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Review - The Leslie 3300, page 3
by Jim Alfredson

(continued from page 2)

I tried several vintage tubes and even a few newly manufactured ones. I finally settled on a NOS RCA 12AT7. 12AT7 tubes have less gain than the 12AX7, but in this case I think it helped smooth out the distortion characteristics of the 3300 preamp. No matter how high I turned the drive or mode knobs I could not get the distortion to sound "bad". With the drive knob on the lowest setting before turning off and the mode knob likewise all the way down, the tube circuit adds a nice, dirty undertone to the sound that reminds me of a 122. When you push the volume of the XK3, the 3300 responds like a 122 would, yet you still have plenty of headroom. Very cool!

Playing around with the tone controls is just a matter of taste. Between the onboard EQ of the XK3 and the controls of the 3300, you can dial in a wide range of sounds to help you lay back behind a soloist or get on top of that loud guitar amp! And speaking of volume, the 3300 is ridiculously loud. No more getting buried by the band! For the first time in your professional career, the guitarist might actually tell you to turn down!

ON THE ROAD - The First Gig

Loading and unloading the 3300 into my minivan is a breeze, thanks to the built-in casters and recessed side handles, although if you don't have a ramp you will need a friend to help. At less than half the size of the trusty 122, the 3300 also leaves a ton of room in the back of my minivan. Set-up at the club proved easy. No more need for the 1122 kit (converting the 11pin output of the XK3 to 6pin for the 122), which means less cables under my feet. My basic setup is the XK Traditional System with the XK3, a Leslie, a Yorkville NX55P powered monitor, and a Yamaha Motif ES Rack. I placed the Yorkville on top of the 3300 and the two looked great together on stage.

The gig was with my trio organissimo at a restaurant / bar with less-than-stellar acoustics. organissimo's line-up is the traditional organ trio; Hammond organ, guitar, and drums, so I am responsable for all the bass lines. I put the 3300 right behind me, since that is the spot I always put my 122. However, the 3300's horn is much lower and I'm used to the 122's horn being right behind my head. I eventually had to move it more to the side of me so I could hear the high-end better. The high-end and mid-range sounded great, very similar to my 122. But as soon as the band started playing, it became evident that the bass from the 3300 was not satisfying. The pedals seemed weak and the bottom range of the lower manual of the XK System were lost. I played around with the EQ on both the 3300 and the organ trying to solve the problem, but any changes only seemed to make things muddy and ill-defined. Finally, during a drum solo towards the end of the first set, I grabbed a 1/4" cable and plugged the sub output of the 3300 into my Yorkville monitor. I put just a tiny bit of the sub output into the Yorkville and suddenly the bass came alive! I used that combo the rest of the night and while we were packing up our drummer Randy Marsh said he could hear the bass much clearer than with the 122.

During the second set several local horn players came out and things got a bit louder in volume. The 3300 had no trouble keeping up and several times I found myself having to consciously pull the organ back! I had many compliments from fans and fellow musicians on the sound and clarity of the rig.

ON THE ROAD - The Second Gig

Fast forward a few days to my second gig with the 3300. This time it is with Root Doctor, a high-enery, high-volume blues band that I've been a part of for almost 10 years. I've been very anxiously waiting to try the 3300 with Root Doctor since the extra volume will definitely come in handy.

The stage at the gig is quite small, so I decide to use just the 3300 and my XK3 on an x-stand, rather than the full XK System. I still used the Yorkville for my Motif module and set the speaker to the side of the Leslie. For Root Doctor, I like a little more grit in my sound, so I start the night with the XK3's volume halfway up, the 3300's volume halfway up, the tube drive circuit on and the tube mode knob at about the halfway mark. The settings provide a nice full sound with some good old-fashioned grunge in the background when the expression pedal is pushed.

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