This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Native Instruments Absynth 5
Weird Turns Pro
Dark Energy Micro Modular
A NEWBAY MEDIA P U B L I C AT I O N FEBRUARY 2010
On Rewriting the Rules
and new media.EDU NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR Fall 2010 Photo by Nolan Wells ..369. You’re ready for a graduate program that understands your ambition and is focused on your success.it keeps getting better! MFA Music Composition for the Screen You’re talented.7260 GRADSTUDIES COLUM. television.EDU / SCREENMUSIC 312. Alexa MFA Candidate Music Composition for the Screen COLUM.Columbia College Chicago . creative. and serious about making it.. Columbia College Chicago’s MFA program in Music Composition for the Screen is a complete education in the art and business of composing and producing music for ﬁlm.
.Check out the AX-Synth at www.com/AX-Synth.RolandUS.
and other top players as they check it out in these exclusive videos. some surprising songwriting influences. SEQUENCING Seven great tips for mastering FL Studio’s piano roll editor. 30 MIKA The multi-million-selling sensation gets candid about finding your own voice on the piano. and why his piano playing freaks out Brian May of Queen. PAUL SHAFFER Ever wonder exactly what’s in that giant keyboard rig on The Late Show with David Letterman? Let the hardest-working keyboardist on TV show you himself.2010 KEYBOARD 7 . MORE ON THE WEB @keyboardmag. then invite you over for a look at James Brown’s personal B-3! 46 GEAR 48 54 RHODES MARK 7 DOEPFER DARK ENERGY NATIVE INSTRUMENTS ABSYNTH 5 CAKEWALK SONAR 8. DO IT! 42 44 DANCE Balance change and repetition in your tracks with subliminal automation. Randy Waldman (Barbra Streisand). See and hear pianists Mike Garson (David Bowie). We went inside the factory and behind the rumors to find out how it happened. Harold Rhodes’ dream of building new electric pianos is a reality again.5 SOUNDS LOOPMASTERS TODD TERRY: NYC CLASSIC HOUSE SONY WHAT IT IS! ’70S ANALOG FUNK LINKS 8 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 LETTERS 22 NEW GEAR 70 PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT 71 CLASSIFIED ADS 58 62 66 GEEK OUT 72 Lurking within the studios of soundware purveyor Sonic Reality is a behemoth of a vintage synth collection we needed three pages to hold.com AVANTGRAND ALL-STARS MEET-UP Yamaha’s AvantGrand is the most ambitious digital piano project in the world to date. STEAL THIS SOUND Get the huge synth bass sound from “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. 02.FEBRUARY 2010 C O N T E N TS KEYSPACE 12 ARTISTS JAMES FELICE RELATION ALEC OUNSWORTH JON PHILPOT UNSIGNED ARTIST OF THE MONTH ADVICE SESSION SENSEI CAREER COUNSELOR COMMUNITY MAJORminor WEEKEND WARRIOR CD REVIEWS PLAY IT! 32 34 36 40 SYNTH SENSE FUNK THE CHORD DOCTOR TEN MINUTE TECHNIQUE FEATURES 24 KEYBOARD CONFIDENTIAL: THE MAKING OF THE NEW RHODES Almost a decade after his passing.
CANADA. 36. Mitchell Sigman ART DIRECTOR: Patrick Wong MUSIC COPYIST: Elizabeth Ledgerwood GROUP PUBLISHER: Joe Perry jperry@musicplayer. Michael Gallant. P. Lowell. left brain. One of his new ideas begins this month: music lessons that aren’t just about the top players in their fields.425. The start of a new season can also remind us of great moments from seasons past. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to KEYBOARD P.0325 PRODUCTION MANAGER: Amy Santana MUSIC PLAYER NETWORK VICE PRESIDENT: John Pledger EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: Michael Molenda SENIOR FINANCIAL ANALYST: Bob Jenkins PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT MANAGER: Beatrice Kim DIRECTOR OF SALES OPERATIONS: Lauren Gerber WEB DIRECTOR: Max Sidman MOTION GRAPHICS DESIGNER: Tim Tsuruda MARKETING DESIGNER: Joelle Katcher SYSTEMS ENGINEER: John Meneses ASSOCIATE CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR: Christopher Dyson NEWBAY MEDIA CORPORATE PRESIDENT & CEO: Steve Palm CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Paul Mastronardi VP WEB DEVELOPMENT: Joe Ferrick CIRCULATION DIRECTOR: Denise Robbins HR MANAGER: Ray Vollmer IT DIRECTOR: Greg Topf CONTROLLER: Jack Liedke SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS? 800-289-9919 (in the U. KEYBOARD (ISSN 0730-0158) is published monthly by NewBay Media. NORTH: Reggie Singh rsingh@musicplayer. “Editor at huge” would actually be a better title.O. CA 94066.S. Since the first product announcement at NAMM 2007. including the inside story of how it was made on page 24 and a full review on page 48. that last one doesn’t exist.com.com.com Keyboard Magazine. and not just the literal ones.O. so fortunately. Tom Brislin. it should. SOUTHWEST: Albert Margolis amargolis@musicplayer. 925. Even so. and Call In Sick to Stay Home and Play Synths Day. and reviews on a freelance basis. Jon Regen SENIOR CORRESPONDENTS: Jim Aikin. Ernie Rideout. NORTHWEST. NO. only) 978-667-0364 keyboardmag@computerfulfillment. MA 01853 Find a back issue 800-289-9919 or 978-667-0364 email@example.com. MIDATLANTIC.238. & NEW BUSINESS DEV. Lowell. another reminder is that as of this month’s issue. given how gung-ho Jon always is about flooding Keyboard with torrents of great material. the man held down the keyboard chair in two popular San Francisco bands (the mellow. Speaking of great things from the past.” Heck. 770. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International. photos. San Bruno. NORTHEAST. Head to our homepage at keyboardmag. In addition to assigning and editing our KeySpace and Play It! sections and authoring a healthy portion of our major artist features. Okay. All material published in KEYBOARD is copyrighted © 2009 by NewBay Media. a new column about musicians who are under 18 and over-achieving.com/ lessons. Here at Keyboard.0296 SPECIALTY SALES ASSOCIATE. CA and at additional mailing offices. Mike McKnight. Scott Healy. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608.F R O M T H E E D I TO R eyboard VOL. SOUTH: Will Sheng wsheng@musicplayer. or artwork. melodic Simple Things and punk-pop pranksters the Trouble With Monkeys). reminding us that seasons always change. Peter Kirn. Was this new company on the level? Could they get from prototypes to production? Even if they did. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Bruno. and the middle ground that often saved me from myself — but that’s not the only thing that made 2009 an especially busy year for him. Michael was an invaluable asset to Keyboard — at various times my right hand. and no small amount of skepticism about whether one of the most iconic keyboard instruments of all time — the Rhodes electric piano — would really be made anew. got married to a musically talented.com Stephen Fortner EXECUTIVE EDITOR CH-CH-CHANGES The daylight hours are getting longer again. Senior Editor Michael Gallant has escaped from full-time employment at the magazine to devote more time to making music. The days’ getting longer inevitably brings a sense of renewal as well. Franics Preve. this isn’t farewell — just “Be seeing you. 650. MA 01853. Box 9158.: Greg Sutton gsutton@musicplayer. speculation.9967 ADVERTISING DIRECTOR.com.343. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts. but with six more weeks of winter all but guaranteed. ON N6C 6B2. Valentine’s Day. 2 #407 FEBRUARY 2010 EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Stephen Fortner MANAGING EDITOR: Debbie Greenberg EDITORS AT LARGE: Craig Anderton. we all may be seeing him at the top of iTunes in the not-too-distant future.582. Michael will continue contributing features. MIDWEST. whip-smart looker who also happens to be the marketing director for the Bay Area’s premiere chamber orchestra.2010 .com. With that. Box 25542.255. 650. 661. but by those very cats — usually with audio or video extras at keyboardmag. Another brainstorm from Jon is MAJORminor. LLC 1111 Bayhill Drive. 949. I’ve saved the best for last. and drummed up the interest of a famous-record-producer-we-can’t-name about the music that he and said talented wife have been recording together. Robbie Gennet. & SOUTHEAST: Jessica Sullivan jsullivan@musicplayer. lessons. Follow Keyboard online at: 8 KEYBOARD 02.com. we bid you a happy Groundhog Day. KEYBOARD is a registered trademark of NewBay Media. All rights reserved.com. We’ve got the answers. Box 9158. London. there’s been anticipation.9978 ADVERTISING DIRECTOR. Reproduction of material appearing in KEYBOARD is forbidden without permission. would the end result hold a candle to the originals? The hopeful and the cynical alike asked these questions and many more. Ed Coury. Suite 125.com to vote on your favorite artists and other topics — including your favorite Keyboard cover story of 2009.2753 SPECIALTY SALES ASSOCIATE. Dominic Milano. That’s why we’re bringing back the Keyboard Readers’ Choice Awards. and I’m happy to report that longtime contributor Jon Regen joins us as an editor at large.2719 ADVERTISING DIRECTOR.
and MIDI grooves! Only at Sweetwater! Massive Xpanded Bundle! Get a FREE V 2. a chorused electric piano.0 install plus a 1GB thumb drive (stuffed with three volumes of PCM expansion) and a BONUS Xpanded CD-ROM full of tutorials.com FREE Shipping • FREE 2-year Warranty • FREE Tech Support • FREE Professional Advice .>> Exclusive Keyboards! >> Exclusive Bonus Content! Moog Little Phatty Stage II Here at Sweetwater. You’ll find a lush stereo string sample. loops. and much more. keymaps. Only at Sweetwater! y YAMAHA MOTIF XS KORG M3 Get $1. U Ultra-hip Solar Orange housing p plus a CV-output hot rod! SWEETWATER EXCLUSIVE! >> Free Extras! >> Bonus Instruments! NORD WAVE Awesome Bonus Instruments! Get our exclusive Bonus Instruments Collection. editors. soundware. Of course. all that E goodness is in addition to our FREE shipping. FREE tech support. Only at Sweetwater! (800) 222–4700 • www. It’s a can’t-beat combination — and it’s only at Sweetwater. we’ve got an in-house sounddesign team devoted to creating CUSTOM sound M libraries and BONUS add-ons for the keyboards S we stock — 100% FREE to you.175 in FREE Extras! Our exclusive MOTIF XSpert Upgrade includes 512MB of RAM and a 1GB USB 2.0 flash drive. plus you’ll find gigabyte after gigabyte of samples. and programs. we regularly cook up EXCLUSIVE instruments for our E customers (Exhibit A: the hot Moog to the right). More than that. packed with samples. and more.sweetwater. we’re total keyboard fanatics — and you benefit from our obsession! Since we’re connected to the brains behind today’s coolest keyboards. a mighty B3 with an overdriven Leslie. and more. FREE 2-year warranty.
com Find us online or join the forums at keyboardmag. I had meant to convey that even the sounds in it that were sample-based were so good that one might mistake them for a different sort of synthesis. I enjoyed reading it. I always try to slow and pause the video to see what [instruments] Shaffer is working with. not to mention the state-of-the-art things many churches are doing with pro audio.or 64-step wavetable synthesis. ethnic. and virtual tonewheel synthesis.. That said. Quebec We have editor at large Jon Regen to thank for hooking up with Mr. —Stephen Fortner. I also want to assure you that the only bias we have is towards wherever the music is. which is why anything we write about gear gets read multiple times. to give one example.com ® Korg SV-1 Retro Mojo Propellerhead Record The Un-DAW Big Fish Symphonic Manoeuvres A NEWBAY MEDIA P U B L I C AT I O N DECEMBER 2009 $5.com Keyboard Magazine 1111 Bayhill Dr.LETTERS 8 PLATINUM POP MIXING TIPS! www. we’re planning more coverage of these subjects for 2010. MA 01853 Find a back issue 800-289-9919 978-667-0364 keyboardmag@computer fulfillment. which Digidesign still offers for free. In my opinion. the synth samples and filters are good enough that you could easily mistake them for modeled. All other aspects of the review were right on. . from the Keyboard Corner forum Let’s hope egg on my face is at least good for the complexion. 32.com since I began reading the magazine. FM synthesis.” In fact. really.com. Indeed. Describing the song “Star of Wonder. Thanks for the good work! Please give us more working musician set-up videos! —Marc Girard. . they’re at keyboardmag. So much of the media shows a secular editorial bias. and for those who haven’t seen the videos yet. That’s Jon for you: heavily plugged-in to the New York City music scene and always chasing a great story.com/video. I think it’s one of the most interesting videos and content items on keyboardmag.. On rare occasions. That’s an inherent hazard in making a magazine. As a Christian. virtual analog synthesis. Stephen Fortner writes. includes these types of synthesis. Suite 125 San Bruno. as opportunities to shoot hot artists and gear usually come up for us on very short notice. Contributor and former tech editor Ken Hughes routinely writes about using review gear at rehearsals and services with his praise band.99CAN 12 Jonathan 0 09281 01011 Sadoff thenewno2 1 KEYBOARD BIASED? There was a lot of great musical information about Tori Amos’ approach to Christmas songs in your December 2009 cover story. sentences got spliced together and the wrong meaning was conveyed. or other group. and for the most part. 10 KEYBOARD 02. Shaffer and getting onto the Letterman set with camcorder in hand. But is it? Andrea N. it is Keyboard’s editorial policy not to take a position on matters of religion. Xpand uses a multi-synthesis engine which includes multi-samples. Sono-Télé Studios. something is so obvious that everyone misses it. Look for a feature in the magazine on Paul Shaffer within the next couple of months.” it’s the Truth around which our lives revolve. so long as no one is saying anything hateful or abusive about a religious.keyboardmag.99US $6. “In my seasonal world. it’s not the Christian “story. —burningbusch. but seeing the guy and his instruments close up was fascinating! When I watch the show. it helps that I’m a fan of The Late Show. That said. Pro Tools is becoming an outstanding platform for music creation. In fact. Executive Editor XPAND 2 CORRECTION In the [online] review of the Digidesign Xpand 2 software synth.2010 . I’ll throw in a plug. our Key News email newsletter is the best way to get fast-breaking stories — especially videos. Montreal. . Now we have a much better view. We’re also in awe of the great music that’s coming out of today’s gospel scene.S. However. Since you found it in the newsletter. —Stephen Fortner. I viewed the Paul Shaffer videos filmed at his Letterman rig and in his apartment with the James Brown B-3 organ. Executive editor PROPS FOR PAUL After reading the Keyboard email newsletter.” she says. “While Xpand 2 is sample-based. which you can find at keyboardmag.com/gear. Along with our Twitter feed and Facebook page. only) 978-667-0364 keyboardmag@computerfulfillment. the poetry for that is the birth of a baby boy. CA 94066 Subscription questions 800-289-9919 (in the U. now live at keyboardmag. though.” For countless people of faith worldwide.com! LET’S HEAR FROM YOU Contact the editors keyboard@musicplayer. before publication. even the first version of Xpand. I think beautiful dancing girls celebrating the rebirth of light — in the Christian story. Thanks for the sharp eye — I’ve corrected the review. through a number of edits and revisions. And the birth of our Savior isn’t mere “poetry” on par with something about dancing girls. Baltimore. including by the manufacturer. —Stephen Fortner. MD To be perfectly clear. I don’t read Tori’s use of the words “story” and “poetry” here as belittling. and I’d like to think my favorite music magazine is an exception. Executive Editor VOTE IN THE KEYBOARD READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS! What was your favorite cover story of 2009? Who was the most breakthrough keyboard artist? Make your voice heard about these and other burning questions in the Readers’ Choice Awards. it’s also our policy to preserve the voices and views of the artists we interview. Of course. I have to point out something that gives me pause.com Keyboard Magazine Box 9158 Lowell.
reproduced with stunning realism.The SV-1 captures the hippest. Twist a knob to unleash the swirl and warmth of vintage effects and tube-driven amp models. It’s all there. info at korg. tape-driven. and digital legends. in-demand keyboard sounds in one instrument. transistorized. joined by a collection of rich acoustic pianos.com/sv1 . Decades of electro-mechanical. analog. but it’s a totally new stage. It may be an old soul.
