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This keyboard was the mainstay keyboard of my secondary school life. After I was forced to do music lessons in school from Year 7 through to Year 10 without a musical ear, my class and I would enjoy annoying sub teachers with the DJ button and making rude music with some of the more "sexier" tones on the DJ set of screaming orgasmic women.
On a more serious note, this keyboard is great for beginners as it is quite sizeable and not a pathetic half sized keyboard.
The notes are noted just above the keys on the left hand side of the keyboard but my school still put little stickers on the keys so ungifted children could still learn how to play nursery rhyme songs.
Some of the tones/instruments that this keyboard replicates can sound fake and silly but the main piano still sounds the best and most accurate of them all.
On the little screen it has a minier version of the keyboard and maps out the keys that you are playing and has some pre-programmed songs which you can learn by following the miniature key map on the screen, though actually transferring that knowledge is quite another story. This keyboard being at least a good 10 years old can be bought cheaply now for about £100 new and £50 on ebay.
I got my Yamaha keyboard at the age of 11 or 12 when I'd finished primary school year 6.
It was my first keyboard which was handy to have all to myself because there weren't many to practice on in school. The Yamaha brand is one of the best in terms of keyboards. I got a keyboard because I didn't think I could fit a piano in my room, and it's much easier to practice on a keyboard. There is a lot of different keyboards you can choose from online or just pop into your local Argos!
The features are pretty good, you can either play keyboard in classic synth mode, or Jazz, guitar and other instruments. It has good quality light weight keys, which are white and a kind of plastic surface that you can use felt pens on if you're the kind of person who labels the keys for convenience. The felt pen markings can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth - it's alot easier than labelling with stickers.
The keyboard has a robust structure with two large speaks on each end which are pretty loud. There is also a headphone slot next to the plug sock which you may want to consider using. It's light, medium sized keyboard - you can easily carry it and move it around if you need to and it slots onto a stand which you can adjust to your height for when you're playing.
Make no mistake this isn't a pro keyboard its aimed more at kids than professionals, however there are a number of features making this a good little worker for a small outlay. This keyboard can be picked up new for around £50 which isn't bad but find a second hand one for even cheaper and your on to a good thing. The keyboard is four octaves but the keys are cheap and plasticy but are slightly weighted. The entire thing is plastic and quite bulky with two big speakers, one either side.
The sounds are average and not going to fool anyone, however they will sound fine in the context of a band. There is also an education tool which teaches you songs via the little screen. However this is a bit hard to follow even if you can read music. There is also an accompany mode which plays chords for you, when you play the root, there are many styles to choose from too. The best thing about this keyboard is the midi output which means you can use this keyboard as a midi controller for your sound module or software database. This means you can get premium sounds out of this thing using a midi cable. There are also other outputs and inputs such as a foot pedal input and a speaker output if you wan to record direct or just bypass the cheap speakers.
I purchased this Yamaha keyboard at the roughly the tender age of 10 for a juicy price of £70 when i was beginning to learn piano and keyboard. I have since quit learning, but i still find it a brilliant instrument and toy to play on when im bored, with an excellent range of sounds and features. It has served me extremely well over the years, and i recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cheap-ish keyboard.
The Yamaha PSR-170 is a 61-key keyboard, with over 100 sounds for you to play around with. This includes several drum kits which are also brilliant fun. There is also a dedicated "education-suite" which helps you learn to play, and this makes it great for beginners. The DJ feature and different sound loops also make it an extremely fun toy to play around with, while also learning how to play the piano.
Of course there are better keyboards out there, with more sophistacted features and maybe a better quality sound, but for the price this is an amazing buy, and is perfect for beginners to improve their skill!
At the age of 11, the Yamaha PSR-170 was my first ever keyboard, as I needed one to practice with as I had taken up keyboard lessons at school. Since then, it has served me well, and infact it's next to me on a stand as I type this review, as I have recently done some recording with it.
For those of you who don't know, Yamaha are considered the big guns when it comes to Keyboards and Pianos, and many other instruments that are usually made so that they are affordable yet practical and are generally quality instruments. The Yamaha range is partially available in Argos, and this is where I purchased the PSR-170 for around £100.
The keyboard has 61 full sized keys, which are "Proper" keyboard keys, meaning they are not the plastic diddley things nor are they weighty piano keys. I would say the design of these keys makes it suitable for beginners as they are lightweight, yet not too heavy. The keys are also made of plastic meaning they are ideal for easy cleaning if they get dusty over time.
