Yamaha PSS-460 & 570
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Yamaha PSS-460 & 570
That Soundblaster video game sound in a mid-80s home keyboard...


Yamaha Portasound PSS-460 (1986)

The 460 was one of a few of Yamaha's PSS range to use the same YM3812 sound-generating chip used in the Soundblaster soundcards of the late 80s/90s. Synth settings are editable via the sliders on the top right of the control panel.

All sounds you hear in the track were made using the PSS-460; some were run through delay pedals (the Vestax DDX vintage digital delay and the more recent Boss DD7).

This track was released on the album ALF.

Hear the album


Yamaha Portasound PSS-570 (1987)

The PSS-470 and 570 were cosmetic upgrades of the 460 and 560. Unlike the PSS-460/470, the 560/570 also has a separate chip for the drums.

I added stereo multi-tap delay to the main chords using the Audiority Deleight plugin. I double-tracked the lead synth part (each part tuned fractionally differently) to give it a fatter sound, and in places added another layer an octave up.

This track was released as a single, Reflector.

Hear the single

Yamaha PSS-460 vs. Casio MT-600

This track was released on the album ALF.

Hear the album

Yamaha Portasound PSS-570 (1987)

This track was released on the album Once.

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Live jam featuring Ian Bostic on drums and Alfonse on the Yamaha PSS-460 and PSS-580, as well as Novation Bass Station ii. The PSS-460 tracks were overdubbed later (the lead was double-tracked and slightly detuned to sound a little bigger), with effects provided by two TC Electronic pedals: Alter Ego delay on the Copycat and Specho settings and the Hall of Fame mini reverb.

This track was released on the album From the Live Room.

Hear the album


If you have one of these keyboards and want to recreate the sounds, here are the parameters:

Main chords = Trumpet 333255
Main Bass = Jazz Guitar 435455 (layered with Jazz Guitar 313455)
Extra bass layer in middle = Jazz Guitar 415455
Lead = Cosmic 334245 (3 layers with differences in pitch)
Extra lead layers in chorus = Popsynth 322343 and Slapsynth 525335
Rhythmic low notes = Synth 225555
Repeated note in middle = Horn 435253
Lead in middle = Flute 5x5333
FX = Vibes 153543
FX = Clarinet 555555

Night Vision
1 = Bluesynth 251133
2 = Synth 235453
3 = Vibes 555533
4 = Synth 353133

Frost Pocket
Bass = Synth 315553
Floaty lead = E. Piano 353133
Mellow chords = Synth 322323
Slow attack notes = Synth 224133
Overlay bass = Synth 425553

Starlight Champion
Beginning chords = Synth 513135
End chords = Saxophone 223144