We had no jobs. and people liked it.K E Y S PA C E A R T I STS . recorded in the theater of an abandoned Shakespeare camp. I know how to play it in the context of how it sounds good for us. “I also use a Nord Electro 2. fitted into a custommade wooden case. eventually. head to thefelicebrothers. Hear a full audio podcast of this interview at keyboardmag. There was no stage — no disconnect.” Jon Regen To learn more. Garth Hudson. We recorded a record. 12 KEYBOARD 02. Just to screw around. because we were playing on the subway. “I’ve got a beautiful little upright that actually used to belong to [the Band’s] Garth Hudson. I think my favorite piano player. A deal with U. Just for the amount of enjoyment it sounds like he’s having every time he touches the keys.” Felice says. 2006’s Through These Reins and Gone. “We started four years ago.” Who does Felice listen to for inspiration these days? “Benmont Tench. jazz piano players. a friend of mine had one and she let me borrow it. It sort of went on from there. “I’ll listen to almost anything. catapulted the folk-rockers to international acclaim. So the way I play accordion is definitely based around how the band plays. I had never played one before.2010 .” Felice says.com/artists. I don’t know anything about how to play the accordion for real.” Other instruments in Felice’s growing arsenal include a Hammond Porta-B. which has become a staple of the Brothers’ signature sound. It used to be a player piano. “When we first started. C O M M U N I T Y JAMES FELICE Subway Stop Americana Home-grown Americana is alive and well. And we started playing the streets. though. including a Nord Stage.-based Loose Music soon followed. A DV I C E . and that was kind of it.K.k. who hail from New York’s Catskill mountains.” The Felice Brothers’ first album. Forever. “I was living in my car. I play guitar.” he says. I could just listen to him play piano. and no homes. because we knew we could make some money that way.” The band’s early performances also included regular shows on NYC subways. is Randy Newman. and so we’re sort of caretakers of it right now. He’d abandoned it at the Bearsville Studio.” Felice also plays accordion. as did a tour with Conor Oberst (a. We started playing music together with my older brother Simone. but mostly I’m a keyboard guy. no money. The self-taught Felice uses a combination of new and vintage gear on the road. Founding brother and keyboardist James Felice recalls a time when success had more to do with finding life’s bare essentials than making hit records. Bright Eyes). and a little bit of clarinet and stuff like that. and in New York City on the street. and I was learning how as we were becoming a band. “We sort of developed our sound along with the accordion. “We came from a place where the audience and the musicians weren’t really separated. who signed the band to his label Team Love.” Felice tells me. My brother Ian was living in a tent in the woods.com. and a piano with a famous pedigree. thanks in no small part to the recent success of the Felice Brothers. And we did.a.
uk Favorite Gear: Apple Mac running Logic Pro. K E Y S PA C E PHILIP SAWKINS RELATION Electropop Exponents Sound: Melodic. Fluke. Carl Craig. Stephen Fortner jessehiattband.co. Underworld. Newest Project: Fear of Night album out now on Urban Torque recordings. Ewan Pearson. Choose Your Road is an A+ senior thesis from an honor student of soul — and one highly enjoyable listen. Arturia soft synths. Clavinet. Favorite artist you’ve probably never heard of: World of Twist. If you’re not in the mood. Favorite Songs: “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division.C. Technical proficiency is not that important. Depeche Mode. their Quality Street album is full of pop gems — mixing acid house with northern soul — and was produced by the Grid. Sly and the Family Stone alums Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini contributing killer horn parts throughout is another testament to Hiatt’s cred. Words of wisdom: Give out but don’t give up. Jesse Hiatt may know exactly how to work the angle of funky white boy crooning as the girls are swooning. Orbital. Kraftwerk. Hiatt isn’t shy about musically admiring his ostensible heroes. Practice regimen: Don’t force yourself or you won’t enjoy it. electronic. but it’s a classic. then do something else. and the human voice. Francis Preve KELLY VAILLANCOURT UNSIGNED ARTIST OF THE MONTH JESSE HIATT On Choose Your Road. indie techno-pop.M O R E O N K EYB OAR D MAG. Maybe that’s a bit obvious. but it’s when his fingers hit the keys that we hear his true voice: formidable and funky chops on Hammond. Webpage: relationmusic.2010 KEYBOARD 13 .C O M Andrew Leary (left) and Oliver Keech.com 02. Saint Etienne. from Graceland-era Paul Simon on “Mississippi Dreamcatcher” to Little Feat on “Out of My League” to Prince-ly falsetto over a southern-fried “Superstition” groove on “Love. Pet Shop Boys. Plaid. Roland Juno-106. Influences: New Order. and New Orleans-style piano. Human League. John Barry. Currently. Hot Chip. Rhodes. Part of the early ’90s Manchester scene. Hammer sampling Rick James — is that the songs are so consistently wellcrafted and the keyboard playing is so tasty.” What makes this the good kind of similar — like a jazzer reverently quoting Bill Evans and unlike M. Radiohead. we’re also remixing some album tracks for future singles. LCD Soundsystem. Gibson Les Paul guitar.
and into a bass amp for an enormous sound. You did Skin and Bones in your own freshly-built studio. For one. starting a song and you realize . but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was relatively basic stuff — keys were more for atmosphere.K E Y S PA C E A R T I STS . and they’re really stellar musicians. you could walk down Frenchman street and just bump into musicians. For another thing. we wanted it as dirty and perverted as possible. Beause this was the last song. . you don’t recommend Rocker’s Return to Keyboards starting your own studio. C O M M U N I T Y ALEC OUNSWORTH Since last summer. exactly. That you don’t have enough headphone amps or something? Right. “You know. what I’m trying to gear my brain to get right is. constantly. We could call him up!” From what I remember of New Orleans. we ran a Farfisa organ through an Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. I work on songs. well. like interesting mic choices? With Flashy Python. I just ran into soand-so.2010 . He told us about his return to the keys. We miked that with another SM57. a feeling. I want to be able to turn off. No special pills? [Laughs. experimenting with everything. . For the last song. Everything else was relatively dialed in at the studio. we ran the Wurlitzer through a Supro amp miked with a Shure SM7. I don’t have any tricks. A DV I C E . We recorded the Hammond directly from its speakers with a Shure KSM44. They’re really active so to get them on their home turf was important. You did two albums in six months — how do you combat studio fatigue? I just kind of plowed through. which is a new thing. Meanwhile. And for live shows. sometimes! Frenchman street was near where we were staying. “off the street” isn’t exactly the right way to put it but. We were also working on the fly. no. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontman Alec Ounsworth has tracked two records — Mo Beauty and Flashy Python’s Skin and Bones — in two very different studio settings. I don’t recommend starting your own studio while you’re making a record. where to assert myself on keyboard. Drew Hinshaw 14 KEYBOARD 02. . Were there any production techniques. I want to be able to sit at the piano and just do it. It’s the little things. . You should make a list of the things you’ll need. . for keyboards. no [laughs]. It just happens that I’m wracking my brain to remember what Shures we used. I want to be natural. Guess I just don’t know when to stop. the way I’ve always been able to turn off with the guitar. it’s hard to pin down all the players I have on this record. So is name-dropping the 57 a condition of their loan? No. We didn’t want crazy dark. I’ve almost switched exclusively to keyboard. we relied a lot on taking talented people . . . In New Orleans we focused our experiments on the songs. like some guy playing tuba on the sidewalk. I put some songs together on the keyboard in the past. Yeah. and our engineer would just wander outside and say. and the resplendence of New Orleans. I don’t mean to say that the 57 is a bad mic — Shure loaned me a bunch of mics. If I have an idea. his DIY studio struggles. because the Hammond has a darker sound. but that’s what I do. because you’ll have everybody there. Coming out of the Flashy Python record into the New Orleans one was a bit much. Why is that such a transition? Live. What made you want to do Mo Beauty in New Orleans? We knew how valuable New Orleans was — the amount of talented people and their level of talent.] I just really like the studio.
Yeah. I really enjoy it throwing guitars through it. producer. not live. I’m not going to say we sound exactly like the record live. almost DJScrew sounding track. Yeah. You are always in their world. but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. With the Virus. like a Quasimoto record or Ghostface [Killah]. or a vibration. and that’s really cool. Eventually I’d like to get to that where it’s kind of like a hum. Here and there. I have pedal sequences that Indie Keys and Production Wizard I’ve re-patched and reconfigured in different ways to make freaky sounds – in Ableton. I use the Alesis Bitrman a lot. This record.2010 KEYBOARD 15 . It’s a pretty processed song. I really like that synth. and edit them down into something that makes more sense with the song. After you spend so much time crafting a particular sound for the record. critically acclaimed record. deep. At one point. it’s like a slow. As the keyboardist. As producer. do you have problems when you go to reproduce it live? Oh. and I think it’s fun for the audience. It’s kind of boring to go do a show and be like “jeez. just to get different textures. frontman. How would you describe the sound you’re trying to perfect? I would like for people to be able to hear something and listen to it repeatedly. bitreducer pedal. then pedals. and mixing engineer. so on. I mostly used the Yamaha Motif. and it has some processing.M O R E O N K EYB OAR D MAG. And then you’re using Ableton on top of that? Just in the studio. Was there any change of gear between your first and second records? On the last record. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get things to sound just a little different. hearing each song hundreds of times. the band’s second. Drew Hinshaw 02. where people can feel the music on that level. and Japanther come to mind. but we’re cool. Pretty rad. are you re-performing most of your work or triggering samples? We’re doing a combo. Certain songs like this one on the record called “Drug a Wheel”— Yeah. I take drums and run them through amps. So that gives you more room for experimentation? Yeah. but mostly it’s sample-based. It’s really fun for us to play. so we kind of reinterpret it live. There is almost no way to make that go away – besides finishing it. If the key is a little off. I wanted the record to never drop to silence. when you are that close to a project. band member. how do you keep a sense of perspective? It’s definitely a problem. Are there any pedals you keep coming back to? At home. this sounds exactly like the record. It’s one of those plastic Alesis pedals that came out a few years back. a distortion. you can go down to the sine wave and start building up from there. Like a drone. That stuff just never stops – there is always sound. With the Motif you can edit the wave. You get more into fixing things than listening. I can correct it.” On stage. and thus reaps kudos for Beast Rest Forth Mouth. I can kind of take those sounds. it’s always an issue. each time finding new facets and new feelings. and processing and stuff like Ableton [Live]. Philpot is closer to that sound than any.C O M K E Y S PA C E REZ JON PHILPOT Atlanta-born Brooklyn transplant Jon Philpot’s four piece Bear in Heaven is part of a gush of avant-garde Brooklyn groups proffering mesmerizing soundscapes — peers like Grizzly Bear. the first rendition of it. slowly. mixer. I mess around with Operator. or do you work with amps? Sometimes both. I bought a Virus TI. the Antlers. Do you usually run that stuff through Ableton.
it’s already too late. because the main point is to make music that matters. click — maybe you’re not totally focused. he’d still seek out the redeeming qualities of each instrument. Nothing even comes close. and rhythms. hum.” Jazz great Kenny Barron once said that the way he dealt with problem pianos on gigs was to focus on what was right about them. and the internal speakers rumble with attitude. not the deficiencies of the piano it was played on. Whatever the reason. Unless you learn to line up your internal clock with the external clicker. then move ahead. The shortcomings of vintage instruments show us that musical beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. click. By the time you realize you’re not in the groove. as opposed to just listening to your own playing. Now try triplets: onetwo-three. Just like human life itself. Click. it makes sense. Intuitively. Much like the acoustic piano (my mainstay). Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a real electro-mechanical beast — complete with a hammer action whose design is very close to a grand piano’s. This is why it’s hard to evaluate your own time. it was about the music. During our interview for the July ’09 cover story. From hulking Hammond B-3 and Vox Continental organs. as it’s more challenging the slower the pulse gets. They’re imperfect by nature — notes sound at different volumes. any hipster band worth their current blog buzz wouldn’t be caught dead without a shopworn keyboard. In the end. there’s not even this much wiggle room. but to squeeze every drop of sound and usage possible out of it. You turn it on. Most keyboardists rush (and most drummers and bassists drag). subdivide eighths in your head: one-and-two-andone-and-two-and. start over from the top — this will help break the habit of adjusting on the fly. and in many instances. but most of us misuse the metronome. inadvertently “practicing in” bad habits. they present challenges and force us to look beyond them for solutions. The tried-and-true method is playing to a metronome. two-two-three. the 200A has an immediacy few other keyboards can match. the Wurly is my go-to songwriting ’board these days. maybe you’re overcome with exuberance. the biggest thing they can teach us is not to bemoan whatever instrument we have available. everyone is chasing the vibe. veteran hitmaker Rob Thomas told me. vintage instruments can teach us a lot about music. then sped up to the proper tempo. your playing will sound edgy and nervous. life. so that you nail the time as soon as you start. but suddenly you’re ahead of the A R T I STS . You realign with the pulse. being slightly ahead of the moment: You have to plan chord changes. If you lose the groove. Maybe it’s metallic reeds that bark and growl with each hammer blow. and groan just like the musicians that play them. despite poor tuning and regulation. Try to think ahead and predict when the next click will fall. Actions go out of regulation. recording artist of critically acclaimed album. but they’ve got their own challenges. It has a ton of personality. That’s a bad habit.2010 . “I love my Wurly because it’s crazy.K E Y S PA C E Session Sensei HOW NOT TO USE A METRONOME by Scott Healy. To really discover the inner sense of the beat. If you bring this habit to a live gig. and construct on-the-spot reactions to others’ musical ideas. slow down the metronome. not on the bandstand or in the studio. in fact. That’s what makes them so inspiring to use: Perfection doesn’t exist. In my native New York City. The drummer and bassist can adapt to some degree. Let It Go Vintage keys are all the rage. Any “adjustments” need to be made before you begin to play. If quarter notes are the main pulse. for example. So don’t just flip on the metronome and blast ahead. You’ll always feel like you’re ahead of the beat (because you are) and constantly be adjusting back. voicings. “being in the moment” is. Far beyond just sounding great. You’ve actually slowed down for an instant to get back on track. C O M M U N I T Y beat. In a performance situation. keyboardist for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien It’s hard to evaluate your own time while you’re actually playing. and you’ve just practiced it. Career Counselor WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM A WURLY by Jon Regen. How. A DV I C E . Every key sounds different. 16 KEYBOARD 02. My current one of choice is the Wurlitzer 200A electric piano. You need to work these issues out in the practice room. Outputs hum and distort unpredictably. As hip and desirable as vintage keys have become. On a recording session. and you’ll be pegged in five seconds as the player who can’t play to a click. hopefully now in better sync. to ’80s relics such as Casiotones. Or three. and your lack of metric center will quickly wear thin. you’ll never improve your time. Vintage keyboards rattle. Take a minute to just listen.
” Skylar Thomas tells me after I inquire about the imposing keyboard shown above. My greatest inspirations are my talented father. With a slew of classical and rock performances under her belt. That’s why she’s our first MAJORminor — our new column profiling young keyboardists headed for success! Web: skylarthomas. Randy Rhoads. a Yamaha CS-60. Yamaha CP70B electric grand.K E Y S PA C E MAJORminor SKYLAR THOMAS by Jon Regen A R T I STS . Richard Cionco and Natsuki Fukasawa. plus get the feel. I feel the classical training is what makes me a better synth player. Thankfully.2010 . Rudy Sarzo.com/skylarthomas First memory of hearing a synth sound: Probably when my Dad pointed out the gigantic.” First synthesizer: A small Yamaha — I can’t remember the model.com. long opening to the Elton John’s “Funeral For a Friend. Even so. And I love playing it every day. and Kurzweil PC2X above Dave Smith Prophet ’08. Chopin. There’s no way you can learn classical correctly on a synth. A DV I C E . Why keyboards and not some other instrument? My Dad started me on the piano at age four — I didn’t really choose the instrument. fun side of me. Don Airey. and Yamaha CS-60. and my classical teachers from Julliard. I was freezing cold and we were running late. I had to learn “Call Me the Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd four days before the show. C O M M U N I T Y Under 18? Shredding on keys? Friend. Life goal: Rockin’ America! KEVIN GRAFT 18 KEYBOARD 02. That was when my collection started! Musical heroes: Liszt. Pink. Lucia Micarelli. “I wish I had a CS-80. and you might be our next MAJORminor! Skylar on (top to bottom) Minimoog Voyager. and Oberheim OB-Xa. But when I finally got my Steinway A grand piano at age 13. I use my piano to learn better voicing and to shape notes. I also love to play classic and ’80s rock. I wear gloves and a nice warm jacket beforehand. and some current artists like Lady Gaga. Favorite material to play: My favorite classical piece is “Liebestraum” by Franz Liszt. tweet. In back: her Pro Tools 8 rig. and Mariah Carey. My fingers locked and trembled and worst of all. including stints alongside Jeff Watson from Night Ranger and Frank Hannon from Tesla. with no band rehearsals. I love challenges. or email us. Roland VP-330. Some of my favorite rock songs to play are “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin and “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. Not shown: Steinway A. I got a Roland JP-8000 [virtual analog synth] when I was about eight years old. I like to play solo and I also dig supporting a band — teamwork! Worst gig nightmare: A classical performance at California State University. twitter. Synths are for the rockin’. I wouldn’t play music well if I didn’t do warm-ups and scales. Skylar is one talented keyboardist to keep an eye and ears on. We discovered Skylar after a Facebook posting demonstrating her command of Pro Tools 8. Now I make sure we have plenty of time. I found a place in the Mozart piece to jump to. How important is traditional music training? It’s all about fundamentals. and finished my performance. and when it’s cold. and Frank Hannon. Last New Year’s Eve. Roland RD-300SX. I stopped playing. I was totally jazzed for having stuck with it.
” “Mustang Sally. I certainly don’t play for money. Eagles. “I’m amazed at the volume and quality of the Beatles’ diverse music. Wilson Pickett. and the list goes on. Wanting to be like Paul McCartney. I’m also considering purchasing speakers to run the keys in stereo for enhanced sound.” “Dock of the Bay. CCR. people like it. Zombies. I’m thinking about getting a preamp to use with both keyboards. “I run them through the P. and formed a band called the Kraftsmen (we liked Sears tools).” The Beatles. especially when the band is sounding good.A.” and “Hold On. In law school in the ’70s. We’re still playing the best of the Doobie Brothers.2010 KEYBOARD 19 . Cream. It’s as fresh to me today as it was when I was 14. Paul. and Sam and Dave. EMI issued what some have called the definitive collection of Beatles music. Instead of paying psychologists’ fees. and I learned by ear. but I still have a great love for soul and R&B. then switched to bass in high school bands that followed. Ed Coury “I play a Roland RD700-SX and Nord Electro. Influences: My first influences included the close vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers.” “Knock on Wood.com/crushed velvetband Day job: I’m a personal injury attorney. with a monitor next to me. I played guitar. because it just covers my gas expense. Beatles. 02. There is nothing like it. Watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show changed my life forever. area in the ’70s. After many years apart. the original members of the band and I are back together and rockin’ again. Songs like “Midnight Hour. and have my own practice. having been told it’d really kick up the B-3 sounds of the Nord. It’s great therapy from the stress of practicing law. I played a Hofner look-alike bass. I picked up piano while in high school because my mother played well. We also do some R&B. and it saves me money.C O M K E Y S PA C E WEEKEND WARRIOR DANNY DARNALL Webpage: myspace. the more I appreciate that I can do this — and that I get to do it with great friends who feel the way I do. Dave Clark Five. I’ve been practicing for 33 years now. How I got started: I learned to play guitar at age six.” he says. I’m Comin’” have a backbone groove that I love. and Ringo inspired 58-year-old Danny Darnall to play rock ’n’ roll.” Last fall.M O R E O N K EYB OAR D MAG. mains. I loved it — the Kinks. A buddy who also played guitar and I entered some local talent contests. I spend my money on keyboards! I have no plans to stop. Band: Crushed Velvet is a four-piece outfit that started playing in the Louisville. including songs by Otis Redding. as well as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Animals. and intend to continue to savor the enjoyment and love of playing before live audiences.” says Danny. But when the Beatles hit and the British Invasion began. and many more classic rock groups. I play for the love of the music which was such a big influence on my life growing up. which I use mainly for B-3 sounds. Why I play: The older I get. The Beatles Stereo Box Set [Original Recording Remastered] (EMI) John. George. Kentucky. The Beatles Stereo Box Set contains 16 discs of Beatles treasures — including the band’s first four releases presented in stereo for the first time. I began playing a Rhodes electric piano. Today I listen to all types of music. “As I’ve grown older. and they ask you to come back and play again.
