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Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

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Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:09 pm

Yes, looking to buy a dedicated Rhodes keyboard, as I'm using that sound more and more these days, I thought about a real vintage one, but reliability, tuning etc, could be a pain.
I'm just after people's preferences, and why, looking at the Zarenburg, Korg, and some Nord offerings.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:02 pm

:crazy: I'm losing track of all the things you might sell, will sell, might keep, want to buy, won't buy, might buy, can't use... :wtf: :crazy: :D
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:41 pm

Since I landed a Yamaha Reface CP I haven't wanted for vintage piano sounds.

It has no right to be so good, and given its form factor I hoped I'd hate it, but... :wtf: it genuinely is very good! Just ignore those lousy mini-keys.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Sam Inglis » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:11 pm

An actual Rhodes is probably the most reliable keyboard ever made, and as far as I know it's pretty much impossible for them to go out of tune. Mine certainly never has.

On the down side, you need two people to move it.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:48 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote::crazy: I'm losing track of all the things you might sell, will sell, might keep, want to buy, won't buy, might buy, can't use... :wtf: :crazy: :D

The last thing I decided to sell but didn't, was my EHX Delay. After much effort trying to get something to replace it I gave up, there isn't anything. It's not logical or straightforward to use, but sometimes you can't have it all.
My basement is full of stuff I will sell, but can't find anyone to buy.
Everything I'm using right now I'm keeping. But allow me to change, and things change, if they didn't, my music would stagnate and dry up completely.
Sometimes I sell things I really love, just to jolt me out of a rut.
I don't want to buy anything right now, a good electric piano might be good, but I'm not sure, most things these days are a let down.
Might buy? An ARP2500, but that's something for when I can see the end in sight, and my partner says yes, and it's an investment for her.
Can't use? nothing at the moment.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Dave B » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:07 am

I tried the Zarenburg when it came out and was deeply impressed. It just felt right to me and I even loved it's retro styling. However, I was cautioned that a fair few were sent back with faults. So maybe that's ok if you don't move it around too much, but just be aware.

There are various Nords which will do a great job, but be prepared to pay. Nords hold their value really well, so it's hard to pick up a cheap s/h one. TBH, I've nearly pulled to trigger on a new Electro a couple of times as there's almost no cost benefit in buying one s/h.

One I'd like to check out is the Crumar Seven. Check it out - on paper it looks great. Demo is impressive too.

Most workstations have fairly good Rhodes. But then there's that temptation of all the other stuff.

TBH, I'd really be looking at getting a real one. There's nothing like it. And the physical immediacy is very gratifying. You could treat it as an investment ...
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:02 pm

The Elf wrote:Since I landed a Yamaha Reface CP I haven't wanted for vintage piano sounds.

Yep !

That was supposed to be my toy kb and I modded it for the accoustic piano.

Have you tried it with an external weighted KB ?

I have tried most of the Reface range (bar the Dx) YCOrgan & CP Piano = insperational,
CS synth insperational& fun but aliasing naff ness. Couldnt they have cut the polyophony and boosted quality ???????

So...Synths good but I imagine a real Rhodes or Yamaha Cp80 is the next level but heavy.

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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:38 am

N i g e l wrote:
The Elf wrote:Since I landed a Yamaha Reface CP I haven't wanted for vintage piano sounds.
Have you tried it with an external weighted KB ?
Not weighted (I hate weighted keys), but I'm happy with it from the 'real' keyboards I prefer. The CP is the star of the Reface show. The Rhodes are incredibly good, the Wurly is simply excellent and the multiple simultaneous effects are very generous and well-tuned for the job. Would that the CS had the same effects ability! :frown:

I have the CP, YC and CS. I can't say I'm a great fan of the CS, but it does a great resonant bass with solid low end. It's the Reface I could live without, but I got it for a song. It does have a few really good sounds, but without memories it's bit hit and miss. A web-based patch storage system really is not an answer - and lord help us when Yamaha choose to demise it. Good job I managed to figure out the Sys-Ex to dump patch data to my DAW.

The YC is also excellent, and is a big part of the reason I have two blokes and a van arriving to take away my old Hammond tomorrow morning. I'm going to miss her, but I need that space...

I won't be getting a DX. I had my fill of 6-op FM, so the prospect of a 4-op synth is of zero interest to me. :boring:
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:50 am

Thanks all, I'll check out the Crumar.
A real one is cool though, and as you say, I won't be loosing out financially.
A friend has warned me off Nord, but he's had a really bad experience with his Electro, he doesn't like it at all, don't know why he bought it, I did go round to try it, and it sounded and felt very average to me, and I didn't know what to say to him! so I think I'll pass on that.
My favourite EP sounds have always been from the DX7, I've got some really amazing rare Stage 73 sounds, and I've got a couple of my own very expressive patches, and even playing a real Rhodes in comparison to the DX can a be a bit of a let down sometimes.
I think the secret of a real Rhodes is in the FX, a bit of overdrive, lots of compression, really brings it alive.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:01 am

Arpangel wrote:I think the secret of a real Rhodes is in the FX, a bit of overdrive, lots of compression, really brings it alive.

