Author Topic: Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.  (Read 3703 times)

Offline spacecho

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« on: July 19, 2005, 01:56:37 AM »
Hello all,

i am writing because i have been trying to capture the sound of my first rhodes (75 stage with preamp and satellite speakers) that i foolishly sold??

i got a mark 2 stage thinking that it would be fantastic (great action) but it
just seems bright and harsh with none of the smooth creamy sound that i
used to have.

At first i put it down to the fact that it is a stage - so maybe the tone is in the preamp, but then i recently tried out a late mk1 79 (which is basically a mk2) suitcase and found that it still had that same bright harsh sound with none of the body and tone.

I know that the preamp in the earlier ones is discrete with transistors, where as the newer ones (with sliders and LEDs) uses integrated circuits -ics)

i am guessing that the circutry in the old design is so dodgy that it miracously knocks all the rough edges off the stock rhodes tone?
whereas the new ic design reproduces it far more accurately?

what confuses me even more is that i have heard a old mk1 stage
and it had the tone - it was going through a marshall though!

I dont believe that the changes in action could be enough to make a difference, maybe the change in the pickup wiring / impendence affects the tone?

oh yeah, needless to say if anybody wants to part with a old rhodes in australia? i would be happy to $$$ make u an offer!!!

Offline CherryFive

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2005, 04:10:35 AM »
Hah- crazy that no one replied to this.
I have a 1976 Stage that NOW has "that sound". Its warm, funky and barky, also bright and bell-like like the older Rhodes sound.

To me its all in the escapement distance. 2 years ago this rhodes sounded worse than a digital rhodes patch (isnt that terrible?)

I have played a few 78s and 79s, and they are very stingy sounding. I like that. Ive also played a mark II recently which sounded wonderful, full of tone. Not harsh or bright like you describe. Discrete circuitry may have something to do with it, but a FET circuit isnt going to change the sound of your piano in reality. I would work on your rhodes (escapement, tone/tine adjustments) and if still nothing gives, Id sell it and look for something older. And yes, you were crazy for selling that 1975 with the Janus

best
John
www.octavecat.homestead.com

Offline jeffwuollet

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2005, 11:09:43 AM »
It's all about taste. I have a 1971 Fender Rhodes and it sounds great for rock or jazz/fusion/funk, but those mark V's are awesome for contemporary R&B or post-modern jazz.

Taste is everything. I have a Mark V on my to-get list because I love those 80's George Duke and Chaka Khan albums that a '71 can't duplicate.
If you want to know where to find the booze, ask the engineer...

Offline hrees

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2005, 03:05:53 PM »
You can do that with a 71. The tines don't have the highs of the mark V, but with the right tip mixture and a treble boost you can get it as smooth as you want.

Offline spacecho

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2005, 06:46:21 AM »
thanks for responding guys,

what i meant to say is that my first stage / janus rhodes (essentially a suitcase) had this nice warm full sound. Every stage (i just tried another 79 mk 1 stage today) rhodes i have played including my mk 2 has a much thinner sound with a really harsh top end.

i also have noticed that whilst the action is quicker and lighter, the keys clang around really loudly where as i remember the old janus rhodes having really tough action (all worn out in the middle registers) but it was much smoother, responsive and less noisy. another mk1 suitcase i play at a friends regularly is the same.

so i guess in terms of sound any of jamiroquai's early albums are full of the sound im after which seems to me like a stock old mk1 suitcase sound - which i cant get from the 4 stage and 1 mk1/2 (80) rhodes i have played.

i wish i could find a suitcase in aus - might have to just move!

Offline hrees

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2005, 02:09:38 AM »
It's simply a question of having the rhodes properly set up. A suitcase rhodes is just the stage rhodes with an active preamp. Most stages that I see do sound awful, but they can be transformed in a matter of hours. You will need a decent amp as using a keyboard amp with no preamp will guarantee your rhodes sounds dead.

Offline CherryFive

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Do the early rhodes sound better or is it my imagination.
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2005, 10:59:38 AM »
Never once have you mentioned opening your rhodes and adjusting it. Tine angle to pickup can be adjusted, escapement can be adjusted, grommets can be replaced, etc. Maybe your hammer tips are too hard and worn. You should really look inside before you think about buying another. but trust me i just played a 1972 that sounded like crap

John
www.octavecat.homestead.com