The Rhodes Piano, AKA, the Fender Rhodes Piano, is an electric piano that became popular in the 70s. Since then, the electric piano sound was used throughout the decade, particularly in pop, jazz, and soul music. Nowadays, buying a vintage instrument such as the original Rhodes by Fender or a Roland Rhodes piano (that still works) can be expensive and hard to find.
It’s a good thing the iconic sound can be emulated through virtual studio technology (VST). This kind of technology can recreate the iconic sounds from the previous decades. So that you, a modern music producer, can add that vintage “Wurly” piano sound to one of your mixes. Before we discuss the best Rhodes VST, let me explain what VSTs are first.
What are VST Plugins?
These types of plugins are virtual instruments that are sampled and recorded professionally in world-class studios. Some VST instruments come with excellent presets you can use. You can also adjust the sounds by tweaking the parameters to create the sound you want in your mix.
If you want to add that classic piano sound to your mixes right now, you can check out this list I made. In no particular order, here are the top 6 Rhodes VSTs that I consider to be the best:
Waves Electric 88
For a low price of $49, you can own this excellent plugin to flourish your tracks with one of the most iconic piano sounds. The Waves Electric 88 is a stand-alone software that you can also use as a plugin for your DAW of choice.
The Waves Electric 88 sampled their sound from a road-worn piano. Through time, a keyboard will develop a unique sound, which is why the developers decided to use a piano with character. It was recorded from key to key to keeping the human touch.
To install this plugin, you will need to free up to 4GB of space on your laptop or computer. The intuitive design of its interface is absolutely fantastic. It also pays a lot of attention to detail, but the most crucial aspect is the sound.
To download the Waves Electric 88, click here.
Native Instruments Scarbee Mark I
You can get this plugin for free If you purchase the Kontakt Player by Native Instruments. However, you can also buy the plugin on the Native Instruments website.
Instead of offering you tons of presets and instruments, the Scarbee Mark I has set their focus on creating one sound. It is a sound that pays attention to quality instead of quantity.
The Scarbee Mark I is geared toward improving and sampling the classic piano sound of the 70s. These sounds are sampled from the real thing multiple times to capture the true essence of the Rhodes piano. To install this plugin, you will need 1.3GB of hard drive space.
To download the Native Instruments Scarbee Mark I, click here.
Applied Acoustics Lounge Lizard
Applied Acoustics is one of the earliest to develop the virtual Rhodes piano. The Lounge Lizard was first released in 2002. Unlike the other items on the list, this particular VST uses physical modeling rather than sampling audio.
Instead of emulating the sound by recording, Applied Acoustics developed a computer model to mimic the iconic sound. Because of the developed sound engine, you are given more options in tweaking the classic sound to make it your own. The Lounge Lizard also comes with ton presets so you can create a track right off the bat.
To download the demo version and full version, click here.
Cinematique Instruments Electric Piano
Another Kontakt instrument on the list is the Electric Piano II. The sound is taken directly from a beat-up Rhodes Mark I, which I can imagine has developed a unique sound through the years.
You would think that a 1975 Mark I would be flawed. However, the flaws give the piano more attitude and authenticity, making it sound irresistibly good.
If you want a classic sound that is close to the real thing, you can download the Electric piano II by Cinematique Instruments here.
Scarbee Classic EP-88s
If you want more than just one sample of your favorite electric piano sound, you can try the Scarbee Classic EP-88s. It is built with more sounds for versatility. It also has additional keys to reach the high and low octaves for your tracks without compromising quality.
The developers spent long hours developing these samples so that you can enjoy them in high quality with little to zero noise. Adding low noise samples will not hurt the other tracks in your mix.
Click here to download this fantastic plugin.
Arturia Stage-73 V
This plugin, just like the Lounge Lizard, took the sound-modeling route. The Arturia Stage-73 V includes different Rhodes piano models such as the Mark I, Mark II, the Stage, and Suitcase. It emulates everything from the sound to the basic controls of the Rhodes electric piano, giving you a dash of authenticity.
Another cool feature is the addition of effects and amps. You can use an emulated Fender amp, a volume and sustain pedal, and a variety of different effects. It may be a little bit pricey for a plugin, but you can download the demo version here.
- How can I play virtual instruments? You will need a MIDI controller to play virtual instruments installed on your computer. You can record a MIDI track with a MIDI controller or use the built-in piano roll or MIDI editor to program the notes. The Akai MPK Mini is an example of a simple MIDI controller with 25 keys, eight velocity-sensitive pads, and a modulation stick to control pitch and effects.
- Are there any analog keyboards and synths that can emulate the Rhodes sound? Several analog synthesizers include the classic Rhodes electric piano sound, such as the Korg microKORG XL+. Aside from this example, there are a lot more keyboards and synths that have a license to emulate the original Rhodes sound and integrate it with their products.
We are lucky to have access to these instruments with the use of virtual studio technology. In the old days, you would have to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of studio equipment to record and produce tracks.
Now, you have the power to create songs using the best Rhodes VST in the comfort of your home.
Last update on 2020-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API