Old 05-03-2013, 07:11 AM   #1
ReaDave
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Default Rebuilding my Hammond organ

UPDATE 6th Sept, 2014 -

The direction of this Hammond restoration project has taken a different turn to what I originally planned.
I recently posted the following in another topic (the DIY electronics topic in the lounge):

Last week, I was browsing my local classifieds just for the sake of it and something jumped right out at me..... Another Hammond organ the exact same model as the one I have here in my studio, and the ad stated it is in fully working condition. The price was right too.... $50.

The reason this is so interesting to me is that the tone generators in mine are not working. The Leslie unit, the power amp, the percussion and the spring reverb work fine though so I've been using it as a Leslie speaker for my guitars and analog synths.

I have always been curious about what it would sound like if the tone generators were working though because it actually also has a synthesizer section with a resonant LP/BP filter, a VCA, an LFO and an envelope/envelope follower section run from control voltages.

So, on the phone I go and discover it is still available. Straight after the phone call, I borrowed my landlord's van and drove over to investigate. Sure enough, the organ works, albeit with a few seemingly minor faults but the synth section actually sounds VERY cool so I parted with the cash and brought it home.

Thanks to a fruitful Google search, I found one of the original Hammond Organ Company techs (he now runs a parts supply business for Hammond organs) and it looks like he has service manuals available for this model.

My aim is to hopefully fix my old one, bring the 'new' one up to scratch, link the two together and do some fairly complex customization. I want to run the Leslie's in stereo, add CV and audio i/o to the synth section and add drawbars to the tone generators.
I've already repaired a number of smaller faults with the new organ and have done a couple of mods already (added a switch to enable the pedals to be played on the lower manual along with it's tones).


Since making the above post, the service manual has arrived and I have the 'new' Hammond fully functional and I am REALLY liking the sounds I can get from it. The VCF section in particular is very expressive and makes these organs worth restoring IMHO.

Here's a short, two minute audio example noodling around on this organ I just recorded. This was just a quick recording using the built in mics in my Zoom H4n with it placed behind the Leslie speaker. I added Flextone VST to the recording for some subtle tube overdrive to get closer to the tube amps of the big Leslies. Other than that, everything is from the organ (reverb is the built in spring reverb).
With a couple of LDC's inside the organ right on the Leslie on either side, the sound is much more present than this quick recording but I actually recorded this just to capture a new idea I have for a new song.
Listen to Hammond Organ Audio Example Here

Here's a few pics of the internals....


Cabinet open and PCB's accessible.


Closeup of the synth section


Back of the Leslie unit.


Spring reverb unit.



ORIGINAL POST (plans listed below have changed as mentioned above) -

I was recently reading a topic here on the forum which went into a discussion on Hammond organs and the various VSTi clones and came across the GSi VB3 plugin.
With keyboards being my main instrument and being a huge fan of the big console Hammonds, I was curious to see whether all the hype about this plugin was valid so I downloaded the demo last night and had a play...... Wow! This thing ROCKS! Seriously!
The main area where I find so many Hammond VSTi's fall down is the Leslie simulation (NI Komplete 8 Vintage Organs is one example) but this thing delivers on that front too!
After discovering that a license for this is dirt cheap, I immediately put down the cash and got my serial number a couple of hours ago.

I then discovered the Crumar Mojo and learned that it uses version 2 of the VB3 and that got me thinking.....

I have a Hammond 9922K in my keyboard rig that has a working Leslie Cab but the tone generators are dead and I can't find a service manual for it. Even if I could though, this particular model is an LSI organ and doesn't have the tonewheels and drawbars of the big consoles so it wouldn't really be worth spending the time on fixing it. I have been using it's Leslie cab with a tube preamp and a B3 simulation I made with my Yamaha SY77 which sounds pretty good but a B3 or C3 it ain't.
You can hear this combination in the last section of the AusDisciples Band song, "Narrow is the Way," here if you are curious (the Hammond comes in at 9:20)
So, I figured I'd try loading the VB3 plugin onto my Sony ultrabook and see if it behaves well with REAPER and it works really well with practically no latency. So, this will become the core of the sound generation part of my Hammond organ rebuild.


Here's an outline of my rebuild plans at this point:

* Keep the amplifier and the Leslie cabinet intact and add a stereo amp and speakers for the VB3 Leslie simulation. Combine these into a hybrid of the VB3 Leslie sim and my real Leslie.

