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Need some help with Rhoades Sound


cg1155

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Ok, so the velocity switching on the Rhoades patches on my S80 is driving me nuts, and I want to craft some more delicate patches but having no access to a real one makes this problematic so I'm hoping you all can help. If you can post an MP3 of a real Rhoades at different velocities in different octaves that would be best but otherwise tips would be great.

 

1) At about what velocity does the "bark" start in?

2) Are there big differences in tone quality from high to low octaves?

3) Any other important nuances to get?

 

-Casey G

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Originally posted by cg1155:

1) At about what velocity does the "bark" start in?

 

That's the problem - on a real Rhodes, the bark doesn't just happen at a certain fixed velocity - it comes in gradually, as you'd expect from a mechanical hammer action hitting a tine. Simulating this with velocity-switching would require many velocity layers, and very closely-matched samples that gradually change from one timbre to another. Sorry I can't be more help, but I wish you luck.

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The S80 is a kick ass machine, especially for gigging. It makes a very capable controller too so all around it's pretty great. I've always found the stock sounds very usable for more traditional rock styles, it has some very usable synth tones but I really bought it for its piano samples and other acoustic type instruments. It's one drawback that I am coming to appreciate is that it has many more raw samples than the presets take advantage of so I am going about writing some patches that use them. For example, only two stereo piano patches ship with the unit, but 6 pianos are sampled in many ways inside. Same with Rhoades patches. 3 Clavs are sampled but only 1 Clav patch inside. I have so hesitation recommending this unit for gigging, IMHO it has a better sound than the QS 8.1 and PC88 that I compared it too and the action was the best of the three. Since then several other contenders in this price range are out but I think the S80 is still the one to beat. The programming is pretty deep so you can generally get your patches to sound "just right".

 

As for velocity switching, I was actually thinking of crossfading so I need to know if the bark starts at the lowest velocities or later.

 

-Casey

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I'm not gonna say it. Nope, I've said it enough.... I'm gonna resist temptation, I'm NOT gonna, uh... uhhh.....

 

PHYSICAL MODELING IS THE WAY TO GO! SAMPLES SUCK!

 

Oh damn, I couldn't resist after all....

 

 

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The problem with making the sound with cross-faded or switched samples is that the decay sounds the same. If you use the real thing (or filter it or model it or whatever) the decay sounds like:

 

BAAAAOOOoooooowwwwww

 

When you use a cross fade sample and hammer on the key, it never changes color. So you get:

 

BAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

Very annoying. Especially since most synths give you a 200ms loop. The best rhodes I got is on the QS8 Classic Keys card, and it has this characteristic. My S-760 sampler doesn't do much better. I just wrote a program from my Andromeda which has the right tone envelope, but that probably doesn't help you.

 

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Originally posted by coyote:

I'm not gonna say it. Nope, I've said it enough.... I'm gonna resist temptation, I'm NOT gonna, uh... uhhh.....

 

PHYSICAL MODELING IS THE WAY TO GO! SAMPLES SUCK!

 

Oh damn, I couldn't resist after all....

 

 

 

I have no doubt that you are right, but can you point to some physical modelling synths we should go listen to for good Rhoades (and Whirly too please) sounds?

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I know that modeling gives the best sound, I mean, really - it should! But I don't want to gig with a laptop yet and I think there's lots of power inside the S80 to at least do a better job of camoflaging the velocity switching. Anyone have the PLG-150PF plug-in card, and if so, are the electric pianos any good?

 

-Casey

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I have had an S-80 for about a year, and it's been a great gig workhorse. I did try the PLG-150PF board, and the EP's and pianos on it were great. Not so much better, however, that I bought it. (i.e. I didn't) Onboard, I tend to use "Herb Roadz" (patch B-7 in quick access mode) for my straight Rhodes sound.

 

This won't help directly with the realism of the samples, but I've found it adds a lot to the overall playing experience if you run that sound through some analog FX pedals. I use a Carl Martin compressor, an MXR Phase 90, and a TC stereo chorus pedal as opposed to the onboard effects. Really fattens it up.

Stephen Fortner

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Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Originally posted by Rabid:

Don't use switching, use cross-fading. That makes the question, when does the normal sound of the Rhodes start to fade out and the bark start to fade in.

 

Does anybody know where this cross-fading option is on the Yamaha CS6x? It has pretty much the same engine as the S80. Great piano but didn't want the extra weight because my Rhodes is already heavy enough.

CG, I think you have to find somebody with a real Rhodes and have a good listen. I don't think you can measure at what velocity the bark starts coming in. Just listen to the real thing and try to capture it. Or even better, get the real thing, with some set of wheels to carry it...

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a big challenge, no doubt. I own a real Fender Rhodes that I bought brand new in 1977. Due to the mechanical make-up of this keyboard, you get the barking sound at different velocities (or more specifically, when you play notes hard or really hard). The tines don't have much give, especially the shorter ones in the higher registers.

 

To complicate this further, no 2 Rhodes pianos play the same.

 

I own a Yamaha S 80 which has a lot of different Rhodes sounds in it. There was a mention of the Herb Rhodez sound. This is a fairly true to the original sound, but with that beating tremelo. There are different kinds of Rhodes sounds in the Yamaha keyboards so that will open the field a bit and continue to complicate this "barking threshold" subject for you.

 

I am not a programmer so I can't help you (or me!) there, but the advice that I would give you is to find a real Fender Rhodes in great (not just good) condition, and play it and record yourself playing it. Take notes regarding how that particular Rhodes "barking threshold" worked when you played it.

 

If you are good at programming/making/or modifying your patches, at least you will have first hand experience and information to craft your sound.

 

In conclusion, I would simply add that it might be best to create multiple similar Rhodes patches - soft, loud (very barky), phased, tremeloed, echoed, etc.

 

I use different Rhodes patches for different songs. A perfect example of this is Steely Dan keyboard sounds. Babylon Sisters, Hey Nineteen, Don't Take Me Alive, Deacon Blues, Any Major Dude Will Tell You, etc. Each of these songs shows different Rhodes sounds. Same with Stevie Wonder, Earth-Wind & Fire, Ramsay Lewis, and others.

 

I guess what I am saying is to trust your ear. Listen to a lot of different Rhodes recordings and play a Rhodes like I said earlier.

 

Best of luck to you. Rhodes sounds are wonderful.

 

 

Steveedan

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