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PSA: black friday Scarbee sales


Stokely

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Perhaps not worthy of a thread, but as I'm personally looking for an EP to supplant the Logic Pro X "vintage electric piano", this is my front-runner so far for Black Friday!

 

Scarbee Classic EP-88s

 

Half price, along with other Scarbee offerings.

 

If I missed a larger Black Friday thread I'll ditch this one.

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This is a library i use all the time and I think it is well spend money...

I myself think of buying the clavinet/pianet library, although its big and i only need the clavinet...

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Highly recommended at half price. I just finished doing some comparisons of eight different jazz tunes this past weekend using different Rhodes libraries, and reached the same conclusions as before, which is that I need both the new Scarbee and the Soniccouture Canterbury, and that it is source-dependent as to which works best on a particular song.

 

I haven't yet found specific commonalities between the songs that sound better on Scarbee vs. Soniccouture. And that's after lots of tweaking of both as well, even matching settings as closely as possible. But they did take fairly different recording approaches.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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They're on par discount-wise as of today, as Best Service is offering all Soniccouture products at 50% off (probably at the vendor website as well; I haven't checked yet).

 

After changing album track order and relistening several times back-to-back of a Soniccouture part followed by a Scarbee part, I'm going to spend even more time today seeing about using the Soniccouture or the new hybrid from AcousticSamples as there seems a bit less energy and "spank" on the Scarbee tune. So I think it may be that I'm finding Scarbee best for mellow ethereal stuff and Soniccouture better for the more up-tempo and dynamic pieces. Both are great though, as is the new hybrid from AS.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Since they're both on sale now, and I just spent the past four hours getting really deep on all of my top-tier Rhodes libraries, this is just an update to say that Canterbury has displaced Scarbee on all my jazz material now.

 

The Soniccouture library has more spank, tighter attack, better pedal handling, and smoother tremolo -- which works best when assigned to CC1 (or your choice; I find CC1 the most intuitive for such effects). But it takes a lot more work to get it exactly where you want it, if you have something specific in mind, as it's a VERY deep instrument.

 

The Scarbee can especially be useful when just fiddling around, or when not yet sure of your final sound, as it's easier to get a variety of useful settings without much effort. But I'm simply not able to get it to speak as dynamically or as warmly as the Soniccouture library. Possibly related to different mic choices, or the routing flexibility (line, mic blend, etc.).

 

Nothing else comes close to those two ANYMORE. There are some very well-recorded libraries such as the new Vintage Electric from PSound, but they don't have much flexibility, so unless you plan to do ALL of your signal path details and processing down-stream, none of those other libraries will get you very close to a more typical "real world" Rhodes sound.

 

Surprisingly, the Purgatory Creek stuff -- recently on sale for $10 total as it's now packages by Puremagnetik -- sounds a bit better to me than the similar UVI Tines Anthology (which also covers Mark II and Mark V). But it too has way less in the features department than the two new kings.

 

If you're looking for a more modern Rhodes sound, it's not well known that Toontrack has a Rhodes Mark 7 library for EZKeys called Dream Machine, which is very well done, but of course isn't the sound most people are going for if they're looking to get into vintage territory. It may go on sale this week though as Toontrack is offering more products on sale each day this week.

 

Sadly, the new VTines from Acoustic Samples has proven quite disappointing to me due to how woofy it gets, and I haven't found a way yet to keep it from muddying up. It may improve with age though, as the vendor may send updates for the modeling part of the library at some point, just as they did for the B-5 Organ.

 

Given the steep discounts this Black Friday, hopefully some of you can afford to buy both the Soniccouture and the Scarbee. They're worth it.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I like the Canterbury suitcase very much too, but in the upper octaves i find the volume is to low, even if i set the scaling parameter on zero. So for soloing in a loud band it doesnt work for me.

