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Fender Rhodes - the real sound?

Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/16/19 10:31 PM

I have an RD2000 and it has a TON of epianos... Rhodes, Whurlitzers, etc.... and they sound great. But...

Did the real Rhodes have distortion in the bass? I just don't remember them having that.

On my RD2000, all the Rhodes sounds have distortion (fat/overdrive?) that comes on at C below middle C. Was the real Rhodes like that? I am looking to eliminate some of it.

Now on the RD2000, each ePiano sound has so many effects that you can turn on/off. These effects are mimics of classic boxes such as a Space Echo and fuzz boxes, phasers etc. And each selectable ePiano sounds on the RD2000 has at least one of these effects in-line turned on (each effect has all the original controls mimiced too... pretty amazing). So I went through many of the the Rhodes sounds and turned them off looking for a "pure" Rhodes and darned if all of the original, base samples appear to have that distortion in the lower register.

Any advice? Am I "wrong" in wanting to eliminate that distortion? I LOVE the Rhodes sounds and have played a real one, on a few occasions, back in the late '70s and early 80s... I loved the purity but soleness of those instruments... I just don;t remember there being distortions down there.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/16/19 11:58 PM

Can you upload a recording? If it has a hard "clipping" type of distortion, then I don't think that's authentic. On the other hand, if it sounds really "farty", like at time 9:25 here: https://youtu.be/vD1Q_C0kgeA then I think that is authentic.

Greg
Posted By: Rhodes74

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 12:14 AM

It might be the amp simulation running into saturation.
Even on the otherwise very nice korg sv1 the saturation starts at 2 on a dial to 10
and sounds amazingly ugly.

-Rhodes74
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 12:28 AM

(re the "farty" sound - that's a rather extreme example. The Rhodes' pickups could be moved, and the further away the pickups from the tines, the less aggressive the tone. I think what many players seek is a very mellow tone when played softly, and a nice bark when played hard - in other words very expressive)

Greg
Posted By: Dave Horne

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 10:04 AM

Is that 'distortion' replicated through headphones?
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 12:54 PM

OK... I think I found a big part of my issue late last night. I have the keytouch to LIGHT as the default for the keyboard. This not only changes the dynamics of hitting a key... what I want... but also changes the timbre of tones. I knew it did this to the modeled piano sounds so I found a modeled piano sound and tweaked it to compensate for this timbre change. I didn;t realize it also extends to other sounds such as the Rhodes sounds.

So, with LIGHT touch, you get the fat overdrive sound without pressing very hard. I don't like this one bit. There is nothing wrong with the piano.

In short, I really like my RD2000 except from one big BUT. Generally, the piano lacks dynamics... you really have to pound on the keys for the range. I sent a tech question into Roland shortly after I got the piano and asked Roland how to improve the dynamics of modeled piano sounds and they said the only way to do that was touch to LIGHT. That, however, changes the timbre too.. as if you are hitting hard. They then told me there is no way to increase dynamics alone.

So I am not really happy with this one but serious item with the keybaord.... changing dynamics without timbre.

So, I would still like help finding a Rhodes sound with the least amount of fat overdrive when pressing hard.... I will use that as a starting point.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 04:23 PM

A different approach would be to use either a modelled VST (Lounge Lizard is one possibility) which gives lots of tonal control, or a small hardware emulator like the Yamaha Reface CP.

The Reface CP (I think) has an 88-note range, when driven from an 88-key DP. Not terribly expensive, and you can probably find one to try out.

I sympathize with you - the RD-2000 isn't cheap, and shouldn't have the problem you describe.
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 06:41 PM

Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
OK... I think I found a big part of my issue late last night. I have the keytouch to LIGHT as the default for the keyboard. This not only changes the dynamics of hitting a key... what I want... but also changes the timbre of tones.

