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Rhodes mark 7, Rhodes mark I, mark II, Nord Stage comparison


fjzingo

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Hi all,

 

 

Did a recording/video for myself to compare the sounds my Rhodes Mark 7, Fender Rhodes mark I and mark II and my nord stage.

 

It's a little bit shortened due to the limits of youtube(guess 10 minutes of rhodes is more than enough)

 

Like all comparison, it will never be all fair. The rhodes pianos have different settings the mark 7 in the typical chic corea voicing, mark2 and mark 1 more in the ideal setting. The nord stage mark 1 suitcase.

 

Everything di into my soundcard, the mark II via a summit audio 2Ba-221.

 

Please enjoy, judge for yourself what Rhodes sound you like, they are all very different.

 

 

/Fredrik

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Great comparison. I still dig the Mark I sound the best. The Mark 7 is a bit too bright and bell-like in the upper register for my taste.

 

Do they have legs for the Mark 7? That X stand scares me!

 

BTW, nice dance when you go over to the Mark II. ;)

 

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Nice playing!

I too think that the Mark 7 is quite bellish, maybe a tad too much. Anyway, perhaps you could make a neat money letting out your Mk7 to Nord for sample recording ;)

 

The Mk1 sounds sweet. A little bitey in the low end, I like that - only wish my Nord would do the same. I really love the sound of the Mk2 too - to me, the Nord Mk2 sample has become marginalized (I rarely use it!) due to its exaggerad nasal sound.

 

Now, just add the SV-1 in the pot, and you've got a REALLY interesting comparison! ;)

When in doubt, superimpose pentatonics.
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Always now I should have become a dancer instead :))

 

They have a stand to the mark7 but I did't buy it, I always hated x-stands becaause I alway hit my "shin" is it?? anyway always hit my legs when looking for the pedals. I'll see which stand I would like to have.

 

You can actually dial out the bellish component with an eq, personally I think it's great to have some bell and bite to the tone so-cut's better in a mix IMO.

 

 

/Fredrik

 

 

/Fred

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Fred, you should gaffer tape the seat to your bum.. will help you move around better ;)

 

Btw.. the thing I felt from watching those vids was how similar all those rhodes actually sound... I don't think I could pick them out in a blindfold test... add some general EQing and it gets even more blurry...

 

Guess its all in the feel of the instrument right?

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Nord Mk7 sample..??? i guess you meen Mk5?? I doubt Clavia has one of the mark 7 in the house...

 

The nasal sound I suppose is the typical Chic corea sound, thats the same as the setting my mk7 has - Nord suitcase mark I (piano 4) on the stage thats the nord piano I use + a little eq.

 

I will probably get the whole rhodes armada on me for saying this but I don't think there is so much difference in the sound between a mark I and a mark II, the preamp sounds different but when connecting directly to the harp there are more the subtle differences between different rhodes pianos that gets important.

The key action of the markII is also superior to the mark I, but the magic upgrade to the action does wonders. I just have to raise the harp on my mark 1 to get it to be more dynamic again,...

 

I will test the SV-1 at some point but I'm so into playing the real thing at the moment.

 

 

 

/Fred

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Fred, you should gaffer tape the seat to your bum.. will help you move around better ;)

 

That would probably improve the looks of my ass.....

 

Btw.. the thing I felt from watching those vids was how similar all those rhodes actually sound... I don't think I could pick them out in a blindfold test... add some general EQing and it gets even more blurry...

 

Same nurd playing...Actually the mark 1 and mark II is set pretty similar. The mark 7 I think stands out with it's bell like component but as you say....eq.

 

Guess its all in the feel of the instrument right?

 

Yeah the feel of the instrument is all, I am not directly connected to the sound of all these instruments.

 

/Fredrik

 

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Is that a pre-1975 Mark I? Sounds to me like a post-1975, in which case there's more individual variation between instruments than any systematic difference between Mark I and Mark II. Depending on the specific years, the only difference between Mark I and Mark II is the plastic cover is flat on the Mark II.

 

Please tell us the order. Based on the video, and assuming you kept the Mark I cover on the Mark I, the order is

 

Mark 7

Mark I

Nord (obvious from the sound as well as the video)

Mark II

Mark 7

 

But I could have the Mark I and II mixed, since they both sound like post-1975 Mark I / Mark II designs to me.