Nord Stage 2 76, Nord Electro 5D 73, Rhodes Mk2 73, Sequential Prophet 10 Rev4, Akai Miniak Synth, Roland JC 120

 

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I like the Canterbury suitcase very much too, but in the upper octaves i find the volume is to low, even if i set the scaling parameter on zero. So for soloing in a loud band it doesnt work for me.

 

Its not just that the volume drops off but the tone changes drastically (i.e. all of a sudden no snap) starting from the second Ab or A above middle C. I'm hoping Mark S has a tweak for this that I haven't discovered.

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How does the new Scarbee compare to the old MarkI Scarbee in the Vintage Keys collection? Thats remained my goto Rhodes, even after I got Lounge Lizard (which I prefer for Wurli). These days, I play a lot of my Rhodes on my Mojo though, so Im not sure Im itching for a new tines library, but if this one is somehow worlds better, I might grab it.

 

Also, someone says its a stand-alone, not-Kontakt plug-in, but from what I can tell, it is a Kontakt library.

Puck Funk! :)

 

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makersâ¦yada yada yadaâ¦maybe a cat?

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Eric, I think "Kontakt Library" is what they mean by "standalone", in that you can use it with Kontakt Player vs. having to buy a full Kontakt license.

 

The new Scarbee is four times as good as the old, and the original was my go-to for almost a decade also. It's just more dynamic overall, but also I often need the full 88 keys, actually sampled vs. stretched.

 

The Rhodes sound is more than just the keyboard, which is why I am moving away from libraries that require the "rest" of the sound to be downstream effects, as the end result isn't as organic: the way in which the amp and built-in effects on the original, interact with every nuance of playing, is key (no pun intended).

 

I'll review my tracks to see if they are in the noted "problem range" for Canterbury, as I can't remember. I moved a few e-piano tracks to acoustic piano (or call/response combination) recently, but I have a particularly challenging solo section on one song that it took me hours last night to get back to the spank and bark it had when I first wrote it using hardware.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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OK, turns out I don't go up high that often on Rhodes, in order not to compete with the flute section in my jazz material, but ironically it is the very range that others say is problematic that is the LEAST of a problem for me in terms of cutting through.

 

So I suspect instrumentation is critical in this regard. And though I have some e-piano parts in other genres, it's mostly comping in the mid-range vs. some wild soloing in my jazz material that runs across the entire keyboard rather rapidly.

 

There is NO guitar in these particular songs. Upright bass, drums, flute and alto flute, sometimes sax, trumpet, trombone, and occasionally other winds. I have other instrumentation in other songs, but the ones that feature e-piano tend to be along these lines.

 

Unlike with earlier e-piano products though, I am starting with the presets, as my own from-scratch tweaking didn't get me there. So this brought me to the realization of how important the internal effects chain is.

 

With that background for context, I'll just say that the range of presets in Canterbury is phenomenal, and less so in Scarbee (though there is a lot of genre coverage; just not quite as much timbral variance). I still tweak from there, but not so much the effects themselves as the mic mix, the tone controls, and other "front panel" stuff. And I use MIDI to vary the Tremolo.

 

For high-frequency cut that doesn't sound harsh, I recommend studying the "Simple Bite" preset in the "Cleaner" category, for cues as to what makes that one cut through better than others when there's a bit of weight above C4. I used it on a part that jumps wildly across the entire keyboard.

 

Similarly, in another song where I have super-fast arpeggios in the upper registers, those notes cut through WAY better than the mid-range notes (and that's also what I wanted, so it took a while to find a match). I started with the oddly named "Cowboy" preset under the "Dirtier" category, and then for the extremely complex solo that nevertheless stays mostly in the for-me-problematic mid-range and has wild dynamics that need every note to cut through, I started with the "Jim Beam Commercial" preset under the "Dirtier" category.

 

Many of the other settings ALMOST got me where I needed to be, and I hope to have time to compare some of the 2nd and 3rd choices with the 100% confident winners (I really am done now, finally), so that I can get back to doing my own presets from scratch.

