It’s honest to say that Yamaha is aware of a factor or two about keyboards. The Japanese firm has been manufacturing them because the Eighties, and was accountable for making 54 p.c of the moveable keyboards bought world wide in 2019. However what are the perfect Yamaha keyboards you should buy right this moment, and what makes them so particular?
The sheer variety of Yamaha keyboards will be overwhelming for these pondering of constructing a purchase order, so we’ve narrowed our focus right down to the corporate’s beginner-friendly arranger keyboards (to search out out what’s meant by an arranger keyboard, click on on the shopping for recommendation tab above). This guidelines out skilled stage keyboards like the brand new CP88, digital pianos such because the P-125, Yamaha’s well-established vary of synthesizers, together with the MODX and the Motif, synth workstations just like the Montage vary, and in addition the wallet-busting Genos arranger keyboard.
Finest Yamaha keyboards: Our high picks
Selecting a favorite from such a broad vary of keyboards was all the time going to be a problem, however ultimately we plumped for the Yamaha PSR-E373, because it sits firmly within the candy spot for breadth of options, high quality of sound and worth for cash. It actually is a wonderful instrument and will offer you years of studying, composing and taking part in pleasure. There are too many nice options to record right here, however we had been particularly bought on the keyboard’s built-in audio/MIDI interface and 38 digital sign processors.
A particular point out goes to the Piaggero NP-12 for delivering that satisfying Yamaha digital piano tone in such an aesthetic moveable package deal. It additionally reintroduced this author’s 90-year-old mum to the fun of taking part in piano over the past lockdown!
Finest Yamaha keyboards: Product information
A big improve on its predecessor the PSR-E363, the PSR-E373 provides options and sounds that you simply received’t even discover on a few of Yamaha’s costliest keyboards. Among the many spectacular choice of 622 voices, there are 11 new Tremendous Articulation Lite presets that faithfully reproduce the tricky-to-mimic nuances of stringed devices such because the cello and the mandolin.
The PSR-E373 additionally comes with 205 accompaniment kinds, plus a class-leading choice of 38 digital sign processor results. Sounds can be layered and/or break up throughout the keyboard with a single button press. Yamaha’s onboard lesson system, Rec’n’Share cellular app compatibility and a helpful built-in USB audio/MIDI interface spherical issues off properly.
With the PSR-E373, Yamaha has hit the candy spot between options and affordability, however should you want extra keys there’s a 76-note model out there within the type of the PSR-EW310.
Pushing the portability envelope considerably at a hefty 8.1kg, the PSR-SX600 is the lowest-priced mannequin in Yamaha’s SX vary of pro-level keyboards. Blurring the traces between a conveyable arranger and a correct workstation keyboard, it packs in a whole lot of high-end options, justifying its standing as the most costly instrument on our record. Actual-time management over a spread of user-assignable settings, an informative 4.3” TFT color LCD display screen, two highly effective 15W audio system and 128-note polyphony are only a few of the highlights right here.
There are a staggering 850 voices on faucet, 73 of that are the brand new Tremendous Articulation kind, giving additional authenticity to guitar, sax, trumpet, organ and string sounds. With a whopping 415 kinds, a playlist organiser, accents and unison options, plus 100MB of enlargement reminiscence to load new sounds onto, the PSR-SX600 provides an entire world of musical journey to discover.
Often known as the YPT-270 in some markets, the PSR-E273 is the entry-level product in Yamaha’s E-series of arranger keyboards. Its more-affordable price ticket is mirrored within the lack of a number of the extra refined options discovered on the PSR-E373, reminiscent of velocity-sensitive keys, MIDI functionality, LCD backlighting, and the flexibility to separate and layer sounds throughout the keyboard.
You continue to get rather a lot to your cash, although, together with 61 full-size keys, 401 sounds from Yamaha’s famend AWM pattern library, and 143 kinds to play together with. With 112 songs, Yamaha’s built-in lesson characteristic will aid you to shine your taking part in expertise, and there’s even an entertaining ‘guess the be aware’ quiz mode.
The PSR-E273 represents nice worth for cash and could be a whole lot of enjoyable for any younger participant beginning out.
Yamaha’s range-topping E-series keyboard builds on the PSR-E373’s fabulous characteristic set with extras like an upgraded LCD display screen, a 32-slot patch reminiscence, a correct pitch-bend wheel, a 3.5mm auxiliary audio enter and a quick-sampling mode.
You get assignable real-time results knobs, a built-in USB audio / MIDI interface and a 35-pattern Groove Creator, permitting you to tug off impromptu DJ-style performances on the contact of a button. You’ll be able to even file audio on to a USB thumb drive – although, surprisingly, you received’t discover any Tremendous Articulation voices right here.
The PSR-E463’s huge 758-voice library and 235 auto-accompaniment kinds ought to be greater than sufficient to maintain even superior gamers going for some time. And there’s additionally a 76-note model out there within the type of the PSR-EW410.
Searching for a keyboard that’ll assist your youngsters study to play? The Yamaha PSS-F30 is designed with youngsters in thoughts, boasting various enjoyable, instructional options, to not point out a tiny type issue.
It has probably the most sounds of all of the keyboards within the PSS vary, with 117 voices and 114 accompaniment kinds. The 37 mini-keys are good for small arms, there’s an octave-shift button and a maintain characteristic, and also you additionally get 30 built-in songs to assist get your mini-Mozart began.
Though the keys aren’t velocity-sensitive, the Good Chord auto-accompaniment characteristic means youngsters can lead a digital backing band with one finger – and so they may practise safely with studio headphones, due to a user-definable most output stage. All in all, a incredible springboard for budding musicians.
