Our Yamaha PSR-EW400 Review: One Of The Best 76-Key Digital Keyboards Under $300 in 2018

The Yamaha PSR EW400 review at a glance

Ease of Use

Very beginner friendly

Price

A bit ​pricey

Rating

Highly recommended!

We like:

*76 touch sensitive keys 

*758 high quality voices

*USB to Host port

*Upgraded 48 note polyphony

*Assignable Live Control knobs

*Yamaha Education Suite

*3.5mm AUX input

*USB and MIDI connectivity

We don't like:

*Non weighted keys

*On the heavy side at 18 lbs without batteries

Summary of our Yamaha PSR-EW400 review: The PSR-EW400 definitely packs a punch and in our opinion, this is one of the best Yamaha PSR keyboard for beginners and intermediate piano learners! It might be a tad more expensive than our 61-key models, but you do get a considerable upgrade at this price point. 

A Short Introduction

If you’re looking for one of the best Yamaha PSR keyboard for beginners, the PSR-EW400 may not come to mind immediately.

Perhaps, you’ll think about the Yamaha PSR-E253 or the PSR-E453, but why don’t you hear us out and read the entirety of this review? You just may change your mind and go for this baby instead!

In this review, we're going to see  if this keyboard deserves the title of "flagship model," and most importantly if it's worth spending a few hundred dollars on.

We often hear the term “flagship model,” but what is it really?

Well, flagship models are essentially models in a series that are deemed as the most prominent, or in other words “the best.”

If a model is tagged as flagship, the pressure for the model to do well is on. Knowing Yamaha’s excellent record in manufacturing keyboards, being a flagship model basically means the “leader of the pack” and this is basically what the Yamaha PSR-EW400 is all about!


An Overview of Yamaha PSR-EW400 Features


  • 76 touch sensitive keys
  • 758 sounds
  • 48-note polyphony
  • 220 styles
  • Pitch bend
  • Rotating control knob
  • Reverb
  • Chorus and DSP effects
  • 150 Arpeggio types
  • Live! Grand piano tone
  • Preset master EQ
  • Dual Thomann and split function
  • 5 + 1 Track sequencer
  • Learn function
  • Pattern function
  • Metronome
  • Transposition
  • USB to host
  • USB to device
  • 3.5mm (or 1/8") AUX in
  • Sustain pedal connector
  • Headphone connector
  • Line output (L/MONO, R)
  • Speaker: 2x 12W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 1178 x 138 x 412 mm
  • Weight: 8.4 kg

Advantages of Yamaha PSR-EW400


Check out this short video highlighting some of the main features of the Yamaha PSR-EW400 before we discuss its advantages:

1) Distinct Improvement

Okay, first off: The Yamaha PSR-EW400 is an improvement to its PSR-E predecessor. It has 76 semi-weighted synth action keys, so this is a nice change from the previous 61-key models.

You can finally achieve that extra range without exerting effort in shifting an octave up and down, and you can actually focus on playing. This model is perfect for players who prefer to perform live or even those who just want to play at home.

You would expect that since this is a flagship model, the price would be steep. Not quite. This model definitely earned a “good job!” badge from us since it has features that previous models could only have dreamed of without putting too much stress on your bank account.

2) Built For The Performer

The PSR-EW400's features include 76 touch-sensitive keys, 48-note polyphony, 758 high-quality voices. This model has the new “Live! Grand Piano” voice feature so you might want to check it out. Additionally, this has 236 Panel Voices, 24 Drum/SFX kits, 40 Arpeggio, and 457 XGlite voices.

This keyboard has two assignable real-time control knobs for filtering and adjusting sound, just like on an analog synthesizer. Ten DSP Effects for dynamic and expressive live performance. Pitch Bend wheel that adjusts the pitch of the sound bringing voices like the Guitar, Sax and Trumpet to life, a DJ Pattern mode, plus it has the Pattern function to create your own grooves (25 patterns).

So, are you ready to create your own rhythm? For a challenge, try the Crossfade and Retrigger functions.

Speaking of creating your own rhythm, the Yamaha PSR-EW400 has a built-in 12W + 12W amplifiers with 12cm bass reflex speakers giving you super loud, but crystal clear sound. Listen to it, and you’ll find that it’s pretty impressive given that this is a portable keyboard.

The speakers offer solid support in standalone performance situations, but if you are not satisfied with the volume, the PSR-EW400 features professional audio outputs for connecting to a PA system or studio hardware.

Personally, I think it’s really cool of Yamaha to include a rich collection of ethnic sounds and scale tunings into this model. This will allow you to enjoy many styles of music from around the world, including Latin, Indian, Arabic, African, Chinese and more. Talk about expanding your musical horizons!

If you prefer to play along with original recordings, the Built-in Melody Suppressor lowers the volume of vocals and melody lines of the original recordings, leaving those parts open for you to play. Although, just a quick disclaimer: depending on the song, the volume of the melody part may not be affected.

3) Portability and Easy Connectivity

The Yamaha PSR-EW400 sits at a comfortable 1178 x 138 x 412 mm (W x H x D) and weighs around 18 pounds. This runs on a 12V DC power supply or 6 x D batteries, and it has Auto Power Off function.

