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The Yamaha PSR E333 is one of the top beginner keyboards on the market. Of course this is in some part due to this being one of the most affordable instruments to feature a velocity sensitive keyboard available in Yamaha ‘s PSR range.


Alongside the velocity sensitive keyboard, the PSR E333 is jam packed with features and sounds with 113 voices, 361 Xglite voices, 13 drum voices and a special effects kit to sink your teeth into. Partner this alongside over 100 different accompaniment styles and you have yourself a keyboard that can cope with just about any style of music you could imagine.


In addition to the huge range of voices, there are load of effects to experiment with too such as 9 reverb settings, 4 chorus types, sustain and a dual/layer function two voices to be overlapped, perfect for quick compositions and harmonies.


A two-track recorder is also built in helping beginners to create, record and playback your performances and brief compositions. The PSR-E333 can also be connected to a computer via the USB socket on its back panel for use with composition software.


The E333 is perfect for use in a wide number of environments, be it a quick practice session at home, a music lesson at school or recording at the studio due to its battery power option, offering portability to a traditionally static instrument.


The E333 is great for those wishing to educate themselves with the keyboard. The Yamaha Education Suite teaches users a range of skills such as rhythm and timing, chord identification, strike accuracy and even offers a method of progress monitoring to easily track your improvement as the week go by. Conveniently the PSR-E333 can be set to the Portable Grand function at the touch of a button, producing a rich, stereo sampled concert grand piano sound, ideal for some pre-exam practice.


The Yamaha PSR E333 combines a touch-sensitive keyboard with the E233’s impeccable technology offering beginners a lower cost alternative without sacrificing on sound quality. Priced up at around £165*, there really is no competition when it come to value for money. Search Instrumania now for the best price on the Yamaha PSR E333, a true candidate for the best beginner keyboard on the market today.


*At the time of writing


Launched back in 2009, the Meridian series supercedes two previous Mapex ranges, the Pro M and M Birch. This has lead Mapex to offer the Meridian series as a selection of all-maple and all-birch drum kits.


To show that the new Meridian range of kits is more than just re-badging old drums, Mapex have added a load of new features.


Though neither kits are especially expensive, there is a sizeable difference between the cheaper to manufacture birch and the maple model, which recently won the MIPA award for Best Acoustic Drum Kit. 

The Mapex Meridian Birch Drum Kit has a slightly different feeling and response to the maple version, but is no less playable offering users plenty of attack and a remarkably bright tone.


The Birch Mapex Meridian drum kit gives players light-weight appointments compared to bulkier alternatives. From lugs to their tom mounting system, Mapex has looked at everything on this drum kit to ensure that the Meridian models are lighter, easier to set up, and better to gig with than other acoustic drum sets in the market.


The drum shells feature Mapex’s I.T.S. Mounting System in another weight saving process. By mounting to the lug casings, Mepex have kept the mount compact to enhance overall drum response allowing for minimal drum shell contact. The mounting also allows you to swap the drumheads while the tom is still attached to it's holder allowing a much easier setup while touring.


To keep the price down the heads on the Mapex Remo Asia’s see-through UT heads which are generally felt to be OK but not as resilient as the made-in-USA versions, but if you promise to look after the Unicorn heads they will last a pretty long time regardless of playing style.

Despite examples of cost cutting, the Mapex is remarkably well built. An example of this is the 700 bass pedal, which truely is a no-nonsense rugged unit with a normal sized duo footboard with a toe stop, twin spurs, and a three surfaced beater. Quite gets the job done. 


If you are in the market for a mid-ranged acoustic drum kit, that sounds great, offers a bright tone and is rugged enough to be able to travel with, you have to check out the Mapex Meridian Birch model, a great set for the intermediate player.

The Etude ETR-100 Student Trumpet comes with a .460" bore. The red brass lead pipe is designed for easy tone production and projection. This trumpet also has a first-valve thumb saddle. There is also and an adjustable 3rd valve finger ring for easy intonation adjustment and to improve the player’s comfort.


The Etude ETR-100 Student Trumpet, as you may expect is exceptionally easy to play which makes it perfect for those just starting out in brass.


Even for a cheap trumpet, the Etude ETR-100 offers beginners a lovely musical instrument at unbeatable value, the sound is of great quality despite its low price.


The Etude ETR-100 Series Student Bb Trumpet is best suited for those just starting out as beginners or students of brass, but can also be used as a great travel trumpet, as it’s pretty study for the pricetag.


There are however some drawbacks with the Etude ETR-100 Student Trumpet. Whilst i’m very happy with the level of quality in the instrument itself, I was a little disappointed at the accompanying case as the case is simply not high quality, and would be less than useful should you drop it.


One other drawback that I personally haven’t found but there have been some reports of sticking valves, which can make playing infuriating.


Having said that, for the price the Etude ETR-100 Series Student Bb Trumpet has some great features.  A first-valve thumb saddle, for those notes that can get sharp that make use of the first valve, an adjustable third-valve finger ring and a red brass lead pipe. The Etude ETR-100 Series Student Bb Trumpet also comes with a mouthpiece included and a case (although you may want to buy a replacement).


Find the Etude ETR-100 Series Student Trumpet or other cheap trumpets at Instrumania, the musical instrument comparison website

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