The Rhodes V8 is a plugin emulation of the MK8 electric piano

As predicted, Rhodes has released a plugin version of its MK8 electric piano. In fact, it’s released two versions of it: the standard V8 and V8 Pro.

We wondered whether this rumoured software Rhodes would use synthesis or sampling to generate its sound, and it turns out it’s the latter method. In fact, it features some 30,000 samples spread across 100 velocity layers.

The V8 also emulates the MK8’s preamp section; this features Drive and Low/High EQ, plus a Vari-Pan effect with Rate and Depth controls. There’s a suite of presets, too, designed to demonstrate the MK8’s tonal range and give you some experimental sounds. 

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you could go for the V8 Pro, which adds the MK8’s Envelope parameter. This enables you to create envelope-controlled effects such as auto-wah, and gives you audio rate modulation on the Vari-Pan circuit.

You also get the Compressor, Chorus, Phaser and Delay effects from the MK8’s FX section, while the Setup page offers per-note control over Timbre, Fine Tune, Level and Damper response. You can tweak the mic and amp settings, too.

The V8 and V8 Pro run on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats and are priced at $180/£150/€170 and $300/£250/€275 respectively. We suspect that there may be some grumbling about that pricing structure; it remains to be seen if the Pro version offers enough additional features to justify its $120/£100/€105 premium.

To celebrate the launch of the V8, Rhodes has made a new short film, Missing Keys, featuring Yard Act’s James Smith, which forms the basis of a contest. As its name suggests, the film is missing a keyboard-led soundtrack, and you’re being invited to create one using the 45-day V8 plugin demo.

This can be in any genre you like - the only stipulation is that Smith’s vocals must remain unedited and the V8 must feature prominently.

If you want to enter the contest, you need to upload your entry by 1 March. After this, Rhodes will select the best five entries and send them to a celebrity panel of judges that includes James Blake and James Smith, and they’ll pick a winner during a 30-minute livestream on the Plugin Boutique YouTube channel.

The winner will receive a pretty awesome prize - a bespoke Rhodes MK8 piano - and their score will be used in the finished version of the Missing Keys film. 19 runners-up will receive full versions of the Rhodes V8 plugin for life and other prizes courtesy of partners Plugin Boutique.

Find out more and download your demo on the Rhodes website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine