Scarbee is proud to announce the immediate release of the Scarbee R.S.P.’ 73, the most comprehensively sampled Rhodes piano on earth. The depth and sophistication of this sampling project has allowed us to finally capture the elusive ’soul’ of the Rhodes piano.
The R.S.P.’73 consists of a collection of truly authentic ‘deeply sampled’ renderings of the classic Fender Rhodes Stage Piano MK I - ’73, captured in high definition 24 bit quality. Ingenious Danish programming has resulted in both the 24 bit Emagic EXS24 mkII and 24 bit Steinberg Halion editions of the library being included in the same 4 CD set, with the added bonus that registered users will shortly be able to download the 24 bit Native Instruments Kontakt version at no extra cost. The same programming system allows purchasers of the 2 CD set 16 bit Gigastudio edition to download small files which will allow installation of both the 16 bit Emagic EXS24 mk II and Steinberg Halion editions at no extra charge. This new delivery system should prove to be a major boon to both users who need to switch sample platforms from time to time, and dealers - who will be able to supply the library for any of several popular samplers simply by stocking two multi platform editions.
The Scarbee R.S.P.’ 73 was recorded at 24 bit resolution through a Mindprint En-Voice preamp (without any use of EQ, tube saturation or compression), and then digitally transferred to a Nuendo AudioLink 96 audio card. The piano sound was captured directly from the harp, bypassing the passive tone control on the front panel, in order to capture the full frequency range of the instrument and minimise unwanted noise. All sample editing – including noise reduction and normalizing was also done at 24 bit resolution.
The Giga edition includes two versions of the Rhodes:
The “Direct” version, was recorded directly from the Rhodes harp, bypassing the passive tone controls.
The “Classic” version simulates the output from the front panel socket of the Rhodes, with the “bass boost” knob set at 5 (the middle position).
Each Giga version utilises 1752 samples and weighs in at 1.5 gigabytes.
Registered Giga owners can download the 16 bit EXS24 MK II and 16 Halion version at no cost.
The 24 bit native EXS24 mk II and the 24 bit native HALion editions are not conversions. They have been programmed ‘from scratch’ using the “Direct from harp” sound. Programming this way allows us to utilise every facility available on the native sampler, rather than create something which might have taken mere minutes to port, but which was only ‘pretty close’ to the original version because of inaccuracy in the porting software. In fact, critical comparison of the three versions has confirmed that they have identical timbre and response. The “Classic” sound can easily be created by using the internal EQ of your favourite sequencer program. Accurate presets for Cubase and Logic are included with the library.
Each 24 bit version utilises 1752 samples and requires 2.25 gigabytes of disk space (shared).
Registered 24 bit EXS24 II and Halion users will shortly be able to download the 24 bit Native Instruments Kontakt version at no cost.
How much detail is there in the instrument?
To start with, all samples are full length and unlooped. Each of the 73 keys of the Rhodes was sampled at 12 different velocities – ranging from 0 to -26 dB - but this is only half the story. In order to capture that magical feel of really ‘playing’ a Rhodes, we also recorded ‘release’ samples for each of the 12 velocities, at the exact same level as the corresponding 12 sustain samples. The release tone - a sound created when a damper bounces against the tine as a key is released, is an intrinsic element of what musicians recognise as the original ‘Rhodes Sound’.
To accommodate systems with RAM limitations, several ‘Lite’ versions of the piano are included. Lite versions contain the samples of the white keys, which are stretched up or down a semitone to cover adjacent black keys. Lite versions come in 12, 8 and 4 velocity layer flavours.
For that duller ‘old school’ sound, a special Hi-cut version of each program is also included.
In response to a number of requests, all programs are available in both Equal and Stretch tunings.
HALion release trigger breakthrough…
In order to overcome the current HAlion release trigger obstacle, we created 876 special release samples for the HALion version of the R.S.P ’73. The result is that the sound, feel and action of all three editions (Giga, EXS24 and HALion) is identical!
Preparing the piano….
In order to guarantee that the sampled Rhodes was as close to, or better than, it’s original 1976 condition as possible, an exhaustive process of refurbishment was undertaken prior to the recording process.
All rubber hammer tips and damper felts were replaced. Hammers, keys and harp were modified for optimal response/action. Rubber grommets on the tone bars were replaced to improve sustain. New tines were carefully selected for ideal timbre and sustain. Tonebars, tines and pickups were also carefully adjusted to provide a perfectly balanced sound – ranging from warm and mellow to but bright and barking!
During the whole programming phase we even used a proprietary system of sampling in order to ensure that the sound, action and feel of the original was mirrored and maintained. We went to this kind of trouble because a key element in recreating the experience of playing a real Rhodes is accurately capturing the response dynamics of a real Rhodes. As a result of this effort, the action and feel of the Scarbee R.S.P.’ 73 exactly duplicates that of a well ‘hot rodded’ Rhodes.
