Yamaha continues to be a top producer of digital and acoustic pianos after more than a century in business. The best Yamaha keyboards continue to be widely sought after by both experts and beginners. This shopping guide examines the top Yamaha keyboards and what to look for. It’s safe to say that Yamaha has some knowledge with keyboards. Since the 1880s, a Japanese company has been producing them, and it produced 54% of the portable keyboards that were marketed worldwide.
Torakusu Yamaha, then 36 years old, founded Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd. in 1887 in Hamamatsu, Japan, with the intention of producing pianos and reed organs. Yamaha was the first Japanese individual to ever create a reed organ just a few years prior. His straightforward mission was to create things of the highest calibre and introduce Japanese craftsmanship to musical instruments.
For those considering making a purchase, the sheer number of Yamaha keyboards can be overwhelming, so we’ve focused on the brand’s arranger keyboards that are good for beginners (to learn what an arranger keyboard is, click on the buying advise tab above). This excludes expensive synth workstations like the Montage line, professional stage keyboards like the new CP88, digital pianos like the P-125, Yamaha’s well-known line of synthesisers, which includes the MODX and the Motif, and the Genos arranger keyboard. But what are the top Yamaha keyboards available right now, and why are they so unique?
Table of Contents
Yamaha MODX8+ 88-Key Synthesizer Workstation
- Semi-weighted synth action provides expressive response in a 61-note keyboard
- AWM2 is a proprietary sampled-based subtractive synthesis technology
- FM-X features 8-operator FM synthesis capable of producing incredible dynamic sound
Yamaha’s MODX series harnessed their innovative creative and technological expertise to craft a cutting-edge synthesizer tailored to the demands of the modern musician. Building upon this visionary foundation, the MODX+ extends the boundaries of sonic possibilities, offering an astonishing polyphony of 256 notes. Moreover, the MODX operating system introduces new capabilities, such as Voices and Live Sets, enhancing both composition and live performance flexibility. With an upgraded onboard flash memory of 1.75GB, there’s ample space to store your unique sounds and samples, enabling even more personalized expressive potential.
Similar to its forerunner, the MODX+ inherits robust technologies from Yamaha’s esteemed Montage series. Notable enhancements from the MOXF line include the AWM2 sample and synthesis engine, now enriched with eight times more waveforms. Additionally, a revamped 8-operator FM-X engine delivers dynamic and intricate sound design possibilities. Motion Control Synthesis seamlessly integrates and empowers control over both sound engines, providing a wealth of sonic options.
Beyond the AWM2 and FM-X sound engines, the Yamaha MODX8+ boasts a plethora of sophisticated features inherited from the Montage series. The Super Knob offers simultaneous control over multiple parameters, affording unparalleled sonic sculpting capabilities. You can effortlessly send and receive audio channels (10 send, 4 return) along with 16 MIDI channels between the MODX+ and your computer or iOS device via USB. Live Sets streamline performance organization without the need for tedious copying, renaming, or rearranging. Additionally, the A/D input processes external audio sources through the MODX+ DSP, expanding your creative palette even further.
Yamaha MX88 88-Key Weighted Action Synthesizer
- The 88-note, GHS weighted action is heavier in the low keys and lighter in the high keys, just like an acoustic piano
- Class-compliant USB audio/MIDI for true "plug and play" connectivity without installing any drivers; Tempo (BPM): 5-300
- Motif sound engine: layer, zone, switch, cycle, randomize and control up to 8 elements within a single voice
The Yamaha MX88 vibrates over 1,000 MOTIF XS sounds, a class-compliant USB audio / MIDI interface, and deep controller integration with your favorite computer music software. Its 88 keys are full-size, weighted, and velocity-sensitive. The matte black keys absorb moisture and remain tactile after prolonged use. Bring this synth / controller to the studio or concert and unleash its powerful arsenal of heads. From incredible acoustic pianos, EPs, strings and drums to evolving 8-element synth textures, the MX puts it all at your fingertips. Your MX88 is a 16-part multitimbral with 128-note polyphony. These features create dense sequences and play them without fear of the dreaded note or cut sounds. This makes the MX an ideal tone generation solution for performing on stage and playing live MIDI tracks from your DAW.
