Review: This Keyboard Has No Competition - Yamaha PSR-EW310
The Yamaha PSR-EW310 is a keyboard that is currently unparalleled and has no competition. As amazing as it sounds this is not something often I would say.
This keyboard is packaged with desirable features that both beginner and intermediate keyboard players will find very useful. In fact, I am surprised that no other brand, such as Casio, Roland, or Korg, has a competing keyboard in this niche, and with similar features at this price category. I will be making an in-depth review of the PSR-EW310 to help you make an informed purchase.
Number of keys
The two most common keyboard sizes are 61 and 88 keys. Portable keyboards usually have 61 synth-action keys as these keyboards are usually lighter, cheaper, pack hundreds of instrument voices, and are great for playing non-piano tones.
On the other end of the spectrum, you get 88 hammer action keyboards that aim to mimic the feel of an acoustic piano but these piano keyboards cost twice as much, have just 10 to 20 sounds and the key action is not great for sounds such as organ, guitars, saxophones, reed, brass and string instruments.
The Yamaha PSR-EW310 hits the sweet spot with 76 keys. The additional keys over a keyboard with 61 keys give you greater range when playing piano, electric piano sounds, and bass voices.
The touch-sensitive synth-action keys are also great for the hundreds of non-piano tones.
With 76 keys, you can play your left-hand chord accompaniment one octave lower, freeing up more range for your right-hand melody.
Tones and Sound Quality
Other budget 76-key keyboards, such as the Yamaha’s NP12 which costs at least $50 more, comes with just 10 voices. For an entry-level keyboard, the Yamaha PSR-EW310 comes with a staggering 622 tones. However, having loads of sounds is useless if they do not sound good.
The good news is the Yamaha PSR-EW310 has the same improved sound engine as their latest PSR-E373. You get 11 Super-Articulation Lite voices, inherited from previous Yamaha’s top-of-the-line flagship arranger. These SA-Lite voices as well as Yamaha’s “Sweet!”, “Live!” & “Cool!” tones, making the PSR-EW310 one of the best sounding keyboards at this pocket-friendly price.
A big selling point, not found in any other keyboards at this entry-level price, is the 38 configurable Digital Signal Processors. These user tweakable DSP effects, usually found on significantly more expensive keyboards, make ordinary tones sound rich, robust, and thick.
If you like the Yamaha sound engine, you might be interested in the other Yamaha keyboards using this same great sound engine
The arranger feature on the Yamaha PSR-EW310 allows even beginners or mature students with less dexterous fingers to trigger 205 lush rhythm accompaniments when playing their favorite tunes. With as few as one finger on your left hand, you can play chords to sweeten up even the simplest tunes.
In addition, there are 9 user registration memory slots to store your favorite settings.
If you are a novice and prefer to let the keyboard set up the sounds and rhythms for you, the 205 one-touch settings and 170 music database on the PSR-EW310 have got you covered for most of the popular tunes from the last couple of decades.
Each rhythm comes with an intro, ending, 2 rhythm variations, and 2 rhythm fills ensuring your song sounds polished.
If you want to learn how to play your arranger keyboard with chords and rhythm accompaniment. You can check out my beginner piano courses and other courses made available to you. You can also check out my website for more information.
Replicating a good hammer action of an acoustic piano on a keyboard is complex and entails the use of weights. As such, all hammer-action 88-key keyboards weigh at least 22 lbs. While many are marketed as being portable, they are not truly a carry everywhere instrument that this Yamaha PSR-EW310 is.
At just 11 lbs, the EW310 is at least half the weight of hammer action keyboards, making it a breeze to bring it with you in your car or on the subway.
The PSR-EW310 can also be battery operated while most bigger keyboards need to be tethered to a power outlet.
The onboard speakers, while not the loudest, are more than sufficient for small intimate gigs and for use around a campfire.
If portability is your utmost priority, there are a few keyboards that are more portable than the EW310. You might be interested in this recommended list of digital keyboards as well.
Even though the Yamaha PSR-EW310 has 76 keys, it is cheaper than many competing keyboards that have just 61 keys. At about $270, the EW310 is reasonably priced for beginners who might not want to spend too much in case they lose interest in learning to play the keyboard. You do not want to spend too little on an instrument that will inevitably sound terrible and thereby kill your interest before you even begin your musical journey.
If $270 is more than what you want to spend, you can take a look at the other digital keyboards available
While the Yamaha PSR-EW310 is a very good keyboard for an affordable price.
There are a few things that Yamaha should have incorporated into this keyboard.
Firstly, there are no wireless connectivity options on this keyboard. Competing brands are offering wireless Bluetooth audio and wireless MIDI but the PSR-EW310 requires a wired connection if you need to connect to music learning apps on your smartphone or iPad.
I have a recommendation for a beginner app that may be suited for you. Also if you are interested, I also have other recommendations for speakers, headphones, microphones, and other connectivity devices which you might be looking for.
Yamaha should have upgraded the user registration settings inherited from the previous model. 9 user slots are simply too few compared to the 32 or more than the competition offers.
The lack of a pitch bend wheel may be a deal-breaker for those who play EDM or world music. At the same time, having just one chord detection mode is also disappointing as this keyboard is capable of so much more but is artificially held back.
I hope that this review of the Yamaha PSR-EW310 has been useful for you. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest updates and prices of the PSR-EW310 If this keyboard is not for you, do look at the other articles in this blog to find your ideal instrument. Also, do check out my Piano App and beginner keyboard course available for you.