Affordable next step after Yamaha YPT-300 for son's 16th birthday Feb 2nd?


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Hi everyone! We want to replace our son's 8 year old, 61 key Yamaha YPT-300 keyboard for under $300. He sets up his laptop next to the keyboard, listens to his favorite music (theme songs to metroid, zelda, castlevania, classical, animusic, etc), then learns to play by ear. He often changes the instrument sounds of the keys depending on the song, uses headphones, makes recordings, but doesn't accompany with drumbeats.This is a daily hobby & a way for him to relax at home.
What features are out there beyond his current keyboard that you think would suit his style of playing? Thanks so much for your advice!

Helen
 
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Fred Coulter

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When I searched for the YPT-300, the one I found has 61 keys, not 36. (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi.../digitalkeyboards/portable_keyboards/ypt-300/) Is this the keyboard you're talking about?

I'm not sure what I'd recommend in the $300 range. What are his goals musically? Does he want to play piano, classical music? Is he interested in playing in a band?

When you say he sets up his laptop next to the keyboard, is he using it just to play music which he plays along with on his keyboard? Or does he connect his keyboard to the laptop?

It might help to know how old he is.
 
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Hi Fred, he'll be 16 soon, the preferred music is from online games like Metroid & Zelda (ethereal, electronic), and he's learned some classical pieces, but doesn't want a piano. He just plays for himself, no band on the horizon. Yes, he plays to hear the music and doesn't connect laptop to keyboard, but that sounds like an interesting possibility. I counted 36 keys- maybe it has something to do with being a refurbished keyboard?
 

SeaGtGruff

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You can upgrade to a new PSR-E453 keyboard for about $280-- but you'll also need to get a new power adapter (or Survival Kit) for it, because the power adapter for the YPT-300 won't do. The PSR-E453 will have more sounds (voices) and styles than the YPT-300, as well as DJ patterns-- although he might not care about the styles and DJ patterns if he doesn't use his keyboard's auto-accompaniment features. Perhaps more to his liking, he'll be able to modify the Attack/Release and the Cutoff/Resonance voice parameters using either menu functions or two Live Control knobs, and then save those changes to a Registration for later recall. (He can modify those same voice parameters on his YPT-300 using his computer, but the changes can't be saved.) The PSR-E453 should be similar enough to the YPT-300 that he'll be able to start using it without having to relearn the wheel, so to speak; yet it should have enough additional voices and other features to keep him busy.

If he's using his YPT-300 with a computer, another option might be to buy him a DAW (if he doesn't already have one) and/or some nice virtual instruments. The YPT-300 is velocity-sensitive, meaning it can play louder or quieter depending on how forcefully (fast) the keys are struck, so it can be used as a MIDI keyboard controller. If he already uses it as a controller with virtual instruments, then you might want to talk to him first, so you don't buy something he already has. And as far as a DAW (if he doesn't already have one), you may want to let him try out the free demo versions of two or more different DAWs so he can pick the one he likes best.
 
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Thank you for your detailed advice Michael! I asked him & he loves his keyboard- doesn't want to change it- so glad I didn't try to surprise him. He'll look into DAW demo versions. Thanks again!
 
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SeaGtGruff

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If he loves the YPT-300, then he would probably love the PSR-E453, too-- unless he's "married" to having MIDI ports. The PSR-E453 has a USB-MIDI port, which is ideal for connecting to a computer, as opposed to traditional MIDI In/Out ports, which require a MIDI-to-USB adapter or interface for connecting to a computer. The YPT-300 is just another name for the PSR-E303 (the YPT versions are "export" models). The PSR-E4xx models are the "big siblings" of the PSR-E3xx models, so the PSR-E453 is similar in many ways to the PSR-E303/YPT-300, but with more voices and features.

But he knows best what he wants. :) For $300 you should be able to get him a nice DAW that includes some nice virtual instruments. Or you could get a less-expensive DAW that comes with fewer-- or possibly no-- virtual instruments, and one or more third-party virtual instrument plug-ins to go with it.
 
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If he's doing a lot of playing by ear, the lower level PSR keyboards (like the 550 or whatever they are up to nowadays) can be a really good option.
 

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