Help me choose - Yamaha PSR S550B vs S650 vs S700


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Hi guys,

After some time searching for bargains, lost opportunities due to too much thinking, I think I need your pro advice here.

I need to choose between below 2nd hand model:

#1. Yamaha PSR S550B - discontinued model (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/arranger_workstations/psr-s550/)
11163_12008_1.jpg

#2. Yamaha PSR S650 (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/arranger_workstations/psr-s650/)
0E1A6AB28A00430DBB1C003CD20090F0_12008.jpg

#3. Yamaha PSR S700 - discontinued model (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/arranger_workstations/psr-s700/)
8499_12001_1.jpg

Price range was only different by USD130 between S550B and S700. All are second hand stuff, works fine, except for S650 which comes with 12 mths warranty as it was a display unit.

Mobility is not a factor as its going to be used most of the time at home.
Usage - probably to spent time composing, casual playing. I'm not a pro keyboardist.
I'd also would like to have a more lasting keyboard. My old Yamaha keyboard was 19 years old ;-)

I believe S700 model is quite old right ? S650 on the other hand is still new and still in retail. S550B is quite old, though the actual unit still looks good and well taken care off

Personally, which one would you prefer, and why ?

Thanks in advance.
 
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happyrat1

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I realize this is no help to you at all, but in my case my answer would be "none of the above."

Not a big Yamaha fan.

Are you married to the idea of a Yamaha or are you open to other arrangers from other manufacturers like Korg or Roland?

Anyway, among the three, the floor demo is always preferable to the used model since if it's going to fail it will likely die sometime in the first few months. That full manufacturer's warranty is worth the money, especially if you can get it at a discounted price.

I wouldn't buy a used unit from a dealer for a couple of reasons. First of all the dealer always charges a premium to cover his overhead. Secondly you have no way of knowing the actual history of the unit and what sort of pig sty it was played in before the dealer cleaned it up for resale. For all you know there could be tumbleweeds floating under the keys waiting to gum up the contacts anytime without warning.

I'll only buy a used keyboard if I'm getting it from the original owner and then only if I pick it up in person and get an idea of the sort of environment it was used in.

That's my $0.02

Gary
 

SeaGtGruff

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Based on their specs, I'd say that the order of superiority is S700, then S650, then S550/S550B. The S550/S550B and the S650 both have 64-note polyphony, but the S650 is newer and has more (and presumably better) voices. On the other hand, the S700 has 96-note polyphony; and although it doesn't have as many built-in voices as the S650, both the S650 and S700 can add more voices via expansion packs-- and the S700 has "Organ Flute!" voices, which the S650 apparently doesn't have. Of course, if you can afford the newer S750-- or better yet, the S950-- I'd go with that instead. But assuming the used S700 and the newer S650 are roughly the same price, the S700 would (in my opinion) probably be a better buy-- if it's in good shape, of course.

Edit: New is almost always better than used-- as Gary/happyrat1 mentioned, the warranty can be a critical consideration, plus newer equipment is probably in better shape as far as the internal parts. But the S700 is probably a better keyboard than the S650, assuming their conditions are equal.
 
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I realize this is no help to you at all, but in my case my answer would be "none of the above."

Not a big Yamaha fan.

Are you married to the idea of a Yamaha or are you open to other arrangers from other manufacturers like Korg or Roland?

Anyway, among the three, the floor demo is always preferable to the used model since if it's going to fail it will likely die sometime in the first few months. That full manufacturer's warranty is worth the money, especially if you can get it at a discounted price.

I wouldn't buy a used unit from a dealer for a couple of reasons. First of all the dealer always charges a premium to cover his overhead. Secondly you have no way of knowing the actual history of the unit and what sort of pig sty it was played in before the dealer cleaned it up for resale. For all you know there could be tumbleweeds floating under the keys waiting to gum up the contacts anytime without warning.

I'll only buy a used keyboard if I'm getting it from the original owner and then only if I pick it up in person and get an idea of the sort of environment it was used in.

That's my $0.02

Gary
I want to purchase a keyboard. i have in mind yamaha psr s650,korg X50 and korg PS60. which one should i go for.??only yamaha has built in speakers and the other 2 don't have it.I want to basically compose music and learn it further.I don't have performances very often . so plzz suggest me something... Thank you. :D
 

happyrat1

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Between the X50 and the PS60 the PS60 is the more modern of the two though both have been discontinued for a while now.

Otherwise neither one has a built in sequencer so I presume that you plan to use a computer to sequence your music in conjunction with the keyboard.

