Yamaha PSR EW300 vs PSR E453 for a beginner


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Hey guys,

I haven't played the piano before but lately I've been thinking of getting a budget keyboard on which to practice. My budget is around 250 Euro and I'm looking forward to mastering the basics and playing covers of my favourite songs. I guess I would also like to somehow connect it to a device like a phone or a computer. So far I've narrowed it down to the Yamaha EW300 and the Yamaha PSR E453. Which one would you think would be better for a beginner?

The EW-300 has more keys and is cheaper but has less voices, and also on Yamaha's website there's a field in the specs "Touch response" and the answer's yes, but looking at E453's page there are 4 specified levels of touch response: Soft, Medium, Hard and Fixed. Does that really mean that the E453 has 4 levels of touch response and the EW300 only has one? If that's true, I'd guess the E453 would be better than the EW300, despite the fewer keys, wouldn't it? Also, I don't even understand some of the extra features the E453 has and the EW-300 doesn't, would they be really beneficial for a beginner? Also, do they have the same quality of sound, f.e. does the E453 have a better piano sound than the EW-300?

Thanks in advance!

Edit: Any chance I can find some sound samples online for these two?
 
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happyrat1

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While you're at it take a look at the Casio WK-6600, WK-7600, CTK-6200 and CTK-7200.

Much better value for the buck, power supplies are not optional purchases and tech support aren't a bunch of snotty prima donnas.




Gary ;)
 
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Hello, Gary,

Thank you for your response! Unfortunately, even the cheapest piano from your list, the CTK-6200, is slightly above my budget and is only 61 keys, while I can't possibly afford the other ones. Can you tell me what kind of bang it brings in comparison to the E453?
 

happyrat1

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. Can you tell me what kind of bang it brings in comparison to the E453?
Easy, compare the specs. Do your homework before you buy. And the CTK-6200 and WK-6600 very often go on sale. You just have to shop around for the best price or a floor demo model.

Gary ;)
 
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Yes, I meant like systemized 10-15 second ones of different voices but equal for the two models :D I found some on the EW300's page but none on the E453's, but I can't imagine there's a big difference between their sound quality.

And sorry, Gary, but I live in a.. let's say 2nd world country, amazon and other popular sites that often make sales don't ship here, but I'll have a more detailed look at the 6200.
 
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Most beginner arrangers do tend to have only 61 keys so your options are limited if you want more.

The PSR E453 is $280 and has 61 keys

The EW410 is $400 and has 76 keys

The Casio WK6600 is $299 and has 76 keys

If $20 is to much I would save up some more and then buy the Casio.

Yamaha are imho not the best keyboards to learn on, the menus are quirky, internal training programs next to useless and the manuals are written in Klingon.

Do factor in that a keyboard needs a stand and you will need a stool to sit upon plus books if you want to learn theory.
 

Rayblewit

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If the e453 is the cheapest option and within the budget then I would settle for it.
Leaning basics and playing covers is the main objective here (says OP) so you cannot go wrong with this choice. Also the e453 has mountains of special features and sound options etc. . Will keep you amused for years before even considering an upgrade.
Cheers ray
 
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Ok so once again, those prices from America's Amazon or wherever they're from don't apply to me, the WK 6600 is 100 Euro more expensive than the E453 at the dealers that ship to me.
That being said you guys still prefer the E453 over the 76-key EW300? It's that better?
 
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European prices are:-

The EW410 is €410

The E453 is €360

WK6600 is €345

So not a lot of difference in cost.

That said there is not much difference between the 2 series Yamaha and the 3 and 4 series in terms of sounds and styles nor how they operate its a case of the numbers included and if cash is a major issue then lower your expectations as a 2 series will more than be good enough for a few years of learning.

Yamaha have cleaver marketing, they produce a plethora of low cost models to get beginners hooked into the brand and the quirky operating system so their next model will be an upgraded Yamaha.

I started with a Yamaha and quickly moved on since to change from one sound and style to another required a lot of key and menu selections.

For something that blows the above keyboards away in terms of sound quality then check out the Roland Go Keys at at €300 it is cheaper than the Yamahas and Casio, and being made by Roland they, imho produce far better instrument across their entire range than Yamaha and Casio.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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you guys still prefer the E453 over the 76-key EW300? It's that better?
Aside from the number of keys and the number of voices and styles-- which should sound more or less identical on both models-- the biggest differences between the PSR-E453 and the PSR-EW300 are as follows:

Patterns -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Pitch-Bend Wheel -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Live Control Knobs -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Attack/Release Functions -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Cutoff/Resonance Functions -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Number of Registration Memories -- PSR-E453: 32 (4 x 8) -- PSR-EW300: 9
Number of Tracks per User Song -- PSR-E453: 6 -- PSR-EW300: 2
USB TO DEVICE Port -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Save User Song to Standard MIDI File -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No
Save and Load User Files -- PSR-E453: Yes -- PSR-EW300: No

It's up to you to decide how important each feature is to you, then weigh the presence or lack of the features you're interested in against the number of keys. My own opinions are as follows (but don't go by my opinions):

Patterns -- These are fun to play around with but aren't really good for "serious" musicians, since you can't create patterns of your own and are therefore stuck with the on-board patterns.

