Yamaha PSS-470

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Yamaha PSS-470


The Yamaha PSS-470 is a stereo 4 octave mini-keys keyboard with a rather basic drum-machine and auto-chording.


There are 21 preset voices and a synthesizer section which allows you to create your own voice. The voices are not particularly good approximations to the real thing - but have a rather DX-ey sound. The voices are arranged in three coloured groups - Orange contains synths and keyboards. Green contains wind instruments and purple keyboard and string instruments. The voices are chosen matrix-style -with one LED indicating which colour group and another indicating which instrument in the group.
All the voices can have sustain and vibrato added as an option and can can have duet set when the auto accompaniment is playing.
There is also a stereo-symphonic button which adds a spatial chorus effect - which stops the voices sounding flat and dead.

The digital synthesizer voice has priority over the presets,when you choose this option  you can design your own voice using 6 parameters,each of which have 5 levels.
The WAVE parameter chooses the basic waveform,the SPECTRUM parameter is possibly the equivalent of a DX "frequency" setting and sets the kind of octave of frequencies in the voice. MODULATION is possibly similar to a DX version of the same thing and renders the sound either bright or dull,much like filtering. ATTACK and DECAY control the envelope characteristics -from short stabbing sounds to long fade-ins and decays.
Finally,VOLUME controls the output level.

The drum machine is arranged in the same way as the voices,into 3 coloured groups,giving 12 rhythms. There is a custom drummer feature and the last 5 white keys double as the programmer keys. The drum machine is rather tacky by today's standards and harks back to the old organ player drum machines of yore.
The auto accompaniment uses the bottom octave or so and can use fingered or single finger method to make the chord,or you can have manual bass which does not follow the rhythm. There are two chord patterns and two bass patterns for each rhythm,individually selectable.

The master volume is a slider and the mixer for the chord and rhythms each works from 5 levels of volume. You can also tune the main keyboard with two tune buttons and alter the tempo similarly.

The 470 has a  3.5 stereo jack for headphones and also two phono sockets for line out and runs from the Yamaha standard 9v-12v and batteries.

Good points: Whilst the overall sound is rather tacky,this is an easy way to program DX-type sounds and with the stereo chorus,some of the sounds can be rather snazzy,especially from the synthesizer. The Funksynth in particular sounds like the kind of electro-piano Jan Hammer would use in Miami Vice.
The addition of phono line outs is a useful aid to connecting to other equipment.

Niggles: Polyphony runs into problems once the auto section is running and some keys won't sound because the auto section is using the sound generators. Drum sounds are poor and the overall capacity to mimic instruments is limited.

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