B4000+. Virtual Organ Modeller.
Based on the incredible processing power of a Sharc DSP and a Cortex 3 ARM, all the features of the glorious ancestor have been modeled with the highest accuracy. Starting with 91 tonewheels, including leakage and condition – digital “Clonewheels”. Adding full polyphony, scanner vibrato, tube amplifier emulation with overdrive and – of course – a convincing rotating LeslieTM speaker simulation. Even the notorious key clicks and percussion sounds are reproduced just like in old times.
The B4000+ allows it to connect up to two keyboards via the MIDI ports plus pedal and sustain controllers for the full playing experience. The integrated Split Mode allows it to split a keyboard for the upper and lower manual on two sections. MIDI data is also transferred via USB. All incoming MIDI data is transferred to the PC via USB and can be recorded in a sequencer.
The B4000+ can feed an external audio signal into the internal effect section, e. g. the rotor and reverb effects. The signal can either be fed directly to the mix or pass trough the effects section.
The perfect and highly affordable solution, if there are keyboards, but no ultra-realistic organ tone module in-da-house.
What People Are Saying
The Hammond sounds are excellent, and range from dirty, mechanical-sounding jazz and blues organs through to cleaner, church-like organs. The drawbars are excellent and help with the feeling that you’re playing a real instrument, without the insane size and responsibility of using a real Hammond. They are ‘notched’ so each movement results in a tiny click as it does on a real organ.
The B4000+ sounds great, whether you’re after a clean, church-style organ or a gritty, swirling, biting jazz / blues kind of sound. Although compact, it packs tons of functionality in, and provides a really authentic feeling Hammond experience, especially when used live. Simply add a MIDI keyboard – or preferably, two.
Ask Audio Review
What a superb unit. This is how it should be: buy a new instrument and it brings a smile to your face. The unit is well built, solid metal case. Knobs and sliders feel high quality. The sound is excellent and variable in so many respects. Used live it sounds utterly great. From thundering, growly distored sounds to sweet, whistling high notes and everything inbetween.
Thomann Customer Review
Hammond organs are towering over the 20th-century music like the ancient pyramids: massive, potent-sounding, an objects of worship, driven to the edge by keyboard wizards.
Since their first appearance in the 1930s, they were not only be used by generations of church organists but in virtually every kind of music style. Originals are still being used around the world by live bands and in selected studios, which are lucky and can afford the necessary space and costly maintenance.
Originally intended as smaller and much cheaper substitute for pipe organs, which can even be used in the smallest chapel or theater, the revolutionary instrument quickly found its way to Blues and Jazz players, like Count Basie. One of the first customers was Georg Gershwin. The movie song Tico Tico, played on a Hammond by the incredible Ethel Smith, became an international hit in 1944.
As soon as gifted rock musicians, like John Lord or Keith Emerson, got their hands on a Hammond, they created the sound, which leaves a monumental mark on the classic era of live and studio music.
While in the 1960s, almost 50.000 Hammonds lived a sacral life in churches and chapels, the trained organist Jon Lord employed the “hard rock” style on his instrument, even playing his heavy and fast keyboard riffs through a guitar amp. Inspiring legions of followers and setting the standard for modern keyboard players, not only the highly-skilled art of playing, but the original Hammond sound is still an object of desire.
Unfortunately the oversized originals require a regular and costly maintenance, including tuning and costly repairs – the additional LeslieTM speaker system is another reason for the loss of remaining hairs and money.
Around two million Hammond organs have been manufactured. The B-3 was the most popular and influential model, produced from 1954 to 1975. “Hammond gods” like Jimmy Smith, who invented the typical Jazz-organ sound, and Booker T. Jones in R&B, made it even more popular, than its predecessors. Furthermore it was used by nearly all legendary rock bands, including Deep Purple, and left its eternal fingerprint in numerous famous songs.
After countless attempts to bring the sound of the original B3 in an affordable digital hardware package, the B4000+ finally succeeded. Compared to the efforts to maintain a real organ and deal with the incredible weight, the B4000+ is simply a blessing.
The drawbars play the central role in playing classic organ sounds. They are essential for the authentic feeling and realtime sound control. The mighty Hammond B3 is no exception, the magic of this instrument is coming to life through the usage of the drawbars. The nine drawbars represent the nine most important harmonics, the colors are related to their harmonic pitch. Each drawbar has eight degrees to which it can be “drawn”, the eighth being the loudest, and all the way to silence.
The B4000+ is equipped with 9 solid drawbars, identical in size and colors to the original. The bars provide the realistic tactile control over all organ sounds. Its a special and exciting feeling to play the B4000+, which sets it apart from countless soulless sound modules.
The drawbars of the B4000+ are modelled with a nice, soft click for perfect control, they are using even the original colors for the three manuals: black, white and brown.
