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AZ PIANO REVIEWS – The #1 Most Trusted Digital Piano Review & News Blog in the world! LOWER PRICES than Amazon and internet music stores! Free ship, no tax on most items. Don’t order anywhere until you check with Tim & Erik Praskins 1st! Email us at or call 602-571-1864

Yamaha CSP-150 & CSP-170 digital pianos 2023

UPDATED REVIEW | Dec 1, 2023 | Yamaha CSP-170 REVIEW – Yamaha CSP-150 REVIEW | Yamaha Clavinova Digital Pianos with Smart Pianist technology | This new category of digital pianos uses an iPad to control the thousands of features in these two models from the color touch screen of your tablet device. However, more than that, it allows you to interface with piano music technology using a digital tablet in a variety of ways that were impossible just a few years ago. No other digital piano manufacturer is offering is offering these types of features except for Yamaha.

I have thoroughly played these 2 Yamaha digital pianos that I am reviewing here and there is a lot to like about them. It was just a matter of time until a digital piano manufacturer thought “outside the box” and came up with a new digital piano that breaks all the boundaries of conventional thinking and creates a new digital piano category, which is the first of its kind from a major digital piano manufacturer. 

Update - price drop

UPDATE: Yamaha has just recently discontinued this CSP100 series which has been out for a number of years and been extremely successful. They are just introducing their new CSP200 series including CSP-255, CSP-275, CSP-295, and CSP-295GP mini grand style.  

The differences in the new models are in the cabinets and physical aspects of their designs including new improved key actions and internal speaker systems. The “smart pianist app” and all of its contents for features and functions is the same as before. The prices of the new 200 series have gone up a bit over the regular prices of the 100 series.

Yamaha CSP-170 digital piano
Previous review of CSP-150 and CSP-170: The Yamaha piano company has these two models of interactive technology digital pianos called the CSP-150 ($3799 internet price in matte black, $4299 in polished ebony) and the CSP-170 ($5149 internet price in matte black and $5749 in polished ebony). From the outside these two models look like they can just play piano because there are not all the buttons, sliders, and display screens so commonly associated with digital pianos. In other words these pianos only have a power button and volume control on the right side of the keyboard, and a function button on the left side of the keyboard, but nothing else beyond that. The CSP-170 & CSP-150 digital pianos look as minimalistic on the outside in cabinet design and function as a digital piano could possibly be, and still be digital. But you cannot judge a book by its cover and in the advanced tech world we are all living in, looks can be deceiving. 

When it comes to digital pianos, sometimes a more complex looking electronic instrument with lots of buttons and a built-in display screen can look like it does a lot, but it may or may not. On the other hand something simplistic in appearance like the CSP models may look like they are very limited in what they can do. But when you actually use it then you know it goes way beyond what you ever thought it could musically do for you. Such is the case with these new CSP pianos. 
So when you look at these two models from the outside and notice there is only one button on the left side of the keyboard and one button and slider on the right side of the keyboard, don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Once you see what Yamaha has done that no other manufacturer of home digital pianos has yet to do, you will likely shake your head in disbelief and want to know more, and that is what I am about to discuss here in this review. So take a deep breath and keep on reading, you’ll be glad you did:). *click on pics for larger images so you can see important visual details.

lower prices than Amazon and internet stores
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

Over the years I have had a number of digital piano shoppers tell me that they wished there was a really good digital piano out there that did not cost “an arm and a leg” (somewhere around $5000) and yet had the ability to not only replicate a real piano playing experience as closely as possible, and that it would look great, play great, sound great, and also have a variety of interactive fun and educational features for people of all ages & playing skill levels. Also, that this instrument would allow more advanced musicians access to professional interactive music
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
features that would stimulate their creativity…but still look as piano-like as possible. 

The problem with getting all of these very cool, very high quality interactive digital features (that many digital piano shoppers would love to have) is that until now all those features needed to be built into the piano itself with lots of physical buttons, big internal color touch screen, and an array of controls and sliders to navigate all the functions. Those models tend to cost a lot more money than the simpler looking digital pianos.  
When all of the technology is built directly into the digital piano, especially in a higher price range, then these things tend make a piano look like a cockpit of an airplane with unfamiliar controls, and that is not what most piano shoppers want on their pianos anymore, at least that’s what I am seeing out there. People generally like and want new interactive technology in their devices, but they want the technology to be intuitive, easy to navigate, and familiar to operate, something you won’t outgrow…and at a reasonable price.

picture of iPad

So here’s a big question: what if you could do away with all the buttons, wheels, sliders, large built in display screen, and most other hardware on those expensive, interactive, technologically advanced digital pianos and take all of those features that are in those pianos and stuff it all into an iPad tablet and operate every function and feature of your piano (thousands of really cool features) from your iPad alone and use the familiar software controls of your iPad device to operate your piano? Then you would have your iPad color touch screen with all the familiar controls that you are used to having (for those who have an iPad tablet) and be able to have total control of a nearly unlimited amount of digital piano features for your piano that up until now have only been available on the more expensive digital pianos with all the hardware buttons and sliders. Wouldn’t that kind of thing be awesome?:)…I think so:).

