Yamaha PSS-270

Yamaha PSS-270 - I passed up a 280 in favour of one of these. It came with its own gig bag(!). The 280 is about the same size, but has more bells and whistles and acres of PCM rhythms instead of the handful of chip-generated ones on show here. What the 270 lacks in functions, it makes up for in other areas. The buttons make a lovely clack sound like an old calculator or computer keyboard. The rhythms are cheesy but have a character all their own. The sounds (FM) are crisp and varied -- whoever programmed them cared enough to make them interesting.

Now, I own an analogue synthesizer specifically designed for producing synthesized strings. If I didn't own that, I think I would use the strings on the PSS-270 in their place, I like them that much. Obviously they're digital, and you can hear all kinds of digital properties in the sound, but there's just something about them that make them stand out and sound a little vintage.

One last thing to say about this keyboard. As soon as I got home with it, I did some googling to see what other people had to say about it (there were very few favourable reviews). In my search I discovered a Polish musician named PSS-270 in homage to this very keyboard, who uses it (exclusively in some cases) to create minimalist atmospheric pop ditties. I heartily recommend you check out his site.

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