Well, yes... What changing to LIGHT does is tell the keyboard to generate the higher MIDI velocities without your having to hit the keys so hard. Higher velocity (on a piano or an EP) means more volume AND different timbre. When you hit a real piano or EP harder, it changes in both volume and tone. If it changed only in volume, pianos samples would need only one velocity layer... the whole point of the additional velocity layers is to reproduce the other (non-volume) aspects of hitting a key harder or softer. Roland SN does this through modeling rather than by sampling more velocities, but the same concept applies.
Posted By: EVC2017

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 07:40 PM

Bruce, it is not clear to me what the issue is. Do you want to have the Rhodes alone or you want it layered with an AP? If the former, you may set a program or scene with key touch set to whatever you need for it. I tried with scenes but it must work with programs as well.
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 07:58 PM

Sounds like the touch settings aren't flexible/subtle enough - I have the same problem with my P-515. In Bruce's case the "light" setting is affecting the lower velocities too much. I would have hoped a pro board like that would provide very flexible velocity curve adjustment, and on a per-preset basis too.

Greg
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 08:00 PM

I have not
Originally Posted by EVC2017
Bruce, it is not clear to me what the issue is. Do you want to have the Rhodes alone or you want it layered with an AP? If the former, you may set a program or scene with key touch set to whatever you need for it. I tried with scenes but it must work with programs as well.


I have not thought through a strategy yet. I have one big Program now that sets up my board the way I use it for everything but interacting with my computer (for that I make a few setting chagnes). Yes, I can always have another program and I do not layer the Rhodes with a modeled piano. So yes, a second program, one set to LIGHT and the other MEDIUM will work. But I do layer, sometimes, a PAD with the either the modeled piano and the Rhodes. So now I have to go through each of my sounds and dick with the touch setting.

I noticed if you go into ZONE EDIT, you can drop down and edit the "zone" or sound you selected. I have the Rhodes as Zone 3. If you scroll over, there is a tab for VELOCITY, and then a sub thing called SENS or sensitivity. For modeled pianos, it does nothing.

Anywho..... lots to dick with. I really want to just keep everything just there for me.

BTW, it is interesting as I become more familiar with the board and the sounds of the various ones I play, my ear is getting more critical. For the Rhodes, it was just starting to bug my left hand sounds as the overdrive sounded muddy and annoying.

I still feel Roland did not do a good job with dynamics of the modeled sounds. With my RD600, the touch setting was fine on Medium. With this RD2000, I needed to select LIGHT to get the same dynamics out of it however, now the timbre curve is outta whack. Ideally, Roland should have two different parameters: 1) Dynamics (or sensitivity) that shifted the dynamics curve, and then 2), Timbre/Impact curve.

Peace
Bruce in Philly

Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 08:37 PM

I suspect if it simply allowed the user to set their desired "force required to reach velocity 127", it would go a long way to solving the problem. With that set, THEN feed that linear 1 - 127 scale in to the touch setting modifications. In my case (P-515), I'd be pretty happy just using the default Medium curve, if that curve was linearly scaled to reach 127 at my desired playing force.

Ideally though, we'd have full control over the velocity curve.

Greg.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 08:43 PM

Originally Posted by sullivang
I suspect if it simply allowed the user to set their desired "force required to reach velocity 127", it would go a long way to solving the problem. With that set, THEN feed that linear 1 - 127 scale in to the touch setting modifications. In my case (P-515), I'd be pretty happy just using the default Medium curve, if that curve was linearly scaled to reach 127 at my desired playing force.

Ideally though, we'd have full control over the velocity curve.

Greg.


Yes, I think you get what I am saying about dynamics.... I don;t think everyone is getting what I am suggesting.... separating the velocity curve (loudness difference) with the timber curve (the brighter sound when strings are hit harder). Let's do a thought experiement....

Sit at your real acoustic piano.... press middle C with a soft press.... the volume is low. Now turn and press your keyboard with the same softness. Now adjust the volume knob to make the volume the same as the acoustic piano with the same pressure. Now turn back to the acoustic piano and hit the note hard as you would in a loud passage. Now turn and play the RD2000 with that same force..... on my RD2000 the resultant volume is less than the acoustic. In otherwords, the RD2000 lacks dynamics. Now when it comes to timbre, the unit changes what appears to be fine... you never really know because all acoustic pianos are different.

