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  S-90 ES At a Glance
Picture needed arrowReleased: 2005  Specifications
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Mather's Studios writes:
Overall this is a great keyboard. It is ready to play straight out of the box. The arpeggiator extends the traditional random, up, up/down etc to include phrases and chords that follow what notes you play on the keyboard. There are also arpeggio sequences specially designed to be used with the drum kits, to make jammable drum tracks. Different arpeggios can be assigned to the softkeys below the display to simulate drop outs and build ups. Some may feel that this is a little too 'home organ' but for ideas and inspiration this is a great function to have. There is no rule saying that you have to use the arpeggiators in a 'serious' recording, but why not?

Editing is more involved. I have yet to find out how to edit the effects and have not reached as far as basic tone/patch editing because the system is buried deep in a menu-based interface which from the top panel is not immediately obvious. The manual is not that easy to use although I have found out things from it with a little perseverance.

A chipboard, rather than metal baseplate on this keyboard may concern some although it appears to be 18mm board and does not feel any more flexible than similar sized units with a metal base. In addition, on my unit there are small gaps at either end of the front piece that fits beneath the keys. I also felt that the actual keys were set a little high in the case as it is possible to see a gap beneath the keys from the playing position. The top panel, however, feels more robust than other units I have played of this size, and the keyboard itself is responsive to the touch. The keys have enough weight and are fluid enough to achieve delicate performance but at the same time are light enough to be able to play drum beats and fast synth lead lines. A real piano keyboard feels much heavier than the S-90ES.

Another great thing about this unit is its appearance. It eschews much of the gimmicky look of many of the synths from the other big players, and even some of Yamaha's own synths.

Comments About the Sounds:
Many of the sounds are typical of the character of Yamaha synths. However, much improvement has been made in the synth pad department in the last few years, and the S-90ES does not fail to deliver. Careful listeners will be able to hear aliasing in many of the sounds, specially if monitoring the output through headphones. Adjusting the EQ to open the filters right up will show this up quite prominently. Some of the electric piano sounds show up aliasing but under normal conditions, and monitoring through loudspeakers or in a mix this shouldn''t be an issue.

(Thanks to Mather's Studios for this info.)

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