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Thread: Rhodes Stage piano: split signal to two Twin Reverbs w/ effects loop for re-201

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    Rhodes Stage piano: split signal to two Twin Reverbs w/ effects loop for re-201

    Hi all. I am working on my mad scientist idea of a rhodes rig and was wondering if anyone would have any suggestions. Just to curb any shouting down of using two twin reverbs, i play in a very spacy almost Sigur Ros style band and the rhodes is the primary melodic instrument over live drums and bass so I need to push a ton of air. The two twin reverbs is what I've arrived at so far and I am very happy.

    Currently I'm sending my Rhodes' signal straight into the instrument input on a roland re-201 space echo. The output goes to the input of a DL-4 which splits the signal to the two amps. It's totally killing my tone. The space echo is an absolute necessity. The dl-4 is really just for the purpose of splitting the signal, its all i have on hand at the moment. If i remove the effects the life is back in my tone, it is night and day. Even just the space echo seems to be really deadening my tone. I want all the intricacies of the naked rhodes tone and to blend in the amazingness of the space echo ontop of that while splitting the signal to two amps.

    I've been looking around at splitter DIs but I haven't found what I've envisioned. Perhaps there is a player out there that has done something similar?

    Any suggestions? Anyone come across a DI splitter that includes an effects loop? Would my best option be a small mixer to do this, and if so, if anyone could recommend a model that doesn't destroy the tone I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks a lot for your time.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    When I spotted your thread, at first I thought you had in mind, splitting the Rhodes output onto two, say bass & treble zones. Because around 1980, there was a popular mod that went even one step further, three zones. (?!?) If I'm not mistook, the company that made this popular was Dyno My Piano, and lots of other shops copied their mod. BUT - that's not what you're looking for.

    What you are looking for, if I'm not mistook, is a way to Y out into two amps, put effects on one and no effects on the other, and without loading down the piano's output so badly the tone turns to mush. Might look into Radial's "Big Shot" splitter. No effects loop, but you could place your effects on one of the output branches, meanwhile keep things nice & simple. One more benefit: one of the Big Shot's outputs is transformer coupled, which allows you to break the ground loop you encounter by Y'ing into two amps. With it you can operate both amps grounded for safety & not have the annoying hum from the ground loop.

    If the Big Shot isn't quite the thing, maybe look into some of Radial's other problem solving device, or similar items from other companies. Here's a link: http://www.radialeng.com/product/bigshot-aby

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    When I spotted your thread, at first I thought you had in mind, splitting the Rhodes output onto two, say bass & treble zones. Because around 1980, there was a popular mod that went even one step further, three zones. (?!?) If I'm not mistook, the company that made this popular was Dyno My Piano, and lots of other shops copied their mod. BUT - that's not what you're looking for.

    What you are looking for, if I'm not mistook, is a way to Y out into two amps, put effects on one and no effects on the other, and without loading down the piano's output so badly the tone turns to mush. Might look into Radial's "Big Shot" splitter. No effects loop, but you could place your effects on one of the output branches, meanwhile keep things nice & simple. One more benefit: one of the Big Shot's outputs is transformer coupled, which allows you to break the ground loop you encounter by Y'ing into two amps. With it you can operate both amps grounded for safety & not have the annoying hum from the ground loop.

    If the Big Shot isn't quite the thing, maybe look into some of Radial's other problem solving device, or similar items from other companies. Here's a link: http://www.radialeng.com/product/bigshot-aby

    Thanks for the reply! The Dyno will have to wait for another day when I have 3 Twins and 3 hundred thousand dollars! I did come across the BigShot, and the transformer coupling is a great feature to consider. I have tried also with a Morley ABY and it sounds like garbage. Its so strange to me that the Morley ABY deadens the signal to the extent that it does.

    For some reason I don't know if I could live with the imbalance of having a wet amp and a dry amp, I would prefer to have the same effected signal through both. But I could experiment with that idea and maybe I'd be happy with it.

    Since doing some research I have come across two other very interesting devices: The Xotic X-Blender which is a parallel effects loop with a wet/dry pot, and the Kasha QuickMod which is this crazy device that replaces V3 in your preamp and creates an effects return. I, however, can not find one available anywhere and emailed Kasha.

    The tone I want is the pure twin preamp, if I could bring the wet signal in at V3 just before the poweramp it would elminate a ton of white noise and I would have that unaffected preamp signal as well.

    However, the comination of the x-blender and something like the Bigshot to split the signal would solve both problems.

    I have some thinking to do, and am also just wondering how other Rhodes players patch in their re-201s and if they exerpeicne the same sad deterioration of signal that I am experiencing here.

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    It was back in 1980-1982 that I was working at Cherokee Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and cannot recall the band nor the keyboard player, but he had a Rhodes that someone had totally re-wired the pickups, set it up for stereo out, and was the best sounding Rhodes I'd ever heard! Absolutely magical sounding. Regrettably I didn't take take down any information for later reference. Sigh.............

