Entry level keyboards are a special type of beast. Generally, major brands will try to pack a portion of their best performance into these, all while keeping the cost of production low enough where they can compete with other manufacturers.
This type of balancing requires some pretty serious skill. At the end of the day, it is common knowledge what you can and cannot do with entry level keyboard. Models which belong in this category will never sound as good as the flagship model.
With that said, it’s worth mentioning that requirements of someone who has decades of experience in playing keyboards, and someone who is just starting out, are vastly different.
For a beginner, it’s important that they have a good set of keys to work with, and a somewhat flexible sound engine. Quality of sound comes secondary to variety of presets, which is what usually keeps the new players interested in this instrument. Yamaha has been in this industry for a long while now.
Their keyboards are up there neck to neck with the best in the business. Same can be said about their entry level models. Today we are going to take a look at Yamaha PSR E243, and talk about what it has to offer.
What it has to offer
Just like it is the case with any other type of electronics, keyboards keep evolving. Yamaha PSR-E243 is an older design that is no longer in production, but you can still find it on the used market for a reasonable price.
The reason why this model is still interesting is the fact that its performance is not that far behind what is considered a standard in today’s terms. Getting a keyboard for cheap is something every beginner strives to do. Quality of sound and other factors don’t really matter that much until a person develops their skill level and ability to differentiate good sound quality from the bad one.
For an entry level keyboard, Yamaha PSR-E243 looks pretty decent. It doesn’t have that annoying gray color theme that is a tell tale sign of cheap boards, but rather comes in an all black case.
It’s a fairly sturdy board that inspires confidence in terms of reliability and feel. There are 61 keys at your disposal, however they are not weighted. That is usually a big flaw for a keyboard, but considering the price range and when this thing was made, we can’t hold that against it. Above the keys you will see a small display surrounded by a number of buttons. This is your main control panel.
On the software side of things, Yamaha PSR-E243 brings 365 voices that include some decent grand piano emulation. There are also 100 backing styles available, as well as other presets. Since it’s a beginners keyboard, having some learning tools available is almost a requirement.
Luckily, Yamaha PSR-E243 comes with Y.E.S, or Yamaha Education Suite that brings you several features aimed at helping beginners develop their skill and technique.
Just like the majority of the PSR line of keyboard, Yamaha PSR-E243 offers 32 note polyphony. That is not impressive by any means, but it is enough to get you by. In terms of connectivity you are looking at USB support along with audio out for your headphones or other devices. Pretty simple setup all together.
Performance of Yamaha PSR-E243 can be described as decent. The lack of polyphony is felt as soon as you try to play something more complex. The voices and presets available are good considering the price range of this board, and can serve you well enough in your beginning stages.
The only real issue with this keyboard are the keys themselves. It’s fine to not have weighted action as that is something you need to pay a bit more in order to get, but the quality of keys could have been better. They feel really plastic under the fingers, which takes away from the whole experience in some ways.
One of the highlights of this model is the Yamaha Education Suite. This feature has been praised numerous times by experts and novice players alike. It has also been a standard feature in all new entry level Yamaha keyboards. The one in Yamaha PSR-E243 is the older version, but it still brings you all the great features this system is known for.
If you put some time to it, and follow the instructions, you can achieve tangible progress in your playing skills.
What we like
This is a fairly simple entry level keyboard, and as such needs to be judged in that context. The performance is very balanced, which is something we like. Compared to some other keyboards on the market, this Yamaha isn’t trying to be something it is not. Additionally, its reduced price makes it an attractive option for beginners on a budget.
What we don’t like
The only thing we can name as a flaw here is the keyboard and the nature of the keys. No one is asking for top tier weighted action, but Yamaha could have installed a bit better set of keys. This is especially important for beginner piano players who want to learn to play properly.
When you look at entry level keyboards, you need to be ready to make some compromises. That is a given. There will be trade offs you will have to agree to, and you probably won’t be completely satisfied with the board you get. With that said, it’s important to prioritize.
As a beginner, one should look for a board that is user friendly, and offers good tactile experience. The quality of sound and number of presets should come second to this. Yamaha PSR-E243 isn’t really doing a great job in this context, however it’s cheap enough where this doesn’t really matter.
As a whole package, this keyboard is pretty decent all things considered. If you come across one on the used market, you should definitely check it out.