I have grown up using Yamaha PSR model keyboards, having started with the humble PSR6 around 25 years back. And thanks to Yamaha’s insistence on building quality instruments, that old beast is still going strong today. So, it was with some enthusiasm that I unboxed the PSR-EW400 this month – the latest model and flagship unit in the PSR-E range. This keyboard is a big step in the right direction for Yamaha in growing the PSR community as it brings in certain features that previous models could only have dreamed of, and maintains the value price point that we have come to expect from these keyboards.
BIGGER, BOLDER AND LOUDER
This first noteworthy improvement to this model is that it is a 76-note keyboard. Previously the PSR-E range has offered 61 noted models, so it is nice to finally have that extra range right at your fingertips without having to shift up or down an octave. This will appeal to plenty of players I am sure, and makes the PSR-EW400 a great option for even more live performers and home players.
For those who simply don’t need the extra range, the PSR-E453 still offers many of the benefits of this bigger model, in a more humble 61-note offering. But the PSR-EW400 goes even further to make its presence known with the dual 12-watt speakers that deliver possibly the loudest signal from any portable keyboard I have ever heard. They do it well too, with plenty of bottom-end and no audible breakup when the volume is pushed right up. You could get away with using this keyboard in small jam sessions or rehearsals without necessarily needing a PA or keyboard amplifier.
Of course, the PSR-EW400 comes with an extended range of voices, styles and songs, including the new Live! Grand Piano Voice, which proves how Yamaha continue to strive for the best sounding and most realistic and responsive sounds in their keyboards – no matter what price point they sit in. But beyond this, there is a wide range of connectivity that hasn’t been seen on keyboards like this before. To start with, you get a USB-to-host connection for either MIDI or audio transfer, allowing you to record your performance directly to your computer software – which is sure to be Cubase. You also get a USB-to-device connection allowing you to save settings and transfer them via a USB stick. Further to this, the PSR-EW400 comes with dedicated left and right outputs on 6.5mm connectors to run into a PA system. This is a big step up from splitting a signal out of a headphone output, as has been the norm until now. On top of this, an Auxiliary Input allows audio playback from a music player of your choice and there is a range of iOS apps that are available for additional MIDI control over sounds, settings and effects. These can be used wirelessly if you add the optional Bluetooth adaptor to the system for ultimate control.
For more details on the range of Yamaha keyboards, head to au.yamaha.com.
Hits and Misses
The largest key range of any PSR-E keyboard so far
Super loud speakers for a portable keyboard
Excellent USB and iOS integration
We needed this sooner