"The whole point of having a hardware Hammond module is to use the drawbars, and here they’re excellent, with just the right amount of click and resistance. They respond to whichever register you are currently in, and changing the sound on the fly is a joy, dialing in different tonewheels as well as affecting key click, leakage and even mic position with the other controls."
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Physical Circuit Modelling to the last detail.
Including all the “flaws”.
The B4000+ mimics the complete behaviour of the original perfectly through a complex set of physical modelling algorithms. Even the flaws and odd characteristics are reborn in greatest detail. Otherwise it would not be the real thing. Right.
The tone generator of an original B3, except for the Pedal Solo Unit, which controls the sound generated by the pedals, is composed of 91 spinning tone wheels. Each tone wheel generates magnetically one of the pitches of the first harmonic or the overtones, spanning seven and a half octaves (32.692 Hz to 5919.85 Hz). Effectively an additive synthesizer with electro-mechanical tone creation, the resulting electrical sine waves were amplified and pass through an sophisticated set of filters, mixers, and other devices. Everything happens by pressing a single key and even more is more going on, before a single tone appears.
The B4000+ is doing the same – with the help of the internal high-performance Sharc-DSP and a Cortex 3 ARM processor.
Chorus & Vibrato
Chorus and Vibrato produce the typical sound modulation on top of the original clean sinus tones of the original organ, creating the important emotional and individual sound layer on the otherwise sterile source.
The vibrato effect creates a small variation in pitch while a note is being played. The chorus effect combines a note’s sound with another sound at a slightly different and varying pitch.
The B4000+ provides 3 vibrato and 3 chorus effects – just like the original B3. The vibrato can be switched on seperately for the upper and lower register.
Thanks to the integrated digital controls, like Attack, Decay and Harmonic (Pitch) the percussion sound can be tweaked far beyond the original.
These overtones are produced in the background when keys are played, even when all drawbars are in zero position. The ’Leakage’ control in the B4000+ simulates this phenomenon with an adjustable intensity.
As time passes, the condition of the tone wheels of a Hammond organ tends to degrade, which affects the sound quality and tuning integrity. The integrated “Aging” control lets the condition of the tonewheels gracefully aging from brand new (’NEW’) to ’needs repair’ (’REPAIR’).
Crunch & Drive
Crunch adds a type of additive distortion which occurs in a Hammond organ’s drawbars. The subtle ’Crunch’ control in the B4000+ controls the intensity of the drawbar distortion.
The integrated Drive emulates the amount of overdrive, producing the exciting rock-organ timbre. The faithfully modelled overdrive sound in the B4000+ recreates the sound of an original overdriven Leslie cabinet amplifier. All hail goes to John Lord, pioneering these kind of sounds.
The notorious B3 click
The B4000+ provides a built-in volume control for the “Click”, so it can be amplified directly in the box.
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The LeslieTM cabinet. Don´t ask any organist to play without!
With the integrated “Rotor Effect”, the B4000+ adds a simulation of rotating speakers similar to the Leslie system. It even provides additional sound design options, not available in the original cabinet.
The original effect varies depending on the speed of the rotors, which can be toggled between fast (tremolo) and slow (chorale). Thanks to the seamless digital parameter emulation of the B4000+ it is now possible to chose a sweet spot in between. The rate of change between slow and fast speeds can be adjusted in both directions. This way it is easier, to get a rich, powerfull chorale Leslie sound, than with the limited motor controls of the bulky hardware box.
- Spread: Enhances the stereo image, emulating the effect of adjusting the positions of two spaced microphones.
- Distance: Adjusts the virtual distance between microphones and speakers.
- Balance: Sets the volume balance of the bass speaker and treble speaker microphones. Fully left will only turn on the bass speaker, fully right will turn on only the treble speaker. In the centre position, the volume of the two is equal.
- Tone: The bass speaker and horn each have a tone control, which can change the overall tone color and resonance of the rotor effect.
The Moving Organ Sound.
The classic rock and jazz organ sound is inseparable from the legendary LeslieTM rotating speaker cabinet.
The system, named after its inventor, Donald J. Leslie, creates its typical sound through a combination of two rotating sound sources:
– a rotating horn over a treble compression driver
– a rotating baffle beneath a bass woofer.
Originally intended to emulate the complex tones and constantly shifting sources of a pipe organ, the arrangement produces an amplitude modulation, resulting in chorus and vibrato. Additionally, due to the Doppler effect, the Leslie Speakers causing a sound source apparently raising or falling in pitch. All in all, the vibrantly changing sound may cause a strong emotional response with the listener, just like the huge sacral instruments over centuries.
Originally rejected by Hammond in 1940, Leslie sold his tone cabinet as add-on to all organ brands in the market. Despite being prosecuted with lawsuits from Hammond, the Leslie Speaker became a huge success in a short time.
Nearly all famous artists prefer to add the Leslie system to their Hammond performance, giving them their distinctive lively and emotional sound. Don´t ask an organist to play without it!
No wonder, even a perfect virtual organ emulation is incomplete without the famous LeslieTM effect.
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