Are these all used units we're talking about or are we talking about discontinued clearance at some dealer in India offering full warranties with both?

Either one is an acceptable choice for sequencing MIDI's and recording MP3's but if there is a significant discount for the X50 I'd say take the cheaper price and run with it because there is not all that much difference in the two soundsets.

As for speakers, if you shop around a decent pair of used, powered studio monitors can be had for under $150 if you shop around the classified ads on your local craigslist or ebay.

I own a pair of these that cost about $300 new for the pair and they sound pretty decent.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/M-Audio-BX5...o_Audio_Speakers_Monitors&hash=item19f581a904

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=m570.l3201&_nkw=studio+monitors&_sacat=0

Or if you really need to do it on the cheap, look around for a good set of 2.1 powered computer speakers and purchase the appropriate adapter plugs and you're good to go for home use.

Gary
 
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Between the X50 and the PS60 the PS60 is the more modern of the two though both have been discontinued for a while now.

Otherwise neither one has a built in sequencer so I presume that you plan to use a computer to sequence your music in conjunction with the keyboard.

Are these all used units we're talking about or are we talking about discontinued clearance at some dealer in India offering full warranties with both?

Either one is an acceptable choice for sequencing MIDI's and recording MP3's but if there is a significant discount for the X50 I'd say take the cheaper price and run with it because there is not all that much difference in the two soundsets.

As for speakers, if you shop around a decent pair of used, powered studio monitors can be had for under $150 if you shop around the classified ads on your local craigslist or ebay.

I own a pair of these that cost about $300 new for the pair and they sound pretty decent.


Or if you really need to do it on the cheap, look around for a good set of 2.1 powered computer speakers and purchase the appropriate adapter plugs and you're good to go for home use.

Gary
I had always an inclination towards yamaha.Is there a very vast difference between yamaha psr s650 and korg PS60?Can't i record a song with yamaha psr s650?
 
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happyrat1

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Like I said earlier I've always had a dislike for Yamaha keyboards. They use a proprietary USB interface and drivers instead of an Industry Standard Class compliant USB MIDI interface so you are entirely at their mercy for legacy driver support and they DO NOT support Linux at all.

For practical reasons as well as on principle alone I shall never buy a Yamaha keyboard.

Gary
 
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Like I said earlier I've always had a dislike for Yamaha keyboards. They use a proprietary USB interface and drivers instead of an Industry Standard Class compliant USB MIDI interface so you are entirely at their mercy for legacy driver support and they DO NOT support Linux at all.

For practical reasons as well as on principle alone I shall never buy a Yamaha keyboard.

Gary
does it mean that we can't use other midi cables apart from that specified by yamaha i.e yamaha UX16 midi interface?actually i haven't recorded anything before so i don't know how to do recording.?I tried with a local midi to usb cable but wasn't able to record.IT got detected in MIXcraft studio software but wasn't taking any input from my yamaha keybpard.Instead my yamaha keyboard.Sorry to trouble you but in this part of india we don't have much access to the music technology
 

happyrat1

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Actually if it has genuine MIDI ports the keyboard should be able to communicate with any USB MIDI interface. My comments were directed at Yamaha keyboards with USB ports.

A couple of pointers though.

1) MIDI OUT on the cable should connect to MIDI IN on the keyboard and vice versa. Make sure the keyboard is powered off while you swap around cables if necessary though.

2) You probably have to enable MIDI IN and MIDI OUT on the keyboard in order to get it talking to the computer. Check your manual under the MIDI settings section.

After that it should work just fine.

Gary
 

SeaGtGruff

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does it mean that we can't use other midi cables apart from that specified by yamaha i.e yamaha UX16 midi interface?actually i haven't recorded anything before so i don't know how to do recording.?I tried with a local midi to usb cable but wasn't able to record.IT got detected in MIXcraft studio software but wasn't taking any input from my yamaha keybpard.Instead my yamaha keyboard.Sorry to trouble you but in this part of india we don't have much access to the music technology

If the Yamaha has a USB-to-host port then you should be able to use any standard USB-A to USB-B cable (commonly used to connect a printer to a computer via USB), although you will need to have Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver installed on the computer-- which is available for Windows or Mac/iOS devices, but not for Unix/Linux/Android.

If you want to connect to a tablet or smart phone, you might need a micro USB cable or adapter (for a Windows device), or a "camera connection kit" (for an iOS device).

