Yamaha S90ES Review

Here's my take on the Yamaha S90ES weighted action synthesizer. And notice I didn't say digital piano because the Yamaha S90 ES is more than that. It is the perfect balance of synthesizer and digital piano. In addition to its stunningly natural acoustic piano sound, the Yamaha S90 ES includes the sonic flexibility of the award winning Motif ES. It's like two in one. So if you're looking for a keyboard that has 88 weighted keys just like an acoustic piano, but you're also looking for the best in synth capabilities, this Yamaha keyboard is certainly worth checking out.

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But how good are the piano capabilities on this instrument? Well I'm pleased to tell you that as much as 53MB of memory was dedicated to the piano voice on the Yamaha S90 ES. Longer samples of a specially selected S700 grand piano were used. I'm talking about an acoustic piano, crafted by Yamaha's master artisans, that sells for $250,000! Yamaha seems to have placed lots of focus on the piano sound of this instrument. I was doing some reading on what was really involved in coming up with this piano voice and I must say that I was totally impressed. You have to play the instrument to really realize how full, natural, and expressive, the piano voice is - it really is.

I love the half damper capability of the S90ES. Unlike most keyboards    and digital pianos which only have an on/off sustain pedal capability, this 88 weighted key synthesizer can respond to small changes in the FC-3 foot controllers pedal position. If you're a performer who appreciates subtle nuances in music, you will love this feature. It's just like the real thing - an acoustic piano.

Yamaha S90ES

I'm sure you know about or have heard about the tones on the Motif ES. We're talking about the best that Yamaha has to offer. Well since the tones of the S90ES are derived from the Yamaha Motif ES, you know you're getting voices that are produced with the most stunning clarity. Just imagine 228MB of expressive voices and drum kits, many of which come from the Motif ES. Whether it's acoustic pianos, orchestra voices, hip hop and electronica sounds, you've got it.

The Yamaha S90ES comes with a number of effects. These include 20 reverb types, 49 chorus types, 8 master effect types, 5 band master equalizer, 3 band part equalizer, and more. Its system is designed with two blocks of insertion effects (117 types) for each voice.

Are you into recording? If so, you'll be delighted to know that the Yamaha S90ES is compatible with Studio Connections. This means that the S90 ES is able to function as if it were a plugin within compatible DAW applications like Cubase and Nuendo. You can even connect the S90 ES to an mLAN network by simply installing an optional mLAN expansion board.

The arpeggiator is pretty impressive. I also like the fact that you can expand the S90ES's capabilities by installing expansion boards, thanks to its Modular Plugin System.

All in all, this is a great instrument. Last time I checked, it was being sold for $2099 at a popular online musical instruments store. Be sure to read various reviews and compare keyboards to decide whether the Yamaha S90ES is right for you. Shop for new Yamaha keyboards here. 

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