The very best Hammond/Leslie clone


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I have tried loads of them! Best I have come up with is my present set-up.

Roland XP-80 driving Oberheim drawbar module output to Hughes&Kettner Rotosphere. The H&K is impossibly noisy but this can be toned down with a Boss NS2 gate.

I have tried the Roland VK-8M but dont think the cost is justified.

Any others??

Other gear is a Roland JV30, a lap-steel through a Studiomaster 8:2 desk.
Also have a Washburn fretless bass, Ovation, Strat, chromatic harmonica, flute and bagpipes.
 
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Stick with the Oberheim and the Rotosphere.

I hear good things about the Hammond XK-1 and also the Neo Instruments Ventilator. Did you try either?
 
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I'd highly recommend the Clavia Nord Electro - very realistic tone, response and Leslie effect including great overdrive.
 
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Many thanks for responses guys. No, I haven't tried either of your suggestions (yet). The financial controller takes a very dim view of further expenditure on music gear as she prefers to waste money on stuff like washing powder, clothes, dishwasher salt and other expensive luxuries.
 
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B3 Sim

I went to a music go round(used equipment exclusively) and they had a hammond XK1 and a VK8 both single boards, both had the funky(11 or 13 dont remember) Leslie jack and simulated Leslie effects on board, both $800. I instantly went to the hammond which was decent but not amazing. The Roland totally schooled it and I love it. A guy actually wanted to trade me his B3 and leslie for my VK8. If I couldve afforded another VK8 for live totally would of but anyway. The XK 3 is really good as is the Nord Electro or C2( i think) Nord has the double manual that is sickening in its modeling and the electro does the same on a single keyboard. Ever thought about a laptop and the Native Instruments B4II or classic B4. Korg does a CX3 as well. My favorite is still the VK8 all in all it had enough of the qualities of the B3 I played at in a Baptist Church round Chicago to sell me. Every B3 is different some have more click some have more of the stutter effect. Each player likes or hates these kind of qualities so in going for your "Clonewheel" you really gotta get hands on.

Real Boards: Vk 8, CX3, XK2 or Xk3, or Nord Electro(comes with great Rhodes wurli clavs piano so on) or C2.
Lots of software choices personally like Native Instruments B4 II the best! Hope it helped
 
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I gigged with a B3/Leslie and an Aeolian Melody Pro Piano with factory installed Helpinstill pickups in it for many years when I was younger.

Then in 1993 E-mu came out with the Vintage Keys - it was love at first listen. Sold the B3 and never looked back (my Alesis QS8 replaced the Aeolian spinet a few years after that).

I use 2 Vinatge Keys and 2 Fatar controllers so I have "upper and lower manuals".

Now, I'm not even putting this rig in the "best" category, just sharing what works for me - actually for a lot of years now. Still have my original Vintage Keys, and it still works perfect.

I'm sure the Roland and the new Hammonds sound and play way better. However, over the years I've had many keyboardists approach me after a gig wondering how I was getting such a killer B3 sound.

I'll never part with my Vintage Keys rig though.
 

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No has mentioned the Roland VK7 ... I used this in blues band and after a bit of work the sounds are amazing ...
you can change the amp settings leslie settings chorus ... leakage .. etc... Old Vk8 but much much better I think.
 
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I think I've tried the majority of clones over the years, and twice I ended up going with a Korg CX3. My choice was based on a lot on the fact that I could manipulate the drawbars in real time. For someone who has played real Hammonds in the past, that drawbar interface can mean a lot. These days there are a lot of choices in clones, and several sound very good. I had retired my CX3 for several years, then bought the Neo Ventilator (leslie simulator pedal)....boy did it make the CX3 have new life. In fact, just about everything I've played through it sounds good. Last weekend I did a one set gig in a large civic center and just took my Motif ES with the Ventilator. Man, it sure made the Motif Hammond sound much better. Don
 
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Don - what were you running the Motif and Vent through? Were you using other sounds from the Motif than organ and if so did you go through the Vent for those too?

I've no easy way to try one but see the love the Vent gets online.
 
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I ran mono out of the Motif Es into the Neo Ventilator. The Neo has 2 out puts
which separate the simulation of the upper and lower leslie rotors. Those route into a small mixer board with the output to two Mackie "Thump" cabinets. I stack the cabinets, so it actually seemed like a real leslie is being used.
I used a stock patch (Daves B3 ) for the organ sound, and another Motif patch for rhodes. I have a foot pedal to control the Vent, and can select the rotor "stop" setting when playing the rhodes. It worked great for the one set, and
sounded good out front without being in the PA. The Neo Ventilator sells for about $450 to $499 here in the US , so it isn't cheap. However, it is much cheaper that a real leslie, only weighs a few pounds, and you can carry it
in one hand..
 
