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#454521 - 07/11/18 09:27 AM My impression of the Yamaha S-970
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 13501
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
I was trying to help a friend with his Korg PA600 a about 6 weeks ago, and after hearing it, to me it really didn't cut it, particularly when it came to sounds. When he heard my S950 he said, to his ears, there was no comparison - the Yamaha sounds and styles were superior. I agreed.

The following day, he purchased a Yamaha S-970, and would have bought the S975, but he got a great price on the S-970 and jumped on it.

Now, there is a significant difference between the operating systems of the Korg and Yamaha machines, and he was struggling with registrations, so I offered to help him. He came to my home and we set everything up in my office/studio. The boot time of the S970 was a bit faster than my old S950, the screen was brighter and sharper and very easy to read at any angle, despite the fact that I have a pair of shop lights in the ceiling of my office that were directly over the keyboard. Additionally, Yamaha has added more menus, which at first, were a bit difficult for me to navigate, but after about an hour, I was able to breeze through them with no problem. Just had to learn where some of the new, and a few of the old features were hidden.

I then plugged my S-950 USB stick into his S-970 and was able to load everything, including the MFD and all the associated, 3rd-Party styles, which linked perfectly, though I had to make a few changes to some individual files, maybe a half dozen at most. That only took a few minutes and I was able to teach him how to modify or create new entries to the MFD during that time.

Next, we tackled registrations, which is probably the most confusing part about any arranger keyboard, regardless of brand. We spent the better part of two hours on this, but he finally was able to create his own registrations and was elated with how easy this is once you understand the basics.

The next hour was spent just playing songs from the registrations and MFD on the keyboard, using just the onboard speakers. WOW! This keyboard sounds incredible and now I know why Don Mason enjoyed playing his for so long. The guitars are absolutely incredible, the piano voices are full and robust, both acoustic and electric, the brass is brilliant and the strings were beautiful.

The styles, while many have the same titles as my S-950, have been modified significantly. There is a bit difference between the slow bossa nova on my S-950 and the S-970. Big improvements there. And, with new OTS voices that really sounded fantastic. I loved some of the new sax voices associated with the Latin styles.

The key feel is about the same as the S-950, maybe a bit firmer, but not enough to make your fingers tired after a couple hours of playing. After all these years with those "flimsy keys" I could never go back to semi-weighted keys. I guess I'm a light touch kind of guy, when it comes to keyboard players.

Overall, I would say Yamaha hit this one out of the park - It's definitely a home run. It is not a baby Genos by any means, but it is right up there with the best boards in this price range, and I would place it at the top of the heap. I got to play a Genos several weeks ago, only for an hour, though, and it was beyond anything I have ever experienced or heard. It was absolutely AWESOME! It would be even better if it had built in speakers and 61 keys. wink

Cheers,

Gary cool
_________________________
PSR-S950, Bose L1 Compact, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR (2), Crown CM311A, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, Morgan 33 Out Island Sailboat, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#454522 - 07/11/18 09:34 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 36821
Loc: NJ
Gary very informative review of this arranger kb
Thank you

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#454523 - 07/11/18 10:12 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
Riceroni9 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/04
Posts: 731
Loc: Glen Rose, TX, USA
Gary:

Thanks for the comprehensive and positive reporting on the S970. I am elated with the 970 I purchased from Don Mason. Learning how to navigate through all the VH capabilities built into this thing is my greatest challenge at present.

I've never attempted using song registration memory banks on any of my previous Yamahas... nor on this one, yet. (I do use the eight obvious RM buttons but eventually have to "over-write" or abandon them after eight songs have been recorded.) Using the available Registration Banks would probably save me a ton of time.

The sounds and improved "Voices" (they are instruments to me) are often stunningly good. Super-articulation voices appear to be much better than Mega Voices and allow the KB User many better options when changing the make-up of a style to suit a particular genre or mood in a new song's melody.

