Digital Piano Review: Yamaha P85

Review of Yamaha's 88-Key Keyboard

Yamaha Digital Piano P85
Image Courtesy of Yamaha

Yamaha’s P85 is a quality digital piano, with a very fair price for an 88-key keyboard. Suitable for any skill-level as a primary or secondary instrument.


  • Keys: 88
  • Polyphony: 64-note
  • Touch Sensitivity: 3 velocity settings, or off
  • Reverb/Chorus: 4 reverb settings; 1 chorus
  • Metronome: Yes; from 32-280 BPM
  • Available Colors: Black or silver


$300-$500, used (P85 discontinued by Yamaha; see a review for the P95 or Compare Prices)



  • Can only record one user song; however, this option is a pro for basic home use
  • Keyboard stand not included - extra $99 (see Accessories)
  • No pre-made rhythms

Keys & “Action”

The Yamaha P85 model is an excellent choice if you’re seeking the feel of an acoustic piano but don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars. The weighted hammer action gives a realistic feel to the board, and timbre changes depending on how hard a key is pressed, mimicking a real piano.

Voices & Touch-Sensitivity

The 10 voices sound clear and realistic and may be dual-layered. Available tones are:

  • 2 Grand pianos; one concert grand and one with bright acoustics
  • 2 Pipe organs; one with three choirs for a Baroque sound, and one with a “coupler”
  • 2 Electric pianos; straight or dynamically sensitive
  • 2 Harpsichords; straight, or layered with same voice an octave higher
    (no touch-sensitivity)
  • Vibraphone
  • Strings

Touch-sensitivity may be tweaked by choosing from 4 preset velocity curves.

Preset Songs & Recording

The Yamaha P85 has a great selection of 50 songs for reference or just plain pleasure. Each of the 10 voices can be previewed with a few demo songs (abridged musical arrangements); but the impressive list of full piano compositions includes songs by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Joplin, and Debussy, as well as several songs by Beethoven and Chopin.

Personal songs or practice sessions may be easily recorded and stored, up to 11,000 notes. This data may be sent to a computer or MIDI device, but the preset songs are nontransferable (a USB cable adapter must be purchased separately).

Keyboard Speakers & Quality

The sound quality of the two built-in 6W speakers is excellent, but the limited volume makes me wonder how the decibels will affect the speakers over time. This model had previously been a secondary instrument of mine, so it didn’t get enough wear and tear for me to tell whether those concerns were warranted; however, the acoustics may be improved by using a suitable stand, as the speakers are located on the bottom of the instrument.

Included Accessories

  • Basic sustain pedal (see below)
  • 12V AC adaptor* (models # or )
  • Removable sheet music rest

*Inclusion of power supply varies by retailer; inquire before purchasing.

Optional accessories may be purchased separately, and include:

  • Matching keyboard stand; available in black (L-85) or silver (L-85S) - $99
  • FC3 Sustain Pedal; offers a more natural touch with half-pedal effect - $50-$70
  • 3-Pedal Unit (LP5), fits into stand; complete with sustain, sostenuto & una corda pedals - $75

If you happen to purchase this instrument used, without the included sustain, this pedal may be purchased for $15 - $20 at the manufacturer’s site or most music retailers (Yamaha pedal model # FC5).

Back Panel

○ 2 headphones/OUT
○ MIDI in/out
○ Sustain pedal input, 1/4"