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michel devos

Distortion: why do some believe this to be aesthetic?

Hammond distortion   20 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you consider distortion in the Hammond sound as a positive artefact?

    • Yes, it is an acceptable colour of the sound
      13
    • Yes, it improves the quality of the performance
      2
    • No, it degrades the performance
      2
    • No, it is no more than a hardware failure
      1

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59 posts in this topic

it all depends what yr doing, really- if you are jon lord in deep purple, you are going to need it. if you are jackie davis playing hammond on jackie gleason 'aphrodesia', you are not going to need to sound like deep purple (btw thats an -essential- hammond lp if you dont already have a copy, jackie gleason aphrodesia)

Make up one's mind between the Jackies (Davis and Gleason) and Deep Purple...Good Lord..! I need a drink here...

And oh, by the way, here is another even more essential Hammond CD : http://www.amazon.com/Organs-Orbit-Ultra-Lounge-11/dp/B000002U4S/ref=pd_sim_m_8 :lol::rofl:

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Last month, I recorded a live event showing several players and two B3's : the producer was evidently looking for en enormous sound impact in front of a large audience and, to do so, the B3's were each connected to heavily modified Leslie 760 and 109 thru fender guitar amps and a special cross-over. Speakers were JBL modified to suit mounting in the rotating drum and horn. As expected, the sound was very loud, and very bad...probably coming from a mismatch between the amps and the crossover...nevertheless, it had little to do with the original B3/Leslie sound. An engineer I had invited this evening was absolutely horrified by the results and started to explain how mods to the B3/Leslie should be done, in his view . The purpose of such mods can have only one target : get rid of the design problems (due to the gear available at the time ) and rebuild the instruments with modern hardware as close as possible to the original drawings : this would notably :

-improve the bandwith linearity

-improve the distortion figures

-lower mechanical noises and hum produced by the motors

-smooth the response curve by eliminating the resonances of the cabinet.

-improve the acoustical power output

A week later, I paid him a visit in his home, where he collects all sorts of hammonds, including an X-66 fully restored, and I had the opportunity to check visually and aurally the improvements brought to the instruments. To cut a long story short, the guy called Dan Vigin, replaces all the original parts like tubes and condo's by up to date models as close as possible to the original values. When not possible, he redesigns the circuits to accept a better element without jeopardizing the original balance. Power transformers are exclusively toroidal ones, all motors and electrical parts are screened with mu-metal, as well as cables sheath where requested. The internal sides of the Leslie cabinets are lined with a special acoustical absorbent to eliminate stationary waves and get rid of modal resonances. When listenign to the results, what one hears is a gorgeous sound, full and rich, powerfull and smooth... although the power output of the onboard amplifier of the 122 Leslie rates à clean but not gigantic 65 RMS watts (after rebuild, that is). I was so impressed to hear a B3, a C3 and various Leslies SOUNDING that way that we have decided to arrange a recording session in his place, so this sound could be shared with other Hammond lovers, probably first quarter 2011. I'll try to show some photographs of his work.

"http://rapidshare.com/files/434424738/DSCN3025A.jpg"

http://rapidshare.co...8/DSCN3025A.jpg http://rapidshare.com/files/434424536/DSCN2982A.jpg"

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http://rapidshare.com/files/434424691/DSCN3021A.jpg"

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http://rapidshare.com/files/435319512/DSCN3061A.jpg"

http://rapidshare.co...2/DSCN3061A.jpg

http://rapidshare.com/files/435319373/DSCN3029A.JPG"

http://rapidshare.co...3/DSCN3029A.JPG</a>

Edited by michel devos

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An engineer I had invited this evening was absolutely horrified by the results and started to explain how mods to the B3/Leslie should be done, in his view . The purpose of such mods can have only one target : get rid of the design problems (due to the gear available at the time ) and rebuild the instruments with modern hardware as close as possible to the original drawings :

The "design problems" of these instruments are usually what give them character and "soul". I'm reminded of the story about how Hammond didn't like the excessive electrical key-click of his organs, caused by the mechanical 9-bus contact system under the keys, and so he kept trying different circuits to reduce that effect as the models progressed (BC, B2, B3, A100, etc). The rockers and jazzers, however, loved the key-click and many even modified their organs to produce MORE of it.

One man's trash...

this would notably :

-improve the bandwith linearity

-improve the distortion figures

-lower mechanical noises and hum produced by the motors

-smooth the response curve by eliminating the resonances of the cabinet.

-improve the acoustical power output

This has pretty much already been done with the 3300. If you don't engage the tube circuit, the solid state amp is extremely linear and has very high output wattage (300 watts compared to a regular 122's 40 watts). The modern motors Hammond now uses in all it's Leslies are sealed bearing, DC motors that are extremely reliable, quiet, and never need oiling. The MDF cabinet of the 3300 eliminates a lot of resonance due to the material, though I think it could be a bit better. But you very quickly run into a brick wall in terms of acoustic design of a Leslie cabinet because it IS a Leslie cabinet and needs to have the rotating bottom baffle and the rotating upper horn. That really limits what you can do in terms of design.

With all respect to your friend, it sounds like he's re-inventing the wheel. :)

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Hi Jim,

Yes indeed, to my ears the reference Leslie today is the 3300, no doubt about that. However, some guys like the looks of the "old" 122-147 cabinets, and many are still on the market, hence a niche for that kind of mod for people wanting to keep their beautiful wood object but with modern electronics inside.

For my taste, I definitely vote both hands for the 3300, and I shall try to make one available to work with the B3, if possible...Is that electrically sound, by the way? If not, do you know of any "interface" that would allow that?

Or would the preamp output used for the direct line signal be sufficient to drive the 3300 input?

Thks for your comments

Edited by michel devos

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I have a friend who uses the 3300 with his B3 and he loves it. I don't know how to connect them, but it probably isn't too difficult. I think you can take a line directly off the pre-amp of the B3 without issue.

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I like a little distortion, WHEN I want it. Overdone distortion from the organ can just suck :)

-m

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I like a little distortion, WHEN I want it. Overdone distortion from the organ can just suck :)

-m

Hi marty,

And welcome to our little discussion!

Yes, agreed, that's the right word for distortion...but could you explain WHEN you like a little of it, and, in particular, WHY ?

If you went quickly thru the posts of this thread, you'll have noticed I am not in favour of distortion, but I'm really interested in finding out why other people are. So thanks for your input.:D

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> If one considers distortion as a welcomed musical intention, it has to be open to criticism :

> you find it thick, creamy, pleasant, I find it harsh, ugly, irritating, that's life.

A sound clip is worth a thousand words.

http://rapidshare.com/files/445944347/b4vb3t3.mp3

Listening to this sample, I find the sound of the heavily overdriven tube Leslie thick, creamy, pleasant (obviously thanks to its imperfect, aging, 70 years old flawed design). The modern digital impostor sounds harsh, ugly, irritating (although its creators certainly believed otherwise). Both represent distorted sound.

But I reckon that they might sound more or less the same to very many people. Yes, one man's dirt...

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Sometimes I play clean, sometimes I play dirty.

Old Lelies with a 40 watt amp HAD to distort to put out enough volume for big rooms.

We took that to be part of the desired sound and some maintain that.

Sometimes I do (Blues band), sometimes I don't. (Jazz band)

-marty

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