Yamaha PC-100

Playcard compatible Keyboard

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Yamaha PC-100 Keyboard


My first impression of this keyboard when trying it for the first time was that the voices sound extremely shrill and piercing, so much so that I initially thought the built-in speaker was damaged. But some of the voices, for example the Piano, sound much warmer and more pleasant, and the auto accompaniment and bass sound quite nice. Having played with the keyboard a bit more, I now rather like its sound. The built-in speaker is reasonable, but does tend to make the already harsh-sounding voices sound even harsher, so it's better when piped through external speakers.  

All of the usual features are present: there are 10 voices (with a selectable "Sustain" function) and 10 rhythm patterns with auto accompaniment, ("Auto Bass Chord") each of which has two selectable variations. There is also an Auto Arpeggio function which "adds a rippling effect  to the accompaniment" according to the manual. The auto accompaniment, rhythm and auto arpeggio levels are all independently adjustable using analogue sliders, as is the tempo.

The most interesting aspect of this keyboard is obviously the Playcard system. For more information on how this works, have a look at the Yamaha Playcards page.

Many Playcards have pictorial indications of where the Tempo and Auto Arpeggio sliders should be set to sound correct for the music on that card, but I have found that setting the sliders to these exact positions usually sounds competely wrong - generally the Tempo is much too fast, or the Arpeggio is much too low and virtually inaudible. So you really have to judge the positions of these sliders to make the music sound right.

Another nice feature of these early Yamaha PortaSounds is that they come with their own carrying case, which doubles-up as a music stand. The PC-100's case also has pockets in the lid for storing Playcards. Curiously, even though a set of 12 cards is supplied with the keyboard, and the envelope for these cards advises storing them in the envelope when not in use, and keeping this in the case lid, there is a further warning  against storing any more than six cards in the case lid. So you can't follow the advice, and have to break one rule or the other! 

Audio Samples

I think I may have set the tempo just a little too fast on these, but they give you an idea of what the keyboard sounds like. Listen for that Auto Arpeggio sound!

Instruction Manual

The Operating Manual for the PC-100 can be downloaded from the Yamaha Manual Library.