” and the vocoder-sung title track. Jeff Lorber. Stephen Fortner (kilimanjarojazz.” the acid-jazzy hookfest “Truth Fears No Questions. Sal doesn’t sound like anyone else.S. Produced by Jacquire King. “Flytrap” features dissonant piano chords and electronic filter sweeps. A DV I C E . and in how it celebrates Deutsch’s unique musical ability to merge a variety of tonal textures into a soundscape all his own. In the early ’80s. You’ll drive too fast. norahjones. You’ll tap your foot. Stephen Fortner (Spinefarm. Warmen seem to relish not taking themselves too seriously. And on “Dirty Osso Bucco. On the contrary. The album is impressive in both the wide sonic swath it cuts across a multitude of genres. And if you play. Stephen Fortner (Quannum.” the sci-fi “Video Game. salvadorsantana. the Vermont foursome topped national jazz radio charts multiple times. Many of the tracks on Hush Money sound like perfect material for cinematic sound cues. keyboardist of Finnish metal monsters Children of Bodom. more electric grooves. The Grammy-winning singer. Jon Regen (Hammer and String. But a good listen to the blistering Minimoog solos. yes. and a barn-burning horn section. Jon Regen (Blue Note. a little clave. We may only be a month into 2010. and Clav riffs Sal peppers each track with. and percussion — and vintage keyboards from Deutsch’s own collection.K E Y S PA C E CD REVIEWS SALVADOR SANTANA Keyboard City Forget that his dad is you-know-who. and overall sense of craft proves they do take themselves quite seriously — they just save it all for the music. whose other successes include Kings of Leon and Modest Mouse. though. C O M M U N I T Y NORAH JONES The Fall Leave it to Norah Jones to defy categorization yet again.2010 . “Black Flies” pits sneaky. Featuring a sonorous meeting of both acoustic instruments — guitars. Bob James’ Fourplay.. which also packs plenty of classic funk and.com) WARMEN Japanese Hospitality Ever wonder what happened to the archetype of synth player as swaggering heavy metal hero? It’s alive and well in this latest effort from the solo band of Janne Warman. You’ll bob your head while chewing your bottom lip. and featuring Jones on guitar). the album is jazz in its structure. hammerandstring. Keyboard City may well be remembered as one of the standout neo-funk records of the decade. Latin and R&B rhythms pour the foundation for a melodic vision that blends blues.” Deutsch struts with Hammond organ. Really. Wurly-peppered “Chasing Pirates. and the sweet-meets-sardonic vibe of “Man of the Hour. “It’s Gonna Be” (with an even healthier dose of funky Wurly riffs and solos). ostinato piano and bass lines against shifting horn figures and analog synth shimmer. and the brass-fired “Maceo’s New Suit” does due justice to the other Mr. and if you were anywhere in the northeastern U. But all the tracks smoke. there’s none of the nihilistic posturing some might associate with Scandinavian metal. the album starts off with the trippy. Kilimanjaro plays the A-game.com) KILIMANJARO Homecoming Before some wonk coined the term “smooth jazz” and made a lot of good music share perceptual space with just as much forgettable sonic Valium. Jones frames each song on The Fall around her ace songwriting and impeccable voice. reminds us why. serious musos and casual listeners alike finger-popped to the jazz fusion of artists like Spyro Gyra. the record proves that Jones is far more sonically adventurous than her previous records suggest. Kilimanjaro. and Homecoming. and skilled technocracy with soul. their first new studio album in over two decades. Jump-to tracks include the opener “We Got Somethin’. When it comes to combining complexity with accessibility.org) ERIK DEUTSCH Hush Money Keyboardist Erik Deutsch’s latest release Hush Money is an aural escape from the norm.com) 20 KEYBOARD 02. Highly recommended.” Regardless of instrumentation. Producers GZA and Money Mark contribute their inimitable hip-hop beats to rhythm section. but on December 31. funk beats. as deft covers of both Journey’s “Separate Ways” and Janet Jackson’s “Black Cat” (two words: more cowbell!) suggest.com) A R T I STS . micrometer-tight timing. Salvador Santana’s genre-bending solo debut sounds more like Funkadelic and the Meters had a love child who was then raised by Esquivel in a space age bachelor pad full of analog synths. Lyrically and attitude-wise. songwriter and multi-instrumentalist reinvents herself on The Fall. you’ll try to cop the countless tasty synth. “Neon Leon” simply soars. her latest offering out now on Blue Note. The title track opens the album with a baroque blast of instrumental excess that sounds like what might have happened if Glenn Gould had been around to compose the soundtrack to the original Doom video game — then things get more fun from there.” Other standout tracks include “Light As a Feather” (co-written with Ryan Adams. In this vein. reeds. and a newfound reliance on Wurlitzer electric piano and guitar. Rhodes. and major-key meanderings reminiscent of Pat Metheny’s American Garage. Parker. Save My Life. but atmospheric in its affect. With deeper. 2019. warmen. bebop. The Fall is another winning chapter in a career that will most certainly stand the test of time.
size and whether its even visable. Can you imagine the possibilities when you can simply click on a parameter.com . showing all the information where you really need it . allowing you to see which controls your soft synths and effects are assigned to easily.novationmusic.com info@AmericanMusicAndSound. now you can’t do that with an LCD screen! www. Novation’s Nocturn redeﬁned plug-in control. touch the controller and see it all laid out for you on screen? Its time to play. turning Nocturn into a full keyboard-DAW controller.on your computer monitor.In 2008. Touch sensitive controls and one-click assignment made Nocturn an instant hit with music makers. 8 ‘soft-touch’ drum pads and transport control. Change its opacity. real Fatar keyboard with aftertouch. We’ve added a velocity-sensitive. Nocturn Keyboard’s award-winning ‘Automap’ software graphically displays the entire control surface. CLICK ANY PLUG-IN CONTROL TOUCH AN ENCODER TO ASSIGN THE CONTROL PLAY AND CONTROL THE PLUG-IN WITH EASE WHO WANTS A SMALL LCD SCREEN? Automap’s heads-up GUI mirrors Nocturn Keyboard’s control surface.
killer vintage EPs. as soon as we receive them? Go to keyboardmag. and better AU performance in Digital Performer. THE DIFFERENCE Puremagnetik is subscription-based: Pay $5. but many more Motif XS-like sounds for gigging. puremagnetik. and a real (not sampled) DX7-style FM synth.com Want to check out the same press releases that we see about new gear. CP70 electric grand. THE SIBLINGS The new CP-5 and CP-50 are more portable and affordable. with fewer core SCM sounds. yamaha.000 street. Virtual Circuit Modeling puts amp. short of paying five figures for the real thing.x. THE BIG DEAL Spectrum Component Modeling (SCM) provides ultra-detailed CF-IIIS and S6B concert grand piano sounds. $249 list/approx. and a quick look at specs says Casio may have the bang-for-buck leader. over 30 Ableton Live clips with integrated macros.com CASIO PRIVIA PX-830 DESIGN ON A DIME THE PITCH Mod design. four-layer piano multisample and matte-textured “Ivory Touch” keys.com ARTURIA ARP 2600V 2. WE THINK These console-table pianos are becoming a trend.999 list/approx. and a custom GUI for use in Native Instruments Kontakt. Duet mode and dual 1/8" headphone jacks let student and teacher play the same notes.000 24-bit samples from a Buchla 200e modular synth. priviapiano. free to registered users of version 1. New 20W stereo speaker system and 128-note polyphony. and great feel meet up in the Privia line’s new top model.com PUREMAGNETIK B-SYSTEM: BASSES & LEADS MORE BUCHLA.0 RETRO REPRO REDUX MAJOR UPGRADES New SoundMap preset browser with lots of new sounds. Can now use NRPN MIDI messages for automation. and stompbox modeling onboard. More CPU-efficient on Mac OS X. $5.com/news 22 KEYBOARD 02. Real wooden keys. Presets now respond to modulation wheel. authentic sound.799 list.75 monthly or $60 yearly to download the soundware you want. Matte black: $1. over 30 Apple Loops.2010 . WE THINK It sounds and feels amazing. 20 instruments.399 list. $200 street. Exclusive video of us trying it out is at keyboardmag. $5. polished black: $1. arturia. WE THINK Their Buchla series is the best way to get the sound of one of these gorgeous but esoteric beasts. THE BIG DEAL New. cabinet. LESS BUCKOLA THE CONTENTS Over 1.NEW GEAR by Stephen Fortner YAMAHA CP-1 WORTHY OF THE LETTERS THE PITCH A new flagship in an all-new CP stage piano line.com/video.
com NORD PIANO BLACK ’N’ WHITES AND RED ALL OVER THE PITCH Nord delivers a back-to-basics stage piano with superior sound and feel. we hadn’t played it yet.S. nordkeyboards. full-key multisampled piano. THE BIG DEAL Can combine your 64-bit and 32-bit plug-ins if desired. 512MB of non-volatile flash memory means you can load sounds from Nord’s online Piano Library. WE THINK A power scrubber and voltage converter in one box is great for keyboardists touring internationally with U. vsl. stable 120V AC when plugged into any wall current — from 100V to 240V. by Ilio. all in one gig-essentials axe. $315.at. THE BIG DEAL Provides a clean.NEW GEAR ROLAND VR-700 RETURN OF THE V-COMBO! THE PITCH Drawbar organ. U.com FURMAN P-3600 AR G GLOBAL POWER THE PITCH Voltage regulator and AC conditioner that works in any country. it’ll be a hit with Nord fans who have already covered the synth and organ bases offered by their other models. THE BIG DEAL Modeled drawbar and rotary section can be keyboard-split with the other. ilio. or for power users. this is the coolest sleeper app out there. but we will have by the time you read this. THE BIG DEAL New piano sounds include sympathetic and sustain resonance. Look for video at keyboardmag.2010 KEYBOARD 23 . Piano has separate samples for all 76 keys. and orchestral sounds. WE THINK If the price is right. synth. WE THINK At press time.co. vintage EP.S. streams over Ethernet from a second computer to your DAW’s machine. XLR as well as 1/4" outs. Preserve function retains multi-plug-in setups across projects. Improved amp and rotary speaker modeling. Great way to use non-RTAS synths in a Pro Tools session.com 02. furmansound. sample-based sounds.com VIENNA ENSEMBLE PRO AUSTRIAN ARMY KNIFE THE PITCH Powerful mixing host for Vienna and thirdparty instruments — now in boxed edition. $TBA. Smart! $TBA. Waterfall action.com/video. Weighted hammer action. Either streams audio into your DAW on the same computer.329 list. rolandus.-spec gear. WE THINK If you’re an orchestral mocker-upper or any other kind of virtual instrument hog. Supports half-pedaling and true sostenuto. dist. $2.
Relatively few Mark V . and dampers were upgraded. It was a technological and commercial failure. but he never supplied Harold with anything further he could use.2010 Having served in World War II. but Fender never really gave Rhodes the materials and human resources to get his pianos off the ground. Harold and his team introduced the Mark V in 1984. “Harold told me Leo treated him badly. as well as a handful of prototype pianos. there is no such thing as a “pre-CBS Rhodes. Chick Corea. CBS briefly produced the short-lived Mark III EK-10. Some years after the war. CBS had also bought synth maker ARP. the new Mark 7 (reviewed on page 48) improves upon the vintage models. (For all practical purposes. George Duke. and teaching over 250. appearing on some of the most indelible recordings of the past halfcentury. the synth section was so unstable as to be virtually unusable.000 soldiers how to build and play their own Xylettes. “He promised Harold the money and tools to build the prototypes in exchange for the rights to the name.” Though Fender did make and sell the Rhodes Piano Bass (famously played by Ray Manzarek of the Doors). introduced the velocity-sensitive ARP Electronic Piano.” says Joseph Brandstetter. which greatly improved on earlier versions. he conceived his first pianos as a form of music therapy for wounded soldiers. Harold had signed over the rights to his name and pianos to Fender. Rhodes met guitar mogul Leo Fender. HISTORY Harold Rhodes’ first and lifelong passion was music education. Contrary to many predictions that a genuine electro-mechanical Rhodes could never again be built in this digital age. beginning with the first Mark I Suitcase that year.S. which added a synth that. Legendary keyboard players such as Josef Zawinul. and Harold Rhodes was very upset that CBS had put his name on this keyboard. CEO of today’s Rhodes Music Corporation. cities. and Donald Fagen got a large part of their signature sound from the Rhodes.KEYBOARD CONFIDENTIAL: THE MAKING OF The Rhodes electric piano is one of the most recognizable and imitated keyboard instruments ever. which it later marketed under the Rhodes name. and in 1979. 24 KEYBOARD 02. it wasn’t until 1965 — when CBS bought Fender — that Rhodes got a leg up into mass production of the models we know today. and consider themselves forever indebted to inventor Harold Rhodes. Herbie Hancock. Before World War II. In practice. The plastic body reduced the weight to 100 pounds. he ran a chain of teaching studios in major U.) In 1980. in theory. and taught piano to Hollywood stars such as Lana Turner and Harpo Marx.” at least not in the sense of a keyboard equivalent of the coveted pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster guitars. cobbling together the first Army Air Corps Piano (later called the Xylette) out of spare metal tubing from B-17 aircraft. Joe Sample. could be layered with the sound of the tines. plastic keys were changed back to wood. Keyboard got the inside scoop on how that journey began and what it took to bring the Rhodes back to life.
2010 KEYBOARD 25 . the Rhodes as we knew it had ceased production. Brandstetter settled amicably with Margit Rhodes and became owner of all intellectual property. when the two partnered to update and market the Rhodes teaching method. In October 2003. Brandstetter organized a ceremony at Harold’s retirement home. at keyboardmag. and could no longer be involved to the same hands-on extent. BUILDING IT It’s not as if the materials. Rhodes’ widow Margit. for the first time in his life. Brandstetter bankrolled the effort and they hired about ten full-time teachers to write and edit. 2000. but when all was said and done. THE NEW RHODES The Inside Story of the Return of the Real Electric Piano by Robbie Gennet pianos were produced — a single-digit number of prototypes added MIDI output. Rhodes had Brandstetter make a one-page website announcing plans to make new pianos.View our extensive Rhodes videos. and there was talk of merging the educational and hardware sides of the company. including factory tours. trying to determine who was entitled to do what. While the courts sorted out the verbal and written agreements various parties had made at different times. he confided to Keyboard that the sound made him “sick. Harold suffered a stroke that year. David Benoit. part-by-part descriptions.” The real electric piano was dead. artists such as Horace Silver and Josef Zawinul lauded Rhodes’ contributions to modern music and to their lives.com/gear. the prospects for anyone building new electric pianos sat in limbo. as well as to come up with a version for children. They concurred. an interview with CEO Joe Brandstetter.S. Realizing Harold’s health was in decline. legal troubles over trademark rights brewed between a triangle of parties: Brandstetter. It took almost a year of legal wrangling (and fees). Though Harold Rhodes dutifully appeared at trade shows and Roland events. There. Harold Rhodes passed away on December 17. Brandstetter petitioned the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for their Lifetime Presidential Merit award. and machines CBS used to make the Rhodes 02. It would take the better part of the next decade to do it. schematics. This cleared the way for his Rhodes Music Corporation to start building new instruments — from scratch. However. and other prominent artists. Beginning in 1996.000 Casio keyboards in schools and recreation centers around the U. had the right not only to put his name on his instrument. and evaluations by John Novello. and in September 1997. Harold Rhodes. His relationship with Harold Rhodes stems back to the late ’80s. They also put close to 2. “Rhodes” keyboards of the late ’80s included the MK-80 and MK-60 digital stage pianos. Brandstetter was almost obsessive about seeing that Harold’s pianos were built again. but to build it to the high standards neither Fender nor CBS nor Roland ever fully supported. or so everyone thought. While Harold had convalesced. RESURRECTION Enter Joseph Brandstetter. originally the proprietor of a small chain of retail piano stores in the Los Angeles area. Brandstetter was instrumental in convincing Roland to part with the Rhodes trademark — something industry wisdom said would never happen. to test and refine the Rhodes method. and Rhodes’ children from a previous marriage. When Roland bought the brand in 1987.
it might have been better P. or to have been more transparent earlier. Top and bottom sections of a primed fiberglass Mark 7 shell await painting. “In retrospect.THE MAKING OF THE NEW RHODES Harold and Margit Rhodes with keyboard legends Horace Silver (left) and Josef Zawinul (right). was a main . In the background. at Rhodes’ NARAS Lifetime Achievement ceremony in September 1997. Mike Peterson. completed shells will be sent to Rhodes from SnugTop. who worked in R&D at Fender and works at Rhodes today. reason the Mark 7 was so slow to market since the first prototypes were shown at the 2007 Winter NAMM show. especially in an instrument industry now geared towards printed-circuit boards and standardized keyboard actions. to have announced it somewhat later.” Brandstetter told Keyboard. New sustain pedals will work with vintage as well as new models. Then-NARAS chief Michael Greene (left) presenting Harold Rhodes with the Grammy committee’s Lifetime Presidential Merit award. which they reverse-engineered as the first step in a long process of rediscovery. to Kevin Nelson. the new Mark 7 is very much a re-imagined Mark V. and Steve Woodyard. Research led the company to engineers who worked on the original Rhodes. All Brandstetter and company had to go on were 13 Mark V pianos. In this sense. The Herculean difficulty of redesigning and sourcing so many moving parts.R. “The wait fueled some skepticism out there about the Horst Abbsman. were sitting in some warehouse. Harps and actions of new Mark 7 pianos awaiting testing. from 26 KEYBOARD 02.2010 The preamp circuit board in the Active Mark 7.
