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Yamaha PSR-E263 Review 

 December 7, 2021

By  Zen Chung

The ideal starter keyboard for aspiring musicians is the Yamaha PSR-E263. Although its 61 keys are barely sufficient for persons looking for an advanced digital piano, the features it packs make it a favorite among piano teachers as they give students the best chance to learn the basics while dabbling with sophisticated aspects. Before we dive into our in-depth review and comparisons with other offerings from the Yamaha Corporation, let us look at a short history of the company.

The Yamaha Corporation

When Torakusu Yamaha founded the Nippon Gakki Company, which today is known as the Yamaha Corporation, in 1887, his primary focus was manufacturing reed organs. Interestingly, if you can find pictures of the first products made by the corporation, you will find a plaque with its name written as Yamaba. However, since Torakusu wanted to expand into overseas markets, they switched to Yamaha, far more manageable for foreigners to pronounce.

It wasn't until 1900 when the company's founder ventured into pianos by building an upright. However, after the Second World War, the president turned the corporation's attention to motorcycles, but after enjoying success, the division soon became a fully-fledged company.

Today, the Yamaha Corporation has its fingers in numerous industrial sectors, including home consumer electronics, semiconductors, industrial robots, etc. Impressively, the company is the largest manufacturer of musical instruments globally. However, you can still see the deep audiophile roots in their logo with three tuning forks interlocked together.

The corporation's popularity and market share speak to the quality of its products. The Yamaha PSR-E263 is no exception, as you will find out in our in-depth review.

YAMAHA PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard
  • The PSRE263 Yamaha portable keyboard features a wide variety of sounds and...
  • 61 full sized keys are great for learning and developing keyboard playing...
  • The Yamaha Education Suite can be used with the more than 100 preset songs,...
  • The aux line input allows you to connect any music device with a headphone...
  • Power adapter sold separately; Tone generating technology: AWM stereo sampling

a). Specifications

The Yamaha PSR-E263 is the ideal starter keyboard because it has the affordable price of an entry-level device with plenty of features that make it stand above the rest. Nevertheless, it is incorrect to refer to the instrument as a digital keyboard since products in the Yamaha PSR series have numerous significant differences. As such, it is an Arranger Keyboard.

1. Piano Sounds

  • AWM Stereo Sampling in the tone generating technology.
  • 16 drum or SFX kits with 384 voices.
  • The polyphony maximum is 32 notes.
  • It offers sound layers and splits.
  • 6 types of Master EQ.
  • 9 types of reverb.
  • 3 types of ultra-wide stereo.
  • 5 chorus types.
  • It supports multi-finger presets.
  • 130 presets.

2. Keyboard

  • The Yamaha PSR-E263 comes with 61 full-size keys.
  • The keys are touch-sensitive.
  • Synth-action is available on the piano-style keys.

3. Connectivity

  • It has an AUX line input.
  • Lacks USB connectivity and specifications on MIDI connectivity.
  • It offers both line input and output.
  • Pedal input available.
  • There are no specifications on the type of storage, and you cannot expand it.
  • Data capacity of about 300 notes.
  • Recording function.
  • 158 accompaniment styles.
  • There are 112 preset songs.
  • An LCD screen for quick navigation Yamaha PSR functions.
  • It has built-in speakers.
  • It lacks pitch bend or modulation.
  • It supports a sustain pedal.

4. Controls

  • It supports metronome.
  • You can adjust the tempo range between 11 to 280.
  • You can control the transpose from -12 to 0 and 0 to 12.
  • You can tweak the tuning in 0.2 HZ increments from 427.0 - 440.0 - 453.0 Hz.
  • Duo-mode.

b). Design

The Yamaha PSR-E263 is a compact keyboard featuring a lightweight design with a traditional look but modern accents. All the buttons for accessing functions and settings are on the front of the keyboard layout. Additionally, you can find an LCD screen that shows you the current presets and other essential information. Plus, the LCD has a backlight for operating in low-light conditions.

