B3/Rhodes accuracy?

Andrew C
  • Andrew C

    Andrew C - 2009-03-09

    Hey Nick,

    I hope this doesn't offend you or piss you off but, how accurate are the b3 and rhodes emulations to the real thing? I'm considering implementing a laptop running linuxsampler, jack and Bristol into my band and I'm wondering how close they sound to the real thing..

    Again, Apologies if I'm dissing or foul-mouthing you or the amount of time you've put into this project.

    Andrew Coughlan.

    • Nick Copeland

      Nick Copeland - 2009-03-11

      Hi Andrew,

      The Rhodes emulation is probably a little way off, it does not really emulate the Rhodes tines or hammer action, something I was considering doing separately. It uses the FM emulator in the same was as the old Yamaha PF series did. Now I have a Rhodes stage-73 mark-1 and this is about as close as I could get to the sound when I developed it.

      The Hammond emulator does go more into the details of how the original keyboard worked, largely possible since this was electric rather than largely mechanical in the case of the rhodes. The emulator in my opinion can be quite close to the original:

      All 92 tonewheels are constantly generated
      Each wheel can have an independent profile to mimic the toothwheel designs using an innovative degenerate sine wave.
      Each compartment can deliver crosstalk between the 4 wheels that would have been in that compartment.
      Each wheel runs into a bus tapering that can be configured for crosstalk at the original filter stage.
      Each wheel has a tapering circuit for normalisation
      Each drawbar has leakage and crosstalk
      The VirbraChorus uses a 9 stage filtered delay emulation with gradual crossover

      Now in how far my default tables are close to the B3 is questionable, they could be improved up and the two configurations can be manually edited in text files. There are places that need improvement: keyclick is a bit 'klicky' rather than thumpy. The Leslie emulator does not always respond as anticipated, for example speed up and slow down do not seem to follow the mechanics of the original and I have cases open to improve this code. Also the reverb only works well at low delays.

      Perhaps a better question to ask is what are you hoping to get out of bristol? I personally think if you bury the emulators into a mix it would be hard to tell the difference between them and the original, both have the qualities of the instrument. If you wanted to do some solo work then they might appear as lacking. This is really up to your ear, not mine. You also want to think about the logistics of it all, taking along one high spec laptop to a gig as opposed to nearly 30k of Rhodes and perhaps 80k of Hammond. I have lugged my Rhodes around on London busses to gigs and it was not fun.

      Good luck, Nick


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