Scarbee Classic EP-88s has more samples, greater dynamics and more keys – 88 of them! (compared to Scarbee Mark 1) Anyone who has tried to restore an instrument like this knows that the lowest and highest octaves take as much time as the rest of the keys put together – It's a true battle where you need a lot of patience, lots of spare parts and some luck too.
We wanted to have the best possible sustain on each key, perfect balance of tone and as much bark too. There are harder strikes (compared to Scarbee Mark 1) - as well as softer ones.
We spend an enormous amount of time cleaning the samples for noise – each sample went through four stages, where the last two were done by hand. The reason for this was the fact that we wanted to be able to offer presets with extreme treble EQ settings without having extra noise – and without hurting any part of the recordings.
Try to select a Snapshot like 'Bahian Love Affair' – and turn the Instrument Noise totally down on the Settings page – and listen to the difference...
Every musician tries to find his sound - and producers love to be able to get exactly what they are looking for. We made it easy for you: There are 45 different snapshot presets ready for you - and if you want to make your own sounds? Get started with the 117 FX presets.
You can even select different routings and have some FX come before or after amp. The possibilities are there for sure. As a tribute to George Duke we created a 3 zone split EQ and a stereo knob so you can carry on what this great man started.
THE PURE JOY OF PLAYING
To make sure you guys will get the best out of SCARBEE CLASSIC EP-88s we made a smart Key Action Calibration utility that will reveal if you actually trigger all velocity zones with your current keyboard.
With our new electric keyboard library we also introduce several new systems that improve the playability and add further realism to virtual instrument keyboards.
Advanced Release Sample System We simply scanned all sustains from start to end and Nils Liberg and me (Thomas Hansen Skarbye) designed a system so that release the samples will always have the correct sound and energy- no matter the dynamics or the time sustain is held.
Release Sample Resonance System We created a new way to control the "box" resonance so it would completely mimic reality.
Advanced Sus Pedal Behaviour It wasn't enough to add pedal FXs of all kinds... we also changed the way the sustain notes affect each other when playing the same key repeatedly.
Note Off Delay On the MIDI keyboard the release sound started a little to fast compared the the real instrument and repeated notes sounded too staccato like. The solution was to simply delay the note-off sent from the MIDI-keyboard or sequencer so that it would change in same time as the original instrument. It too made a real difference in the playing experience!
After restoring two instruments completely (my wife Anne was the boss on the "looks") - with one of them with tolex, new metal, logos and I decided that the sounds i could get was not good enough. So I contacted my old friend (and a true lover of this instrument) Dan Stangerup and together with Anne we restored a new one. We ordered so many rare unpopened packages of tines on Ebay that was extremely expensive - just to get the "real" deal.
Everything was adjusted and restored for that perfect sound. But after recording for months in our new studio in Copenhagen I discovered that there was too much electromagnetic noise and also noises from a building site nearby. So with bleeding hearts we had to give up this nice studio (see picture - view from studio) and return to my "country studio".
After a complete rebuild we started new recordings. After a while the team was joined by Jimmy Ostbygaard who struggled for 6 months recording, editing and cleaning samples. My son Oscar helped for a while with the noise reduction tasks and my other son Victor assisted me with the special bass key tunings.
The truth is that we actually rerecorded several times, the same notes over and over again. It was indeed a tough game - and Nils Liberg and I had so many things we wanted to work too so - not an easy job.
But that is a typical SCARBEE product - we go all the way through fire and ice to reach our goal.
A PROMISE TO A LEGEND
In 2013 I decided to make a new version of the classic electric piano that I had created in 2002-2003 (Mark 1 – re-released by Native Instruments in 2010).
As I had been in regular contact with George Duke over the years and also been fortunate to meet him a couple of times, I contacted him in order to discuss the features of this new “Super EP”. I was very interested in the various keyboard mods that was made for him in the 70s and 80s.
On April 1-2, 2013 George wrote to me: “On the plexiglass version [of the electric piano] that I used for a long time, I had the harp split into three parts so I could EQ each section the way I desired and pan it true stereo if I desired.
By the way, if you can please include some pedal up, pedal down noises along with a WIDE real time dynamic range. The one thing I miss the most playing a virtual electric piano is being able to achieve the softest soft to the grit that happens when a key is punched hard!
There are also some inherent generic noises that occur that one should be able to dial in if desired, that way a single instrument can serve a variety of purposes. I know I'm probably asking for the world but that's the way I see it...and after all, you're the BEST!!".
”As a matter of fact, [Thomas] Scarbee and I have been talking about doing a “Duke R***** [electric piano].” He’s an amazing cat.”
