Yamaha sent one of their best keyboard guys out to my store today and I really learned alot about the XS today.
First, yes you can make your own arpeggios and these can be used just like the ones from the factory. And all the arpeggios except for the drum type allow chord recognition.
Next, I learned that the Effects processor in this new XS is of the latest and highest quality Yamaha offers. Way more powerful than the ES. Also, the ES only had four elements per voice and the XS has up to 8. The acoustic grand piano for example now has 8 elements including key off sample and a 1/2 damper pedal function and it's own sample.
The user interface is also way more intuitive than on the ES.
You can also copy a performance with 4 arpeggios to tracks 1 through 4, then copy another performance from 5 -8 and so on up to 16 tracks so that you can compose by using nothing more than performances with all arpeggios. Or you can record each track with different arpeggios, one at a time.
I also tried out the vocoder mode and it's really great. There is an insert effect you must assign to the vocoder presets or one you make and once assigned I could play keys and my voice would be assigned to the pitches I played and sounds were mixed in as well.
I also got a preview today of the new PSRS700 keyboard. It looks and feels great and although this is not the 900, it has mega voices and 96 notes of polyphony. The speakers were loud and I was really impressed with the looks. It looks more like it should be in the Tyros type price range rather than the PSR3000 range. It was also really light for how big it is. The buttons are now rubber instead of plastic with little lights in the center of the switches. Unfortunately, this was just a sneak preview as it was still a prototype and these products will officially make their introduction here in the USA at the summer NAMM show and should be available for sale in August.
Kaye's Music Scene