Yamaha PSR-S950
Yamaha PSR-S950

Keyboard Arranger from the PSR series by YamahaView website

Average price: $1,899.99

6

Yamaha PSR-S950 : GinCan's user review

"PSR S950. Not too bad but not too good either." 6 (6/10)

Product bought new in June 2013, for 1619$ VAT incl

Characteristics

Arranger Keyboard, 61 Keys, Vocalizer.
Pads
Predefined styles with automatic voice changes triggered by variations.
Midi in/out
USB control
Playback Wav & Mp3 from USB
Midi Files Record/Playback
Display notation and lyrics
Not sure yet about sequencer but believe to be 16 channels

Utilization

Operating system and configuration is intuitive
Sound editing is reasonably easy. Not explored in full detail but adjustable parameters seem limited.

Overall Opinion 6/10

Only had the keyboard a few days so these are my first impressions.

The GOOD:
Good amplification with deep bass in some styles without distortion.
I like the ability to play back and adjust time stretch and pitch of Wave/MP3 files and display score and lyrics of Midi files.

The BAD:
There is no after touch on this expensive keyboard and this is serious omission considering that this is 2nd top Yamaha model.

The "super articulation" is not good in all situations and play style. The right hand volume and timbre gets uneven and I wish that it could be user controlled easily, as on/off.

The UGLY:
Some sounds are ok but the entire trumpet/brass section is a pathetic joke. I think Buontempi may have been better. Of course I compare with my Ketron X1, an old keyboard but, oh boy, the sounds on that are amazing and far superior in my opinion to the Yamaha, even on the Tyros.

Practically all brass and sometimes organ sounds on the Yamaha PSR S950 are shrill to the point of going into ultrasound when you go up the scale and they lack the depth and timbre and harmonics and fantastic realism that Ketron X1 delivers. Absolutely no comparison.
I wish I could edit the sounds, equalizing the shrill down and save back, not as a user voice, but overriding the ridiculous original default brass voices.

Models Tried before:
I tried a Tyros 4 and a Ketron SD5

Would I buy it again? Not sure. I should probably try an Audya 5 but they are so expensive, and it's very difficult in the US to find a dealer that carries them and lets you try.
So unfortunately buying a keyboard is a very expensive trial and error!

Sometimes one is lucky (Ketron X1) and sometimes one is just so so (Yamaha PSR-S950).