I'll agree with the previous reviewers that this electric piano vst definately sounds good. The fact that it does not use samples makes a big difference in the sound, especially in dynamic playing.
The user interface is very straightforward, all the knobs are there, easy to be tweaked and the features are generous, more than the actual Rhodes, and this definately helps to make it sound "just right". Just quickly adjust the knobs while you hit a key and it's most probably that you'll be able to get the Rhodes sound you want.
I have not much to say about documentation or presets. There aren't any, but I doubt anybody would want them anyway. Well, maybe a little 2-3 page manual would be nice, to explain to the uninitiated what each knob is supposed to do (or emulate).
I never needed customer support but I think the developer reserves this for those who make donations. MrRay 73 is donationware (it pops just a little reminder cover for a few seconds) but still is an excellent value for money. It sure sounds better than some commercial ones for which you would pay lots of money.
I took off a point from the stability rating because the cpu load is somehow big in slow machines, but nothing extraordinary.
Summing up with two words: highly recommended
Actually I can't add too much to the other two good reviews. I mainly want to show the dev my respect. This thing shows you should never exclude the SynthEdit stuff from your search for a VST, this sounds better to me than the other commercial/free ones I tried (EVP73/elektrik piano, lounge lizard etc). It is the first Rhodes emulation that feels like the real thing for me. Concerning the velocity curves: I think the three modes are enough - there are freeware Midi utilities, if you need further adjustment. A note for the dev: playing 17 or more notes with the sustain-pedal down will produce a crack when releasing the pedal. This should not happen, since it's so nice to produce sound-walls with a Rhodes. So for sound it's "only" nine points. I coupled it with the freebies mda Detune and mda Combo, but there are also other freeware VST effects out there that will fit the bill. There is no documentation needed, also Presets don't make sense if they are not coupled with further effects, so I give 10 there. MrRay functions even when the nag screen is displayed for the first seconds, so even if you don't donate it is fully usable.
Here's a VSTi that's hard to beat. It does a better job IMO than a similar commercial product that sells for over $300.
Mr. Ray is a Fender Rhodes simulator named in honor of a famous Rhodes player.
I have owned several Fender Rhodes over the years, and while I would still prefer a real Rhodes in some circumstances, anyone that doesn't have access to the real thing should try this.
For those of you who weren't around the music scene in the 70's and 80's, during the 70's if you were a keyboard player you HAD to have a Rhodes to be taken seriously. They were in high demand and expensive. Chuck Monte even made a career out of modifying them (dyno my piano).
Suddenly, Yamaha introduced the revolutionary DX7 synth, and almost overnight the value of a Rhodes went to $0. Everyone, or at least everyone I knew, dumped the 150 pound Rhodes in favor of the DX7. Well, the DX7 did have some at the time cool Rhodes patches, which actually don't sound like a Rhodes, but were usable in a similar fashion. This was so common that 'tine piano' became a boring cliche of the 80's and eventually no one serious would use that patch. But, for a few years, people were actually throwing Rhodes in the trash!
Fast forward to the retro trend of the 90's. DX7's are being forgotten since few people ever learned to use them for anything but the factory patches which grew stale from overuse. Rhodes are now more valuable than ever.
While the Rhodes has a great and very useful sound (or range of sounds) for jazz and R&B music, one of the other reasons players dropped them in the 80s was the action. Most Rhodes pianos play like pounding on a sponge. You have to hit the keys harder than on an acoustic piano. Great way to wreck your hands. The very last Rhodes pianos had better action, but 80-90% have the bad action.
For this reason alone, many players will find an emulation actually works better for them than the real thing. Obviously there are other things an emulator can do, like fit inside a computer and work with a sequencer, etc.
So, among those looking for that classic Rhodes sound in the desktop world, a certain modelled Rhodes that was suitable for LOUNGE use (and other styles) became quite popular. It's good but not cheap.
The good news for us all is the the author of this program used his ears and spent a lot of time trying to nail the emulation, and he did a darn good job. So much so that I would recommend this over the commercial item even if they were the same price.
Also worth checking out is the Wurlitzer emulation by the same author.
The only downside to this instrument is it uses a fair amount of CPU power, but no more than a lot of other synths.
This is my first review of a VSTi. I was compelled to write something after using Mr. Ray 73 in a recent project.
I’ve owned and played a Fender Rhodes Seventy Three MK2 quite a bit in my (apparently not misspent) youth and have many fond memories of the sweet and subtly overdriven sounds this instrument is capable of. The modeling in Mr. Ray 73 is very close to the real thing. In fact better than anything I’ve heard in a VSTi, even commercial “Big Name” plugins.
The emulation is quite good but is limited in the upper octaves. Some grunge (aliasing?) is audible and quite pronounced when playing chords. Perhaps this is a limitation of the model and lack of adequate filtering. If you need to play in the upper registers a lot, you may find this to be an annoyance.
In the mid-range of the keyboard and the bass octaves the emulation is quite good with only a hint of grunge appearing in the lowest octave.
There seems to be a small problem with the output (mixer?) stage of this plugin in that with the volume knob turned up high enough, some distortion or break-up is heard. I don’t recall this happening with my MK2 and it could be a problem in need of a fix. High velocity notes, particularly in the lower octaves, will sometimes cause the same sort of peak distortion in the output.
A serious limitation of this VSTi is not with the emulation, but with the controllers most of us will use to play it. Unfortunately, you can’t get the hammer-tine action of a real 73Mk2 from a synth keyboard. And trying to get close to the response of a real 73Mk2 will require matching your keyboard with an appropriate velocity curve. The three included in the plugin (linear, logarithmic, and exponential) are too extreme in their differences to be very useful. I thought that the “HARD” (exponential) preset would get me closer to my memories, but ended up using “NORMAL” (logarithmic) and tweaking things further in my host application.
It’s worth mentioning that to really get the best out of this plugin, it would ideally be paired with an amp&cabinet emulation of some kind. There are a few good free ones around and some rather convincing commercial ones (e.g., Guitar Rig). Pushing Mr. Ray (and even Mr. Tramp) through one of these would be more than worth your while since this is how most people will identify with the sound of a Rhodes 73.
To sum up, this VSTi is musically inspiring and highly recommended. A welcome change from the seemingly endless flood of trance-style SE clones out there. VST developers take note: more like this please!