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Is S90ES a practical keyboard for live performance


djb

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Hello everyone. I've been reading this forum for several years and have picked up many good ideas. I hope that I can get some advice now from people who are experienced using the Yamaha S90ES keyboard.

 

I've been asked to buy a keyboard for use in our church's contemporary worship service. We've used a Roland XP-80 for the past 5+ years, and I have an RD-600 at home, so I'm familiar with the Roland interface and sounds.

 

All my research (including using the Search button to find older posts on this forum!) has led me to think that an S90ES would be a good keyboard for us. I tried one yesterday at GC and really liked the sounds. But the interface was akward to me. I'm concerned that I would not be able to easily change patches, transpose to new pitch, etc on the fly during the service. I borrowed the manual, but didn't get real far with figuring things out.

 

Soooo, my questions: Are people using S90ES successfully for live performance? Any tips or links that can help me learn how to set up the board for live use? I suspect that this is just a learning curve issue for me and once I spend more time, things will become more natural. But I'm trying to get some reassurance before committing $2K+.

 

Thanks in advance.

Dave

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The interface requires reading the manual to figure out the logic which isn't that intuitive. But once you learn it, and set your performances, it will be a piece of cake to change patches. It is in fact designed for live performance and in real use becomes no more complicated than turning that spinning knob. It's only the setup that takes a little figuring out.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I highly recommend it. Like any new instrument, you would need to spend time learning it and setting it up to meet your needs. It is a killer performance board and I think it would work very well for you.

 

 

And the Music Gods said unto them, follow these words of Eric for they shall lead you to the promised land of music.

 

The S90ES is a great board for just about everything. The learning curve is like anything else, takes time to learn your way around it. There is lots of support if you need help. This forum as an example and one specifically dedicated the S90 family.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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The above is spot on ... I should think as these guys have had the board for some time and love it. I do not own the S90ES but have played it and found it to have excellent patches.

 

I do have the Motif 6 (note: not the ES) as well as an RD700. The Motif uses the same OS/interface that the S90ES. Though the S90es has more patches and other goodies, they work pretty much the same.

 

My thoughts are if you want to spend time setting up patches (which after you have done it once or twice isn't so bad) and you are good at interpreting manual jargon (I'm not) then the Yamaha is perfect.

 

If on the other hand you are inspired during a song to layer strings to the piano part you may want to look into the Roland RD700SX. My Rd700 is very nice for layering because you just hold down the patch you are playing and push the strings patch and Voila not only do you have strings but you have a fader so you can pull the strings out or add just a touch. I am sure you can do this with the S90ES but (correct me if I am wrong) You have to set this up before hand. And the ease of layering goes to any instruments on the RD say EP/Piano etc. Since you are already familiar/comfortable with the Roland I would certainly add it to the mix. Then let the voices and your needs be the guide.

 

Good luck

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

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I've had the S90ES for about 6 months now and I think the sounds are great. It has many different variations on each sound so you can get a lot of mileage out of just the presets. However like Jazwee said you really do need to read the manual to get the hang of it. When I first tried the S90ES in store I couldn't figure out how to change patches or anything. It was so unlike any other keyboard I had used. But once you get the basics down it really is a great performance board. You have to have stuff set up before you hit the stage but it's really easy to use on stage.
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I'll be a boo bird here. I do NOT like Yamaha's programming interface - I owned a S90 for over a year and it never clicked for me.

 

I agree that IF you set everything up ahead of time you can perform live with it, but not in a spontaneous manner. It's the "set everything up ahead of time" part that is unnecessarily painful.

 

By contrast, in my first gig with a Nord Stage, a tune calling for mellotron strings was called and I had less than 30 seconds to come up with the sound on the spot, programmed from scratch. It would have taken me many minutes on the Yamaha.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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As a Yamaha endorsee and dedicated S series user ;) , I agree with Moe in that the programming interface does require that performances have to be set up in advance.

 

However, once a few templates are stored, changing sounds within it can become a little less painful. Otherwise, the Yamaha S series is a great performance board. Go for it! :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Thanks everyone for the input. Sounds like the S90ES will do what I need, with a little planning and work in advance. I guess the keyboard will need to spend the first couple of weeks at my house for user training before we turn it loose in church.

 

Dave

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Thanks everyone for the input. Sounds like the S90ES will do what I need, with a little planning and work in advance. I guess the keyboard will need to spend the first couple of weeks at my house for user training before we turn it loose in church.

 

Dave

 

 

I think you will be very happy with the S90ES when you get it home and play with it. Once you get used to the interface, learn your way around and set it up for your use (the good old learning curve) your going to be loving life as the S90ES covers many, many things well IMO.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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Did you test the Kurzweil PC1 or PC2 series? ;)

 

You can split and/or layer sounds very easily. :wave:

 

This is true. The S90ES shits on its sound set though (if you ask me). And has a nicer touch. And has a bigger screen. And is cheaper.

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