Recoding Fender Rhodes

Discussion in 'Acoustic Keyboards' started by kid, Mar 20, 2002.

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  1. kid

    kid Guest

    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. Pre Amps: API 312+, TLAudio pre/comp, TLAudio pre, Mackie XDR pres. Mics: Neuman TLM103, 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?
  2. ¿HuH?

    ¿HuH? Guest

    I would say record both direct box and miked amp to seperate tracks, this way there are many mix options.
    I assume that the model isn't the '88' rhodes with the stereo tremelo amp bottom.
  3. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    Did they make an 88 like that?
    I had a 73 like that. My 88 isn't like that.

    If the guy has the "suitcase model" one with the stereo tremolo deal, those cabinets sound pretty bad. Not the speakers, but the cabinets.
    But if you do end up recording one there are some direct outs you can use on them.
  4. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    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
  5. ¿HuH?

    ¿HuH? Guest

    I hope you were doing the evil Captain Kirk character in that reply.
    There are advantages to a real instument being recorder as opposed to the MIDI way.

    I applaud anyone going back to organic mechanical music making.
  6. Punchmo

    Punchmo Active Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    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.
  7. SlideMan

    SlideMan Guest

    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.
  8. ¿HuH?

    ¿HuH? Guest

    Sorry lads. 73 not 88 - DOH!
    My Bad (memory)
  9. McAllister

    McAllister Active Member

    Jun 14, 2001
    One of the best Rhodes sound I've ever heard was a 54 (one year only) that was super clean. Direct stereo outs - stunned the engineer that it could sound so quiet.

    Of course, if a break-up-ish sound is required, stick it to an amp; or, record clean and Reamp as desired.

    good luck
  10. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    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

  11. BOBMIX

    BOBMIX Guest

    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.
  12. danfor-2

    danfor-2 Guest

    Why don´t we all bitch slap SonOfSmawg? ;)
  13. sign

    sign Guest

    I record the Rhodes with a DI, through an amp, miced and direct (line out) and through a Leslie with three mics as ususal.

    All to separate tracks, mixed to taste, yummy!
  14. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    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 ?


  15. sign

    sign Guest

    It's called a 'selling point' these days. :D

    Ever heard of Hammond? :p
  16. Sebatron NYC

    Sebatron NYC Active Member

    Oct 11, 2003
    Yeah ,
    i've got a suitcase '73 and God i love it so much.
    You'll never NEVER get me playing some MIDI sampled approximation of a Rhodes.
    It has to be the real thing. :(
  17. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Active Member

    Mar 15, 2003
  18. sign

    sign Guest

  19. garysjo

    garysjo Active Member

    Jun 15, 2001
    Pembroke, MA
    Anyone remember the "dyno" mod? Higher output, certainly brighter, a bit quieter....hmm brings back memories....wish I still had mine.....wish I still had my Rhodes Chroma too! Ass kickin sounds, mine actually worked!
  20. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    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

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