Chris was in The Booth for episode #4 and tool us on an odyssey back into that most glorious of decades; The 1980s.
We took the new Yamaha PSR SX-700 ‘Mini Genos’ into the Booth to give it a good run out. So much attention has been paid to it’s big brother SX-900 that Chris felt a little sorry for it and wanted to see what fun could be had.
For your information the dimensions and weight is the same as SX900 but SX700 is missing that brushed aluminium facia (which is decidedly nice). Superficially that is the main difference but if you want a complete guide to the differences then read David’s blog article here.
The attention, and frankly love, that has gone into making these fabulous 80s styles is to be commended in a big way. They are clearly made with passion so BIG congrats to the boys and girls at Yamaha for doing such a great job. The synths are perfect, the swelling pads arouse nostalgic feelings and the drums and percussion are perfect. Playing with headphones on is like having Phil Collins in the drum booth right next to you.
You can play in the traditional keyboard way of playing chords with your left hand and melody in the right, or you can experiment with using dry vocal tracks (basically Freddie Mercury minus the rest of the band) and let the keyboard provide the backing. This has been loads of fun to do although admittedly it takes a little trickery on a computer to get the synchronisation just right. But it can be achieved readily enough.
That brings to mind a couple of ways you can compensate for errors in timing when using vocal backing tracks. There is the Sync-start feature which will allow you to hold the accompaniment for a crucial few moments until you can start in time again. Or you can use a new feature called Style Reset which with the touch of one button will return the beat of the backing to the first beat the bar. Very clever and useful stuff from Yamaha again.
If the 80s is your era then you are going to spend many happy hours on this keyboard bringing back the memories. The few opening bars of Spandau Ballet’s True is so evocative it almost make you want to burst into “huurr-hu-hu-huuurrrrrrgh-huuurr”. You’ll know what that means if it’s your era. God knows what you’ll think otherwise.
Overall the SX700, despite being somewhat overshadowed by it’s bigger brother SX900, is a mighty capable keyboard for around the £1000 mark which of course makes it must more justifiable to those you have to justify it to. It’s compact and portable and has quite a punch in terms of sound delivery. Certainly enough to entertain in small venues. Naturally it has a complete set of outputs if you need to amp up a bit.
There are so many 80s settings on this keyboard we couldn’t possibly cover them all in one video/blog, so look out for Back To The 80s part II coming soon. Subscribe for updates below!