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review - azpianonews.comThis is precisely what the newer Yamaha CSP-150 & CSP-170 digital pianos are giving people; a way to have a more attractive digital piano cabinet in their home or venue that looks like a piano instead of an electronic device, but at the same time musically outperforms any other brand or model and is easier to use than the more expensive top digital technology pianos like the Yamaha Clavinova CVP pianos, along with some of the other brands. Using an iPad (or iPhone) and the proprietary Yamaha Smart Pianist app in cooperation with Apple company, makes these 2 models unique among its peers. These two digital pianos are the kind of instruments in my opinion that the digital piano industry has needed as an alternative to the more “ornate and over produced” digital pianos of the past and even some current models. 

These hardware saturated digital pianos rely on an abundance of buttons, sliders, and screens packaged and built into a cabinet that can easily become outdated because technology keeps changing. Having it all built into the piano cabinet can sometimes make it more challenging and more difficult to keep up with and retain resale value as opposed to offering a good, solid piano which uses external digital technology (a feature laden app) to control the piano and what it can do that can also easily be tweaked, changed, and updated by Yamaha without affecting the piano itself, the resale value, or the need to buy a new piano to get new technology. What an interesting concept, now brought to life by Yamaha:).

picture of Yamaha Grand Piano

But as far as these actual pianos go, when you power up either the Yamaha CSP-150 or CSP-170, you get Yamaha’s best grand piano sound taken directly from its 9′ CFX concert grand which has a maximum 256-note polyphony along with natural organic resonances and tonal vibrations. The dynamic tonal range is smooth and very wide and there is a lot of music expression you can get out of these pianos when playing them. 

Yamaha has also provided many internal features on the piano for your convenience without the need of using an iPad device. These features can be accessed by holding down the function button on the
Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review -
left side of the keyboard and then simultaneously touching a specific key (from a chart in the owners manual) on the keyboard that triggers a preset function or feature. In this way you can have a variety of instrument sounds, rhythms, styles, metronome, and other features at your fingertips (literally) without needing to connect to any external device. 
There are 10 instrument sounds including the Yamaha and Bosendorfer grand piano tones, 10 orchestrated playalong songs including “my heart will go on” from the Titanic movie, 10 drum rhythm patterns & 10 style accompaniments including rock, jazz, Latin, etc, tempo speed adjustment for metronome and rhythms, 6 levels of reverb effects, 6 levels of key touch curve sensitivity, and a few other cool things you can do.  So if you do not want to power up your iPad…no problem. The CSP-150 & CSP170 can be a “traditional piano” and do some other useful things without your iPad needing to be involved.

Picture of Yamaha Smart Pianist app

But what really makes these pianos incredibly amazing (in my opinion) is their proprietary Yamaha iOS app for iPad/iPhone called Smart Pianist. This is where all the real excitement and power resides and how these relatively ‘simple” pianos become monsters:). But before I talk about this very powerful Yamaha app, I want to talk about the key action in this model. The CSP-150 piano model has the GH3X plastic key action and also and internal 60 watt 2-speaker sound system whereas the the CSP-170 (below left pic) has a wooden key (white keys only are wood) key action. The CSP-170 has substantially increased internal audio offering 180 watts of power going into 4 speakers and amplifiers with the main speakers housed
Yamaha CSP170 black - side pic
in their own acoustic chamber speaker box mounted just underneath the piano. This produces a fuller, more resonate sound with improved bass reproduction. The CSP-170 is noticeably upgraded with bigger, fuller sound and I personally like the wood white key action of the CSP-170 better than the plastic key action of the CSP-150. 

I notice a difference in the natural key movement of the CSP-170 over the CSP-150 with the CSP-170 key action being somewhat lighter, smoother, and an action that works with you more than the other key action. But I would expect that in the CSP-170 given the price difference in those two models. The pedaling on both instruments works quite adequately and each pedal does what it is supposed to do in allowing damper sustain with long decay time for all notes with the right pedal, sostenuto sustain for selected notes with the middle pedal, and soft pedal control with the left pedal.

Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review -

The Yamaha iOS/Android Smart Pianist app applies to both CSP models in exactly the same way with the same features although the Android version of the “Smart Pianist” app does not apply or work with all Android devices. So the choice for shoppers is…what can you afford to pay (your budget?) and which key action and internal sound system of these two pianos will most appeal to you? In my opinion there is only one choice assuming you can spring for the extra money, and that choice is…the CSP-170. This is because of its superior key action and its beefier internal sound system that really brings out the tone of the piano sound along with the incredible musical features of the Smart Pianist app. 

With regard to price, if you cannot reach for the CSP-170 in terms of your budget, then the CSP-150 is certainly a very nice piano for many families and both models connect to the Smart Pianist app in the same way. What’s especially important is that you will likely be able to upgrade the Smart Pianist app features in the coming years (because it is software based) without charge which helps prevents obsolescence that you would normally find in a “hardware driven” digital piano.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital PianoNow lets talk about this Yamaha Smart Pianist app and some of the impressive musical things it allows you to do whether you are a beginner, a serious piano student, a recreational player, or an advanced pianist who wants to add even more enjoyment to their music. First it is important to know that when connecting an iPad to the piano for a simultaneous MIDI and audio connection so that your piano can “talk to” the iPad and the app, you can plug in a special USB lightning audio cable (included) from the iPad lightning connector going to the piano audio core MIDI connector located on the right side of the music rack. This connection is quick, simple, and secure and is two way communication so that you can hear the music audio portion of your iPad along with being able to control the various interactive features of the Smart Pianist app like triggering different sounds, songs, and other features while playing the keyboard on the piano. There is a separate MIDI port  on the piano with the input connector located on the left side of the music rack so that you can connect other USB devices like a home computer to do other interactive musical things simultaneously. 

It’s so much nicer to have use of a large iPad color touch screen and/or computer screen rather than rely on the piano itself to see functions through a much smaller built-in display screen like some other digital pianos have in this price range. Controlling all the features and sounds of the Yamaha Smart Pianist through these devices for activating all the sounds, recording functions, sheet music functions, and playalong features is really fun and hearing them through the piano speaker system or through stereo headphones when plugged into the piano is just like all the functions are built in to the piano but they are actually in the Smart Pianist app.

Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review -

Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review - azpianonews.comSo what interactive musical things does this proprietary Yamaha iOS/Android Smart Pianist app give you so that you will have more than just a digital piano and a few extra features? In other words…what makes the CSP-150 & CSP-170 so cool? The first thing most people want to with their new digital piano is to…you guessed it…play piano! But with the Yamaha Smart Pianist, you can change many things on the  acoustic piano sounds in these pianos beyond what they do and sound like from the Yamaha factory. Yamaha has a feature called the “Piano Room” and in this virtual Piano Room you can make changes to the piano sounds to personalize them in a way that could be even more pleasing to your ears and fingers. You do this all with an intuitive, easy to understand list of piano sound changes on the app along with large icons/pictures of the pianos so you can see what is happening in real time. 

You can change up to 10 Piano Room functions in hundreds of ways by just using your finger on the iPad touch screen that makes it fun. So that the end result will be potentially hundreds of new custom piano tones which you can create. You can change the grand piano lid position, brightness of the sound, touch curve of the key touch, the room or venue the piano is playing in (Recital Hall, Concert Hall, Cathedral, etc)…along with the control of that room and its depth of natural reverb and acoustic properties, you can change the master tuning of the piano, the depth of the damper resonance, depth of string resonance, and even be able to tune and control volume for each individual note as opposed to all the notes at one time. 
Therefore if you feel one note is a bit “out of tune” for your ear or the volume is not quite right as compared to other notes, you can individually adjust each note to your own personal tastes. If you mess up during these individual settings and restore the piano sound back to what it was, then that is easy to do by a reset function in the Piano Room. So hopefully you get the idea and understand that the very nice Yamaha acoustic piano sounds that come built in to these 2 models can be taken much further through instant access and control of the unique Piano Room in the Smart Pianist app.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

I’ve only just begun talking about this new Smart Pianist app so here’s a big list of features that are part of this very extensive feature laden Yamaha app: You get access to a library of over 700 very high quality (HD) instrument sounds from additional acoustic pianos, electric pianos brass, woodwinds, guitars of every type, stringed instruments including the most realistic guitars, banjos, violins, harps saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, world instruments, and just about any other instrument you can think of. The authenticity and tonal reproduction of these instrument sounds are so good along with their detailed nuances that it’s easy to think
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
that you are hearing them “live.” You can even layer 2 or more instrument sounds together at the same time along with being able to split the keyboard anywhere you want to assign one instrument sound to the left hand and another one to the right hand with intuitive controls that would make an iOS iPad user very happy. 

