Arturia is one of my favorite companies for hardware emulations and authentic modeling. When Arturia announced the high-end software recreation of the classic Wurlitzer EP 200A electric piano on April 26, 2012 there was certainly a ton of buzz surrounding the release. Most producers and Beat Makers know this sound as the soulful electric piano with a different bite than that of the Fender Rhodes. The Wurlitzer V’s sound is without a doubt one of the most sought after sounds for beat makers with an affinity for the vintage soul sound.
Think electric piano, and many musicians still think Wurlitzer or ‘Wurly’ — one of a series of electro- mechanical stringless pianos manufactured and marketed by the US-based Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, coining the trademarked Electronic Piano phrase in the process. The 1972-launched Wurlitzer EP 200A represented Wurlitzer’s top-of-the-range, reed-based piano line throughout its impressive 10-year production lifespan; today Arturia’s Wurlitzer V faithfully resurrects that still-sought-after sound — and more besides!
Unlike traditional sampling libraries, the Wurlitzer V’s embedded physical modelling engine readily reproduces the agreeable acoustic properties of the Wurlitzer EP 200A’s musically distinctive reeds, key action, and amplification combo by ‘constructing’ played notes in real time, creating cost-effective and reliable realism in a computer-based, truly portable package fit for a 21st Century performer; moreover, maximising integral sonic flexibility to skilfully surpass its hardware namesake is also the virtual order of the day here, appealing to studio and stage users alike.
Indeed, Wurlitzer V lets users choose between three output modes: Studio (Wurlitzer V and associated effects are ‘connected’ to a virtual DI box with reverb thereafter); Stage (with guitar amp simulator, multiple mic and speaker options, and a satisfying-sounding spring reverb at the output stage); and Rotary (with a rotary speaker simulator to create musical movement).
As most producers are already aware, the beloved bright and overdriven ‘Wurly’ sound so musically ingrained in popular music culture — thanks to artists as diverse as The Beatles, Supertramp, and Marvin Gaye — is actually a clever combination of admirable amplification — Fender Bassman and Twin Reverb guitar tube amps, et al; mic’ing par excellence; and precision processing, with multiple analogue chorus, phasing, and tape echo units often being used to fashion a deeper, luscious tone.
As such, Arturia’s Wurlitzer V effectively places its users in an authentic-sounding Seventies-style virtual recording studio, replete with classic tube amps (Fender Deluxe Reverb Blackface, Fender Twin Reverb Blackface, Fender Bassman, and Marshall Plexi guitar tube amp models; Leslie Speaker rotary simulator model); modelled mics (Shure SM57, Sennheiser MD 421, and Neumann U87); and vintage stompboxes (Wah-wah, Autowah, Overdrive, Flanger, Compressor, Phaser, Chorus, Delay, Pitch Shifter/Chorus, Vocal Filter, and Reverb models) — everything needed to achieve that classic ‘Wurly’ vibe or more adventurous sound design (thanks to advanced in-depth control parameters: 10-band Graphic Equaliser; Vibrator Rate; Pickup Distance; Pickup Axis; Impedance; Damper Position; Dynamics; Octave Stretch; Hammer Hardness; Hammer Noise; Note Off Noise; Sustain Pedal Noise; Velocity Curve).
For anyone looking for an effective electric piano paired with stimulating studio tools (including extensive MIDI mapping of pedals, effects, and sound engine parameters), Wurlitzer V is the answer and you know that for sure!