* Add midi functionality to the Hammond keyboard manuals.

* Add physical drawbars (I might use my CM Labs MotorMate and MotorMix for this if the VB3 plugin will learn the CM Labs fader movements)

* Modify the physical switches (Leslie on/off, Leslie speed, Percussion on/off, and various other switches) on the Hammond to send midi data to VB3 as well as activate the hardware in my Hammond.

* Sync REAPER on my Sony to REAPER on my studio rig for recording purposes.


I'll keep this topic updated as I ponder more ideas and begin this build. Stay tuned!

Here's a pic of my Hammond...

Last edited by ReaDave; 09-06-2014 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannii
I was recently reading a topic here on the forum which went into a discussion on Hammond organs and the various VSTi clones and came across the GSi VB3 plugin.
With keyboards being my main instrument and being a huge fan of the big console Hammonds, I was curious to see whether all the hype about this plugin was valid so I downloaded the demo last night and had a play...... Wow! This thing ROCKS! Seriously!
Yup, I used to repair a lot of the Hammonds used by bands around here back in the day, as well as play a little myself, so I know the sound pretty well, and the GSi VB3 is what gets used unless a real Hammond (the newer XK3's are actually pretty good) shows up and gets plugged into the 122RV -- still can't beat the real thing IMHO, but the GSi VB3 is real close.

P.S. when I saw those great studio shots of yours, I was tempted to say "Just replace that washing machine with a Leslie..."
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #3
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Default hammond

for my studio,,i find the emu, B3 module & a 147 Leslie is all i need to get a decent Hammond sounds.....

a bit cumbersome,,, gaining draw-bar settings on the fly,,for road work, i'd expect.

if i ever did that again, i'd do like in the past,, a very heavy..M-3 & Leslie,,,, & just be done with it.. that's the only way to hammond sounds,,, own a hammond...

Ted....
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Dannii, we seem to share an interest....


https://www.facebook.com/ApeIslandSound?fref=ts
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:42 AM   #5
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One thing I forgot to mention in this topic is that I've set myself a challenge with this project to do it for as little financial outlay as possible. My goal is to achieve a convincing Hammond sound and playability on a shoestring budget. Given that I already have most of the gear necessary for this project, it should be entirely doable.
The most expensive part of this project will probably be the midi conversion of the Hammond keyboard manuals. My plan is to find a couple of cheap midi controllers, pull them apart and graft the key switches and controllers into the Hammond. That way, I can keep the look and feel of the Hammond keyboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Waddington View Post
Yup, I used to repair a lot of the Hammonds used by bands around here back in the day, as well as play a little myself, so I know the sound pretty well, and the GSi VB3 is what gets used unless a real Hammond (the newer XK3's are actually pretty good) shows up and gets plugged into the 122RV -- still can't beat the real thing IMHO, but the GSi VB3 is real close.

P.S. when I saw those great studio shots of yours, I was tempted to say "Just replace that washing machine with a Leslie..."
The 122RV is probably my favourite of all the Leslie configurations and probably THE choice for studio recording..... and one would fit nicely where my washing machine is. Now I just need to find an old church who owns one and doesn't know what it is!! (Adelaide, where I now live, is actually known as the 'city of churches' but I don't think it is the 'city of churches with Hammond organs' unfortunately).
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Originally Posted by ted View Post
for my studio,,i find the emu, B3 module & a 147 Leslie is all i need to get a decent Hammond sounds.....

a bit cumbersome,,, gaining draw-bar settings on the fly,,for road work, i'd expect.

if i ever did that again, i'd do like in the past,, a very heavy..M-3 & Leslie,,,, & just be done with it.. that's the only way to hammond sounds,,, own a hammond...

Ted....
I'd love to own a C3 and a 122 but hopefully this project will get me close enough to be content.
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Dannii, we seem to share an interest....


https://www.facebook.com/ApeIslandSound?fref=ts
Now THAT is a SERIOUSLY cool FB page!!
I was going to repost some of your pics here with some "I like" comments but then I kept finding more and more pics and ended up realising that I'd have to repost everything!!! Very cool
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:10 AM   #6
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Europanaut, this made me laugh

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Old 05-04-2013, 05:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Europanaut View Post
Dannii, we seem to share an interest....


https://www.facebook.com/ApeIslandSound?fref=ts
I was about to mention that the one thing we don't have between us is an Eminent 310u but then I found this on your page (not quite a 310u but close)....