Pitch-Bend Wheel -- This is more or less an essential feature for me. I'd like a Modulation Wheel, too, but oh well.

Live Control Knobs; Attack/Release Functions; Cutoff/Resonance Functions -- The Live Control Knobs are like assignable-function knobs, except you can't actually assign different functions to each knob; rather, you can cycle between pre-assigned pairs of functions. They can be useful for changing things like the Filter Cutoff Frequency while you're playing, although the changes aren't as smooth and even as I'd like. They're also useful for tinkering with the parameters of a voice when you want to create a "new" voice from one of the presets, but I generally prefer to use the Function menu instead because you have more precise control over the values.

Number of Registration Memories -- Sooner or later you're going to want to set up the keyboard for specific songs and save the settings for easy recall, so you'll want as many Registration Memories as possible. But even more important than the number of Registration Memories is the number of buttons for switching between them. It's my understanding that recalling a Registration on the PSR-EW300 isn't as simple as it is on the PSR-E453, because the PSR-E453 has four dedicated buttons that allow one-press recalling of four Registrations (with the ability to choose between eight different Registration Banks), whereas the PSR-EW300 uses the numeric keypad to select which Registration to recall. See also the note about User Files.

Number of Tracks per User Song -- To be honest, the on-board Song Sequencer isn't as useful for recording your own songs as you might think, because there's no single-note editing, so if you make a mistake then you'll have to record the entire track over again from scratch. For this reason, it's actually better to connect the keyboard to a computer and use a DAW to record your own songs, and both keyboards have equal capabilities as far as that is concerned. But the on-board Song Sequencer can be handy for quickly recording your musical ideas whenever inspiration hits you. For that purpose, having only two tracks per song is probably okay-- one track for the style and the other for your performance-- because if you want to record more than two tracks then you must record each one separately while playing along to the tracks you've already recorded, in which case you might as well be using a DAW anyway (unless you don't happen to have the keyboard connected to a computer). See also the note about saving to a Standard MIDI File.

USB TO DEVICE Port -- Both keyboards have a USB TO HOST port for connecting to a computer. However, the PSR-EW300 doesn't have a USB TO DEVICE port for plugging in a USB flash drive. This means that if you want to play "external" songs and styles on the PSR-EW300 then you'll need to connect it to a computer and transfer the songs and styles to the keyboard's internal memory. In contrast, the USB TO DEVICE port lets you plug in a USB flash drive that has songs and styles on it. Furthermore, the USB TO DEVICE port is required for the last two features, so if the keyboard doesn't let you plug in a USB flash drive then it won't have the following features.

Save User Song to Standard MIDI File -- When you use the on-board Song Sequencer to record a User Song, the song is stored in MIDI format but the data isn't formatted as a MIDI file per se. If you want to save the song as a Standard MIDI File (or "SMF"), you'll need a keyboard that has a USB TO DEVICE port. (Note that I'm referring to the Yamaha PSR-E models, since other models or brands might let you save to a Standard MIDI File directly on the keyboard without needing to save the SMF on a USB flash drive.) While it's handy to be able to save to SMF, a MIDI file is not an audio file per se, so for most people it's actually more desirable to save to a WAV or MP3 file. And if you absolutely want or need to save the MIDI data to a file but don't have a USB TO DEVICE port, you can still transmit the MIDI data to a computer to be captured and saved.

Save and Load User Files -- Both keyboards let you save a "Backup File" containing the User Songs, Registration Memories, and User Style(s). You can load this Backup File at a later time in case you need or want to restore the keyboard to a former condition. But in order to save or load a Backup File you must have the keyboard connected to a computer. Also, the Backup File must have a specific name. In contrast, a "User File" is like a Backup File but it can be saved or loaded from a USB flash drive, plus it can have one of 100 different names. That means you can have up to 100 different User Files and load whichever one you want to use, directly from a USB flash drive and without having to be connected to a computer.
 

SeaGtGruff

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By the way, I forgot to add that some of the things which are missing from the PSR-EW300 can be "added" by using Yamaha's Sound Controller app on a compatible iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch-- namely, Pitch Bend Wheel (as well as Modulation Wheel) and the ability to change Attack/Release and Cutoff/Resonance.
 
