This is my review on the Yamaha PSR E463 portable arranger keyboard, which came out in 2018. At the time of this review (March 2022) this keyboard, along with the 76 key version (PSR-EW410) are still the flagship keyboards in the Yamaha PSR E series lineup; however they are both about to be replaced (FINALLY) by the PSR-E473 (61 keys) and PSR-EW425 (76 keys). These 2 keyboards are almost identical, with the exception that the 410 has 76 keys, L/R line out ports, larger speakers and an enhanced main piano sound.
Since I am strongly considering buying one of these new models once they are available, I decided to rent a PSR-E463 while I’m waiting, to get really familiar with the model, and also do a review. I thought the review would be useful, since there a LOT of these that have been sold worldwide since 2018; they will continue to be seen in the used market for some time, and there may be discounted new Yamaha PSR-E463’s available when the new models come out, so this review should also be useful to people interested in saving some cash. At the end of this review, when I go over competing options, I will definitely mention the new models and what they have to offer.
So before I get started, if you follow my channel, you probably know that while I occasionally dabble in the arranger keyboard universe, for the most part I’m a piano player that enjoys playing with backing tracks & practicing with rhythms so while I will go over the basic arranger features & things like the groove creator, arpeggiator etc – I will be focusing this review more on the piano & keyboard centric features.
Yamaha PSR-E463 Review – The Summary
61 full sized organ style synth action keys with 4 levels of touch sensitivity (3 levels and off)
758 voices, 14 “featured” voices & 48 notes of polyphony
10 DSP effects, 12 types of reverb, 5 types of chorus and 6 types of EQ presets, 26 types of auto harmony
Headphone (1/4″), Audio in (1/8″), USB to host (both MIDI and AUDIO!), 1/4″ pedal input for sustain / arpeggiator / harmony, USB type A port for a flash drive (load styles, play audio, save audio)
- Backlit menu screen and very intuitive context sensitive user interface
- 2 live control knobs – you can assign DSP effects or reverb, chorus etc to these for on the fly modifications to your sounds
- 235 rhythm styles with 2 variations of each, optional accompaniment, optional intro/ending, fills, ability to mute individual instrument & 10 slots for loading custom styles
- 32 registration memory slots to save your setups
- Transpose up or down 12 steps (with quick access keys), octave shift
- Split & layer with ability to adjust relative volumes
- Arpeggiator with 176 types
- Song recorder (10 songs, up to 5 tracks each + accompaniment track)
- sampling & groove creator with 35 grooves and 5 groove sections
- one touch setting for recommended voices & tempo for chosen style
- Battery option (6 x AA)
- 12 watts of speaker power
- Compatible with Yamaha My Recorder app for creating quick and easy videos
Yamaha PSR-E463 Review – The Details
Menu & User Interface
The buttons on the left half deal with volume, recording, controlling the rhythms and metronome, transposing, layers & splits, effects and DSP, live control knobs and controlling the USB flash drive. The center area has the menu screen and buttons below that double as track control during recording and muting style parts, as well as your registration memory buttons. The ones on the right side are for navigating through voices and styles and accessing the function menu; and there are some handy categories printed out for voices, styles and the groove creator.
The menu is context sensitive and will adjust what is displayed as you make selections, and enter / exit voice selection vs. style selection etc. While there are some settings that will require you to do some “menu deep diving”, there are noticeably more quick access buttons than on the PSR-E373, so the interface is overall very easy to use and navigate once you are used to it. The “portable grand” dedicated button to quickly return your voice to the main grand piano is a nice feature. Here is a quick video outlining the user interface:
The Yamaha PSR-E463 has 61 full size organ style synth action keys with 4 layers of touch sensitivity. Note that when I say “full-sized” it’s an octave width of about 160mm which is considered “full-size” by most synth action keyboards, but is still slightly narrower than the standard 165mm octave width found on most fully weighted digital pianos. They are also thinner than a “box shaped” piano style key, but they are full width.
While the keys are full sized, they are not weighted or semi-weighted, so they will feel nothing like the keys on a real or weighted digital piano. The action on these keys I find to be extremely light; when I first started trying the keyboard out on the default touch sensitivity (“normal”) I found I was having difficulty controlling my dynamics (I’m used to a fully weighted hammer action piano); so I switched the touch sensitivity to “hard” and that suited my playing style much better.