You can find the two built-in speakers above the keys on opposite sides of the keyboard controls. These sound generators offer a comprehensive listening experience thanks to the ultra-wide stereo field. Thus, you can comfortably play the on-board songs or have your favorite songs connect via the AUX line input.

This portable keyboard comes with 61 keys, a far cry from an average of 88 keys. However, this number is excellent if you pick up this musical instrument for the first time and want to learn the ropes. Unfortunately, this means you may not practice classical sheet music because you have limited piano sounds.

Moreover, the keys on the Yamaha PSR-E263 are not weighted. However, the excellent touch-sensitive keys come at a very affordable price. Moreover, the keys are ideal for beginners as it teaches them to balance pressure and rhythm while expressing themselves when playing. Thus, you can achieve the same instrument prowess when learning with the PSR-E263.

If you are looking for a reliable portable keyboard, the Yamaha PSR-E263 uses AA battery power for operation. Thus, it is a convenient device for getting the right notes while on the road. Additionally, the dimensions, weight and very affordable price make it a preferred secondary keyboard when traveling. After all, you need to set it up on a table or any flat surface and start producing great sounds with this portable music player.

c). Sound Quality

The sound quality of the Yamaha PSR-E263 is impressive for the cost, but it lags far behind other premium models because of the price difference. Nevertheless, the ultra-wide stereo speaker system works well to expand and make the voice sound richer. Plus, you should not expect to hear punchy audio since the built-in speakers are not the biggest. After all, the lightweight design makes it tricky to fit a beefier speaker system.

Furthermore, the AWM StereoSampling helps the Yamaha PSR-E263 produce great sound despite being a compact and portable keyboard. You get numerous preset songs pooled from grand pianos in the Yamaha Corporation line for the sounds. Consequently, you can use the comprehensive library of built-in songs when composing your own music with the same instrument.

Although some users complain that the preset songs require updating, the audio quality from the quasi-digital keyboard is excellent. However, you can find just about every kind of music genre to choose from to ensure you are spoiled for choice. Plus, you will get realistic audio reproduction. Moreover, you get 6 types of Master EQ settings, 9 types of reverb, 3 types of ultra-wide stereo and 5 chorus types in the digital piano.

d). Accompaniment Styles and Tones

The Yamaha PSR-E263 portable keyboard has 16 drum or SFX kits and 384 voices. Additionally, you get 130 accompaniment styles that cover numerous music genres worldwide. The accompaniment styles will typically play a single or numerous instruments in the background simultaneously. Hence, using the Master EQ, you can simulate an entire orchestra while adding snippets from your songbook with different backings.

Nevertheless, accompaniment styles in more modern keyboards are dependant on the player because they are dynamic. The Yamaha PSR-E263 has an auto-accompaniment recording function that gives you backing depending on the chords you choose to play. Still, this feature is excellent for beginners as it allows them to focus on the foreground while getting real-time assistance for the backing tracks.

Moreover, the Yamaha PSR-E263 gives you 32 polyphony notes. Although audiophiles may not be impressed by this figure, beginners looking for an entry-level portable keyboard have more than enough.

e). Features

1. Yamaha Education Suite

The on-board lesson feature in the Yamaha PSR-E263 further cement this product as an ideal starter keyboard. The Yamaha Education Suite is a teaching tool that simplifies the piano learning process and makes it pretty fun. In addition, the feature allows you to use the built-in songs to practice your skills. So whether you are trying to grasp correct timing, accurate listening with the instrument's speakers or understanding the waiting modes, the PSR-E263 has you covered.

Aspiring musicians can build a solid foundation for placing their fingers, figuring out the different chords and tempo, recognizing the notes, different reproduction systems and correct timing. Nevertheless, the powerful features of the Yamaha Education Suite are not a perfect substitute for a piano teacher. Thus, the on-board lessons are an excellent segway into learning to adjust the Master EQ and other aspects of the portable keyboard.

The nine-step lesson function of the Yamaha Education Suite also uses the LCD for a visual learning experience. Additionally, you can progress to the next level when comfortable with the knowledge gathered so far. Hence, the on-board lessons on the PSR-E263 allow you to move at your own pace.