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Old 05-04-2013, 06:36 AM   #8
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I just found this little PCB which looks like the ideal device for adding midi to the Hammond keyboards. It also accepts analog controls so I could make a drawbar device with it using slide pots....

MIDI CPU: Instant DIY MIDI Controller / MIDI Encoder
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dannii
The 122RV is probably my favourite of all the Leslie configurations and probably THE choice for studio recording
Agreed.

I was lucky to find one manufactured in 1970, replaced bearings, belts, and tubes (caps and transformers were fine), and voila.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:24 PM   #10
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Agreed.

I was lucky to find one manufactured in 1970, replaced bearings, belts, and tubes (caps and transformers were fine), and voila.
Nice one

I might replace the bearings in mine during the course of this project too. They are a tad on the noisy side. It's not really an issue when I crank up the volume though!!

I just had a bit of fun messing about with the VB3 plugin and the MrTramp2 plugin and recorded the first (very rough) instrumental for a new album I'm going to call 'Jam Sessions'. I just made a post with the download HERE
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:22 PM   #11
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Ok, I'm curious. I don't know much about Hammond organs and Leslie's although I have a 1961 Hammond M3. I don't have a Leslie for it but does it REALLY matter WHICH Leslie I get for it? I know there are tons of models but what's really the difference and what tells me which Leslie is right for my M3?
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jeffsounds
Ok, I'm curious. I don't know much about Hammond organs and Leslie's although I have a 1961 Hammond M3. I don't have a Leslie for it but does it REALLY matter WHICH Leslie I get for it? I know there are tons of models but what's really the difference and what tells me which Leslie is right for my M3?
Nah, it doesn't matter that much, Dannii and I are just total Hammond freaks

The usual choice for the smaller models, (M and L) is the 147, which is a fine Leslie.

Now to a few of the differences:

The 147 and 122 amp circuits are slightly different, the 122 input is balanced and carries the Leslie speed switching signal (B+) superimposed on the balanced line. The 147 uses a simple unbalanced input (which makes it the right one for your M3) and simple AC switching for the speeds. The output circuit is slightly different as well, the 122 is fairly straightforward with the power amp output cathodes AC bypassed to ground around a resistor in the normal fashion in order to generate negative grid bias. The 147 cathodes are tied to the secondary of the output transformer (some MacIntosh tube amps used a scheme like this to cut down on transformer inductance effects, probably that's what's going on here) and bypassed through the secondary center tap.

As to the 122RV -- in order to accomodate the reverb amp the upper horn cavity was made taller, and since the 122RV Leslie is the same height as the 122, it follows that the center section (the woofer enclosure) is shorter. These 2 things change the sound a bit for the better -- the upper horn "speaks" a little more openly and the bass is a little punchier, especially if you remove the reverb amp, speaker, and seal off the louvres half way up the side (the ones used for the reverb speaker), which, of course, is the first thing I did when I got it home
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:55 PM   #13
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Europanaut, this made me laugh

Well, I knew that Behringer DI's would be good for SOMETHING. And actually, they are REALLY handy for that particular job.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jeffsounds View Post
Ok, I'm curious. I don't know much about Hammond organs and Leslie's although I have a 1961 Hammond M3. I don't have a Leslie for it but does it REALLY matter WHICH Leslie I get for it? I know there are tons of models but what's really the difference and what tells me which Leslie is right for my M3?
M3's are excellent organs. The first Boston album was M3, and Green Onions too (with no Leslie, mic'd right at the organ's speaker). M3's sound great, and they were manufactured before the advent of the weird deteriorating foam stuff that Hammond decided to put in the keybeds in the late 60's.

I was lucky enough to end up with a factory black 57 M3 last year, and it gets more use than our B. A real roaring beast.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Geoff Waddington View Post
Nah, it doesn't matter that much, Dannii and I are just total Hammond freaks

The usual choice for the smaller models, (M and L) is the 147, which is a fine Leslie.

