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Well, here is a rare thing: a crap Yamaha keyboard. I didn't think such
a thing existed until I took delivery of this object.
However, crap though it is, it is still interesting. It's monphonic,
has 8 voices, which sound very harsh, and 8 rhythms (as normal,
consisting of "blips" and metallic noise pulses). Sustain and Vibrato
effects are user switchable, and it also has an Auto Arpeggio mode in
which it plays an arpeggio when a note is pressed, instead of just
sounding that note. The pattern of the arpeggio depends on the selected
rhythm. You can't play a tune together with the arpeggio - it's one or
There is a song memory, which is very low-resolution and very small,
and a transposer function. There is also a "guess-the-note" game, which
gets very boring very quickly.
The six built-in demo tunes are all monophonic and rather boring, and
you can't play along with them.
Highly unusually for a Yamaha keyboard, the built-in speaker is
terrible, giving a very thin, weedy and tinny sound. To add insult to
injury, there is no output socket, and the volume control acts
"digitally" so reducing the volume severely affects the quality of the
sounds. There isn't even an external power input - you can only run the
PSS-20 on batteries. The build quality isn't up to the usual Yamaha
standard either, with a creaky plastic case.
For a 1989 keyboard, this really is very poor. This is clearly a case
of Yamaha building down to a price, presumably to compete with the
manufacturers of other cheap nasty toy keyboards at the time.
Sorry, there are no
audio samples of the PSS-20 available yet.
The Operating Manual for the PSS-20 can be downloaded from the Yamaha Manual Library