A brief overview of Yamaha’s PSR Series – all you need to know
Yamaha Corporation (or shortly just “Yamaha”) is one of the most renowned multinational Japanese hardware brands. Everybody’s heard of them in one way or the other, but there are a couple of peculiar things about some of their merchandise.
If you want to take up an online search of Yamaha’s “best products” online, you’d get a plethora of lists, bullet points, recommendations, and whatnot. However, certain “series” of their best-quality products aren’t so easy to categorize. For instance, their PSR series is a bit tricky to understand, as it features all kinds of keyboards – beginner’s, advanced, high-end, and boutique.
Since Yamaha is “responsible” for numerous high-quality products (and series where they belong), the simplest of researches would end up as a small encyclopedia, we are going to discuss mainly the PSR series of Yamaha’s finest keyboards, as well as the PSR workstation series, so as to avoid confusing the latter with the former.
Yamaha PSR series in a nutshell
Yamaha earned much fame during the course of years, but it’s safe to say that their plain keyboards had a lot of impact on their renown. Before they’ve buckled up their staff and improved their technology, they’ve been manufacturing basic 61-key keyboards.
These models are very plain in their essence, but there’s a staggering number of differences between each one. The main reason for that is the increase in Yamaha’s staff, improved technologies, and so on. Let’s see what Yamaha’s PSR series feature.
What is the series comprised of?
Yamaha’s work with the PSR series started in the year of 1990 with the PSR-2 keyboard. It’s safe to assume that a PSR-1 existed at some point in time, but no credible sources can confirm it. After the PSR-2 came the PSR 3, then the 6 coming with 49 keys and 100-sound bank. Ironically, the Psr-11 featured only 16 sounds – it was developed three years before the PSR-6, so it’s only logical that it’s inferior in performance.
There were approximately a hundred (discontinued) models before the major breakthrough – the PSR-1000 which was released in 2001. All of the aforementioned keyboards were surprisingly similar in both design and performance, with minor improvements in the sound-banks and playability, but it all changed with the PSR-1000.
This particular keyboard model started a new generation of high-quality keyboards which excelled in numerous fields of performance – they didn’t cost much, and they all boasted a superb value due to excellent sound emission and clarity.
Yamaha PSR arranger workstations in a nutshell
This particular category is not a sub-category of the PSR series – it’s completely standalone and comprised of keyboard workstations. A keyboard workstation is, basically, a combination of a regular keyboard, a special music sequencer, and lastly, a sound module.
These stations feature massive “tablas”, and the features they come supplied with aren’t so easy to figure out, which is just one of the reasons why beginners and immediate newcomers shy away from them.
Even though there are numerous differences between each PSR keyboard, it’s safe to say that they all have the PSR-1500 to thank for the original design. All later models are improvements and only feature upgrades rather than significant reworks and tweaks.
What is the PSR arranger workstation series comprised of?
Yamaha’s PSR “workstation” series started with the (now discontinued) PSR-1500 arranger workstation which was released on 21st of January 2004. It was replaced and improved in mere weeks with the model 3000 which appeared as a pioneer keyboard at the time. It featured a staggering amount of 997 voices, some 58 drum and SFX kits, a total of 480 XG voices, and up to 400 styles for you to choose from.
The next model was the PSR 7000 – a reliable, highly versatile arranger workstation with a plethora of options and styles. The PSR 8000 and 9000 followed in the course of next two years, only to be replaced by the PSR-9000 Pro in the year of 2000.
It’s safe to say that the PSR series earned its fame and glory with the start of PSR-A models (such as PSR A2000, PSR A3000, and such, both of which have surfaced by the end of 2010).
Some people call this sub-category of PSR workstations as oriental workstations, as they were exclusively sold in certain oriental countries – one of the most famous “oriental” PSR arranger workstation was the I455, but we’ll talk about it specifically in one of the sections below.
Apart from the original PSR, Yamaha started manufacturing the PSR-S workstations in July 2006. These “S-Class” arranger workstations are predominantly used and favoured by professional and advanced keyboard players.
Needless to say, the PSR S keyboards are substantially more versatile, come outfitted with an increased number of voices and styles, but they also cost quite a lot in comparison to the models from the “original” PSR series.
PSR and Beginners
Now, we already mentioned that PSR arranger workstations aren’t so well suited for beginners, but regular keyboards from the PSR series are practically ideal for them. While only veterans are capable of utilizing the unwieldy design of a workstation, models that belong to the “original” PSR series are plain and straightforward.
The PSR-E series is among the most versatile ones, featuring hundreds of authentic voices, numerous GM panels, and a plethora of built-in songs and music databases. It’s absolutely perfect for beginners, but even intermediate level players will have fun with it.
PSR I455 – the exquisite model available only in India
There’s a very special sub-category of PSR keyboards called the “PSR Others” by some sources – the keyboards within this category share so very little in common that there’s no firm ground for further categorization. According to Wikipedia, the PSR others is comprised of PSR I455, I425, A3, D1, GX76, K1, and F51. The I455 is the latest addition to this group, and it’s safe to say it sticks out from the rest.
Now, PSR-I455 was built exclusively for the Indian market and it features 753 voice packs, 206 built-in music styles, and more – 19 of which are Indian instruments and 26 Indian-themed automatic music accompaniment.
Simply put, Yamaha’s PSR series is vast. There are numerous smaller sub-categories within it, and keeping track of all the models that ever existed in this generation is virtually impossible. However, flagships such as A1000, A3000, I455, and E333 shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re ever in search of a premium-quality high-end keyboard. Last note, though – don’t confuse PSR series with the PSR workstation series, as they’re not one and the same.