Author Topic: Lack of high frequency  (Read 1821 times)

Offline jbastow

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Lack of high frequency
« on: February 02, 2016, 11:18:36 AM »
I'm looking to improve the tone on my 1979 Stage 73. At the moment the tone i'm getting feels quite muddy and lacking top end to it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5jobgz37ijjj1uk/rhodes%20tone.wav?dl=0

Currently i'm recording the Rhodes directly off the harp via the RCA jack, and going straight into the high impedance input on my RME interface.
I've also tried fiddling around with timbre adjustments, but that did not affect the frequency response.
To my ears the tone sounds much more even with +10db EQ from 5k upwards, but i'm really after a more elegant solution than that if possible.

Would a DI box make a noticeable difference? Or anything else?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 12:40:15 PM by jbastow »

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Lack of high frequency
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 12:28:14 PM »
A stage piano doesn't have a powered preamp, much like a suitcase piano does where treble and bass can actually be turned up.  If you take a Rhodes directly into an interface, it's much like taking an electric guitar directly into an interface without an amplifier of some kind.  There would be a lack of color in the tone versus say plugging the Rhodes into a keyboard amp, and then going direct from the amp into your interface.

You may want to check out a preamp option for the Rhodes, an EQ effects pedal or some other amplifier in the chain before you hit your recording interface.
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Offline jbastow

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Re: Lack of high frequency
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2016, 04:20:08 AM »
Thanks, do you have any recommendations for preamps?

I found this, but i don't think they make it any more. Listening to the audio examples it seems to bring out the sort of tone/character i'm after though - http://www.tasteundtechnik.de/135501.html

Presumably something with a tube is preferred?

Offline pnoboy

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Re: Lack of high frequency
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2016, 10:42:10 AM »
Sometimes, too much equalization can be problematic for a Rhodes piano.  The first thing to check is the tine to pickup distance.  This distance, in general, should be minimized, which means keeping it between about .032" (.75mm)  and .070" (1.25mm).  Also the height of the tine in relation to the pickup must be adjusted.  You can find all this information here http://www.fenderrhodes.com/service/manual.html.  Hammer tips can be problematic if they have grooves worn into them.

If you have access to a graphic equalizer, dropping the gain a bit in the region of about 200 Hz to 400 Hz can often take lots of muddiness out of the tone.  Too much treble boost can be a problem, however, because it can make the high notes too loud, which will then necessitate backing off the pickups, which will produce a tone with fewer harmonics.  If you have a graphic equalizer, increasing gain above 3 kHz can add a bit of brightness.

One nice thing about Rhodes pianos is that they are quite adjustable.  I'm sure you can improve your tone with some fussing around.  However, don't expect too much brightness out of a Rhodes--its' not part of its DNA.

Offline Dan Belcher

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Re: Lack of high frequency
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2016, 11:16:16 AM »
If you have access to a graphic equalizer, dropping the gain a bit in the region of about 200 Hz to 400 Hz can often take lots of muddiness out of the tone.

This is something I absolutely do with my Rhodes. I have one from 1978, and the natural sound of the piano tends to have lots of low-mids. Even when using a Vintage Vibe Stereo Vibe preamp which helps my tone a great deal already, I still like to EQ out some of the stuff below 400hz. This provides a much more natural tone on the high end than trying to boost certain treble frequencies and lets the real character of the piano shine through.
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Offline jbastow

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Re: Lack of high frequency
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 06:56:01 AM »
If you have access to a graphic equalizer, dropping the gain a bit in the region of about 200 Hz to 400 Hz can often take lots of muddiness out of the tone.

This is something I absolutely do with my Rhodes. I have one from 1978, and the natural sound of the piano tends to have lots of low-mids. Even when using a Vintage Vibe Stereo Vibe preamp which helps my tone a great deal already, I still like to EQ out some of the stuff below 400hz. This provides a much more natural tone on the high end than trying to boost certain treble frequencies and lets the real character of the piano shine through.

This has definitely helped somewhat. I would like to shape the frequency response a bit more before the recording/amplification stage if possible though.

Does anyone have experience with the VV Tine Bomb preamp? Or any other tube preamps that might be recommended?