Out there in two wood-effect finishes – darkish walnut or maple – the PSR-E360 is one among Yamaha’s more-stylish keyboards (you too can get a plain black model). However there’s a whole lot of substance behind that sensible exterior, with 384 voices, 130 auto-accompaniment kinds and a 112-track Tune Guide on board.
There’s a nine-step Yamaha Training Suite lesson perform, a recording characteristic (although it’s solely good for 300 notes per monitor) and an auxiliary enter for connecting an exterior audio supply. You’ll be able to even play alongside a pal, due to a duo mode that splits the keyboard into two halves, every with its personal center C.
One thing slightly completely different, the PSS-A50 doesn’t include a normal auto-accompaniment characteristic. As a substitute, it has a phrase recorder, an arpeggiator and what Yamaha calls ‘movement results’ – pitch, filter and modulation options that may be referred to as up immediately by urgent a button.
Extremely light-weight and moveable, the PSS-A50 boasts a velocity-sensitive keyboard with 37 mini-keys, 40 respectable sounds taken from Yamaha’s pricier E-series of keyboards, plus a USB-to-host connector that permits it for use as a MIDI controller. The aforementioned arpeggiator is a helpful addition, although every sound has its personal default sample, so should you change sounds the sample will change too. This might be awkward should you needed to audition the identical sample with completely different sounds.
Yamaha’s piano-making pedigree is second to none, and this moveable piano-style keyboard is a superb resolution for teenagers to study on, or for extra mature pianists who don’t have room for a full-size piano.
The Piaggero NP-12 – like its bigger, 76-key brother the Piaggero NP-32 – is a light-weight, synth-action keyboard that delivers a lifelike, AWM-stereo-sampled piano sound. There are solely 10 voices on supply, and no auto-accompaniment, however if you would like one thing you possibly can simply stroll as much as, change on and play, you received’t discover something higher for the cash.
Additionally out there in eye-catching white, the Piaggero NP-12 boasts a 7,000-note tune recorder, enabling you to seize and play again your performances.
One in every of 4 retro-themed mini keyboards within the Reface vary – the others being an FM synthesiser (the Reface DX), an organ (the Reface YC) and an analogue synthesizer (the Reface CS) – the Reface CP is a tiny, trendy tribute to Yamaha’s Seventies electrical pianos.
The characteristic set is spectacular, with a bunch of retro keyboard sounds – together with two varieties of Fender Rhodes electrical piano, a Wurlitzer piano, a clavinet and a Seventies toy piano – classic drive, tremolo, refrain, phaser, delay and reverb results, plus 128-note polyphony.
There’s no auto-accompaniment, however the Reface CP sounds incredible and is nice enjoyable to play – it even has rotary controls for results and sound choice, identical to the originals.
In case you’re studying to play the piano, having keys that mild as much as present you what you have to press and when is usually a massive assist. That’s one of many fundamental options of the EZ-300 – but it surely provides a lot extra in addition to.
That includes a novel, silvery-white aesthetic, this keyboard shares a whole lot of the identical options as our top-ranking keyboard the PSR-E373 – it provides the identical variety of voices and kinds, the identical recording means and the identical Keys to Success tuition perform. Some would possibly even argue that it’s a greater package deal, because it offers you 202 songs as an alternative of the PSR-E373’s 154.
For us, the PSR-E373 will get the nod as a result of it’s cheaper, and never everybody will just like the EZ-300’s white colouring – however, make no mistake, it is a excellent possibility for budding musicians.
Finest Yamaha keyboards: Shopping for recommendation
With a few exceptions, the entire fashions on our record fall into the ‘arranger keyboard’ class. An arranger keyboard is one which has built-in accompaniments you possibly can play alongside to. These ‘backing tracks’ have historically had a whiff of the uncool about them – who may overlook these clunky-sounding Seventies residence organs performed by pensioners? As of late, although, the tiny digital musicians sequestered away within the bowels of your keyboard are fairly refined, and though it’s nonetheless attainable to sound like a Nintendo videogame intro display screen should you actually wish to, that’s now not the more than likely end result!
Listed here are some issues to look out for when shopping for a Yamaha keyboard:
Arranger keyboards often include a big selection of voices (sounds), enabling you to breed virtually any instrument you possibly can consider, from acoustic guitars to zithers. Simply keep in mind that amount isn’t all the time a measure of high quality – it’s higher to have fewer usable voices than a whole bunch you’ll by no means trouble with.
A method is a set of backing devices and ready-made components that play together with you as you maintain down a be aware or chord along with your left hand – so the extra kinds a keyboard has, the extra selection you’ll have as to how your backing band performs. Trendy keyboards can supply a whole bunch of kinds, a few of them fairly refined and current-sounding.
Many of the keyboards on our record have 61 keys, providing a five-octave span that’s huge sufficient to play with each arms. Most will likely be velocity-sensitive, permitting for dynamic expression in response to how laborious or softly you play the keys. Some keyboards supply 76-key variations for the extra superior participant, whereas different, smaller ’boards sport solely 37 mini-keys for a more-portable or kid-friendly resolution.
Tremendous Articulation is Yamaha’s time period for a sampled sound that emulates the behaviour of an actual instrument by together with sure nuances you’d anticipate to listen to. These would possibly embody string squeaks on an acoustic guitar voice, or the sound of a saxophone participant taking a breath between notes. Beforehand the protect of Yamaha’s higher-end keyboards, the expertise has now began to trickle down into a number of the less-expensive fashions.
Audio system / headphones
The vast majority of the devices featured right here have built-in audio system, so don’t have to be plugged into an amp or PA speakers so as so that you can hear what you’re taking part in. All of the keyboards on this information additionally characteristic a headphones output for these all-important silent follow periods.
Since most of the keyboards featured right here supply portability as a serious promoting level, many will be powered by AA batteries. Nevertheless, most additionally allow you to make use of mains energy through a normal energy provide or USB.