 

On the Scarbee, the core issues were consistent across all settings, which was not true of the Canterbury library. Primarily, notes aren't as fast to speak and thus the attack doesn't cut through as well, but if you raise the note on velocity, the timbre gets too harsh and unpleasant and doesn't decay quickly enough. I just don't feel it has as much "spank" to it overall, which is why I'm likely to use it on more atmospheric material.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Just to clarify, I do a combination of playing-over and editing pre-played MIDI, which is why I mentioned earlier that the Scarbee 88 might be more satisfactory for people primarily interested in using it live, as it takes less effort to get it to a sound that's roughly what you were aiming for.

 

During last night's tweaking, I was doing both, as I wanted to make sure that I wasn't dealing with scaling issues, and that was less time-consuming than tweaking the scaling itself. In the studio though, nothing short of perfection is acceptable.

 

There may still be some stuff I could do with the Scarbee 88 to get more "spank" out of it, which is what I need when cutting through a horn section. But my personal perception is that there is less range of what can be done than with the Soniccouture product. Yet both leave all other choices in the dust at this time. And for under $100 on sale, you may as well buy both.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Does the Scarbee 88 work with the free Kontakt Player from NI that also comes with Komplete Select or does it require the full version of Kontakt to be purchased (or Komplete)?

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Nord Stage 4 HA73, Nord Wave 2, Korg Nautilus 73, Viscount Legend Live, Lots of Mainstage/VST Libraries

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I recommended the EP-88 to a friend and helped her download & install it. It's nice but seems to be lacking something I think most other high-end piano sample libraries (both acoustic & electric) have: a way to control the level of the release samples. The EP-88's are on the loud side in my opinion. If your "release technique" is not that great you can count on hearing a lot of flamming release noises. Depending on the context it might be very noticeable and might detract from the experience. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time!) and there is a way to lower release levels, but I didn't see it.
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I recommended the EP-88 to a friend and helped her download & install it. It's nice but seems to be lacking something I think most other high-end piano sample libraries (both acoustic & electric) have: a way to control the level of the release samples. The EP-88's are on the loud side in my opinion. If your "release technique" is not that great you can count on hearing a lot of flamming release noises. Depending on the context it might be very noticeable and might detract from the experience. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time!) and there is a way to lower release levels, but I didn't see it.

 

No, you didn't miss it in the main GUI and I think it's a valid criticism. But in Kontact assuming you're using the full up version (not sure about the Player version) if you click on the the little Monkey wrench icon and then select Group Editor you can find the Release sample group or groups being used (or select them all) and then turn down the volume in the amplifier section below.

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I just spent another couple of hours on the Scarbee vs. Soniccouture battle tonight, on a song I had forgotten to review during the last round, due to it being a separate arrangement I made of the same song for a different album I'm working on.

 

This is a cover of Chick Corea's "Hymn to the Seventh Galaxy". I did one version with full horn arrangement and acoustic piano, and another more traditional arrangement that features the Rhodes (also at a different tempo).

 

As I am emulating Chick's playing style on this song, it brings out VERY different aspects of these libraries than show up on my original compositions. So while I have now switched to Canterbury from Soniccouture for all currently active originals, I went the other way with the RTF cover and replaced with Classic EP-88s.

 

In final review of several renditions with both, where I adjusted my playing a bit for attack, sustain, and in some cases even dropping high notes by an octave, I think I "sort of" understand now why the Scarbee can work better in some cases even though it's not as articulate as the Soniccouture and has a bit of a distant sound even with no reverb or delay.

 

The Scarbee simply has more character, and richer harmonic structure when playing clusters like Chick tends to do (e.g. three adjacent semi-tones). And also, it is easier to get a good setting that works on material that varies wildly in articulations, between hyper-staccato playing and long held notes ands clusters.

 

Also, the attempts to match them (no success!) quickly made clear to me that the Scarbee is the more "performer" oriented of the two, in terms of quick, intuitive, and simple access to the parameters most likely to be needed for setting up an initial sound for a specific piece.

