Rhodes Piano Hardware vs Software Blind Test With Producer Steve Levine

In this video, the first Plugin Boutique Blind Test, record producer Steve Levine puts his extensive knowledge to the test to see if he can distinguish between the sound of the new hardware Rhodes v8 piano and the official Rhodes virtual instrument.

Here’s what they have to say about the video:

“Steve Levine is a well established English record producer with credits from the Beach Boys to Culture Club and many more. He is also the proud owner of a MK8 piano, so we thought there was no one better to put to the Plugin Boutique Blind Test.”

V8 is a virtual instrument based on their recently introduced Rhodes V8 electric piano. The V8 plugin is based on over 30k samples and uses over 100 velocity layers.

As the video demonstrates, there are differences between the sound of the hardware and software Rhodes, but it’s not easy for even an experienced listener like Levine to identify which is which.

5 thoughts on “Rhodes Piano Hardware vs Software Blind Test With Producer Steve Levine

  1. I have seen many blind A/B tests, and I’m always amazed when people pick the right one. Because most of the time, I don’t hear any difference myself. In this case, the difference is very obvious. What remains is just a matter of taste. I prefer the real one, which is less harsh.
    BTW, there are a lot of very good Rhodes plugins available, for free, so I wonder why Fender/Rhodes bothered to release their own. Appealing to snobbery, I guess.

  2. The only section for which I had a specific preference was the very first example, where I thought the bass notes of the real thing sounded much smoother and more organic. The samples where way more overdriven and harsh and thinner. Not terrible, just a little less lush. Makes me wonder if that drive is in the samples or something they just didn’t dial out. Or perhaps it was just that the velocity curve meant the harder samples were being triggered.

    The other thing to listen for is the releases which sucked in the plugin (i.e, the releases didn’t have the little tine-muting moment). It’s subtle, but you miss it when it’s not there.

  3. Players of the Rhodes know that the real difference is the responsiveness and the effect of having physical waves hitting your ears. It makes you think and feel differently.

    1. Playing around with a Kawai MP10 I noticed that they have a setting for delay from keypress to trigger. Each acoustic piano will have a different delay depending on the action.
      It’s somewhat counter-inuitive that modelling accurate responsiveness of an (electro) acoustic musical instrument involves slowing the digital process.

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