. Varying weights have a subtle but definite influence on the sound: the harder the grommet... The constant hammering pushes just about everything in the piano to the breaking point: keys.. for final assembly and testing. Stephen Fortner.. Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes.. as well as such visionary pioneers as Herbie Hancock. and now I hope people judge us on the piano we’ve made. Nicknamed the KEYBOARD PRESENTS: THE BEST OF THE ’80s THE ARTISTS.. The dozens of interior components are manufactured separately at contracted factories around the globe before subassemblies come to the main factory in Long Beach. tone resonators. depends on a lot more than the tine. and our opinion is that Rhodes did their homework. Big on everyone’s mind are the tines. preamp electronics. the company built a device called “the finger. To stress-test actions.. SnugTop designed molds using CAD software.” which plays one note repeatedly (about 65.. combs.. The screws that fasten the tonebar/tine pairs to the Baltic birch frame have larger heads. and Frank Zappa. For the shell. AND TECHNIQUES OF AN ERA edited by Ernie Rideout... 00331932. Features 20 interviews with noted players and producers like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.2010 KEYBOARD 27 . the new cabinets are quite durable and can be painted custom colors. hammers.. the more bell-like the tone. and Michael Gallant BACKBEAT BOOKS No single decade revitalized the keyboard as a focal point as much as the 1980s.000 hits per day) at twice the force of the human finger.. and their metallic composition has been tweaked to provide longer and more evenly-decaying sustain. though. Chick Corea. Depeche Mode’s Vince Clarke. California. The overall tone. so I totally get that people didn’t think it would happen. We really did want to get it right... Like the truck shells. hammer tips.. building an instrument that’s all mechanical engineering in this day and age — it seems nuts.. and even the back felts on the keys themselves.. though... Keyboard has examined them and played many Mark 7 specimens over the past year..95 See your favorite retailer or call Music Dispatch at 02. the wellknown maker of camper shells for pickup trucks. Rhodes turned to SnugTop. For instance...new piano and about me. and the rubber grommets that surround those screws employ three different weights across the note range.. and The Human League.. Peter Gabriel. tone generators.. Now. the editors of Keyboard magazine have culled that era’s most signiﬁcant articles and combined them with a wealth of insight to create this landmark book. You gotta admit... tines. the tone generators — resonating metal bars into which each tine fits — are slightly differently sized than those on the vintage Rhodes pianos. and all parts right up to the exterior shell. INSTRUMENTS. Another upgrade was to the materials used for the hammers. pickups.” Tooling up involved designing new machines and finding new sources for hammers. grommets.... $19. and each cabinet takes about an hour from molding until the resin has cured.
Currently. so we think that situation will improve.” the new hammer tip is highquality neoprene molded around a piece of maple. in k Moogerfooger effects processors are the secret weapons of top musicians and producers worldwide. better (see our review on page 48 for more). and use varying hardness for three note ranges of the Mark 7. MF-103 12-Stage Phaser M MF-104Z A Analog Delay D M MF-107 FreqBox F . we can report that the care that goes into the Mark 7 is evident in every process and every employee. Indeed.” With the Mark 7 now shipping in the U. with a longer “dip” than a Mark I or II for more piano-like feel.S. Maybe that’s because there aren’t as many used Rhodes pianos overseas. So far. that Harold is watching. we really wanted to get the U. the d kt On th ﬂ th desktop or i a rack. as Brandstetter explains. which was sonically inferior. softer on the slower-vibrating.. The tip hardness or “shore” affects the resonation just after the hammer strike. This makes them less prone to breakage. 7 Tonebars have improved sustain. It’s just come to fruition in the last few months that we feel truly ready for the U. “You can voice it. and are less microphonic of internal mechanical noises. read this story online at keyboardmag. 5 Rubber grommets better resist lateral motion. everyone in this building has felt. 4 Damper material is more resistant to notches being worn in by the tines. “One challenge has been educating distributors and dealers — those that are used to digital keyboards — that the Rhodes is more like an acoustic piano than anything else. If I didn’t believe we were doing him justice. THE SUM OF THE PARTS The Mark 7 sounds every bit as good as its predecessors.S. you need to do this to get an ideal sound.” For an expanded discussion of the legal history of the Rhodes brand. and if 28 KEYBOARD 02. the “finger” test device proved that a hammer could endure more than ten million hits.S.com/gear. more musicians will be able to try it for themselves. The hammers also have larger nipple (striking surface) with a bigger diameter at its base. Also. and Joseph Brandstetter’s role therein. The Mark 7 uses five different shores: harder on the upper keys to accentuate the percussive quality. the journey it took to get this far continues at the level of commerce. 3 Hammer-to-tine distance is optimized to avoid the “second strike” that can kill sustain on vintage models. market. 2 Hammer tips are high-quality neoprene on maple. “mutt dog. but here are the most important improvements the Mark 7 makes in materials and design. I’d be doing something else. CBS-era hammers used tubing that was heat-shrunk around maple tips.S.” he says. you can regulate the action and the dampers. price right. “but at one time or another.” Brandstetter prefaces. “Not to get all metaphysical. and make sure we could meet demand. SOMETHING NEW Both vintage Rhodes actions and the new Mark 7 have the same basic geometry. longer tines of the bass notes.THE MAKING OF THE NEW RHODES 5 6 3 2 7 4 8 O the ﬂoor. 6 Tonebar and pickup rails use thicker wood than before. 1 Keys are slightly wider.2010 M MF-102 R Ring M Modulator your piano has made a long trip in a shipping container or UPS truck. and in many cases. very palpably. not shrink-wrapped tubing. 1 M MF-101 L Lowpass Filter F SOMETHING OLD. 8 Pickups are more resistant to hum and crosstalk. Europe and Asia have been more receptive to this — and to the somewhat higher cost compared to a digital stage piano — than the U. Having visited Rhodes HQ several times to examine and play pianos in various states of completion.
moogmusic.oove locked gr Eight Analog Filters NEW! MIDI Clock Sync & Tap Tempo MIDI CC Control . resonant. table-top or rack mount. Create tempo-synced ﬁlter sequences with MIDI Clock Sync. www. and like all Moogerfoogers. It’s equally at home on the ﬂoor. 100% analog Mid and Bass ﬁlter bands bring you everything from shimmering timbral morphing and rhythmic stuttering to deep bass grooves. Control front panel knob settings with MIDI CC messages and play the ﬁlters in real-time with MIDI Note On commands. Change patterns with MIDI Program Change messages. In addition to the full range of Control Voltage inputs. it also sports an extensive MIDI implementation. with tight integration into today’s performance.com/moogerfooger (800) 948-1990 . production. We didn’t stop there. Its warm. and with all this sound and control in one package. DJ and remix environments. The MF-105M combines Bob Moog’s classic MuRF and Bass MuRF to make one powerful Moogerfooger. the MF-105M MIDI MuRF connects you to a world of sonic expression.Pattern Editor Mid & Bass Filter Bands MF-105 MF-105M MIDI MuRF ® Multiple Resonance Filter Array Can’t decide between the MuRF and Bass MuRF? Get both in one package! bet een M RF M RF? o The evolution of the MuRF continues with the MF-105M MIDI MuRF. it’s built like a tank to stand up to the toughest touring and studio use.
Also. doesn’t mean it can’t go places dramatically. the rhythm is kind of hidden within the piano playing. Some guys play and sing in one place. because some of the greatest writers in pop music have been amazing players. then sidestepping and turning the melodies from majors to minors — you start turning things around so that you don’t really know where you’re ending up. You have to learn how to speak your mind. “In all honesty. . Prince. are you a good piano player?” I said. when it comes to making pop music. . Yeah. The Boy Who Knew Too Much is a portrait of an artist firmly committed to telling his own singular story. [Laughs. And he’s talking to me — and he’d never heard my music — and finally he goes. in terms of drama. and then I use the piano as a harmonic reference. either vocally or on the piano. It’s classic piano riffs bathed in church choir cadences. and I mean that in a musical sense. Indeed. Well. Well. Like . but kind of through the side door. . When I was writing the song. So it’s all about thinking you’re in one key. But I think your piano playing and your sense as a songwriter are very orchestral. it always gets in the way. You like to experiment. “So. harmonized vocals over stop-time drum marches. because originally it had to transpose to get into the chorus. At once celebratory and introspective. honoring Doug Morris. I tend to rely on the piano as a percussive instrument. is a sonic circus of sorts. I was actually sitting in a very weird dinner for Universal. Elton John. and there were a lot of women with a lot of plastic surgery sitting around .” He goes. piano-centric sound returns in 2009. And I was seated next to Paul Anka. Often. it’s also a credit to my bad piano playing. I think that’s a credit to your songwriting. Freddie Mercury . “Then you must be a good songwriter! Anybody who’s too good. I do it with my voice. Just because it’s a pop song. On the eve of the album’s release. as opposed to the parts. But there are advantages to playing very simply — to approaching your instrument in a very simple way — you always think of the song. as if they’re staying in their comfort zone. and I realized I didn’t want to do that. for pushing rhythm forward. that’s true and it’s not. and the Beatles). . Especially on this record. about eight months ago.” Now. . (a la Beyoncé meets the Beatles). as a percussive instrument to drive the rhythm. the album is very much like the award-winning British singer/songwriter himself: much more than just the sum of its parts. Borrowing the best elements from rock heroes of yesteryear (most notably Queen. That’s the way I play.” and it’s kind of “side-shifting. There’s a song on the record called “Rain.” from the quintuple-million-plus selling album Life In Cartoon Motion. all revolutionized things. the 30 KEYBOARD 02. but more than anything. I fully admit it was like a puzzle. because the subtleties of melodic lines are not something that I can easily bring out in my playing. I’m not that great. . Mika burst onto the international stage in 2007 with “Grace Kelly. And it was very fancy. But your comfort zone seems to be all over the instrument. Mika’s exuberant.] No. The Boy Who Knew Too Much. that’s become a little bit of a game to me.“Bowie. marrying razor sharp songwriting with an imaginative arranger’s acumen. no. but I mean it. Hard to describe but immediately recognizable. you know?” SEBASTIAN MICKE Mika’s latest offering. .2010 songs aren’t locked down ‘piano songs’. and hip-hop beats colliding with pop panache. it was like a puzzle. and that’s only talking about the musicians.” keywise. Mika and I met in midtown Manhattan to talk about the sounds that shaped this new collection of songs. One of the things that struck me when I heard the new album is that while you’re obviously a piano player. it’s not being afraid to go somewhere.
But my references are older. the other day. and his Threepenny Opera and Lady in the Dark. So much rock music is so banal nowadays. Well. For more on Mika. I also grew up with everything from Cat Stevens to flamenco. and I loved their musical fearlessness. when he heard me play. tight. which I had custom made so I could dance on top of it. I always wondered why he stayed away from me. he was almost to a point of being mute — he couldn’t believe how similar it was. So when he heard the dynamic onstage with my band. fast-forwarding. I call it “Patti Page Punk. But it’s very simplistic. I guess that makes sense given that your template is people like Elton. It felt completely natural. I was obsessed with them! Oliver Wallace. that he was so good at. even though he always comes to my shows and analyzes. even though you downplay it. Finally.2010 KEYBOARD 31 . Pandemonium Shadow Show. but a lot of your references are decidedly old-school. that the drums worked around the piano. I was playing a Yamaha CP300 in the past. it was shocking to him how similarly we did play. but we’d never been personal friends. but I love it. or synth-led stuff by the Eurythmics. because it all sounds the same. and hide the technique as much as I possibly can — because technique never has charm.” If you want to do punk. Kurt Weill. Just recently I got a Kawai MP-8 fitted into a sixfoot grand piano shell. Did you listen to a lot of Queen coming up? No. I’ve been changing. But you never know that when you’re enjoying it — you don’t have to “get” that it’s anarchic to be affected by it. as well. not growing up. is Depeche Mode. I listen to that.MIKA The Boy Who Knew Too Much on Knowing Just Enough by Jon Regen “How do I get into this chorus?” and “How do I do it without anybody realizing that we’ve changed the key?” You’re 25. I’d love to be like them one day. and I think of Prince. at least on the surface. “A-B-A-B-A-B-close. too! The early Harry Nilsson. He was kind of muted. Berlin art-house stuff that became massively mainstream. the guy who did all the choral and men’s choir stuff on Peter Pan. That very kind of taught. but kind of through the side door. because he was such a master storyteller in his songs. “Oh. I try to keep it almost very naïve. Harry Nilsson. obviously. Well. and I did come from a classical background. I’m also going to try the new Roland V-Piano — I hear they’re doing some amazing things. yes.” and I think of Bowie. In my kind of pop. it was just about what the music sounded like. 02. but they were also kind of anarchic. Later. he comes backstage — it had been three years since he last saw me perform. . Kurt Weill is probably as far as I go. because although he didn’t think there was a lot of similarity between me and [Queen vocalist] Freddie Mercury. Now when I write songs. because it breaks all the rules. I was very lucky to have that instilled in me. But I do kind of run the gamut. Obviously. That’s the pop music of its day. That was really grungy. I love things people wouldn’t necessarily think I would like. I did. and I think of Freddie . but not as a pianist — as a singer. and the way Freddie Mercury played piano. I love Bowie. which was a commercial disaster. Just because it was pop music. So what kind of rig will you play onstage? At the moment. He told me he was weirded out by my piano playing. I mean. visit mikasounds. It was the soundtrack of my childhood in a way. dress up like Patti Page and sneak in through the side door! Who were some other major influences when you were coming up? Disney soundtracks. because all the parts are so simple. you know? They were unashamedly populist. . go-for-broke kind of element in your piano playing. Yeah. I think that’s why he became the Beatles’ favorite songwriter. and without sampling. The Cinderella soundtracks. And he said the drums relied on the piano in Queen. I’m gonna see if that’s the sound I need. Are you going to tour the album with an acoustic piano? No. I look at all my favorite artists that made me go. all these people revolutionized things. I’m not a big Broadway obsessive. [Queen guitarist] Brian May comes to my shows. the first record he put out on RCA. It was really an anti-snobbery. and the biggest relevance I can find to that music. There’s a real rootsy. It wasn’t about who was playing. but not only that. didn’t mean it always had to go. you didn’t know. I hear so much early Elton John and Queen. It’s kind of Harry Nilsson.com. I love that kind of attitude. I always try to make it as simple as possible on the outside. I’m not a big show guy. and I know him — he’s an acquaintance. because I think it’s a nightmare to be tuning. and he didn’t know what to say to me. like on an outside-of-music basis.” We take for granted how much they stretched the boundaries of what pop music could be about at that time. I grew up with Bob Dylan. The best pop is anarchic at its core. and I abuse my pianos. early Elton John. pop storytelling.
In the middle. or I’m looking for something kind of jarring and from left field.” which inspired this example.P L AY I T ! SYNTH S E N S E HOT SYNTH LICKS FOR NON-SYNTH PLAYERS by Matt Beck Maybe you’re a vintage-minded keyboardist. Learn more at myspace. Here’s a line similar to what Jan might have played back then. looking to update your sound. 4 4 5 5 5 5 Jan Hammer Time Fast forward a few years: I’m discovering jazz. Keep the notes even and play it fast! I’ll sometimes break this line out if things are sounding too safe. Atari Nostalgia Being a child of the ’80s. bend down for the second. 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 No Place Like Home In the early ’90s. I dialed up Pro Tools’ Xpand and layered a brass/woodwinds sound with a blended brass/flute. Try to hear the notes in the main measure as happening in groups of five — that’s what gives the line its cool wandering feel. what I figured out is notated on the example.com/mattbecktwenty. a synth line exploded over the A minor funk groove. a lot of the first synth sounds I recall were from grainy. Matt flyin’ high onstage with Rob Thomas. 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Emulating ELP In my teens. reminds me of something Keith might play. The trick with this one is to use pitchbend to play the second and third notes of each grouping. you strike the first note. Hear Matt play these licks at keyboardmag. which gives a “five-against-four” feel. 1 2 3 4 2 3 4 4 1 2 5 4 2 1 2 5 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 2 1 2 1 2 Matt Beck. I loved Keith Emerson’s soaring and fluid lines. The alternating of the whole-step interval with a fifth makes it sound a lot harder than it really is. I got familiar with Jan Hammer who played all these great.2010 . just released his latest solo CD. reviewed Oct. camped-out behind a Hammond organ and funky EP. The line is a bunch of quintuplets. I heard Toto’s “Pamela. guitar-like lines with Jeff Beck. but what I really relate to is fusion because it still retains a rock aesthetic. Lake. there’s always room for a sonic supplement. I used the default program on Vacuum (a virtual analog soft synth included with Pro Tools 8. To layer like Toto’s David Paich. Anything Which Gives You Pleasure. 32 KEYBOARD 02. so tasty and fluid that I had to learn it. known for his burning keyboard and guitar work with pop icons Rod Stewart and Rob Thomas. This descending arpeggio. At the time. alternating between D and A sus chords. 8-bit video game music. Maybe you’re a jazzer with a secret jones for prog rock. plus a Rhodes-style EP for attack. Anywhere you see three notes with a slur mark over them. ’09). Good fingering was crucial to playing this one cleanly. No matter what genre of music you play. I really got into Emerson. and Palmer. That’s what synthesizers are really good at — and what our new column Synth Sense is all about.com/lessons. and release the bend for the third. For this example. I dialed up a Vacuum patch called “Lucky Man” to get a sound close to Keith’s — you could crank up portamento to get closer still.
exclusive distributors 800.4546 .747.
sixteenth-note feel. vary the second bar. Be aware of how heavy the drums and bass are playing the first beat. The slow funk beat is a great way to start grooving.” and a syncopated. On a Rhodes. 4 4 C7 Ex. Jazz and rock players flocked to the Rhodes sound. 4 4 4 4 C7 Ex 5. Simple three-note gospel voicings work great on the Rhodes. or do-dat. Scott Healy. is known for his burning keyboard work on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. the riff follows the bass line. Chick Corea with Miles Davis. funk has a very strong “one. 4 4 C7 Ex. Ex. much has been decided. and Billy Preston with the Beatles) brought the Rhodes electric piano to the forefront of modern music. Hear Scott play these lessons at keyboardmag. especially if you turn up the volume and play light. Soon it was the go-to keyboard of the ’70s and early ’80s.P L AY I T ! FUNK GET FUNKY ON THE RHODES by Scott Healy Pioneering keyboardists (such as Joe Zawinul. Here’s a bass line with an accented first beat (called a “heavy one”) and a slow. C7 4 4 1 (2-3 or 2-2) 1 2-3 5 5 3 4 2 1 Ex 4. two-bar repeating pattern. and how hard the sixteenth notes are swinging. Since the pattern is a two-bar phrase. Traditionally. swinging. 2. letting the chords go downward. Check out “Cissy Strut” by the Meters or “Up for the Down Stroke” by Parliament for a similar feel. add a “blue” grace note on the beat. Let’s hit pretty hard on the “one” here. so by the time you come in. The sixteenth notes off of the other beats should be light and rhythmic — also try to articulate long-short. drums and bass set the pace. With your second finger. and ability to play ghost notes are just some of the things that make it a stellar funk instrument as well. 3.2010 . and the tone around middle C is punchy and full. Its dynamic range. In a band. Here’s some jazz thrown onto the funk groove: chromatic half-step movement from Db13 with a backwards grace note (B to Bb — thank you Herbie Hancock!) to C13. 1. If you play syncopation off of the “hard one.com/lessons. Hold it for two beats. and a pickup at the end to play off of — or not. you may find you actually have more dynamic range than on an acoustic piano. On the fourth beat. In the second bar. percussive quality. C7 D 13 1 2 5 3 5 3 1 4 2 1 C13 4 4 4 4 5 2-1 3 2 1 2 1 2 2 3 (1or2) 4 34 KEYBOARD 02. who authors our Session Sensei column. slide your left hand under the right on beats 2 and 3.” lighten up on the articulation. You can finger grace notes (finger 2 to 3) or slide them (2 to 2) from a black key to a white key. There’s a little space in the middle of the bar. then pop a few chords off the beat at the end of the bar. This quick lesson will help you get your Rhodes funk on.
