Rhodes MK8 keyboard full specs have been announced, with pre-orders imminent

Analogue effects, preamps, vari-pan circuits and more.

Rhodes MK8

The wait is over. Rhodes Music Group has finally revealed the technical specifications of the hotly-anticipated Rhodes MK8. The next-gen 73-key instrument will also soon be available for pre-order, likely before the end of 2021.

As promised, the Rhodes MK8 will be customisable. Musicians can opt to add an analogue effects section to the keyboard and select from a range of lid colours, including purple, gold, transparent and classic black. The analogue effects include a VCA compressor with adjustable ratio and blend control, a phaser, bucket brigade chorus and bucket brigade delay.

Rhodes MK8

Rhodes has also kept analogue circuitry across the EQ and preamp sections. The three-band analogue EQ features a voltage-controlled mid-frequency filter, adjustable via an envelope and expression pedals to create wah effects and a keyboard-controlled slow-phase effect. The preamp has parameters for volume, drive and envelope.

A vari-pan circuit boasts rate and depth controls with four selectable wave shapes, with the ability to route LFOs to audio rates. This enables the user to perform classic Rhodes stereo panning and get more experimental with modulation to create “polyphonic synth-like layers”, Rhodes says.

Rhodes MK8

Rhodes has built the MK8 with custom precision steel tines and tonebars, with the tine and pickup rails made from sustainably sourced Baltic birch. The MK8’s keyboard features high-impact black ABS hammers with built-in lubrication and uniform height quad-zone hammer tips. Rhodes’ custom aerospace damper combs and black wool damper felts are also included for dampening.

The pickups in the MK8 are Rhodes’ custom precision-wound alnico pickups with anti-slip adjustments and flat-ended pickup heads.

Rhodes MK8

On the back of the MK8, users will find two balanced XLR outputs, two quarter-inch jack outputs, quarter-inch connections for send and return. Monitoring is achieved via a quarter-inch block-mounted headphone jack with independent headphone volume control. On the right side connection panel is a USB port and two expression control inputs.

Users can assign pedals to control volume, mid frequency, pan rate, pan depth, phaser rate, chorus rate, delay time, and delay feedback, with the option to control multiple parameters simultaneously.

Rhodes MK8

Rhodes is yet to reveal the price of the MK8 keyboard. However, users can gain earlier access to the Rhodes website and pre-order a MK8 by signing up to its newsletter. Early access entry begins from 1 November, with the website available to the public from 1 December 2021.

Four-time Grammy Award-winning keyboardist Bill Laurance has already been given the opportunity to play the MK8 at Rhodes factory in Leeds. He says that it’s “beautiful…a really serious instrument.”

Learn more at rhodesmusic.com.