Stage-73 V

Electric soul machine

_The art
of sound design

Natural Aggressive Tone

( Jerry Kovarsky)

I was attempting to create a very real and natural sound based on my long experience with the instrument (I’ve owned a 1972 Stage and a 1978 MK1 Suitcase, both of which I worked on extensively).I wanted to recreate a very “hot” sound that could break up nicely when played aggressively (hence the title!). So I worked with the pickup distance, and hammer hardness to get that extra “bite”. The dynamics of the sound were also important for me. For the demo I tried it out with a variety of effects and variations in the voicing of the model (tine noise, pickup distance and alignment, damper noise etc.) and it just “works” for getting a wide range of great sounds.

Jerry Kovarsky - on Stage-73 V

About Jerry ↓

The beauty of Stage-73 V is that it’s modeled, not just sampled, so I can get into the very DNA of the instrument to shape it how I want to. A Rhodes is capable of a wide variety of sounds based on how it is set-up and voiced, and Stage-73 V gives me access to those aspects that would be set in stone with only sampling. I enjoyed being able to switch between a Stage and a Suitcase model to see how my sound response would change, and that really made a difference in how the instrument interacted with the pedalboard of effects.

The vocabulary of Rhodes sounds is very wide; from the early felt hammer sound of the late ‘60s up through the amped sound of a Stage, and on to more clanky and prominent tine sounds. There is no one sound that is universally agreed upon, and I enjoy at least 6-7 very different approaches to the instrument. So I sought to chase them all down, referencing my favorite recordings for guidance.


( Dennis Hamm)

Experimenting with the FX pedals and the fine tunings of the innards of the Rhodes led to the design of my favorite preset of the bunch, “Marvin”. I gave it a “regular dude on the block” name due to its human quirkiness. I love instruments that allow me to play one single note and sit on it for a while without being bored with it or wanting to release it prematurely. This preset defines that, allowing me to inject musicality into simple melodies or complex harmonies alike.I dialed up the imperfections and age of the Rhodes a bit for “Marvin” by increasing Hammer Hardness, Hammer Noise, Tine Noise, and Damper Noise. Set the output to “Room” for a realistic seated-at-the-Rhodes feel. Then added slight amounts of Analog Phaser (slow detuning effect), Stereo Pan for Marvin’s slightly inebriated gait, an EQ to bring out more of the high frequencies in the upper register of the keyboard, and a tiny touch of the Rotary Speaker for more EQ and slow-moving spacial qualities.

Dennis Hamm - on Stage-73 V

About Dennis ↓

What struck me first off about Stage-73 V was how much they nailed the imperfections of a real instrument. Software synths, whether modeled or sampled, tend to be too perfect which gives away their synthetic nature. Stage-73 V’s fine-tuning allows adding super realistic real Rhodes qualities to the degree one chooses.

My approach to designing presets was to harness those lifelike qualities and use them to bring as much unique character to each preset as possible. I like living breathing instruments with human characteristics. It wasn’t hard making that happen with Stage-73 V.

Jonathan Adams Leonard

I didn't have a type in mind, just to respect the nooks and crannies in something that is sometimes musical and other times furniture.My own requirements were to make sure the defaults and base models have character and maximal capability. This means including variances but also making sure the bass is full, that voicing chords is possible into the bass and that the instrument is inspiring but also musically reliable.

Jonathan Adams Leonard - on Stage-73 V

About Jonathan ↓

I really enjoy how expressive the Stage-73 V is and what I can do musically with it. There are aspects of the instrument that really go beyond samples and most electric pianos themselves. It can move from soft and warm to full bark so quickly without feeling that something is missing or exaggerated. The Stage-73 V also has a hot top that most Rhodes never reach because of that tricky double touch that can happen when you play a Rhodes hard. Instead, the Stage-73 V just screams instead of playing a dead note.

I am the developer that created the base models. My approach was to work transparently as possible to the instruments themselves. My first career was in science and I apply this discipline when researching and modelling musical instruments as acoustic systems. This requires attention to both function and failure within an instrument, the family it belongs to, and its age. I often hear people observe that a digital model or synthesizer does not sound like the real thing. In reality if you do the research, the real thing doesn't sound like the real thing because there is no 'thing' except the approximation that exists in human minds. Every instrument is a unique slice of the universe that is slowly experiencing change and develops over time. I have respect for the state and condition of an instrument in its life and do my best to highlight this character. One day, our digital instruments will evolve and fatigue like their acoustic counterparts.