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I use two tapco S5 active monitors from Mackie and I'm very content with them.
 
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I started playing professionally in the mid 60s using a model A Hammond and twin tower 31H Leslies. I didn't know what power I had back then, being a snot nosed teenager. In retrospect, I will probably never repeat, in digital fashion, that power, "thickness" and sheer "Hammond" sound that seems to evade--in purity--the manufacturers today (although they are a lot closer than the cheesy stuff that was being produced until a couple of years ago). I recently purchased Kurzweil's PC3 after hearing some Hammond stuff it emulated on YouTube and was impressed. Kurz has always provided high quality acoustic sounds. Their pianos and strings are unparalleled in the digital board market. That plus the allure of having 1000 factory sounds and all sorts of tweaking capabilities drove me to the PC3 and, for the most part, I am happy with the investment. It's half the price of a Nord C series and IMO has
much better pianos. The drawbar-sliders also make for realtime associations with the Hammonds, and--for the first time in my experiences--the Leslie(s--there's tons of different cabinet styles settings in this board) are as accurate as you can get without dropping almost $500 for a Neo Ventilator (why can't Kurz' build that technology IN to their boards?), although the common issue with on-board simulators is somewhat evident, that being a doppler/phase shifter-ish sound on the FAST mode of the Leslie effect. The fast-to-slowdown, to chorale, however is very effective and realistic, and leakage plus distortion levels are adjustable and save-able as well.

I play in a Bob Seger tribute band and lots of his music is meat-and-potatoes keyboard stuff: primarily acoustic piano and Hammond. The PC3 hits on all cylinders in this department and for gigging with one keyboard, a monitor amp, a small mixer (for mixing down my two inputs before sending to the mains), I don't think I could get as close to a complete package like this with any other equipment, all things being considered.

Bottom line: If you want just ONE board that "has it all"--at least "enough all" to not feel like you have to have more than one board for performing or private enjoyment, I don't think you can beat the PC3.
 

happyrat1

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That's a really good thing for me to be hearing right now since I've just decided to sell off my Korg TR and pick up the PC3LE8. I'd love to get a PC3K8 but unfortunately when you slice open my wrists I don't bleed crude oil mixed with platinum ;)

Anyway, after listening to a few youtubes and reading some reviews I've decided to go on faith and order one for about $1800 from a Canadian vendor. That's as high as I can afford to go before I start bleeding out my orifices ;) All the same, from what I've read about it it should be way more keyboard than my abilities can match at the current time and give me a real 88 weighted hammer action board to improve my playing on.

Also, by all reports, the Kurzweils are much more friendly to use with external MIDI sequencers than anything comparable by either Yamaha or Korg so that's a big plus for me.

Your review shines yet another favorable light on what's arguably one of the best machines out there in its price class.

I just wish I could piddle a bit on one in the flesh but alas anyone who carries them in my area either has them only on special order or doesn't have any in stock right now.

Regards,

Gary
 
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Rockinroller's statement above was in regard to the PC3, not the PC3LE. The LE lacks the latest leslie sim that is found in the PC3. If hammond isn't an integral part of your playing then it's no big deal. If hammond/leslie IS an integral part and you don't have a separate leslie sim like a Neo Vent or a Motion Sound; then you might want to understand what the PC3LE's leslie sim sounds like before purchasing. The LE, for instance, also doesn't have the 9 sliders to emulate the hammond drawbars. To understand the feature differences, this link will help:

http://kurzweil.com/knowledgebase/pc3le8/product_comparisons/311/
 

happyrat1

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Organs aren't really that critical to me as much as good pianos and synths and strings, since I'm basically a self taught synth player looking to improve his piano skills. The organs are a nice thing to have for me, but I'm not a fanatic about B3 authenticity and leslie emulation.

Seriously, to paraphrase a guy I heard in another forum once, "You organ freaks are nuts!" :D :D :D (J/K)

Anyway, for what I plan to use it for I think the PC3LE8 is probably the best I can afford or make use of for now.

Who knows? Maybe in another ten years I can afford and will need a rig like Paul Schaeffer's on the Letterman Show? ;)

But for the time being I just need one good workhorse of a keyboard that won't cost more than what I'm driving everyday :)
 
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Might want to consider the SP4-8 as well then. Same piano and strings with an 88 note weighted keybed; not sure about the synth section though. Lighter and less expensive.
 

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