From an education point of view, there’s nothing that is going to make you want to throw away your existing keyboards and buy these – but then you probably wouldn’t regardless of what features they include. The best news for existing users is that the replacement will be just that. They will fit in nicely with your existing keyboards and so you can replace any broken models without needing to replace the whole classroom. However, if you do need a few replacements then you should consider getting in quick and replace them with the existing range, as I fear one of the new features will be a bigger price tag!
So, for this article I will look at the new Yamaha PSR keyboards as a new product and concentrate on why the PSR-E range has proved so popular in Schools and for education.
Teaching the piano using the Yamaha PSR-E233 and PSR-E233 keyboards
The PSR-E 233 and PSR-E333 are both educational keyboards and built with schools in mind. They are also fantastic for teaching your children at home as well. The best thing about them is that the PSR-E233 and PSR-E333 can do the teaching for you!
One of the main features of the PSR range has always been the lesson functions. These include 4 different styles of learning, starting with a very basic timing lesson where you just need to hit the keys in time to the backing music and the PSR keyboard will play the correct note for you, through to playing along accompaniments using left and right hands in time. The PSR-E keyboards come with a song book with all the music included in the lesson plans. They also come with a music holder for resting sheet music on – which some keyboards don’t.
During the lessons, the PSR-E233’s and PSR-E333’s display will show which key or keys need to be pressed next in both a graphical display of the keyboard, for real beginners, and in notation form for more advanced users. The keyboard will also mark the user’s accuracy and give them a grade.
The PSR-E233 and PSR-E333 do have a new feature in the lesson functions. It is called “Your Tempo” and it causes the keyboard to slow down and speed up the backing music to try and keep time with the user. This allows a more fluid and far less frustrating learning process. They still have the waiting method found on the existing PSR-E223 and PSR-E323 as well, where the backing track will wait for you – so it will hang the backing music whilst waiting for the user to play the next note. Again, less frustrating than trying to keep up and far better for learning than skipping bits to try and catch up.
What sounds do you get on the Yamaha PSR-E233 and PSR-E333?
It is a certainty that people aren’t going to be rushing out to buy a PSR-E keyboard to use on their latest album. But, the Yamaha PSR-E233 and PSR-E333 are beginners’ keyboards and the sounds are perfect for this. There is a good variety and they are of very good quality considering the price. There are 375 sounds on the PSR-E233 and 475 on the PSR-E333 and they form an XG lite/GM1 compatible sound set (this means you can play and record midi files and then play them back on other XG/GM1 compatible devices).
The Yamaha PSR-E233 and PSR-E333 both come with over 100 accompaniment styles and preset songs for the user to play along to.
What are the differences between the PSR-E233 and PSR-E333?
Usually, when it comes to schools, I would say there isn’t enough difference to bust your budget over and the more expensive one is definitely worth it but only if you can afford it. In this instance, though, we are talking about the difference between basic and really basic – and I know that schools have often bought the cheapest model only to find it doesn’t have some of the basic features you would expect. If you are purchasing for absolute beginners who you aren’t expecting to reach anything more than a very basic level of playing (i.e. nursery level and special needs), then buy the PSR-E233. Everyone else should consider the PSR-E333 as a minimum requirement. Features such as velocity sensitive keys (the keyboard will detect how hard the key has been hit and play the sound accordingly), ROM memory, USB connectivity and a backlit display are all features I would expect to be on a keyboard and these are on the PSR-E333 and not on the PSR-E233.
Yamaha expect the stock to hit the shelves in June. Although undoubtedly the new models are better than the existing range, if you are on a tight budget I would recommend purchasing one of the existing models and saving yourself some money.