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Yamaha YPT-230 review

Yamaha pianos have always been known to have a wide range of variety, class, and professionalism to them. I’ve stated before how they have made themselves into a great and proven company that doesn’t have to bend to the demands of a certain group. They simply make the machines that they want to make.

Yamaha YPT 230

This however can present a bit of a problem in some of their keyboards and digital pianos. Sometimes there seems to be no middle ground. They can have real top-of-the-line quality like in some of their high end PSR machines, or they can cater to the lower end of the spectrum with machines like the YPT-230. But there seems to be no middle ground, like Casio has with machines like the CDP-120. With that being said, they have still crafted something great in the YPT-230.

Below, please enjoy the interactive guide that was created to make your piano purchase easier.  Compare the Yamaha YPT-230 to the best pianos and keyboards on the market.

Yamaha YPT230 review: Features

The Yamaha YPT-230 is another addition in one of their portable keyboard series, which include all of the PSR’s and all of the YPT’s. These machines stray away from the normal construct of a digital stage piano, and in many ways they aren’t a digital piano at all. The look of them completely changes, along with the things you’re able to do with them. They’re smaller, have a much wider variety of sounds, and are built more for the learner and the synthesizer generation than for the purist pianist.

The YPT-230 still has a lovely build and look to it. It comes in only one color, black, and has a nice, smaller rectangular shape to it. This shape does a great job of accommodating both of its 12 centimeter speakers, which are set on opposite ends of the board. The piano gives off a pretty decent sound, even though it only has 2.5 watt amplifiers. The interface of the board has a bevy of buttons; similar to most synth-type keyboards, but it shouldn’t be too difficult finding your way around. After all, there needs to be some type of control when you have over 380 sounds.

Along with the buttons are an about 3.5 inch by 1.5 inch LCD screen which will help you navigate the voices, songs, styles, and controls for the piano. You’ll be able to tell what chord you’re playing, or use one from the chord dictionary to assist you during an accompaniment. There’s a nice keyboard display at the bottom of the screen which shows you the exact notes pressed down and is a great tool for learning keys with the preset songs. However, there is no record function, so you won’t be able to record any of your own compositions directly onto the piano. It would be great to record something and then be able to look at your own note and chord fingering.

Also on the display is a nice notation feature which will show the actual musical notation for everything that you play. There is both a treble and bass clef, so you’ll be able to see it all. This feature is good also when you’re using songs and accompaniments, as you’ll be able to use sheet music reading skills to your advantage when learning.

The keybed for the YPT-230 marks a significant change from most digital and stage pianos. This piano, along with all the others in Yamaha’s Portable Keyboard series are constructed in their ‘organ style.’ The piano only has 61 keys, and the way the keybed is set up seems to be just the same way as an organ. In fact, the way the piano is made, you can see how someone might want to set up two of the same instrument right on top of each other to mimic an organ’s construction and hand placement. All that would be missing were some drawbars and lighted organ buttons.

best-selling-keyboards

Below, please take a look at some of the best selling digital keyboards and pianos available on Amazon:

How Does the Yamaha YPT-230 Sound?

The sounds on this piano are surprisingly good in my opinion. A lot of times when you are dealing with a keyboard of this price, you can really see some piano makers slack off and put just anything out there. However, this is not the case with the YPT-230. It seems that many of the sounds from even the higher end Yamaha Motif can also be found in this lowly machine. I think that’s wonderful value for this piano, and I’ve even talked to some who have wondered why they ever spent the extra $1000. I wouldn’t go that far, but the sounds are really impressive.

The grand piano sound is decent, but doesn’t really blow you out of the water, like other digital pianos. But then again, like I said before, this isn’t really a digital piano. That grand piano sound isn’t the main focus of the machine. There are 385 sounds on this piano, with all your possible instruments, from electric pianos, to harpsichords, basses, strings, and brass sections. Then there are multiple drums kits and 230 XGlite voices. Along with the ability to manipulate each sound using the Sound Effects Kit with reverb, chorus, and a bevy of other options, you should never be able to exhaust the sound resources on this machine.

If you do exhaust them, there’s always the capability to connect to another machine. The YPT-230 can be used as a handy MIDI controller, which will allow you to connect externally. You’ll be able to control up to 16 MIDI channels through the keyboard, and a plethora of performance options will open up to along with the accompaniment options already onboard.

There are different packages this piano can be purchased in, and it all depends on the store or company you’re dealing with. Many of the bundles I’ve seen come with high quality studio headphones, a heavy duty keyboard stand, a trusty foot pedal, and other piano material. Some may not come with the power cord and adapter because the YPT-230 can be battery powered by six AA batteries for up to six hours.

Conclusion

Overall, the Yamaha YPT-230 is a really wonderful machine, and it comes at a very affordable price. For everything that it offers, from the number of sounds, to the portability, to the quality, you really shouldn’t be able to find a better deal for its price range of $90-$125.

For more great and in-depth piano reviews, please return often to Digital Piano Review Guide.

You Also Might Like:

1) What’s the Difference Between a Digital Piano and a Keyboard?

2) Yamaha NP-V80 review

3) Casio WK-6500 review

4) What Are the Best Yamaha Digital Pianos?

5) What are the Best Electronic Keyboards for Beginners?

Filed Under: Yamaha Pianos

Sours: https://www.digitalpianoreviewguide.com/yamaha-ypt-230-review/

Best Yamaha Keyboards (2020): Prices, Reviews & Best Models (from Beginner to Expert)

The Yamaha PSR EW300 is a 76-key, portable keyboard that has 574 voices, 165 styles, and 154 pre-set songs that you can play along with. If you are still in the learning stages, you will enjoy using Y.E.S. (Yamaha Education Suite) that lets you practice with the pre-set songs.

One of the really neat tools offered is the Touch Tutor lesson mode. Other keyboards offer learning features, but this one actually tracks the strength at which the keys are played, so you can learn about dynamics.

If you're going to be using this digital piano to create your own music, you will love the USB to HOST connectivity with MIDI and audio transfer. You only need to use one cable to connect the keyboard to your software, and you can start creating.

Plug any portable music player into the Aux input, and you can use the melody suppressor to lower the lead vocals, so you can sing along, almost like karaoke.

  • Bundle package with stand, headphones, and learning tools  
  • SmartMedia internet connect capability
  • MegaVoice techology and MEGA enhancer software
  • We can’t find anything to complain about this digital piano!

Summary of the Yamaha PSR-EW300:

Yamaha PSR-EW300 is one of the best Yamaha digital pianos and whether you're just learning how to play the piano or have advanced to the intermediate stage, you're going to love the many features of the PSR EW300. It has some really cool learning tools that will help to supplement piano lessons, and loads of great effects for intermediate-level players, including slide effects, harmonics, and more.

Sours: https://piano-keyboard-reviews.com/yamaha-keyboards/
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Yamaha PSR-E363 | PSR-EW300 Review: Should It Be Your First Keyboard?

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 Review

Yamaha is a big name in the music business, and the PSR-E363 is their latest take on the budget arranger keyboard formula.

For reference, the Yamaha PSR series has been the premier choice in this category since its inception, so they certainly know what they’re doing.

If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘arranger keyboard‘, it’s a type of keyboard geared around ‘one-man-band’ style performances.

These instruments include accompaniment features and a lot of built-in voices and rhythms to facilitate that goal.

While the PSR-E363 got our recommendation as the best budget arranger keyboard, we haven’t reviewed it. This will be its chance to see how it stacks up.

Update January 2021: The Yamaha PSR-E363 & PSR-EW300 have been discontinued and replaced by the newPSR-E373 and PSR-EW310.

You can read our in-depth review of the new instruments here.

The Yamaha PSR-E363 is nearly identical to the PSR-EW300. The only difference between the two is the number of keys. The PSR-E363 has 61 keys, but the PSR-EW300 has 76 keys.

Throughout the article, any references to the PSR-E363 can be applied to the PSR-EW300 as well. The points made in this review apply equally to both.

Similarly, the Yamaha YPT-360 is nearly identical to the PSR-E363. The only difference is its grey finish, as opposed to the PSR-E363’s black.

