Review: UVI Attack EP88

A unique approach to the classic Rhodes sound
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Over the years, UVI has done a terrific job capturing the feel and flavor of vintage gear with its king-sized libraries for the UVI Workstation and Falcon hosts. Attack EP88—the latest addition to UVI’s vintage offerings—is a bit different from previous products in that it deviates from slavish devotion to the original. Instead, it consists of an 88-key Rhodes piano that has been “prepared” with tacks in the hammers, giving the piano a harder attack with emphasized bell-like overtones.

That’s not to say it sounds excessively artificial. After all, we’ve got the legendary DX7 as the gold standard for faux Rhodes sounds. Instead, the Attack EP88 retains all of the lovely, organic warmth of a real Rhodes, but with the added ability to cut through a mix without adding a lot of EQ. This makes it perfect for pop and house genres—so much so that I suspect it could become the next go-to instrument for house music connoisseurs.

As for the tech specs, the library’s file size weighs in at a whopping 9.91 GB, so if you’re buying online, this could well be an overnight download; and you’ll definitely want to make sure you have enough storage space beforehand. That said, the package consists of 71 well-crafted presets that make great use of its 47,280 individual samples, which were recorded at multiple velocities through a range of signal chains that include DI, tube preamps, a contact mic, and both mono and stereo near-field mic pairs. Each approach has its own distinct character, and with careful editing of the integrated envelopes, you can coax traditional Rhodes sounds from this virtual instrument. Of course, that’s missing the point here, as there are some truly unique recordings that spotlight both the tines and the mechanics of the action, which can be the ticket to getting that Boards of Canada or Radiohead vibe.

In addition to customizing the Rhodes instruments from a synthesis and dynamics standpoint, Attack EP88 also offers an array of integrated effects hardwired in series—overdrive, chorus, phaser, delay, and reverb. This is a classic configuration for electric pianos, and UVI’s implementation does the trick for capturing that vintage sound. However, if you want more options, the UVI Workstation shell includes its own collection of processing tools, such as convolution reverbs, multiband compression, filtering, and other advanced effects. Taken as a whole, there’s a lot you can do to process these instruments to the point where they sound utterly otherworldly.

UVI uses iLok copy protection, requiring either the iLok dongle or computer-based authorizations via the free iLok license manager. Moreover, UVI allows for up to three activations per product.

Overall, Attack EP88 is a wonderful product for Rhodes fans who are interested in the exotic. The instruments are all beautifully sampled and sound absolutely magical in a wide variety of musical applications. In fact, at the risk of sounding heretical, I may even prefer this Rhodes library to the real thing. It cuts through even the most dense mixes and sounds unique in more intimate contexts. If you’re looking for something both unusual and practical in a virtual Rhodes, Attack EP88 is worthy of your attention.

Snap Judgment

PROS Tacked Rhodes instruments cut through a mix, while retaining an authentic tonal body. Extensive customization options, thanks to multiple recording techniques. Adjustable velocity curves and envelopes. Integrated effects to add polish.

CONS 10GB file size could be a turn-off for some users.

Bottom Line

A unique approach to the classic Rhodes sound.