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Yamaha S90XS and the PX-5S


StanC

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Hearing a lot of good things about the PX-5S, I am wondering how one would work for me. The primary reason would be for it's lightweight, provided of course there are not too many other sacrifices. i.e. over all sounds/patches; feel; user friendliness? I use an XK1 for organ and the Yammie for all else: AP, EP, brass, strings and synth. Are there any forum members who have played both the S90XS and the PX-5S and can offer an opinion on how they compare?

Stan

Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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Exactly. I expected sacrifices. But some of the reviews suggested otherwise. Just trying to see what the hype is about.

Stan

Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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I used to own an original S-90, and now have the 5S.

 

The Casio is much easier for me to program, especially with the software editor. For pianos and analog style synth work, it's great.

 

The Yamaha has higher quality rompler sounds and more of them. The best thing about mine was the expressive sax sounds I could get with a breath controller and the plug in virtual wind instrument board. That's the only thing I miss.

Moe

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"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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Definitely apples and oranges. Totally different instruments.

 

S90XS is the best thing going IMO, if you do not need sampling and or a hardware sequencer. The lighter balanced action on the S90XS is a perfect compromise for a weighted action that can cover a huge variety other applications. I would never recommend the S90XS as a $2000+ stage piano. It does suck that I have to look up the instructions in the manual anytime I want to use the vocoder.

 

IMO the mass of the instrument is part of it's playability.

 

The S90 will kick the Casio's ass as a synth action controller. I don't hesitate to use the S90XS to cover classic lead synth parts ala Frankenstein, Lucky Man, Never Been any Reason etc.....

 

I thought the S90's weakness was piano. It took me weeks to get it sorted out ( or adjust to it) I think the S6 voices suck. I am using 3rd party tweaked CF grand voices and the action a bit too fast if you lack self control. Thanks goodness it still had the CF III wave forms.

 

I think it comes down to how much and what kind of synth stuff you want to play. Even then the key return on the S90 is not always optimal. *** I use my XK3c to control my rack synths.

 

*** - Casio may offer different response curves that will make the thing a better at lead synth controlling I don't know.

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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You can also get all the S90XS sounds (except the S6 piano) out of a Motif Rack XS, MOX, MOXF; and you can also get many of them out of the MX 49/61 or even Rack ES. Pairing one of these with a PX5S can provide a much lighter weight way to get the S90XS sounds, if you really miss not having them on the PX5S.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Actually I don't think this is "apples and oranges" the way StanC has phrased it. He's asking how these two keyboards stack up in just a few specific sounds. Here's my take as a PX-5s owner and S90XS user:

 

AP: PX-5s

EP: S90XS

Brass: S90XS (by far)

Sampled strings: S90XS

Synth strings: Tossup

Synth: PX-5s

Programmability: PX-5s (by far)

 

All subjective of course. I would not expect everyone in the forum to agree by any means - including even you StanC. The good news is that the PX-5s is everywhere so it should be easy for you to audition one for yourself.

 

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Bill H. Yup. That's what I was asking. Thanks for the insight. FWIW, I own both the original S90 and the XS and must say the APs in the original are far better than the XS. I usually gig with the XS, but when I play the S90, I often think I should gig with that. So I guess the trade off (for me) is that both the EP's and brass are better the XS than the S90.

Bill I plan to try a PX-5S myself. As you point out, this is surely subjective; but other's opinions can be helpful. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. Curious though, you describe yourself as "PX-5s owner and S90XS user". Does this mean you don't "use" the 5S? :confused:

Stan

Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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Bill H. Yup. That's what I was asking. Thanks for the insight. FWIW, I own both the original S90 and the XS and must say the APs in the original are far better than the XS. I usually gig with the XS, but when I play the S90, I often think I should gig with that. So I guess the trade off (for me) is that both the EP's and brass are better the XS than the S90.

Well, here's one more possibility for you, then. The MOXF8 should allow you to have all the sounds you like (some are stock, others can be loaded into the flash card, as Yamaha had made some of their alternate previous piano sounds available for download). The action (by most accounts) won't be as good as on the PX-5S, but you'll get the weight way down from your S90XS and have, I think, just the sounds you want from both your S90XS and S90.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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FWIW, I own both the original S90 and the XS and must say the APs in the original are far better than the XS.

I heartily agree with this. IMO, the piano got worse with every subsequent version after the S90. It's one of the main reasons I never upgraded.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Well, here's one more possibility for you, then. The MOXF8 should allow you to have all the sounds you like (some are stock, others can be loaded into the flash card, as Yamaha had made some of their alternate previous piano sounds available for download). The action (by most accounts) won't be as good as on the PX-5S, but you'll get the weight way down from your S90XS and have, I think, just the sounds you want from both your S90XS and S90.

 

AND its a Yamaha! While considering the Casio, and at this point in time, it may be inappropriate or undeserved (or not), but I'm not sure I can get the stigma of "second rate gear" out of my head.

Stan

Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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FWIW, I own both the original S90 and the XS and must say the APs in the original are far better than the XS.

I heartily agree with this. IMO, the piano got worse with every subsequent version after the S90. It's one of the main reasons I never upgraded.