4546 www.ilio.com Contact your favorite dealer! .” —ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN IVORY GRAND PIANOS Three glorious grands in one virtual instrument IVORY ITALIAN GRAND A brilliant masterpiece of expression IVORY UPRIGHT PIANOS Four authentic uprights for an alternative attitude synthogy.com 800.ARTSCIENCE AND “Ivory is without a doubt the finest sampled piano that I have ever played.747.
and Art Garfunkel. and thanks to Yamaha’s Chris Gero. The chord chart for what I play could be the same for accompanying a number of different artists. To illustrate that. This month. The exceptions are bars 3 and 6. It’s simple and sparse with not a lot of movement — a nice bed. say. Avery Burdette. Here’s an eight-bar progression I’d play on. I’d play in the second verse with more character and rhythmic action. 1. and Phil Clendennin for their support. Jon Regen G Am Ex. That’s an intimidating number I can’t even digest. we’ll scratch the surface of combining those notes into chord colors appropriate for different styles of music. 4 4 4 4 Dm F G F C 36 KEYBOARD 02. One last thing: Notice the simple left hand parts in the bass clefs throughout. touring with Harry Connick Jr. You’re also working on your timing. Hear audio examples for Examples 1–5 at keyboardmag. but how I voice those chords may be radically different depending on the music. while developing hand independence. It’s good to practice more than one thing at a time.” a contemporary adaptation of Handel’s Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. A much kinder.2010 . and I want to get out of his harmonic space. Example 6 gives you hands-on practice material to start expanding your chord comfort zone. where I’m just playing the root and fifth in each hand. Betty Buckley. Carter played them on the Yamaha new CP-1 stage piano. Learn more at cliffordcarter. anchoring the bands of James Taylor. Patti Scialfa. and performing “Too Hot to Handel. By simply using the ninth of each chord. 2.com. we get a new sound.. Why? Because Nils Lofgren is next to me playing some fat. the first verse of a Patti Scialfa song. moving the piano a little more to the forefront. 4 4 4 4 Dm F G F C C F G Am Ex. C F Session and touring ace Clifford Carter has been one of New York City’s most sought-after keyboardists for the past three decades. By playing a bass line. The ultimate goal is that regardless of whatever curve the music throws you. All chords are either triads or four-note chords with one of the triad’s notes doubled. you give the right hand a musical context. soulful chords unique to the guitar.P L AY I T ! T H E C H O R D D O CTO R SEAN SMITH EXPAND YOUR CHORDAL COMMAND by Clifford Carter You hear that the government is contemplating another multi-billion dollar stimulus package. Examples 1–5 present the same eight-bar chord progression in a variety of contexts — proof positive that the same chord can sound completely different depending on how you voice it. and you don’t want an idle hand.com/lessons. Carter’s recent projects include coproducing Dallas singer-songwriter Emily Elbert. you can choose your next voicing without overthinking. gentler number is 12 — the number of notes in the chromatic scale.
JN670 Products on command. knowledge on cue.com A wealth of options at the tip of your finger. you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. NY 10001 800-932-4999 Speak to a Sales Associate . podcasts. Knowledge is expansive. New York.com bhproaudio. Visit Our SuperStore 420 Ninth Ave. Find exactly what you need through advanced search filters and Live Help. Get more of it at B&H. and customer reviews. bhproaudio.© 2010 B & H Foto & Electronics Corp. With in-depth product demos.
whose eclectic taste runs from Broadway to standards to pop to jazz. thus it’s up to me to know what voicings work for the singer I’m accompanying. 11ths. played with a gospel or R&B style. In this variation on Example 2. but you should practice each one in all 12 keys. and so on — it’s cardio for your fingers and brain! 4 4 4 4 Dominant seventh chords Gospel voicings Cm11 voicing 38 KEYBOARD 02. the chord chart may look identical. Each measure is a set of inversions for a different chord structure. great Richard Tee played this style masterfully.2010 . Expand your zone by changing keys as you play according to the circle of fifths. Here’s the same basic progression. A thorough knowledge of the melody is essential to knowing what voicings will support the vocal. She likes a pianist to re-harmonize the traditional chord structure using jazz voicings.P L AY I T ! T H E C H O R D D O CTO R C F G Am Ex. It’s similar in style but adds new harmonic identity. This style of adding fourths and ninths (or “twos and fours”) is very guitar-like. chromatically. I was out of my comfort zone. I’m using dominant seventh chords and triads that define the rhythm and connect one chord to another. If the chord progression from Example 1 appeared in this show. 4 4 4 4 Dm F G F C Triads Triads with ninths Triads with fourths Triads with ninths and fourths Ex. say. Now I’m using ninths. I recently played in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “Too Hot To Handel. I’ve been in situations where I was playing in G. feeling really creative. This is how I’d play if accompanying Betty Buckley. In all of Examples 1-5. If the singer or bandleader changed the key to. and 13ths. on hundreds of records. it would sound like this. 4 4 4 4 Dm F G F C C F G Am Ex. and a signature sound of guitar bands like the Byrds and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. 5. The late. and the E Street Band’s Roy Bittan. Matt Rollings. 4 4 4 4 Dm F G F C C F G Am Ex. 3. Billy Joel. They’re written in C. whether she’s singing Gershwin or Joni Mitchell. Ab. 4.” a jazz-funk adaptation of Handel’s Messiah. Listen to Elton John. or in whole steps. up in minor thirds. I add the fourth in addition to the ninth. 6. Many pianists have taken cues from guitar-oriented voicings when playing triad-based music. This exercise helps you gain command of the keyboard.
4 4 1 1 3 3 1 3 1 4 4 5 2 Blues licks. or dealing with distractions at home. with pedal 4 4 4 4 40 1 5 2 2 5 2 1 2 3 1 2 2 5 1 1 5 2 1 5 KEYBOARD 02.net. Whether you’re on the road. with different accent chords. then make up your own to incorporate your favorite licks and runs in your daily warm-up routine. The important thing is to keep the single-note line as fluid as possible across both hands. Hear Josh play these lessons at keyboard mag. even with the chords moving around it. depending on what kind of gig it is. Whether at sound check or the beginning of a session.” He currently writes for thisisyoursong. as well as with his own Josh Dodes Band. running from one gig to the next. I typically start this exercise in F.com/lessons. featured on VH1’s “Bands on the Run. periodically altering the right hand phrase in the fourth bar. each of which focuses on a different element of my playing. and often. New York City keyboardist Josh Dodes has toured and recorded with Marc Cohn. so I’ll often do variations on these runs as I move around the keyboard. 4 4 4 4 3 Left hand arpeggios. Try the ones I’ve outlined here. a custom songwriting service he co-founded in 2005. Toby Lightman (shown). then move down a half-step at a time to C. I’ll usually go up a halfstep at a time. and Julian Velard. it’s always important for me to get my hands and ears moving in as little time as possible. That’s why I’ve come up with these exercises for myself. only a few minutes are available. You can do this in any key. Different licks feel better in different keys. The idea here is to get a fluid.2010 . it can be daunting to keep your chops up. I often end up playing a pedal point on one note with accented chords around it. expressive left hand arpeggio moving under an ostinato pattern in the right hand. Jon Regen Pedal points.P L AY I T ! TEN MINUTE TECHNIQU E WARMING UP UNDER THE GUN by Josh Dodes Finding time to practice is difficult for all of us. then start again at F and take it up by half-steps to C.
They bring a little bit of slap bass feel to your left hand.2010 KEYBOARD 41 .P L AY I T ! Pop-ups. moving up a half-step every four bars. These kinds of percussive pop-ups are particularly good on funkier songs if you’re playing solo. This is based on my song “Shakespeare Monkey. You can play this exercise in any key. 4 4 4 4 02.” and is a good way to focus on syncopation and rhythmic precision at fast tempos. I’ll usually loop this. Shuffle 4 4 4 4 Two-handed percussion. the important thing is for the right hand part to feel like it’s being “propelled” by your left thumb.
this isn’t merely a strategy. the fact of the matter is — unless your audience’s intoxicants are extremely good — too much repetition gets old fast. However. Large shifts are great for building peaks and crescendos. Too little. Step 4. This is well-suited to progressive dance.2010 . Here’s the isolated square wave riff. ’09). created with FXpansion’s Strobe synth from DCAM Synth Squad (reviewed Nov.com/ gear. “Repetition is a form of change.” you can hold listeners’ attention without resorting to abrupt shifts. In this example (using Ableton Live). head to keyboardmag. But drastic or sweeping changes don’t always mesh with the tech and minimal genres. As a final touch. we’ll automate an analog-style square wave riff over a beat from Loopmasters’ Joey Youngman library.” For dance music. with peaks at bar 3 and bar 7. To illustrate this. A tiny amount adds just a dash of flavor.DO IT! DAN C E For audio examples. we’ll blend in a bit of noise. The end result is a cycling riff that keeps tickling the ear. trance. Another useful parameter to automate is the envelope sustain level. Let’s start with a touch of filter automation. we’ll blend in a bit of sawtooth twice. The idea is to use very small brush strokes to keep a part changing continuously but subtly. The most common technique for keeping a riff interesting is to dramatically morph the synths and effects. As with sustain and filter. creating crescendos and peaks to enhance the listener’s journey. and you risk breaking the spell you’re casting on the dance floor. and of course. Step 1. 42 KEYBOARD 02. Step 5. as we’ve discussed in previous columns. a little goes a long way. but a mantra. Step 3. where you can leave a comment directly on this story or share your thoughts on the Keyboard Corner forum. some types of house. By applying what I call “subliminal automation. you can get a lot crazier. Step 2. SUBLIMINAL AUTOMATION by Francis Preve As one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards states. then put a slight peak at the middle of the eight-bar loop. To change the wave shape slightly. we’ve lowered the cutoff ever so slightly. For the peaks. Create a simple riff with a sound that’s not too complex and has a bit of room to morph subtly. while leaving sonic space for embellishments in the drums and other synth bits.
com For more information: info@AmericanMusicAndSound. 8 times memory upgrade + MP3/CD input to play along with your favorite music.nordkeyboards.MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ACCOMPLISHED ! HAND AD BY DEVMTE E IN SWEDEN O D MU AT CLAVIA DM SICLOVERS I AB Mission: To make a new Electro better than anything we’ve ever made before.. the C1 organ with an even better rotary speaker simulation.. easy to use software to handle all the sampled waveforms… and a slimmer and lighter body! Your inspiration.. the Wave sample function with the classic Mellotron library.... Our mission! www.com ... Including all great Stage piano sounds.
One of FL’s neater tricks. For more control. To lock the start times of notes completely to the grid. you can record sustain pedal only while recording into the piano roll in real time. So let’s get to know FL Studio’s piano roll window.DO IT! by Jim Aikin Everybody who uses a sequencer has worked with a “piano roll” editor. Ctrl-Q is quicker. move the Sensitivity knob to the left. Your pedal moves will be converted into note length data. right-clicking at the left end of the controller lane lets you edit individual note offset values for panning. SEQUENCING ON A ROLL IN FL STUDIO Select tool. changing their duration. which works only with the built-in synths. In Wasp XT. which opens this box. Several of the edits in this article use dialog boxes. Tip 2: Check the controller lane. plus some others. The modX and modY knobs can do various types of modulation in more complex Image-Line synths such as Sytrus. then start playback. For instance. FL’s 16 MIDI channels are visible only as colors. In the piano roll’s local menu under Tools. choose the same color group near the upper left corner of the piano-roll. Important: The length of the destination note determines the amount of time the glide takes. First. you’re not editing MIDI data. which is usually an okay way to handle it. exactly — you’re editing automation data. To find more exotic timing grids. they duplicate the filter cutoff and resonance controls. Here. letting the Draw tool work on all of them together. or when you right-click on a knob in a plug-in synth and choose “Edit events in piano roll” from the pop-up menu. 44 KEYBOARD 02. click on the slide switch (the tilted triangle) to activate it. and playback will continue while the dialog box is open and doing things to the notes. But you can’t overdub pedal data after the notes are already laid down. Like many other aspects of FL Studio. In other words. with only one wrinkle: The Select tool is different from the Draw tool. some utilitarian and others exotic. To re-color a group of notes. even after you’ve done other edits. Tip 4: Polyphonic glide. its piano-roll editor is a little different. double-click on a note with the pencil tool and choose one of the 16 glide channels by clicking in the unlabeled color channel box. The unlabeled color box is not simply a random decoration: It opens a “color channel” selector. Having re-colored one or more notes. and editing velocities in the controller lane works in the normal way. Dragging notes. deleting or muting them. With FL’s built-in synths only (not third-party plug-ins). which can sound too rigid. Double-clicking a note with the pencil tool brings up its Properties box. The main note will glide up or down in pitch to the destination note. but it always snaps both the starts and ends of notes to the grid. is polyphonic glide. They will then stay invisibly grouped. and a few other parameters.2010 . which isn’t linked to any particular knob. You can’t click the Play button while a dialog box is open. so switching between these tools is often required. The region will loop. Both Alt-Q and Ctrl-Q quantize MIDI notes. use the Change Color command (Alt-C) in the piano-roll’s local Edit menu. FL Studio’s MIDI controller handling has a few quirks. Before using a command that opens a dialog box. Tip 3: Event editing. you can adjust the same properties as in the controller lane. hitting Shift-G groups them. use Alt-Q. you’ll find more useful commands. but the first time you use Image-Line FL Studio 9. so this is a good habit to get into. This same menu is available as a dropdown at the top of the piano roll window. turn the Start Time knob to the right. The exception is pitchbend data. MIDI controller data (such as mod wheel) is not available for editing in the controller lane as such: It becomes available only when you’ve linked it to a knob in a plug-in synth and then recorded some controller moves. filter cutoff and resonance. With a bit of finagling. There’s a workaround for this: After selecting a group of notes with the Tip 1: Ways to quantize. and insert a glide destination note. It’s sexier than it looks. you may want to select a time region (by double-clicking and dragging in the time ruler). open the Groove Template file dialog. This trick is good for steel guitar-style pitchbends and for sliding from one chord voicing to an entirely different one. you can re-channelize MIDI data so as to play a multi-channel plug-in like Spectrasonics Stylus RMX from within a single FL Studio piano roll track. you may be surprised. To leave notes that are close to the grid untouched.
and then open the Randomizer window.) Comment on this review or share your own FL Studio tips on the forum at keyboardmag. Find this story under “How To” at keyboardmag. for an audio clip created using these tips. From the main menu in the piano-roll window (the vertical triangle). you can edit individual notes as needed. Clicking with the Draw tool (the pencil) will now enter a whole chord at once. start playback. (Realtime.2010 KEYBOARD 45 . Then hit Alt-S to open the Strumizer dialog box. randomize velocities and pan positions with the Levels knobs. Tip 6: Arpeggiating as an edit.DO IT! Tip 7: Random inspiration. After getting close to a pattern that you like. Tip 5: Inserting and strumming chords. The Pattern folder at the top opens up a file dialog box from which you can load a variety of patterns. Choose a pleasing harmony in the drop-down menu.com/gear. This works great both with synth tones and with Generators that are playing samples such as hi-hats. and a chance to win a copy of FL Studio 9! 02. Ready for some random trance inspiration? Open a piano-roll with no notes in it. so it works best with long sustained chords. then keep clicking the Seed buttons until you hear something you like. add more notes or remove some with the Population knob. The online audio example shows a simple clip I produced this way.com. Here you can offset the start times and velocities of chord notes. The piano roll arpeggiator splits notes apart and deletes a considerable number of them. select four bars in the time ruler. playback-type arpeggiators can’t do that. choose Chord and select a chord type.
DO IT! STEAL TH I S S O U N D Synth wizard Mitchell Sigman brings the new wave gloom with his project Celebutante at celebusite. so we’ll tackle this tune’s massive. Since this is a three-oscillator patch. for some natural chorusing. Oscs 2 and 3 are also tuned up and down 10 cents. and R (release) at 160ms. click the Mono (one note at a time) and Unison buttons. and Resonance is up just a bit to add some high frequency fizz. robotic bass riff using Logic’s ES2 synth.0Hz. Step 5. Step 6. Step 4. Filter settings are simple. Osc 2 is a sawtooth. respectively.2010 . Osc 3 is set up for pulse width modulation. and Osc 3 is set up for pulse width modulation (see next step). you can use any virtual or real analog synth you like. S (sustain) full up. The volume envelope has the A and D sliders (attack and decay) at zero. Step 2. In the voice assign section. and have it modulating the pulse width of Osc 3’s waveform. Click the 24dB (per octave. but use one with at least two oscillators and/or a unison mode. I set it to 0. If you’re not using Logic.com/keybmag. I set the Voices parameter to four — hitting each key actually triggers four notes that ES2 automatically detunes and pans across the stereo image.” produced and programmed by studio ace RedOne. Set the mix level of the three oscillators to taste using the triangular mix grid. putting them an octave above Osc 1. Start with big. Hear step-by-step audio examples for this story at keyboardmag. and Osc 2 and 3 are tuned to -12. because this a huge patch! Step 1. In our interview in the Oct. Osc 1 is tuned -24 steps (two octaves down). I pulled it toward Oscs 2 and 3 for a more “hyped” sound. and download the “Poker Face” ES2 patch at celebutantemusic. Osc 1 is set to a square wave. PWM lets you affect the width of a pulse wave using a modulation source to add timbral and pitch animation. Cutoff is all the way open. ’09 issue. Here I’ve set LFO2 to a triangle wave at 2.459 — pretty seasick! 46 KEYBOARD 02.com/How-To. Move the Blend slider all the way to the right so only Filter 2 is used. Step 3. the filter mode) and Fat buttons. he confessed to being a big user of the soft synths included with Apple Logic Pro. that means each note plays 12 oscillators! You can define how much the unison notes are detuned from each other using the Analog knob at the far left of ES2’s control panel. LADY GAGA’S “POKER FACE” BASS LINE by Mitchell Sigman Lady Gaga stormed the charts last year with “Poker Face. chewy oscillators.com.
with the ability to play up to four parts simultaneously through separate stereo outputs. visit davesmithinstruments. It is also multitimbral. demos.F U T U R E CL ASS IC The Poly Evolver Keyboard is a nearly-knob-per-function knockout that sounds unlike any other synth. and more. edgy digital textures. Find out why Keyboard hailed the Poly Evolver as “nothing less than a future classic and a major event in synth design. Don’t like a high-end hardware synth that requires wading through endless menus to program? Not an issue with the Poly Evolver’s 78 knobs—60 of them now potentiometers—and 58 buttons. And it can process external audio.” For specs. The Poly Evolver is capable of producing sounds ranging from classic. . real analog to biting.com.
