A Lean, Mean, Gigging Machine The sleek look and low-profile of the Yamaha S90 XS testify to its role as a finely tuned performance instrument. Not all are lucky enough to have a road crew haul their gear around, but with a weight less than 50 pounds you won't mind carrying your keyboard around by yourself. Once you've loaded it in and set it up, you'll find the controls are intuitively laid out, with each button and slider clearly labeled to eliminate guesswork. The large, super-bright LCD screen gives you instant feedback as to which patch is selected, what parameter is being manipulated, and what effect is active, and can be read even under low-light stage conditions. Actually playing those patches is a breeze, too. The keyboard features 88 keys for the full piano range, letting you switch from support player to lead player without fussing with octave up/down buttons. The keys themselves are full-sized, with weight, action, and rebound that respond like those on a real, top-notch piano. They're weighted just enough to feel like you can dig into them, but not so much so that you'll get fatigued, even during long, demanding sets. The final touch on this intuitive instrument is the placement of the pitch and mod wheels--moved from their above-the-keyboard position on the older keyboard to the left of the keys for quick, painless access. Every aspect of the physical design has been honed for effortless performance.
Powerful Motif XS Synth Sounds The Yamaha S90 XS may do without the arranging, sequencing and compositional tools of its workstation brethren, but that doesn't mean it doesn't boast extensive sound-sculpting options. Just like the Motif, the Yamaha S90 XS has a huge and varied sonic palette, and gives you the ability to tweak every aspect of those sounds. Whether you simply want to adjust EQ, reverb and LFO, or get into the nitty-gritty and edit waveforms, velocity curves and the like, the editing functions are self-explanatory and comprehensive. And don't worry about getting lost in a whirl of editing madness; if you ever feel like you've gotten too far from a patch's original character, a press of the "Compare" button will instantly switch between the preset sound and the edits you've made. Of course, the factory presets already sound phenomenal; getting great synth tones is as easy or as complex as you want it to be. No synth would be complete without a killer arpeggiator, and this keyboard's is second-to-none. You get 1,787 different arpeggio patterns included, and while they sound sweet on synths and drums, special things happen when you combine the arpeggiator with one of the keyboard's "Mega Voice" patches. Select an electric guitar, for example, and the arpeggiated phrase will automatically generate hammer-ons, pull-offs and fret noises, turning an automated process into an breathtakingly organic musical passage.
142MB Of All-New Acoustic Piano Sounds The perfect gigging keyboard needs to have great synthesizer capabilities, but it also needs to have great acoustic piano sounds. There is no point in making it lightweight if you're going to be lugging a second "digital piano" around with you anyway. Luckily for you, the Yamaha S90 XS boasts amazing, stereo-sampled acoustic piano patches that'll have your audiences doubting their own eyes. Across the entire digital keyboard line, Yamaha is proud of their stereo sampled grand piano sound, but the piano emulations are the cream of the crop. The keyboard's designers dedicated a whopping 142MB of sampling memory to the sophisticated acoustic piano sounds, all sampled from a hand-built Yamaha S6 concert grand piano. By allocating so much on-board memory, Yamaha was able to construct the piano voices from longer stereo-sampled waves. The longer waves make for exceptionally natural pianissimo decay; on down tempo, sparse piano ballads, where other digital pianos are exposed as thin and lifeless, this keyboard remains full and complex. Special note should be made of the piano half-damper capabilities: when paired with the FC3 sustain pedal, the keyboard reads half-position movements to simulate the effects of a gently or partially applied damper, a huge improvement over most keyboards' rudimentary on-or-off operation. This sophisticated playability, combined with incredible stereo sound, makes for one of the most expressive and realistic multi-sampled pianos available on any digital keyboard.
More New XS Features
If you've played the last-generation S90ES, you already know what a powerful performance machine it is. The Yamaha S90 XS steps up the live game even more by adding a microphone input (with dedicated input gain and peak metering) and a whole suite of effects specifically tailored for vocal processing-including a robo-tastic vocoder effect. The ES also sported a bunch of studio friendly features that the XS preserves, and adds to. You can still connect to your computer via USB to turn it into a plug-in-host and DAW controller, but now the keyboard boasts its own internal flash memory for up to 18 minutes of recording time! For even more recording time, connect a USB thumb drive. This isn't MIDI information; this is real audio data. The Yamaha S90 XS is its own sophisticated, portable studio! Make use of recorded audio in performance, too, for custom-tailored backing tracks or instant vocal harmonies. You can even import audio files from external sources and play them back.
It takes a very special instrument to make a great musician even better. With its depth of sonic variety and expressive playability, the Yamaha S90 XS could easily be that instrument for you, as well as the last performance synth you'll ever need to buy.
Power Supply: AC Power Cord (Included)
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