighted keys with Graded Soft Touch action.
- Touch Sensitivity: 3 types.
- AWM stereo sampling.
- LCD Display: 320 x 240. Displays score and lyrics.
- Polyphony: 32.
- Built-in instrument sounds: 500 (12 drum kits, 127 panel, 361 XGlite).
- Preset songs: 30 (plus 5 user songs and 70 accessory CD-Rom songs).
- Preset styles: 160.
- Modes: Dual, Split.
- Effects: 9 reverb types, 4 chorus types, 26 harmony types.
- Piano lessons: Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S).
- Metronome, fine-tuning, and transpose functions.
- 2 Speakers: 6W + 6W.
- Dimensions: 52.7 x 16.6 x 5.7 inches.
- Weight: 24 pounds (without stand), 37.5 pounds (with stand).
Features Of The Yamaha YPG-535
With its stand, the YPG-535 is fairly portable clocking in at about 37 pounds. So, it’s about the weight of your average 4 year old baby. While without the stand, the keyboard comes really portable at about 24 pounds. This is a common weight of choice for many portable keyboard manufacturers.
With its weight and dimensions, the YPG-535 easily makes a smart and commonsensical option for those who live in apartment or dorms. It won’t take up so much space thanks to its small footprint. But then, it will still deliver on performance.
Okay, to the size… The YPG-535 comes with pretty standard measurements for a portable keyboard until we get to its depth. It measures at 52.75 inches in width, and 5.7 inches in length. However, things get a little atypical at the depth.
Compared to many of its competitors, the YPG-535 measures “too deep” at 16.6 inches. So, if we were to give an award for the most compact keyboard of the year, it might not necessarily go to the YPG-535.
But then again, many of these other keyboards that come more compact than the YPG-535 actually do not pack all the punch that the YPG-535 does. So, yeah something had to give, and it did.
In assembling, this keyboard is a breeze. A single individual should not have any problems setting this up unaided. Simply get a screwdriver and you can have the stand up and running in 20 minutes max.
Moving on, this keyboard makes an excellent choice if you need something you can move about. Understandably you might have to swap the stand for an X-type that is more convenient to move about. But generally, this is a really convenient instrument for portability and whatnot.
Controls And Interface
It would be easy for the beginner, especially, to feel overwhelmed by al the controls and buttons on the YPG-535 at first. There are about 40 buttons in all, after all and let’s not forget some other control elements here and there.
In fact, you’d be correct to say that each setting and function has its own button dedicated to it. But thankfully, just like on the Yamaha PSR-E253, you can always hit the Grand Piano function and it will take you back to default setting.
Next, we take a look at the LCD display on this piano. We love this feature because it makes the piano more interactive especially for those still learning the ropes. Plus, taking the included lessons would be a lot easier once the learner can see what they are doing.
The YPG-535 boasts 88 full sized keys very similar to what you’ll find on an acoustic piano.
However, the action here is a Graded Soft Touch (GST) as opposed to the more popular Graded Hammer Standard action. This means, therefore, that the keys on this instrument are semi-weighted instead of fully weighted.
This is Yamaha’s most affordable action. And expectedly, this action isn’t at all similar to the hammer action you find in an acoustic piano.
So, instead of hammers, the keys of the YPG-535 come with springs. Springs actually do offer some form of resistance. But, of course, you can’t compare that level of resistance with what hammers would give.
Now, even though semi-weighted keys aren’t the best pianos have to offer, they are still a lot better than non-weighted keys. A feature that many cheap, entry-level pianos offer. It might not feel authentic but it’s still a far cry from non-weighted keys.
Nonetheless, if you’re extremely picky about the feel and response of your keys, then maybe you could try fully weighted keyboards with hammer action instead.
Graded Soft Touch Action
If you’re a Yamaha fan, the word “graded” should be very familiar to you by now. But for the records, graded simply means that the manufacturers made the keys of the piano to feel lighter on the higher ends and heavier on the lower ends.
Alright, beyond that, the keys on the YPG-535 are actually touch sensitive. So, essentially, what you play is what you get. But if you need to switch styles anytime, there are 3 settings. You can alter the sensitivity levels and choose something that works for you per time.
Now, there are two things you need to know about the Graded Soft Touch action. Yes, there’s a catch.
One, the keys will not come with ebony or ivory keytops. This ultimately means that your keys are going to feel quite plasticky.
Plus, the keys will be a little noisy. So, expect to hear some clicking noises here and there, especially when you’re playing at a low volume or even a medium volume.
If this bothers you so much, consider getting any of Yamaha’s pianos with a Graded Hammer Standard action. Or you could also get a Casio piano with a Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action II.
The YPG-535 and P-45 share the same sound sampling technology which is the AWM stereo sampling.
This piano sounds really great because Yamaha sourced its sound from an actual acoustic piano. In fact, the manufacturers took the pains to ensure that they recorded at different volumes.
So, by multi-layering, they were able to create appropriate sound responses for each key according to how hard you strike them.
Moving on… Now, aside the grand piano sound, which is amazing and high quality by the way, the YPG-535 still boasts many other instrument sounds. In all, there are about 500 of them which include: 12 drum/SFX kits, 27 panel sounds, and 361 XGlite sounds as well.
We will quickly list some of the major panel sounds you’ll find:
- 9 electric pianos.
- 14 organs.
- 8 pianos (warm grand, honky-tonk piano, bright piano, grand, etc.).
- 8 bass guitars.
- 5 accordions.
- 10 guitars.
- 13 strings.
- 4 choirs.
- 5 accordions.
- 9 trumpets.
- 13 saxophones.
- Plus synths, flutes, drum kits, brasses, and so on.
There are several types of effects for you to explore on the YPG-535.
- 9 Reverb types for a bigger sound.
- 4 chorus types to make your sound richer and fuller like other instruments were playing together with you.
- 26 harmony types to create full, harmonious chords.
- A pitch bend wheel to adjust the pitch of the notes you’re playing for a more interesting effect.
- And a master equalizer to tailor your sound to match the system from which you’re reproducing your sound.
For a keyboard that packs such a great punch, a 32 note polyphony is a big downer. It makes it really difficult for you to actually enjoy all the features this keyboard has to offer.
For instance, you can’t play classical pieces or play on a dual mode without notes dropping out at some point. And that can be quite frustrating for a more advanced player. A beginner might not be so perturbed since they might not be playing really complicated pieces yet.
All the same, a 128-note polyphony would have been ideal for such a great piano. And if push came to shove, then a 64-note polyphony should have been the next choice.
Pros Of Yamaha YPG-535
- 88 full sized keys.
- 500 built-in sounds.
- Features a 6-track MIDI recorder.
- Piano lessons from the Yamaha Education Suite (YES).
- Sturdy stand included.
- Recording and playback feature. Can record 6 MIDI tracks.
Cons Of Yamaha YPG-535
- Keys are only semi-weighted.
- 32 note polyphony.
- Sustain pedal feels cheap.
In conclusion, the choice is yours. We have outlined the cons of this piano as honestly as we can. You now have to choose for yourself if you can live with them.
Can you live with semi-weighted keys? Is a 32-note polyphony not a deal breaker for you? Then this instrument will make a good buy for you. It’s a pretty interesting instrument with many features for you to learn and keep entertained.
This is a great piano, but we won’t necessarily say it was made for everybody.