GEAR RHODES MARK 7 RHODES MARK 7 The Proof Is in the Playing by Robbie Gennet with Stephen Fortner 7 6 5 3 9 8 1 10 2 4 9 48 KEYBOARD 02.2010 .
and look into the 21st century. affecting the note’s volume.com that.GEAR One word: Finally! Rhodes is making and selling brand new versions of the electric piano that changed music forever. 7 Keys are faux ivory over real wood and have a great texture. Each tine (except for the bottom seven notes on 88-key models) sticks out from its own “generator. Rhodes enthusiasts bass from 100Hz down. 3 Wooden structural parts are Baltic birch. Like its predecessors and unlike any digital emulation. Standard and Active models (see photo on Polyphonic aftertouch on MIDI model. and a factory-fresh evenness Active with MIDI $4. and got plenty loud While we haven’t tested this claim scientifiin our tests. Even Standard to see guitar-like signal. vintage. and a bass “boost” that. the stereo speaker platform isn’t than its vintage counterparts. ning it into an guitar or “instrument” input The new Rhodes company is on your amp or audio interface. volume knob. and execu-ed Stephen Fortner tested Active and MIDI versions at Keyboard and Rhodes headquarters. We cover the MIDI model in its CONS Though it’s lighter than a vintage Rhodes. and is flat enough to park a large synth on. The tines face individual pickups that relay their vibrations through either a passive 1/4" output or a built-in active stereo preamp. surpasses the vintage 02. understandably tight-lipped about their In vintage terms. the Standard is together instrument.499 to everything! Contrary to some nasty Speaker Platform $1. with a consistency rhodespiano. consistency. actually rolls off the tine. can the Mark 7 compete? We know you’ve been asking these questions — so have we. it’s an add-on that works with Active preamp ups the sound-sculpting. it outdid every not only sound great. Like an old Stage. MODELS The Mark 7 comes in On Active MIDI models. How does the new Rhodes stack up to vintage units? What’s been changed inside.” a metal tonebar that adds body to the tone — think of tine HANDS-ON 1 A durable fiberglass shell replaces the old tolexcovered plywood. This is not a hastily cobbled models. the Standard’s output is more like an elecor missing notes. 6 Adjust this screw to brighten or deaden a note’s tone by changing the on-axis relation of tine to pickup. and is this for better or worse? And with many of today’s digital keyboards doing excellent Rhodes emulations. assuming (logically) that Rhodes. and tonebar as forming a lopsided tuning fork. they’re all newly made. I took a Standard model to several gigs and recording sessions. Active-with-MIDI models. street.199 rumors. but a solid workhorse passive — you get a 1/4" mono output. like The heart of the Rhodes sound is the on vintage models. For many years. 10 Active model’s effects send takes passive mono signal right off the harp. so you’ll get the best results by runon their dynamics to avoid this. moving it to gigs is still a commitment.2010 KEYBOARD 49 . looking. with innards of varyINFO ing condition and a mix of original and 73 keys 88 keys replacement parts. auto-panning tremolo. depending on the model. 9 Stereo tremolo on Active model comes through headphone jack as well as the 1/4" and balanced XLR outs. 2 Hinges are very sturdy and hold the top firmly open for servicing. a knob that’s also a button highlights and selects items Standard. A real instrument with this many moving CONSTRUCTION parts is inevitably pricier than a modern Most of us are used to our vintage pianos digital synth or stage piano. The impedance of either had private and dwindling stashes.599 $5. none of the parts are leftovers. and included. well. and on the LCD. All prices are approx. bringing its reliability.799 $4. PROS An effects send puts out a passive sigBrings back and improves on the electro-mechanical guts of the vintage nal from the harp. clearer sound cases. The first question everyone asks is: Is it real? Not only is it real. players held back synth. Active $3. sound is created by wooden keys moving hammers that hit tines. To get answers. Superior action and timbral you’ll run through stompboxes that expect response to velocity. Through a Mackie mixer and cally. and often.999 $3. It includes a preamp with EQ and tine-making process. but seem to have less stock Suitcase we tried for clarity and clean volume before unwanted breakup. How refreshing to lift Standard $2. 4 Did the new Rhodes company get the recipe for the tines right? We say yes — and then some. in our opinion. but it’s received an upgrade and a facelift.599 pristine wood. 5 Move any pickup closer to or farther from its tine. but insists that no aftermarket tine was ever made correctly. Breaking a tine felt like tric guitar than the line-level output on a losing a tooth. then returns it to the preamp. 8 Three-band EQ and stereo panning tremolo are on Active models. we put the Mark 7 through its paces. and you get a MIDI volume knob for external gear. Unlike vintage Suitmodel puts out hotter. the Active is like the Suitcase. a built to play and last. page 50). and thicker than they were in the Mark I and II.999 $2. own section later in this review. we can report that these new tines Genelec studio monitors. Active.799 the top and see shining tonebars and tines. by loosening this screw.
but it might not. . None of the spongy feel of the Mark I. I found myself lifting the lid and tweaking certain notes fairly often and wound up leaving the lid unscrewed for accessibility. recording two studio albums and playing hundreds of gigs. How do you do it? We put together a how-to video with this review at keyboardmag. It was lovely. especially in the lower register. The entire NEED TO KNOW Is it a real Rhodes? Yes. Switching amps makes a difference in the sound. which was incredibly responsive at the cost of a propensity for breaking tines if you went too crazy on it. Platforms build in the sustain pedal like vintage Suitcase amps did. though that could have been due in part to its voicing. you remove a screw from underneath either end cheek. minus the musty smell and loose parts! To access the tines. responsiveness. IN USE I bought my first Rhodes as a teenager and now own seven. plated hinges.GEAR RHODES MARK 7 Active MIDI Rhodes atop powered stereo speaker platform. with more clarity in the low end. right? The Mark 7 is far more attainable and portable — and way better than any sample or plug-in. I’ve fronted the funk band Rudy on real Rhodes. We’ve been to the factory and held the components in our hands. I barely 50 KEYBOARD 02. crisp. We cranked up the Tone-Master. The Mark 7 played more brightly.com/gear. but the importance of voicing the Rhodes itself (see “Voicing” below) cannot be understated. and tines-forward. I ran a Mark 7 Standard through a Fender ToneMaster head and custom Groovedog 15" speaker cabinet. and got deeply funky. Sound compared to vintage Rhodes: Out of the box. digging in to the keys when the music called for it. and though I had one of my older 73s in tow. most responsive Mark II or Mark V you’ve ever played. but a bit shorter than the Mark V. but for the Rudy sessions. tone. The Mark 7 is based on the vintage Mark V and is a genuine electro-mechanical piano. made the gig easy. the Mark 7 sounded even. Is it worth the bucks? Rhodes emulations are better than ever. I wanted a more “brown” sound — less bell and more of the body of the tone bars — so I set about voicing the piano. top then flips up on sturdy. The Mark II had a noticeably lower output than the Mark 7 Standard and seemed mushy by comparison. we had two live shows. Clavinet. clean volume to drown out our officemates from Guitar Player magazine! wobble than even the originals. Stereo inputs have enough gain for Standard or Active models. Some new parts such as hammers don’t fit the Mark I or II. Voicing is based on two factors: the distance from the tine’s tip to its pickup. we decided to use the Mark 7 with my Tone-Master rig. The Mark 7 held up beautifully and as I got used to the feel. After the studio sessions. For recording the third Rudy album. Since 1996. It jams! VOICING Out of the box. live. Will Rhodes make parts for my vintage piano? Yes and no. and not a single tine overshot its mark or produced a dud note. The consistency of the sound. the music came easily. sizes fit flush under 88-. From phaser-pedal. We played the Mark 7 hard. Voicing the Mark 7 felt much like voicing a vintage model. of course. Our Active/platform combo at Keyboard central had more than enough loud. You’d likely have to do this with any older Rhodes as well. but tines and pickups do. and will be available soon. In the end. and the angle of the tine relative to the pickup. Dynamics are helped by the hammer throw being longer than on a Mark I or II. . but you’d get a Steinway if you could. your preferred tone might come right out of the box. and playing enjoyment. So are grand piano emulations.2010 . it’s on the bright. . Feel compared to vintage Rhodes: A bit crisper than the crispest. built from scratch. tine-forward side. coupled with not having any tine issues or uneven pickups. but you can voice it to the darker timbre of Stage Mark II models. added delay and phaser pedals. Once in. I was able to dial in my sound and get to recording. and (soon) 61-key units. and Minimoog. During the sessions. the Mark 7 held up to all the recording and gigging with flying colors. I never once wanted for sound. it was great to be playing a new instrument. baby-making ballads to sweaty gutbucket funk. 73-. Plus. So all the parts are new? Yes. and wheels on either side rotate locking hooks into the underside of the piano. I also played my well-maintained Mark II Suitcase through the same amp head and cabinet. It surpassed all expectations of reliability. Everything. This was for recording.
its style is updated but recognizably retro. Email: summer@berklee. the Rhodes itself is mechanical. the new Rhodes pianos held up beautifully. some people do have the resources and the desire to make a tricked-out classic their “everyday car. and MacBook Pro running MainStage. Really. the note and velocity response was excellent. Dig? As for electric piano plug-ins. Future models would be well served by easier access to the guts on the fly — perhaps thumb-able wingnuts instead of screws to hold the lid on. But we nitpick. Also. especially grand pianos such as Synthogy Ivory. CONCLUSIONS In the studio and onstage. from the Mark 7’s wooden keys is as luxurious an experience as we’ve come across. and for realworld gigging and recording. and can even send continuous data for halfpedaling. You get USB for connecting to a computer. Friday. That said. Boston. the new model has plenty of muscle but a bit more finesse. we can only say that as much as we’ve praised many of them. Playing your other sounds. or synth patches. IMPROVE.edu/summer/keyboard 617 747-2245 or toll-free at 877 BERKLEE Ofﬁce of Special Programs. July 25. sample libraries. so don’t expect to play it from a sequencer. though this is on the table for a future upgrade.GEAR tweaked it at all.A. Waldorf Blofeld. better than ever. and in many cases. AND PASS IT ON AT BERKLEE SUMMER INSTITUTE FOR PIANO TEACHERS. By analogy. didn’t make us miss our vintage models at all. 2010 Summer Programs Get details and apply online at berklee. and you feel better about driving it every day. MIDI The Active MIDI Mark 7 adds pitch and modulation wheels on the left.” and the world is big enough for the hot rod experts that serve them and the new Rhodes assembly line alike. and the only clunky thing is that you have to use the data knob to set key ranges — you can’t simply strike low and high keys on the keyboard. Add the purchase price of a used Rhodes to the parts and labor it needs. July 23 through Sunday. Berklee College of Music 1140 Boylston Street. Especially cool is that the Rhodes’ sustain pedal also triggers MIDI sustain. a Mark 7 is lighter than a vintage model of the same size.2010 . and though there’s a MIDI input (as well as out and thru ports). The vaunted polyphonic aftertouch works well on synths that receive it — we brightened up the filter or added vibrato on some notes while leaving others unaffected. compare a ’65 Mustang RHODES MARK 7 in car-show condition to a 2010 Mustang GT — while the classic has street cred that will never be outdone. It uses optical sensors. and a major accomplishment that deserves our Key Buy award. and a separate control area on the right (see photo on page 49). Nor can you sync the Rhodes tremolo to MIDI tempo. Our final verdict: The Rhodes is back.S. as the Mark 7 blows away anything less. and in our tests with a Muse Receptor. you’ll come out ahead by going new. the only fair new/vintage comparison would be to a full restoration from a top tech shop. LEARN.edu 52 KEYBOARD 02. TA K E A VA C AT I O N F R O M T E A C H I N G THIS SUMMER. the tone and finger-to-music connection of the real thing is a whole different world. or a separate flip-up panel on top. MA 02215-3693. U. Four zones can overlap (or not) for splits and layers.
Photo by William Hames museresearch.com .
it’s probably because modulars can be esoteric and expensive: You need multiple modules to make familiar synth sounds. and to the casual observer. Configuring and using arpeggiator and advanced MIDI functions is extremely fiddly. it exceeded those expectations. this seems like a very basic box. If you haven’t. USB-to-CV conversion for controlling vintage synths via MIDI or from your DAW. which in turn feeds a simple but clean VCA. Throw in one envelope and two LFOs. doepfer. So when Doepfer announced the Dark Energy — a self-contained baby modular.de U.GEAR 2 D O E P F E R DA R K E N E R GY 6 1 5 3 4 DOEPFER DARK ENERGY Mainstream Modular Synthesis Has Arrived by Francis Preve PROS Massive sound. Mono audio output only. Fully analog knob pots mean no encoding artifacts. and MIDI — we thought it just might be the box that finally brings modular synthesis to the rest of the keyboard-playing world. 54 KEYBOARD 02. you get spoiled. USB. voltage control. analoguehaven.com Soft synths with great modulation options often get compared to modular analog gear: “It’s got tons of LFOs! More envelopes than you can shake a stick at!” But have you ever actually played a real modular synth? Have you experienced true voltage control with patch cables and no digital parameter encoding? Once you have. with real patch cables. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Audio-range LFOs. Snappiest envelopes we’ve ever heard.2010 . for one thing. LFO waveforms are limited to triangle and square. INFO $625. CONS No preset memory. VOICE STRUCTURE The Dark Energy’s architecture is deceptively simple: A single VCO feeds a 24dB-per-octave lowpass filter. dist. In fact.S. by Analogue Haven.
Cranking the resonance all the way up gives the Dark Energy an eerily Roland TB-303-ish kind of feel: wet. First up. which is Doepfer’s term for the type of filter modulation found on most analog synths. It’s said that the circuit is based on the Curtis chip. dive bombs. With a slew of control voltage and audio jacks on the front panel. pulse width modulation. and it can even act as a MIDI-to-CV interface for your other analog gear! How does it compare to the Dave Smith Mopho? Moog Little Phatty? Unlike those. Octave range and tuning are both givens here. Dark Energy can’t store presets. turn the PW knob to a 0:100 ratio. an external audio input feeds the filter and VCA sections. Can it process audio? As an audio processing tool. or sync modulation sources to the tempo of something else. complete remote control of your computer software and even Studio Connections compatibility so you can treat the MO just like a VSTi software instrument • A great price! That’s all there is to say. so let’s delve into the VCO’s niftier offerings. ©2009 Yamaha Corporation of America www. Why? For one thing. 3 Classic modular CV ins and outs. and with some medium-rate NEED TO KNOW Is it fully analog? Every component. This is the technique for creating • The sounds of the Motif ES • Both a song and a loop-based pattern sequencer for everything from making beats to complete arrangements • All the hook-ups to use the MO with your computer including built-in stereo digital out. With the saw/triangle switch in the off position. To isolate either. or Kraftwerkian thwips. A frequency modulation knob allows either LFO 1 or the envelope to sweep the pitch for vibrato effects. 5 Dual LFOs work in low. as it gives the oscillator far more tonal variety than other methods.2010 KEYBOARD 55 . and a real analog signal path.motifator. the pulse wave is soloed. This richness is fantastic for bass patches. the LFOs and envelopes use entirely analog guts. the results are creamy.com www. and has only one oscillator. but there seems to be some other voodoo going on in here. voltage-controlled gear. with a very Mooglike low end warmth. its modular structure makes for utterly fresh and unique sounds. On the other hand. Oscillator. the waveforms are a continuous blend of variable-width pulse wave combined with either sawtooth or triangle. from audio signal path to modulation. this synth can do tricks that even the hottest programmable analog synths can’t quite touch. But how do you hear the triangle or saw alone? Simply set the pulse to 100:0 or 0:100 by turning its width knob fully in either direction. This is a fantastic approach that should’ve been implemented in every synth since time immemorial. The mono audio output uses a 1/8" jack as well. squishy. a small array of MIDI-to-CV jacks on the back panel. and LFO. can be applied from either LFO 2 or the envelope. 6 ADSR envelope includes multiple speeds for super-snappy transients. including VCO pitch. fat. with maximum frequencies in kHz — well into the audio FM range. The trade-off is that you can’t store presets. Exponential modulation. With resonance at minimum. are in this row of 1/8" mini jacks. 4 This 1/8" input lets you pump external audio through the filter and VCA.com 02.yamaha. You can also sequence it from your computer via USB. and high ranges. Filter. The Dark Energy filter sounds really rich. the Dark Energy is extremely deep.HANDS-ON 1 The oscillator blends a square wave with triangle and sawtooth options. filter cutoff. delivering ranges and fine-tuning control that their digital counterparts simply can’t. The Dark Energy breathes. There are two modulation knobs for the cutoff — exponential and linear — that make this VCF do far more than standard fare. and straight out of an early ’90s rave. pulse width. What makes it modular? CV ins and outs let you interface it with other analog. 2 The 24dB-per-octave filter has a very Moog-like sound at low resonances. is completely analog. In addition to CV ins and outs. Can I play it from a MIDI keyboard? Yes. but you can create sonic textures that are very unique and surprisingly organic. medium. giving the Dark Energy a monster sound that virtual synths still can’t equal. chorus-y leads can be whipped up with a minimum of fuss. The pulse width can be modulated via either LFO 2 or the envelope for added animation. All there is to do now is––make MO’ music.
