Yamaha PSR-S Series Comparison: All twelve models compared

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.

Finally, the current crop of models – PSR-S670, PSR-S770 and PSR-S970 – launched in 2015.

The table below shows the main differences between the 12 models.

MODELNumber KeysKey TypePolyphonySounds TypeVoicesDisplayAccompanimentSpeakersAmplifierRecorderDimensionsWeightYearRRPCurrent
PSR-S50061Full size touch responsive32AWM659320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast1502×4.7”, 2×1.2”2x12W9-track37.25×15.9×5.1”16.6lbs2006
PSR-S70061Full size touch responsive96AWM8755.7-inch QVGA LCD2052x(2×4.7”)2x12W16-track 30,000 note39.6×17.1×5.9”25.4lbs2007
PSR-S90061Full size touch responsive128AWM8915.7-inch QVGA LCD3052×4.7”, 2×1.6”2x12W16 track39.6×17.1×5.9”25.4lbs2007
PSR-S55061Full size touch responsive64AWM796320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast1762×4.7”, 2×1.2”2x12W16-track37.25×15.9×5.1”16.6lbs2008
PSR-S71061Full size touch responsive128AWM8915.7-inch QVGA LCD2322×4.7”, 2×2”2x12W16-track39.6×17.1×5.9”22lbs2009
PSR-S91061Full size touch responsive128AWM11865.7-inch QVGA LCD3222×4.7”, 2×1.5”2x12W16-track39.6×17.1×5.9”24lbs2009
PSR-S65061Full size touch responsive64AWM865320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast1812×4.7”, 2×1.2”2x12W16 track37.25×15.9×5.1”16.1lbs2010
PSR-S75061Full size touch responsive128AWM11865.7-inch QVGA LCD3252×4.7”, 2×2”2x15W16-track39.6×17.1×5.9”24.25lb2012
PSR-S95061Full size touch responsive128AWM12995.7-inch QVGA LCD4082×5.1”, 2×1”2x15W16-track39.4×17.2×5.8”25.4lbs2012
PSR-S67061Full size touch responsive128AWM930320 x 240 Backlit LCD with Adjustable Contrast2302×4.7”2x15W16-track39.5×16.1×5.25”17.8lbs2015999Y
PSR-S77061Full size touch responsive128AWM13467-inch TFT VGA LCD3602×4.7”, 2×2”2x15W16-track39.45×17.2×5.83”24.5lbs20151699Y
PSR-S97061Full size touch responsive128AWM15107-inch TFT VGA LCD4502×5.1”, 2×1”2x15W16-track39.4×17.2×5.8”25.5lbs20152599Y

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.

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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.

Only the latest three models are still officially in production by Yamaha. That’s the PSR-S670, PSR-S770 and PSR-S970.

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.