2. Recording Function

The simple recording function in the Yamaha PSR-E263 simplifies the process of analyzing your songs to figure out the parts you need to work on. Furthermore, since the phase recorder allows you to listen from the audience's perspective, you can gauge your development as an aspiring musician. Plus, the external speaker system offers excellent audio reproduction so that you do not miss a beat.

The partner duo mode is a feature that allows the Yamaha PSR-E263 to operate in a dual function. This quality can split the portable keyboard into two indistinguishable halves with two middle C notes. Thus, if you want to work closely with your teacher, you can sit alongside them to see the correct notes as you enjoy playing the same musical instrument.

3. Connection Play

The connection play features on the Yamaha PSR-E263 include sustain pedal and headphone output. For starters, the AUX line input turns the keyboard into a portable music player thanks to its external speaker system. Thus, you can have your favorite songs connect to the device and enjoy the sounds.

Unfortunately, you do not get USB connectivity support for the Yamaha PSR-E263. However, you will be hard-pressed to find a more capable portable keyboard at this price point.

4. Speakers

If you want to turn your simple recording function into a playback routine where you gauge your skills, a decent external speaker system is essential. Otherwise, you would have no way of knowing whether you play wrong notes in certain pieces or you can comfortably play the correct notes shown. Unfortunately, most entry-level keyboards do not have the best built-in speakers.

The Yamaha PSR-E263 is an outlier in audio quality in the instrument's speakers. For starters, you get ultra-wide stereo from the sound equipment. Plus, the audio will not sound distorted when you use the maximum volume on them.

Moreover, you can nurture your creativity by using reverb and chorus sound effects. In addition, the aux line input turns your portable keyboard into an amp and speakers for any connected devices. Plus, you can use the Yamaha PSR-E263 with a pair of headphones if you want a personal listening experience. Thus, you can practice at whatever time without worrying about complaints from neighbors and the people you live with.

f). What Stands Out in the PSR-E263

The full-sized keys on the Yamaha PSR-E263 allow you to play the musical instrument without exhausting your fingers. Additionally, the keys give you an excellent opportunity to practice playing on a classical piano. Thus, this model gives you an authentic learning experience at a fraction of the cost.

The duo mode on the Yamaha PSR-E263 lets you split the two middle C notes and have two people use the instrument simultaneously. Consequently, you can play along with your piano teacher to help you get the correct notes shown. Plus, the single function adjust button makes the splitting process simple.

The 400 instrument sounds on the Yamaha PSR-E263 include audio attention reverb and chorus that adds life to your performances and composition. So you can enjoy playing a comprehensive songbook, and rest assured that it sounds great.

The 130 demo rhythms and 112 built-in songs make the PSR-E263 portable keyboard a favorite among aspiring musicians. These extensive libraries keep you busy practicing and composing. Plus, you can boost your creativity by sampling different pieces.

In addition, the nine-step lesson function in the Yamaha PSR-E263 makes it the ideal starter keyboard. From learning how to place your fingers to following along on some famous compositions, the Yamaha Education Suite has the tools to help you play the correct notes shown in a conducive environment. After all, you can progress to the next stage once comfortable with the previous one.

Since the Yamaha PSR-E263 is compact and uses AA batteries, you are free to take it outside and put on a show without worrying about power. Also, the size allows you to travel with it hassle-free. Plus, you can always carry extra AA batteries when you want to go camping with your music.

g). The Drawbacks of the PSR-E263

Unfortunately, if you want weighted keys, you may have to spend more and get a more advanced portable keyboard. The PSR-E263 has touch-sensitive keys that will give you an authentic piano playing experience since they can bounce back after you press them. Plus, the keys will last a long time. However, the lack of pressure sensitivity means the notes will not change depending on how hard you press the keys.

The accompaniment styles can seem too loud for some users. Additionally, there is no volume function adjust settings you can tweak to correct the situation. Thus, the underlying tunes on the PSR-E263 can overshadow your performance.