All artwork © Yoko Ono Lennon. Design: Baree Fehrenbach . Licensed exclusively through Bag One Arts.© Categories Rock World Gospel/Inspirational Hip-Hop Children’s Electronic Pop Folk Rhythm & Blues Jazz Country Latin Awards and Prizes $20.000 in Cash Awards and Prizes Apple Computer with Cinema Display ➽ Sponsored by: “Lennon” and “John Lennon” are trademarks of Yoko Ono Lennon.000 for the Maxell Song of the Year $120. Inc.000 in Project Studio Equipment 12.000 Custom CDs Courtesy of Disc Makers Over $275.
At first. The MM Series synthesizers combine sounds from the Motif. “Wait a minute. and this implementation doesn’t disappoint. The modulation options really bring the Dark Energy to life. The two LFOs generate either a square or triangle wave. it seems a tad annoying that you can’t apply both LFO and envelope modulation to the filter. and realize that yes. generating a sine wave — set the filter cutoff to track the keyboard. Here’s where the modularity of this box comes into play. In medium mode. velocity. If you want to use LFO 1 to control the filter cutoff or pulse width. drums and bass or complete backing tracks • Performance Mode let’s you play layers or split sounds along with grooves • Cubase AI 48 track audio/ MIDI DAW software included ©2009 Yamaha Corporation of America www. but I digress. Remember. Four CV outs translate MIDI note info. and affect specific components by default: LFO 1 modulates the oscillator and the amplifier. • Key sounds from the Motif line including piano. and great for sweeps.” you ask. Each LFO has three modes: low. PWM.D O E P F E R DA R K E N E R GY Fig.yamaha.motifator. This is a standard attackdecay-sustain-release affair. and you have an ideal carrier signal for FM. Unfortunately. the envelope is capable of absurdly tight transients that make percussive sounds. 1. the MM Series lets you hit the streets in style. evolving drones. and vibrato. Whether you’re just jamming with friends. The LFOs get a lot more interesting when you tinker with the range switch. but that’s not a dealbreaker by a long shot. guitars. The MM6 is the perfect choice for musicians on the go. it self-oscillates. drums & more • Real Time Knobs for controlling filte and EG • Built-in grooves with drums. If you set the filter’s resonance to maximum. We’re a tad bummed that there’s no way to have the LFO rate track the keyboard like a conventional oscillator. Low mode is standard synth fare. it operates at speeds similar to most classic synths. Modulation. Medium mode takes the LFO rate into the lower audio range for FM and ring mod type effects. the LFO rates can reach well into the kilohertz range. I’ve always loved the warm complexity of analog FM. you can. while the Graded Hammer action on the 88-key MM8 delivers natural touch and expressive control over the complete piano range.com www. but oscillators in their own right! Don’t believe me? Patch the output of LFO 1 into the external audio in and listen to it. making songs on board or with the bundled Cubase software. such as basses or things you’d use in a tech or electro arpeggio. there’s not a similar option for LFO 2. In low mode.com 02. In high mode. we came up with incredible talkbox vocal effects that Daft Punk would have been proud of! Envelope. But in high mode. while [renowned electronic music producer] Wolfgang Gartner and I were putting the Dark Energy through its paces at his studio. adjusting its frequency and waveform to generate everything from bells and chimes to ear-shearing nastiness.2010 KEYBOARD 57 . That the MIDI info can come in from the USB port makes the Dark Energy a useful computer-to-analog-synth interface as well as a synth in its own right. which means they’re not just modulation sources. whereas LFO 2 controls pulse width and filter modulation. you can use the VCO as the modulator. High mode is where the Dark Energy ratchets up its sonic palette beyond other analog synths we’ve heard. pitchbend. then you glance at the row of jacks at the bottom. Applying multiple audio-rate LFOs to destinations like pulse width and filter cutoff results in patches that only a full-on modular (or a really sophisticated soft synth) can touch. classic wah-wah or juicy envelope sweeps. and one CC (assigned via the Learn button) into the analog world. From there. just grab a cable and patch it in. with one crucial distinction: another low/medium/high switch. this is a baby modular synth! The linear modulation knob controls the amount of FM applied from the VCO. and high. In fact. “doesn’t FM mean you modulate one waveform with another? How can the Dark energy do it with only one oscillator?” Easy. street smart grooves from around the world and a simple to use interface in a portable package. the rates are slow enough to create long. medium.
Apple Pro Audio Resellers are the perfect destination to build your dream studio. APPLE. MAC PRO AND MACBOOK PRO ARE TRADEMARKS OF APPLE INC. LOGIC STUDIO.com/appleaudioresellers Michael Duff is a singer/songwriter/producer living in Los Angeles and is the former lead singer/songwriter of Chalk FarM Apple – Logic Studio. p ro d u c t s e l e c t i o n a n d p a s s i o n f o r m u s ic. To locate an Apple Pro Audio Reseller near you. A L L O T H E R T R A D E M A R K S A R E P R O P E RT Y O F T H E I R R E S P E C T I V E O W N E R S .Studio Solutions for creative musicians everywhere Wi t h t h e i r e x p e r t k n o w l e d g e . please go to: musicplayer. A L L R I G H T S R E S E RV E D . . Mac Pro & MacBook Pro Euphonix – MC Mix controller Apogee – Duet audio interface Avalon – VT-737SP processor M-Audio – Axiom 61 USB keyboard Zoom – H2 recorder Digidesign – 002 Rack with Pro Tools LE Line 6 – Pod & Bass Pod Pro Marshall Electronics – MXL V77 tube mic Fender & Taylor – guitars Tannoy – speakers ©2009 E U P H O N I X I N C . MC M I X I S A T R A D E M A R K O F E U P H O N I X I N C .
INTERFACING For slotting this synth into your rig. such as the Korg MS-20. When driving the Dark Energy via USB. but in practice. there are three options: USB. more likely. regular MIDI input. True confession: This gave me goosebumps. Xpanded Articulation sounds inspire your creativity. You won’t be disappointed. a little homework could save you a lot of headaches down the road. so I’m purchasing my review unit. You can still use the Dark Energy to control parameter changes.” There’s even an arpeggiator lurking within the Dark Energy.com www.yamaha. I tested this with my beloved Roland SH-101 synth without a hitch. the results were nothing short of inspirational — a bit like running into a long. Performance Recording with 4 intelligent arpeggiators instantly capture your ideas. control voltage (CV). Four CV outs replicate the information for note. Using the included patch cables. completely useful. thus creating a hybrid modular synth from the two. Doepfer has a Key Buy-winning hit on their hands. I ran the SH-101 back into the Dark Energy’s audio input. I’d been using my SH-101’s internal sequencer for cycling riffs. Computer connectivity and Cubase AI software expand your possibilities. it’s nice to know it’s there. It’s a perfect first synth for producers looking to get more deeply into analog. processing it through the Doepfer filters and envelopes.motifator.lost high school crush and discovering that you have even more in common now. From there. and a single continuous controller that defaults to the mod wheel. I have to get one. This makes the Dark Energy well-suited to analog drums and percolating bass. it will even convert MIDI information from your DAW to control voltages. then plug the mod wheel into the filter cutoff’s CV in for performance control of sweeps and swells. “I got completely lost in this box and generated some of the coolest sounds and patterns I’ve ever heard. its inclusion isn’t all that enticing. sending MIDI data from Ableton Live to the Dark Energy. like my Sequential Circuits Prelude and even my Yamaha TX81Z module. you might want to get in line. but to be candid. but to be candid. pitchbend. • New UI with large color LCD and 8 knobs and sliders • Xpanded Articulation Synth engine with 355 MB of wave ROM • Studio style mixing environment with Virtual Circuitry Modeling effects • 4 intelligent Arpeggiators with instant Performance Recording • Integrated Sampling Sequencer with 1 GB of optional memory • Total Computer Integration and Cubase AI software included ©2009 Yamaha Corporation of America www. The Dark Energy is utterly unique. don’t use the volt-per-octave standard. Still. running them through the filters and using gratuitous amounts of audiorate modulation with amazing results. but can be reassigned to any other CC via the Learn button (see Figure 1 on page 57). you can also use the Dark Energy to control vintage gear. then using its CV outputs to drive the SH-101. If you want to try this. It’s also an indispensable addition to studios that already have a few vintage or current analog synths laying around. note that some vintage synths. If you’re used to modern keyboards. and considering how back-ordered this box is right now. After a day in the studio with the Dark Energy. Since the note CV out adheres to the classic one-volt-per-octave standard. and of course. Until now. More importantly. I was so jazzed about the box that I started calling my analog-addicted producer buddies and raving about its features and sound. CONCLUSIONS We’re completely sold on the Doepfer Dark Energy.com 02. velocity. An Integrated Sampling Sequencer with studio style mixing and VCM effects let you create complete MIDI/audio productions. So if you’re planning to use the Dark Energy as the nerve center for a vintage rig. and so full of inspiration that I simply can’t bear to part with it. it’s quite fiddly to configure. but full-on musical sequencing is just out of reach. IN USE I spent a solid month living with the Dark Energy and never got bored with its sound. you can easily plug the velocity CV out into the VCA in for velocity control of volume. With the NEW direct to USB stereo recording feature making great sounding music has never been easier. this box was a source of inspiration every time I turned it on.D O E P F E R DA R K E N E R GY truly pop. We’d known that the Dark Energy had this feature. The external audio inputs let me process and beef up the sound of other vintage gear. the only thing you might miss is stereo output. you’ll be having so much fun creating sounds that you won’t care.2010 KEYBOARD 59 . Being able to directly sequence my 25-year-old piece of history from Ableton Live has added a slew of new colors to my studio palette. Wolfgang Gartner said. and with USB and MIDI control letting you play notes from a sequencer or keyboard. slicing or looping the results was pretty darned tedious.
PROS Amazingly deep palette of cutting-edge sounds. Three LFOs can be assigned very flexibly.GEAR N AT I V E I N S T R U M E N T S A B S Y N T H 5 NATIVE INSTRUMENTS ABSYNTH 5 The Outer Limits of Sound Design by Jim Aikin 1 7 2 3 9 5 4 HANDS-ON 1 The browser and main editing windows are accessed with these buttons. Lacks standard effects processors. 6 8 Is Absynth your sonic green fairy? Add your thoughts to this review at keyboardmag. and their audio input mode turns Absynth into an effects processor. the oscillator modules are at the top. Also. each of which can send its signal through two more processing modules of your choice (filter. Version 5 doesn’t supply a huge raft of new features. A handy utility is provided for setting up rhythmic attack-release envelope patterns. Absynth will do the job. including a multi-segment envelope for each parameter. so the number of LFOs is effectively unlimited. 8 The effect module is so complex that it has its own window of settings instead of packing them in here. accessed by tabs. Absynth 4 (reviewed Dec. There are 16 filter modes and nine oscillator modes. new Granular Cloud and Supercomb filter modes. and the ability to insert waveshaping. INFO $199. Unique granular filter and filter feedback processing. usertunable scales. And that’s a good thing. let’s take a quick tour of Absynth before turning the spotlight on the new features. native-instruments. 9 Mouse up or down on the little hexagons to change the numbers. The oscillators will do both sample playback and FM. a preset generator called the Mutator. OVERVIEW For those who just arrived. or a frequency shifter into some of the resonant filters. New in Absynth 5 are a granular effect module called the Aetherizer. followed by an effect module to finish off the signal path.2010 . or ring mod). 3 Each oscillator can be followed by one or two processors. The three signals are then summed and sent through two more processing modules. CONS User interface requires study.com/gear. there’s support for 64-bit processors in Windows XP and Vista. but then. Waveform designer. Factory sample library can’t be installed to external drive. Absynth is scary. 5 Here’s the filter mode pop-up menu. the signal flows from left to right. Loads user samples. You can design your own waveshapes using the slick features in the wave edit window. point-by-point editable keyboard scaling curves. waveshaper. 6 In the three master modules across the bottom. and each breakpoint of an envelope can be modulated from a MIDI controller. 2 Signals flow down. 4 Inactive modules are hollow.com Some synthesizers are like great big friendly puppies. Unlimited modulation. ’07) was already richly endowed. and other precision tools are on call. The voice design is semi-modular: You can use up to three oscillators. and use them in either the oscillators or the LFOs. A built-in audio 60 KEYBOARD 02. all warm and snuggly and panting to be played with. the kind that leaves listeners wide awake and a little nervous. Intelligent patch generator. Absynth is not like that. You can also use a separate looping multi-segment envelope for each parameter if you need to. Surround mixing outputs. ring modulation. If your music cries out for edgy sound design. 7 Each module can have up to three small edit windows.
I can’t think offhand of another synth that will do this. Instead. echoes. FM. giving the input a glassy. The sample library has to be installed on your system drive. multicomb. You then adjust a pair of sliders to control how much randomness you want. and will load only one preset. Absynth’s Mutator takes this to a higher level. What Absynth lacks — by design — is a standard multi-effects rack. Other than Reaktor. You can use your own samples. and the loop editing is straight out of the ’80s. Since the C: drive on my PC is nearly full. I used Absynth on my MacBook Pro. but the default grain envelope sounds great. I got an evocative tone by modulating grain transposition from one LFO and grain duration from another LFO at the same time. AU (Mac only). The ring modulation was more traditional-sounding. Uniquely. MUTATOR Random patch generators have been around since the late ’70s. Like Absynth’s other effects. RTAS. multitap. basic sample-playback. all effect parameters are available as MIDI destinations in Absynth’s flexible Performance page. resonator. If you want rich strings and a mellow Rhodes for a pop ballad. and the new Aetherizer granular effect. It’s really one of a kind. Frequency-shifting at an extremely low frequency produced bumpy gargling noises. Grains are randomly positioned in the stereo field for a spacious spread. LFOs and envelopes can also modulate any effect parameter. VST. but with a great ’50s sci-fi sound. A row of macro knobs lets you make basic adjustments without going over to the edit pages. or experimental concerts in a loft or at a university. robotic sound. but even these “normal” effects have an exotic edge. it’s a set of up to six fast delay lines with various parameters and modulation inputs. You can’t control grain attack and release times.” This produces a list of three to a few dozen patches. stay away! But if you’re doing film soundtracks of almost any kind (not just sci-fi). AETHERIZER The Aetherizer (see Figure 1 above) adds granular processes to Absynth. Is it multitimbral? No — each instance can respond on only one MIDI channel. and filtering (top). The new Aetherizer effect has granular delay with randomness. the Aetherizer has a single controller input for realtime MIDI control. Included with Absynth is a sample library of about 1GB. pipe. What do you get for filters? Sixteen different modes including comb and allpass. Using a square wave for shaping gave me some tones reminiscent of soft sync. or ring modulator in the filter feedback loop. realtime control. Copy protection: Serial number/online authorization via Native Instruments Service Center app (supplied). CONCLUSIONS Absynth doesn’t just generate sounds — it evokes moods. and if you turn on the surround panner. FILTER FEEDBACK FUN The ability to insert a waveshaper. Using the built-in Browser. Plug-in formats: Mac or PC: standalone. which can operate in any of half a dozen modes: pipe.GEAR NEED TO KNOW What is it? A feature-rich soft synth for sound design maniacs. The depth with which this affects eight separate Aetherizer parameters can be adjusted. and granular. Absynth isn’t supposed to be a full-featured sampler: It doesn’t do multisample key layouts. The included samples are intended mostly as attack transients and as sources for granular synthesis. angst-ridden cyberpunk. you can insert a waveshaper. including a resonator.com to hear them. They won’t all be winners. 1. sounds in the database that match “metallic” and “processed. What effects are included? The effect module has a choice of six modes. recorder is available in standalone mode. or Aetherizer. Basically. What types of synthesis does it do? Virtual analog (with userdesignable waveforms). Absynth has one effect processor.2010 KEYBOARD 61 . to let you capture ideas on the fly. with no clicking. It can add a subtle “cloudy” quality or spit out sparse and randomly repitched snippets. as an AU insert in Ableton Live 8. you can control the spread’s width. click on oscillator and processor modules in a little graphic diagram to include them in the “mutation. frequency shifter.” and click the Mutate button. and the control input can be inverted for any parameter. It was rock-solid: I encountered no glitches of any kind. 02. so you can save the ones you like. It will do phasing and reverb. frequency shifter. The results depend both on the waveform used for modulation and the amount of resonance. or ring modulator into a filter’s feedback (resonance) loop is unique. echoes. however. but I came up with some great-sounding patches using the Mutator — check out the audio example at keyboardmag. A history stores all of the mutations you’ve come up with. and an animated display that gives some idea what’s going on (bottom). you select a few attribute keywords — for instance. But having this input on the Effect page itself is just a convenience: In fact. Turning up the resonance strengthens the effect. Fig. The idea is to let the machine stir the pot and come up with a new sound that you can then fine-tune. Absynth is the secret weapon that will make you truly dangerous. Absynth will combine your current patch (which might be anything) with the patches in the list.
and treats them like Groove Clips.2010 . but this Matrix is a fertile field for improvisation. You’ll love the Doubler. Sonar now imports REX files natively.GEAR C A K E WA L K S O N A R 8 . The PX-64 Percussion Strip collects several modules that make percussive sounds happy. and the saturation on EQ bands. Cool! Session Drummer features new graphics and much more content.5 Good Enough To Be Sonar 9 by Craig Anderton AudioSnap is now cleaner and easier to use. 5 CAKEWALK SONAR 8. Spiff up your vocals with VX-64. Every MIDI track now has a built-in arpeggiator. 62 KEYBOARD 02. It’s more Ableton than Neo.
