We will be looking at the Yamaha PSR-E353 today – a pretty decent 61-key piano made with the beginner in mind. The PSR series is Yamaha’s line of beginner keyboards with features best for the beginner. And today, we will check out all the features of this piano, or the major ones at least.
Do these features serve their purpose? Did Yamaha do a good job making this thing? Is it worth the money? We will soon find out.
Our first stop will be at the aesthetic level. And then from there, we will go on to examine other more intricate features of this instrument. We’re gearing to go, so come along and let’s check out this thing.
Specs And Features Of The Yamaha PSR-E253
- Dimensions: 37.2 x 4.8 x 14.5 inches.
- Weight: 9.7 pounds.
- 61 keys.
- Touch response.
- LCD display.
- AWM Stereo Sampling technology.
- 32 note polyphony.
- 573 built-in sounds: 18 drum/SFX kits, 339 XGlite voices, 20 Arpeggio, 196 panel.
- Sound effects: reverb, chorus, master EQ, arpeggio (150 types), harmony, ultra-wide stereo.
- Mode: split, dual/layer.
- Preset styles: 158.
- Preset songs: 154.
- Recording and playback.
- Lesson function (Yamaha Education Suite).
- Transpose and tuning.
- Connectivity: USB to host, AUX IN, headphones jack, sustain pedal jack, DC IN.
- Speakers: 4.72 inches each (2.5Watts + 2.5Watts).
Design And Looks Of The Yamaha PSR-E353
There are certain stereotypes we’ve all grown to have when thinking about how a beginner keyboard should look. Usually, you’d expect many bright colors, a cheap plasticky feel and tiny speakers. Altogether? A flimsy appearance.
However, in typical Yamaha fashion, the makers of the PSR-E353 create a keyboard that’s far away from all such stereotypes. It comes in a mature gray/black finish. And the edges are quite rigid, sharp, and angular. Since there are no rounded corners, this looks geometrically symmetrical.
Next, on the control interface, the keys come in gray, white, and black colors. Then there’s a small LCD screen as well which displays all kinds of information. Now, when it’s on, the LCD screen gives a slightly orange hue.
In fact, besides the demo button which comes in a yellowish color, this keyboard maintains a strict grey and black finish.
We said all these to say that, though this piano is specially made for the beginner, it still sports a really professional look. And to keep things easy to recognize and identify, Yamaha places clear labels above each button.
Now, navigating the different functions shouldn’t be too difficult.
Features Of The Yamaha PSR-E353
There are 573 built-in instrument sounds in the PSR-E353. And all these sounds are actually pretty high quality. You’ll find almost anything you want from electric pianos, to brass and horns, to organs, to drums, and of course, grand pianos. There’s a lot for you to explore!
If you’re wondering how you’ll be able to navigate through these sounds, it’s actually pretty easy. You can choose to scroll through each of the sounds one after the other. Or on the other hand, you could just enter the number of the voice you want on the keypad panel on the right side of the screen.
You see? Pretty easy.
In addition to these voices, this keyboard also boasts 158 styles as well. So, however you prefer to jam, there’s most likely a sound to match your tastes. All you need to do is to press a button and you’ll be able to play along to different genres, rhythms or chords.
Alright, now to the portable grand button… the portable grand button is common to nearly all portable Yamaha pianos. It’s that button that you press that takes everything back to default setting.
So, if you ever get lost in the process customizing your sound, the portable grand button will take you back to the grand piano sound… which is the sound your piano was on to when you turned it on in the first place.
But just before we leave this section, there’s a small catch.
All the sounds on the PSR-E353 are generally okay. Some of them are pretty good like the grand piano. But then again, some of them are just there.
In all, don’t think this comes close to the sound of a real acoustic. That’s being too ambitious.
When Yamaha was adding the sound effects to this model, we are pretty sure they also had the intermediate players in mind. It’s the only way you can explain some really awesome effects the manufacturers added to this piano model. Many of which aren’t found in most entry-level pianos.
Check this out for instance, the PSR-E353 features an arpeggiator. This arpeggiator helps you to sequence your notes in a really rhythmic way. And this helps to make your playing easier, especially when you’re playing a lot of notes at the same time.
Besides the arpeggiator, you’ll also find many other effects such as: a panner, a melody suppressor, a stereo widener, and a master EQ.
Some of these features are often left out when building an entry-level piano. But since Yamaha includes them in this model, we would easily recommend this model for intermediate players looking for a budget instrument.
Controls And Functions
We already mentioned that there are loads of buttons for different functions and setting son the PSR-E353.
There are buttons which you can press to select your voice, style or a song. Plus, there are also several buttons to help you record songs which you can playback anytime later.
Also, you’ll find a metronome and tempo tap button and you already know what these are for. You can use them to practice your playing at any speed you desire.
Furthermore, there are two modes on the PSR-E353 and they are the layer and split.
Layer allows you to combine two instrument voices at the same time. And the split allows you to divide your piano down into two halves. This way, you can play a different instrument on the left and right sides of your piano.
For instance, you’ll commonly find many pianists doing this especially with piano and strings. Doing this will automatically give you a piano sound but with a string accompaniment this time.
Of course, there’s a button for your master volume and power as well. We don’t think we need to explain what they do, do we?
Now, to another very important aspect of this keyboard’s features…
Alright, here’s the first downer here, this keyboard does not come with weighted keys. So, if you compare these keys to those you find on acoustic piano or a digital piano with weighted keys, these are easier to press and lighter to the touch.
Some schools of thought are of the opinion that this is a great feature for beginners but we beg to differ. Weighted keys are still best for beginners because they train the amateur to master correct playing techniques from the beginning.
In fact, many piano teachers won’t take you up without a weighted piano. Semi-weighted keys might be a bit more preferable. Their springs give a bit of a response but non-weighted? It’s a no for us, sorry.
But anyway, maybe one advantage might be that the beginner won’t tire on time while practicing. However, we still do not consider this a big enough benefit.
Nonetheless, non-weighted keys make for a really lightweight piano.
And then again, the touch sensitivity of these keys is actually surprisingly sufficient. You actually get what you play. Play hard and get a loud sound, play soft and get a mellow sound just like in pianos with weighted keys.
This is a 32-note polyphony keyboard. Some might be impressed with this. But for us, well, we think it could be better.
Well, in truth, you’ll hardly ever need to play more than 8 keys at a time for a start. But then again, you’ll soon outgrow that and then you’ll need a higher polyphony count. What then?
A 32-note polyphony is okay at the earliest stages of your piano practice but as your skills get better you’ll definitely need something a lot better.
Pros Of Yamaha PSR-E353
- Keys are touch sensitive.
- A massive library of top quality voices.
- Comes with piano lessons for beginners.
- 150 different Arpeggio styles.
- Compact, lightweight, and portable.
Cons Of Yamaha PSR-E353
- This does not come with a sustain pedal.
- Comes with a very low polyphony count – just 32 notes.
- This isn’t a full-sized piano.
- You’d have to but the power adapter separately.
You’ve just read our honest, unbiased review of the Yamaha PSR-E353 piano. In general, it works great as an entry-level piano. And an intermediate player looking for a budget piano might find one or two uses with this.
That said, there are still a few places where Yamaha could have upped the game on this model even at this price range. For instance, this could have, at least, been a full-sized piano with 88 semi-weighted keys.
But hey, it’s still a pretty interesting instrument and loads of kids will go to town with all the exciting instrument sounds on this dude. Plus, there are also lessons to help them learn the ropes as well.
In the end, we think everyone can agree that the PSR-E353 is a pretty decent instrument.