All of the Yamaha arranger keyboards come with a lot of preset voices and styles. These are built right into the chips on your keyboard and they are always available. There is certainly plenty there for new owners to explore and enjoy. After a while, however, players start looking for new styles or new voices to expand their options.
Getting More Voices
The preset voices in your keyboard are derived from real sound samples from individual instruments. There are a lot of voice parameters for each voice and you can edit and change those parameters. As you do that, the voice is altered and so you can create a "new" voice and you can save that voice in your USER area. However, what you are saving is actually a small file that stores the parameter changes you made to one of the preset voices. You can create many of these and you can also look on the internet for voice files you can add to your keyboard. Look here in the Styles>Other Files>Voices section where you can freely download thousands of voices.
Some users, however, want the equivalent of new "Preset" Voices. The standard preset voices do not include many of the unique instruments used in particular countries across the world. A Brazilian player may look for very different instruments than a player from India would want.
Getting More Styles
Your keyboard includes a User area available to store additional files and it can also access files stored on a USB drive. There are a variety of ways you can get additional style files for your keyboard. As you will see in the Tuning>Adjusting Styles section, there are a series of lessons on how you can adjust those preset styles to create (and save) your own versions. In the Tuning>Creating New Styles section, the lessons explain how you can combine individual parts from several styles to create a new unique style. It is even possible to make your own styles completely from scratch. Check out Dave McEwen's article "Styles from Scratch" discussing his effort to make his own style that would pack enough pieces together to serve many similar songs.
If you are not into making your own styles, there are thousands of styles available on the internet. You can download the styles, move them to a USB drive and then access them directly from your keyboard. You can also copy those styles from the USB drive and store them permanently in the User area of your keyboard.
This site has thousands of styles freely available. Visit the Styles section where you can explore all that is available. Periodically, we compile a new collection of styles that you can purchase and download in a few large zip files. If you add a USB drive to your order, everything is copied to the USB, unzipped and ready to use and the USB is mailed out to you. Look in the Orders>Styles section to check out the various PSR Tutorial style collections.
Yamaha's Solution: Expansion Packs
With the release of the Tyros5, Yamaha created a solution to this problem with the creation of "Expansion Packs." An Expansion Pack can contain rhythms, multipads, registrations, lyrics, songs -- everything that can be stored in User area or on the USB. But it can also contain WAVE data (samples of our own sounds), which can not be stored in User or on USB. The Expansion Pack is meant to be loaded into "Expansion Memory", that provides faster data flow and can, therefore, support additional voice WAVE files.
This Expansion Memory is found as a folder under the User area. This concept has continued in subsequent keyboards. However, the amount of available space for voices in Expansion Memory varies depending on the keyboard. The Tyros5 had 2GB of Expansion Memory while the Genos has 3GB. The PSR-SX900 has 1GB while the PSR-SX700 has only 400MB. In the PSR-S models, the S975 has 768 MB , the S970 has 512MB, the S770 has 160MB and the S670 has only 32MB. The other elements in the Expansion Pack are stored in available Internal Memory, which also varies by keyboard.
To use Expansion Pack resources in your keyboard four elements are involved. To begin, you need an Expansion Pack Project File, identified by it's filetype (.ppf or .cpf). The Project file is imported into the Yamaha Expansion Manager (YEM) program. You can modify the contents of the project file, even combine multiple project files in YEM. YEM then uses your keyboard information and the entire content of your project data to create an Expansion Pack Installation File (.ppi or cpi). This installation file is now imported into your keyboard.
If the file extension starts with a "c", that indicates the file is copy protected and can only be used with a specific keyboard. All of the Expansion Pack Project Files from Yamaha will have .cpf extensions. To summarize the process:
Project File > YEM > Installation File > Expansion Memory
There are four lessons in this section that explore in some detail this process of getting, adjusting, and installing Yamaha Expansion Packs. We start, however, by exploring the Expansion Packs that are Pre-installed on the PSR-SX900 keyboard.
- "Exploring" shows you how to access the expansion pack on your keyboard. We use screen shots from the PSR-SX900 but other keyboards will work similarly.
- "Acquiring" explains what expansion packs are available and how you get them. Yamaha now has many expansion packs that are offered at no cost. We focus on these "free" expansion packs.
- "YEM" stands for Yamaha Expansion Manager, an essential Yamaha program to manage your expansion packs. Via YEM, you create an installation file that you can use to import your pack data into your keyboard.
- "Installing" shows how to take the installation file created by YEM and import it into the Expansion Memory of your keyboard.
Thanks to Casper tutorSynth for a nice YouTube video, Basic information about relationship between keyboards and YEM, that provides a good overview of this basic information. Casper is in Croatia and you probably won't understand the audio, but there is English text that explains the various screens.
This page updated on June 16, 2021 .