Someday, maybe I will be able to "enroll" in your Registration Memory Bank Class. I spend about as much time recording all the song (style) settings in my chord and lyric sheets as I do writing and recording each new song. LOL! If I understand Registration Memory Banks correctly, they become an extension of the eight obvious choices (buttons) on the main panel in some sort of matrix.

Thanks to you, Donny and all the SZ Performers for sharing your knowledge and time with us relative newbies.

----West Mayberry Dave
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Do your best to be invisible... and kind.

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#454524 - 07/11/18 10:19 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 13501
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Dave, here is a link to an article I wrote a decade ago pertaining registrations. Much of the information is still good with today's newer keyboards. It's a step by step guide that will help you understand what they do and how to create them.

https://www.psrtutorial.com/lessons/playing/regist/10regGD.html

Hope this helps,

Gary cool
_________________________
PSR-S950, Bose L1 Compact, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR (2), Crown CM311A, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, Morgan 33 Out Island Sailboat, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#454530 - 07/11/18 11:58 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
Riceroni9 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/04
Posts: 731
Loc: Glen Rose, TX, USA
Thanks, Gary:

I'll be spending some time at the PSR site.

Regards, ----Dave
_________________________
Do your best to be invisible... and kind.

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#454533 - 07/11/18 12:54 PM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
Stephenm52 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 4076
Loc: USA
Gary,

Thanks for the review, it’s been a long time since I heard your s950 so I had no frame of reference with the S970. Good to hear your positive comments about it.

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#454534 - 07/11/18 01:59 PM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 4279
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Whereas, I prefer the TOTL 76ers as my main boards, I must say my S-970 is the biggest bang for the buck. It is light, fun to play, and easy to navigate once you understand Yamaha. I rely on it for all of my small gigs.
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#454548 - 07/11/18 07:50 PM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
tony mads usa Online   cool2
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 12076
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Originally Posted By travlin'easy
I was trying to help a friend with his Korg PA600 a about 6 weeks ago, and after hearing it, to me it really didn't cut it, particularly when it came to sounds. When he heard my S950 he said, to his ears, there was no comparison - the Yamaha sounds and styles were superior. I agreed.
Gary cool


Gary, historically, your posts favor any Yamaha KB over any KORG, but in comparing a Pa600 which currently sells for $650 to $750 online right now to a s950 which sells for about $1500 isn't exactly comparing apples to apples is it?

One thing I have learned especially since being involved with arranger keyboards is that the beauty of sound is definitely in the ear of the beholder, and HIGHLY subjective ...


Enjoy what you play, play what you enjoy ...
_________________________
t. cool

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#454570 - 07/12/18 07:17 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 13501
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Tony, it wasn't a comparison post. Hell, IMO, I don't like the sounds of the PA4X either, though the drums and bass sounded pretty good to me. If I were doing a comparison post, which I have never done, I would have listed the instruments side my side and the post would have been twice as long with lengthy explanations about each perceived flaw and attribute. I merely posted what actually took place during the events that led up to where I was able to actually sit down with the keyboard and provide forum members first hand, hands on information.

Nuff said, smile

Gary cool
_________________________
PSR-S950, Bose L1 Compact, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR (2), Crown CM311A, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, Morgan 33 Out Island Sailboat, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#454579 - 07/12/18 08:53 AM Re: My impression of the Yamaha S-970 [Re: travlin'easy]
tony mads usa Online   cool2
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 12076
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Originally Posted By travlin'easy
I was trying to help a friend with his Korg PA600 a about 6 weeks ago, and after hearing it, to me it really didn't cut it, particularly when it came to sounds. When he heard my S950 he said, to his ears, there was no comparison - the Yamaha sounds and styles were superior. I agreed.
Cheers,
Gary cool


Gary, the phrase "there was no comparison" certainly sounded to me like the Pa600 was being compared to the s950 ... my bad, I guess ...

Originally Posted By travlin'easy

Nuff said, smile
Gary cool


yep ...
_________________________
t. cool

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