 

The Soniccouture goes deeper and can do more. But I find it more difficult to balance bark vs. bite, brightness vs. mid-range, etc. And even once I get there (and it speaks more clearly than the Scarbee), it can be at the cost of the right balance of phase, smear, aggressiveness, and colour.

 

I think still more time is needed, to fully understand the differences, but it is midway through the night now and I haven't the concentration to study the user manuals and write-ups of how they were recorded, what mics (where relevant vs. line-only input), overall signal path, amp choices (when in the signal path), etc. Or even home-grown effects vs. wrapping a GUI around Kontakt's built-in effects?

 

The one thing for sure, is that the Reverb in Scarbee's library smears the sound in a non-flattering away, blurring the image, the warmth, note separation, and other aspects without really contributing much positive along the way. But the other effects that I have tried so far seem of good quality and well-matched to the Rhodes sound. I turn off the reverb though.

 

Soniccouture's room reverbs aren't ideal for the most part either, but are more configurable. It has a very good set of plate reverbs though, and I tend to prefer those anyway.

 

One more note, about the high octave: you REALLY have to pull back on the attack, with the Scarbee, and also not use clusters (drop some notes by an octave), as it gets very harsh and overly bright as well as tinny. Not sure why this is, but I haven't played a real Rhodes in several years now, so maybe that's actually an accurate rendition.

 

Oh, I should also mention that I bought the matrix expansion for the Scarbee and feel it is essential. For the RTF cover, my starting point was the rather obvious preset, "Return to Life", which with a few tweaks really nails Chick's mid-70's sound.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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This is coming down to the wire for me today with a few hours left in the sale. I'm very intrigued by this plug in for $50, but do I have "enough" Rhodes options between Scarbee Mark One, Purgatory Creek Mark One, Addictive Keys Mark One, Neo Soul Keys Studio, Mainstage Electric Piano, Arturia Stage 73, Dave Weiser's sounds on my Kurzweil Forte and the Roland Super Natural EPs....

 

Do I really need another? :-)

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Nord Stage 4 HA73, Nord Wave 2, Korg Nautilus 73, Viscount Legend Live, Lots of Mainstage/VST Libraries

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I have the Scarbee Mk1, Pianoteq, Canterbury Suitcase, Acoustic Samples V Tines, and the Scarbee EX 88. The three that I keep loaded up in Gigperformer are Scarbee EX, Canterbury, and V Tines so I use all three of those. But the one that I find myself going to the most is the Scarbee EX. It's definitely worth $50 even if you have others.
Korg SV2, Nord Electro 5D, Gigperformer/lots of VSTs
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I have the Scarbee Mk1, Pianoteq, Canterbury Suitcase, Acoustic Samples V Tines, and the Scarbee EX 88. The three that I keep loaded up in Gigperformer are Scarbee EX, Canterbury, and V Tines so I use all three of those. But the one that I find myself going to the most is the Scarbee EX. It's definitely worth $50 even if you have others.
Korg SV2, Nord Electro 5D, Gigperformer/lots of VSTs
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Jeff, you can't go wrong for $50, and it's significantly better than the others on your list (except Purgatory Creek, which is hard to compare directly as it has way fewer sound shaping and signal path options).

 

Check to see if the Matrix expansion is on sale too. It was cheap to start with, so maybe it's a bargain at the moment as well.

 

I haven't checked to see when the sale ends. It's a bit weird this year, because several products I balked at during Black Friday are STILL on sale, continuing to tempt me with each passing day. Resistance is futile?

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I didn't buy it but I'm sure it will happen again someday. By the way, I LOVE the Purgatory Creek sounds. They are EXCELLENT in the Kurzweil Forte for a hardware/gig instrument. Busch did a great job on them.

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Nord Stage 4 HA73, Nord Wave 2, Korg Nautilus 73, Viscount Legend Live, Lots of Mainstage/VST Libraries

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