The MX88 is a great instrument for musicians looking to improve their skills. It features up to 128 notes of polyphony, ensuring uninterrupted performance that plays live or with the full 16-track sequences. The synthesizer has over 1000 killer MOTIF XS sounds, as well as deep controller integration with the best computer music software. It has 88 full-size velocity-sensitive keys and is weighted.
The MX’s top panel is outfitted with nice, solid knobs and knobs for convenient real-time control of your internal sounds, external VST instruments, and DAW parameters. The streamlined interface allows you to quickly search, edit and store your sounds on board. The MX88 comes with template editing software, so you can customize the interface to your preferences. There are advanced integration models for the most popular DAWs, and when used with Cubase, an AI button lets you control any parameter with the MX’s large rotary encoder just by hovering over it. The Yamaha MX series comes with a comprehensive music production software package including Steinberg Cubase AI. Cubase AI offers you 64 MIDI tracks, 48 audio tracks, built-in VST effects, and even notation, so you can create complete productions. The MX88 also comes with Steinberg Prologue and Yamaha’s YC-3B organ emulation to get you rolling.
Mette’s black keys help wick moisture away and remain tactile after prolonged use. The Eps, acoustic pianos, drums, strings, and scalable textures of the 8-element synthesizer are fantastic with the MX putting it all at your fingertips. It’s also equipped with a VCM FX engine that models vintage effects at the circuit level. Class-compliant USB audio / MIDI makes true support easy and also reproduces connectivity even without installing drivers of any kind. It has over 100 voices, making it an excellent instrument for stage, studio, and worship. This is the Best Yamaha Synthesizer in 2023 for any price range.
Yamaha REFACE CP Portable Electric Piano and Vintage Keyboard Sound Engine
- Vintage Keyboard Sound Engine with six incredibly detailed vintage keyboard types
- Five stomp box-style effects with direct control
- 128-note polyphony ensures dropout-free performance
Inspired by the iconic keyboards of yesteryear, the Reface CP puts a contemporary reinvention of the legendary Yamaha CP80 electric grand piano at your fingertips. In addition to classic combo piano sounds, Reface CP’s vintage keyboard sound engine also gives you six types of incredibly detailed vintage keyboards, including Tine, Reed, Clavi, and Toy electric pianos. You also get five pedal-style effects with direct control, so you don’t need to operate the Reface CP with pedals like you did back then. Grab a Yamaha Reface CP Mini Mobile Keyboard and go on a journey down memory lane!
Sometimes you have to wonder where you are going to use your Yamaha synthesizer keyboard. If you move frequently, the vintage Yamaha REFACE CP is the best option like a digital audio workstation. The unit is compact enough and therefore portable. The sound engine will provide you with 6 excellent and detailed vintage keyboard types including Reed, Clavi and Tine as well as toy electric pianos.
The Reface CP is built into the same high-quality plastic housing as the other Reface models and has the same battery / wall power and mini speakers; these sound great considering their size and can be turned off (if necessary). Unlike the smooth plastic of other Refaces, the CP has a textured plastic finish that reflects the tolex coating and vinyl-look plastics used in electromechanical pianos of yesteryear.
It also has a built-in speaker system, allowing you to play your piano anywhere, anytime. A mini HQ keyboard also allows for fast and natural performance. In addition, it incorporates 5 pedal-style effects with direct control. Plus, 128-note polyphony will ensure jam-free performance. This is the Best Yamaha Keyboard in 2023.
Yamaha REFACE DX Portable FM Synthesizer
- 4-operator FM Sound Engine offers dynamic and expressive additive synthesis
- 32 Voice memory locations allow storing and recalling favorite Voices
- Integrated phrase Looper: capture song ideas or just jam!
If you’re on a budget, the Yamaha REFACE DX FM Synthesizer is the one to consider. It promises a smooth FM synthesizer. Plus, it features built-in speakers, making it a portable solution, audio input, looper, and modern connectivity.