Once I switched the touch sensitivity and spent some time getting used to this action, I was actually quite impressed with the level of dynamic control that I had. While the keys are very light, they have a very consistent and predictable dynamic to them. Since they are full sized, someone used to a piano will be able to adapt to the spacing pretty quickly, but the synth action will be an adjustment that will take some getting used to.
There are a staggering 758 voices on the Yamaha PSR-E463, including some pretty good quality and unique ones. There are 237 “panel” voices, which are really the “main” ones (the best quality). The remaining voices are either drums or “XG Lite” voices, which are voices brought forward from prior models using older samples – they are by no means “bad” and are nice to have, but are not quite the same quality as the main panel ones.
With all that being said, I do need to note that while the main piano voice on the Yamaha PSR-E463 is perfectly fine, it is starting to become a bit dated. This is one of the big differences between the PSR-E463 and the 76 key version the PSR-EW410; the 410 has a significantly improved piano voice, the “Live Concert Grand” inherited from the much more expensive (& retired) Tyros keyboard line; note that the PSR-E373 (which is the new version of the 363, the model below the 463) also has this improved piano voice.
The “featured” voices on the PSR-E463 are: 8 “Sweet!” Voices, 3 “Cool!” Voices and 3 “Dynamic” Voices. These are voices that have some enhanced features. For example the Galaxy electric piano will trigger different samples based on your velocity and other voices (2 organs, a harmonica, 2 saxophones, 2 trumpets and 3 flutes) will trigger different samples based on how long you hold the note down (like some vibrato etc).
There are clearly far too many voices to demo, so I’ve picked a few of my favorites to demo in the following video:
I do want to give Yamaha a general shoutout about something I’ve been noticing on their keyboards and digital pianos as I review more and more of them. Their strings patches, especially when layered behind a piano, ALWAYS seem to have an absolutely PERFECT and natural decay. This was something I loved about my P-125 digital piano, and I noticed it on the PSR-E373 and now on the PSR-E463. In contrast, the strings decay on my Casio PX-S1100 piano and even more so on my Casiotone CT-S1 are nowhere near as natural.
One thing to note here that was a huge issue for me on the PSR-E373 for me is that as you move between voices, your octave shift setting will be lost, and requires going back into the function menu to set every time. The PSR-E463 has a “sort of” workaround for this – since it has quick access transpose buttons, you can octave shift one octave up or down using those, and that DOES get retained as you change voices. Only issue with that is if you actually DID want to transpose keys (for example if you wanted to transpose a 1/2 step down from C to B), you wouldn’t be able to use the transpose buttons to do that (since you would already be down as far as you can go which is 12 steps).
The Yamaha PSR-E463 has a pretty impressive amount of effects that can be applied to your voices to customize them to your liking. One very cool feature is that you can assign effects to the live control knobs for quick on-the-fly modifications to your sounds.
There are 10 DSP (Digital Signal Processing) effects:
- Rotary speaker
- Distortion 1
- Distortion 2
- Auto Pan
- Low Pass Filter
- High Pass Filter
In addition to the DSP effects, the Yamaha PSR-E463 has:
- 12 types of reverb
- 5 types of chorus
- 6 EQ presets to choose from
- 26 types of auto harmony
- 176 types of arpeggiators
So with all of these effects at your disposal, you have a ton of options and combinations to fine tune your voices to your liking. Once again, too many effects to demo all of them, but here is a quick sample:
Rhythms & Accompaniment
The PSR-E463 has 235 rhythms from a wide variety of genres with optional sync start, intros, endings, fills as well as optional accompaniment, which includes backing bass and a rhythm section. A nice feature here is you can adjust the rhythm & accompaniment volume if you want it adjusted relative to the main voice you are using.
One feature that is HUGE for me is the ability to mute various parts of the accompaniment. This is great for me, because sometimes I just wanted to use the drums or just the drums and bass; but you can pick and choose what to include. So even if you are not interested in the arranger features, having a wide selection of drum styles to play along with is never a bad thing (and it’s WAY more fun and engaging to play along with a drum track than a metronome for practicing your timing).
