New Music Gear Monday: Rhodes V8 Electric Piano Plugin

I know what you’re thinking after reading the headline – “I already have about 6 electric piano plugins that all sound pretty good.” I bet if you’ve played a real Rhodes electric piano for any length of time you probably can’t wait to try this new plugin though, since it’s right from the source. Introducing the Rhodes V8 plugin, the first official plugin by the company that makes the real thing.

Rhodes V8 Pro plugin

Some History

Piano teacher Harold Rhodes took surplus parts left over from World War II and designed the first electro-mechanical keyboard known as the “Rhodes electric piano” in 1959 in partnership with Leo Fender. When Fender was bought by CBS in 1965 the piano was christened the Fender Rhodes, although in 1979 the Fender name was deleted. During this time period the piano sold well and can be heard on many great records of era.

In 1980 the Yamaha DX7 was introduced and one of its big selling features was its chimmy Rhodes-like preset. Although it didn’t sound exactly like a Rhodes, and certainly didn’t play like one, it was so much easier to bring to gigs or record with. That eventually sounded the death knell for the real thing.

In 2021 the Rhodes company was brought back to life with a brand new Mk8 version of the famed electric piano. While many keyboardist cheered, they certainly weren’t very happy with the a price tag of around $12,000. That said, even a used one today goes for around $2,000 to $3,000, depending upon the condition and if you can actually find one. That’s why the official plugin was so anticipated.

It’s Official

The official Rhodes piano plugin comes in two versions – the V8 and the V8 Pro. The V8 is the result of 30,000 samples (all recorded at 96kHz/24 bit) directly sampled from Rhodes’ flagship MK8 piano, including up to 127 velocity layers, 14 articulations and mechanical noise. The articulations include everything from sustains to various types of staccatos, portamentos and legatos to note offs, sympathetic resonances, mechanical noises and more.

The electronics had a huge impact on the sound of the physical instrument and they’re modeled on the V8. These include a parametric EQ featuring Low Gain, Mid Gain, Mid Freq and High Gain, a diode-based Drive control for crunch and heavy distorted sounds, and an Envelope control for auto-wah effects.

Taking It Up A Notch

As pedal effects came on the market in the 80’s, keyboardists found that they paired well with the instrument, and that’s what you’ll get with the V8 Pro. Effects include a Vari-Pan, VCA Compressor, and Phaser paired with Bucket-Brigade Chorus and Delay to replicate those original sounds.

There’s so much more under the hood that we can’t go into here, but you can find out all about on the official plugin page or in the video below.

Be warned, this is not your typical virtual instrument plugin. In order to truly replicate the sound, the library is 60GB large!

The Rhodes V8 plugin is priced at $179, while the V8 Pro is $249, and both have a free 14 day trial. They’re also available for both Mac and PC and in all plugin formats. Check out the video below to hear how it sounds.

Crash Course Access
Spread the word

Comments are closed