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Compare: Casio LK-S450 vs Yamaha PSR-EZ300 - Battle of the key-lighting kings

Updated: Jun 28

Review:

Yamaha PSR-EZ300

$249.99 USD



Casio LK-S450

$279.99 USD


Keyboards with keys that light up are helpful to beginners who get lost finding the right notes to play. The Casio LK-S450 and the Yamaha PSR-EZ300 are 2 of the best 61 key keyboards with a key-lighting system from the biggest manufacturers of portable keyboards. I will be making an in-depth comparison between these two keyboards to help you make an informed purchase when looking to buy one of these keyboards


Price

The price of the Yamaha PSR-EZ300 is priced around $30 or 10% cheaper than the Casio LK-S450. This is why the PSR-EZ300 gets the point for being cheaper.



Key Actions

Both keyboards have 61 full-size keys with similar key actions and keytops. The keys on the Casio are inclined towards piano players. The LK-S450 has box shape semi-weighted keys which are stiffer and are great for playing piano & electric piano tones as the keys provide a little bit more resistance.

However, for all other sounds such as saxophones, trumpets, flutes, guitars, and synth sounds, the synth-action keys on the PSR-EZ300 are better.

The key surface of the PSR-EZ300 is also smooth and glossy versus the matte micro-textured keytops of the LK-S450. The PSR-EZ300 has a much louder key noise compared to the LK-S450.

In this case, both keyboards have their own advantages both of them each get a point.



Tone Quality

The PSR-EZ300 comes with 622 tones whereas the LK-S450 comes with 600 tones. Both keyboards support dual voice layers, keyboard voice splits as well as the functionality to independently adjust the volume mix of each voice layer.

The Casio has a large selection of acoustic and electric pianos, organs, EDM as well as ethnic instruments. On the other hand, Yamaha excels with their acoustic instrument voices such as saxophones, flutes, guitars, harmonicas, and accordions. The PSR-EZ300 may not have as many pianos, organs, or electric piano voices but what it has is excellent and sufficient.


Yamaha introduced their Super-Articulation Lite technology with the PSR-EZ300 and the articulation button is great for precise control of when you want the sample to switch for the guitars, flutes, saxophones, and brass voices.

Casio, on the other hand, has its own velocity switching samples, for example, their guitars and brass instruments. However, it would be better if Casio had more velocity switched samples.


Therefore, the PSR-EZ300 would get a point as it has more voices and the voices sound great right out of the box without any further tweaking



Effects

While voices are the bread and butter functionality of any keyboard, quality effects such as Digital Signal Processors, arpeggiators as well as note harmonies are what make ordinary sound samples come alive.


The Yamaha PSR-EZ300 comes with 38 DSPs, such as amp simulations, rotary speakers, and distortion which can be assigned to any sound. While the Casio LK-S450 also has DSPs but the DSP effects on the Casio are baked into specific sounds. You do not get the option to change to a different DSP or even to vary the amount of DSP effect applied.


It is slightly disappointing that the LK-S450 does not include an arpeggiator or a melody harmonizer to thicken up your melody playing whereas the PSR-EZ300 has 150 arpeggiator patterns and 26 harmony types built-in. For that reason, the PSR-EZ300 would get a point for its customizability and array of effects



Rhythm Accompaniment Styles

Both keyboards are arrangers allowing you to play live with chords triggering an accompaniment making your performance a lot more lively, groovy and dynamic.


The LK-S450 has 200 rhythms with the option of loading an additional 10 third-party rhythms you can download from the internet. The PSR-EZ300 has 5 more rhythms than the LK-S450 with the similar option of loading in 10 additional third-party rhythms as well. For each style, both keyboards have an intro/ending, 2 rhythm variations and 2 rhythm fills making them equally capable.


Casio has more contemporary styles, however, Yamaha styles are better programmed with smoother transitions between style variations and fills.

Therefore, the PSR-EZ300 would get a point for it.



Chord Detection Mode

One important functionality of arranger keyboards is the Chord Detection Mode when playing with styles. The PSR-EZ300 only supports 2 modes the fingered and smart chord mode which is quite disappointing. The smart chord mode is too restrictive and there is not much that it can be used for. On the contrary, the LK-S450 has included 6 different chord detection modes including the support for slash chords.


One advantage of the LK-S450 is that for those who use their keyboards to take the Trinity College of London keyboard exams, the PSR-EZ300 just does not meet the minimum requirement for many grades. Thus, the LK-S450 would get a point for its usability and functionality.



Lesson Mode

As key lights are not very useful unless paired with a good onboard lesson feature. Both the PSR-EZ300 and LK-S450 have very similar lesson features built in. The PSR-EZ300 comes with 202 songs while LK-S450 only has 160 songs. While both can load additional songs, most students will be using the onboard songs for the lessons.