I was so thrilled by the project and was not aware of the fact that he was severely ill at that time.
It was a shock to learn that he was gone. We had already started the first recordings and prototypes and now we were left alone with the project – without our natural “beta tester” and idol.
We had so many challenges – but everytime we were about to give up – I thought about GD and decided to continue. I'm proud to say that the team managed to implement all the wishes from George – and more to.
The Scarbee EP-88s has the subtitle “The BIG EP.” which refers to his email address he used – having the word BIG.
FULLY NKS READY
We spend a lot of time and effort to make this instrument fully compatible with Native Instruments' new Native Kontrol Standard (NKS).
The NKS format allows SCARBEE CLASSIC EP-88S to be integrated with Maschine and Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboards.
All of our 45 factory Snapshots are tagged and categorised - available while browsing in Maschine or Komplete Kontrol.
We have made custom control knob mappings for SCARBEE CLASSIC EP-88S entire factory Snapshot library. With Maschine and S-Series keyboards, each patch loads a custom performance page with all parameters immediately available.
Tweak all the settings, adjust the effects - no controller setup required.
Since many of you are already own or have tried the Scarbee Mark 1 – originally released by Scarbee in 2003 and re-released by Native Instruments in 2010 – it makes sense to display a comparison chart for you.
AUDIO DEMO TRACKS
Click on "View track" to the right of the played title to go to Soundcloud page and see details of the track: presets used and other description of track.
Composed and produced by Thomas Hansen Skarbye. Bass (Scarbee Pre-Bass), strings and drum programming: Thomas Hansen Skarbye Scarbee Classic EP-88s played by Dan Stangerup. Groovy 70s jazz funk with Scarbee Classic EP-88s using the Factory Snapshot preset: "Spirals". Internal Effects used: Vibrato, Keyboard Amp, 88 Key Model (1974), Zone EQ, Compressor, Phaser, Cabinet and Reverb.
Miss You GD
This is the very first demo song made for the product - performed and composed by Dan Stangerup.
SCARBEE CLASSIC EP-88S Play Thru
By Peter Calandra Improvising on a handful of the factory presets from this fantastic product. I'm using a Yamaha CP4 as my controller. The built in FX in the unit are capable of a wide variety of EP sounds as the presets demonstrate. The sound is direct from Kontakt into Pro Tools with no additional processing. All the effects are done inside of Kontakt as part of the programming.
FRANK MONTIS PLAYS THE KEYS
By Frank Montis A little demo/try-out with the EP-88 by Scarbee. Love this sound!.
WAH OF THE WORLDS
Composed and performed by Sevan Gökoglu A funky little tune featuring our home build wah effect.
This means that you do not need to own the full version of NI Kontakt to use it. It will run as a plug-in instrument in any VST/AU/RTAS/AAX/WASAPI, compatible host program or DAW
eg: Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live, DP, Reaper, Pro-Tools. No extra purchase necessary.
Windows 7 or higher (latest Service Pack, 32/64 Bit), Intel Core Duo or AMD AthlonTM 64 X2, 4 GB RAM (6 GB RAM recommended)
Mac: OS X 10.9 or higher, Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM
Requires KONTAKT 5.5.2 or KONTAKT 5 PLAYER version 5.5.2 or later.
ELIMINATE ANY DOUBTS
Pro Tools Expert
Reviewer Dan Cooper says: “This thing just feel amazing to play - it feel so organic! Nice and vibey - and I like the way its presented.” Watch the full review on Youtube.
Bonedo 5 Star Review
Reviewer Christian Radtke says: “Ein Fazit zu ziehen fällt mir beim Scarbee Classic EP-88S nicht sonderlich schwer. Es ist einfach geil! Die Suche nach dem ultimativen Rhodes-Sound für den Rechner findet hier vorerst ein glückliches Ende..” Watch the full review here.
Sounds And Gear 5/5 Review
Reviewer saintjoe says: “Man, the sound of this instrument is so authentic and natural sounding, I’m totally in love! I’m an Ep fanatic, specifically, the Rhodes…and the level of detail here is pretty amazing..” Watch the full review here.
Fantastic APN Review of Scarbee Classic EP-88s!
Reviewer Steve Catanzaro says: “Visceral, exciting and three dimensional. For a Rhodes player, this is a life changing plug in and it's put the Rhodes sound back front and center of my music.” Watch the full review here.
John Mike - Music Tech Videos - review
Reviewer John Mike says: “First of all if feels very, very good when you kind off play it - it kind of response very, very well.. It sounds very, very good... I'm very impressed with it - I really love it.” Watch the full review here.