Mixcraft is a Windows-compatible DAW, so aside from needing to have the correct USB-MIDI driver installed (if you're using a USB-to-host connection), as well as the correct type of USB cable, I can't think of why you might have trouble recording a Yamaha keyboard in Mixcraft. I have Mixcraft and have used my PSR-E443 with it, so I might be able to help you get it working. Which keyboard are you using?
 
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If the Yamaha has a USB-to-host port then you should be able to use any standard USB-A to USB-B cable (commonly used to connect a printer to a computer via USB), although you will need to have Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver installed on the computer-- which is available for Windows or Mac/iOS devices, but not for Unix/Linux/Android.

If you want to connect to a tablet or smart phone, you might need a micro USB cable or adapter (for a Windows device), or a "camera connection kit" (for an iOS device).

Mixcraft is a Windows-compatible DAW, so aside from needing to have the correct USB-MIDI driver installed (if you're using a USB-to-host connection), as well as the correct type of USB cable, I can't think of why you might have trouble recording a Yamaha keyboard in Mixcraft. I have Mixcraft and have used my PSR-E443 with it, so I might be able to help you get it working. Which keyboard are you using?
PSR E313
 
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Actually if it has genuine MIDI ports the keyboard should be able to communicate with any USB MIDI interface. My comments were directed at Yamaha keyboards with USB ports.

A couple of pointers though.

1) MIDI OUT on the cable should connect to MIDI IN on the keyboard and vice versa. Make sure the keyboard is powered off while you swap around cables if necessary though.

2) You probably have to enable MIDI IN and MIDI OUT on the keyboard in order to get it talking to the computer. Check your manual under the MIDI settings section.

After that it should work just fine.

Gary
thanks I have done
I had connected my midi IN to Midi Out of my keyboard and vice versa.In my keyboard there are 2 options PC mode(on/off) and (In- It-sending).I simply don't know what to do with it.Whenever i play from my laptop's keyboard, the sound is heard in the speaker of yamaha keyboard.but when i play from my yamaha keyboard ,i am unable to record in my computer.And besides that whenever i play from my laptop's keyboard,i have to play on piano only.For example there are various other patches like strings,bass and violin in Mixcraft but when i play in my laptop then the voice of strings or violin is not heard in my yamaha keyboard
 

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According to the manual, the PSR-E313 has MIDI ports rather than USB ports, so you do need a MIDI cable, as well as a MIDI-to-USB adapter. I haven't had to use one myself, so I don't know what's involved, but I expect you'd need to install a driver to go with the adapter. If you've been able to play MIDI files on your computer, and use the computer's keyboard to send MIDI note messages to your PSR-E313, then I'd say the connection is probably okay and the problem is elsewhere.

When you play your Yamaha and send it to your computer, there's no audio involved if you're using a MIDI connection, just MIDI data, so you won't be able to hear anything on your computer unless you're sending the MIDI data to a DAW (such as Mixcraft) and have a virtual instrument assigned to the track. In that case you can record audio, but the sound is being produced by the DAW's virtual instrument rather than by the Yamaha keyboard. If you record the MIDI data from the Yamaha then you can edit the MIDI data in the DAW-- e.g., correcting places where you hit the wrong note by mistake, quantizing the notes so they line up exactly on the beats, half-beats, quarter-beats, etc., copying and pasting measures that you want repeated, and so on-- and once the MIDI track has been saved you can even change it later on to use a different virtual instrument. So it can be extremely useful to record the Yamaha's MIDI data rather than its audio output.

On the other hand, you can also record the Yamaha's audio output if you'd prefer, so that you're getting the Yamaha's "voices" rather than the sounds generated by an external virtual instrument. To do this, you must connect your Yamaha to your computer using an audio cable rather than a MIDI-to-USB cable. One end of the audio cable gets plugged into the Yamaha's headphones (audio out) jack, and the other end of the audio cable gets plugged into the computer's microphone (audio in) jack. You'll probably also need an adapter for the end that goes to the Yamaha, because the Yamaha's headphones jack uses a bigger (1/4-inch) plug, whereas the computer uses a smaller (.35mm) plug. You might also want to get a splitter for the end that goes into the Yamaha, so that you can plug a pair of headphones into one of the splitter's jacks, and plug the audio cable into the other jack. Then the plug end of the splitter goes into the .35mm-to-1/4-inch adapter, which in turns goes into the Yamaha's headphones jack.

As for playing MIDI tracks in Mixcraft and sending them to your Yamaha, you'll need to insert some Bank Select and Program Change messages at the beginning of each track to select the voices that you want the Yamaha to use. The list of voices in the PSR-E313 owner's manual has columns that show the Bank Select and Program Change values you'll need to use to select each voice-- except there's a slight wrinkle you need to be aware of. MIDI messages uses Program Change values that range from 0 to 127, but in some software the Program Change "program numbers" or "patch numbers" may be numbered from 1 to 128 (apparently based on the theory that human beings are too stupid to be able to count from 0 to whatever the way that computers do). In fact, the online MIDI documentation from the MMA (MIDI Manufacturer's Association) even lists the 128 General MIDI instruments using the 1-to128 numbering system, despite the fact that the actual MIDI messages use the 0-to-127 numbering! Anyway, what this means is that when you look in the voice list to get the Bank Select MSB and LSB values, as well as the Program Change values, for the voices you want to use, you must subtract 1 from the Program Change value that's listed in the manual.

For example, suppose you want to use the PSR-E313's voice 47 ("String Ensemble") for one of the MIDI tracks. The voice list in the manual shows that this voice is selected by using the values 0 (in the Bank Select MSB column), 112 (in the Bank Select LSB column), and 49 (in the Program Change column). When you select these values in Mixcraft, you must actually use 48 for the Program Change (i.e., just subtract 1 from the Program Change value shown in the manual), otherwise you'll end up selecting a different voice than you'd intended.

As for the other things you mentioned, the PC Mode function is used to quickly and easily change the settings of five other functions (Local, External Clock, Song Out, Style Out, and Keyboard Out) without having to change them individually, so you don't need to use the PC Mode function at all if you'd prefer to set those five functions separately (which gives you greater individual control over them).

The Local function determines whether the keyboard will produce sound when you play it. If you want to use your PSR-E313 as a MIDI keyboard controller with a DAW and an external sound source (virtual instrument) then you'll usually want to turn Local off. But if you want to record the audio from your Yamaha then you'll want Local to be on.

External Clock controls whether the Yamaha uses its own (internal) clock for the tempo and the beats of each measure, or whether it uses the clock signals from a DAW or other external MIDI source.

Song Out controls whether any songs you play back on your Yamaha will send MIDI data to a DAW.

Style Out controls whether any auto accompaniment (style) you play on your Yamaha will send MIDI data to a DAW.

Keyboard Out controls whether the Main/Dual/Split voice channels will send MIDI data to a DAW as you play.

I'll see if I can write up some basic tutorials on how to use the PSR-E313 and other Yamaha keyboards with Mixcraft to (1) record audio tracks, (2) record MIDI tracks, and (3) send MIDI data from Mixcraft to the Yamaha. I have Mixcraft Pro Studio 6, which hopefully isn't too different from whatever version you have.

Edit: I forgot to mention the Init Send function. This is used to send the keyboard's settings to a DAW so that the correct voice settings get recorded. For better or for worse, Mixcraft strips out any SysEx events from the incoming MIDI data, so if you do use Init Send some of the settings will be ignored by Mixcraft.
 
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According to the manual, the PSR-E313 has MIDI ports rather than USB ports, so you do need a MIDI cable, as well as a MIDI-to-USB adapter. I haven't had to use one myself, so I don't know what's involved, but I expect you'd need to install a driver to go with the adapter. If you've been able to play MIDI files on your computer, and use the computer's keyboard to send MIDI note messages to your PSR-E313, then I'd say the connection is probably okay and the problem is elsewhere.

When you play your Yamaha and send it to your computer, there's no audio involved if you're using a MIDI connection, just MIDI data, so you won't be able to hear anything on your computer unless you're sending the MIDI data to a DAW (such as Mixcraft) and have a virtual instrument assigned to the track. In that case you can record audio, but the sound is being produced by the DAW's virtual instrument rather than by the Yamaha keyboard. If you record the MIDI data from the Yamaha then you can edit the MIDI data in the DAW-- e.g., correcting places where you hit the wrong note by mistake, quantizing the notes so they line up exactly on the beats, half-beats, quarter-beats, etc., copying and pasting measures that you want repeated, and so on-- and once the MIDI track has been saved you can even change it later on to use a different virtual instrument. So it can be extremely useful to record the Yamaha's MIDI data rather than its audio output.

