Yamaha has been catering to a wide variety of keyboard players for decades. This includes seasoned professionals that need reliable and great-sounding workstations to complete beginners that never played a single note of music in their lives. The PSR series is directed towards the later and builds on the vast knowledge that the company acquired during its long existence. The PSR-E273 is the latest addition to the line and represents the entry-level model. It has great, streamlined features to accompany any type of beginner in a gentle fashion. If this is your first time shopping for a digital piano, check out Best Buy’s guide here. Let’s take a look at all the features of the PSR-E273.
I’ve recorded a few sound samples of this model and documented my first impressions. They are all included in this video.
Yamaha PSR-E273 features: options to help you learn
For an entry level keyboard, the PSR-E273 sure has a lot of options under the hood. First of all, it’s packed with 401 different sounds. This is actually one more tone than the PSR-E263, the predecessor. These include various pianos, organs, guitar/bass, strings, wind and world instruments, percussions/drums, and more. This covers a very large choice selection, and you won’t find yourself wishing you had additional options any time soon.
Although you can’t edit the tones, there are several effects you can employ. You’ll be able to add more ambience and depth with 9 types of adjustable reverb. You can also thicken the sound with some chorus and other modulation. Unfortunately, there is no way of storing these settings to any sort of memory bank. That means you’ll have to remember to set up the effects before sitting down for any type of practice or performance.
This model is actually an arranger keyboard. This means that you’ll be able to create accompaniments on the fly and play with a band contained in the keyboard. I consider this an excellent learning tool and a fun experience that will definitely solidify the player’s musicianship in the long run. There are 143 accompaniment styles built-in—13 more than the previous model. They feature intros, endings, two variations, and fills.
Easy to navigate
The navigation of the features of the keyboard has been revamped. It’s a very logical menu that makes selection very easy and intuitive. A clever “Num Lock” button accelerates the whole process once you know which sound/style numbers represent your favourite options. Once engaged, the buttons become number pads that take you to the particular instrument or accompaniment you want, provided you know its number.
The PSR series is known for its great learning features, and the PSR-E273 is no exception. The lessons are a multi-step process that teaches you famous pieces of music. The three modes (listen & learn, timing, and waiting) are fun ways to internalize melodies, and this is a great supplement to lessons. A new feature called Quiz will train your ear in a few ways. You’ll start to identify different timbres and even recognize notes. Although it sounds simple, ear training can have a steep learning curve. The quiz mode is a gentle introduction that even adults can benefit from.
Included in the box
The keyboard has two 2.5 Watt speakers that provide enough volume for practice and filling up average household rooms. A power adapter is included, but you can also power the digital piano with 6 x AA batteries, making this a great portable instrument. Although there isn’t a USB connection, you still get an auxiliary input, a headphone/line output, and a sustain pedal input (no pedal is shipped with the product).
Yamaha PSR-E273 sound quality
The enhancements made by Yamaha to the user interface make the PSR-E273 a very easy instrument to navigate. This is excellent news for beginners that won’t be distracted by endless menus and options. They’ll be able to focus on the task at hand, such as playing and learning. The LCD screen is concise but very clearly indicates which parameter is being manipulated and will give you the feedback necessary to attain your goals. The colour coded sound, song, and style selectors are very intuitive, and you will be able to navigate all the options very quickly. Also, a dedicated grand piano button instantly brings you back to the main piano sound.
The tones included in the model are very useable, but nothing exceptional. They will accompany you in your learning journey, and you’ll probably outgrow them eventually. There hasn’t been much updating to the core sounds in this series in the past decade, and the inclusion of a single new sound is a bit underwhelming. With the constant advancement in technology, this makes me think that Yamaha might release a major re-haul to this entry model in the not-too-distant future.
Great for beginners and as a portable instrument
The PSR-E273 has been a best-seller for Yamaha for as long as I have been involved in the music industry. It has been the starting point for many young pianists, and this will certainly continue with this latest addition. It has a nice balance between affordability, features, and quality. Although they won’t replace actual music lessons, the learning features are an excellent supplement. If you are seeking a place to start for yourself or your child, this is a very good, logical choice.
One of the biggest gripes with this model for a lot of educators and consumers is the lack of touch sensitivity. In order to lower costs as much as possible, Yamaha produces this unit without individual sensors in each key to evaluate the force at which they are played. This means that no matter how soft or hard you press, the sound will always be exactly the same. Dynamism being a very important part of music, this is definitely a disadvantage.
If you want to consider a slightly more expensive product that has touch sensitivity, but that is built on the same solid base, check out my review of the next model up in the series, the PSR-E373.
Check out the Yamaha PSR-E273 on Best Buy’s website.