The synthesizer sound defined by DX7 in the 1980s. The Yamaha Reface DX Mini Mobile Keyboard puts the iconic sound of a 4-operator FM synthesizer in your hands, along with a host of modern features like built-in multiple effects and simple editing. Manipulating parameters is a breeze, thanks to Reface DX’s multi-touch control surface, and storing your patches is just as easy. Whether you want classic electric pianos and bells or modern dubstep and EDM sounds, the Reface DX has you covered. On top of that, you get a built-in phrase looper for capturing song ideas or creating “sound-on-sound” overdubs.
It features a compact size design, making it a great option to take with you on your travels. In addition, it can be easily run on batteries. This synthesizer is equipped with an iOS patch library application, as well as an audio input. The multi-touch control interface allows you to control all four parameters simultaneously.
This is one of the easiest to use Yamaha synthesizers with a total of 8 note polyphony. The backlit display also makes it easy to use even in the dark. The synth is solidly built too, and with that enough force there is no “flex” and it packs enough weight that you don’t feel like you’re sliding across a tabletop or even standing up while playing. Additionally, it comes with multiple connections on the back for L / R, sustain pedal, headphone jack, MIDI in / out, stereo audio in, and USB. This is the Best Yamaha Synth in 2023.
Yamaha Montage8 88-key Synthesizer Workstation
- The Motion Control Synthesis Engine unifies and controls two iconic Sound Engines: AWM2 (high-quality waveform and synthesis) and FM-X (modern, pure...
- Motion Sequences are tempo-synchronized, completely customizable control sequences that can be assigned to virtually any synthesizer parameter and...
- Montage features professional, stereo balanced outputs with “Pure Analog Circuit” digital to analog conversion.
Building on the legacy of Yamaha’s groundbreaking DX and Motif series keyboards, the Yamaha Montage 8 is powered by its programmable motion control matrix, giving you fluid, interactive control over two powerful synthesis engines. Slide your fingers across the Yamaha 88-note Balanced Hammer Action Keyboard with Aftertouch. Modulate multiple parameters in real time with the aptly named Super Knob. Yamaha’s flagship synthesizer streamlines your workflow and takes your sound creation and modulation capabilities to a whole new level. Whether you’re a composer, keyboardist, sound designer, or EDM producer, Yamaha Montage will elevate your creative performance.
The Montage 8 synthesizer has reached new heights by transforming sound quality, control, and workflow, while inspiring creativity and passion. Its motion control synthesis function unifies the FM-X motors. This is the one-of-a-kind Yamaha synthesizer, although it comes at a relatively higher cost, but considering what it offers, it’s worth paying for. Its booming drums are quite amazing, as is the case with crystalline sine waves.
The Motion Control synthesis engine controls and unifies Montage’s two sound engines: AWM2 and FM-X. With Yamaha’s proprietary data compression and audio playback technology, the Montage 8 offers incredibly realistic sound reproduction and nearly ten times the waveform capacity of Yamaha’s MotifXF workstation. If you need a fancy synth engine, FM-X can deliver everything from classic ’80s sounds to modern EDM sounds, all with impressive dynamic range and sonic fidelity. With an 8-operator FM architecture and 128-note polyphony, FM-X gives you a huge arsenal of sound design.
Montage series synthesizers are enriched with a powerful DSP effects engine that delivers everything from high-definition reverbs to meticulously detailed Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) effects. All with impressive sound quality. Effects like Vinyl Break, Bit Crusher, and Beat Repeat are ideal for contemporary EDM production. Create a cool damping effect with a side chain compressor, or go retro with the classic-flavored VCM Phaser or Analog Delay. Build your favorite amp simulator. If you’re a pianist, you’ll enjoy a realistic playing experience with piano-centric effects like Damper Resonance and HD reverbs that put you squarely in the performance space.
Yamaha Montage 8 also offers professional balanced stereo outputs with pure analog digital-to-analog conversion circuitry. The 8 rotary encoders, as well as the ladder faders, LEDs. It also contains a full library of Motif XF sounds, which means you’ll have a variety of sounds to use with motion control synthesis. In addition, it includes a very easy-to-use search function on the LCD screen to save time. It’s fully loaded, from high-definition reverbs to incredibly detailed Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) effects. This is the Best Yamaha Workstation in 2023.