The semi-digital piano build of the PSR-E263 means you will not find any USB or MIDI inputs in this portable keyboard. So if you need computer connectivity, you will need to spend more on an advanced one.

Comparing the Yamaha PSR-E263 with Other Similar Offerings from the Yamaha Corporation

1. Casio CTK 2500

The Casio CTK 2500 uses battery power, but it can also plug into an external supply. Like the Yamaha PSR-E263, the model has chorus and reverb effects, along with a transposer and metronome. However, the price difference between the two is slight, but the PSR-E263 packs more features in its compact keyboard design.

The Casio CTK 2500 comes with 100 preset styles, 48 polyphonic notes, 400 sounds and 60 on-board songs. These figures are pretty similar to the PSR-E263 and complement the beginner market focus of the product. However, the CTK 2500 has dance music absent in the other model.

2. Yamaha YPT 260

Although the Yamaha YPT 260 is cheaper than the PSR-E263, the two share numerous features. For example, they both have Master EQ and 61 full-size keys. In addition, the two pianos have the same number of preset styles, polyphonic notes and voices. But, the YPT has 10 more entries in its songbook than the Yamaha PSR-E263.

In both models, you can take advantage of the comprehensive library and on-board lesson feature in the Yamaha Education Suite to get the hang of the musical instrument. Similarly, they both have portable design battery operation and can use an external power source. However, a critical difference between the two is the lack of a sustain pedal in the YTP 260.

3. Yamaha PSR-E363

The Yamaha PSR-E363 is a newer model to the PSR-E263 and comes with just about every kind of genre in its expansive 574 sound libraries. In addition, you get 165 preset styles on the E363, a songbook with 154 entries and 48 polyphonic notes. The latter has a recording function, backlit display and recording memory.

On the other hand, both models support a partner duo mode, metronome and transposer. If you want to use digital devices, the Yamaha PSR-E363 can support Apple products like the iPod and iPhone.

Accessories to Use with the Yamaha PSR-E263

1. Headphone Output

Aspiring musicians tend to have difficulty practicing when people can hear the piano since they require work. Plus, whether you are relying on the nine-step lesson function of the on-board lessons or figuring out the built-in songs, people complaining about how you sound will not do favors for your confidence. Thus, finding a way to practice on your own is essential to producing great sounds and hitting the correct notes in the future.

Look for headphones that can cover your ear. The enclosed design is excellent at isolating noises around you and improving the audio quality as the voice sound richer. Plus, no one will complain when you play wrong notes accidentally.

2. Foot Pedal Input

Having a foot pedal input accessory helps you learn the ropes and widens your skills as a beginner. Luckily, you can find numerous extras designed to work with the Yamaha PSR-E263.

3. Power Adapter

Unfortunately, the portable design battery operation of the Yamaha PSR-E263 means that the device is sold without a power adapter. However, you can buy this accessory separately when not relying on the AA batteries for juice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Yamaha PSR-E263?

1. Is Yamaha PSR E263 good for beginners?

The PSR-E263 is the ideal starter keyboard with features to help you learn and develop your own music. This model has full-sized keys for an authentic experience, a duo mode to play with a teacher, the Yamaha Education Suite when learning at your pace, and an extensive library of instrument sounds for practice.

2. Is the Yamaha PSR E263 worth it?

Although the PSR-E263 lacks crucial computer connectivity via a USB or MIDI input, this model is worth it. The low price and wealth of features key to learning to play the piano make it a favorite among aspiring musicians. Plus, the duo mode makes it stand out among other competitors in its price range.

3. Is Yamaha PSR E263 touch-sensitive?

The full-sized keys on the PSR-E263 are touch-sensitive. Although they lack the weighted feel of premium models, the keys are ideal for learning the ropes. Still, weight-sensitive versions offer more authenticity since they can mimic the feel of a grand piano.

4. Which Yamaha PSR is best?

The Yamaha PSR-E373 is the best model in the PSR range because of its affordable price and professional features. Additionally, it is compatible with a mobile application and allows you to connect with a computer via the USB audio interface.

                                                                                 Image Source: Unsplash.com

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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