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Wow, thank you so much, Michael! I guess I'm gonna have to go with the E453 then, since most tutorials I've watched for popular song covers use at most 5 octaves anyway, so I guess they'll suffice for my training years, and if I get hooked up and want to get more serious down the road, I'd probably go for a digital piano or a 88-key keyboard anyway, so once again thank you for your thorough comparison!
 

SeaGtGruff

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You're welcome! I hope you'll be happy with your choice. :)
 
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Hey guys what about the new Casio CT-X 700? Now unfortunately it costs almost as much as the E453 on the cheapest site that ships to me, but a lot of people say that due to the new sound engine the voices sound a lot better than any keyboard at a similar price, and the keys felt better as well:

https://yamahamusicians.com/casio-ct-x700-raising-the-bar-for-entry-level-keyboards/

I think that by far the quality of the sound and the feel of the keys ara amongst the top factors to consider when buying a keyboard, what do you guys think of this model?
 

SeaGtGruff

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As far as the new Casio CT-X models go, I'd personally rather get the CT-X5000 because it has more features, but it also costs a good deal more. The CT-X700 doesn't have a pitch bend wheel or tone editing, but otherwise it has the same tones as the CT-X5000 (just not quite as many of them). So in that respect you could say that the CT-X700 is more comparable to the Yamaha PSR-E363, whereas the CT-X5000 is more comparable to the PSR-E463.

The CT-X models have box-shaped or piano-style keys, but they aren't weighted so don't respond the same way as the keys on a digital piano would. The PSR-E models have "diving-board" or synth-style keys, so they respond even less like a digital piano. Some people prefer synth-style keys, but for piano playing you'll definitely want piano-style keys, preferably with graded scale weighting. So you might ask yourself whether you're more interested in playing a piano or playing a synthesizer, because that could strongly influence which type of keys you lean towards. Some keyboardists get both types-- a keyboard with weighted piano-style keys for playing the piano parts, and a keyboard with synth-style keys for playing the synth parts. But if you're getting a single general-purpose keyboard then one with semi-weighted piano-style keys would probably be a good compromise. However, I'm not sure if the CT-X700 has semi-weighted keys; I think I read a post from someone who said that it has unweighted keys, while the higher and more expensive models like the CT-X5000 have semi-weighted keys.

I've read differing opinions about the sounds from the new tone engine. Some people have said it sounds better than Yamaha's voices, while other people have said that Yamaha's voices sound better; and it seems like their opinion might depend on whether they're more interested in the electronic/synth sounds (in which case Casio is apparently the winner) or the acoustic/orchestral sounds (in which case Yamaha is apparently the winner). The best thing to do is see if you can find a Casio CT-X and a Yamaha PSR-E that you can play side-by-side in a store to determine which sounds better to you.

As far as MIDI, the CT-X models respond to more CC (control change) messages than the PSR-E models do, so if you're interested in controlling the keyboard via MIDI then you might prefer the CT-X over the PSR-E. But both lines are not as good for using as MIDI keyboard controllers due to the fact that they don't have a lot of extra controls (buttons, knobs, and sliders) that can be used to send CC and other MIDI control messages, although they'd certainly be fine for sending Note messages.
 
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Interesting discussion.
1) My son uses my keys now and then and frequently finds interesting voices that I had no idea where there: it seems there is a practical upper limit to the number of voices and effects that one can make use of. If you're a nerd then more might be better; if you're a player, not so much.
2) There is touch response and there is touch: not the same thing and I find that I want a certain amount of well crafted weighting is necessary. Also the shape of the keys is important: I have only some keyboards where the typical glisses and smashes one does with tonewheel voices (as one does on the big boys) are easily done. I was recently considering the E453 but a brief session with it got it crossed off the list based on touch and feel and even weight,
2a) There is also the issue of how touch response is implemented: in some cases it only modulates attack and volume; in a few it also determines tone and resonance effects more like a real instrument. For example, on one of my keys heavy attack on some flute voices produces the typical breath sound of an overblown flute.
3) I keep a lightweight 'take on holidays' keyboard but also use split keyboard a lot - perhaps a hold-over from playing two manual organ - and find 61 keys insufficient and 76 just enough to get by.
4) Some burble about power supplies (standard or extra, etc.). I never use the standard ones preferring to use a high efficiency wall wart: smaller, lighter, runs cooler and saves energy.
5) Internal amplification: more is better, especially for satisfactory bass (IMHO)

The E345 was however a consideration due to weight and internal amplifier power.
 

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