Jim McGorman
 

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY... 

The legendary Wurlitzer EP 200A was the high end model of the Wulitzer reed-based piano line. It was introduced in 1972 and produced until 1982.

Its sound was a little brighter than the Fender Rhodes when played softly and became more overdriven as the attack was more pronounced. This unique dynamic range, mainly due to tighter reeds, was very appreciated by funk players who could express their nuances and rhythmic playing.

The Wurlitzer quickly reached immense succes among pop and rock bands, where its thicker and rougher tone easily fit in the mix.

Favored by Supertramp ("The Logical Song"), the Beatles ("I am the Walrus"), Ray Charles ("What’d I say"), Marvin Gaye ("I Heard It Throught The Grapevine"), the Rolling Stones ("Miss You"), the Wurlitzer 200A was also reputed to make a great combination with tube amps, such as the Fender Bassman and Twin Reverb, because their nice overdrive and spring reverb contributed to opening the sound even more.

The 200A also accepted different effect units very well, such as analog chorus, phaser, tape echo, which were nice tricks to bring additional lushness and depth to the sound.
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A SOULFUL REPRODUCTION

As the Wurlitzer pianos in good shape are sadly quite rare today, Arturia is proud to revive this classic by introducing a high end physical modeling reproduction.
Where most sample libraries would only focus on recording several facettes of the instrument, the Wurlitzer V brings you an in-depth reproduction, along with a complete studio environment to fully experience the feeling of this electric piano.

  • PHYSICAL MODELING ENGINE :

    Physical modeling synthesis is a method in which the waveform of the sound to be generated is computed by using a mathematical model, being a set of equations and algorithms to simulate a physical source of sound.
    Our brand new physical model has been implemented in the Wurlitzer V. It models all components of the Wurlitzer piano with attention to details, including the reeds and hammers themselves, but also the mechanism and action, not forgetting the internal amplification system and acoustic properties of the plastic body.

    The Wurlitzer V carefully emulates the traditional “bag of shot” genuine piano action present in the 200A as pictured below, with the hammers striking the flat reeds at around their center point, causing the reed to vibrate and be converted into electric energy by electrostatic pickups.


    The result of physical modeling allows notes to be really played (“constructed” in real-time, like on a real Wurlitzer). The sound is alive, not static: it is not a simple recording, but a genuine instrument that responds to the player´s interpretation. Moreover, it´s really light on the computer, does not require storing a huge collection of samples, and avoids the nightmare of tuning each reed.


  • MAXIMUM SONIC FLEXIBILITY :
    The Wurlitzer V allows the musician to interact with the sound, by bringing in-depth parameters right on the main panel.
    These parameters allow for deep sound design capabilities, and let you tailor the sound you are looking for in unique ways. This is why the Wurlitzer V is not only great at offering an accurate recreation of the legendary Wurlitzer keyboards, but also ideal for sound-design experiments and creations.



    The Wurlitzer V carefully emulates the traditional “bag of shot” genuine piano action present in the 200-A as pictured above, with the hammers striking the flat reeds at around centrepoint, causing the reed to vibrate and be converted in electric energy by electrostatic pickups.

    The Wurlitzer V settings include :