So what I want, is the same dynamics as the acoustic (more difference in volume between a soft and hard press) but not change the timbre changes... just spread it out more equally over the broader range.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 08:49 PM

Hang on a tick - surely the RD2000 has a separate control for the dynamic range? I.e - the difference in *loudness* between PPP and FFF, completely separate to timbre? I had this over 20 years ago in the Kurzweil PX-1000 module, and again in the Kawai MP9000 stage piano, which is also ancient now.

I certainly didn't understand until now you had an issue with the dynamic range.
This setting will mostly likely be local to each preset - not global.

Greg.
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 10:27 PM

Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
I don;t think everyone is getting what I am suggesting.... separating the velocity curve (loudness difference) with the timber curve (the brighter sound when strings are hit harder). Let's do a thought experiement....

Sit at your real acoustic piano.... press middle C with a soft press.... the volume is low. Now turn and press your keyboard with the same softness. Now adjust the volume knob to make the volume the same as the acoustic piano with the same pressure. Now turn back to the acoustic piano and hit the note hard as you would in a loud passage. Now turn and play the RD2000 with that same force..... on my RD2000 the resultant volume is less than the acoustic.

What are you using for an amp/speaker? That might be a relevant variable here.

Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
Now when it comes to timbre, the unit changes what appears to be fine... you never really know because all acoustic pianos are different.

So what I want, is the same dynamics as the acoustic (more difference in volume between a soft and hard press) but not change the timbre changes

You can get what you want on some other boards, which let you change which sample is triggered at which velocities, allowing you to play a "quieter" sample more loudly, instead of assuming that you want the louder sample when you play more loudly. But the RD2000 does not appear to offer that level of sound customization, even on its sample-based (non-modeled) sounds.
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 11:42 PM

Regarding the SENS setting - the description suggests that it may actually be a dynamic range setting (i.e volume only - not timbre - but it's hard to be sure), but you said it has no effect on modelled sounds. That's unfortunate. (and indeed, the description says it has no effect on "certain tones")

Greg
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/17/19 11:59 PM

The "Sound Lift" setting looks like it may also control dynamic range, and I think this setting does work for modelled sounds.

The "Velo Key Follow Sens" may also be of use, since that controls how the velocity sensitivity varies across the keyboard. (you said the problem is with the low notes).

Greg.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 12:30 AM

So to respond to all since my last post....

I contacted Roland's support on this. In short, they said there is no adjustment for dynamics with their modeled sounds. They suggested the way to do this is set the touch to LIGHT... but of course, it also moves the timbre as if you are pounding the keys... everything becomes bright and poundy with LIGHT. This is not what I want. So... for modeled sound (V-Piano) Roland does NOT have a dynamics control and therefore forget about a timbre-velocity control.

I could get all this to work if Roland allowed touch to be assigned by selection but unfortunately, it is set globally for everything.

Regarding the SENS (sensitivity) setting in the VELOCITY section of the editor.... yes you can change these values from negative to positive... however, it does nothing with the modeled sounds. Just nothing. This is dopey.... if it doesn't apply, it should be greyed out. I played with this setting when I was dicking with dynamics back when I got the unit. Also, Roland stated flatly to me there was no dynamics control on modeled sounds.

However..... remember the RD2000 has two sound engines and I was always asking Roland about modeled sounds only. I suspect the SENS will work for other sounds... but I haven't tried. Sound Lift... never found that.. . let me work on all of this. I will focus on tweaking the Rhodes sounds (sample-based sounds) this week. I was only dealing with the modeled piano sounds. BTW, I got the sound and dynamics I like using S09 ACO Grand 3. It has a big, dull sound with deep resonating bass. When put to LIGHT touch, the sound brightens up but is ok given it is dull to start with. Then I tweaked the EQ to make it really nice. So I got this sound to work fine, but LIGHT throws off all the other sounds such as the Rhodes I liked on MEDIUM touch.