In terms of the PSR-170's features, there are surprisingly lots considering this really is a keyboard aimed at the beginner and not the pro. This keyboard boasts 100 Songs, Styles (Beats) and Voices, which can be changed using the numbered keypad on the right hand side. The voices include a diverse range of sounds from Keyboards (Harpsichords, Clavinet etc) to Strings, Brass and various Synth sounds. This makes it ideal if like me at the time, you happen to be learning from the Keyboard Beginners songbook, in which these different voices are often required.
The keyboard has two speakers either side of the body, which are black and quite powerful, although not so loud you would annoy the neighbours. However over time, I have noticed they tend to rattle a bit when on the louder setting, as this is something that occurs over time with prolonged use at this volume level. To avoid the noise and potential speaker damage, it would be a good ideal to invest in headphones for this keyboard, as it does have a headphone jack next to the plug jack.
It is quite a light keyboard, certainly ideal for storage and transportation. I found it is also ideal for attaching to a stand, making it the right height for playing at. As it is a medium sized keyboard, you should find it easy to get a stand which fits or even when it comes to finding a storage box.
In terms of limitations, you cannot record and then playback which is probably the PSR-170's biggest let down. Having said that, you can (if you purchase a USB cable), play this keyboard directly into your computer to record with programmes such as Logic Audio and Mixcraft, which I frequently do. What with the technology of these programmes, it is not difficult to achieve a studio sound with even the most basic of keyboards, as long as it has a USB connection, making it ideal for my needs even now, years after I bought it.
Also, there is no touch response setting, meaning you cannot change the sensitivity of the keys. Personally for me, this isn't a problem as I tend to dislike this feature anyway, however it is considered a pretty standard feature of most keyboards.
On the plus side, it does have a lot of features such as "Transpose" which allows you to effectively change the placement of the notes down an octave at a time, for example -12 will make each note sound a whole octave lower. I have always found this to be a really effective tool, particularly if you are learning a song which is in a challenging key, as transpose will mean you can control where the notes are to make it slightly easier. Also, if a voice doesn't have the octave you require, transpose is great for bringing out lower, richer tones.
A keyboard may not always seem like an obvious gift for children and teens in particular, however I do think it is a constructive one. It takes time and patience to be able to build up good skill and technique, yet it is not impossible to learn with dedication and patience, and the process of which I always found enjoyable. These skills can then give you dedication in other areas, such as with school work and I definitely believe learning an instrument makes you more grounded. I also found it very rewarding when I could play a song I had learnt all the way through, both for my lessons and at home, so I would say this also boosted my confidence.
As the PSR-170 is easy to navigate and isn't overbearing with features, it certainly does give you that first step into learning the instrument without being weighed down by the technical side. Unlike the piano, learning the keyboard often requires you to play "Accompanied chords" with your left hand, which are usually shortcuts of the original chord, and have a special button to activate, which the PSR-170 has.
As I mentioned, I bought this keyboard aged 11 and I still have it, and use it today with my recordings, as it has a USB port in the back. I found this keyboard to be a great introduction into the keyboard instrument, and one which allows you to grow so eventually you are ready to move on to a more technically advanced model if you wish. I have since bought 5 more keyboards, not because I got bored of them or no longer use them, but each keyboard has inspired me to continue playing and want to collect them, so the PSR-170 was a great first step on the ladder for me.
I can honestly say this keyboard has for many years now, provided me with hours of fun. It may not be the most technically advanced keyboards out there, but certainly for beginners and for children/teens, would make for an interesting hobby that doesn't revolve around the X Box! If you want to encourage your children to take up other activities then try this, and if you also purchase headphones they can also practice in peace, you would never hear a thing!
This was the first keyboard I ever got, and it's certainly served me well. As a beginner user, I definitely found the song learning functions a good aid. Furthermore, it's a good bit of fun, as it comes with 2 'DJ' voices, or tones as they are sometimes called on other keyboards. The onboard memory contains plenty of rhythms to play along to, and the tempo of each is changeable. Finally, there are 100 songs on different themes too, such as Christmas and Traditional.
It's a 61 key keyboard, the lowest note being 2 octaves down from middle C and the highest 3 octaves above. I've found that for the majority of people, especially at beginners' level, this is more than enough range.
There are some downsides to it, namely that it's not touch sensitive and that some of the tones sound a little fake but the speaker quality is fairly good, and to be honest, on a keyboard of this size and price, touch sensitive keys are unheard of.