On the other hand, you can also record the Yamaha's audio output if you'd prefer, so that you're getting the Yamaha's "voices" rather than the sounds generated by an external virtual instrument. To do this, you must connect your Yamaha to your computer using an audio cable rather than a MIDI-to-USB cable. One end of the audio cable gets plugged into the Yamaha's headphones (audio out) jack, and the other end of the audio cable gets plugged into the computer's microphone (audio in) jack. You'll probably also need an adapter for the end that goes to the Yamaha, because the Yamaha's headphones jack uses a bigger (1/4-inch) plug, whereas the computer uses a smaller (.35mm) plug. You might also want to get a splitter for the end that goes into the Yamaha, so that you can plug a pair of headphones into one of the splitter's jacks, and plug the audio cable into the other jack. Then the plug end of the splitter goes into the .35mm-to-1/4-inch adapter, which in turns goes into the Yamaha's headphones jack.

As for playing MIDI tracks in Mixcraft and sending them to your Yamaha, you'll need to insert some Bank Select and Program Change messages at the beginning of each track to select the voices that you want the Yamaha to use. The list of voices in the PSR-E313 owner's manual has columns that show the Bank Select and Program Change values you'll need to use to select each voice-- except there's a slight wrinkle you need to be aware of. MIDI messages uses Program Change values that range from 0 to 127, but in some software the Program Change "program numbers" or "patch numbers" may be numbered from 1 to 128 (apparently based on the theory that human beings are too stupid to be able to count from 0 to whatever the way that computers do). In fact, the online MIDI documentation from the MMA (MIDI Manufacturer's Association) even lists the 128 General MIDI instruments using the 1-to128 numbering system, despite the fact that the actual MIDI messages use the 0-to-127 numbering! Anyway, what this means is that when you look in the voice list to get the Bank Select MSB and LSB values, as well as the Program Change values, for the voices you want to use, you must subtract 1 from the Program Change value that's listed in the manual.

For example, suppose you want to use the PSR-E313's voice 47 ("String Ensemble") for one of the MIDI tracks. The voice list in the manual shows that this voice is selected by using the values 0 (in the Bank Select MSB column), 112 (in the Bank Select LSB column), and 49 (in the Program Change column). When you select these values in Mixcraft, you must actually use 48 for the Program Change (i.e., just subtract 1 from the Program Change value shown in the manual), otherwise you'll end up selecting a different voice than you'd intended.

As for the other things you mentioned, the PC Mode function is used to quickly and easily change the settings of five other functions (Local, External Clock, Song Out, Style Out, and Keyboard Out) without having to change them individually, so you don't need to use the PC Mode function at all if you'd prefer to set those five functions separately (which gives you greater individual control over them).

The Local function determines whether the keyboard will produce sound when you play it. If you want to use your PSR-E313 as a MIDI keyboard controller with a DAW and an external sound source (virtual instrument) then you'll usually want to turn Local off. But if you want to record the audio from your Yamaha then you'll want Local to be on.

External Clock controls whether the Yamaha uses its own (internal) clock for the tempo and the beats of each measure, or whether it uses the clock signals from a DAW or other external MIDI source.

Song Out controls whether any songs you play back on your Yamaha will send MIDI data to a DAW.

Style Out controls whether any auto accompaniment (style) you play on your Yamaha will send MIDI data to a DAW.

Keyboard Out controls whether the Main/Dual/Split voice channels will send MIDI data to a DAW as you play.

I'll see if I can write up some basic tutorials on how to use the PSR-E313 and other Yamaha keyboards with Mixcraft to (1) record audio tracks, (2) record MIDI tracks, and (3) send MIDI data from Mixcraft to the Yamaha. I have Mixcraft Pro Studio 6, which hopefully isn't too different from whatever version you have.

Edit: I forgot to mention the Init Send function. This is used to send the keyboard's settings to a DAW so that the correct voice settings get recorded. For better or for worse, Mixcraft strips out any SysEx events from the incoming MIDI data, so if you do use Init Send some of the settings will be ignored by Mixcraft.
Thanks a ton!!! You have taken so much pains to research for such a basic keyboard and come out with a solution.Really appreciate a lot.I am using mixcraft 6 as well.I would be egaerly waiting for your tutorial......Really a big thank you to you
 
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SeaGtGruff

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You have taken so much pains to research for such a basic keyboard and come out with a solution.
Not at all! I have a PSR-E433 and PSR-E443, which aren't so very different from the PSR-E3x3 and PSR-E2x3 series, so it makes sense to do a basic tutorial that will cover the entire PSR-E, PSR-I, and YPT lines-- emphasis on "basic," so it's going to be an introduction only, meaning I'll try to cover the three areas I mentioned, but I might not go into a lot of detail (enough to get you started, anyway), and I certainly can't cover all of Mixcraft's functionality or all the features of each keyboard model.
 

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