 

Sometime in 1977, the action changed on the Mark I to make it faster (something to do with the rail under the keys). My Mark I is post-1975, so uses the newer more robust tines; the pre-1975 tone is what I think of as the Chick Corea tone.

 

In any case, I like them all. I EQ to bring out the bell tone, so I'd probably love a Mark 7, which I've never seen in person.

 

I don't notice it in your video, but I find the lower registers on all the E2's Rhodes a bit muddy, and this is true for all their sample sets, so probably has more to do with their methodology and processing than the pianos they used. That or they just happened to get a crop of somewhat muddy pianos to sample. I like a crisp, firm, round bottom .. we are talking about Rhodes, right? anyway, my own Rhodes has lost a bit of that due to the hammer tips getting grooved with usage.

 

I agree they all sound very similar. I doubt I could tell the Mark I and Mark II. I can tell the Mark 7 in the upper registers, but you could probably EQ the others and fool me. The Electro is pretty obvious, though I like the punchy attack it has in the upper end; great for leads and easy enough to back off on for comping.

 

[edit]Silly me, I see you posted the order in the description. doh! Well, at least I got it right. ;)

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Is it just me, or does someone else hears some bad notes in Mark II part of the video? Not wrong notes, just notes that have tines too close to pickup, making that distinct noise tones like that do.

 

Great playing btw! Personally, I like how your Mark I sounds the best, altough it is quite similar to the Mark II (I own a Mark II too). BTw, how come you have 3 of them (what's the plural for a rhodes?) ?

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Nord Mk7 sample..??? i guess you meen Mk5?? I doubt Clavia has one of the mark 7 in the house...

 

The nasal sound I suppose is the typical Chic corea sound, thats the same as the setting my mk7 has - Nord suitcase mark I (piano 4) on the stage thats the nord piano I use + a little eq.

 

I will probably get the whole rhodes armada on me for saying this but I don't think there is so much difference in the sound between a mark I and a mark II, the preamp sounds different but when connecting directly to the harp there are more the subtle differences between different rhodes pianos that gets important.

The key action of the markII is also superior to the mark I, but the magic upgrade to the action does wonders. I just have to raise the harp on my mark 1 to get it to be more dynamic again,...

 

I will test the SV-1 at some point but I'm so into playing the real thing at the moment.

/Fred

You're partly right. The real problem is that the Mark I / Mark II distinction was purely marketing. The only difference between the last Mark I and the first Mark II was the flat lid. But there were changes at other times that had significant impacts on the tone.

 

The more important changes were:

 

Late 1969, early 1970, i believe, some tine assembly changes between "Fender Rhodes" and "Rhodes Mark I". Some early models even have square tonebars rather than the flat ones (tonebars being the big resonators, the other fork of what's essentially a pitchfork, Harold's basis for the design). These babies really sound cool, and I even got to play one once. I don't know the details of these early changes.

 

Some time in 1975, the Mark I tine was redesigned to one that was far, far less likely to break. The new ones sound different, and sound like all the pianos in this video. I associate the older tine with some classic early Chic Corea material, but I might be wrong about that. There may have been accompanying tonebar assembly changes as well.

 

Some time in 1977 or 1978 (IIRC), they improved the action, something to do with how the keys rest in the keybed. A friend tells me that older pianos can be retrofitted with an equivalent change, making the action lighter and faster. As we know, different action can make it seem to sound different simply because we're playing it differently.

 

Next came Mark II, which as I said was purely marketing and cosmetic.

 

Throughout the Mark II era there were a few minor changes in parts, both action and (IIRC) tonebar assembly, but they didn't significantly change the sound of the instrument. Some parts were changed from wood to plastic, as I recall.

 

The tone of all can be dramatically changed based on setup. There's a little about this in the Nord E2 manual, which is worth a quick read, showing the vertical and horizontal spacing / alignment between the end of the tine and that tine's coil. This is done individually per note.

 

There's another adjustment that can be made, called "voicing", which changes where the hammer strikes the tine. You don't do this individually per note, but by unscrewing the "harp" from the frame and sliding the two ends (high-note/low-note) closer to or further from the keybed, and testing. When you have it how you want it, you tap new holes and bolt the harp back down.