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    It was back in 1980-1982 that I was working at Cherokee Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and cannot recall the band nor the keyboard player, but he had a Rhodes that someone had totally re-wired the pickups, set it up for stereo out, and was the best sounding Rhodes I'd ever heard! Absolutely magical sounding. Regrettably I didn't take take down any information for later reference. Sigh.............
    Sounds amazing!! I guess then I would need another space echo for stereo tape delay. Then I would need 4 arms in order to mess with the knobs on the space echos at the same time. Or maybe one can get interns for this? One can dream! I wonder how intense of a mod that is though...

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    There's gotta be some keyboard maintenance guys out there who've been at it for decades, who probably know all the other top techs who've done magic on the Rhodes. Something like that doesn't go unnoticed for long, and a reputation follows. I'd imagine by now there's at least one keyboard forum that has members who know who'd doing / has done magic on them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    Thanks for the reply! The Dyno will have to wait for another day when I have 3 Twins and 3 hundred thousand dollars! I did come across the BigShot, and the transformer coupling is a great feature to consider. I have tried also with a Morley ABY and it sounds like garbage. Its so strange to me that the Morley ABY deadens the signal to the extent that it does.

    For some reason I don't know if I could live with the imbalance of having a wet amp and a dry amp, I would prefer to have the same effected signal through both. But I could experiment with that idea and maybe I'd be happy with it.

    Since doing some research I have come across two other very interesting devices: The Xotic X-Blender which is a parallel effects loop with a wet/dry pot, and the Kasha QuickMod which is this crazy device that replaces V3 in your preamp and creates an effects return. I, however, can not find one available anywhere and emailed Kasha.

    The tone I want is the pure twin preamp, if I could bring the wet signal in at V3 just before the poweramp it would elminate a ton of white noise and I would have that unaffected preamp signal as well.

    However, the comination of the x-blender and something like the Bigshot to split the signal would solve both problems.

    I have some thinking to do, and am also just wondering how other Rhodes players patch in their re-201s and if they exerpeicne the same sad deterioration of signal that I am experiencing here.
    I had another thought, that you might be loading down the output of your Rhodes with a low impedance by plugging it into the echo. That would explain the tone going all to hell. Most any buffer amp between Rhodes and the rest of the world would set that straight, an MXR Micro-Amp being the simplest and most straightforward. Another device came to mind, considering you would like an FX loop and DI capability. In the early 2000's I ran across a Tech 21 Acoustic DI, a quite amazing device. Don't mind that it was intended for acoustic guitar - it will handle a signal from practically any instrument. It has a built in effects loop, plus a very effective EQ with a semi-parametric midrange that can make for a powerful mud cutter. I don't see this on Tech 21's list of current offerings, but did notice one on Reverb offered at $150.

    I'd say, start simple first. See if a buffer helps clean up your tone into the echo. I think every Boss pedal has one built in. You may have one lurking around, or borrow one from a guitar playing friend. Or a Micro-Amp. They're less common but a few minutes spent with one might tell you all you need to know.

    FWIW that Dyno-My-Piano mod was intended to use a mixer following the piano. Having the bass keys separate was a big improvement in clarity. Even without a mixer, the bass keys could be sent to a bass amp, and the upper keys to a guitar amp, a Twin for instance. Or two for stereo. Yeh it helps to have a roadie/tech to set this up if you have to move from gig to gig every day. I don't think there was all that much to the mod, certainly not thousands of $$$. The fast way to tell it was done, you see 3 XLR outputs on the back of the Rhodes.

    In ancient times, early 70s before people went mod-crazy, one of the best Rhodes sounds I heard was a local cat in Albany NY who ran his thru a phaser pedal, maybe a Small Stone? Then on into a Twin. Had a band named Alabaster. I got to jam with him a couple times. It sure was a kool sound!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    I had another thought, that you might be loading down the output of your Rhodes with a low impedance by plugging it into the echo. That would explain the tone going all to hell. Most any buffer amp between Rhodes and the rest of the world would set that straight,
    That's an excellent point. I'll put a boss tuner infront of it and see if it helps. Thanks for the tip.

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    Was going to give the same advice (buffer or buffered pedal). A low to medium input impedance as with the Space Echo kills the natural high frequency resonance peaks of the PUs. As the resonance frequency depends on the cable capacitance, it makes a difference if the longer cable is used between the Rhodes and the buffer or between the buffer and the Echo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    As the resonance frequency depends on the cable capacitance, it makes a difference if the longer cable is used between the Rhodes and the buffer or between the buffer and the Echo.
    Thanks Helmoltz. These tips are excellent and factors I've never considered before. The cable capacitance is inversely proportional to the resonance frequency am I right? Does the cable before or after the buffer have the greatest influence on resonance frequency?

