Synth Site: yamaha: PSS-480: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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Timon Trzepacz a hobbyist user from United States of America writes:
The PSS-480 is quite an incredible keyboard considering that it is a cheap portable. While it's internal sounds (100 patches) are mostly crap, it has a two operator FM synth which is simple enough that you don't need a degree in math to program it, and you can store up to five of your own patches internally. (At least, until you turn the power off, then your sound might stick around or might go bye-bye depending on the phase of the moon.) It also has a built in sequencer with a single drum loop, 5 chord banks and 5 monophonic melody banks. The single drum loop is programmed live with 5 drum sounds, an accent button and a "roll" button. While I'd like to have more drum loops, you can create some cool loops with it. The 5 monophonic melody parts may seem kind of useless, but actually they are quite powerful. Each part can use a seperate patch, and uoy can group them together to create chord parts. You can also play multiple melody parts simultaneously, starting and stopping them live. Now,the chord parts really ARE kind of useless unless you want to use the auto-accompaniment (which does have some interesting riffs, but who really uses those things?) BUT the chord parts also record the starting and stopping of the melody parts. This means that you can create loops of the melody parts using the chord buttons. This is the secret which makes the PSS-480 a great scratch pad keyboard for writing techno songs... the ability to quickly program simple loops and select between them live. Finally, it's MIDI implementation, like all Yamaha portable keyboards (that I've seen) is first rate. Everything that is played is echoed to MIDI, with complete active sensing and MIDI clock data. Furthermore, the entire internal sequencer and patch memory can be dumped as SYSEX data to your favorite sequencer (which is good when the memory goes south and you lose all your data!) The keyboard is also fully multi-timbral, if you set it in MIDI mode 99 (there are two modes, 0 and 99, don't ask why) but then the keyboard and sequencer do not operate in that mode. Then again, if you are using that mode you are using an external MIDI sequencer anyway, so what does it matter. The keyboard has some other interesting features, such as being one of the few portable keyboards to have portamento and vibrato, although there is no pitch bend. Also, the auto accompaniment can have various parts (drum, bass, chord, and "orchestra") turned on and off independently. The drum section has 50 preset patterns, with 3 fill-in buttons and an automated ending button. In all, the PSS-480 is pretty cool. Yeah, 2 operator FM is pretty weak, but give this keyboard a bit of reverb and some other effects and make your own patches and it really smokes. I have lots of other keyboards, but nothing I have is quite as much fun as the PSS-480. I wish it were just a bit more powerful (maybe there is a big brother to this keyboard out there somewhere?) but it is pretty good for what it is. I love my PSS-480!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:21
Jason Smith a part time user from USA writes:
I think for the money for which I paid for this keyboard ($60 secondhand) I have got a lot of use and learned alot about midi apps. with this keyboard. It is great for me as a beginner. All that and without a manual WoW!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:21
Bruce Cooper a hobbyist user from Canada writes:
The pss-480 has 9 drum sounds and continuously variable digital synth. I have a picture of the pss-480. I will convert it to a respectable format and send it to you as soon as i can.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:21
Ev a hobbyist user from USA writes:
This was my first MIDI keyboard. I have always been a fan of Portasounds , but this one took the cake when it was released. It had everything I needed back then : 100 FM voices which can edited, 5 track sequencer, programmable drums and full MIDI implemented. I paid $190 for it new. Granted , the track are monophonic and the FM synth has only 2 ops, it was still a great springboard for the imagination. Used to hook it up to my RX-17 drum machine. Great fun. Cool noises. I wish Yamaha still made something similiar to this now. Even with the small keys ( which everyone hates), it was still my favorite piece of gear. I've got the bigger one ( 680 ) now.

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:21
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