Of course, the YAMAHA PSR-EW400 comes with an extended range of voices, styles, and songs, including the new Live! Grand Piano Voice, which just goes to show that Yamaha strives for quality best-sounding, most realistic and responsive sounds regardless on which price bracket the keyboard belongs.

But you might remember us mentioning a while ago that this model has features that the previous PSR models can only dream of, and one of them is a wide range of connectivity. Like we oftentimes mention in our other reviews, convenience is key. 

Of course, we don’t want to be bogged down by the complicated things we have to do just to upload some music we recorded or connect wires or plug USBs when we could have used that time to actually play the keyboard. Lucky, this model is connectivity-friendly.

To start with, you get a USB-to-host connection for either MIDI or audio transfer, allowing you to record your performance directly to your computer software, maybe Cubase?

If you are not a fan of that, you also get a USB-to-device connection allowing you to save your settings and transfer them using a USB stick. 

Furthermore, the YAMAHA PSR-EW400 comes with dedicated left and right outputs on 6.5mm connectors to run into a PA system. This is a major upgrade from splitting a signal out of a headphone output, which is what it usually was until this model.

And if you connect an external audio player to the Aux In jack, you can play along with your favorite tunes. There is a range of iOS apps — purchased separately, I’m afraid — that are available for additional MIDI control over sounds, settings, and effects. These can be used wirelessly if you add the optional Bluetooth adaptor to the system for ultimate control.

PLUS! This model has the self-branded Yamaha Education Suite (Y.E.S.) which is essentially a software where you can play and learn at the same time. This program is a sort of “learn on your own” type of thing. It’s like having a piano teacher by your side.


Disadvantages of Yamaha PSR-EW400


I was trying to think of a disadvantage of this model, and it is proving to be a little bit hard because what is not to love about the Yamaha PSR-EW400? However, there might be issues with the bulk of the model especially if you’re a bit smaller than average.

The LCD is a wee bit on the smaller side as well so that might pose a challenge if you have visual problems. Also, the manual that came with it might also be a bit challenging to understand especially for beginners.

Also, the Yamaha PSR-EW400's song sequencer makes you re-record an entire track if you make one little mistake that you want to correct, so please keep that in mind.

And with most Yamaha models, this does not come with a power adaptor.  However, you can bundle your keyboard with an adaptor if you buy through Amazon.


A Few Yamaha PSR-EW400 User Reviews


A lot of people who have purchased the Yamaha PSR EW400 are happy with their purchase. We have summarized reviews from a few satisfied users:

Review 1:
(sic) “I use this keyboard at the moment mainly as a piano and love the grand piano sound, which is better than that of the others in this model lineup. The extra power in the speakers is great, and I find the ability to play my iPod through the keyboard very useful for working out tunes. The real-time control knobs can be set so that one of them controls the volume from the iPod, which is very handy. The recorder allows me to record one hand, and then play that back while working on the other hand. Very useful. I downloaded all of the songs for this keyboard and the songbook, and that will keep me busy for a long time. I put the downloaded midi files on my thumb drive, and when I plugged in the drive, the songs showed up in the song menu without a hitch. The keys have a great feel and are lighter than real piano keys, which is desirable since you might want to play a fast flute or percussion riff, where the weight of real piano keys could get in the way. All-in-all a great keyboard that I expect will serve me well for a long time.”
Review 2:  
(sic) “Got this keyboard for Christmas to replace my old Yamaha, use it at church, and on the road. Love the new Cool-Piano sound that was added, and the drums work great in the banks when transitioning between songs. As a Songwriter/Musician/Singer, this works great for my money and meets all my expectations, and to think I was considering buying a Korg, Yamaha is the way to go in 2018.”
Review 3:
(sic) “I had reservations at first when ordering this model. I thought I would have to spend way more to get a quality beginner keyboard. I am a beginner and didn't want to spend that much. I've been playing guitar for 35yrs, so I know you get what you pay for, but this exceeded my expectations. Has a boatload of voices and they are very realistic. Would recommend to anyone starting out, or even intermediate players. It does everything I want it to which was a good realistic piano voice and is very easy to use. The only feature I wish it had was weighted keys, but at this price that would be asking a lot.”

Frequently Asked Questions


1) Does this have “TRANSPOSE”?

Yes, the Transpose function is under the “Function” tab.

2) Can I connect a pedal to it?

Yes, a sustain pedal will connect through a 1/4 input.

3) Can you connect standard headphones to the keyboard?

Yes, however, you will need a quarter inch to 3.5 mm jack analog. Then, it will work. 


Should you buy the Yamaha PSR-EW400?


Yes, SoundsElectric.org highly recommends this 76-key keyboard! The YAMAHA PSR-EW400  is the company's top-of-the-line PRS-series portable keyboard for both piano-focused players and live performers.

The 76-key touch response keyboard, various easy-to-use professional features and new Live! Grand Piano voice makes this a great instrument for practice, performance and composing.


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