Yamaha introduced its first S Series arranger workstation keyboard in July 2006, meaning the range has just celebrated its eleventh birthday.
Although we don’t know what the “S” stands for, it’s clear this range was targeted at the more advanced and professional musician.
The first model launched four years after the Tyros, and the S series borrows some features from the Tyros including sound generation and performance features such as Super Articulation Voices and Organ flutes.
The PSR-S500 launched in 2006, followed by the more feature-laden PSR-S700 and PSR-S900 models in 2007.
2008 saw the introduction of the PSR-S550, while the PSR-S710 and PSR-S910 upgraded their S700 and S900 siblings in 2009.
In 2010 came the PSR-S650, with the PSR-S750 and PSR-S950 arriving in 2012.
The table below shows the main differences between the 12 models.
|MODEL||Number Keys||Key Type||Polyphony||Sounds Type||Voices||Display||Accompaniment||Speakers||Amplifier||Recorder||Dimensions||Weight||Year||RRP||Current|
|PSR-S500||61||Full size touch responsive||32||AWM||659||320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast||150||2×4.7”, 2×1.2”||2x12W||9-track||37.25×15.9×5.1”||16.6lbs||2006|
|PSR-S700||61||Full size touch responsive||96||AWM||875||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||205||2x(2×4.7”)||2x12W||16-track 30,000 note||39.6×17.1×5.9”||25.4lbs||2007|
|PSR-S900||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||891||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||305||2×4.7”, 2×1.6”||2x12W||16 track||39.6×17.1×5.9”||25.4lbs||2007|
|PSR-S550||61||Full size touch responsive||64||AWM||796||320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast||176||2×4.7”, 2×1.2”||2x12W||16-track||37.25×15.9×5.1”||16.6lbs||2008|
|PSR-S710||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||891||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||232||2×4.7”, 2×2”||2x12W||16-track||39.6×17.1×5.9”||22lbs||2009|
|PSR-S910||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||1186||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||322||2×4.7”, 2×1.5”||2x12W||16-track||39.6×17.1×5.9”||24lbs||2009|
|PSR-S650||61||Full size touch responsive||64||AWM||865||320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast||181||2×4.7”, 2×1.2”||2x12W||16 track||37.25×15.9×5.1”||16.1lbs||2010|
|PSR-S750||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||1186||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||325||2×4.7”, 2×2”||2x15W||16-track||39.6×17.1×5.9”||24.25lb||2012|
|PSR-S950||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||1299||5.7-inch QVGA LCD||408||2×5.1”, 2×1”||2x15W||16-track||39.4×17.2×5.8”||25.4lbs||2012|
|PSR-S670||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||930||320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast||230||2×4.7”||2x15W||16-track||39.5×16.1×5.25”||17.8lbs||2015||999||Y|
|PSR-S770||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||1346||7-inch TFT VGA LCD||360||2×4.7”, 2×2”||2x15W||16-track||39.45×17.2×5.83”||24.5lbs||2015||1699||Y|
|PSR-S970||61||Full size touch responsive||128||AWM||1510||7-inch TFT VGA LCD||450||2×5.1”, 2×1”||2x15W||16-track||39.4×17.2×5.8”||25.5lbs||2015||2599||Y|
Interesting to note the numbering Yamaha has used. The higher the first number after the S, the more feature-laden the keyboard is. The two following numbers show the succession of instruments in that particular class.
For example, the S700 has a greater feature set than the S500. The S710 supersedes the S700.
All twelve keyboards feature the same 61-key full-size organ/synth style key layout – no other keyboard sizes or weights have been introduced.
They all have roughly the same form factors, though vary in weight somewhat, and use Yamaha’s AWM sound generation technology.
Polyphony started out at just 32 notes, rising to 128 on the later models.
All but the first keyboard (PSR-S500) have a 16-track sequencer on board.
They all have some type of LCD (non touchscreen) with later models having colour instead of monochrome.
As you’d expect, the number of voices and accompaniments has also increased over time.
The flagship PSR-S970 has a host of ways of controlling music performance, including two live controllers which can be assigned to a whole host of parameters, vocal harmony and vocoder functions, microphone/guitar audio input, arpeggiator, and USB audio playback with time stretch, pitch shift, and vocal cancel functions.
The PSR-S970 has Yamaha’s Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM) technology that simulates the effects of phaser, Wah, compressors, and phasers at circuit level.
The other models feature a subset of these features but are still highly capable instruments.
The S Series of keyboards are significantly cheaper than the latest Tyros, with even the top-of-line PSR-S970 being around half the price of the 61-key Tyros5.
Although you don’t get all the features of the Tyros, which is still Yamaha’s flagship arranger workstation, the S Series of instruments are still worthy music keyboards for both studio and live work.
I’d suggest any of the models post-2010 would also be worth picking up second-hand, so long as they are in good condition. Though they have fewer features, they’re still laden with enough to keep many musicians happy, and can be expanded if desired.