Yamaha PSS-20

Portable Keyboard

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Yamaha PSS-20 Keyboard


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 the other.

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.

Audio Samples

Sorry, there are no audio samples of the PSS-20 available yet.

Instruction Manual

The Operating Manual for the PSS-20 can be downloaded from the Yamaha Manual Library.