These are not “toy” instrument sounds but they are sophisticated recreations of the real thing and like nothing you have ever heard before on a consumer home digital piano. You can also use those instruments in song recordings, live play, accompaniment style play, layered, split, or just about any way you want to. Yes, I know that many people just want a digital piano to mainly play piano…but music is so much more than that and as a long time piano, guitar, keyboard, and organ teacher I can tell you first hand that the more exposure you and/or your children have to music technology, the better musician you and/or they can become. Playing piano is a worthy endeavor but if you can have built in features on these pianos that adds to your musical enjoyment and satisfaction, then I say…why not:).

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital PianoThe Smart Pianist app also has “Music Styles” so that you can have an interactive playing experience with a backup orchestra or band on your piano while playing your piano music. Just about any type of music styles you can think of is in the app including Jazz, Latin, Big Band, Swing, Hard rack, Classic Rock, Light Rock, Waltz, Blues, Country, Western, New Age, Alternative, Broadway, Disney, Motown, and everything in-between. When you select a Music Style from the Style library, whatever song you feel like playing on the piano keyboard, those piano notes will have a professional back up band or orchestra playing along with you at any tempo you choose. 

You can even access and control special interactive rhythm fills along with an introduction and endings to your song so they sound more realistic. The styles themselves fill in the background with a band based on the chord you are playing and you play piano or any other instrument sound from the instrument sound library with your right hand and then you are the leader of your own personal band or orchestra and musical results are very exciting. I will say that the Yamaha CVP interactive music style models (especially the CVP-805) are much more adept at playing the rhythm music styles and offering much more in the way of realistic introductions and endings to your song, but the CVP models also cost quite a bit more money too. 
Perhaps someday Yamaha will upgrade its Smart Pianist app to offer more intros and endings on the CSP models. As a piano teacher for many years I know there are people who play piano and students taking lessons who may not care for or have not had the opportunity to know about these added musical features that interact with your playing. But the fact is that you can control those features to enhance your playing enjoyment in ways not possible in the past on conventional pianos, and all of it done from your iPad in real time. 
When you hear these Yamaha Smart Pianist interactive styles for yourself I think you might agree that it’s all about playing music that makes you “feel good” and if this feature does that for you then that is what is truly important. At the end of the day music is all about feelings and personal expression and if you can gain more happiness from what these new pianos can do for you and/or your family, then that is what should really count.

16 track - 16 instrument recording

One thing that I find that helps expand a person’s musical ability and musical understanding is to be able to record themselves while they play along with being able to create more complex and engaging music. The Yamaha CSP-150 & CSP-170 Smart Pianist app offers these things with its ability to record your every note on one or both hands and then play them back in real time allowing you to slow the song down or even mute out left or right hand so you can analyze your piano practice and playing to get
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a better idea of what you really sound like. You control all aspects of your recording and playback from the intuitive recording/playback section of the app. You can also playalong with any recorded part live in real time like you would be playing along with your piano teacher of someone else. 

You can record your song either as a GENERAL MIDI song file or an audio wav file CD quality and save it on a USB flash drive and playback from the flash drive. You can also download General MIDI multi-track song files from the internet for full playback on the CSP models. To make things even more interesting you can learn to create full song arrangements with up to 16 different instruments from the Smart Pianist instrument library played and recorded one at a time and then played back simultaneously as one complete song arrangement just like you would hear from a band, orchestra, or other musicians
playing together. 
You can control every instrument with regard to type, individual relative volumes, tempo, octaves, effects, and being able to mute any or all instruments during playback. I have done this type of song creation and recording many times and I can tell you that a person, regardless of piano playing skill level, can get a real sense of musical accomplishment when you create an entire score of music on your own and then hear it played back all at one time. You can editing your recordings, save them to digital memory, and also see the music on your iPad or Android device. Recording and playing back music is a very cool thing to do and it can either be very simple with a wav audio file 1-track piano recording all the way up to a full 16 instrument, 16-track musical arrangement of any song you like including writing your own music. You just may wind up with the next famous studio recorded song all done on your Smart Pianist app from playing one of these new CSP pianos:).