Both systems use a 3 step method and the keyboard will evaluate your progress and give you a score based on how well you perform. Both keyboards allow you to mark out difficult phrases for repeated practice in a loop. Yamaha has a Chord Dictionary feature that teaches you how to play chords and Casio has a similar Chord Book.


However, Yamaha excels by having 3 additional lesson modules which is invaluable for those who want to learn more. The Yamaha PSR-EZ300 has a touch tutor which trains the student to modulate and control their key touch. It also has the chord study, where the keyboard teaches you how various chord inversions affect the harmony of a song. Lastly, the chord progression lesson on the Yamaha also teaches you how to listen and identify common chord sequences used in many popular musics.


While Casio may argue that they have the Chordana app, it does require the student to have access to a tablet and to have suitable cables before it is useful.

With that, the PSR-EZ300, definitely get the point here for its fully inclusively lesson mode without the need for any external software.



User Registration Banks

Both the PSR-EZ300 and LK-S450 are powerful keyboards. However, you must be able to save your own voice and rhythm registrations that you painstakingly configured. The PSR-EZ300 has 9 user registration slots while the LK-S450 has only 4. As such, the PSR-EZ300 gets a point for having more slot memory.



Song Recording

Both the PSR-EZ300 and LK-S450 allows you to record up to 5 of your own performance internally. On the LK-S450 you can record up to 5 tracks whereas the PSR-EZ300 it only comes with a very basic 2 track recorder.


However, the PSR-EZ300 has a built-in USB audio interface so you can use Yamaha’s innovative Rec’N’Share app on your smartphone. With this app, all you need is a USB cable and you can record clean and pure digital audio together with video on your smartphone at the same time. You can then directly share the high-fidelity digital audio or video via WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or Messenger.


This feature itself is a massive selling point that even very expensive pro-keyboards do not have. With this unique feature incorporated into the keyboard, the PSR-EZ300 beats the LK-S450 hands down getting a point.



Sound System

Both the PSR-EZ300 and LK-S450 have almost identical speaker systems. Both driven by a 5 watts amplifier. At max volume, the Yamaha is a little louder. However, because the Casio LK-S450 has a bass port, the frequency separation is clearer and more distinct. This gives the LK-S450 a point for its sound clarity.



Ease of Use

Casio has gone for a minimalist concept when it comes to the instrument panel.

The LK-S450 relies on a context-aware backlit-LCD screen to get to most features.

On the other hand, the PSR-EZ300 has 300% more buttons than the Casio it gives you a whole different user experience.

With fewer buttons on the LK-S450, selecting voices, rhythms and functions just take more steps and more button presses than necessary. Many things which can be performed with a single press on the PSR-EZ300 aren't as straightforward on the LK-S450.


Less is more just isn’t applicable when it comes to buttons on keyboards. You have to have to go to the correct category on the LCD and then turn the dial to get to a tone on the LK-S450. While on the PSR-EZ300, you just punch the number on the keypad that corresponds to that tone which is so much easier.


One downside of the PSR-EZ300 is that because it has become so advanced, there are many items in the Function button. Which increases the number of presses of the button to get to a specific function.


However, this is not a big hindrance, and having more buttons really improves the time needed for you to perform the specific functions needed giving PSR-EZ300 a point for it.



Portability

The trump card of the Casio LK-S450 is its portability. While both keyboards can run on AA batteries in addition to a power outlet, the PSR-EZ300 is significantly bigger than the LK-S450 and also weighs more.

In addition, the Casio LK-S450 comes with a carry handle as well as strap pins so you can attach a guitar strap and carry your Casio around like a keytar. Without a doubt, the LK-S450 wins in terms of portability.



Notable Features

The Casio LK-S450 has a few more advantages compared to the PSR-EZ300. The LK-S450 has a microphone input which the PSR-EZ300 does not have.


Also the LK-S450 has an optional adaptor attachment that supports wireless Bluetooth MIDI and audio while the PSR-EZ300 does not have any wireless functionality.

With these additional functions the Casio LK-S450 gains two points over the Yamaha PSR-EZ300 for its extra features.



Conclusion

There is no doubt that the Yamaha PSR-EZ300 is not only 10% cheaper but a more superior key-lighting keyboard scoring 9 points versus Casio score of 6 points. Nonetheless, the Casio LK-S450 is a better choice if ultra-portability is important to you or if you intend to use your keyboard to take keyboard exams. The white color of the PSR-EZ300 might also be a deal-breaker for you if you prefer the traditional black color of the Casio LK-S450.


I hope that this review of the Casio LK-S450 and Yamaha PSR-EZ300 has been useful for you. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest updates and prices of the Casio LK-S450 and Yamaha PSR-EZ300 If these keyboards are not for you, do look at the other articles in this blog to find your ideal instrument.


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