Why is the ‘feel’ important?
If you are a composer or piano player, you will no doubt be able to answer this question for yourself. The Rhodes piano is one of a select few instruments which can honestly claim to be a writer’s primary compositional workhorse. Not just a tool for committing already firm ideas to a recording medium, but an inspirational tool – an instrument which works in a synergistic way with the composer to generate fresh new musical ideas, simply through the act of sitting down with it and playing freely. We believe that this inspirational quality is largely the result of a combination of the basic timbral range of the original Rhodes piano and its very organic dynamic response. We dare to say that the Scarbee R.S.P. ‘73 has, for the first time, captured that same tone and feel – the ‘soul’ of the Rhodes piano.. The R.S.P.’73 is an instrument you really look forward to sitting down and just playing.*
Why sampling in preference to a physical modelling approach?
Physical modelling is a great synthesis option which allows us to break down and explore the nature of a sound, but it relies very heavily on the software engineer’s ability to fathom the unique elements which combine to create that sound, to analyse and measure them, to write code which can accurately recreate them, and to find a hardware platform capable of delivering enough DSP muscle to realise the software in high resolution. This process requires that many subtle, and some not so subtle, choices be made by the engineering team. As a result, the end product is often the combination of a few individuals’ opinions, a programming team’s expertise in coding, and the processing abilities of the host platforms available at the time the software is designed. It’s a bit like computer animated characters in movies. Although they are generated by extremely sophisticated software and hardware, and can, say, morph from a person to a grapefruit and back in seconds, they’re still just ’pretty close’ when it comes to delivering a credible alternative to a real actor. The Scarbee R.S.P. ’73 is more like film of a human actor in comparison. Perhaps not able to morph into a grapefruit, but totally believable in its main role as a ’real actor’.
Unlike a modelled instrument, the Scarbee R.S.P. ‘73 is not a software engineer’s approximation of the elements which combine to create a Rhodes-like sound. The Scarbee R.S.P. ‘73 is a high definition mirror image of an actual Rhodes piano.
* And now, some comments from early beta testers who played the R.S.P.’73, and others who have heard initial demos:
“Scarbee\'s Rhodes has that soul and lots of it! This is the real deal...the first Rhodes I\'ve been completely content with.”
“With the Scarbee RSP there is just no way that you can play it that will not still sound like a Rhodes. And that -ladies and gentlemen- is the ultimate torture test of a sampled keyboard instrument.”
“It\'s a fun instrument. The guys on the beta group have had a blast with this library, as you can tell from the demos.”
“When I first started beta-testing Thomas\' Rhodes, I immediately knew I wouldn\'t play another Rhodes if I ever had a choice. Sure you don\'t get the nostalgia trip of sitting down at a real Fender, but then you also don\'t get the knackered tines, sticking keys, noisy preamp etc. No toys or bull****, just the perfect Rhodes.”
“This Rhodes PLAYS exactly like a Rhodes. You play soft and cruisy, and that\'s what you get. Stab at the keyboard, poke it, smack it, and a good Rhodes will bark back aggressively. The RSP 73 does all this as well.”
“I had never really thought about the bounce back of the dampers when you release a key on a real Rhodes, and in fact I never realised that they were a missing factor in any sampled Rhodes I\'ve used - until Thomas sent me the first beta. I couldn\'t believe how much more \'solid\' this sampled version felt. It feels great to play.”
“If you loved your Rhodes and miss being able to integrate THAT sound into your midi compositions - I guarantee the R.S.P.’73 will make you as happy as a pig in mud!”
“The RSP just has a responsiveness which, no matter how much I tweaked the EVP, I could never quite replicate.”
“I can assure you that every little noise the RSP makes, - so does a real Rhodes, and vice versa. And yes, I am in a way affiliated with Scarbee: he has borrowed my Rhodes to sample! This is also the fact that enables me to conclude: Not only has Thomas captured the sound of my Rhodes to a level of perfection that very few people on earth would ever have patience to do even if they had the technical abilities but he has also captured the hard-to-explain \"feeling\" of the Rhodes. I can only say, when I play the RSP, I am playing the real thing. Honestly: The difference is ONLY in the acoustics of my mother keyboard versus my Rhodes: The \"klonk\" of the keys is different.”
“The RSP73 IS as some others have already noted a carbon copy of a Mark I in all of its grit and glory.”
“I can’t say anything more than anyone else here, but I have to join the chorus here in saying WOW!”
For more information, prices and demoes, visit our web site at www.scarbee.com