This model is only sold in certain regions, but don’t worry about the internals. Everything said about the PSR-E363 works for the YPT-360.

Yamaha PSR-E363 / PSR-EW300 Specs

  • 61/76 fully sized unweighted keys
  • Touch Sensitivity (3 types, Off)
  • Sound: AWM Stereo Sampling, 574 preset tones
  • 48-note polyphony
  • Modes: Split, Dual, Duo
  • Effects: Reverb (12 types), Chorus (5 types), Master EQ (6 types), Harmony (26 types)
  • 2-track MIDI recorder
  • 165 Accompaniment Styles, 150 Arpeggio Types
  • 154 Preset Songs + Lesson Mode (Keys to Success)
  • Connections: Headphone jack (1/4”), Sustain Pedal jack, AUX IN (stereo mini jack), USB to HOST (MIDI + Audio)
  • W x D x H: 37.2” x 14.5” x 4.6” (94.5 x 36.8 x 11.7 cm) – E363 | 45.4” x 14.5” x 4.6” (115.3 x 36.8 x 11.7 cm) – EW300
  • 10.1 lbs (4.6 kg) – E363 | 13.7 lbs (6.2 kg) – EW300
  • The full specs can be found on Yamaha’s official site here

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Yamaha PSR-E363 / PSR-EW300 in your region:

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
SweetwaterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4music Thomann

Design

So far, our reviews haven’t focused on the budget end of the spectrum.

Even our recently reviewed Korg B2, marketed towards beginners, costs a little more than most would be comfortable with at the fresh level.

The answer to these woes would be a budget keyboard, which is aimed at people who want to get as much bang for their buck as possible.

This obviously isn’t as good as it sounds, as you get what you pay for.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 front view

The big deal here is the compromises made to build and sound quality, as well as the smaller key count.

Despite those flaws, these choices aren’t without merit. The lower price means they are more accessible to the general public. At the beginner’s level, these won’t stifle your learning process in a meaningful way.

Essentially, these budget keyboards are solid choices for nailing down the basics, but they won’t be able to carry you through the more advanced aspects of playing.

Yamaha PSR-E363 vs Yamaha PSR-EW300

Since today we’re covering both the PSR-E363 and PSR-EW300, here’s a quick comparison.

PSR-E363 PSR-EW300
Number of Keys 61 76
Weight 10.1 lbs 13.7 lbs
Dimensions 37.2" x 4.7" x 14.5" 45.4" x 4.7" x 14.5"
Sound Engine AWM Stereo Sampling AWM Stereo Sampling
Number of Voices 574 574
Maximum Polyphony 48 48
Speakers Dual 2.5W speakers Dual 2.5W Speakers

 

As you can see, the two instruments are only different in their key counts and corresponding weight and length.

Let’s talk about design.

The black plastic enclosure won’t turn heads with its basic look, but it’s solid enough to withstand a few bumps. Kids will have a hard time breaking this keyboard.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 display

The standard arranger keyboard layout is followed here, and if it isn’t broke, why fix it. The backlit monochrome LCD screen sits at the center of the keyboard, flanked by buttons on both sides.

The buttons are for navigation, tweaking options, and accessing accompaniment features like variations and fills.

The layout is intuitive, with commonly used accompaniment controls placed conveniently above where your left hand should be.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 buttons

The buttons feel rubbery and lack “clicky-ness”. I often praise this quality when discussing more premium digital pianos such as Yamaha’s own higher-end YDP-series.

Here, that ends up being another plus in terms of durability. Dust will have a hard time hurting the membrane-based buttons – and being kid-proof is also nice.

 

Further to the sides, the printed white text contrasts nicely with the black background and provides a visual aid for searching the large sound library.

These are susceptible to being scratched off, but unless you deliberately seek to do that, it’s a non-issue.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 controls

Finally, there’s the volume knob, which feels alright, if a bit cheap. Making precise volume changes isn’t easy and will take some getting used to.

The keys themselves have helpful pictures above them, which indicate the drum or percussion sounds that correspond to each key.

This is a small thing, but it helps you learn the industry-standard General MIDI drum layout. It’s not essential, but it’s a fun addition, nonetheless.

Yamaha PSR-E363 (bottom view)

Just like many portable keyboards, the PSR-E363/EW-300 has a compartment for batteries, which means you can easily take your keyboard outside and play on a nice sunny day.

There really isn’t much else to discuss regarding the design. The PSR-E363 follows the standard arranger keyboard formula and does so well enough. While I’d never go as far as to call this a ‘premium’ instrument, it is well thought out for what it costs.

Keyboard

The keyboard on the PSR-E363 and the PSR-EW300 is alright, but not the best.

The keys come with velocity sensitivity and are fully sized. However, they lack a realistic response and weight, making them less than ideal for mastering the nuances of dynamic control.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 keyboard

Unweighted keys are hard to describe well, as there’s little actual mechanics behind their construction.

In general, the keys have a shape that hits a pressure-sensitive membrane, which translates each keypress into machine-readable data.

However, even unweighted keys can feel premium. Korg’s Prologue is a good example, as are the MIDI controllers we covered recently in a roundup.

I’m sad to say the PSR-E363 doesn’t join that category.

The keys on the PSR-E363 feel mushy. When you habitually play into the keys (as more experienced piano players tend to do), you get an abrupt contact point which plays the corresponding sample.

It will take some getting used to. For example, it will be hard to play all the notes in a chord simultaneously without enough practice.

Yamaha PSR-E363 keys

The velocity sensitivity is welcome, but it again takes some adapting to fully utilize. The abrupt point of sample triggering rears its ugly head here again.

You aren’t just controlling how hard you press; you also need to focus when each key hits its contact point.

You get 3 pre-set intensity levels to choose from: Soft, Medium, and Heavy.

The default Medium option seems to respond closest to what I’d expect from a keyboard. You also get a fixed option to keep the sensitivity response constant for every note.

The black keys also feel shallower than I’d like, which is admittedly a subjective thing. Even comparing these to the Casiotone keyboards which are cheaper, I find myself preferring Casio’s keybed.

Regardless, these are just nit-picks that a more experienced pianist might want to know. For newcomers and intermediate players, the keys are good enough for most practice purposes.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 rear

Personally, I consider the most important part of a novice’s practice routine to be key/note recognition, familiarization with key positions, and dynamic control (soft and loud playing).

The first two are possible due to the full sized keys on the PSR-E363 (though the EW300 has the edge because of its larger keyboard). The latter is the difficult one, due to the previously mentioned abruptness.

I wouldn’t call these keys bad. While there are better options out there, the keys are good enough for beginners to adapt to. This is further helped by the next aspect of the PSR-E363 we’ll be covering.

Sound

As an arranger keyboard, the PSR-E363 sounds good, counteracting some of my gripes about the keys. 574 sounds are nothing to scoff at and there’s minimal filler.

We’ll focus on the piano sound first. The pianos included are good but can’t compare to dedicated piano-focused instruments.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 printed guides

You get a decent piano sound to work with, and there’s also a convenient button that puts you right at the default grand piano sound.

The façade of realism does fall apart when you play harder or softer though, as only the volume changes, and not the actual samples themselves.

This is where even cheap digital pianos excel, thanks to their better sample sets and sound engines.

steinway grand piano

Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) stereo sampling engine is a long in the tooth (it’s been in use since 2009), but it does a decent job at playing back clean voices.

The same sound engine is used in some of Yamaha’s more expensive keyboards and digital pianos, such as their P-45 and the YDP-181.

The samples themselves sound similar, especially when it comes to the piano sounds. The difference, from what I can tell, lies with the number of sample layers.

For example, the P-45 seems to sound more ‘real’, as softer playing feels like you’re hitting the strings with less force. In contrast, the E363 feels like your playing strength simply controls a volume knob.

This reaction isn’t necessarily realistic, but the keyboard responds well to playing dynamics. You can hear the volume changes clearly when you play from soft to hard, which helps greatly while practicing.

instrument sounds

For non-piano voices, you’ve got a lot of options, from acoustic instruments like bass, strings, brass, and winds, all the way to synthesizers, drum kits, and sound effects.

