Price - free
Format - Vst only
Platform -Windows xp
Manufacturer - GSI
Type - Fender Rhodes emulation
What is a Fender Rhodes?
A fender Rhodes is a classic electronic piano. It was and still is very popular and featured on many blues, jazz, rock, soul, electronica, dance and modern soul records. It works by mallets hitting metal forks inside the piano. These forks vibrate and are then picked up by a series of pickups. Although the rhodes is an electronic instrument it requires no power because of the acoustic forks inside. The sound is unique with a bell like quality on its own but the most well known sound is when it was amplified and distorted through guitar amps.
The sound of the Mr Ray 73 is excellent for a free plugin. The sound is created via synthesis so no samples are used. The plugin emulates the classic Rhodes stage 73 model, which is arubualry the most popular. The general sound of the plugin is accurate and realistic with mallet noises, wooden keys chinks and imperfections between notes. I have played real rhodes stage 73 and the sound is very close and emulates all the little quirks of the original well. The playability is excellent too with it’s response to velocity to be fast and accurate, it even growls when you hit the lower notes hard. Check out the sound sample below.
Mr Ray 73′s parameters are simple but effective. There’s parameters for the mallets (strength and stiffness), tines (Level and damper), tonebars (decay, release) and finally a volume and overall tone control. There’s also a choice of three velocity curves, soft, normal and hard. these are useful if your keyboard or midi controller doesn’t have any velocity controls. I found Mr Ray 73 very easy to use and i could get a range of sounds from the simple interface.
One of the greatest things about this plugin is that it uses super low CPU processing power which makes it very useful for live performance. The fact it doesn’t rely on samples to create its sound is also a plus point as it takes up very little disk space and doesn’t use much memory usage loading samples. This also minimizes disk read and write errors. Installing the plugin couldn’t be easier simply copy the DLL over to your vst plugins folder and away you go. You could even take it to a gig on a memory stick and load it onto someone else’s laptop if yours goes down.
I can’t get over how good this plugin is and it’s available for free! I have used and searched for a good, accurate, lightweight and detailed Fender Rhodes plugin for years and have tried them all. Although this is not as perfect as some of the multi sampled plugins it certainly gives them a run for there money. For me it beats them on performance and cpu usage, some of the multi sampled instruments take up GB’s of space and RAM and are more likely to crash. Due to Mr Ray 73′s light weight CPU and RAM usage and non sample sound generation i would definitely prefer it for live work. In a live environment not many people will notice the small differences between a sampled Rhodes sound and Mr Ray 73, some people wouldn’t be able to tell in the studio! Anyway praise aside the only down side is that it’s not compatible with MAC’s or any other host apart from VST’s and there is no on board tremolo. Well i guess the final word is Mr Ray 73 is a winner and a must for any live or studio keyboard player. Below is the link to download for Mr Ray 73 as the original site doesn’t have it anymore.