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Yamaha PSR-SX900 price review

How do you know if the Yamaha PSR SX900 price is good value for your money? - In this blog, I will explain the pros and cons to help you decide if it's worth buying

Yamaha PSR-SX900 price review
Chris Hammond

Is the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price fair? Sure, it has some impressive sounds and clever technology but will the hardware meet your expectations?

I dig into the details (using the categories listed below) to help you decide if this is the keyboard for you.

  • THE HARDWARE: Knobs & buttons, chassis design, keyboard touch, speakers & amplifiers.
  • THE SOFTWARE: Operating system, voices, features & functions.
  • THE STAGE APPEAL: Would I want to been seen on stage playing it?
  • THE MAGIC DUST: (I couldn’t think of a better category title!) Can I sense the designer’s passion?
  • THE SUMMARY: Do I think it’s a fair price?

THE HARDWARE 

It's mostly plastic knobs and switches, but that's ok for the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price bracket

At first glance, I thought this is a small keyboard. It has 61 notes and barely extends widthways beyond the edge of the actual keyboard itself (1017mm).

Furthermore, it’s not very deep front to back (431mm). This is a very compact instrument!

The SX900’s chassis has a very angular style to it which has been a hallmark of Yamaha portable keyboards since the 1970s.

It is mostly black plastic but the facia around the screen and panel buttons is a really nice brushed metal finish.

The shape of the keyboard (and its weight of only 11.5kg) means it’s very easy to pick up and carry.

Used Keyboard Selection

The buttons and knobs are plastic (presumably to save cost/weight) but still feel like good quality. In addition, the blue and orange lights that are built into the buttons bring a futuristic feel to the front panel.

Here is my biggest personal disappointment: The keys on the Yamaha PSR-SX900 are not weighted like a traditional piano (read our explainer blog on weighted keys here).

With my background in piano playing, I prefer the touch and feel of a weighted keyboard. Perhaps you do too? – in which case the SX900 might not be the keyboard for you.

Used Digital Piano Selection

Of course, having fully weighted keys would inevitably add weight and cost which might lift the price above its current bracket. This compromise is a hard one to swallow for me, but a necessary one perhaps.

Lastly, I must give an honourable mention to the onboard speaker and amplifier configuration. In a small keyboard like this, I did not expect such a beefy sound.

Yamaha’s experience in high-spec audio has clearly bled over into their keyboards because the sound is surprisingly deep and rich.

THE SOFTWARE

Does the advanced software affect the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price?

Before I even powered up the Yamaha PSR-SX900 for the first time I was struck by the size of the screen (7 inches). When turned on, it jumps into life with vivid colours and easy-to-read displays.

You are probably used to how modern smartphones and tablets respond to your touch – they’re quick and responsive.

Subsequently, we’ve grown to expect everything with a touchscreen to work like this and we have very little tolerance for a poor touchscreen.

The good news is that the SX900’s touchscreen responds instantly and its zips between pages without hesitation or delay.

The operating system itself is a highlight of this keyboard. It’s bright, colourful, and easy to understand.

Just look at the homepage pictured above. It emphasises the right things like voice and style selection and uses the space well to illustrate your current setup.

Used Digital Piano Selection

Plus, when you delve into the menus you’ll find them easy to navigate.

This also speaks to Yamaha’s experience of producing keyboards for stage usage that the PSR-SX900 is not exclusively touchscreen controlled.

When playing live on stage, it’s sometimes easier to just press a button rather than touch a screen, and you’ll find plenty of the main controls still have good old-fashioned buttons to press.

Used Keyboard Selection

One little niggle that continues to irk me though is the user-friendliness of the ‘Playlist’ feature (I go into more detail in this article).

Needless to say, it could be better. Happily, Yamaha have proved to be good at software support and have already issued several improvements to the software via firmware updates (currently up to v1.05).

There is a very generous amount of voices on this keyboard – 1337 to be precise. To put that in context, Yamaha’s ‘flagship’ arranger keyboard – The Genos – has 1652 voices and is well over twice the price of the SX900!

Used Digital Piano Selection

While the premium voices are reserved for the Genos, the SX900 still has an impressive array of high-quality pianos, strings, guitars, synth pads, etc. Certainly enough to keep this industry veteran happy.

These voices are used in the makeup of the backing ‘Styles’ so you can expect to hear very authentic backing tracks no matter what genre of music you are playing.

Used Keyboard Selection

The ability to mix voices, save them, tweak them, etc, is as you’d expect from a pro-level keyboard, but one of the extra features I must mention is called Chord Looper, and it’s great for songwriting!

In short, it allows you to load in chord sequences which it will then loop using the backing styles while you work on your song’s melodies, etc.

I demonstrated this recently in a Livestream video that you can see below.

THE STAGE APPEAL

If I had the choice of any keyboard in the world to take on stage it wouldn’t be the Yamaha PSR-SX900, but that’s just my personal choice.

As followers of my videos will know, I have a (possibly unhealthy) fixation for the KORG SV-2. However, I can’t deny that the SX900 has style.

In fact, it’s probably one of their best-looking stage keyboards and the famous Yamaha logo is displayed prominently on the crowd-facing front panel.

Used Organ Selection

Plus, the control panel lights look super cool in low lighting. Pleasingly, when I asked a visiting non-musical friend to guess the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price, he overshot by a considerable margin.

Overall, I’d give it an 8/10 for stage appeal.

For stage robustness the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price is great

THE MAGIC DUST

Due to the covid lockdowns, I’ve been lucky enough to have an SX900 at home for the past year and a bit, so I know it pretty well and I think I have sensed where the designers’ passion for music shines through.

It’s all in the 1980s era voices and styles.

There is a large selection of classic electric pianos, synths, and drums from the era that are exquisitely authentic and clearly made with love.

Used Keyboard Selection

There are specific backing styles for songs by Phil Collins, Cindy Lauper, The B52’s, The Police, Tears for Fears, and plenty more, and they really jump out at you and make you smile.

I have to tell you that I’ve been seriously annoying my colleagues in the office by repeatedly pressing the button that plays the drum fill from ‘In The Air Tonight’.

(If you’re now hearing that very drum fill in your head then I’m afraid you also won’t be able to resist pressing it when you buy an SX900).

I demonstrated some of the brilliant 1980s music in the video below.

THE SUMMARY

Is the Yamaha PSR-SX900 price a fair one? – When I consider the quality of voices and backing styles, plus the excellent operating system and then balance it against the lack of a piano-style weighted keyboard, I realise that this keyboard leans heavily towards software lovers, not purely piano players.

Used Keyboard Selection

And as a pianist first and foremost, I don’t think I would buy one. However, as a songwriter, I am deeply attracted to it for its ability to inspire creativity within me with its truly authentic backing styles and its versatile recording/mixing/chord looping features.

In addition, it’s also compact enough to easily keep in the house alongside my current piano.

It makes some compromises to achieve it but for the price bracket that the Yamaha PSR-SX900 sits in, I’d say it was a very fair price.

Chris Hammond Manager
Chris is the manager of ePianos.co.uk and the driving force behind the demonstration, comparison and review videos that we feature on our website. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of the sales and marketing team, with extensive product knowledge and many years of experience as a musician and composer.
chrisonpiano
  • Thanks for this review, I am currently mulling over updating my psrs700 for one of these. I was told by an acquaintance who recently bought one, that it’s a tyros 5 in a new box?
    Kindest regards Jonathon.

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