For triggering the auto accompaniment, most entry level arranger keyboards will have multiple “chord modes” for choosing what chords the accompaniment should be playing – the Yamaha PSR-E463 actually has less choices than most arrangers do for this; it actually only has ONE choice, which is “multi finger”. This is an area Yamaha has always been curiously lacking in; most of their entry level arrangers at most will include “multi finger” and “smart chord” which is a Yamaha shortcut method for specifying chords; with smart chord, you specify what key the song is in first, and then just use single fingers to indicate what chord to play (so you will get the “default” diatonic chords of that key signature – for example in the key of C, you will get a D minor if you press the D key). The new versions of the PSR-E463/PSR-EW410 that are due out soon STILL only have smart chord and multi finger modes. If this is something that is important to you, you should look towards alternatives from Casio or Korg which have 5 or even more chord detection modes.
Here is a quick video showing the auto accompaniment, including using synch start, fills and style variations:
There are TONS of useful rhythms available; I was able to find usable rhythms for straight & syncopated beats, as well as some shuffle rhythms and some useful 3/4 or 6/8 time signatures. I’m pretty much a rock/pop/blues player, so I didn’t investigate many of the other styles and ethnic beat options, but there are quite a few choices for those as well.
The Yamaha PSR-E463 has the ability to save up to 32 registrations so you can save your current settings (voice, style, tempo, effects, etc) for quick and easy recall. There are 8 banks available, with 4 registrations in each. You select your bank FIRST (press the Bank button and use the nav buttons to scroll through) and then you can save or recall registrations. One thing that is missing here is including what registration you are currently using on the display. Even though, the 32 slots are a big improvement over the PSR-E373 which has only 9.
Here is a quick video on saving and recalling registrations:
For connectivity, there is a 1/4″ port for a sustain pedal (which can be set as a sustain pedal, to hold an arpeggio or as sustain AND hold the arpeggio), a 1/4″ headphone port that you could also use with a splitter cable to go to external speakers, or an audio interface, PA etc. There is a handy 1/8″ audio in so you can connect an external sound source like an iPad to play along with YouTube or apps etc. One thing I would like to mention here that I have noticed on every Yamaha keyboard I have owned or tested as opposed to every Casio I have owned or tested; on many Casio keyboards, including my CT-S1, the audio in volume is not balanced well with the keyboard volume; if you turn up the external device to get it loud enough to match the keyboard, it often distorts. This has NEVER been an issue with any Yamaha keyboard, and it is not with the PSR-E463, and it never distorts.
There is also a USB type A port for connecting a flash drive which can be used for:
- playing back .WAV files
- saving audio to .WAV files
- loading style files into empty user style slots
A huge feature on the Yamaha PSR-E463 is that it has an audio interface built into the USB to host port; so on most keyboards, this port is used to transmit only MIDI data (which is the data of what you play, not the actual sound of the keyboard) to a pc or iPad so you can then work with that MIDI data in recording software (using the sounds built into the software, not the actual sounds from your keyboard). But with the built in audio interface, you can not only transmit MIDI data, but you can also transmit AUDIO data (which IS the sound of your keyboard) in both directions using this port. The benefits of this are huge:
- This allows you to record audio without the need for an external audio interface device – you can connect the PSR-E463 directly to your device and then send high quality audio directly to your device’s app/software (and this is not just easier but also gives you a much better quality audio signal, because it skips a round of processing done by your external interface)
- You can also use this connection as an audio in to stream audio from your device to your piano so you hear that audio through your speakers / headphones, as an alternative to using the audio in port
Yamaha Rec’N’Share App? Nope . . .
The free Yamaha Rec’N’Share app takes advantage of the built in audio interface on some (newer) Yamaha keyboards, including the Yamaha PSR E373, and makes it SUPER easy for you to make high quality videos that you can easily upload to YouTube or social media sites, etc; and all with just one cable and a few clicks. This app does not work with the Yamaha PSR-E463 – I’m not really sure why, since the PSR-E463 has an audio interface built into its USB port.
You can however (most likely) use whatever camera app is built into your phone, or you can use the older Yamaha “My Recorder” app (I have been using the My Recorder app for over a year to make videos, and used it to make all of the videos in this review). The newer PSR-E473 and PSR-EW425 will be compatible with the newer app.