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

OK, so what else can this Smart Pianist app do? Well one of the most interesting things it does is something that just about everyone I know would like to have and no other piano offers this feature. You can take just about any iTune song (MP3 audio song file) from your iOS iTune library or Android audio songs and play it through the piano and use that very impressive speaker system as a place to hear your audio audio/iTunes song files in beautiful stereo sound. I have heard it and it really does sound good. What is even more impressive is that the Smart Pianist app can convert the audio playback of the iTune song to actual sheet music notation on the iPad so that you can following along with the song and actually play it from sheet music while even controlling the tempo and the transposed key. Imagine
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
having sheet music displaying the notation to an iTune song and being able to play the piano along with the song. There are a number of built in famous, popular songs within the Smart Pianist app which display all the notation of those songs so there is a lot to play with already built in. Not only that but you can mute out different parts of the built in songs so that you can play the piano while controlling the accompaniment along with the right and left hand parts in different ways. 

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital PianoIf you do not read music then you can instead have the app translate the iTune song to a “chord chart” so that you can play along using chords that are shown in the correct order as the song is played. This is great if you play by ear, don’t read music as I mentioned, want to play live guitar along with the song because guitar players use chords, or you do read sheet music but just want to play left hand chords and right hand melody. Given this new technology just came out in the Smart Pianist app, regular iTune/audio songs that you import into the Smart Pianist app will likely not show the treble clef/melody line at this point. The app may be “smart,” but it still has some things to learn:) and the translation of melody lines from audio songs is still fairly difficult but I suspect Yamaha along with Apple will be upgrading this app in the near future to be able to do these things along with other future improvements. There are over 400 built in songs in the Smart Pianist “song library” offering a huge musical variety of well known music and educational pieces that will give you access to instant song learning and playback that are very enjoyable for any age and playing skill level and work well for the piano. 
I believe people will be impressed by the instant music notation function and it will give you some musical tools which can be used in many ways for more immediate musical enjoyment. Also, having an up upgradable app certainly beats having to buy a whole new piano just to get the latest interactive features:)

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

But none of this would truly be complete without being able to sing along with your favorite song…right? Well…not only does the CSP-150 and CSP-170 allow you to plug in a microphone to the piano mic inputs to sing through the internal piano speakers, but the Smart Pianist app displays the words (lyrics) to many audio/iTunes songs so that that you can read the words and sing them while the song is playing, kind of like karaoke only better. Beyond that, you can add special vocal reverb effects to your voice to give you pro
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
performance quality and play piano along with your singing and with the song that playing so you can experience and participate in a complete musical live performance. That’s pretty cool, and also if the song is not in your singing range (too low or too high) then you can transpose the song into a different key to sing along in a vocal range that better suits your voice…wow! 

A lot of people enjoy singing along with their favorite song with or without playing an instrument and now all this can be done through the piano on your iPad in an easy to see, easy to read format that also allows you to control the volume of your voice so it mixes well with your playing. There are hundreds of songs you can get with lyrics and it’s great fun for the entire family regardless of your age, musical ability, or singing ability. You can use this technology for schools, churches, parties, retirement centers, hospitals…you name it and this technology can satisfy a lot of musical needs and desires.

In addition to the lyrics feature and vocal mic connection to the piano and being able to control it, I know a lot of people who have always dreamed of singing with their favorite song but thought their voice was not good enough to do it, especially in “public.” The Smart Pianist app also lets you hear the vocal tracks to the songs you choose so you can sing along to it and still hear the original voice on the song. 

However, when you think you are good enough to sing on your own without the original voice on your favorite iTune song, then the Smart Pianist app will allow you to cancel out or “mute” that voice track so that you become the exclusive singer of the song. Yamaha calls this feature a “Melody Suppressor” because it suppresses the melody or sing line. So as you become more confident about your voice and vocal abilities you will want to use this feature so that you can be the only voice on the song and sound like a pro:).

Vocal Harmony logo

Ok so all that is very cool but there is still one more very impressive thing the vocal feature will do for you. If you are a singer in a band or orchestra and want other voices to harmonize with you then that harmonizing can really sound great and add to your singing and playing enjoyment in a big way. Since you are just one person singing through the mic to get harmony you would need other people to sing live with you, know the song, and be able to perfectly harmonize with your voice. Since
Vocal harmony singing group
this situation is not likely to happen anytime soon then if you want to take your singing dream even further, the Smart Pianist app provides an interactive vocal harmony feature when you sing. 

In other words, you can switch on the vocal harmony control and when you are singing then the Yamaha harmony feature on the Smart Pianist app will automatically and perfectly add harmony notes using your voice for those notes. So basically you will hear other people singing with you in a variety of harmonies that you can select from, and those harmonies are you! There are not 1, not 2, not 3, but 44 different harmonies you can choose from with the vocal harmonizer including duet, trio, open and close harmonies, 4 part, 5 part, jazz, and so many more. This takes singing to a whole new level so if you love to sing or have other people in your family (or friends) who do, or if you like to entertain, then this CSP-150 & CSP-170 vocal feature will give you even more musical enjoyment than you thought possible.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

The Yamaha CSP-150 and CSP-170 both have a feature built into the piano themselves called “follow along” streaming lights. Streaming lights is a new and very impressive interactive feature that will identify the black & white keys in a visual way that you are supposed to play on the piano keyboard while playing along with built in songs in the Smart Pianist app. Yamaha currently has a variation of streaming lights built into other models they have and that function is called “lesson guide” using guide lamps just above the keys to indicate the
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
keys to press down at the appropriate time while a song is playing back in that piano. Guide lamps are basically little lighted dots, one above each key and those dots light up. 

The Yamaha CVP series of Clavinova pianos has these more traditional light-up dots but those pianos are generally a lot more money than the CSP pianos and the light guide system is not near as cool or intuitive. Also, the streaming light function in the CSP pianos stream down above each key in a 4-step process so you know when that key (or keys) needs to be played. The new streaming lights are much easier to follow and give you that 4-step “countdown” during the light-stream so it is easier to play the correct key at the right time than with the convention light guide on the other models.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

So…if you do not play piano at all or you just want to learn a song more quickly, the new CSP streaming lights can and will help you do that and you can even slow down the song to any tempo to learn the notes without the song jumping out ahead of you. Streaming light feature also has other things it can do and all of its features are controlled by the Yamaha Smart Pianist app on your iPad or Android device. You can take your favorite song in iTunes, see the notation, learn the chords, see the notes, follow the light streams (at different tempos) on the piano and even sing the lyrics and do this altogether while being able control how you use this system right from the app in a very intuitive way using familiar iPad/iPhone or Android controls. 

Music should be enjoyed by your family and friends in whatever way gets them involved, and based on my personal time playing and working with these new pianos and the Smart Pianist app, there’s no way that you can’t find something to really like them. 
Music, whether listening to or playing it, should generate an emotional feeling in you so you can express yourself and the CSP models do that like no other digital pianos can do in my opinion. There are videos of the streaming lights in action that you can see if you check out YouTube for demos on the CSP-150 and CSP-170.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

It would be easy for me to continue talking about this Smart Pianist app as the list of things it can do goes on and on almost without end. But I believe the main functions and features that I have described so far should give you a clear idea of the musical potential of both the CSP-150 and CSP-170 so that you can enjoy playing music in almost any way that you chose to do. The piano does have the standard digital features that most all of the other digital pianos out there have including duet play, splitting the keyboard into 2 sounds, layering 2 any sounds together, using a digital metronome for teaching, practice, and focusing on tempo and timing while being able to just play the instrument as a piano. The CSP pianos also have all the connectivity that a person would need including the mic/line input as I mentioned before, dual stereo headphone
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
inputs, auxiliary line input jack, audio output to connect to external speaker system if necessary (for church, school, outdoor event, etc), USB to device to connect external device to the piano (iPad, computer, etc), and standard MIDI connectors for MIDI in, out, and through to be used with older MIDI devices (keyboards, modules, etc). 

One more connection device that can work with these pianos is the optional wireless connector that Yamaha makes called the UDWL01. This WiFi system allows a MIDI connection from the piano to a wireless router so that you can connect your CSP piano in that way using the wireless adapter rather than a cable. I personally like a cable because that connection tends to be more immediate and secure. But for those people who want less cables plugged into their digital piano and device, then this would be the way to do that. This proprietary Yamaha WiFi adapter is the only one that will work for the piano and it will cost you on average about $90. So it’s not cheap and you have to rely on a good router and placement so that it will work well.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

Yamaha CSP150 vs CSP170 Review - azpianonews.comIn the final analysis, the new Yamaha CSP-150 and CSP-170 digital pianos have what a lot of people have been looking for in this price range: impressive and more authentic looking piano cabinets in nice finishes (including bench) with very few buttons/sliders, no built-in user display screen in the piano to worry about, and a very satisfying piano sound, key action, and pedaling response, especially in the CSP-170. Then you take those basic piano fundamentals and combine them with cutting edge music technology offering literally thousands of digital musical options as I previously described, all controlled by a single Yamaha proprietary Smart Pianist app designed in conjunction with the Apple company for its famous iPad and the new conversion to include (many) Android devices as well. 

Then you have all the interactive music features you could ever want residing in an external device with a full color touch screen (your tablet and/or mobile device) instead of on and/or inside the piano. Yamaha also includes a full 5 year factory warranty for both parts & labor which is a sufficient amount of time and the Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos have proven to be very durable over many years. The digital piano has finally entered the age of personal interaction with a “monster” app on your large iPad color touch screen that can be updated with new features in the future or even be able to have potential “bugs” fixed like other apps do. 
Instead of relying solely on the piano itself  to provide all the interactive features built into it, you can now have pretty much whatever you want your piano to do and you pay for it just one time…when you buy the piano and have the extensive Smart Pianist app. I suppose one could look at  this situation and say that a person buying a CSP-150 would be paying approx $900 more than the more basic CLP-735 for the privilege and benefit of having and extensive amount of interactive “bells & whistles” than if he/she instead just bought the CLP-735. 
There are a few other differences in those models but the extended capability of the Smart Pianist app on the CSP150 and CSP170 makes the biggest difference by far. It just depends on what you want to do with your music and how many different family members you may have who have different musical needs and desires.

Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano

If you have multiple people in your family who would be playing or learning to play piano, or you are a piano teacher or beginner through advanced student, a school, university, or church, or even a professional performer, there are so many features in these pianos and ways to use them, in my opinion the CSP-150 or CSP-170 are pianos which can fit almost anyone’s musical needs including parents and their children who may want to go indifferent musical directions from each other and find the Smart Pianist app would be able to accommodate a variety of musical goals and tastes. If you play piano and just want to purchase a digital piano mainly for the sake of playing piano (just focusing on piano playing) then there probably are better options and likely for less money. But if you want a satisfying piano playing experience and some compelling interactive music features that can take you to the next level of music enjoyment and learning, then these pianos will make that happen for you. 

If you want to be entertained with songs and accompaniments then the Smart Pianist app does a tremendous job of that and you will enjoy it because everything sounds so real. If you want to write music, perform music, sing music, record music and create music, then all of that is available for these models. 
The app is free when you buy either a CSP-150 or CSP-170
Picture of Yamaha CSP150/CSP170 Digital Piano
but we all know nothing is really “free.”
But with the high quality music and operational technology that Yamaha in conjunction with Apple (along with Android technology) is providing through its Smart Pianist app, you otherwise would have had to spend way more money in a self-contained hardware driven digital piano than you would be in these new CSP pianos to get all that technology and it likely would not be upgradable either. So the question is…are the these 2 pianos worth the price of admission…and the answer as far as I am concerned is a definite yes. Are they the best digital pianos in terms of just playing piano in their price range?…maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, it depends on your point of view. There are other great brands out there including Roland, Casio, and Kawai to name a few that offer very good digital pianos in similar price ranges.  Also, the Yamaha CLP line of Clavinova pianos are also worth consideration.
But do those brands and models have anything like what the CSP’s are offering in terms of connecting with an iOS music app with almost unlimited educational and interactive music possibilities, especially in their price range?…the answer is definitely not. If you like what you see and hear when it comes to the CSP pianos by Yamaha, then I recommend you consider  investing in one. Just be warned that when you get one of these pianos in your home and start playing on it, you may not get anything else done for awhile, they are that much fun! ? BE SURE YOU CONTACT US FIRST BEFORE MAKING ANY BUYING DECISIONS FROM ANYONE ON ANY BRANDS & MODELS…YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID.

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at or call direct at 602-571-1864.

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26 Responses

  1. Best. Purchase. EVER. 🙂 🙂 Absolutely LOVE my new Clavinova CSP-170!! Another superb review, Tim (and I've read most of them)! Having purchased the CSP on your sage advice, before you'd finished this review, I was thinking this exact "disclaimer" while I read it: Just be warned that when you get one of these pianos in your home and start playing on it, you may not get anything else done for awhile:).
    Thank you so much for all your help and advice!!
    Theresa Kaplan

  2. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Wonderful review of the CSP-170 and the piano totally lives up to it's billing. Tim is the real deal, with a breadth of experience and desire to help, and so is the piano. As a result of Tim's guidance, I made the purchase and could not be happier!

  3. Tim,
    Please clarify your statement below. Don't you mean to say… I notice a difference in the natural key movement of the CSP170 over the CLP645 (instead of CSP150)?

    "I personally like the wood key action of the CSP170 much better than the firmer key movement on plastic key action of the CSP150. I notice a difference in the natural key movement of the CSP170 over the CSP150 with the CSP170 key action being somewhat lighter, smoother, and an action that works with you. But I would expect that in the CSP170 given the price difference in those two models."

  4. Yes, the Smart Pianist app will work and some features of the app will control the NU1X, but many of the app features of the Yamaha CSP models cannot be reproduced with the NU1X. Just depends on what you want.

  5. Thanks you so much for this review. I've been reading and looking youtube movies a lot the last month, mainly the CLP-series. Decided I would prefer the CLP645 over the CLP675 especially after your review. Now looking at the CSP series. Especially the CSP 170 looking very promising, even has better speakers than the CLP645. So an improved 645, the CSP 170 will most probably be my choice…


  6. Dear Tim,
    Many thanks for the great review. It is absolutely comprehensive. I have only one question. Could you please briefly compare the natural wood key action in CSP 170 and CLP 685? Which one is more realistic? I would much appreciate your kind reply. Thanks ever so much.

  7. Dear professor Tim,
    I’d like to thank you for this long e awesome review. It’s well detailed and helpfull. I just have a question on deciding to change my digital piano (casio) to Clavinova. Many others apps on teaching how to play piano will work on the yamaha csp? Or only the smart pianist? Best Regards, Fabiano Martins

  8. Thank you so much for this very nice and informative review. I am very tempted to go for the CSP-170, but I have a question: can you use it as a simple plain piano. What I mean to ask, is, will it play out of the box without being connected to an ipad. I am asking this because it is an importnat aspect of the user experience in my opinion. Sometimes you want to do tec stuff, sometimes you simply want to play, without having to suddenly have to upgrade your ipad – 1 hour – upgrade your app . trouble shoot your app store account, etc, etc, etc.

  9. Finally, a great review of CSP series. Anyway, I have a question.
    leaving out the question of price and appearance, is the difference between a CVP-705 and CSP-170 so great? is it just about having the electronic part outside the cabinet of the piano or are there substantial differences in the sounds? which piano would you buy from the two I indicated? Thank you

  10. I am thinking of buying the CSP-170, but I read the music to score feature is not perfect. Is there a way to download the original score and play off that (with lights, for instance)?

  11. How would you compare the CSP series with the CLP series? I will be purchasing a digital piano anytime soon and I am struggling with the comparison of the CSP-170 and the CLP-675… putting aside the NWX vs GrandTouch (I know you are not a big fan of the latter), is there any feature of the CLP-675 that would make it preferable to the CSP-170?

  12. I could be wrong, but I think only the Smart Pianist will work on it – However, it offers a huge range of things you can do and you may be able to replicate another app with the features of the Smart Pianist.

  13. I love my CSP 170. It can be just a piano or just about anything you want with the Smart Pianist App. Your review convinced me to buy the 170, great review.

  14. Hi! I have a simple question regarding audio recording – if you want to make a simple studio quality recording of a song simply singing and playing the piano using a good reverb on the voice, can it be done? I mean, can you simply record a studio quality (if the mic's good enough obviously) audio file of your singing and playing the piano live – either onto the iPad or a USB? Thanks for a thourough review! 🙂 /Jonas, Sweden

  15. Hello

    Very much enjoying your reviews. Noticed that also you found the p515 action heavy, but liked the action of the CSP-170, although they are the same. Or are they? Is there a difference in pivot points or otherwise making it lighter in the CSP-170?

    All best

  16. Hi there can anyone tell me if the csp170 can accept a usb bluetooth adapter? I find it unthinkable that Bluetooth audio /midi is not built into the csp pianos and are on most of the other ranges such as clp. Will there be an updated version ? Will an update be done through the smart pianist app? Thanks.

  17. Bluetooth is ok for streaming recorded music. But introduces lag that is perceptible in live music. That's why music instruments don't build in Bluetooth. I have still tried to use a bluetooth dongle from Amazon to listen on AirPods but the lag is annoying. Rumor has it the next AirPods Pro will have a new non-Bluetooth solution that can work for live music. Likely that will require a dongle from Apple that is plugged into the CSP's headphone jack. I will be getting that for my CSP!

  18. Many keyboards and pianos do in fact build Bluetooth midi into them and the lag is usually imperceptible. Adding the BT adapter to this was also decent, except for the fact that it doesn’t support the stream lights when using BT.

    I have had the Roland HP 605, Kawai ES520, and the CSP-170 with BT Midi Adapter and never had an issue with lag using the iPad with apps.

  19. Yes but if you get the BT adapter, make sure it is the USB Version as the Midi bridge does not support the follow lights.

    Also, on the GP pianos in the CSP line support BT.

  20. You also did a review on The One smart piano which seemed to have many of the same features at a much lower price (guide lights, app to control the piano, etc.) I'm trying to decide between the two in order to get my children interested in music and I really like the idea of the guide lights and app functions. The Yamaha seems to be a higher quality instrument but would it make sense to spend the $5K on a CSP-170 over the $1.5K for The One smart piano; especially considering it is for someone with no musical experience?

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