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I've had the Yamaha Digital Piano P-45 (~$500) for about seven years now - and it's fine, except that while playing (and recording with an iPhone nearby), I can prominently hear the plastic keys plunking - almost as loud as the speaker.

Do all entry-level digital pianos have such an audible plastic plunking sound? If so, how can it be mitigated?

Example recording

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    Even entry level Yamaha digital pianos are better than decent. Have you tried to find the exact source of the clicking? Perhaps it is something external, like some felts or cushioning that has worn down where the key hits the key bed. Maybe you can add some cushioning to mute the clicking sound. Jan 7 at 19:27
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    Hammer mechanisms tend to be loud. In an acoustic piano you don't hear it because the sound from string overwhelms it but I doubt it is possible to make a completely silent hammer mechanism that feels good to touch.
    – ojs
    Jan 7 at 20:23
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    Good edit. But the upvote is for using "Beth" for the sample. :-)
    – Aaron
    Jan 7 at 20:50
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    I guess a nice question you could make from this would be something along the lines ”This dp makes these noises, is this usual for a dp in this price range, is this a problem of this model or is this indicative of a problem of this unit?“
    – Lazy
    Jan 7 at 22:15
  • I've an old Clavinova with a similar issue. Essentially only really usable via MIDI or some other method outside of directly recording it with a mic or what not. Jan 8 at 9:51

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All digital pianos will have some kind of mechanical extraneous sound, but the clicking from your digital piano is exceptionally loud. (Either that, or you recorded your example with the volume very low.)

One way to get around this extra noise while recording is to record the line out signal from the piano. You should be doing this anyway, unless you particularly like the sound through a certain keyboard amp. If your piano does not have line outputs, but does have a headphone output, you can use a splitter cable to plug both headphones and a digital recorder or PC to your piano. Specifically, you will need a "3.5mm headphone splitter" or "3.5mm TRS Y splitter, 1 male to 2 female".

For practice, you can use headphones to isolate you from the clicking sounds coming from the piano, if they bother you. If you're playing with other people, headphones may not be an option, but you're probably playing loudly enough (with a keyboard amp) that the clicking is not an issue.

As far as physically solving the problem at the source, solutions available will depend on the construction of your keyboard. Many keyboards will have a strip of felt that the keys touch when depressed all the way, which could be replaced, either with fresh replacement felt, or maybe some slightly thicker felt. I believe this is the replacement for the model mentioned in the question. I am not endorsing this seller. For weighted models, there may also be cushion strips for the hammers. Example Example If your keyboard has those cheap plastic-shell type keys, where the underside is accessible, then maybe you could try sticking some type of adhesive-backed gel or rubber pads in there to damp the keys.

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  • Thanks for the "solving the problem" suggestions. (and yes I'm trying to solve the problem without using headphones or recording via MIDI interface to Apple laptop...) I plan to check mine, to see if perhaps the felt has worn out and just needs to be replaced.
    – j03y_
    Jan 13 at 22:32
  • I tried a few digital pianos at a local music store today. I tried two Yamahas there: One had the same clunky sound, so must use the same plastic key mechanism as the P-45. The other Yamaha seemed to have a much better mechanism. Will Yamaha tech support be willing to tell me which of their digital pianos use which mechanism? So far, I see this: P-45: clunky plastic key mechanism (mine) P-125: sounds/feels like same mechanism as P-45 YPD-165: totally different sounding/feeling mechanism The "hinges" in the P-45 mechanism are just plastic bending - i've repaired broken keys twice.
    – j03y_
    Jan 13 at 22:42
  • Probably- ask Yamaha
    – Edward
    Jan 13 at 23:56
  • So far, what I see from scouring the Yamaha website, is (mostly just) two kinds of "keyboard action": GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) Keyboard Action with Matte Black Key Tops (on most of the P- models ("P" = Portables?) GH3 (Graded Hammer 3) Keyboard Action with Synthetic Ebony and Ivory Key Tops (on about half the "YDP"(Yamaha Digital Piano?) models. And my P-45 is "GHS", and the much-better sounding/feeling YDP-165 I played today is "GH3".
    – j03y_
    Jan 14 at 2:14

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