If you connect your phone or tablet to the PSR-E463’s USB port, you can then use the “My Recorder” app to record a video of you playing, and the audio will be very high quality because of the built in audio interface.
This is DEFINITELY NOT up MY alley 🙂 But the PSR-E463 has a “groove creator” built in where you can choose from various “grooves” to play along with. Basically you choose your groove, then click play to start the groove; you can specify what key the groove should be in using the notes on the left side of the keyboard, and each groove will have busier and busier “sections” that you can trigger using the accompaniment buttons to build towards a “musical climax”. And while this is playing you can play the right side of the keyboard. Once again, not MY thing but here is a QUICK demo of a piano player trying to express his “inner DJ” 😀 (Note: I’m going to play the 12 bar blues using this hahahaha)
Yamaha PSR-E463: The Other Features
Recording: You can record up to 10 songs, with 6 tracks each (5 tracks of your own + 1 track saved for accompaniment). There are no fancy features like punch in and punch out, so basically you have to record each track basically live, and perfectly from start to finish. I’m not going to bother demonstrating this feature – with all the awesome DAW apps out there for recording songs (with nice big easy to use graphical interfaces, copy and paste etc) onboard recording is in my opinion quickly becoming a thing of the past (especially when the editing is limited). It is however, a great way to quickly capture an idea. And with a built in audio interface that can send audio OR MIDI directly to your DAW, and the added feature of being able to easily record high quality audio to a flash drive, the PSR-E463 already has some fantastic and much more useful recording functionality.
Quick Sampling: This is another feature that is not up my alley, but you can sample up to 5 samples on this keyboard (from the audio in port – so not from a mic, but the playback of audio from a device), and specify whether or not to loop them. Then you can play them back using the keyboard. While this isn’t my thing, I think it would be much more interesting if this keyboard had a mic in port so you could do this with singing instead (spoiler alert: bring on the PSR-E473)
Portability: One of the benefits of buying a keyboard without fully or semi weighted keys is portability. The PSR-E463 only weighs 14 pounds (most digital pianos weigh 25-30 pounds). And since it only has 61 keys it is physically a shorter in width (although it is quite deep-deeper than most digital pianos) it is light and pretty easy to move around; and you can get by with a smaller and lighter stand as well (also easier to move around), so this is a big positive for a pianist looking for a portable option.
“Standard” Features: The PSR-E463 has many standard features you see in almost all keyboards nowadays, such as a metronome, and the ability to transpose keys.
Speakers: The speakers on the Yamaha PSR-E463 are 12 watts total (6 per side) so they are a big step up on the PSR-E373 which is only 5 watts total. The speakers sound pretty clear (Yamaha speakers are always good quality) and project well. But if you want to use this keyboard to perform in any scenario other than possibly busking in a very “intimate” setting, you will need external amplification of some sort. Here is a quick video of how the speakers sound as being picked up by the built in mic on my iPhone:
The Other Choices
- Yamaha PSR-E373, PSR-EW310: The PSR-E373 (and its 76 key version the PSR-EW310) are 2 years newer than the PSR-E463 and offer some significant advantages, mostly in terms of sound quality & price. The PSR-E373 sells for just over half the price of the 463. The 373/310 have a significantly improved piano voice (“Live Concert Grand” sampled from the CFX Grand; this voice is inherited from the PSR-EW410 (which in turn inherited it from Yamaha’s now retired line of Tyros keyboards that sold for thousands of dollars). They also offer far more DSP effects as well as “Super Articulation Lite” voices that offer different samples when you press an articulation button. Their rhythm and accompaniment features are still far behind the 463, so it depends on whether those features are important to you or not. I reviewed the PSR-E373 here if you want to check it out.