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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    Thanks Helmoltz. These tips are excellent and factors I've never considered before. The cable capacitance is inversely proportional to the resonance frequency am I right? Does the cable before or after the buffer have the greatest influence on resonance frequency?
    The resonance frequency depends inversely on the square root of the cable capacitance. Only the cable before the buffer matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    There's gotta be some keyboard maintenance guys out there who've been at it for decades, who probably know all the other top techs who've done magic on the Rhodes. Something like that doesn't go unnoticed for long, and a reputation follows. I'd imagine by now there's at least one keyboard forum that has members who know who'd doing / has done magic on them.
    Here you go this preamp will convert your rhodes to stereo. Vintage Vibe has awesome support.
    nosaj
    https://www.vintagevibe.com/products...rhodes-pre-amp

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Here you go this preamp will convert your rhodes to stereo. Vintage Vibe has awesome support.
    nosaj
    https://www.vintagevibe.com/products...rhodes-pre-amp
    yeah you're right, trying to get around this would just be a waste of money, the preamp is the best route by far and has everything i would need...

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    yeah you're right, trying to get around this would just be a waste of money, the preamp is the best route by far and has everything i would need...
    Ad says "out of stock." Sorry to disappoint. Worth emailing VV & see if/when they will have another run of these. I was going to suggest Vintage Vibe anyway. Chris Carroll is one of those "old keyboard guys" who has seen just about everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Ad says "out of stock." Sorry to disappoint. Worth emailing VV & see if/when they will have another run of these. I was going to suggest Vintage Vibe anyway. Chris Carroll is one of those "old keyboard guys" who has seen just about everything.
    They go so out of their way. they helped me most of the way on my first Rhodes restoration(down to the bone. I had pieces everywherebut got it all back together and boy it was nasty sounding I loved it it was right up there with the garbage can Tweed deluxe I built from trash. Sounds were just awesome with the bark and bite.
    Hmmm a rhodes through a tweed deluxe might a have to try that
    nosaj

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    Sent them a message, hopefully they'll get some in soon!!

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    wont be in stock til december will be my christmas present to myself.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    wont be in stock til december will be my christmas present to myself.
    At least it's not forever, just a couple weeks. Hope it does the trick for you.

    Meanwhile, amuse yourself by having a look at those custom keyboards VV builds. A bit expensive BUT if they're as bulletproof as they say, would be a bargain for the touring muso.

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    An update to my Rhodes tone struggles:

    Much thanks to Leo Gnardo and Helmholtz on the input impedance thing, I plugged the output of the Rhodes with a short patch cable into a Boss TU-2 and ran the buffered out into the Mic input on the Space Echo and the Space Echo output to channel 2 of the 1st twin, it was night and day, so much clarity and life came back to the signal. I used the bypass out from the TU-2 to go into the mono input of my DL-4 and split the stereo signal from the DL-4 to Channel 2 of the 2nd twin and channel 1 of the 1st twin. I now have a very clean stereo signal which can use the stereo delays of the DL-4 and the Space Echo channel on the 2nd channel of the 1st Twin. I thought I would hate having the Space Echo only in one amp, but, my god, this is the best tone I've ever had. I didn't even have to buy anything. Thanks very much!!

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    An update to my Rhodes tone struggles:

    Much thanks to Leo Gnardo and Helmholtz on the input impedance thing, I plugged the output of the Rhodes with a short patch cable into a Boss TU-2 and ran the buffered out into the Mic input on the Space Echo and the Space Echo output to channel 2 of the 1st twin, it was night and day, so much clarity and life came back to the signal. I used the bypass out from the TU-2 to go into the mono input of my DL-4 and split the stereo signal from the DL-4 to Channel 2 of the 2nd twin and channel 1 of the 1st twin. I now have a very clean stereo signal which can use the stereo delays of the DL-4 and the Space Echo channel on the 2nd channel of the 1st Twin. I thought I would hate having the Space Echo only in one amp, but, my god, this is the best tone I've ever had. I didn't even have to buy anything. Thanks very much!!
    Awesome and thank you for trying the suggestions of the members. Now there is a verified answer for future users.

    nosaj

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymyteeth View Post
    this is the best tone I've ever had. I didn't even have to buy anything. Thanks very much!!
    "Didn't have to buy anything" appeals to that portion of my genes which are Scottish. Thank YOU very much for the credit & I'm sure you'll get a similar response from Helmholtz. Except for the Scottish part . Hey, anyone takes delight in saving some dough!

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    Last edited by Leo_Gnardo; 11-11-2018 at 04:11 PM.
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    Yeah, you're welcome.
    I am not really surprized that high impedance and echo only through one amp sounds great. For some stereo illusion you want left and right signals to be at least somewhat different, i.e. a difference in sound, delay, echo etc. I remember great Rhodes sounds when played through a Roland JC 120. This is a stereo (guitar) amp with high input impedance and chorus effect only on one channel (speaker).

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    And nosaj, regarding the vintage vibe drop in preamp, they were out of stock so I called a shop here in Chicago that is quite the authority on all things Rhodes, Chicago Electric Piano Company. I spoke to the owner who highly recommended the Fulltone Supa-Trem instead. Saves me about $250 of the cost of the preamp so I may consider it later to get that real stereo trem that would have been the main point of the pre, well, besides the effects loop. I will, however, allow myself to be happy with what I have for at least a couple days.

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