As a complete beginner, you might think an arranger keyboard sounds like something more complicated than you need. But, a good arranger keyboard can sometimes be the best keyboard for beginners interested in composition.
This review looks at the popular 61-key PSR-E373 arranger keyboard from Yamaha. Let’s see what it has to offer.
About the author
- 61 velocity-sensitive keys
- 48-note polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 622 voices
- 87 effects
- 1/8″ input, 1/4″ output
Final verdict on the Yamaha PSR-E373
If you’re looking for a straightforward budget-friendly keyboard with a decent piano sound, there are more suitable options. But, for the right user, who’s interested in composition and arrangement, it’s ideal.
It’s aimed at the younger aspiring music-makers and has plenty of voices to keep them entertained.
What I like
- Straightforward layout.
- Fantastic sound.
- Yamaha Education Suite.
- Touch Tutor.
- Smart Chord.
What I don’t like
- Built-in speakers could be a little better.
The sound of the PSR-E373 comes from Yamaha’s AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) stereo sampling engine. Overall, the sound quality is outstanding. Of course, with so many sounds (622), there will be some that aren’t quite as good. But, the good far outweighs the bad.
If I start with the acoustic piano tones, there are possibly a few better (not many) in the price range, but I really like them. In the other sounds, you see the real value of the PSR-E373 because they encourage exploration and creativity.
The PSR-E373 has some of the best strings that I’ve ever heard on a budget keyboard, and it encourages youngsters to learn about voicings and articulations for strings.
That brings us to the next cool sound feature: Super Articulation sounds. You can press the Articulation button to change the instrument’s articulation when using these sounds. For example, strings can go from legato to pizzicato, a saxophone can growl, a choir can change vowels, etc.
More experienced players might see this as a gimmick, but it can help beginners develop a stronger understanding of various instruments and how they interact. The PSR-E373 has a max polyphony of 48 notes.
The PSR-E373 has two 4.7″ speakers, each powered by a 2.5 W amplifier.
I have gone with a relatively low score here, but there’s nothing particularly terrible about the speakers. The power and clarity they provide are completely fine for the PSR-E373 in the sense that you won’t likely have any complaints. But you aren’t likely to rave about them, either. They do enough, but no more, and that’s OK.
The PSR-E373 has 61 full-size, touch-sensitive synth-action keys. The keys are very light, which is often the best option when dealing with so many different sounds. While heavier keys are generally more suitable for piano voices, lightweight keys are ideal for synth sounds and organs.
The synth keys that Yamaha has chosen provide a sensible compromise and are easy for younger kids to play. Four levels of velocity sensitivity provide enough scope to develop expression and articulation. Articulation becomes especially important when playing with Super Articulation voices.
People sometimes assume that arranger keyboards are packed with complex features, but that’s not the case at this entry-level. The PSR-E373 has some easy-to-use but extremely useful features.
Touch Tutor is a fantastic concept that I’d love to see on more beginner keyboards. The Touch Tutor lesson mode analyzes velocity to teach the user about dynamics.
Playing the correct notes is only one part of being a pianist; playing with dynamics, expression, and emotion brings it to life. I love this feature.
Duo mode is a pretty standard feature for beginner keyboards these days. It allows you to create two identical split zones on the keyboard for student/teacher practice. It’s very handy, especially for younger students.
Yamaha Education Suite
Most manufacturers have an app or some form of an online education platform. For Yamaha, it’s the Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S). Y.E.S is one of the better platforms around and gives access to helpful keyboard lessons directly from the PSR-E373. It’s not something that should replace proper lessons, but it’s a great addition to them.
The Smart Chord feature is a great way to learn about harmony. It allows the user to trigger different chord types from just a single note. Of course, the aim is to stop relying on Smart Chord eventually, but it’s an excellent way to start to understand the relationship between various chords.
As you learn about different instruments, you’ll want to explore composition. The PSR-E373 has a built-in two-track recorder (five songs, 10,000 notes) to capture your ideas.
The PSR-E373 comes with 12 reverb types and five chorus types. It also has a DSP function that doesn’t apply to every voice. When activated on a DSP voice, it will transform the sound by adding digital effects.
The Yamaha PSR-E373 is a lovely keyboard to use. If there is one downside, there is a bit of menu-diving to be done, and that’s not always ideal for kids. However, Yamaha has compensated by not overloading the PSR-E373 with unnecessary features. So, even younger kids should get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Playing the keyboard is a joy once you have the hang of navigated sounds and features.
Yamaha PSR keyboards haven’t changed too much aesthetically over the years. The PSR-E373 follows the same keep-it-simple trend. Like most similar instruments it’s a very lightweight keyboard, which means it’s not made with the most robust materials.
As always, it’s important to keep things in perspective. This keyboard isn’t built for gigging or touring; it’s predominantly for home use by children. In that scenario, I can say that it’s relatively well made; it doesn’t blow away the competition but has no glaring weaknesses either.
Connectivity typically isn’t vast with this kind of keyboard. The PSR-E373 offers USB (type-B), a 1/4″ sustain pedal input, a 1/4″ headphone jack that doubles as audio out, and a 1/8″ audio input (AUX).
On paper, it may seem limited, but in the context of how people will likely use the keyboard, it has everything you’d need.
Compared to other keyboards
I think the PSR-E373 is one of the best keyboards for beginners, but there are some excellent alternatives to consider.
Yamaha PSR-E373 vs Yamaha NP-12
This keyboard is my best overall when it comes to beginners. It’s simple, has an outstanding grand piano voice, and it’s cheap.
Yamaha PSR-E373 vs Roland Go:Keys
The Roland Go:Keys is a quirky option that offers endless fun. It provides many features, performance pads, over 500 sounds, and more. The downside is that it’s often a little pricier than the competition.
Yamaha PSR-E373 vs Casio CT-S1
The CT-S1 is another one of my favorite starter keyboards. It has one of the best grand piano sounds in the beginner price range and a surprisingly good speaker system. It also comes in various colors to add a little fun.
Who is the Yamaha PSR-E373 best suited for?
The Yamaha PSR-E373 suits young learners who want to explore songwriting and production without the distraction of any complicated features.Buy Yamaha PSR-E373 at: SweetwaterAmazon