Today we are going to review Yamaha’s PSR S550 keyboard. This keyboard is priced in the mid range of Yamaha’s lineup. It is the keyboard that has been cloned from higher end Yamaha keyboards with less features on it rather than being a keyboard that was beefed up from a lower end model. The PSR keyboards come in two colors either in black or silver color. Now if you do take the keyboard and black the speaker cones themselves which are housed towards the rear panel of the piano actually stands up quite a bit because the cones are white in color which contrasts quite a bit with the black layout.
Looking inside the PSR S550 I notice that it contains 283 sound patches and voices which is the same as previous models. And these preset voices come with the usual sound patches and presets of its predecessors.
Two Versions of Grand Pianos
Lets move on to other features like the default sounds on this keyboard. Again Yamaha highlighted two versions of the grand piano, in particular the live grand piano and the warm grand piano as well. I tried out the electric pianos on this keyboard and they sound absolutely superb for the keyboard priced in this range.
Now if we look at the string section we can see that we have two options available which include solo and ensemble voicings which also include live strings and orchestra.
Very Good Punchy Brass Sounds
Now if we look at the choir sounds on the Yamaha keyboard, it’s never been Yamaha’s strong point in terms of sound quality. In stark contrast, the brass sounds are actually quite good with the trumpet taking the top spot in my books. If we look at the overall Brass ensemble which includes the French horns and brass are quite adequate for the this keyboard. The woodwinds section itself is quite good and I really liked the pan flute.
The organ sounds on the Yamaha PSR S550 are quite good which is nothing surprising given Yamaha’s history with organs which have always done quite well. And out of the 280 sounds, 42 of which are reserved for guitars provides an impressive array of the guitar sounds onboard. And of course the organ sounds wouldn’t be complete without the cool rotor sounds (imitation Leslie) or the Hammond B3 organ. And Yamaha has done a wonderful job of replicating that on the PSR S550.
Adapted for the European Market
This keyboard has also been adapted for the European market given that it has introduced a number of accordion sounds. So this keyboard would be appealing on both sides of the ocean.
Yamaha also introduces a number of contemporary instruments with drums and synthesizers onboard capturing a range of moods from the warm and moody right to the Oxygen and Firewire sounds to give some tension and edginess to boot.
The S550 is somewhat of an upgrade from the is 500 series where the style section has increased to 176 from 156 different styles. Some of these styles include acoustic rock, swinging big band orchestra, blues rock and easy ballads. There are approximately 14 regional types of styles including 4 Arabic, Indian, and 2 Chinese to name a few.
The Yamaha PSR S550 is a 61 key synthesizer with 294 voices and an additional 480 XG voices and 22 drum kits. For a mid-range keyboard the PSR S550 synthesizer with 64 notes of polyphony this keyboard provides a lot of bang for the buck.
The digital effects section features 35 reverb types, 44 chorus types and 237 DSP types and a master EQ with five presets.
Looking at the I/O section I see a phone jack as well as a USB port for the MIDI IN/OUTand USB port for storage devices. The PSR S550 comes with a keyboard manual, AC adapter.