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Yamaha S90 ES Reviews
I cannot compare any other Piano based keyboard to the Yamaha S90ES. I have played everything else during my time as a professional musician and i have searched high and low for something special. I am a pianist foremost and i hate playing keyboards, especially since i am used to playing a Yamaha C7 everyday. The touch, feel and sound of this keyboard are excellent. The richness of the piano samples alone justifies the pricetag. Although i am just beginning to scratch the surface as far as the features are concerned, i am really happy with my purchase. If you want a great stage piano with some lovely samples and the ability to record via your computer then LOOK NO FURTHER... Trust me.. i researched long and hard. I am now a Yamaha fan!
First, I have to respond to the bloody fool who said that the S90ES can only play 4 sounds at a time. That is plain wrong. If he knew the keyboard, he would know that in "Multi mode", you can have up to 16 sounds playing simultaneously, if you could figure out a need for such a configuration. :) It's mostly for midi-sequencing, but I use that mode for live gigs, bringing up various sound patch combinations as needed, layered across the keyboard as needed, with one button push, even for within the same song.
I love ths S90ES. It sounds great, and it is very powerful. The downside of "very powerful" means that there are lots of things to learn about it in order to get to that power. That's a logical trade off. I suppose the physical user interface could been designed differently and possibly easier to use, but I don't bother with the board's interface much at all now. I use software from a third party, which makes configuring the S90ES very easy.
As for the suggestion that it's not the "be all end all"; well, there never has been such a beast and never will be. But the S90ES meets all of my needs. I only use the S90ES; there are no rack units and no other keyboards in my rig.
The S90 ES has certainly one of the best, if not the best sampled acoustic piano patch on the market today for keyboards in this price range.
I believe this keyboard is still a viable option today, even though it's been out for 2 or 3 years now. I would also check out the newer Motif XS models.
Writing anything unfavourable about Yamaha is a bit like dissing the Bible for being overly wordy, but here goes. The S90ES is NOT the answer to every keyboardist's wet dream. Yes, it contains a 1000 sounds, but when are the big boys gonna realise that the musician's who support their products don't want 1000 sounds ? All this mumbo jumbo about memory - why not max out the memory with a palatte of only, say, 60 sounds, but make them KILLER ? All the S90Es sounds you've heard before - like a million times. The AWM system has been around forever. Most of the sounds were available as far back as the SY77. If you're looking to upgrade your dusty old Korg SG 1-D or Roland RD 1000, fine. This has a better action and piano sound than either. Just don't buy assuming your search for the Holy Grail is over. Going back to the issue of sounds - seeing as Yamaha would like you to buy into their modular plug-ins, why not load the machine with seriously usable bread-and-butter, a half dozen each of organs, pianos, strings brass, and bass, and then release themed boards, based on what gigging musicians actually need. I mean, c'mon. How many times do you need to dive for the spicato string preset ? Lastly, but I've been holding this gripe for MOSTLY ; you can only have 4 sounds at a time in a layer or split combination. THIS SUCKS. My old Roland XP-80 allowed me to set up a split/layer combination like this without breaking a sweat: Song; Fairytale Of New York. Bass, left hand. Middle octaves - piano (with string layer on the C1 fader) and for the top octave and a half I had a layer of whistle, flute, banjo, and accordion. That keyboard is ancient, but runs rings around the S90ES. Go figure...
Having been a Roland fan for a number of years, this is the keyboard that challenged Roland's digital stage pianos and wond hands down.
Having owned a Roland RD600 for some years, I was looking for an upgrade - Roland's RD700sx looked like being the obvious choice. I was however unconvinced by the 700sx's flagship sounds - two heavily sampled grand piano's that to my ears were not as good as the sounds on my RD600.
On a stand next to the RD700 was an S90ES from Yamaha. Here's how it won me over:
All piano sounds had a beautiful texture and tone colour, and there are loads to choose from. Hammond organ sounds were also in demand for my purposes, and again there were plenty to choose from, most equalled or bettered anything I heard from Roland. Apart from those two main sounds I was looking for, there are loads of other sounds which have excellent tone quality. Navigation to the sounds is easy - although the control interface looks a little daunting to start with.
Excellent control layout, with three main modes. VOICE mode allows you to access specific sounds direct, PERFORMANCE mode allows you to store and access specific performing modes (with split keyoard functions, arpeggiator use all useable) Multi mode enables multi settups - all editable - for 16track sequencer playback. Sequencer mode allows playback only - either from sequencers connected via midi ports, or GM files stored on a usb flash card - usb port available. MASTER mode allows master setups that set up the keyboard in the manner desired at a single button press. This is how players in a live situation will want to change sounds between numbers - it is just possible to change sounds on the fly during a song.
On board syth is staggering - the number of editable parameters are too numerous to mention here. All sounds can be edited and stored - most will save edited sounds on to the two user banks provided. The syth interface is straightforward once a little time with the manual has been spent.
Not a heavy keyboard, easy to set up in a live arena. Flight case recommended for transporting. Keyboard will NOT disappoint in gigging situations.
This keyboard gives you the best of both worlds - it's a superb syth, and it's a superb stage piano. The piano samples have to be heard to be believed. If choosing any sort of keyboard for live use, make sure you listen to this one before making your choice.
Yamaha S90 ES News
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