Review: Forget Cheap Pianos. This Keyboard Sounds BETTER and Cost Less
Are you having difficulty choosing between an 88-key digital piano and a 61-key portable keyboard? The trouble with entry-level digital pianos under $500 is while they do have 88-keys, these digital pianos have just around 10 tones vs keyboards with up to 1,000 sounds. Entry-level digital pianos also have limited functionality, unlike keyboards which are chock full of music-making features. 88-key digital pianos are significantly heavier and way less portable than keyboards.
With Yamaha's latest budget instrument that I have over here, you no longer have to make too many compromises anymore. I will explain to you why Yamaha’s latest instrument is a perfect digital piano keyboard for under $490 and I will also show you the powerful music-making features of this Yamaha PSR-EW425.
The Yamaha PSR-EW425 portable keyboard comes with 76 full-size touch-sensitive synth-action keys.
Just like a traditional acoustic piano, the keys on this keyboard respond to how softly or how hard you play. Whether you are playing jazz, pop, or classical music, 76 keys are more than enough for 99% of the music you will encounter. In fact, musical geniuses like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven never played on or composed any music for 88-key pianos.
Notwithstanding, the PSR-EW425 has a handy feature that lets you quickly raise and lower the sounds by an extra octave on both ends, essentially giving you a range of one hundred keys which is more than the 88-keys found on digital pianos and more than what you will ever need.
However, if you still prefer 88 weighted keys, do check out my list of recommended digital pianos here
Concert Grand Piano
For piano players, one of the biggest selling points of the Yamaha PSR-EW425 is the “Portable Grand” button.
With a quick button press, you can quickly default to Yamaha’s renowned “Live! Concert Grand Piano”. This piano sample is recorded with Yamaha’s quarter-million-dollar Concert Grand, and let me assure you, is the best you can get right now for under $490.
If you are thinking about learning to play the piano, You can check out my beginner piano app. As well as some beginner video courses and course materials available for you. Also, you check out this free 25 Piano lesson as well.
In addition to the ridiculously detailed and rich grand piano sample, the PSR-EW425 comes with a whopping 820 tones including 27 acoustic and electric pianos, ensuring you will find a perfect sound for whatever music you want to play.
The advantage of a keyboard is you get a massive number of tones. These 820 studio-quality tones include organ guitars, bass, synth, brass, woodwinds, strings, choir, and ethnic world instruments.
Effects and DSPs
For infinite tonal possibilities, there are more than 53 digital signal processors, and 12 reverb and 5 chorus effects for you to further shape your unique sound.
You can daisy-chain up to 2 of the 53 DSP effects to get a tone that’s truly unique to you.
During your performances, you can use the 2 live control knobs to vary the DSP and filters to morph the tones.
For emulating the bending tone of an acoustic instrument and synthesizer, the PSR-EW425 comes with a pitch bend wheel.
With only a pair of hands, we are limited to the number of effects we can control. Yamaha solves this problem by giving us their Motion EFX button. Motion EFX is a combination of pitch, filter, modulation, chorus, and a whole bunch of other effects which you cannot physically modulate in real-time with just a pair of hands.
These Motion EFX and Live Control Knobs can target various parts of your music.
You can choose to apply the effect globally to your entire performance or target just your rhythm accompaniment or groove patterns. The infinite possibilities are mind-boggling. For a richer and lusher sound, up to 2 voices can be layered.
For the more ambidextrous keyboardist, you can assign different instruments to your left and right-hand parts.
43 of the 820 voices on the PSR-EW425 feature Yamaha’s latest Super Articulation Lite technology giving you more expressive options with a convenient press of a button.
If both your hands are busy, the Super Articulation feature can also be assigned to a foot pedal.
If none of the onboard 820 tones tickle your ears, this keyboard comes with an onboard sampler.
You can download samples from the internet or record your own sounds including your voice into 4 sampling pads using a microphone, your smartphone, or via a USB stick. These samples can be looped or played as a one-shot tone.
In my opinion, the rhythm accompaniment is one of the best features of this keyboard. 290 sophisticated accompaniment backing patterns encompassing pop, rock, jazz, Latin, EDM, and world music, make you sound like an entire band with little effort.
Each accompaniment style comes with an intro, an ending, rhythmic fills, and 2 variations helping you sound polished even though you may not be an advanced pianist.
Individual tracks that make up an accompaniment can be turned on or off allowing your backing instruments to sound as busy or as quiet as you want.
If you would like me to personally teach you how to play songs with chords and rhythm accompaniment you can check out my beginner piano app. As well as some beginner video courses and course materials available for you. Also, you check out this free 25 Piano lesson as well or you can visit jeremysee.com to find out more.
For the traditional classical piano player who is a closet electronic dance music lover, this keyboard’s Groove Creator is perfect for you. With 35 onboard groove patterns, and each pattern having 6 sections, you can bring the house down by being a personal DJ for your friends and family.
Together with the 2 live control knobs and more than 50 Motion EFX combinations, who knows, you might just be inspired to be the next Steve Aoki.
With the infinite sonic possibilities, you definitely want to be able to save your hours of sound, and rhythm tweaking and programming. This keyboard has 8 banks of 32 onboard user registration memory slots for you to save a snapshot of your unique settings.
This set of 32 registrations can be saved onto a USB stick, giving you unlimited registration memory capacity.
For those new to playing the keyboard and who do not know how to set up tones, the Yamaha PSR-EW425 is equipped with a One Touch Setting.
You simply select a rhythm suitable for your tune and the keyboard will automatically match appropriate voices to your selected rhythm.
This keyboard comes with a multitrack MIDI song recorder. You can layer up to 6 instrument tracks to produce music that cannot be played with just a pair of hands.
You can also record digital audio directly onto a USB stick or into your smartphone which you can easily forward to your friends and family.
A USB MIDI port is available for you to connect to your favorite music learning apps on your smart mobile devices.
A big advantage of the PSR-EW425 over the competition is the built-in audio interface. This USB audio interface allows you to transmit and receive digital audio between your laptop and smartphone without you having to buy an external audio interface that can cost up to a few hundred dollars.
Speakers and Amplification
This keyboard has a pair of massive 24 watts amplified speakers.
These are one of the loudest and cleanest sounding onboard speakers you can find on a keyboard at this price. For larger audiences, you can use the dedicated ¼” stereo outputs to connect the keyboard to a PA system.
This keyboard comes with a microphone input for you to sing along with.
While a few competing keyboards have a mic input, most keyboards at this price do not have the processing muscle to apply powerful real-time vocal effects to your microphone input which the PSR-EW425 can.
For quiet practice and also to maintain the sanity of those around you, you can plug in a pair of headphones to this keyboard.
If you want to play along with songs you have on your phone, you can use the auxiliary audio-in port to stream music directly to the powerful keyboard speakers.
Keyboards are fantastic portable carry everywhere instruments. You can choose to power this lightweight keyboard with batteries where an electrical outlet may not be within reach.
If you still want an 88 weighted keys digital piano with most of the above features you can check it out here
I hope that this review has helped you in making an informed purchase of the PSR-EW425 Do check out the links provided in this article to get the latest prices and updates on the PSR-EW425. 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.