I think it's in the actual keyboard. There's something about the action that isn't quite like any other kind of piano. I'm no kind of keyboard player but even I find it makes me do different things from a synth or a conventional piano.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:48 am

The Elf wrote:...a big part of the reason I have two blokes and a van arriving to take away my old Hammond tomorrow morning.

Burn the heretic! :shock: :evil:
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:53 am

Sam Inglis wrote:I think it's in the actual keyboard. There's something about the action that isn't quite like any other kind of piano.

Yes, it is a unique action -- much like a vintage Hammond console has a unique action -- and they definitely let or make you play in a way that's hard to replicate on conventional keybeds.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:57 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
The Elf wrote:...a big part of the reason I have two blokes and a van arriving to take away my old Hammond tomorrow morning.

Burn the heretic! :shock: :evil:
Yes, it pains me mightily, I can tell you, but I can't even give her away.

I'm now eyeing that XK5...
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:11 am

The Elf wrote:Yes, it pains me mightily, I can tell you, but I can't even give her away.

Really? Which model?

I'm now eyeing that XK5...

It's a really great physical emulation. Probably the best currently on the market.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/hammond-xk-5

Although the facilities, configurability and entire menu structure are very similar to the XK-1 and SK-series instruments, the underlying MTW1 sound engine is an incremental step up from the already extremely good VASEIII system used in those other models.

But by far the real clincher for the XK5 instrument is the bespoke keybed which, while still not quite as good as the real thing -- or the fantastic keybed used in the 'New B3' -- is massively better and more playable than the still slightly plasticky, springy offerings in the XK and SK keyboards.

For anyone not particularly familiar with the real thing, the difference might seem extremely subtle, but for a seasoned Hammond player it really is a chalk and cheese difference.

There are only three reasons I don't have an XK5 myself: I already have a vintage A100 in good nick; the smaller size of the SKX makes it a lot more practical for my gigging needs; and the XK5 is an expensive beast, especially if you want to do it right with dual keyboards.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:22 am

Yeah, the Rhodes keyboard is great..."Nice" in fact 8-)
And shades are de rigueur when playing it... :D
But, a nice valve amp is also essential IMO, something with a bit of drive, and, a compression pedal.
Like a lot of things, I passed up a good Stage 73 in the early 90's, for £200!
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:52 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
The Elf wrote:Yes, it pains me mightily, I can tell you, but I can't even give her away.
Really? Which model?
T202. The pall bearers arrive at 11. Sniff... :cry:

Hugh Robjohns wrote:But by far the real clincher for the XK5 instrument is the bespoke keybed...
For me it's less about the physical properties of the keyboard than it is the way it models the pickup of the buss bars during the key travel. That gives a real Hammond a bit of velocity-related 'feel' that I miss on all Hammond emulations.

I'm a casual Hammond player, in that it forms part of a mix, rather than playing solo - and I never use the bass pedals - so for me a single keyboard with quick access to my favourite registrations is more important than a full console-type organ. A bit of a chordal 'snarl' and some snorty lead licks and I'll be happy.

Yes, I think I could be happy with an XK5 - a bit of an outlay, though... :shock:
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:31 am

The Elf wrote:T202.

Ah... nice sounding spinet organ in its own way. Surprised no one will part with money for it. Transistorised successor to the L100, really. Tonewheels, but solid-state amps. And none of the emulations currently reproduce the bespoke spinet combination drawbar sounds.

For me it's less about the physical properties of the keyboard than it is the way it models the pickup of the buss bars during the key travel. That gives a real Hammond a bit of velocity-related 'feel' that I miss on all Hammond emulations.

Yes. Only the New B3 does it properly. The XK5 fakes it remarkably well with three contacts and some electronic fudgery. But again, it's one of those unique characteristics that most casual players don't notice, but hardcore aficionados value highly.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:59 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
The Elf wrote:T202.

Ah... nice sounding spinet organ in its own way. Surprised no one will part with money for it. Transistorised successor to the L100, really. Tonewheels, but solid-state amps. And none of the emulations currently reproduce the bespoke spinet combination drawbar sounds.

For me it's less about the physical properties of the keyboard than it is the way it models the pickup of the buss bars during the key travel. That gives a real Hammond a bit of velocity-related 'feel' that I miss on all Hammond emulations.

Yes. Only the New B3 does it properly. The XK5 fakes it remarkably well with three contacts and some electronic fudgery. But again, it's one of those unique characteristics that most casual players don't notice, but hardcore aficionados value highly.

I've never got into things like Hammond organs, I can appreciate them 150%, love them when played well, but it's one of those instruments that I find very difficult to do anything with other than it's good at/meant for, it's like a blues harmonica in that respect.
You have to throw it about a bit, the reason I never took up the guitar was for the same reasons.
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby Wonks » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:32 pm

Maybe it's the visible knife marks between the keys (plus a couple of really well jammed-in knives) that have put prospective buyers off the Elf's T202. :D
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Re: Current Rhodes pianos, any opinions?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:33 pm

The deed... it is done. I feel like I just sold off a kitten... :cry:
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