This is my second review to the PSR 9000 (the first I posted on 13.12.1999 after having spent a weekend with this instrument). Now I have learned many additional features, spent much more hours with the keyboard and found some shadow features of the PSR 9000, that were not mentioned anywhere.
I will not bore you with remarks, that the PSR 9000 miss some features from the PSR 8000 (as full voice edit and others), because Yamaha officially said, that these features will be available in the next operating system's version. I noticed other drawbacks:
1) Multi Pads: they are synchronized to one measure (4 beats). If you turn on repeat for a short phrase (e.g. 2 beats long) and start it in the middle of a measure, in the next repeat it will be played from the beginning of the measure and NOT in the middle as you would expect.
2) Fill-In and Variations: the usual concept how to change a variation is that you push Fill-In and immediately thereafter an another vatiation. In the PSR 9000, if you press the variation too quickly after Fill-In, Fill-In will be canceled and accompaniment jump directly to the new variation. If you want to change variation with Fill-In you have to push Fill-In, wait one beat and then push variation. For many songs it is impossible! I personally want to concentrate on the the playing and not on counting the beats.
3) Flash memory: there is 1.8 MB Flash memory reserved for the flash memory styles. There are 120 banks in the PSR 9000, that means Yamaha developer allocated 15 kB for a style. As I saw, the styles are usually 20-40 kB big. The PSR 9000 has 85 factory set flash styles. If you want to keep that styles in the memory and load in the next 35 banks new styles (or create your own style) you have only 64 kB (!!!!) available memory. So, I could load 3 (!!) styles and then I got a message 'insufficient memory'. 32 banks stayed empty because of insufficient memory! As I know there is not a possibility to extend the flash memory.
4) MIDI file playback - the biggest flaw: the MIDI files instruments are mapped to the XG voices, which are from decent to not well sampled (I think they do not sound better than the voices on my Technics KN 930, which cost less than one fourth of the PSR 9000). The perfect and the best sounding voices I have ever heard - the panel voices - are NOT used by MIDI playback!! So MIDI playback on the KN 930 and PSR 9000 sounds almost
identically. The same go for the imported styles, they also use XG voices.
I spoke with Yamaha hotline man and got following answers to my remarks:
1), 2) "I will said it to our Yamaha technician and probably a change can occur in the new operating system version."
3) I will reproduce a part of our discussion:
Yamaha: "That true. Apart from 85 Yamaha's style, only another 3 styles can be loaded."
Me: "Why are there 120 banks, if only 87-90 styles can be loaded?"
Yamaha: "It depends on the style size."
Me: "Your styles are as big, that for the next 35 banks only 64 kB memory is available."
Yamaha: "You have to delete some factory styles, if you want to load more of your styles."
Me: "I want to keep them."
Yamaha: "There is no expandibility and no other solution."
Me: "Why did you provide the PSR 9000 with only 1.8 MB, when the flash cards are nowadays very cheap compared to the whole keyboard."
Yamaha: "I am sorry I cannot give you an answer."
4) Again the discussion:
Yamaha: "In the version 2.0 a MIDI file editing will come."
Me: "I have about 2000 MIDI files, I do not want to edit each MIDI file
before every playback."
Yamaha: "There are people, who wants to hear the MIDI file with XG voices."
Me: "Yes, but there are people, who wants to hear the MIDI file in the full quality with the better sounding panel voices. You should implement a switch function for either XG voices or panel voices playback."
Yamaha: "I will forward it, maybe it occurs in the next version of the operating system.
I did not want to say that the PSR 9000 is a worse that a week ago (I still love it), but after the first enthusiasm I am a little bit disappointed, because that
mentioned points are important for me. And for you?