Now to a few of the differences:

The 147 and 122 amp circuits are slightly different, the 122 input is balanced and carries the Leslie speed switching signal (B+) superimposed on the balanced line. The 147 uses a simple unbalanced input (which makes it the right one for your M3) and simple AC switching for the speeds. The output circuit is slightly different as well, the 122 is fairly straightforward with the power amp output cathodes AC bypassed to ground around a resistor in the normal fashion in order to generate negative grid bias. The 147 cathodes are tied to the secondary of the output transformer (some MacIntosh tube amps used a scheme like this to cut down on transformer inductance effects, probably that's what's going on here) and bypassed through the secondary center tap.

As to the 122RV -- in order to accomodate the reverb amp the upper horn cavity was made taller, and since the 122RV Leslie is the same height as the 122, it follows that the center section (the woofer enclosure) is shorter. These 2 things change the sound a bit for the better -- the upper horn "speaks" a little more openly and the bass is a little punchier, especially if you remove the reverb amp, speaker, and seal off the louvres half way up the side (the ones used for the reverb speaker), which, of course, is the first thing I did when I got it home
Ok, so out of all of this (good info!) I get that I should look for a 147, correct? And hopefully it comes with the connector kit? Or can I get that separately?
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #16
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M3's are excellent organs. The first Boston album was M3, and Green Onions too (with no Leslie, mic'd right at the organ's speaker). M3's sound great, and they were manufactured before the advent of the weird deteriorating foam stuff that Hammond decided to put in the keybeds in the late 60's.

I was lucky enough to end up with a factory black 57 M3 last year, and it gets more use than our B. A real roaring beast.
I knew about the Boston album but not Green Onions. I love the tones on the Boston album!!!

I've set up a mod on mine to use an external speaker so that the mic doesn't pic up so much of the motor hum. Works great! Except I'm a guitarist, not a keyboard player so the hum probably helped to cover up my playing. I use the Mr. Donald plug to quite good effect but one day, I'm going to find me a Leslie!!!!
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:32 AM   #17
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Ok, so out of all of this (good info!) I get that I should look for a 147, correct? And hopefully it comes with the connector kit? Or can I get that separately?
Yes, 147 is the right one, or a 147RV, but those are even more rare than 122RV's.

It does not come with a connector kit.

This is the connector kit you need:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=92

You will also need a Leslie cable, I forget which pin in / outs are right for the 147:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=1
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Geoff Waddington View Post
Yes, 147 is the right one, or a 147RV, but those are even more rare than 122RV's.

It does not come with a connector kit.

This is the connector kit you need:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=92

You will also need a Leslie cable, I forget which pin in / outs are right for the 147:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=1
Wow, Geoff! I didn't know there were so many models of Leslie available. How does one keep it straight which models go with which Hammond?

Thanks for all the info!
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Geoff Waddington View Post
Yes, 147 is the right one, or a 147RV, but those are even more rare than 122RV's.

It does not come with a connector kit.

This is the connector kit you need:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=92

You will also need a Leslie cable, I forget which pin in / outs are right for the 147:

http://www.goffprof.com/shopping.jsp?p=1
Hey, Geoff! I just talked to a friend of mine who sells Hammonds and Leslie's near Chicago and he told me the "industry standard is the 122 no matter what model organ." For some reason that just doesn't seem right to me. He also said he hasn't even seen a 147 in a really long time.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jeffsounds
Hey, Geoff! I just talked to a friend of mine who sells Hammonds and Leslie's near Chicago and he told me the "industry standard is the 122 no matter what model organ." For some reason that just doesn't seem right to me. He also said he hasn't even seen a 147 in a really long time.
Well, you CAN hook up an M3 to a 122 with a kit (8010 IIRC), but the 147 was manufactured specifically for the smaller Hammonds (L100, M3, etc.) and the larger models with built in speakers (A100, etc.)
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:40 AM   #21
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Well, you CAN hook up an M3 to a 122 with a kit (8010 IIRC), but the 147 was manufactured specifically for the smaller Hammonds (L100, M3, etc.) and the larger models with built in speakers (A100, etc.)
Well, it looks like I'll keep my eye open for a 147. In the meantime I have my MrDonald.

Thanks, Geoff!!!
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:12 AM   #22
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Well, it looks like I'll keep my eye open for a 147
Well, I didn't quite say that

I said the 147 was manufactured with the models mentioned in mind.

The 147 and 122 do sound different -- if you can, arrange with your Hammond guy to do a demo of both with YOUR Hammond.