These resemble the piano sound, where the dynamic response is purely volume-based, but that’s to be expected at this price point.

The sounds themselves are nice, and many have praised Yamaha’s sampled guitars as being one of the best in the business.

For what it’s worth, you’ll have a lot of chances to vary your practice routines.

I will say that the extra sounds could become a distraction if you’re not careful, so be wary when practicing.


Effects

Effects are generally tacked on to cheap keyboards. The PSR-E363 has a good selection of effects, but you probably won’t be using them too much.

In total, you get:

  • 12 Reverbs
  • 5 Choruses
  • 6 Master EQs
  • 26 Harmony Effects

The reverb effects and the choruses are probably what sees the most use.

Reverb effects allow you to simulate sounds being played in a specific space, such as a room or hall. While playtesting the PSR-E363, I tend to leave this on default settings per sound, but you can use it to further enlarge ‘epic’ sounds like string ensembles.

reverb hall

Choruses give each sound a slightly detuned yet wider feel and are used in conjunction with electric piano or guitar sounds.

The choruses here are quite good if a bit ‘narrow’ in how they sound. They’re great with the included Rhodes-style electric pianos though.

EQ sound settings

Master EQ sounds a lot more useful than it is. Here, it allows you to choose between 6 different equalizer curves tailored to speakers, headphones, or specific sounds. You don’t get a parametric EQ as you’d see on car stereos.

Finally, the Harmony Effect simply acts as a sort of doubler at the MIDI level.

When you play a key, the internal software detects what keys you’re playing and adds other notes to make the sound richer. This is more of an arranger feature and might be more relevant to performers who need it.


Polyphony

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 Polyphony

What is Polyphony?

Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.

Most of the contemporary digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.

You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all at once.

First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two or even more notes for each key played.

Furthermore, using the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), dual-mode (layering), and even the metronome ticking sound takes up additional notes of polyphony.

For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.

In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for the backing track.

When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for new notes, which in turn affects the quality and fullness of the sound.

You’ll rarely need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limits, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.

It’s desirable to have at least 64 notes of polyphony.

The Yamaha PSR-E363 has 48 notes of maximum polyphony. This is a low amount and is even more drastic when you consider the accompaniment features included with this keyboard.

Having a polyphony of 48 means you can play up to 48 notes at the same time without earlier notes getting cut off.

However, if you’re only using this to practice your piano chops, this should suffice for beginner to intermediate pieces. Remember, you only have 61 keys in total (or 73 on the EW300), so it’s not likely that you’ll reach the limit.

If you decide to use the arranger keyboard features, such as bass accompaniment, rhythms, and possibly layered voices, you might face some issues.

Thankfully, Yamaha has taken precautions to prevent that, like shortened percussion samples, resampled layered tones, and so on.


Speakers

The Yamaha PSR-E363 comes with stereo 2.5W speakers. These are fine for home-based practice, though they’re a little muddy when it comes to bass frequencies.

The muddiness factor isn’t huge. This is a practice keyboard, and it seems like Yamaha tuned the speakers to avoid distorting too much for piano sounds.

When the volume is low, you also avoid distortion artifacts common to low-wattage speakers.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 speakers

Having front-firing speakers makes this ideal for practice, as you’re getting a clean, non-reflected sound shot straight at you.

This does, however, make this a little weaker for performances, as you can’t direct the sounds towards the audience. An amplifier might be necessary for performers (though let’s be real, there are better options for a stage pianist).

All in all, the speakers are passable, and they work well for practice purposes. As a beginner’s instrument, clarity is the biggest requirement, and the PSR-E363 gives that.

Features

An arranger keyboard, regardless of price, will have more features than a typical digital piano. We’ll do our best to guide you through the specifics in this section.

Modes

Before diving into the arranger features, let’s cover the typical features you’d expect to see on a digital instrument.

Layer and Split mode are included, as well as a Duo mode good for 1-on-1 lessons.

dual mode layer

Layer mode lets you play two sounds simultaneously and is a common technique for adding richness to a keyboard part. This is engaged with the front panel Dual button.

split mode

Split mode allows you to play different sounds on the left and the right of the keyboard. The cut-off point defaults to F#2, but it can be changed in the internal settings.

This is commonly used to have a bass part on the left and another sound on the right. You engage this mode by pressing the Split button.

The split point is also important as it determines where the left-hand accompaniment sensors begin working.

duo mode

Finally, Duo mode splits the keyboards into two parts of equal ranges. This mode allows teachers to sit beside their students for a more hands-on approach.

To engage this mode, you need to press the Left Part button while turning on the keyboard.


Song Recorder

MIDI recorder

The PSR-E363 includes a 2-track song recorder, conveniently accessed via the Left and Right buttons on the front panel.

These songs can then be saved as a MIDI file for further use or importing. The good news that you can store up to 5 songs internally, which is much more convenient than having the memory only for 1 song.


Arranger Features

These features are also known as accompaniment features by some, and that describes the crux of these extras. In fact, these features are a part of some keyboard certification courses, such as Trinity Guildhall’s Keyboard course.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 navigation

As we mentioned earlier, the best part about accompaniment features is the ability to play full songs as a solo performer. This ‘one-man-band‘ way of performing is fun, especially if you take the time to master it.

By pressing play, an intro drumbeat plays, and you begin playing along. Buttons to the lower left of the LCD screen let you trigger fills and variations to make the performance feel organic.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 accompaniment styles

This isn’t just a simple drum machine either. The internal chipset tracks your left hand with a few standard modes and plays a bassline that fits the currently selected genre.

For example, by playing a D-minor chord on your left hand, the bassline will lock itself to preset notes that match the chosen chord.

The included genre list is varied and includes the usual Pop and Rock genres, Electronic Dance Music, and even Latin styles such as Samba and Bossa Nova.

As you might expect, this is lots of fun, and many people take time to master this style.

If you’re interested in the Trinity Guildhall Keyboard course, remember that the PSR-E363 lacks a few of the more complex left-hand tracking modes, which prevents you from completing the Grade 5 syllabus.

That said, you’re probably due for an update if you’ve reached that point.


Functions

Arranger keyboards allow you to change a few settings via the Function menu, and these are a few of the modifiable settings you’d often use:

1) TRANSPOSITION. You can either move up or down a full octave to adapt to unfamiliar key signatures.

2) OCTAVE. You can transpose up or down 2 octaves to adapt to different voices to different sound registers.

3) ARPEGGIATOR. An arpeggiator with a few settings is included as well, and you can use this alongside some of the more synthetic sounds.

4) METRONOME. While rhythms are a lot more fun, a standard metronome is also included to facilitate practice.

5) MASTER TUNING. The central tuning of the middle A can be modified from 427.0Hz – 453.0Hz. The default is 440 Hz.

There are effect-specific settings, but we’ve covered the important settings above.

Connectivity

There are a few connectivity options included with the PSR-E363. Most of them come as a standard on beginner digital pianos, but there are some bonuses, too.

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 ports jacks

A headphone jack lets you practice without disturbing people around you. Also, since the PSR-E363 lacks stereo TRS output, these are the way you’d connect to amplifiers.

A sustain pedal jack is included, and this is where you’d connect your sustain pedal. Sadly, Yamaha doesn’t include a sustain pedal with each purchase, though your local store/online retailer might throw one in as a bonus.

You also get an Aux-In stereo mini jack, which can be used to connect your music players or smartphones to play along to.

The Melody Suppressor feature attempts to remove lead vocals or synth sounds from this input, but it’s hit or miss and by no means necessary.

MIDI via USB type B

Finally, you get a USB to Host port, which uses USB Type B cables. This lets you send MIDI data via USB to your computer/smart device.

This connection also doubles as a USB Audio Interface, and you get to send Audio in 44.1kHz, 16-bit quality across the connection.

Check out our MIDI Connection Guide to learn how to connect the piano to different devices and what you can do once connected.

Considering it’s 2020, I would have liked to see some Bluetooth connectivity, but I don’t mind this much considering the price tag.

Accessories

The PSR-E363 is surprisingly light on extras, which is a rarity today. This means you’ll need to purchase a few add-ons on your own.