- Korg EK-50: The Korg EK-50 is a fantastic arranger keyboard with a comparable piano sound, probably not quite as good electric piano sounds, but all other sounds are comparable, and has other features like L/R line out ports as well as the best user interface on any keyboard or piano I have ever seen. It also has a very unique (and right up MY alley) way of implementing voices – they are set up as “keyboard sets”; basically Korg has done a lot of work for you by setting up groups of 4 voices (3 upper 1 lower) that sound good together, and gives you quick access buttons to turn these layers on and off. The only significant advantage the Yamaha PSR-E463 has over the Korg EK-50 is a built in audio interface, and price – the Korg EK-50 sells for about $125USD more (in 2018 they sold for almost the same). I did a preliminary review (YouTube only) on the Korg EK-50 here if you want to check it out.
- Casiotone CT-S400, CT-S500: These are 2 new arranger keyboards from Casio that were released in 2021/22. I haven’t actually seen either of these yet, but they would be worth looking at. The 400 came out first and is probably more in line competing with the PSR-E373, but the 500 is definitely a competitor for the PSR-E463. It will have a heavier feeling keybed, also has tons of voices and effects and live control knobs, more chord detection modes, superior piano voices, and also has L/R line outs. It is also more portable – it is much lighter and smaller. The areas the Yamaha PSR-E463 still has in its favor over the CT-S500 would be the ability to mute style parts (I don’t THINK you can do that on the CT-S500), a built in audio interface (I do not understand why Casio STILL hasn’t started including that feature in their keyboards), and significantly more powerful speakers at 12 watts vs. 5. To be honest for ME if you offered me a PSR-E463 or a CT-S500 for free? I would still lean to the Yamaha because of the audio interface, bigger speakers and muting of style parts – but that’s probably not fair to say yet since I haven’t seen these Casiotones yet.
- Yamaha PSR-EW410: So the EW410 is an interesting option to keep an eye on (especially for discounts as the new models are released) since it is exactly the same as the 463 except it adds:
- 76 keys
- an improved piano voice (same as the PSR-E373)
- L/R line out ports
- twice the speaker power (24 watts vs. 12 watts)
- Even though I am likely to buy an EW-425 when they become available, I will definitely be watching for sales on the PSR-EW410!
- Yamaha PSR-EW473, PSR-EW425: These are the new versions of the 463 and the 410; they were just announced in early 2022, and there is a very good chance I will be buying the PSR-EW425. I did a preview video on YouTube here if you want to check it, but here are the improvements on the new models:
- polyphony increased from 48 to 64
- new chipset/processing improvements for higher overall sound quality
- significantly improved main piano sample
- mic input with gain, effects, and a toggle switch to switch between effects on (for singing), effects off (for talking) and mute
- L/R line outs (on both models, not just the 76 key version)
- PSR-EW425 Only: has 10 enhanced organ sounds with key on/off noise, and sound leakage for more realistic organ sounds (some sampled from Yamaha’s YC series)
Yamaha PSR-E463: The Verdict
Here is what I really like about the Yamaha PSR-E463:
- overall the sounds are pretty good; even though the piano sound is getting a bit dated, it’s still totally usable, especially for modern music where you are playing along with other instruments as opposed to playing solo classical piano pieces
- the key action is light but the touch response is super accurate
- the built in audio interface is a massive feature
- the ability to mute style parts is a big feature for me
- being able to record high quality audio directly to a flash drive
- the live control knobs are super handy
What Do I Wish It Had?
- an improved piano sound
- L/R line outs
- quick access panel button for octave shifting
Overall, I do quite like this keyboard, and if it was 2018 I would be giving it a very strong positive recommendation; but it is 2022, and there are lots of alternatives that I mentioned previously from competitors as well as the new versions from Yamaha that are about to be released. I think that in 2022, it would still be a good option for you if it meets yours needs, but especially if you are able to find a used or discounted new one. The PSR-E463 is already cheaper than most of the alternatives I mentioned, so it would be a way to still get a great keyboard and save some cash.
So with all that in mind, I would definitely recommend the Yamaha PSR-E463 if it fits in with your needs and budget. If you would like to check current prices for the Yamaha PSR-E463 or any of the other keyboards I mentioned here, please click my appropriate affiliate link below to check that out. I’ve also included a link to a good generic sustain pedal that has a polarity switch.
Thanks so much, and happy piano playing! (and piano shopping 😉 )
I have included links below to Amazon so that you can check current pricing – please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
If you have any questions about my experience with the Yamaha PSR-E463, please feel free to contact me!
Here is the full video review: