Rhodes – yeah, that Rhodes – is giving away the V-Pan panning plug-in they’ve just introduced. The hardware-style panning borrowed from Rhodes’ Vari-Pan circuitry is worth adding to your arsenal as a versatile auto-panner. Week of Free continues…

You might already have an auto-panner in your DAW or synth environment, so what sets this one apart? They’ve created an authentic emulation of the Vari-Pan section on the Rhodes MK8 electric piano, both in controls and sound. This behaves more like a hardware auto-panner would than a from-scratch digital auto-panner, and I did A/B it against my go-to Apple and Ableton choices (or just wiring up an auto-panner in a modular). You get some slightly different curve behaviors and a warmer sound, with the trade-off being you can’t drive this as far into higher audio rates as you could a digital option.

And through the end of January, it’s free. After that, they’ll charge a fee for it, but the main aim here is to serve as a teaser to their full V-RACK, a new multi-effects plug-in based on Rhodes keyboards. I just started testing that now, but gave the V-PAN a quick spin first.

There’s a lot of functionality in that little space. (There’s a draggable resizable UI, though it’s limited in how large you can make it):

  • Modeled on the MK8 Vari-Pan circuit
  • L/R LED indicators (which are in fact pretty responsive)
  • Super-slow to audio rate range, deep depth
  • Parameter readout for the faders (though not the knobs for some reason?)
  • Multiple waveform shapes
  • Slew and Smooth
  • BPM sync

You can use this for subtle shifting effects and depth, all the way up to chorus and even ring-mod effects at audio rate. And you certainly don’t have to use it only on Rhodes-ish sounds – it’s great on other synths and textures, too, or even drums.

Having this warmer sound and much smoother Slew and Smooth options, plus those additional waveforms, winds up being really useful – I found I could dial in some sounds I couldn’t get out of Ableton’s Auto Pan, for instance.

All the parameters can also be automated. (See Live here) Since these are musical across the range, they’re a good fit for live use and controller mapping, too.

Have a listen to how the ranges sound – and how different this is from Auto Pan, by example. (This is a really quick impromptu demo, but I think you’ll agree it’s useful to have both!)

(A quickly-constructed patch in AAS-developed Ableton Collision is the sound source here.)


Rhodes V-Pan Plug-in

Note: as a couple of you noted, while this is a free (for now) plug-in, it does rely on some frameworks for copy protection and license management as do the rest of the Rhodes line. (It will also eventually be a paid plug-in itself.) That includes Codemeter and Gorilla Manager. Whatever is included, this is also a fairly large download. In my tests, though, I had no issues and couldn’t see any performance cost to running these, at least on my Apple Silicon MacBook Pro and macOS Ventura.

Rhodes plug-in line:

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Rhodes instrument and effects plug-ins at Plugin Boutique