Pedal

If you’re purchasing the PSR-E363 / PSR-EW300 direct from Yamaha or from a retailer like Amazon, you might not get a sustain pedal. This is a must to practice piano or keyboard parts, so it’s worth investing in one.

We usually recommend the Nektar NP-2, which is a cheap yet well-built sustain pedal.

Nektar NP-2 sustain pedal

Nektar NP-2 sustain pedal

It is universal, which is important for some of Yamaha’s keyboard instruments, as these tend to be in inversed polarity compared to other manufacturers.


Stand

Yamaha recommends their L-3C stand, but it’s more expensive than I prefer. Considering that the PSR-E363 is an affordable keyboard, you shouldn’t spend too much.

The Yamaha PSR-E363 feels right at home on the generic X- or Y-stands, which you can get for reasonable prices.

RockJam xFinity stand

RockJam Xfinity Double-X Stand

RockJam Xfinity Double-X is a great reliable stand that I recommend if you’re looking for quality coupled with affordability.

With that said, the front-firing speakers feel right at home on just about any surface. So if you’re comfortable, you shouldn’t have much of an issue.


Headphones

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 Headphones

Headphones come in very handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.

Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.

Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your keyboard.

Summary

Yamaha PSR-E363 PSR-EW300 Review

Pros

  • Good sounds for the price
  • Wide selection of instrument tones
  • Lots of onboard effects
  • 154 built-in songs for practice
  • 2-track MIDI recorder
  • Robust accompaniment features
  • Can run on batteries

Cons

  • Keys aren’t that good
  • Limited polyphony
  • Headphone jack is on the back
  • No sustain pedal included

The Yamaha PSR-E363 is a solid choice for beginners, and while there are a few weak spots, it’s still one of the better options out there. The sounds are good, and the accompaniment features are fun and in-depth, too.

The problem with the PSR-E363 is that there are cheaper options that serve a similar purpose.

While we spent time discussing the arranger features (which are worth checking out), a lot of people will be buying for piano practice. In that case, there are cheaper options, which we discuss in our sub-$150 article.

Thus, whether you’d like the PSR-E363, and more importantly, whether you should buy it, all comes down to how many extras you want.

Something like the Casio Casiotone CT-S300 has a similar sound quality, the same number of keys, and some light accompaniment features.

The CT-S300 might not be the better instrument, but it’s more affordable and is worth considering anyway.

However, if we consider the PSR-E363 as it is, it’s a well-designed budget arranger keyboard that’s worth the asking price.

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Yamaha PSR-E363 / PSR-EW300 in your region:

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
SweetwaterAmazon

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4music Thomann

Alternatives

We already have a more complete list of alternatives, our list of the best keyboards for under $300. However, there is a specific keyboard we’d like to cover.


Yamaha PSR-E363 vs  Yamaha PSR-E263

Yamaha PSR-E363 vs Yamaha PSR-E263

The PSR-E363’s younger brother, the PSR-E263, might be on your list. It seems to do most of what the PSR-E363 does but at almost half the price. It seems like an amazing deal, but there’s a catch.

The problem here is a lack of pressure sensitivity. The PSR-E263 sounds the same no matter how hard you press the keys, making it a weaker option for learning purposes.

Remember, we believe that one of the fundamentals beginners need to master is dynamic control. Sacrificing velocity sensitivity means you can’t tell if you’re playing at the right intensities.

Sure, you could use your imagination to fill in the blanks, but as a beginner, having an audio guide is ideal.

The PSR-E363 is a straight-up superior keyboard, and I’d recommend it over the PSR-E263 any day.

Sours: https://www.pianodreamers.com/yamaha-psr-e363-ew300-review/
Yamaha PSR-E373 Overview

Yamaha NP-12 | NP-32 Review: No-Frills Keyboard with Focus on Piano

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 Review

As you might have gathered from our past reviews, we’re combing through our ‘Top 5’ lists, particularly recent ones focused on the budget end of the spectrum.

These keyboards are especially popular with beginners thanks to their much more affordable price tags.

The previously covered Yamaha PSR-E363 was one of the best-selling budget keyboards at the sub-$300 price point, and we ended up praising it for its large number of features and good sounds.

This time, we’re covering the Yamaha NP-32 and NP-12, two keyboards sold under Yamaha’s Piaggero banner.

Unlike the PSR-E363, the NP-series comes with a smaller feature set, though it does include both keys that look more realistic (emphasis on “look”) and a slightly modified sound set.

Since both cost about the same price, there’s an obvious question to ask.

Why wouldn’t you just get the PSR-E363 instead?

The easy answer would be to choose the one you like most, but there’s a bit more nuance than that.

The NP-32 topped our sub-$300 list for a reason. It all comes down to the laser-focus on piano sounds, as opposed to the PSR-E363’s emphasis on arranger features.

Today, we’ll run the NP-32 (and by extension, the NP-12) through our rigorous review process, and we’ll let you know why it’s one of the better choices for music newcomers.


Yamaha NP-12 vs NP-32

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 versions

Before we begin, let’s cover the differences between the NP-32 and NP-12.

The NP-32 has 76 keys and dual 6W speakers, but the NP-12 has 61 keys and dual 2.5W speakers.

We used the NP-32 as the main keyboard for testing throughout our review process, and we believe it’s the superior choice.

We’ll talk more about the differences in the written review, so let’s dive straight in.

Yamaha NP-12 / NP-32 Specs

  • 61/76 unweighted piano-style keys
  • Touch Sensitivity (3 types, Off)
  • Sound: AWM Stereo Sampling, 10 preset tones
  • 64-note polyphony
  • Modes:  Dual (Layer)
  • Effects: Reverb (4 types)
  • 1-track MIDI recorder
  • 20 Preset Songs (10 voice demo songs + 10 piano preset songs)
  • Speakers: 2 x 2.5W – NP-12 | 2 x 6W – NP-32
  • Connections: Headphone jack (1/4”), Sustain Pedal jack, USB to HOST
  • W x D x H: 40.8” x 10.2” x 4.1” (103.6 x 25.9 x 10.4 cm) – NP-12 | 49” x 10.2” x 4.1” (124.5 x 25.9 x 10.4 cm) – NP-32
  • 9.9 lbs (4.5 kg) – NP-12 | 12.6 lbs (5.7 kg) – NP-32
  • Release Date: February 2016
  • Full specs can be found on Yamaha’s official site here

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Yamaha NP-12 / NP-32 in your region:

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.)
Amazon Guitar CenterSweetwater

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4Music “Thomann

Design

The NP-series’ namesake, “Piaggero”, is Italian for ‘light’, and that’s the design focus for the NP-series. Yamaha markets these as lightweight keyboards, and as you’ll soon see from the comparison tables, it really does live up to those expectations.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 front panel

To put things in perspective, these keyboards are both lighter than their PSR-line counterparts of the same key count. That’s no small feat, as the PSR-E363 is already known as a portable arranger keyboard.

Here’s a quick comparison table to show you the differences between the two.

NP-12 NP-32
Number of Keys 61 76
Weight 9.9 lbs 12.6 lbs
Dimensions 40.8" x 10.2" x 4.1" 49" x 10.2" x 4.1"
Sound Engine AWM Stereo Sampling AWM Stereo Sampling
Number of Voices 10 10
Maximum Polyphony 64 64
Speakers Dual 2.5W speakers Dual 6W Speakers
Keyboard Unweighted Piano-Style Keys Unweighted Piano-Style Keys, but with Graded Soft Touch
Battery Life 16 hrs. with Alkaline Batteries 7 hrs. with Alkaline Batteries
Colors White, Black White, Black

 

There are certainly more differences than just the key count. The NP-32 has a weaker battery life, but we can chalk that up to the higher wattage speakers.

One more thing you might have noticed is the existence of ‘Graded Soft Touch’ on the NP-32. This might lead you to believe it’s a weighted keybed. This is false, and we’ll talk more about this once we reach the Keyboard section of the review.

Now, let’s focus on the design in general. I do like the look of the NP-series.

From afar, the NP-32 can pass off as a more premium digital piano. The body itself, while compact, does feature a clean front panel that doesn’t have too many buttons or printed text.