Yep, for how amazing I feel the RD2000 is, I think Roland blew it on this one. Interesting how your hearing and sensitivity improves as you gain experience with something. BTW, I had a RD600 prior to this unit and I found Medium Touch on it to be fine... just fine.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: sullivang

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 01:18 AM

Good luck. Re Sound Lift, I have a suspicion it will be a compressor/expander type of effect - not exactly what you need.

Greg
Posted By: Rhodes74

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 11:04 AM

Without an audio sample it is not quite clear what the sound really is.
Have you tried adjusting or bypassing the amp simulation?

-rhodes74
Posted By: toddy

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 12:28 PM

The lower notes perhaps half an octave (or a little more) of a Fender Rhodes use tines without stabilising bars. This means that the tine will vibrate at different angles to the pickup (round and round as opposed to perpendicularly). This means you get an out of phase effect with the lowest notes on the Rhodes, regardless of whether there are any effects applied or not, although EQ will exaggerate or diminish the degree to which the effect is heard.

So this 'phasing' or comb-tooth filter quality is inbuilt into the Rhodes sound generator itself, by default as it were, since there is no reason other than cost and practicality that I can think of, for there not too be stabilising bars at the lowest notes of the keyboard. I'm talking here about the Rhodes 88.

Higher up the keyboard, but still in the bass region, the effect is reduced (because of the stabilising bars), but still there to an extent. I imagine that this is the fart to which sullivang is alluding.
Posted By: toddy

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 12:39 PM

.....or (come to think of it) maybe the bars have no effect of stability and the waywardness of the tine's vibration simply gets more out of hand, the lower the note. Even so the effect is the same, except not so radically exaggerated for that bottom half octave.
Posted By: Yojimbo

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/18/19 04:00 PM

Funny, if there's one thing I really like about the RD2000, it's how expressive it sounds, at least to me, through various demos on youtube. I have a KAWAI MP7SE and I love the sound of it and it's incredibly expressive when using the dynamic "voicing", but I still feel that the Roland sounds are even more dynamic, albeit more synthetic in tone, which ultimately (along with price and aesthetics) made me go for the KAWAI.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Fender Rhodes - the real sound? - 03/24/19 09:11 PM

Fixed!

A guy on the Roland RD2000 Facebook page found a fix for me... quite by accident too. If you select this Rhodes sound (or any ePiano sound) (what Roland calls a "Zone") light up the edit button above it, then select CTRL for the knobs on your left. The Tone Color knob now controls "Dynamic Sensitivity". Yes, Roland is confusing as heck. I set this all the way to "Heavy" and this negates the global "light" touch I set for the keyboard. Now when I press a key, I don't get the overdrive... or at least it is way less pronounced.

To repeat my issue: I set the keyboard touch to "light" as my power up default... unfortunately this effect all sounds. For the Rhodes, it makes it as if you are pounding the keys and therefore you get an overdrive distortion... something I don't want. By turning the knobs to "Ctrl", the Tone Color knob can negate this effect.

What is really gooofy about Roland is that this Dynamic Sensitivity control is not in the detailed menus. For everything, I thought, that appears in the knobs, it has an entry deep in the menus. The knobs, I thought, were a handy way into the menus for common controls. Not always so....

BTW, buried in the menus, for a Rhodes and other ePianos, Roland has given you 62 !!! effects boxes. They mimic all the classics like a Space Echo and all the knobs/controls of these devices are represented. Holy moly..... unbelievable. Echos, fuzzes, flangers, .... you name it. Amp simulations, speaker age, .....All the classics are in there. I know $2500 is alot for most of us, but for what the heck they packed into this device... it is just a deal!

So...... in short, anything you could think of doing, this Roland can do it.... good luck in figuring out how.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
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