 

That's really bad, mostly because the pianos in the original S90 sound like dog butt, IMO

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As an S90ES owner, I recall when the XS came out there was talk that the pianos had degraded in quality somewhat from the ES. But it was only just marginally, and was subject to opinion. But I have never heard anyone express the opinion (until now) that the S90 had better pianos than the ES.
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I never minded the Casio name. I proudly played them along side Rolands. The CZ series was great. The buttons and cosmetics were a little cheezy but they could do a lot of things you could do with FM but the architecture made sense. I had both a CZ-1000 and a CZ-1. I still have the CZ-1.

 

 

I could program PDS, I never could program the Yamaha DX. I bought some 3rd party libraries on tape that were good. At the time I wrote IBM 360 assembler but DX synths were too much for me.

 

Besides nobody pays attention to keyboard gear except the dudes on this forum.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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As an S90ES owner, I recall when the XS came out there was talk that the pianos had degraded in quality somewhat from the ES. But it was only just marginally, and was subject to opinion. But I have never heard anyone express the opinion (until now) that the S90 had better pianos than the ES.

 

I like the XS piano. If you listen to the C4 demos, they go thru the various types and you can hear the differences. I think the old ones from the S90 are in the S90XS. Rock grand, things like that, are not using the S6 waveforms. The only thing missing is the S90ES piano, which was really nice.

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But I have never heard anyone express the opinion (until now) that the S90 had better pianos than the ES.

It was a commonly expressed opinion on sninety.com and later motifator.com at the time. As you may have noticed here, opinions on DPs are a mite subjective.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Brass must have made a big leap since the original S90. I have that keyboard and I'm liking the brass in the Px5s a TON more than my Yamaha....actually, strings as well. The original S90 had a vibrato in the strings that must be part of the sample, I never could figure out how to get rid of it....

My assessment of brass was based mostly on the fact that the Yamaha has a solo sax that's actually useable - but I also slightly prefer it's brass stabs.

 

Sampled strings comparisons by me were ensembles - not solo instruments. Personally I use synth strings almost exclusively - both in club work and in P&W so any other input there would be helpful.

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My issue with the S6 pianos on mine is they are inconsistent in the lower register. There are a couple of notes that do not sound like they come from the same piano.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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As always, I find brass ensemble samples to mostly suck unless you are playing "Sledgehammer".

 

I prefer to layer a solo trumpet, solo tenor sax, solo alto sax, and solo trombone. It's still not gonna sound like TOP, but the cheese factor is greatly diminished.

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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Yamaha has a solo sax that's actually useable

Did you ever hear the saxes in the PLG150-VL card? A couple of those are pretty sweet. One of the reasons I can't quite part with my old S90.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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FWIW, I own both the original S90 and the XS and must say the APs in the original are far better than the XS.

I heartily agree with this. IMO, the piano got worse with every subsequent version after the S90. It's one of the main reasons I never upgraded.

 

Though digital piano tones are largely subjective, I can't agree that the S90 series got worse with each release. I feel that the core piano tone in the original S90 is a much better 'mix piano' for band work - especially rock, than the S90XS' factory S6 Voice. But that S6 Voice works a lot better in a solo piano, or accompaniment situation. However, edits - both owner and 3rd party - mix things up quite a bit for both instruments. A former student has used one of her S90's piano Voices - with a few, simple tweaks - for some very piano-prominent home recordings; seemed pretty effective to my ears. And my S90XS - like another mentioned above - has Voices that are heavily edited S6 / CF sample hybrids; the instrument sounds completely different than a factory S90XS; it sounds closer to the S90ES' S700 Voice. Speaking of which: the S90ES is the strongest evidence that the S90 series did not go downhill with each subsequent release. For digital piano tone and playability, I believe the S90ES to be the crown jewel of the series.

 

PX-5S vs. S90XS: Since the apples to oranges analogy has already been used, I'll offer a different one: PX-5S is like a Toyota RAV 4, S90XS, or better yet S90ES, more like a Honda Pilot; different vehicles, varied strengths, and sometimes different uses. I spent about two weeks with a PX-5S; it's a lot of keyboard, sounds great, and does particular things extremely well. The S90XS is a different class of instrument - with some stronger, slightly higher end features. But there are things being done with the combined engines of the PX-5S that I doubt the S90XS could pull off in the same way. And if you prefer the core, Steinway sample in the PX-5S, you're going to like playing piano on it. It's a very rich, and expressive piano Program. And there are tons of edited Programs - piano and much more - available for the PX-5S. I sold one to a student - via a teaching studio where I work. He loves the PX-5S - using it as his main controller and sound source.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

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My first stage piano was the S90 and I still love the S700 ap and the action of the board. But the 5s has every bit as good action and maybe a better ap too, and I surely don't need to mention it's half the weight of the 90, therefore gets every gig.

 

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Late last year, I was considering the S90XS, not against a PX-5S, but against an MOXF8.

 

I went down to the store, and found the S90 to be a battleship. I couldn't get over the size, it was absolutely huge.

 

I was impressed with the sounds, but came away without it, the bulk just wouldn't work for me.

 

The PX-5S is a toy in comparison-and I mean that in a good way!

 

As for the sounds, many far better musicians than me have made patches available for the Casio, and more seem to becoming available at regular intervals, so you're not limited to the original stock sound set.

 

 

SSM

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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But I have never heard anyone express the opinion (until now) that the S90 had better pianos than the ES.

It was a commonly expressed opinion on sninety.com and later motifator.com at the time. As you may have noticed here, opinions on DPs are a mite subjective.

Yes, whatever floats your boat for sure. :)

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