There’s also the piano-style keys, which look a lot better than they feel.

Yamaha NP-12 white

In terms of finishes, both keyboards come in black and white. I’m personally keener on the black color, though Yamaha is quite insistent on marketing the white variant.

In my opinion, the buttons and speakers stick out like a sore thumb when you opt for the white variation, which in turn, makes the NP-32 feel cheap.

The black variant, on the contrary, looks sleek and clean, which makes it the better choice in my books.

 

The NP-32’s limited number of controls is a blessing in disguise. For one thing, it helps reduce the top-to-bottom width, and they also avoid the unnecessary options that might be overwhelming for beginners.

In terms of looks, Yamaha has done well with the NP-32. It’s unfortunate that the controls feel flimsy.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 buttons

The buttons are of the “clicky” variety, and as you probably guessed, this isn’t the same premium “clicky-ness” you’d get with premium digital pianos like the Korg Grandstage. Every keypress emits clear (and loud) feedback, but they feel as if they’re susceptible to wear and tear.

The same goes for the volume knob. It’s smooth plastic, but the actual turning of it barely gives any resistance, which means it’s difficult to make precise volume changes. These are non-issues for most beginners, as the keys and sounds are of top importance.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 controls front

To close this section, I’ll give props to Yamaha for including dedicated controls for most commonly used features.

This seems trivial, but the company’s own YDP-series tends to use button-key combos that are less user-friendly than the alternative.

Summing it up, the NP-32 and NP-12 look good but fall short when it comes to the feel of the controls. However, the keys are the most important part of learning to play the piano, so let’s dive into that now.

Keyboard

The NP-32 and the NP-12 both utilize practically identical keyboards with minor differences.

Yamaha marks these keys as ‘piano-style keyboard’, but as with the design, this description only applies to the looks, not the feel.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 keys

Yamaha NP-12 keys

Visually, these keys seem like keys off Yamaha’s digital piano line. You don’t get textured or synthetic ivory or ebony keytops, but that’s not a huge loss, and real pianos often use smooth keys too.

After one touch, that illusion breaks down. The keys are unweighted, but their piano-style shape means there’s a slight bit of added heft, which can make the keys feel slightly more sluggish than similarly unweighted flatbed keys on other keyboards (like the PSR-E363).

I do wish Yamaha used semi-weighted keys instead, but that might have increased the price beyond the accessible range.

Despite being unweighted, Yamaha does include velocity sensitivity, and it is responsive, like with the PSR-E363. You can come to grips with dynamic control, an absolute must for any pianist or keyboardist.

key touch sensitivity

There are 3 different touch sensitivities (soft, medium, hard), as well as an option to turn this off. The default Medium setting is natural enough, and I never felt the need to change things up.

With that said, I do believe that the sluggish keys hurt the NP-32 / NP-12 in this regard. I’m more used to the weighted keys of fully-fledged digital pianos, but I still found the flatbed keys on the PSR-E363 usable.

The NP-32 feels like an awkward in-between, and I ended up needing to adapt my playstyle to use the built-in sounds to their maximum.

Yamaha NP-12 white keys

Yamaha NP-32 (white version)

Online demos show off the superb velocity sensitivity of the NP-32, but I personally needed to pay extra attention to nail down my dynamics.

This, again, might be a non-issue for beginners. The so-called heft might not be as noticeable as I make it out to be, but I still find myself disliking that.

Regardless, there’s an argument to be made for building up finger strength and having these keys might be good for newcomers.

The keys themselves are also 1 mm narrower than real pianos, possibly another step taken to reduce the overall width of the keyboard. This is ultimately negligible, and I didn’t notice this too much during the test.

Yamaha Graded Soft Touch

Finally, let’s talk about the ‘Graded Soft Touch’ featured on the NP-32. Theoretically, a graded keyboard means the keys at lower registers are heavier, but the higher registers are lighter.

However, on the NP-32, the effect is so subtle that I’m sometimes convinced it’s not even there. I believe there are a bit of software-side velocity modifications yet testing the USB MIDI functionality didn’t show that either.

If you’re thinking of getting the NP-32 for the graded feel, don’t. For a more realistic graded feel, I’d recommend getting Yamaha’s P121, which uses the GHS key action and is fully weighted.

We’re being somewhat negative on the NP-32’s keys, but I won’t say they’re bad. They’re just a little different from other keys on the budget side of the market. It’s worth noting down in case non-beginners are looking into this product too.

The most important thing is that beginners can learn on these keys. Even a seasoned keyboardist can find value with the NP-32 as a MIDI controller. The eccentricities might take some getting used to, but they’re ultimately just minor concerns.

The solid velocity response is something Yamaha does well, and these keys are solid in that regard. As we consider dynamic control an essential part of any learning regiment, the NP-32 (and by extension, the NP-12) is a solid choice.

Sound

Sounds are where the NP-32 / NP-12 excel in their price bracket.

You might have scoffed at the lowly 10 included sounds (especially versus the 500+ sounds on the PSR-E363), but this is a matter of quality versus quantity.

  • The 10 sounds include:
  • 2 Pianos (concert grand and soft piano)
  • An FM-synthesis based E. Piano sound
  • Fender Rhodes-style Electric Piano sound
  • 2 Pipe Organ sounds
  • Orchestral Legato Strings
  • Soft-mallet Vibraphone
  • 2 Harpsichords (normal and bright)

The default piano sound will probably be your mainstay. At first glance, the piano sound is nearly identical to that featured on the PSR-E363, but playing it shows there’s a lot more variation to be had.

The magic here happens because of the increased number of multisamples.

Yamaha Concert Grand Piano sound

While the PSR-E363 is reactive to dynamic changes (say, fortissimo to pianissimo), you can clearly hear that the same audio file is being played for most ranges, with volume being the only thing changing.

The same principles apply to the NP-32, but you can also hear a few different samples being included. This is particularly obvious when you play intense parts at a high velocity. This enhances the feel of realism, and I’m always happy to hear that.

Sure, you’re not getting sounds as detailed as full-fledged digital pianos, yet it’s still a step up over the budget keyboards you generally get at this price point.

The piano sound itself seems to be a typical Yamaha C-series concert grand, and it’s sampled decently well despite the limitations. I think it’s hard to argue that this is the best piano sound you can get at the sub-$300 price bracket.

The rest of the sounds might feel a bit less detailed, but it’s always nice to get a bit more variety to spice up your practice sessions. Highlights include the DX7-style E.Piano 1 and the tine-based E.Piano 2.

If I had to complain about something, it would be the lack of specific sounds, such as electric organs and electric bass.

The former means you don’t get to practice organ techniques such as glides and licks, which are where unweighted keyboards shine.

built-in instrument sounds

The lack of basses (and a split mode) means you don’t get to practice playing different sounds on the left and right hand. This isn’t as important for pianists, but many keyboardists consider split playing an important part of stage performances.

Regardless, the lack of a huge sound bank can be a blessing in disguise. Beginners using arranger keyboards might find themselves overwhelmed by the extra sounds and features, which could result in them getting distracted while toying around when they should be spending time practicing!

The base piano sound is important here. It surpasses my expectations. Ultimately, that’s the biggest part of why I consider the NP-32 a great beginner keyboard.


Effects

The NP-32 is basic when it comes to effects, featuring only a single reverb.

This is a bit disappointing, but a reverb is all you need for piano practice and performance.

reverb effects

The term ‘reverb’ is short for ‘reverberation,’ and if you know your physics, these are emulations of how a sound reacts in an enclosed space, like a room or hall.

In most musical instruments, a reverb effect is included to add a sense of space to your playing.

The sounds are often sampled near their source, which gives them a dry feel. Adding reverb allows the keyboardist to place them in spaces to suit the songs they’re playing.

The NP-32 (NP-12) comes with 4 different algorithms, including a small room, a small hall, a large concert hall, and a recital stage. These can thenbe modified in depth to change how intense the effect gets.

As with most Yamaha instruments, each voice comes with a default reverb setting, which I  find well-tuned. Unless you’re chasing a specific tonality, you should be fine with the defaults.