This is old analog stuff, there's a LOT of variance, it really boils down to how the combo -- YOUR M3 and THAT Leslie -- harmonize.

That said, you really can't go wrong with either.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:33 AM   #23
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Default Behringer Ultra DI

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Originally Posted by Europanaut View Post
Well, I knew that Behringer DI's would be good for SOMETHING. And actually, they are REALLY handy for that particular job.
<offtopic>
Actually friend's company took the time to measure them and this particular model showed pretty much the same frequency response as BSS AR-133. Of course the build quality and usability is quite Behringer...
</offtopic>
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:22 AM   #24
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Well, I didn't quite say that

I said the 147 was manufactured with the models mentioned in mind.

The 147 and 122 do sound different -- if you can, arrange with your Hammond guy to do a demo of both with YOUR Hammond.

This is old analog stuff, there's a LOT of variance, it really boils down to how the combo -- YOUR M3 and THAT Leslie -- harmonize.

That said, you really can't go wrong with either.
Right. But I'm of the mind that I want what was built for what I have instead of settling for something that sounds pretty good but wasn't actually MADE for it. However, in this case, with your recommendation, I'll probably go for whichever pops up first.

I really appreciate your knowledge on this!!! Thanks so much!!!
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #25
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<offtopic>
Actually friend's company took the time to measure them and this particular model showed pretty much the same frequency response as BSS AR-133. Of course the build quality and usability is quite Behringer...
</offtopic>

As a DI, they are certainly usable. But as a solder station jack holder, they excel. At under $50, I would actually buy one JUST for the solder station application. Large, stable, robust metal case, rubber feet, enough jack types to cover many jobs. Being able to occasionally use it as a spare DI is simply a nice bonus.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:28 PM   #26
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Default StudioMaster 4 track (Studio 4)

I saw an old post of yours from 2011 where you talk about your Studiomaster Studio 4. Mine is beyond repair; any chance you would be willing to sell it, providing of course that you still have it?
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:29 AM   #27
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As a DI, they are certainly usable. But as a solder station jack holder, they excel. At under $50, I would actually buy one JUST for the solder station application. Large, stable, robust metal case, rubber feet, enough jack types to cover many jobs. Being able to occasionally use it as a spare DI is simply a nice bonus.
Can't argue with that logic.
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Originally Posted by waldron777 View Post
I saw an old post of yours from 2011 where you talk about your Studiomaster Studio 4. Mine is beyond repair; any chance you would be willing to sell it, providing of course that you still have it?
Can't help you with that one. The Studio 4 is long gone I'm afraid.
The last time I saw and used a StudioMaster product was when I was engineering at a live venue in Ballarat, Victoria more than a decade ago. The venue had a StudioMaster desk for FOH and it was a really nice sounding desk too. The preamps were clean and the EQ was warm and responsive. If I ever saw one second hand, I'd be tempted to buy it as another colour for my sound palette in my studio.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:36 AM   #28
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Small update... I'm currently tossing up whether or not to go with the Midi CPU kit posted earlier or to go with a couple of basic midi keyboard controllers I'd pull apart and graft into the Hammond.

The advantage of the midi CPU kit is cost and simplicity while the advantage of grafting in a couple of midi controller keyboards is velocity sensitivity.
While velocity sensitivity might not seem important for a dedicated Hammond project, the VB3 plugin actually uses velocity sensitivity for adjusting the key clicks for added realism.

The other advantage with the latter is that I can use the Hammond keyboard for other sounds that do utilise velocity sensitivity.

At present, as stated earlier, I am REALLY limited financially so if I go with the latter approach (which I probably will), this project will take longer than I anticipated. However, the delay will probably be well worth the result.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:58 AM   #29
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Another update - I have totally changed my plans thanks to the acquisition of a second 9922K which I have restored to full working condition. See my original post for details.

Here's a short, two minute audio example noodling around on this organ I just recorded. This was just a quick recording using the built in mics in my Zoom H4n with it placed behind the Leslie speaker. I added Flextone VST to the recording for some subtle tube overdrive to get closer to the tube amps of the big Leslies. Other than that, everything is from the organ (reverb is the built in spring reverb).
With a couple of LDC's inside the organ right on the Leslie on either side, the sound is much more present than this quick recording but I actually recorded this just to capture a new idea I have for a new song.
Listen to Hammond Organ Audio Example Here
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