We were very pleased to get up close to the new Yamaha PSR SX700 and SX900 keyboards this week during a dealer-exclusive training event. (see our walk-around video at the bottom of this page)
What follows is our first impressions and the major new features that pop out not a beautifully crafted essay so……
It’s clear that what we’re looking at here, particularly with SX900 is a portable (and lower priced) Genos. (Genos, for those that don’t know is Yamaha’s flagship model). Mainly because the operating system has changed to the new Genos version.
On PSR S975/775 the player was limited to two voices on the right hand. On SX700 and SX900 we can now have x3 voices (yes, just like Genos, expect to hear that a lot). This naturally means we now have an almost unlimited amount of variation when we mix voices.
A new feature which has been a direct result of customer feedback, and will be extremely useful for songwriters, is the inclusion of Chord Looper, which allows the player to play a sequence of chords and then have them loop around repeatedly. This is nicely integrated and the system to operate it is easy enough to pick up after a few attempts. You can change the style mid way through the playback and save up to 8 chord sequences in each batch. In an especially cool feature you can even link it with the excellent Yamaha SmartPianist app which will read your iTunes/Spotify collection, analyse it and the insert the chord sequences into the keyboard! – That is really, really cool.
Another feature coming over from the flagship Genos model is Playlist. In short this is a way to arrange your settings in multiple neat and tidy lists using song titles. If you’re a gigging musician this is very useful as you can prepare a set list for a gig/performance in advance and save everything ready to load up on the night. The display is less cluttered than the standard display of files/folders and consequently makes operating it in high pressure environments (like gigs!) much less stressful as you don’t need to press a gazillion buttons to set up the next song.
Bluetooth functionality is as you might expect from a 2019 digital device and is quick and ergonomic.
The drums that make up the accompaniments are derived from Genos’s terrific REVO drums. Although they don’t use wave cycling like Genos they do use the same samples. If you’ve heard Genos you will know how effective the new REVO drums are at making the sound of performances sound just like a real band, this is what you get with the new SX keyboards.
Just a quick note on the design. Both SX keyboards have a new stylised ‘sloped’ profile from the audience perspective so look very nice on stage. And the SX900 uses a brushed aluminium facia on the front panel which gives a gorgeous metallic sheen to it. A nice touch is that almost any angle you attempt to pick these keyboards up there seems to be a useful handhold which has been contoured. Your roadies will be pleased.
The entire speaker, amplifier and DSP system has been remodelled on SX700 and SX900.
Yamaha have been absolute heroes in responding to the needs of the musicians that use their instruments. Some of the feedback from them has been about the rigidness of the musical accompaniments and how they’re not flexible enough. Well now on SX700 and SX900 you have total flexibility. You can create new styles from scratch, tweak existing ones, muck around with time signatures and for the first time you can interrupt the accompaniment sequence and have it return to the first beat of the bar rather than have to wait politely while the keyboard completes it. This feature is called Style Reset (yep, it can be assigned to a pedal) and deserves a massive high five to the development team at Yamaha.
Crikey this is going on a bit isn’t it? There’s so much that new I want to tell you about. Let’s keep going!
On previous models of Yamaha S-series keyboards the speakers, quite sensibly we thought, were designed to pump the sound directly into you, the player’s, ears. However on the new SX700 and SX900 for the first time the speakers are design to do this but also project the sound forwards towards the audience. If you are a regular public performer this is a boon because you’ll find there’s not such a need to connect to an external speaker system to be heard across the room.
Speaking of external speakers! – There is a clever design feature whereby when you connect one of the Yamaha sub woofer speakers the keyboard will automatically adjust the EQ to direct the treble out from the keyboard monitor speakers and send the bass to the sub. How brilliant is that! So you’re turning your SX keyboard into a mini Genos!
SX900 has a 7” screen which is crisp, clear and responsive to your touch just like you’d expect from a 2019 touchscreen.
The memory of both SX700 and SX900 is huge compared to their predecessors S975 S775. Somewhere in the order of x4 times larger.
Very usefully the SX900 has x2 USB ports. The SX700 only has one.
Mp3 and Wav recording is featured on both.
More info and full playing demonstrations and review to come. Stay tuned!
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Goodbye for now!