The lack of other effects such as chorus does sting a little, but it’s a minor loss in the grand scheme of things.


Polyphony

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 Polyphony

What is Polyphony?

Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.

Most of the contemporary digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.

You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all at once.

First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two or even more notes for each key played.

Furthermore, using the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), dual-mode (layering), and even the metronome ticking sound takes up additional notes of polyphony.

For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.

In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for the backing track.

When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for new notes, which in turn affects the quality and fullness of the sound.

You’ll rarely need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limits, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.

It’s desirable to have at least 64 notes of polyphony.

The Yamaha NP-32 has 64 notes of maximum polyphony, and that’s a good amount, allowing you to play most classical and modern pieces without issue.

Polyphony is a measure of how many notes you can play simultaneously without cutting off earlier notes. As such, if you play 65 notes around the same time, the 1st note you played will stop abruptly.

Remember, you only have 73 keys maximum (61 in the NP-12), so you won’t run into much trouble.


Speakers

The speakers on the NP-32 are another highlight, as they’re of a high wattage compared to the competition.

Most other keyboards below $300 come with 2 or 2.5W speakers, which are okay for home-based practice, but not much more. These speakers are fine but tend to get muddy at higher volumes and specific frequencies.

Note that the NP-12 also uses 2.5W speakers, and they seem to resemble those found on the PSR-E363.

With the NP-32, I was surprised at how clean the dual 6W speakers sound. The speakers are front facing and point towards you as you play. This should discourage you from pushing the volume too much, to avoid the risk of ear damage.

These speakers are a step above the competition and are also capable of projecting its sound to a small room for performances.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 speakers

While I’m not a fan of where the speakers are placed, I can’t deny that they sound awesome. I prefer front-facing speakers placed at the upper end of the front panel, as opposed to the sides of the keys. Regardless, the sound is where the NP-32 excels.

Features

As with most no-frills digital pianos, the NP-32 is quite minimal when it comes to extra features. However, the included features are still quite helpful for any aspiring musician.


Modes

Dual Mode is the only extra play mode you get and it’s sometimes called ‘Layer Mode’ on other keyboard brands.

Dual Mode allows you to play two sounds simultaneously with each keypress and allows you to get richer sounds with minimal effort.

Dual Mode Layering

A common use of this mode is to layer a piano sound with orchestral strings for a ballad-style piano tone with extra harmonics. Add a bit of reverb depth, and you’ve got yourself a rich backing for some singing.

Sadly, Split Mode is not included, though without a dedicated bass voice, I guess it’s understandable. It would have been nice to get this as an extra though.


Song Recorder

MIDI recorder

A single-track song recorder is included on the NP-32, and it’s conveniently accessible with the dedicated REC button on the front panel.

Unfortunately, you can only save 1 single recording at any time, and there’s also no way to export the song as a MIDI file either.

This is a missed opportunity, but most people today directly record their songs using the USB to Host connection, which we’ll cover in a bit.


Functions

There are a few modifiable parameters on the NP-32, and you can change these using button-key combinations. Some notable settings include:

  • TRANSPOSITION. You can transpose the keyboard either up 5 semitones or down 6 semitones to adapt to unfamiliar key signatures.
  • OCTAVE. You can transpose up or down 1octave to adapt to different voices to different sound registers, this can also be applied individually to each layered sound.
  • METRONOME. A standard metronome is included to facilitate practice and can be used while recording.
  • MASTER TUNING. The central tuning of the middle A can be modified from 414.8 Hz – 466.8Hz in 0.2 Hz increments. The default is 440 Hz.

Reverb depth and type are also included here.

Connectivity

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 back

The NP-32 is also quite bare-bones when it comes to connectivity options, but all the essentials are here.

A headphone jack allows you to practice without disturbing people around you. Since the NP-32 doesn’t include TRS stereo outputs, these are the outputs you’ll use to connect the NP-32 to external speakers.

A sustain pedal jack is located at the back panel, and the NP-32 supports half-pedaling! While the default package does not come with a complementary sustain pedal, your retailer might have different options. If it includes the FC3A pedal, you’re good to go.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 ports jacks

Finally, you have a USB to Host connector provided, using USB Type B cables. This option allows you to send MIDI data via a USB connection and lets you record MIDI data to computers.

Sadly, the NP-32 lacks the USB Audio Interface features that other Yamaha keyboards have. This is quite disappointing, especially considering the high-quality samples on the NP-line of keyboards.

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 USB MIDI

Something noticeably lacking is the absence of an Aux In mini TRS jack. Most keyboards include this option, letting you connect your phones or music players to the keyboard for playback via the speakers. This is a minor gripe, but I do miss it.

Check out our MIDI Connection Guide to learn how to connect the piano to different devices and what you can do once connected.

Again, it’s 2020, so I expect some form of connectivity via Bluetooth, but I can’t complain too much with these slightly older models, so it’s not a huge deal.

Accessories

You may have guessed that the NP-32 is light on accessories. You get an AC adapter, the Manual, and a nice music rest (surprisingly high quality).

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 Owner's Manual


Sustain Pedal

I find it somewhat mind-boggling that Yamaha didn’t include a sustain pedal with every purchase, though you can always purchase one separately.

Ideally, you’d go with Yamaha’s own FC3A to take advantage of the half-pedaling functionality, but that’s a little pricey.

Whenever we discuss sustain pedals, remember that Yamaha goes against the norms of polarity. That’s why I discourage purchasing the FC3A, as it might not work with other keyboards or digital pianos from other manufacturers.

Nektar NP-2 pedal

Nektar NP-2 damper pedal

If you can live without half-pedaling (which is not important for beginners), you can go with the Nektar NP-2, a cheap but well-built sustain pedal with a universal switch that works with any keyboard out there.

Some Chinese brands are coming up with universal sustain pedals with half-pedaling support, but we haven’t tested them out yet, and their prices imply that they’re of dubious quality. Make these purchases at your own risk.


Stand

RockJam-Heavy-Duty X Stand

Yamaha recommends the L3-C stand, but it’s expensive. Since we’re looking at an affordable keyboard, I recommend getting an affordable, universal X- or Y-stand, such as the previously recommended RockJam Xfinity Double-X stand.


Headphones

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 Headphones

Headphones come in very handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.

Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.

Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your keyboard.

Summary

Yamaha NP-12 NP-32 Review

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Straightforward controls
  • Great sounds that beat the competition
  • Powerful yet clean speakers
  • 64-note polyphony
  • Onboard MIDI recorder
  • Can run on batteries

Cons

  • Keys aren’t the best
  • Limited features and connectivity options
  • Headphone jack is on the back
  • Sustain pedal is not included

For beginners, I consider the NP-32 a top value buy, but I’ll also admit that there area few omissions that make it feel slightly less fully-fledged than its other competitors.

Regardless, it’s a beginner keyboard, and the most important thing is that it has a good piano sound and velocity response.

This allows beginners to build up the needed skills of dynamic control and muscle memory, essential for mastering the piano.

The NP-32’s sounds are arguably the best-in-class option, which gives it a leg up over the competition. In terms of piano sounds, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better at the sub-$300 price point.

While I wouldn’t consider the NP-32 perfect, it’ll serve most players way past the beginner level.

As with most budget selections, you’ll need to investigate an upgrade in the future, but the NP-32 is a solid choice for nailing down the basics.

While the NP-12 is similar in most regards, the NP-32’s speakers are worth the extra cost. Having clean speakers makes the practice process more enjoyable. Reducing ear fatigue and allowing you to hear all frequencies is always a plus.

In conclusion, the NP-32 and NP-12 are solid beginner keyboards that impress despite their limited feature set. I’ll stand by what I said earlier, and the NP-series keyboards are easily one of the best budget keyboards you can buy as a beginner.

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Yamaha NP-12 / NP-32 in your region:

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From What Retailer to Buy From?As you can see, there are plenty of good places where you can buy this item. My personal favorite is Sweetwater.

Being one of the oldest and most reputable music retailers in the US, it offers exceptional customer service, competitive prices, fast shipping, and overall the best experience I’ve ever had shopping for audio equipment.

