Yamaha Reface CP Portable Electric Piano Review

Yamaha Reface CP Portable Electric Piano Review

Yamaha Reface CP – the smallest stage piano in the world.

  • The Yamaha Reface CP combines great sounding vintage electric pianos and authentic effects in one mini keyboard.
  • Like the other models in the Reface series, the Reface CP is convincing in terms of workmanship.
  • In addition to six vintage keyboard sounds, the Reface CP also provides typical effects such as tremolo, wah, phaser and analog delay.


Yamaha Reface CP mini stage piano

Playing the piano on three octaves – is it still possible? But wait a minute: a stage piano that fits in your backpack? Actually a brilliant idea. Especially when the “stage” in the little bar around the corner has barely a square meter of space. The Yamaha Reface CP is then the small cutlery, with which one does not have to do without big sound.

Despite the mini buttons, it is definitely more than a toy!

The Reface CP can do a lot more than you spontaneously assume – despite the mini buttons, it is definitely more than a toy! For example, it can also be used as a piano module that can be played via MIDI from a master keyboard with piano keys. The Reface CP is the mini piano that you always have with you. Even if it’s just to pass the time at home on the couch. Sounds casual, it’s practical!

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Good quality mini buttons

Hand on heart: mini-buttons take getting used to. But you can definitely accompany a song on it and play a little solo. With the Yamaha Reface CP, I am surprised by the quality of these mini keys; it is much more grippy and robust than you know from most mini master keyboards. In general, the device makes a high-quality impression in terms of workmanship. Top!

Mini keyboard, but 88-note piano sounds

A huge advantage of the small size of the keyboard: The Yamaha Reface CP has enough space even on small recording desktops and is therefore the perfect choice for mini-gigs where a band would actually have no space. You just put the little stage piano on your knees and you’re ready to play. Ideal for spontaneous singer/songwriter gigs as seen here in the video. Really impressive.

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Yamaha Reface CP overview

Available since: 09.2015
Keyboard: 37 (high quality) mini keys, velocity-sensitive
Polyphony: 128 voices
Manufacturer: Yamaha


The sounds are tailored to 88 formats, and thanks to the OCT switch, you can quickly switch through five octaves – useful in the event that you play a gig on the Reface keyboard. Otherwise, the 88 format of the piano sounds makes special sense in connection with a MIDI master keyboard. Then the Yamaha Reface CP works practically like a piano module.

The connections of the Yamaha Reface CP: stereo output, AUX input (mini jack), sustain pedal, USB-to-host, headphones (image source: Yamaha)
The connections of the Yamaha Reface CP: stereo output, AUX input (mini jack), sustain pedal, USB-to-host, headphones.

Yamaha Reface CP: vintage pianos to go!

In terms of emphasis, the Yamaha Reface CP delivers vintage keyboard sounds. A Wurlitzer electric piano, two Fender Rhodes variants, a clavinet, a toy piano, and a sampled Yamaha CP80. If you play the sounds on an 88-key keyboard, you can feel the good quality of the sounds. You wouldn’t expect such warm and powerful sounds from such a small instrument. The Reface CP always sounds clear and brilliant.

Thanks to the battery compartment on the underside, you can enjoy the whole thing independently of the mains so that you can play anywhere. It is a shame that there is no display showing the charge status of the batteries.

In terms of emphasis, the Reface CP delivers vintage keyboard sounds.

With the electric pianos, you have the typical sounds ready: Wurlitzer and the second Rhodes variant sound nice and powerful and percussive, while the preset Rd I produces a soft, bell-like Rhodes sound. The name “CP” hides Yamaha’s legendary electric grand piano from the 80s: The CP80, which comes across as very loud here, with the bass slightly out of tune – fantastic! The clavinet and the toy piano are also fun.


The acoustic piano is hidden!

Whether it’s a little gag – maybe Yamaha’s software programmers have also hidden an Easter egg here. So be it. With a little trick, an acoustic piano can be conjured up from the Reface CP despite the focus on vintage sounds. It is admittedly a little tricky to set, but at least: Before switching on, set the sound selector switch to an intermediate position (e.g. as shown in the video Rd I and Rd II), then switch on and play the piano.

Good vintage effects in the Yamaha Reface CP

This is where you can really enjoy yourself: The effects are not only numerous, they also sound really good. The sounds get a little more punch with the DRIVE control, especially in the lower control range. In addition, the sounds can also be heavily distorted. 

The other sections with tremolo/wah, chorus/phaser, delay, and reverb provide all the effects you need for authentic vintage electric pianos. The analog delay simulation is great, with which the typical tape delay effects can be conjured up – including the rocking and overdriving of the echo effects. All respect, that sounds great!

Free DAW software (Image source: Steinberg)
Desktop recording with mini piano: Yamaha Reface CP

Conclusion: mini buttons, great vintage sound

Yamaha Reface CP - Stage piano in mini format (Image source: Yamaha)

The Yamaha Reface CP is a hit when you need a small stage piano for different occasions: mini gigs in the kiosk or the bar around the corner, small open-air sessions thanks to battery operation, input keyboard in mobile or desktop recording Set up. But the surprise is its use as a piano module because you wouldn’t expect such professional sounds spontaneously given the compact design of the Yamaha Reface CP. 

The Reface CP clearly stands out from the mini keyboards with the high processing quality of the housing, control elements, and keyboard. With the focus on vintage electric pianos, you get good vintage effects on top of that. A super handy (mini) stage piano that is fun and sounds really good in mobile use.


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