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#267658 - 07/16/09 11:45 AM korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
arranger_yes_pc_no Offline

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 319
Hi, after making music for 15 years,and using computers for the last 9 years and getting tired sick at their crazy flakiness,I have decided to return to the roots,buying a good arranger keyboard and a digital multitracker.

I study music and I am the sort of lone composer kind of guy (hopefully not for much longer! ). I don't play hotels or ballrooms (nothing wrong with that,of course) ,
I am into a lot of different music,especially game and movie soundtracks.

I have always liked arranger keyboards because of the immediacy at building demos of ideas and experimenting with a lot of chord progressions. You get the idea

The digital multitracker is not a dilemma: a cheap Tascam DP02 CF will do. The arranger keyboard is more of a problem. I don't want (can't) spend a lot but my interest is going toward either a Korg PA500 or a Yamaha PSR-s700.

I feel that the Korg has their usually nice touchscreen ,and the pa500 seems well made. But my feel is that Yamaha seems always to be the leading brand for arrangers.
Which of the two do you suggest,and why?
Now,the sounds are NOT an issue,because I will get a Ketron SD-2 module to use with either keyboard. This module seems to be what I look for because the acoustic sounds seems really good.

My main area of interest is the styles,sequencer features and arranger capabilities. Not so much for live performance,more for private composition practice.

Also,I have some doubts about using the SD-2 with the Yamaha: will it support the Yamaha XG features? I would be sorry to give up Yamaha's XG capabilities because I have heard that it's very good.

Feel free to suggest other keyboards in this price range. I have already tried the Roland E-50. Good keyboard,but not very exciting....the touchscreen wasn't very responsive as the one found on Korg keyboards.

In conclusion,I am looking for a great keyboard with brilliant styles and great sequencer. By the way,the Pa500 has a 'dual sequencer' but it looks like one of these boring and useless ideas....I'd rather have one sequencer with more features.

Wow,sorry for the long post,got carried away

#267659 - 07/16/09 01:41 PM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9673
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
The model you ruled out is the best style edit/creation instrument of your preference models...and also is the best on board sequencer of all...Maybe you should re think your first impression...The Yamaha will work poorly with the SD-2...and the XG is far from only conforms with the way Yamaha needs it's sound engine to work with sequences (SMF)..and poorly at that..

The Korg handles sequences (SMF) much better than the Yamaha..but not nearly as well as the Roland model you mentioned..

I am just given you food for thought ..based on my own experiences..

#267660 - 07/16/09 03:35 PM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
vagro Offline

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Argentina
Hi. I have a pa500 and a Psr1500 (the previous model to the s700). 90% of Korg sounds are very good. Only sweet, cool, live and Mega sounds are worth in Yamaha, Xg sounds are very bad. If you want a very good controller take the Pa500 (not good key feel though). If you want plenty of styles take the Yamaha.


Korg Pa3x 61 - Mediastation X76 - Yamaha Psr s900 - Korg Tr61 - Roland PK5A - NanoKontrol - Ensoniq SQ1 - Yamaha D85 organ

#267661 - 07/16/09 03:38 PM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
jamman Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 648
Loc: City of Angels in the golden s...
Buy psr if you want muti style support, better sax and guitars, and OS.

Buy Korg is you want more on board sequencer editing.

if you use mainly styles - go with Yammy.

#267662 - 07/16/09 07:21 PM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 5890
Loc: NSW,Australia
I've got all the 3 brands that you mentioned, mine are sd2, pa800, psr1500.

First up, sd2 is really designed to work with a pc. Doesn't have any buttons or screen, so you need a controller that will send the correct bank & program changes.

Tried it with my psr 1500 initially, it made for a lousy controller keyboard.
I couldn't put in the bank changes for melody parts, so, I was stuck with using the default GM bank.
I was able to use the sd2 as a sound module for psr style parts, but there was no way of choosing which tracks were internal ( psr sounds) & which tracks were played by the sd2.
Basically every style I wanted to use became a user style, because of the editing required. XG mapped drum tracks aren't good when played on a GM module, they'll need some remapping..

My Korg PA800 on the other hand is a good controller.
I was able to put in the bank & program changes for melody. I could individually pick which tracks used internal or external sounds.
But if I literally wanted the sd2 to be the sole soundsource for the korg styles, again the styles would need to be edited.