Many of my fellow musicians share the same opinion and regard Sweetwater as their go-to music store.

My second favorite choice would be Guitar Center, another giant in the music industry that you can trust.)
Amazon Guitar CenterSweetwater

UK & Europe:
Amazon UK Gear4Music “Thomann

Sours: https://www.pianodreamers.com/yamaha-np12-np32-review/

Keyboard yamaha review

Best Yamaha keyboards 2021: 10 top picks for home music makers

It’s fair to say that Yamaha knows a thing or two about keyboards. The Japanese company has been manufacturing them since the 1880s, and was responsible for making 54 percent of the portable keyboards sold around the world in 2019. But what are the best Yamaha keyboards you can buy today, and what makes them so special?

The sheer number of Yamaha keyboards can be overwhelming for those thinking of making a purchase, so we’ve narrowed our focus down to the company’s beginner-friendly arranger keyboards (to find out what’s meant by an arranger keyboard, click on the buying advice tab above). This rules out professional stage keyboards like the new CP88, digital pianos such as the P-125, Yamaha’s well-established range of synthesizers, including the MODX and the Motif, synth workstations like the Montage range, and also the wallet-busting Genos arranger keyboard.

Best Yamaha keyboards: Our top picks

Choosing a favourite from such a broad range of keyboards was always going to be a challenge, but in the end we plumped for the Yamaha PSR-E373, as it sits firmly in the sweet spot for breadth of features, quality of sound and value for money. It really is an excellent instrument and should give you years of learning, composing and playing pleasure. There are too many great features to list here, but we were especially sold on the keyboard’s built-in audio/MIDI interface and 38 digital signal processors.

A special mention goes to the Piaggero NP-12 for delivering that satisfying Yamaha digital piano tone in such a classy portable package. It also reintroduced this writer’s 90-year-old mum to the joys of playing piano during the last lockdown!

Best Yamaha keyboards: Product guide

1. Yamaha PSR-E373

A terrific set of features at a fantastic price

Specifications

Price: $335/£242/€285

Keys: 61 full-size

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 622

Styles: 205

Song recorder: Two tracks, five songs

Polyphony: 48

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2.5W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 945 x 369 x 118mm

Weight: 4.6kg

Reasons to buy

+Lots of pro features for the price +Built-in USB audio interface+Compatible with Rec’n’Share mobile app 

Reasons to avoid

-Only nine user preset slots 

A significant upgrade on its predecessor the PSR-E363, the PSR-E373 offers features and sounds that you won’t even find on some of Yamaha’s most expensive keyboards. Among the impressive selection of 622 voices, there are 11 new Super Articulation Lite presets that faithfully reproduce the tricky-to-mimic nuances of stringed instruments such as the cello and the mandolin.

The PSR-E373 also comes with 205 accompaniment styles, plus a class-leading selection of 38 digital signal processor effects. Sounds can also be layered and/or split across the keyboard with a single button press. Yamaha’s onboard lesson system, Rec’n’Share mobile app compatibility and a useful built-in USB audio/MIDI interface round things off nicely.

With the PSR-E373, Yamaha has hit the sweet spot between features and affordability, but if you need more keys there’s a 76-note version available in the form of the PSR-EW310.

2. Yamaha PSR-SX600

An entry-level arranger keyboard for professionals

Specifications

Price: $870/£629/€739

Keys: 61 full-size

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 850

Styles: 415

Song recorder: 16 tracks

Polyphony: 128

Power: Mains

Speakers: Two 15W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 1,004 x 410 x 134mm

Weight: 8.1kg

Reasons to buy

+Most-affordable keyboard in the pro SX range +Large, colour LCD+Real-time controls 

Reasons to avoid

-It’s heavy 

Pushing the portability envelope somewhat at a hefty 8.1kg, the PSR-SX600 is the lowest-priced model in Yamaha’s SX range of pro-level keyboards. Blurring the lines between a portable arranger and a proper workstation keyboard, it packs in a lot of high-end features, justifying its status as the most expensive instrument on our list. Real-time control over a range of user-assignable settings, an informative 4.3” TFT colour LCD screen, two powerful 15W speakers and 128-note polyphony are just a few of the highlights here.

There are a staggering 850 voices on tap, 73 of which are the new Super Articulation type, giving extra authenticity to guitar, sax, trumpet, organ and string sounds. With a whopping 415 styles, a playlist organiser, accents and unison features, plus 100MB of expansion memory to load new sounds onto, the PSR-SX600 offers a whole world of musical adventure to explore.

3. Yamaha PSR-E273

Yamaha’s most-affordable E-series keyboard

Specifications

Price: $248/£179/€210

Keys: Six full-size

Velocity?: No

Voices: 401

Styles: 143

Song recorder: One track, one song

Polyphony: 32

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2.5W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 940 x 317 x 104mm

Weight: 4kg

Reasons to buy

+Affordable+Great for beginners+Easy to use  

Reasons to avoid

-Rather basic 

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 tag is reflected in the lack of some of the more sophisticated features found on the PSR-E373, such as velocity-sensitive keys, MIDI capability, LCD backlighting, and the ability to split and layer sounds across the keyboard.

You still get a lot for your money, though, including 61 full-size keys, 401 sounds from Yamaha’s renowned AWM sample library, and 143 styles to play along with. With 112 songs, Yamaha’s built-in lesson feature will help you to polish your playing skills, and there’s even an entertaining ‘guess the note’ quiz mode.

The PSR-E273 represents great value for money and would be a lot of fun for any young player starting out.

4. Yamaha PSR-E463

This feature-packed E-series range-topper is still great value

Specifications

Price: $495/£358/€421

Keys: 61 full-size

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 758

Styles: 235

Song recorder: Six tracks, 10 songs

Polyphony: 48

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 6W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 946 x 404 x 139mm

Weight: 6.6kg

Reasons to buy

+Groove Creator is a lot of fun+Quick sampling and pitch bend+You can record to USB stick 

Reasons to avoid

-No Super Articulation voices 

Yamaha's range-topping E-series keyboard builds on the PSR-E373’s fabulous feature set with extras like an upgraded LCD screen, a 32-slot patch memory, a proper pitch-bend wheel, a 3.5mm auxiliary audio input and a quick-sampling mode.

You get assignable real-time effects knobs, a built-in USB audio / MIDI interface and a 35-pattern Groove Creator, allowing you to pull off impromptu DJ-style performances at the touch of a button. You can even record audio directly to a USB thumb drive – though, surprisingly, you won’t find any Super Articulation voices here.

The PSR-E463’s massive 758-voice library and 235 auto-accompaniment styles should be more than enough to keep even advanced players going for a while. And there’s also a 76-note version available in the form of the PSR-EW410.

5. Yamaha PSS-F30

Everything your child needs to start playing

Specifications

Price: $97/£70/€82

Keys: 37 mini

Velocity?: No

Voices: 117

Styles: 114

Song recorder: Via smart device only

Polyphony: 32

Power: USB or four AA batteries

Speakers: One 1.4W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 506 x 201 x 54mm

Weight: 1.2kg

Reasons to buy

+Great for kids +Lots of voices and styles+30 built-in songs 

Reasons to avoid

-Not velocity-sensitive 

Looking for a keyboard that’ll help your kids learn to play? The Yamaha PSS-F30 is designed with children in mind, boasting a number of fun, educational features, not to mention a tiny form factor.

It has the most sounds of all the keyboards in the PSS range, with 117 voices and 114 accompaniment styles. The 37 mini-keys are perfect for small hands, there’s an octave-shift button and a sustain feature, and you also get 30 built-in songs to help get your mini-Mozart started. 

Although the keys are not velocity-sensitive, the Smart Chord auto-accompaniment feature means kids can lead a virtual backing band with one finger – and they can also practise safely with studio headphones, thanks to a user-definable maximum output level. All in all, a fantastic springboard for budding musicians. 

