on 16 October 2013
This is a great keyboard and whilst I have nothing modern to compare it to, the keyboards I had in the early 90's make this one seem delightful to use. I particularly like the option to learn chords or whole pieces of music and found I lost an enitre evening learning one piece of music.
The weight of the keyboard is non-existent, which helps if you have to transport it, yet the sound and the sensitivity of the keys is fantastic.
Lots of options, probably too many for me, but my boys love the demos and the various intruments and sound effects.
I doubt I am ever going to perform in front of anyone, but if I had to I am sure this would suit an audience.
It has been a few years since I bought myself a keyboard to replace the PSR E323 that I found favour with in 2012 (Review on Ciao and Dooyoo). So, the requirement now is a touch sensitive keyboard that I can sometimes take with me to play at gigs to something I can plug my computer into when working with several different computer music programs as well as playing for leisure. The Yamaha PSR E343 is very familiar coming from either PSR E323 or E333 model, with only a few vital differences.
Function wise, this is a very simple keyboard to work even if the most excited pianist or keyboard player doesn't have all the time in the world to read the user manual. What a pity though that for the most part, the only downside to this keyboard is the lack of an actual sustain button. They can be found on the prevous models including the E323, Other surprises consist of the "Reverb" button being replaced with "Surround Sound," that like tweeters on a HIFI system, reduces the sound a fair bit even if it does offer stereo wide sound. I do like the sound quality, but this isn't a keyboard to rely on for playing with the full power increased all the way - the speakers can crackle with some of the tones and voices that the Yamaha PSR E343 offers and provides - and in my some 20 years of experience of Yamaha home keyboards, this surprising lack of clarity is a bit of a downside.
Another issue that one of my students has had is being able to play along with any number of the demo songs built into the PSR E343. Whereas previous models allows both left hand part and right hand part to play and be heard at the same time, there seems to be a real problem with the PSR E343 where only some notes can be played. Oh yes, whilst this keyboard offers 32 note polyphony where all 32 notes of any pitch can be laid down at the same time, they won't all be heard if any of the demo songs are programmed up.
One better aspect is the amplifier mode that this keyboard can use if an iPod or Mp3 player is attached to play sound files. It moves the game on as well as offering up the ability to play Yamaha apps, even if they aren't as challenging as they could be.
But from that point of view, eveything else on this keyboard sparkles with some good thoughts. The rhythms and sound effects are top class, even moving some of the auto chord ostinato backings on a bit with a few more modern twists. However Yamaha haven't been so generous with offering any new distinctive rhythm pattern, seemingly using the blueprint of the keyboard model before hand and only changing the names of some of the rhythm styles provided.
At least the "digital sound" of the piano is as authentic as a mechanical piano even if the sound is a little bit tinny. Again it comes down to the speakers and the sample quality that Yamaha have added here. It may sound like a piano and it may play like a piano with three levels of touch sensitivity available, but like the last models, there is very little difference to the quality of digitallly enhanced piano sound on this keyboard and the previous models. No change has been made to the FUNCTION MENU, having to keep pressing the FUNCTION BUTTON all of the time to get through the selective/fine tuning. I do miss the 1000s of buttons from Yamaha's 1980s keyboards - so much easier to fine tune in a matter of seconds and without having to continously press a key all of the time to get to the setting you want. Yamaha have not made it easy yet again, having to return to the same menu at the start to get to change settings.
I do wish however Yamaha would get rid of the YES Education system. It still teaches pupils and beginners to play by ear even though notation is finally taught half way through but it isn't very intuitive.
Despite the smooth appearance, the plastic quality of the body is susceptible to scratches as well as the odd scuff and finger marks. Sadly you get what you pay for here from Yamaha - they aren't the cheaper end of the market like Casio - yet they have always produced a touch sensitive keyboard at a competitive pricing to match Casio. And whilst this keyboard does offer touch sensitivity, the MIDI jacks have at last been replaced with a single USB cable where a simple HOME PRINTER cable can be used instead of being forced to buying standard DIN twin cables or similar Yamaha affiliated USB cables. Its a good keyboard for anyone starting out on piano lessons or keyboard lessons. But ultimately, if I was in the market to buy a Yamaha home keyboard with touch sensitivity, there is nothing wrong with the previous Yamaha PSR E333 - it might even be a darn sight cheaper than what you get here PLUS it has a on-board sustain button. headphone socket, similar tones and the same USB MIDI and sustain pedal jack. Thanks for reading. (c)NR2 2015
I bought this at a local shop for my son who is taking piano lessons. This was the advised purchase by the music teacher mostly because it features "touch sensitive" keys, and the model below this lacks this function.
I'm no piano player but I've played around and used a few keyboards in the past, from my school days these electronic keyboards have evolved immeasurably in particular the sound quality is very realistic as the drums also sound vastly better. Cost wise you get far more for your money nowadays.
The keyboard comes with a music stand which connects to the back I also bought a metal stand for this (they do specific ones and universal stands too) simply perch the keyboard onto the stand once you have extended out the legs. This model has 61 keys, and 32 note polyphony (this means it can play 32 notes at the same time higher priced models can do more and offer extras like "pitch bend". I've not fully explored all of the functions yet (I'm not really the one playing it) but there are huge selection of voices and backing styles as well as a well thought out "music" lesson which teaches you to play via following the notes on the back lit LCD, it can also teach you timing and just playing one of the many pre set songs shows you the notes being played so you can see what to do.
Output wise the sound quality is good for a keyboard, though you can and likely will want to invest in a decent set of headphones to avoid annoying others. You can connect to a PC via an optional USB cable and there is an add on extra if you wan to connect an iPad/Phone and download a few apps to keep track on your progress (for some odd reason there is no Android support for this which is an oversight I think). Lots of customisation here, a track recorder too, voices and styles seem more than you would likely ever use and the layout is quite logical it doesn't seem to take long to get the hang of it. So far it got the thumbs up from my son who is progressing well I'm sure later on if he continues with the music he might progress to a higher level keyboard, for starting off or even just having a play around this is hard to beat really.
on 5 November 2014
We love this keyboard. I've had it a few months now and it's an excellent piece of kit. Both my elder son and I are learning to play on it and I also use it for singing warm-ups etc. It's hugely versatile, has many great voices and the manual takes you through the impressive array of functions nice and simply. Highly recommended.