Review: If you dont know about the Yamaha PSR-SX600, you are missing out.
Updated: Oct 30, 2021
Yamaha has launched the long-awaited Yamaha PSR-SX600 this is an upgrade to the 4-year-old PSR-S670. This new keyboard maintains the exact same street price as the outgoing model making the PSR-SX600 the most affordable model in Yamaha's pro-level SX series of portable keyboards. I will be making an in-depth review of the features and functionality of the PSR-SX600 to help you make an informed purchase.
Yamaha has made the right choice to double the number of voices on the PSR-SX600 this keyboard has 850 voices instead of the 416 sounds found on the older model. 73 of these new voices are super articulation voices which were only reserved for Yamaha's flagship keyboards such as the five thousand dollars Yamaha Genos.
It is great that we now have access to this technology which allows the musician to intuitively reproduce an acoustic instrument's natural expressive new ones on a keyboard for under a thousand dollars. You can find a new super articulation technology in the guitars, saxophones, trumpets, strings, and organ voices
What is disappointing is that the default piano voice which is the tone most often used has not received an upgrade. It is these exact same live concert grand patches from the previous model instead of the richer and more detailed super articulation grand piano sample found on the higher PSR-SX models.
Another downside of the PSR-SX600 is that it can only be able to layer up to two voice layers. The PSR-SX700 and the PSR-SX900 got the much-needed upgrade to the ability to layer three-voice layers. At the same time, the similarly priced Korg PA-300 released by Korg six years ago already had triple voice layer capabilities for under a thousand dollars.
If you prefer something with the ability to layer up to 3 voices check out my other recommendations to see if there is something that suits you.
Styles and Expansion Memory
One big selling point of the pro-level SX series is the keyboard's ability to load new sound samples via expansion packs the PSR-SX600 receives a whopping 300 upgrade in the expansion memory from the previous 32 megabytes to the current 100 megabytes this is an upgrade.
The Yamaha PSR keyboards sell better compared to their synths as they come with rhythm accompaniment styles making them more versatile more accessible and simply more fun to play with. Yamaha almost doubled the number of rhythms in the PSR-SX600 to 415 styles versus the 230 styles previously available.
You can now find free playstyles previously reserved for Yamaha's flagship on this keyboard. There are also many new improved styles taking advantage of the new accent and unison feature found only on this keyboard, a feature even the PSR-SX900 which costs twice as much does not have.
The Yamaha PSR-SX600 is also the cheapest keyboard from Yamaha to offer three rhythm intros and endings, as well as four variations to every style. Yamaha has come to realize that the rest of the world appreciates arranger keyboards much more than the Americans. Many of the new styles in the PSR-SX600 are for world music catering to those from Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia.
While many seasoned American keyboard players look at arranger keyboards in disdain. Emerging markets are buying more of these affordable instruments for casual turn-it-on sing and play entertainment among friends and family.
One of the reasons why you would pay more for an SX series over the cheaper E-series Yamaha keyboards is the ability to create and edit your own styles. The Yamaha PSR-SX600 is your lowest-priced ticket to having a style creator function. In addition, there are way more third-party styles available for the PSR-SX600 series keyboards.
It is great to know that Yamaha makes all of the previous model PSR-S670 styles available for easy download onto the new PSR-SX600. A style section reset feature introduced by Yamaha last year is also now available on this keyboard if you are just starting out and prefer not to pay a thousand dollars for a keyboard.
Sound Design Tools
On the PSR-SX600 you get 30 more sound design tools such as a myriad of digital signal processors choruses and reverb blocks to shape each voice on a granular level to sound exactly the way you imagine it to be.
The previous PSR-S670 only had a master EQ feature which is applied globally across the keyboard. The PSR-SX600 is an upgrade that now allows you to individually tweak the EQ of every single voice layer. With each of the eight instrument parts that make up a style, this is an unprecedented level of control you get on a Yamaha PSR keyboard for under a thousand dollars.
A very welcomed upgrade to the Yamaha PSR-SX600 is a microphone input and this is not a plain vanilla normal mic input like what you get with the competition.
The mic input feature was only previously available on Yamaha keyboards that cost up to twice as much as the PSR-SX600.
Not only can you apply regular effects such as reverb chorus a noise gate compressor and a 3-band EQ to your voice. You can also apply many different DSP effects to get a unique sound from your voice this is a feature that no one else in the industry has at this price
The microphone input is also clearly geared for live performance with just a single button press or using your pedal you can easily switch between two different settings for talking to your audience and for singing.
One thing which is great about the mic input is that you can very quickly switch between talking to your audience and having the reverb and chorus effects as well as any DSP effects when you're singing.
One very powerful feature is that your vocals including all applied effects can be effortlessly recorded along with your playing onto a USB stick as an audio file. While there is no vocal harmony function like those found on the more expensive models, it is nice that you get a full-featured and sophisticated mic input for under a thousand dollars.
At less than a thousand dollars the Yamaha PSR-SX600 is an entry-level SX series keyboard and the key action and build quality shows. After all, this keyboard costs less than half the price of a PSR-SX900 the keybed and key action feels very similar to the Yamaha PSR-E463 which is 70 dollars cheaper than the PSR-SX600.
If you prefer something which with a superior key action check out my other recommendations to see if there is something that suits you.
The previous PSR-S670 and PSR-S650 had an awful blue LCD screen that had a really low resolution. The blue LCD screen made the previous models look and feel cheap even though it sounded great.
The new Yamaha PSR-SX600 sports a brand new color screen which is bright clear and is really easy to navigate and understand. Although it is not a touch screen like the more expensive PSR-SX700 and PSR-SX900.
The LCD screen is the size and a mere 4.3 inches, it is the exact same dimensions as the previous model. With a new graphical interface and compared to mobile phones with close to 7-inch screens the small display looks really out of place on the PSR-SX700.
Playlist Function and Wireless
In addition to the usual user registration banks, the PSR-SX600 gets the playlist function which the PSR-SX700 and PSR-SX900 got last year. This is a feature very similar to Korg's songbook function which has been around for more than a decade for those who perform with their keyboards. This is an indispensable feature for organizing your repertoire into sets for quick and hassle-free recall.
Other than the usual ports for headphones pedals audio in and USB MIDI and storage. The PSR-SX600 is the only keyboard currently in the SX range that gets a USB audio interface while almost every keyboard these days can send MIDI data to your computer.
The PSR-SX600 is able to receive and transmit audio to other devices without the need for an external audio interface. This built-in audio interface within the PSR-SX600 allows you to use Yamaha's record and share app to quickly record high-quality digital audio and video of your performance directly onto your phone with just a few taps on your mobile phone screen. You can share your performances on social media such as TikTok, Instagram, youtube, and instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp and messenger.
The PSR-SX600 continues to have the exact same speaker system as the previous four-year-old model with only two speaker cones. Sadly Yamaha did not upgrade the speaker system on the new PSR-SX600 to take advantage of the improved voices styles and effects.
The bass response on the PSR-SX600 is more muted and the higher frequencies are less detailed when compared to the PSR-SX900 which comes with four speakers two of which are dome speakers. Do not expect too much from these speakers because they are monitor speakers which will be enough for a small gathering of 20 to 30 people. You will get better sound quality via a good set of headphones instead
I hope you found my review of the Yamaha PSR-SX600 useful. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest and most updated information and prices of Yamaha PSR-SX600. Do also take a look at my other articles to find the best and most suited instrument for your personal need. Also, check out my Piano App and beginner keyboard course available for you.