6. Yamaha PSR-E360

The perfect starter keyboard for the home

Specifications

Price: $320/£232/€272

Keys: 61 full-size

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 384

Styles: 130

Song recorder: One track, one song

Polyphony: 32

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2.5W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 940 x 316 x 100mm

Weight: 4kg

Reasons to buy

+Comes in natural wood finishes+Duo mode +Aux-in jack for connecting MP3 players, etc 

Reasons to avoid

-Song recorder is only good for 300 notes per track 

Available in two wood-effect finishes – dark walnut or maple – the PSR-E360 is one of Yamaha’s more-stylish keyboards (you can also get a plain black version). But there’s a lot of substance behind that smart exterior, with 384 voices, 130 auto-accompaniment styles and a 112-track Song Book on board.

There’s a nine-step Yamaha Education Suite lesson function, a recording feature (though it’s only good for 300 notes per track) and an auxiliary input for connecting an external audio source. You can even play alongside a friend, thanks to a duo mode that splits the keyboard into two halves, each with its own middle C.

7. Yamaha PSS-A50

This backpack-friendly groovebox can be taken anywhere

Specifications

Price: $141/£102/€120

Keys: 37 mini

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 40

Styles: N/A

Song recorder: 700 notes

Polyphony: 32

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: One 1.4W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 506 x 201 x 54mm

Weight: 1.2kg

Reasons to buy

+Motion effects+Phrase recorder and arpeggiator+Great MIDI specification   

Reasons to avoid

-Arpeggiator implementation can be awkward 

Something a little different, the PSS-A50 does not come with a standard auto-accompaniment feature. Instead, it has a phrase recorder, an arpeggiator and what Yamaha calls ‘motion effects’ – pitch, filter and modulation features that can be called up instantly by pressing a button.

Incredibly lightweight and portable, the PSS-A50 boasts a velocity-sensitive keyboard with 37 mini-keys, 40 decent sounds taken from Yamaha’s pricier E-series of keyboards, plus a USB-to-host connector that enables it to be used as a MIDI controller. The aforementioned arpeggiator is a useful addition, though each sound has its own default pattern, so if you change sounds the pattern will change too. This could be awkward if you wanted to audition the same pattern with different sounds.

8. Yamaha Piaggero NP-12

Simple, stylish and portable piano-style keyboard

Specifications

Price: $276/£199/€235

Keys: 61 full-size

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 10

Styles: None

Song recorder: One track, one song

Polyphony: 64

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2.5W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 1,036 x 259 x 105mm

Weight: 4.5kg

Reasons to buy

+Great-sounding, no-frills piano+7,000-note song recorder+Available in black or white finish  

Reasons to avoid

-Only 10 voices 

Yamaha’s piano-making pedigree is second to none, and this portable piano-style keyboard is a brilliant solution for kids to learn on, or for more mature pianists who don’t have room for a full-size piano. 

The Piaggero NP-12 – like its larger, 76-key brother the Piaggero NP-32 – is a lightweight, synth-action keyboard that delivers a lifelike, AWM-stereo-sampled piano sound. There are only 10 voices on offer, and no auto-accompaniment, but if you want something you can just walk up to, switch on and play, you won’t find anything better for the money.

Also available in eye-catching white, the Piaggero NP-12 boasts a 7,000-note song recorder, enabling you to capture and play back your performances.

Read our full Yamaha Piaggero NP-12  review

9. Yamaha Reface CP

A portable tribute to an iconic electric piano

Specifications

Price: $372/£269/€316

Keys: 37 mini

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: Six

Styles: None

Song recorder: None

Polyphony: 128

Power: USB / mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 530 x 175 x 60mm

Weight: 1.9kg

Reasons to buy

+Authentic retro keyboard sounds+Easy interface +Superb stompbox-style effects  

Reasons to avoid

-Only six main voices 

One of four retro-themed mini keyboards in the Reface range – 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, modern tribute to Yamaha’s 1970s electric pianos.

The feature set is impressive, with a bunch of retro keyboard sounds – including two types of Fender Rhodes electric piano, a Wurlitzer piano, a clavinet and a 1970s toy piano – vintage drive, tremolo, chorus, phaser, delay and reverb effects, plus 128-note polyphony. 

There’s no auto-accompaniment, but the Reface CP sounds fantastic and is great fun to play – it even has rotary controls for effects and sound selection, just like the originals.

10. Yamaha EZ-300

Let the lights guide you to keyboard success

Specifications

Price: $439/£318/€374

Keys: 61 full-size, illuminated

Velocity?: Yes

Voices: 622

Styles: 205

Song recorder: Two tracks, five songs

Polyphony: 48

Power: Mains or six AA batteries

Speakers: Two 2.5W

Dimensions (W x D x H): 945 x 369 x 118mm

Weight: 4.8kg

Reasons to buy

+Illuminated keys +Unique white chassis +Extra onboard songs 

Reasons to avoid

-Only nine user preset slots 

If you’re learning to play the piano, having keys that light up to show you what you need to press and when can be a big help. That’s one of the main features of the EZ-300 – but it offers so much more besides.

Featuring a unique, silvery-white aesthetic, this keyboard shares a lot of the same features as our top-ranking keyboard the PSR-E373 – it offers the same number of voices and styles, the same recording ability and the same Keys to Success tuition function. Some might even argue that it’s a better package, as it gives you 202 songs instead of the PSR-E373’s 154.

For us, the PSR-E373 gets the nod because it’s cheaper, and not everyone will like the EZ-300’s white colouring – but, make no mistake, this is a very good option for budding musicians.

Best Yamaha keyboards: Buying advice

With a couple of exceptions, all of the models on our list fall into the ‘arranger keyboard’ category. An arranger keyboard is one that has built-in accompaniments you can play along to. These ‘backing tracks’ have traditionally had a whiff of the uncool about them – who could forget those clunky-sounding 1970s home organs played by pensioners? These days, though, the tiny digital musicians sequestered away in the bowels of your keyboard are pretty sophisticated, and although it’s still possible to sound like a Nintendo videogame intro screen if you really want to, that’s no longer the most likely outcome! 

Here are some things to look out for when buying a Yamaha keyboard:

Voices 

Arranger keyboards usually come with a wide selection of voices (sounds), enabling you to reproduce practically any instrument you can think of, from acoustic guitars to zithers. Just bear in mind that quantity isn’t always a measure of quality – it’s better to have fewer usable voices than hundreds you’ll never bother with. 

Styles 

A style is a set of backing instruments and ready-made parts that play along with you as you hold down a note or chord with your left hand – so the more styles a keyboard has, the more choice you’ll have as to how your backing band plays. Modern keyboards can offer hundreds of styles, some of them pretty sophisticated and current-sounding. 

Keys 

Most of the keyboards on our list have 61 keys, offering a five-octave span that’s wide enough to play with both hands. Most will be velocity-sensitive, allowing for dynamic expression according to how hard or softly you play the keys. Some keyboards offer 76-key versions for the more advanced player, while other, smaller ’boards sport only 37 mini-keys for a more-portable or kid-friendly solution.  

Super Articulation 

Super Articulation is Yamaha’s term for a sampled sound that emulates the behaviour of a real instrument by including certain nuances you’d expect to hear. These might include string squeaks on an acoustic guitar voice, or the sound of a saxophone player taking a breath between notes. Previously the preserve of Yamaha’s higher-end keyboards, the technology has now started to trickle down into some of the less-expensive models.

Speakers / headphones 

The majority of the instruments featured here have built-in speakers, so don’t need to be plugged into an amp or one of the best PA speakers in order for you to hear what you’re playing. All the keyboards in this guide also feature a headphones output for those all-important silent practice sessions.

Power supply 

Since many of the keyboards featured here offer portability as a major selling point, many can be powered by AA batteries. However, most also enable you to use mains power via a standard power supply or USB.

Dave has been making music with computers since 1988 and his engineering, programming and keyboard-playing has featured on recordings by artists including George Michael, Kylie and Gary Barlow. A music technology writer since 2007, he’s Computer Music’s long-serving songwriting and music theory columnist, iCreate magazine’s resident Logic Pro expert and a regular contributor to MusicRadar and Attack Magazine. He also lectures on synthesis at Leeds Conservatoire of Music and is the author of Avid Pro Tools Basics.

Sours: https://www.musicradar.com/news/best-yamaha-keyboards
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