Compare: Is Yamaha PSR-E473 Really Worth Buying Over Its Cheaper Predecessor?
Today I am going to review the recently released Yamaha PSR-E473. I will be going through with you the 13 most important differences between the latest flagship PSR-E series keyboard versus the previous model PSR-E463. While most features have gotten an upgrade, a few of them had their functionality reduced. I am going to review the key-action, sound quality, various features, and functionalities of this home piano and demonstrate the onboard sounds in order to help you make a better buying decision.
The PSR-E473 continues to have a similar 61 touch-sensitive synth-action keys found on the older E463 with 4 levels of configurable velocity curves. While the keys look and feel almost identical, it seems Yamaha has tweaked the action to be just slightly smoother on the newer keyboard. The difference is so minute that only an experienced keyboardist can perceive the improvement.
Voices & Sound Quality
The previous upgrades on the PSR-E400 series keyboards were nothing to write home about. Yamaha usually just pops a couple more voices in the newer keyboard while giving it a higher model designation hoping to stimulate stagnating sales
However, the new PSR-E473 receives a significant upgrade with not just more sounds but also a more powerful sound chip. The 62 additional new sounds contain 14 of the more expressive Super Articulation Lite voices. Polyphony has also been bumped up to 64 notes versus the paltry 48 note polyphony on the E463
The biggest upgrade among the 820 sounds is the default concert grand piano which is similar to the sample found in Yamaha’s flagship arranger keyboards.
You can layer any of these 820 voices or split them across the keyboard for more advanced music arrangements and the legacy voices carried over from the E463 now sound better on the E473 with the new effects section powered by the faster sound chip.
Effects & Digital Signal Processing
Digital sound processing is also known as DSP is what makes dry sound samples sparkle and come alive. While the E473 inherits the same 12 reverb and 5 chorus effects from the E463, the new E473 now has 53 DSP effects which is a whopping upgrade from the miserable 10 DSPs on the E463.
While the E463 can only handle one channel of DSP effects, the more powerful chip in the E473 allows it to handle 2 DSP effects simultaneously. Unfortunately, Master EQ settings have been reduced from 6 to 4.
The PSR-E series portable keyboards have arranger functionality making these keyboards very accessible to those who use these keyboards to entertain friends and family. The new E473 comes with 290 rhythm styles which are 55 more styles than the E463 which only has 235 styles.
The style section is a beneficiary of the more advanced powerful DSPs and legacy accompaniments now sound even better with the new DSPs. In addition to the Multi-Finger Chord Detection, the E473 gets an additional Smart Chord Detection mode which I am not a fan of and I personally never ever use. The onboard Arppegiator on the E473 also gets a tiny upgrade with 2 additional patterns bringing the total to 152.
The Groove Creator function is unique to the PSR-E400 series keyboards. No other keyboards in Yamaha’s PSR range have this feature. The E473 inherits the same 35 grooves from the E463. The fact that there is absolutely no change to the Groove Creator feature on the E473 may indicate that this feature might be deprecated on future models.
The quick sampler was a highly marketed feature on the previous E463. While this feature has been carried forward to the E473, some functionality has been reduced. The E463 could store 5 samples at a time but the E473 only has 4 pads to store the samples. Samples could previously be pitched across the keyboard on the E463 but this feature is no longer available. You can only playback the samples on the E473 as a one-shot or as a loop.
On the E463, getting samples into the keyboard was quite a chore, and do not see many owners using the sampling feature. You could only use the auxiliary audio-in port or load samples stored on a USB stick with the E463. On the E473, there are now more ways to capture your own sound samples in addition to the existing 2 methods. Samples can be transferred directly via USB from your laptop or smart devices and you can also record samples straight from a microphone into the E473. These recorded sounds can be triggered as one-shot samples or be played in a loop.
Just like the E463, the E473 has 2 control knobs and a pitch bend wheel for manipulating sounds in a live performance. The 2 control knobs can now control 7 sets of configurable parameters versus just 5 sets on the E463. In addition, the E473 now adds 2 more live control buttons, articulation & motion EFX.
The Articulation button triggers an additional instrument articulation for SA Lite voices. On the other voices, this button applies modulation to the sound. The Motion EFX button triggers one of the 57 patterns that allow you to apply multiple simultaneous live effects such as pitch, modulation, and filters to create unique sounds. Something not possible with just a pair of hands.
With such powerful features, I was expecting an upgraded system for storing user registration settings on the E473. However, the E473 has only 32 onboard registration memory slots. A welcome upgrade, usually found on higher-end keyboards, is the ability to freeze style settings when switching registrations.
The LCD on the E473 still looks like a cheap 50 cents display from a 1990’s parts bin. The dimensions and quality are similar to the ones found on the E463.
However, the screen layout on the E473 is significantly improved and we no longer have the ridiculously large bezel of the E463.
On paper, the amplification system of both keyboards is identical with a pair of 12 cm speakers powered via two 6 watts amplifiers. To my ears, the default EQ has been tweaked for a punchier and fuller sound output. Now, new on the E473 is the Mega Boost button that increases the sound output via the speakers. Do note that Mega Boost affects only the onboard speakers and does nothing for the line and headphones output.
If you want a keyboard that can store unlimited user registrations and has a color LCD and more powerful speakers, check out here
Connectivity options have been greatly improved on the E473. Previously only the 76-key PSR-EW410 had stereo ¼” line-outs but these are now available on the E473 in addition to the usual USB port that transmits and receives MIDI & audio, a headphone jack, and an aux audio port. New on the E473 is a microphone port with gain controls. The onboard reverb, chorus, and DSPs can also be applied to the microphone signal.
Even with the added functionality, you are still able to power the E473 with 6 “AA” batteries just like the E463, but in my tests, the E473 has slightly higher power consumption and you should standby a couple more rechargeable batteries if you are not near an electrical outlet.
Weight & Dimensions
With the added functionality, it should be no surprise that the E473 is now 2 inches wider, ½ inch thicker, and about 1 lb heavier than the PSR-E463
I hope that this review has helped you in making an informed purchase of the Yamaha PSR-E473. Do check out the links provided in this article to get the latest prices and updates on the PSR-E473. To find out more about the world of keyboards and pianos, do read more articles on this blog to find the most suitable and perfect instrument for your needs.