Author Topic: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes  (Read 5045 times)

Offline goncalodias

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Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« on: January 03, 2015, 10:16:52 AM »
Hello,

I'm looking for a cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes.

The ones that i searched are almost or more expensive than one Rhodes.

I need one amp just for home and to play in low volume, but with good sound quality.

The Fender Blues Junior 15w with 3 valves is a good choice?

I'd like to ear some opinions.

Thanks!
Fender Rhodes MK1 73Keys 1979

Offline goncalodias

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2015, 05:31:44 PM »
At this moment i think is more difficult to buy a decent cheap amp for my Rhodes than restoring my 73 MK1!

I keep reading a lot about this matter and still no conclusion! 

The important thing is to choose one amp that is good for Rhodes at low volume, is only to use in apartment... i read that many good amps don´t give that sound when played in low volumes, only when you push from them... louder!

I read some good experiences about the Laney VC30 and the Rhodes... but the 30Watts amp is to much power for my needs, i´m looking to 15W amps.
I never read any experience <bout the Laney Cub 12R, only in guitar forums, and everybody says is a very good amp and cheap even vs Fender Blues Junior and Vox AC15.
The Laney cub 12R looks a great choice and is 15 Watts and has the option to 1 Watt option!
Is all tube,  2 x EL84 output Valves and 3 x ECC83 Preamp Valves with 1 x12" H|H speaker.
There is also the option to buy the Laney cub 12R head and the cabinet with 2x12"... in this option the sound and basses could be much more better i think.

Other consideration is the Fender super champ X2, but i read it has clean tones but don´t has a lot of bass... is 1x10"

The Vox AC15VR is other "budget" choice but is not all tube like the others is a hybrid amp... and i have a friend with an 88 mk2 who don´t like very much the Rhodes with the Vox´s amps...

Anyone knows if the Harley Benton VT-30 BK is also a good amp for Rhodes? Is all-valve combo, 30W, 1x 12" Celestion Vintage 30, Ruby Tubes 3x 12AX7, 4x EL84 and very good price.

Used amps i think is out of question, here in Portugal is very difficult to buy and all overpriced and through ebay the postages and taxes are huge!

Any comments please!  :)


Fender Rhodes MK1 73Keys 1979

Offline Student Rhodes

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 12:41:05 AM »
If it's for low volume, non-gigging or recording, almost any amp would do.   
It's a matter of taste, but you probably don't need to use a tube amp.  You're most likely not going to be playing it loud enough to get the most out of the warmth that comes from tubes.  I know the "go to" amp back in the day was a Fender Twin, but many also used amps like the Roland JC120, which was solid state. 

Can you rent any of these amps and check them out first? 
When I worked at a music store if you bought an amp, and decided you didn't like it, you could return it in original condition for store credit toward a different amp.  You may want to inquire about that.

I don't know anything about gear availability in your country, but I wouldn't rule out a used amp.   After all, your Rhodes is a used piece of gear as well.

Offline The Real MC

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 06:30:19 PM »
Most guitar amps distort too easy to use with a Rhodes.  Look into a bass amp.

Offline 4kinga

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 09:01:54 AM »
Different route:

If you have a home stereo, you could use a preamp/audio interface and plug it into an aux in.  I have a Tascam US-1800 ($199 new) that I plug into an old Sansui stereo with some small studio monitors.  The US-1800 can act as stand-alone mixer or audio interface for a DAW via USB.  (There are lots of other audio interfaces to choose from that do the same thing.)


Offline voltergeist

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 09:33:25 AM »
A Roland KC-150, which is a 12" 65W 4 channel keyboard amp w/ horn would be a good home amp.  Minimal coloring of the sound, good clarity, and multiple channels. 

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KC150?adpos=1o2&creative=55670685481&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CJuT9-PmmMMCFQkuaQodvaYAUQ
Restored or Overhauled: '65 A-model Sparkletop, '78 Suitcase 73, early-'75 Satellite 88, '81 MkII Stage 73, two '77 Mk1 Stage 73's, '74 Mk1 Stage 73
In Progress: 1 '78 Suitcase (2nd one), '70 KMC - Customized w/ Peterson 4x12, '77 Wurli 270

Offline sean

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 01:06:36 PM »

I like these last two ideas:  home stereo or keyboard amp.

There are some good cheap keyboard amps out there.  Roland has some models even smaller than the KC-150, and Behringer and Peavey are selling super cheapies.  The keyboard amps will have wider/flatter frequency response that you can certainly hear on a digital piano patch, and probably appreciate on a Rhodes too. 

I have in the past championed the Fender Princeton Chorus amp as a great low-volume amp, but I was horrified when I plugged in my Yamaha P80 into it.  The piano patches did not sound life-like at all, they sounded like bad 8-bit video game toy pianos. 

If you have a home stereo that you are willing to use with your Rhodes, you could also get a simple mixer as the interface from the Rhodes to the stereo.  A little Mackie Mix5 or Mix8 will work, but Behringer, Samson, and Alesis have little mixers that will work fine.

You probably won't drag your piano into the music store to test out the amps, but you can get a very good idea of how the amplifier will sound when you plug it into a modern keyboard.  Choose an electric piano patch, and see how the amp sounds.  Then also select a grand piano patch, and see if the amp still sounds crisp and clear.

(The only situation that you will NOT get a good idea of how an amp behaves is if the amp has a real tube input stage, then a modern keyboard with a high-impedance output stage will sound great, but your Rhodes may sound very very different when plugged into the relatively-low-impedance tube input.  But for home use, a transistor-based amp with a modern high-impedance op-amp input stage will be just great.)

I also want to make the following controversial claim:  The Rhodes piano does not need an exotic amplifier to give it magical tone.  The Rhodes piano sounds magical through a Mackie mixer with dead-flat EQ settings into headphones.


Sean


« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 01:08:55 PM by sean »

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Cheap but decent amplifier for the Rhodes
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 01:38:17 PM »
I use this ART preamp to send my Rhodes into a PA-type system (QSC power amp and Yamaha stage monitors).
http://artproaudio.com/art_products/signal_processing/multi_channel_tube_preamps/product/tps_ii/

That could just as easily go into line-level inputs of a stereo receiver.
Dave Aubke
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