    Graphic Equalizer The 10 band graphic Equalizer provides control over the sound spectrum for the Wurlitzer V.
    Vibrato Rate Sets the speed of the vibrato.
    Pickup Distance Sets the distance between the tone source and the pickup. When the pickup is moved closer to the tone source, the sound becomes more distorted and the timbre change between soft and loud increases.
    Pickup Axis In the real Wurlitzer, the pickup is not exactly in front of the tone source at rest. When it is exactly in front, due to the symmetry of the device, the note jumps one octave higher than the normal tone. Turning the pickup Axis knob clockwise makes the pickup move from an unsymmetrical position to a symmetrical position, thus providing a wide range of timbres.
    Impedance Sets the mechanical impedance of the tines: the greater the impedance, the longer the sound becomes.
    Damper Position When a note is released, each overtone decays more or less rapidly depending on the damper position. It is particularly noticeable in the bass notes when using partial pedals (and also with keyboards sending variable key release velocity).
    Dynamics Controls the loudness level between pianissimo and fortissimo. Thanks to the fact that the effect is applied each time a note is calculated, the dynamics feature can be seen as the perfect compressor as it allows you to adjust the dynamics without any distortion.
    Octave Stretch Octave stretch allows you to simulate a stretch tuning. It can go from subtle to extreme.
    Hammer Hardness You can choose the hammer hardness.The harder the felt, the more brilliant the sound becomes.
    Hammer Noise You can adjust the hammer noise, that is, the weight of the hammer percussion sound. With a loud hammer noise, you will feel as though you are standing close to the piano.
    Note Off Noise Sets the level of key release noise.
    Sustain Pedal Noise On a Wurlitzer you can hear the mechanical action of the sustain pedal. You can set how loud or soft you want this mechanical noise to sound.
    Velocity Curve Allows you to adjust the response of your keyboard.

The Wurlitzer V allows you to select « harmonic variations » presets which are different profiles depending on the reed’s quality and accentuated natural harmonics. This allows you to instantaneously reach more dramatic changes in sound :




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A COMPLETE STUDIO ENVIRONMENT


Boutique effects and guitar tube amps were the key to the alchemy of the Wurlitzer sound, back in the 70's. Today, the Wurlitzer V reintroduces a modeled studio environment including the very same amps, microphones and effects.


VINTAGE AMPLIFICATION

The Wurlitzer V lets you choose between 3 output modes : Studio, Stage and Rotary.
Studio mode : The Wurlitzer V, and the effects are connected to a direct box, that will allow you to listen to the pure sound directly on the output. There is a reverb that follows the direct box, just as it would be in a studio.



Stage : The concept is to recreate the sound of the Wurlitzer used in the typical “garage band” situation. So we added a guitar amp simulator with multiple mic and speaker options. A nice spring reverb is featured in the output selection.


Rotary : The Rotary speaker is normally associated with organs but it works great with the Wurlitzer. You’ll get that circularity in the sound plus a bit of gain crunch.




BOUTIQUE FX GALORE

The Wurlitzer V integrates a collection of 11 vintage stompboxes modeled after the most sought-after effects : Screamer Overdrive, Analog Phaser, Wah pedal, Autowah, Analog Flanger, Compressor, Chorus, Vocal Filter, Analog Delay, Pitch Shifter / Chorus, Digital Reverb.

If you are looking for an authentic electric piano, able to take you anywhere from classic mellow sounds to psychedelic heights, the Wurlitzer V is the perfect instrument.

Here are a few examples of the broad range of sounds you can tailor through effects :

CHORUS

FLANGER

AUTOWAH

WAH PEDAL

OVERDRIVE

ANALOG DELAY

PHASER

VOCAL FILTER


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REACHING NEW SONIC HEIGHTS

The Wurlitzer V not only excels at reproducing the tones of its grand ancestor, but it also paves the way for hundreds of amazing contemporary sounds. Thanks to the physical modeling engine, it lets you generate complex harmonics and textures like you have never heard before:

 

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MORE THAN 200 PRESETS

The Wurlitzer V comes loaded with more than 200 presets made by a selection of world-reknowned sound-designers.




Presets reach from classic Wurlie sounds to more contemporary sonic experiments. Leads, FX’s,…..
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EASY MIDI ASSIGNMENTS

The Wurlitzer V not only side-steps the nightmare of tuning the reeds manually, but also comes with a very intuitive way of mapping your favorite MIDI controller.

Thanks to automatic learning, assigning a control is a breeze. Simply click on a control in MIDI mode, then move the slider or knob on your controller that you want assigned to Wurlitzer V.