 

One wonders which of the two adjustments is best to do first. My guess would be 1, then 2, then 1 again.

 

BTW, Scarbee Rhodes were sampled direct from the harp, and so were my own Rhodes samples. IMHO, this should be nearly indistinguishable from through the EQ with both knobs turned fully clockwise.

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Thanks LearJeff for updating us on the rhodes story-long time since I read the electro manual, you just reminded me of how great the info background pages were in this. The mark II update was really great flat top and excellent key action-thumbs up.

 

I work a lot with the eq on my nord stage to get the sound I like and fits a tune, there is a resemblance between the pianos of the electro and stage but I must say the nord stage brought a major improvement. On the electro I did emphasize around 1.5 kHz with the presence button which gave the rhodes a better bite. It cut's. I agree about the muddiness but I think its all over the nord cpd to the real thing. Having said that-I really like the Nord Rhodes sound.

 

The mark I is a 76 model, got it 10 years ago, one owner bla, bla used it at a lot of gigs in the beginning but always broke tines..........Freddan adlers fixed the voicing and intalled the magic touch in it. Plastic hammers with keyfelt glued to the hammers.

 

The Mark II I got this summer quite cheap, this piano has been standing in a church in northern sweden for quite a number of years, almost like new. Voiced it quickly myself since the voicing was all over the place, there is still some work necessery on this piano aligning the tines towards the pickups and some tuning stuff.

 

Pale, I don't know exctly what you mean with pickup tine distance??

 

Mark 7, got a great offer and bought it.....

 

So three kids and three rhodes pianos, one each :))

 

/Fred

 

 

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Sometimes, when the tine is too close to the pickup and you play something fortissimo, you get a clunking tone (tine hitting the pickup). I think I heard that sound once or twice during your video, on the Mark II part of the video. Maybe I am wrong, I'll give it another listen later on.
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You know, I had a hard time comparing the sounds, because I just got lost in bit in enjoying your playing. You play very well indeed, Fred!

 

Damn, makes me jones for a Mark VII again. I gotta quit watching this stuff... ;)

 

--Dave

Word!

 

Great soloing man... Your awesome... I wish i could play like you

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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From the direct signal, my ears liked the Mark 7 the least. Of course, as you said, it's voiced a bit differently from the rest, so it's kinda tough to make an A-B comparison. It did sound worlds better in the second video with some EQ though.

 

I'm definitely more than a little jealous that you have all 4 of those bad boys at your disposal.

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Thanks greg

 

Bridog, unfortunately I oftenmost don't have them all up at the same time yet because it's overcrowding my library-home studio-but that will be sorted in due time. I work quite a lot with eq all the time, especially with the stage so perhaps i should have gotten the active version. Anyhow it would be great to have a good analog eq with variable q and sweep.

 

/Fred

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Fred, you're playing is terrific.

 

The one thing I noticed about the mark VII (and I haven't watched your second video yet) is that the bell-like character in the upper registers doesn't seem to ring like the others. Where the others seem to still have some tone after note off, the VII seems to dampen it immediately. It sounds pretty good when you're playing a note, but the VII does seem to lack a certain singing quality that the others have.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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From the direct signal, my ears liked the Mark 7 the least.
Yeah, I agree. The Mk 7 sounds more like a modeled Rhodes to my ears, much less natural I guess.

 

sorry but this is garbage... I've played Freds actual rhodes twice on 2 separate occassions, once in Gothenburg, once in Stockholm... even my buddies who are way more advanced than me and anyone on this forum (and I know Carlo/Marino would agree with me on this) agree that the new rhodes is great... its not much different to an old rhodes but its all new parts... a great thing to have in these times.

 

to say it sounds like a computerised model is just insane.... you have NO idea what you are talking about.. sorry Kanker but I think your credibiltiy is low at this point...

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I've heard Kevin (Kanker) play. His musicianship is unassailable. You may disagree with his opinions, but you can't fault his credibility.

 

I don't agree with his judgement in this case, but it's a pretty subjective thing and he's merely offering an opinion.

 

Of course, he'd be the first to admit that he's crazy. ;)

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Yeah, really OF. That was rather harsh. Kevin is opinionated, no doubt, but that comes close to a personal attack.

 

I think if what Kevin was talking about is the same as the point I was making, that could sound like a poor model to some ears.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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