Before selling my sd1+, I tried using the sd2 as the soundsource for the sd1 styles.
Even they would have required some tweaking.

Try & get a keyboard that you like the sounds as well as the styles on. Trying to use an alternate soundsource for "style parts", means there's usually a certain amount of tweaking involved.

I used 3rd party software to edit the styles on my psr for use with the sd2.
Can't remember to what extent you can edit onboard styles in a psr, haven't used it in ages.
On my PA800 all style editing can be done on the keyboard itself, though I do use a pc for certain things.

I don't bother midi-ing the sd2 to the korg anymore, more than happy with the internal sounds.
Only thing I may consider down the track is a vsti module.

best wishes

best wishes
best wishes
Rikki 🧸

SX900, Kawai es920 piano Band in a Box 2021
V Arranger/Ketron SD2

#267663 - 07/16/09 10:47 PM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
Henni Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 3297
Loc: South Africa

I'm a fan of both Yamaha & Korg, so not biased in any way. What I can tell you is that there are more excellent Yamaha styles available for free than for any other brand. At least 5 - 10% of that database (of way over 40 000 styles) are extremely good.

I have had my old PSR3000 now for more than four years, and I am still very much in love and elated by it. Must say, I NEVER use my onboard styles anymore as the newer ones are just so much better.

Something to consider.

Make sure you'll fly forever!

#267664 - 07/17/09 02:52 AM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
arranger_yes_pc_no Offline

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 319
hey Fran,thank you. I posted another reply but for some reason the Firefox browser has a problem with the forum. Don't you love it when it happens...

Thanks for the heads about about the sd2 / Yamaha combination....the last thing I want is to spend a lot of money and not get the result...

#267665 - 07/17/09 03:16 AM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
arranger_yes_pc_no Offline

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 319
hey guys,thanks to all for the response,good thing I came here before forking out money.

Vagro, I didn't know that Yamaha XG sounds were so bad,so maybe I was overrating them before buying.

jamman, more onboard sequencer features is really what I am looking for,although I do like to use nice styles. I find that they are a good orchestration study

rikki,wow thanks for the heads up about the SD2! I really like the sounds of the SD2 but if I had to waste too much time with tweaking,I'd rather stay with the computer setup.
I am very bummed out about the SD2 underfeatures because it seemed to be the only GM module to cut it with the sounds. As an owner of Eastwest sample libraries (Symphony Gold and Goliath) I am pretty hard to please with the sounds now,because the Eastwest stuff sounds incredible (but had tons of problems with running the programs,which is why I have had it with computers,at least as far as composing demos ,go) .

BTW, tell me,do the GM bank in the SD2 sounds like the main presets? I mean,does the GM bank has the same quality sounds as the other internal banks of the SD2? Or is the GM bank just the average stuff as found on other GM modules?

If the GM bank on the SD2 sounds as good as it's main sounds,I might consider to just using the GM bank,if no tweaking needs to be done.

Or am I just refusing to accept things the way they are...namely, ,that the SD2 is not a very good choice as standalone module for these keyboards?
Your advice about ketting a keyboard with the sounds I like,is very good. I don't really want to spend 400 euros on the SD2 only to be disappointed about the setup later. Ketron should definitely put a darn display on their module!

Another possibility that I am considering is getting a Ketron x4 (it seems to have a decent sequencer),and a cheap weighted-keys keyboard from M Audio.

Do the Korg PA800 has the quality keys as found on their old Triton keyboards?
Thanks Rikki for the great advice aboout the SD2, I was almost buying it yesterday because I thought it would work great with any keyboard and with no fuss.

#267666 - 07/17/09 04:23 AM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5270
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
I have had SD2's for some time and find the GM soundset to be of equal quality to the rest. I find them to be excellent, but have to use my controller kb t access the other banks.
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

#267667 - 07/17/09 05:07 AM Re: korg pa500 or Yamaha psr-s700 ? Ketron SD-2 ?
abacus Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5149
Loc: English Riviera, UK
The Ketron SD4 is the SD2 (2 of them inside) with controls available on the module itself.
Hope this helps

English Riviera:
Live entertainment, Real Ale, Great Scenery, Great Beaches, why would anyone want to live anywhere else (I�m definitely staying put).

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