as slapback in the 20–30ms range is a fairly common vocal process. and whatever sometimes caused envelopes to go haywire has been fixed. they went for an 8.GEAR Sonar fan or hater? Comment on this review. I’m not sure we need another compressor. What’s more. 32. as of 8. there’s an option for automatic Groove Clipping so they’ll stretch to tempo). a transient shaper. including a more improvisational recording method. Mod Filter. 02. you can record the results as audio groove clips in track view. and the Studioverb 2 reverb. into which you can load Groove Clips (Acidized files) or REX loops (you can also load WAV and AIF audio files. Exciter. CONS Still no notation improvements. expander. Each cell’s loop start can quantize to a particular rhythmic value. As someone who designs REX. Stereo Compressor/Gate. The roster includes the Alias Factor decimator. free for V-Studio 700 owners. So was it just bug fixes? Guess again.5 upgrade at just over half the usual upgrade price. and there are also mute and solo buttons. compressor. PX-64 and VX64 are versatile plug-ins. this feature alone will save me hours of working with markers. the players are still included. Previously. but other parts are scattered around — like Project5’s audio effects. I just upgraded to Windows 7. Besides. No way to delete specific groups of cells in Matrix view — it’s either one at a time or all of them.2.and Acid-compatible sound libraries. Phaser. I dig the 1965 sci-fi flick look. INFO Upgrade from Sonar Producer 8: $99. and delay with filtered feedback. and most importantly. Audio effects from Project5. Perhaps the best aspect is that as you improvise with the loops. Furthermore. Per-track arpeggiation. Stereo/Tempo Delay.5. as Project5 was PROS Matrix view is a fun way to record. PX-64 also scores big on synth or electric bass if you tweak settings properly. While you could use Sonar’s existing effects to create similar track presets. and it rocks. Native REX file import. The Matrix is one example. It builds on version 2 with two more stereo outs. VX-64 also has input and output saturation.com NEED TO KNOW Is this upgrade worth the money? Given the low cost and the many additions. Is Sonar 8. PROJECT5 FEATURES Cakewalk has eased the pain for fans of its discontinued Project5 app by incorporating many key features into Sonar 8.5 compatible? Absolutely. Did Cakewalk fix the crossfade glitches? I’ve edited tons of splices and crossfades at 96kHz. Why isn’t it called Sonar 9? Beats me. A matrix of rows and columns has a cell at each intersection. as they let you do useful REX edits. it’s more convenient to have what you need in one place. better mixer graphics. or sound off on our forum. it converts into a Groove Clip. all of the cells. Even better. Cakewalk threw a curve at the last AES convention: Instead of introducing Sonar 9. you can even record solo button clicks as well as mutes.5. four-band EQ. Sonar 8. two-band Parametric EQ. Can I use my 32-bit plug-ins in a 64-bit environment? Yes. but several of the effects have no equivalent in previous Sonar versions. the only reason not to upgrade is if you don’t need any of the new features. describing your tweaks and displaying the results graphically. MEET THE MATRIX Matrix view is arguably the most significant upgrade.com. and columns are subject to MIDI control — I use a Novation Launchpad for triggering them. a TR-808 when you bring in a TR-808 kit. and all the REX transient markers become Acidizing markers. which is a big deal if you use REX-based stretching. allows saturating any or all bands of its three-band EQ. The display is particularly helpful. PX-64 has input and output saturation (crunch). but furthermore. Both strips let you route modules in whatever order you want.5 adds two channel strip effects: VX-64 Vocal Strip and PX-64 Percussion Strip. One minor bummer: The drum kit graphic doesn’t change to. an eye-candy drum set that shows which drums are hit. But it’s so much easier just to drag a REX file into a track. other upgrade paths detailed at cakewalk. Multivoice Chorus/Flanger.or 64-bit — even running under Boot Camp on Intel Macs. a lot more content — both kits and patterns. REX files had to be loaded into players.2010 KEYBOARD 63 . as it brings Ableton Livelike cell-based looping to Sonar. Perhaps because it’s more about additions than alterations to the core program. but it’s odd that the delay can’t do less than 50ms. Session Drummer 3 loads more drums and has more content. say. The only possible snag might be drivers for hardware interfaces. AudioSnap 2 and Step Sequencer 2 are significant improvements. both true 64-bit plug-ins. VX-64’s Doubler module is particularly effective. SESSION DRUMMER 3 The only “new” virtual instrument is Session Drummer 3. STRIP SHOW Sonar 8. It supports anything from XP on. KING REX Sonar now imports REX files natively. at keyboardmag. unlike Live.5 has several important new features. Lower price than expected. rows.
5 for awhile. I am using all the new features! Even something as seemingly unspectacular as native REX file import has ripples throughout the program. OTHER UPDATES AudioSnap 2. and you can start editing immediately — you don’t have to enable AudioSnap on the clip first.. flam) per row instead of globally. such as Pro Tools 7. In addition to expected features (latch. I’ve been using Sonar since version 1.5 upgrade is on a par with some other “overachieving” point upgrades. edit velocity with far less effort. there’s no denying that the 8. but you might find yourself using arpeggiation more creatively. and my CPU meter is down a bit compared to projects prior to 8.2010 . GIMME AN ARP MIDI tracks now include a built-in arpeggiator. as well as 14 pattern options.5 for serving up serious value in these recessionary times. pitch.0 has become more of a multi-purpose MIDI device instead of just a way to drive drum parts. Curiously. I noticed that when I moved from one marker to another.5. Even if you only need a few of the new features. which just seemed to fit better in tracks than the Sonitus delay. makes it easier to identify transients. range. It’s very full-featured. you wouldn’t use this on every track. 64 KEYBOARD 02.0. and a very cool ability to recognize attached audio interfaces without re-starting. After using 8. versatile program with excellent workflow. flam. I reached for them with surprising regularity — particularly the Stereo/Tempo Delay. in most ways more than Sonar’s MIDI plug-in arpeggiator.0 cleans up the confusing palette. Further new features include a solo button in effects’ graphical windows so you can edit an effect without distraction. These improvements are mostly about workflow. swing. Granted. monitoring of DC offset in real time. you won’t feel like you spent too much. They’ve tweaked 8. 5 Step Sequencer 2. Cakewalk doesn’t even promote some of the tweaks they put in.g.GEAR installed on my computer (so Sonar could access its effects). scroll lock in the clips pane (you can edit without the screen scrolling during playback). Over the past several years Sonar has matured into an efficient.4 (which added Elastic Audio). and the like) there are lots of included presets. but when you balance what you get versus cost. and I definitely appreciate 8. On the other hand. It delivers more than it promises. as you can now drive tracks without using a drum map. the marker position stayed anchored to the same place on the screen — nice! Cakewalk also continues to refine the audio engine. C A K E WA L K S O N A R 8 . But so far. Version 8. CONCLUSIONS Some Sonar users were upset they didn’t get their annual “most significant digit” upgrade.5 to take better advantage of multi-processor computers.5 is another welcome step forward. and apply style controls (e.
distributors.imsta. We do this primarily through public education campaigns. We are supported by our members who are software and soundware developers. It’s the smart thing to do. We are trying to change behavior. your The software community made it If you want to possible to record an album on your laptop. One of our most important functions is to advocate for the legal use of software in the music production and creation landscape. www. buy the software you use. We are fighting piracy on moral grounds appealing to the good in all of us.BUY THE SOFTWARE YOU USE Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. o Respect yourself.org BUY THE SOFTWARE YOU USE The International Music Software Trade Association is a non-profit organization that represents the interests of music software and soundware publishers. . craft and the work of others.org INTERNATIONAL MUSIC SOFTWARE TRADE ASSOCIATION New York • Toronto • Berlin • Tokyo Tel: 416 789-6849 • Fax: 416 789-1667 Email: info@imsta. make sure there is a future version of the software you are h using. retailers and publications.
Tracking to tape.com For this two-CD set (1.2010 . and the two dozen bass loops. perhaps. About the only oversight I could spot is that root notes aren’t listed in the file or folder names. chugs. Fortifying every ounce of funk. SONY WHAT IT IS! ’70S ANALOG FUNK Primo Stash. a cool horn line as the hook on a hip-hop track. SFZ. Terry combines the glamour of disco with Euro-electropop sensibility. sonycreativesoftware. The amount of wah and reverb seem perfectly suited for the piece — when they were used — but you don’t get any dry alternatives. All files are provided as stereo stems by instrument group. Growing up in Brooklyn in the late ’80s. He had a string of underground hits before reaching mainstream-crossover success with singles like “Keep on Jumpin’” and “Somethin’ Going On. the project was recorded on an Otari two-inch tape deck with a 100% analog mix path before going to the computer for editing.” featuring vocals by Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown. 20 bass sounds. Whether drafting breakbeats for a commercial spot. This 600MB download-only collection captures it all. A folder of 66 drum loops provides a compact yet workable assortment of main beats. I’ve always loved the trancing-gypsy vibe of Terry’s darker patterns — their bouncing. tracked out as construction kits. although a helpful lookup table is on the disc in both ASCII and Excel formats. some laid-back R&B groove builders.com Compared to other genres. each having that crucial vinyl-lifted feel. additional formats: $39. incorporating any panning that resulted from mic placement or mixer-level decisions. NNXT.95. and Clav loops will duly serve as inspiration. 13 of which come with an alternate groove and sound.95 each. INFO Base: $39. Drum hits and FX from Todd Terry’s private stash. Wurlitzer. Flexible use. fills. While you’ll probably be playing your own keyboard parts. in particular. using 19 superbly talented players. and string lines. and the chunky dirt of NYC hip-hop sampling attitude. attack and release sculpting – the end result being that these loops sound freakin’ fantastic! The stereo drum mixes. CONS Compact size leaves you wanting more. and endings. Superb playing. electronic dance music has had fewer legends and more pioneers. and Reason 4 ReFill formats each sold separately. including himself on guitar and engineering duties. a fat old analog resonant-synth stab patch. you get a few essential multisampled instruments. making this a Key Buy. including a warm B-3style organ (no rotary effect). and over a dozen one-shot guitar smacks. percussion loops and shaker grooves. the vintage tone and ace playing of the supplied real Hammond. FORMATS Acidized WAV. offbeat elements are cornerstones of the sound of today’s minimal-house and progressive-house heroes like Dubfire and SOUNDS Sharam. kill with their amazingly wide open sound. INFO $69. but the odd carnival backbeat or frantic nod to NuYorican Soul venture beyond. FORMATS Acidized WAV. As a bonus. two gorgeous house pianos.95. are phenomenally rotund and sit right in the era’s pocket. Recorded to analog tape for natural compression and saturation. mostly played staccato. But it was his 1995 remix of “Missing” by Everything But the Girl that made the Grammynominated DJ/producer a household name. you’ll find it here. bigfishaudio. or phenomenal conga and bongo patterns in a Latin-inspired pop track. The 36 musical loops are split between synth chops/arpeggios. and EXS24. Ableton Live 7 or later.3GB of 24-bit Acid loops). intros. Don’t let the title fool you — the musical directions that you can go with this library are wide open. Rhodes. Over 190 signature drum hits and 90 FX are provided for rolling your own grooves. 66 KEYBOARD 02.GEAR LOOPMASTERS TODD TERRY: NYC CLASSIC HOUSE He’s Still Jumpin’ by Jason Scott Alexander PROS Genuine house beats and bass lines. Tempos mostly reside in the 126–130 bpm range. both have gorgeous tone and character. patches for Kontakt. one with an almost harpsichord-like octave overtone. CONS No dry alternatives to tracks recorded with wah or reverb. Todd Terry can enjoy being called both. While you can certainly find larger and more varied collections. Apple Loops. and slides. on a steady diet of Chicago house music. A ’74 Fender Jazz bass recorded direct with just a bit of Manley compression. REX2. Halion. You Dig? by Jason Scott Alexander PROS Fifteen fully-tracked sessions with A/B verse parts. there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about these private-vault sounds that extends a much deeper value to any connoisseur of classic house. piano chords. and Ibanez hollow body run through a vintage Fender blackface amp. Authentic vinyl-lifted character. producer Mark Whitcomb painstakingly recorded 15 full-length cuts. Whitcomb pushed the iron particles hard for natural compression.
tone-shaping EQ. powerful N50 neodymium magnets. It's a free standing live room. and smooth.com info@studiodevil. cabinet impulse modeling. warm. AT4080 $1. and studio effects into one. Dial in the professional guitar tone you expect into your next recording project without the fuss. Demo versions available online for guitar and bass.2010 .245.com 1-800-ASC-TUBE (272-8823) To advertise in this section contact: Will Sheng at 650-238-0325 or wsheng@musicplayer. extremely durable performance.htm Recorded in a concert hall.com Revolutionary active ribbon microphones feature groundbreaking Audio-Technica dual ribbon design with 18 patents pending. ACID Wav and Apple Loop formats. innovative MicroLinearô ribbon imprint. Action Drums: Cinematic Edition brings epic percussion to the REX. where you'll love the mics you used to hate.com 70 KEYBOARD 02. AT4081 $895 www.99 www. www.audio-technica. SRP: $3.com/qsf. SRP: $99. SRP: $149 AT4080 & AT4081 Bidirectional Active Ribbon Microphones Audio-Technica Now Available www.com 330-686-2600 ASC Quick Sound Field Acoustic Sciences Corp Now Available Action Drums: Cinematic Edition Nine Volt Audio Now Available QSF takes the room out of the mic and puts the talent in the mix. straight ahead amp modeling plug-in.asc-studioacoustics.245 for set of 8 traps.NineVoltAudio.P R O D U CT S P OT L I G H T Special Advertising Section Amp Modeler Pro Studio Devil Now Available Studio Devil AMP combines breakthrough tube amp realism. high-fidelity sound.studiodevil. Stylus RMX.
C LAS S I F I E D S
Categories Education & Tutorial
Learn Piano Tuning, Repairing, And Regulating, taught by Craftsman technicians. Complete correspondence course includes written and video tape training material, Apprentice Training Manual, much more. Licensed by Departmentof Education. www.pianotuning.com. Randy Potter School of Piano Technology, 61592 Orion Dr., Bend, OR 97702. (541) 382-5411.
Mixing and Mastering
Pianos & Organs Sounds, Sequences, & Software Talent and Employement Education & Tutorial Acoustic Products & Services Mixing and Mastering Studio Fur nishings
Buying or selling instruments through our Classified Ads offers you convenience, a big marketplace, and a wide range of instruments and prices. However, buying mail-order does have its drawbacks, too. Keyboard Magazine suggests the following guidelines to help the buyer and the seller in these transactions: 1) Get a written description of the instrument, which should include the serial number. 2) Get front and back photos of the instrument. 3) Get a written purchase agreement, with a 24hour approval clause allowing the buyer to return the instrument for a full refund if it does not meet his/her reasonable expectations.
Finger Fitness Exercises improve HAND strength, coordination and speed. Exercise anytime anyplace. New DVD combo now shipping! www.HandHealth.com P.O. Box 13359 Hamilton OH. 888-868-HAND (4263)
Learn jazz piano on the internet at www.JazzPianoOnline.com
Pianos & Organs
HAMMOND Organs & LESLIE Speakers Sales - Service - Parts - Rental 615-438-8997
Renowned jazz pianist/educator Dave Frank offering live skype lessons worldwide. First free!! www.davefrankjazz.com
CHARLIE BANACOS JAZZ IMPROV * Lessons by Mail Department. MP, P.O 272, Manchester, MA, 01944 USA or visit www.Charliebanacos.com firstname.lastname@example.org
www.b3hammond.com. Buy/Sell MINT Hammonds, Leslies. Wordwide sales. (701) 400-2933, email@example.com
Sounds, Sequences & Software
www.VintageKeyboardSounds.com Authentic MELLOTRON, B3, and COMBO ORGAN SAMPLES. All Formats Supported. 562-856-9333
www.Akaimpc.com Learn your MPC like a pro. Akai MPC instructional DVD`s 4 Mpc5000,Mpc500,Mpc2000XL Mpc1000,& Mpc2500 760-246-9492
Acoustic Products & Services
BAND-IN-A-BOX IMPROVEMENT PRODUCTS * Put A Better Band In Your Box * Norton Music (since 1990) * www.nortonmusic.com
Talent & Employment
www.MusiciansContact.com. Paying jobs online. Thousands of satisfied members since 1969. (818) 888-7879
For more informationcheck out our website at
S U P E R STU D I O S
A Prophet-5 is the meat, and Oberheim Two Voice and Matrix-12 synths are the bread, in this highly fattening analog sandwich.
You know Sonic Reality as the purveyor of Ocean Way Drums and innumerable Reason ReFills, but you might not know that founder Dave Kernzer is so huge a vintage synth geek that it’s positively surreal. Below is the keyboard room at SR’s Florida mothership — turn the page for modular and rack synths. At keyboardmag.com/gear, you’ll find more pictures, plus a video tour where Dave and Keyboard’s Robbie Gennet play every single one of these beasts! Stephen Fortner
ARP’s Pro DGX (top) was part of P-Funk’s signature sound. Below it are a Vox Continental organ and the original “sampler,” a Mellotron.
The Octave Cat, a two-voice solo synth that competed with the Minimoog and ARP Odyssey.
MuSonics-modified Minimoog above ARP String Ensemble (think “Dream Weaver”) above Wurlitzer 200A electric piano.
Roland’s VP-330 Vocoder Plus is hunted to extinction on eBay. It sits atop an RMI Electra-Piano.
The Haaken Continuum controller (top) senses X and Y positions and finger pressure. It shares the top of a Yamaha CP70B electric grand with a Korg OASYS workstation. Moog Rogue and Minimoog snuggle up on top of old faithful, a Rhodes Stage Mk. II. Check out our review of the new Rhodes on page 48.
Electric grand pianos use real strings and hammers, but pickups instead of a soundboard. Here’s Kawai’s, topped with another Prophet-5.
Baldwin’s Electric Harpsichord is one of the hardest classic keyboards to find at all, let alone in good working condition like this one.
Korg was once Univox. Here’s their original MiniKorg atop a Hohner Clavinet D6.
Roland V-Synth XT and XV-5080. and analog delay above two Oberheim SEMs. EMS Synthi (made famous in Pink Floyd’s “On the Run”).” A rare Maestro Rover rotary speaker. used for the Who’s intro to “Baba O’Riley. Roland System-100 atop rack of six (!) Oberheim SEMs. and Kawai K5000R additive synth.GEEK OUT! S U P E R STU D I O S Yamaha EX5 (bottom) controls a rackful of synths. Serge filter. ElectroComp EML-200. programmer (top right). All photos by Robbie Gennet 74 KEYBOARD 02. Modular madness! Top to bottom: ARP Little Brother. Left to right: the coveted Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter with MPG-80 Programmer. Left to right: Roland MC-202 sequencer with built-in analog synth. Nord Rack 2. and two output modules (bottom right). Roland model 104 analog sequencer.2010 . Oberheim paddle/keypad box. They sit on a Lowrey Berkshire organ. EQ. Roland System-100M. The SSL console from the Carson-era Tonight Show. Note the NBC peacock logo and silent phone ringer light.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.