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A band I am working with is going to be recording some tracks with a Fender Rhodes. I have never recorded a Rhodes before. The player tells me he has a nice matching amp that he really likes the sound of. It breaks up nicely. What is the best approach to recording this instrument? I have the following tools to work with. Preamps: API 312+, TL Audio pre/comp, TL Audio pre, Mackie XDR pres. Mics: Neumann TLM 103, KM184, Sennheiser MD421's, Shure 58's 57's, AKG D112. I read about going direct with it but wht about the sound of the amp which by he way I have not heard yet?


SonOfSmawg Wed, 03/20/2002 - 18:54

Well, I don't usually kick-in on these producer-type threads, but I felt my input was needed desperately here ...
OK, here's what you do ...
You walk up to the keyboardist ...
You look him square in the eye ...
Then you bitch slap him real good.
Give him a "MIDI 101" book and tell him to get with the program. If he already has reached "MIDI enlightenment" and still chooses the Rhodes, then I'm afraid he's a lost cause and must be destroyed. Do what you have to do ... in the interest of better music. This world is not big enough for a Michael McDonald wannabee! It was painful enough the first time around.

*Okidoki ... I feel better now* :p

Punchmo Wed, 03/20/2002 - 19:42

I like the sound of a Rhodes or Wurly through an amp with speaker breakup. I would try micing it like a guitar cab with a 57 or 421, same postioning to start. I would probably use a compressor to smooth it out a bit which would mean using your tla pre/comp. There might be some pedal nosie from soft/sustain pedal pedal so watch out for that. If it's stereo and you/they need that, double the above. Start there and make it sound like it does out of the cab. Take a direct signal to cover your ass.

anonymous Thu, 03/21/2002 - 06:53

I've got a 73 key suitcase Rhodes with stereo tremelo in great shape. Every keyboard player that has ever touched it has melted into a puddle of joyous goo. Same for the Wurlitzer through my crunchy hot rod Bassman amp.

Been using 421's with whatever preamps aren't tied up at the moment. I've never felt a need to use a direct out.

S.O.S. can bitch slap anyone he wants, I'll stick with the real stuff, it brings me business. Different strokes ya know.

Ted Nightshade Thu, 03/21/2002 - 08:15

Ah yes the 54, how cool.

I took the speakers out of the huge heavy bad sounding suitcase 73 cabinet and put them into some nice little cube cabinets, two speakers in L formation in either one, for monitors and mains style for playing live.
I was astonished how much clearer, bigger bass, and louder the speakers sounded in the new cabinets.
I don't have the 73 anymore but I do have the two L-cube cabinets still, if anyone's interested and would appreciate them. Cheap to good home.
Very, very cool to put them at ear, not knee, level on either side of a stage (or wherever in the studio) and get some stereo tremelo that's twenty feet wide... :D :p

I wonder if that 54 is so quiet because it has twenty fewer pickups than the 73....

My take:
88 is classy
73 honks like a saxophone


anonymous Fri, 03/22/2002 - 20:04

Do everything you can to get the Rhodes in the studio a day early and spend an hour trying different setups. The API pre's, being pretty fast and bright, may help you out. Many times, at the mix, you may have a hard time defining the Rhodes without making it sound un-warm and too bright, so the API's may help you here. A great deal of this depends on the context - if the track is very open and uncluttered (no distorted guitars or clattery drums), you can get by leaving the Rhodes a lot fuller and darker. If you mic an amp (rather than DI), your mic selection will help you as well. For example, a 421 will give you a little more bite than a 57. Compression or gentle limiting also helps me a lot. If you are going to digital, this can make a big difference. Theres nothing worse than trying to define an 8 bit Rhodes (recorded too low). Have fun and learn.

MisterBlue Tue, 10/14/2003 - 13:58

What's a Fender Rhodes ? Sounds like a hardware emulation of the famous vintage Emagic EVP88 VST plug-in? My experience is that these hardware units never really get the sound quite right. You end up with hiss, buzz and other noise, setup hassle and all kinds of bad stuff. It's just not the same thing as real software. Nothing like a genuine VST plug-in.

Is that thing at least Mac compatible ?



MisterBlue Tue, 10/14/2003 - 15:37

Originally posted by Han:

Ever heard of Hammond? :D .

Anyway, gotta get back to rebuilding the old scanner and shifting the busbars (if you know what I am talking about ;) ).

Now let's better get back to the original topic before we get into trouble here ... :roll:


UncleBob58 Thu, 10/16/2003 - 07:36

On The Rhodes Again.....

Boy I love the sound of the real deal.

Every Rhodes had it's own personality, probably the result of being bounced around from gig to gig and jury rigged repairs.

I still have my "straight" Rhodes 73 Stage Piano(1977/78 when Fender let the contract lapse for two years) which I had hot-rodded at Plateau Electronics in Manhattan (remember Kat synths and the build it yourself modular kits?). I don't miss lugging it around, MIDI is fine for gigging, but give me the real deal for the feel and the sound in the studio every time.

Hey SOS, can you say Clavinet?

Uncle Bob


anonymous Thu, 10/16/2003 - 22:46

I'm also working on a project with a Rhodes right now. We run it through a Fender Twin or a Leslie, depending on the song. No tube pre available unfortunately, but the Focusrite ISA 428 hasn't hurt the effect either.

Best results were the following:
Rhodes > Fender Twin > Leslie > Stereo Neumann KSM 184 > Focusrite ISA428

I'd use 184s on guitar amps, if I could. I'm in love.

MisterBlue Sat, 10/18/2003 - 20:19

When Rhodes were widely used in my neck of the woods in the 80's the standard combination was to use a Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120 amplifier. This amp is pretty loud and also allows you to overdrive it to taste. The stereo Chorus effect went extremely well with the Rhodes sound.

If you can't get a hold of such an amp, maybe a Line6 or similar can do the job ?

Just an idea,


anonymous Mon, 10/20/2003 - 16:27

The real thing is THEE way to go. No digital critter can ever capture the realism of the original. I just got a Wurlitzer EP and can't leave it alone. It is noisy at times, but it has beautiful dynamics. The feel is different, too. It's all about the feel, the vibe, the overall experience. The real thing inspires me to do things differently than a keyboard. (I have a REAL B-3/Leslie rig too and would never dream of living without it)

I mic the Wurly with Crown CM-700s, which might produce interesting results with the Rhodes as well.

Good luck ripping these items out of my cold dead hands.