A lover of all things 70’s in nature combined with the likings of funky sounding pianos, when I saw a RMI Electra-Piano for sale at my local vintage music shop a few years ago, I didn’t think twice of snagging it! Mostly known for its use by artists such as Dr. John and Fela Kuti, the RMI has a strange Harpsichord / Synthesizer sound which is quite unique.
In this first go around of sampling it, I chose the “Piano” and “Harpsi” tabs to be engaged. When recording I always find myself ending up on these settings, so figured this was a good place to start. Perhaps a future sampling session will include the “Lute” tab, and the “Accenter” tab (which adds a sort of percussive note) to be added.
Included in this Kontakt instrument is a self-made IR spring reverb to be can dialed in. The IR is of a Fisher Spacexpander (a favorite of King Tubby). You’ll also find an Echo FX knob that gives the instrument a little sense of space.
The RMI was recored DI through a Universal Audio LA-610 MkII preamp with some slight NR. The samples are EQ’d flat, but I find adding a 1073 10k / 4.8K boost can give it some nice clarity. Lots of room for your own treatment, so enjoy!
Reviews for RMI Electra-Piano
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Oh this IS cool!
This is one of those instruments that was good in its day, then was considered to be passe and dated, but now we've come full circle, and can appreciate it not as a replacement of an acoustic piano or harpsichord, but as a unique instrument in its own right. I love the analog synthy voltage divider type sounds. It's well recorded and edited. It's funky, bright, synthetic in the best of ways, and sounds so authentic. There's no dynamic response, but I think that's true to the original, so no loss there. I love that it was sampled dry so I can apply whatever effects I like to it. I had great luck with a Small Stone Phaser and a Wah pedal, and also routed through an analog synth's filter, dialed in some resonance, and controlled the cutoff with an expression pedal. That was a ton of funky fun! It's so neat that this sound has been shared because it's a great sound to have, but I don't know that I'd want to commit the space or money to having that instrument around. Then there's the cost in time and money to maintain a vintage instrument. This is just the perfect balance of having the sound but none of the hassle and headaches which can go with owning a vintage instrument. Love that the recording is excellent, no doubt enhanced by the vibes from the Universal Audio preamp it was recorded through. Excellent choice!
A nice retro sounding harpsichord
This sounds like a harpsicord that came out of a 90s game-boy game! I like it, even though there is some very tiny slight noise on it, which you won't really notice unless you go hard with the sustain pedal and chords. It's not too dynamic though, and you can't really customize the sound since there are no options other than a verb and echo knobs, which I didn't personally enjoy myself. Very nice overall!
Not really for me
As ive said before im not really into these kind of old fashioned digital sounding synths and keyboards. I know they hold a lot of nostalgia for people and thats awesome but not for me personally. There are electric pianos i prefer much more on the site because theyre more humanistic, rich, beautiful etc. Its so awesome that we have all these instruments to choose from though. Somebody could hate my favorite electric piano but love this one