Yamaha PSR-E373 Digital Keyboard
- The PSR-E373 digital keyboard makes it easy to start playing: Thanks to the wide range of functions and 61 touch-sensitive keys, this keyboard is the...
- Two people can play the PSR-E373 at the same time thanks to Duo mode, while Smart Chord, multi-finger mode and a connection with the Rec'n'Share app...
- The digital signal processor (DSP) ensures the integration of multiple special effects and the new Super Articulation Lite Voices provides an...
The PSR-E373 is a vast improvement over its predecessor, the PSR-E363, and it delivers functions and sounds that aren’t even available on some of Yamaha’s most expensive keyboards. There are 11 new Super Articulation Lite settings that expertly replicate the challenging to copy nuances of stringed instruments like the cello and the mandolin among the remarkable collection of 622 voices.
Additionally, the PSR-E373 digital piano offers a class-leading range of 38 digital signal processor effects in addition to 205 accompaniment types. A single button press can also layer and/or split sounds across the keyboard. The built-in USB audio/MIDI interface, the Rec’n’Share mobile software, and the integrated instruction system from Yamaha complete the package beautifully for keyboard players.
The most cheap full-sized key portable Yamaha keyboards available. These keyboard features are perfect for beginners, children, and those who aren’t quite sure if they want to pursue piano as a career. At this price point, quantity over quality is a common strategy, so expect to discover hundreds of pre-installed sounds, melodies, rhythms, and other fascinating features on the majority of YPT keyboards you encounter like organ sounds or grand piano. Yamaha has achieved the ideal balance between features and price with the PSR-E373, but if you require more keys.
Yamaha EZ300 61-Key Portable Keyboard with Lighted Keys
- 61 Lighted Keys with Touch Sensitivity allow for dynamic playing, and the keys light up to show the correct notes, making it easy to learn how to...
- Keys to Success lesson mode helps you to learn songs one step at a time, at your own pace.
- Touch Tutor lesson mode tracks the velocity or strength the keys are played at in order to teach dynamics.
Having keys that light up to teach you what to push and when can be quite helpful while learning to play the piano. That is one of the EZ-300’s key characteristics, but it also provides a tonne of other benefits. A reasonably priced portable keyboard with 61 keys is the Yamaha EZ-300. This keyboard is definitely designed with beginners in mind. One of its highlights is that the keys illuminate to show you which notes to press. Additionally, a stand, a power supply, and headphones are included.
This keyboard shares many of the same features as our top-ranked keyboard, the PSR-E373; it offers the same amount of voices and styles, the same recording capability, and the similar Keys to Success tuition function. It also has a distinctive, silvery-white look. Given that you get 202 tracks instead of the PSR-154, E373’s some would even argue that it’s a superior package.
It is less expensive and not everyone will choose the EZ-300’s white colour, the PSR-E373 wins out in our opinion. However, there is no denying that this is a very nice alternative for aspiring musicians.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Yamaha Synthesizers?
Yamaha Synthesizers are musical instruments that generate and manipulate electronic sounds to create a wide range of musical tones and effects. They are designed for musicians, producers, and sound designers to explore and create music and soundscapes.
What is the history of Yamaha Synthesizers?
Yamaha has a long history of manufacturing high-quality synthesizers. They first entered the synthesizer market in the 1970s with the release of the CS-80, and since then, they have produced numerous iconic synthesizers like the DX7, the MOTIF series, and the Montage series.
What types of Yamaha Synthesizers are available?
Yamaha offers a variety of synthesizers, including digital and analog models, keyboard workstations, performance synthesizers, and more. These instruments cater to a wide range of musical styles and preferences.
Are Yamaha Synthesizers suitable for beginners?
Yamaha synthesizers cater to musicians of all skill levels. They offer entry-level models with user-friendly interfaces and more advanced models with a wide range of features and sound design capabilities for experienced users.
What is the Yamaha Soundmondo platform?
Soundmondo is an online platform provided by Yamaha where users can share, explore, and download user-created sound patches and settings for Yamaha synthesizers, enhancing the instrument’s sound palette.