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The Sound Blaster
In the 80s and 90s, home computers and game consoles had built-in synthesizer chips. Instead of coming with pre-recorded music as a the soundtrack, a game cartridge would send MIDI data to the computer's synthesizer to tell it what sounds to make, and what notes, and when. Ad-lib and later Creative made a sound card called the Sound-Blaster which became very popular with the Amiga and other home computers of the early 90s. If you spent any time at all playing MSDOS games as a kid, you heard this synth. The sound card had on-board a Yamaha YM3812 FM synthesis chip, which it used to make all in-game sound effects and music. This keyboard, the Yamaha PSS-470, has that same synth chip in it! To put it plainly, this keyboard evokes a sense of nostalgia in me, and allows me to harness that nostalgia and create music with it. That is an intoxicatingly powerful thing, and I can't be more happy with it. To describe its sonic character: Think of a DX-7. Now strip away the hi-fi sound quality, four of the FM operators, MIDI, patch storage, and the nice, chunky keyboard. You lose a lot, but gain something intangible. At $40, there was no reason for me not to buy it.