Author Topic: Rhodes, Wurli, Hammond - Software vs Hardware: Best for Studio Use 2020?  (Read 154 times)

Offline fromthepuggle

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What's the best that's out there these days? I'm not talking about for live use/gigging, I'm talking about studio recording.

I had a real Rhodes in HS, and I remember nothing sounding anything like it, especially when it wasn't buried in a mix. Each note slightly different, super dynamic and sensitive, chunky and meaty sound, like a living organism. Lately my ear's been craving wurli sounds, tho. Is there anything that can touch the sort of warm aliveness of a real EP today in vst/au form? Or something like a Crumar Seven?

What about Hammond?

I've got a Nord Electro 5D that I use for the occasional live gig, and I've gotta say, while nice, it doesn't sound like its even in the same ballpark as the new Crumars, or the better vst/au. But for studio, I need something INDISTINGUISHABLE from the real thing.

Fwiw, I'm not convinced that vst/au replace analog synths, or even that modern analog 'quite' gets there (though the newest stuff, like the Behringer Moog seem almost indistinguishably close, if lacking a bit in dynamic range, and missing a tiny bit of richness in the oscillator, but this stuff's getting a lot better, tho I still wouldn't sell my original model D!). I've done a lot of a/b comparisons with this sort of stuff, I still think vintage analog synths have a small edge, but one that's worth it for me.

Basically, I'm a real purist for tone in general, so I'd rather get the real thing, even if cost and maintenance are much higher for the real thing.

But have we gotten so good with these yet that experts can't tell the difference with a blind a/b sort of test? What's the 'best' of the EP/Hammond reproductions in 2020, so I can make some comparisons myself?

Offline Dan Belcher

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For Rhodes, I'm interested a project that Jay Graydon has been spearheading to recreate the famous Model E Rhodes, which has a pretty distinctive tone. It's not your every day Rhodes sound, but if you are looking for that sound, nice.

Otherwise, Keyscape has some very solid electric piano recreations. Multiple Rhodes, Wurlitzers, Clavinets, Pianets, all that fun stuff, plus some acoustic pianos too. Here's a cool video of Greg Phillinganes showing off some of the presets (which FYI are a bit hit and miss, usually the bass or treble gets hyped too much in the presets I've found). Here's another video specifically done with Wurly 200A patch. I have a 1979 Rhodes, but I still like to play the ones in Keyscape sometimes just because they have a very different tone than mine does, and they can sound really nice.

As far as Hammond organ stuff goes, I don't know a ton about those options. I personally have a copy of VB3 which I bought a long while ago which is probably not the best, but still sounds great. I'm sure others have more knowledge on that than me.
Proud owner,
1978 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73

Offline pianotuner steveo

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I'm not sure if you could simulate a Hammond well enough without drawbars, but I'm not familiar with any software based stuff. I have a stand alone Hammond (XK3)  and I love it. I grew up with a real Hammond (L100) and I like my digital version more.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 03:02:53 PM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2018 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...