[PSS-A50] Yamaha is Getting Serious! A new standard for mini keyboards At the end of 2019, the new Yamaha PSS-A50 portable keyboard has attracted a lot of attention from the musical instrument industry. Currently, it’s difficult to get your hands on this unit, but let us introduce its appealing features.
◯ Touch response & built-in speaker
The touch response function is available in this price range (lower 10,000 yen). The keys respond to the strength at which they are played changing the strength of the sound, and this function is usually available in keyboards that cost around 50,000 yen or more. (* Generally called velocity)
A built-in speaker is a given?! Not true. As I will introduce in detail, the PSS-A50 is a “keyboard product”, but my personal impression is that it is also a high quality MIDI keyboard. MIDI keyboards don't use internal speakers, so it's surprising to have speakers in this compact, lightweight size.
◯ Recording function
Allows you to record up to 700 notes per phrase. However, if you add a modulation effect, the number of recordable notes will decrease. Even so, you can easily record by playing the melody after you have recorded the accompaniment, and the recording is recorded as MIDI data.
You record song that you come up with on the go, and then send it to your PC as MIDI data at home using a USB cable. So this is not only for playing, but also definitely works as a MIDI keyboard for recording.
◯ 42 tones + 2 drum kits
There are 10 buttons for sounds (piano, organ, guitar, bass, strings, woodwind, brass, synth lead, synth pad, drum / percussion), and each button has 4 or 5 preset sounds, so you will be able to find the perfect tone for your song.
The biggest selling feature of the PSS-A50 is "Arpeggio function"! With 138 patterns, if you play a chord, it will automatically play the optimal arpeggio pattern that matches the tone. Of course, you can switch to another pattern with the ± button. This allows even beginners to easily create an accompaniment, and there is no need to concern yourself about not being able to play the piano with both hands, or wishing you could play the guitar.
n addition, the arpeggiator has a pattern set for each instrument, and the PSS-A50 can apply the arpeggio pattern of one instrument to a different instrument. This is called transcendent technique and makes it possible to automatically create highly difficult performances for instruments.
◯ USB bus power
A heavy AC adapter is not included. Power is supplied by either four AA batteries or a USB cable. Yes, it can be powered via USB! In other words, it will work with a mobile battery that you would usually use to charge your smartphone. It's not surprising any more that Macbooks and Surfaces can be charged with USB mobile batteries, but isn't it amazing that a keyboard has been released from the chains of the AC adapter? The keyboard weigh in at an amazing 1.2kg. You can easily take it with you and compose wherever you want with the approximate weight of a laptop computer.
The PSS-A50, which is packed with more awesome functions than I can introduce here, and at this price point, makes you feel the "seriousness of YAMAHA". Not any one single function is prominent and stands out, and in the keyboard category, each function on its own is not unusual, such as octave shift (± 4) or transpose (semitone transposition). However! If these all together would be in the price range around 50,000 yen. It is amazing that these are available in this price range.
◯ As a MIDI keyboard
Let's evaluate PSS-A50 as a MIDI keyboard. It's amazing just having a built-in speaker and enhanced modulation effects, but you can also use the arpeggiator with "SHIFT + LOCAL CONTROL".
If you go a little deeper, the arpeggiator's data is output as MIDI notes, so you can use the data directly in a DAW or similar applications. In other words, it's a MIDI keyboard with an arpeggiator. This is a little foreign and quite advanced, even in the MIDI keyboard category.
◯ This keyboard is convenient to create theme songs and music for videos on YouTube, or composition of original songs used for video streaming.
It has individuality and is easy to use for both intros and outros. If it is free sound sources from the internet, it may suddenly become unusable one day, or someone may claim a share of the profits obtained from the video using the free sound source taking away from the profits of those who live off streaming and video posts. However, even if you continues to use free materials for sound effects, you can still use the PSS-A50 to compose music, making your videos even more original. This is the attraction of the PSS-A50. It is highly recommended for those who want to play the keyboards as a casual interest, as well as a piece of equipment for those into home recording. By all means, please check it out!