Birth of a legend
Before there were synthesizers and transistors, there was the unique sound of Hammond B3 tonewheels.
Laurens Hammond introduced the B3 and C3 tone wheel organs (distinguished only by their cabinets) in 1954 as an alternative to pipe organs, but it actually fueled a new era in gospel. Jimmy Smith brought it to secular attention as the centerpiece of his jazz organ trio, and legendary rockers like Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Lord and Billy Preston further propelled the sound into the spotlight.
The B3 has been used on countless recordings and almost every genre since and is still a fixture in studios the world over. Hammonds are most often run through rotary speakers invented by Don Leslie that took the idea of vibrato to a whole new dimension. We’ve faithful modeled both the organ and rotating speaker together just as they should be in the B-3 V.
The B-3V gives you the heavy sound of the original—without the heavy weight.
The real thing
The B-3 V recreates every aspect of the original classic with incredible realism.
The B-3 V’s namesake was electromechanical, employing a series of spinning tonewheels with adjacent pickups to produce flute-like tones in octaves and harmonics for each note. These could be variably mixed via a set of 9 drawbars per manual to achieve more robust additive timbres. In the B-3 V, we’ve meticulously modeled the individual components to achieve complete realism.
One of the things that distinguished the B3 from its earlier siblings was the percussion feature, which added a quickly decaying sound at either the second or third harmonic. This gave an edge to each key press that players across genres employed for extra punch and articulation, especially for solos. In the B-3V, we’ve faithfully modelled both the organ, rotating speaker, and "twin" guitar amp in gorgeous detail.
Another signature characteristic of the B3 was its unique modulation circuit that let you switch between three different depths of vibrato or three different intensities of chorus. Yep, we modelled that authentically as well. Vintage guitar effects, too? You bet.
The B-3 V recreates every component of the famous B3 sound to give you the most faithful software emulation you’ll find anywhere.
Many organists are constantly changing drawbar settings to add character to what can otherwise be a rather static timbre. We’ve taken that concept to the max by allowing you to automate drawbars via LFO, envelopes and even a step sequence. These open up a whole new sound dimension of additive synthesis sound design applied to organ roots. Create sharp attacks with lots of harmonics that morph into a softer sound, evolving atmospheric textures, or propelling rhythmic harmonics that shift in sync with your DAW tempo.
With the B-3 V, you can tweak previously unavailable analog characteristics including tonewheel leakage, drawbar leakage, key click volume and more. Variable preamp drive before your master gain stage allows you to dial in how clean or dirty you want your sound, just like a guitar amp. We’ve even added an envelope to let you shape attack and release, letting you easily cross over in the realm of pipe organs and string machines unlike you’ve ever heard before.
The B-3 V takes you way beyond stock possibilities to boldly go where no organ has gone before.
Some things were meant to be together
B-3 V 2 comes complete with every creative effect that’s ever been applied to an organ—plus some that haven’t until now.
You’ll rarely see a B3 in the wild without a rotating speaker designed by Don Leslie. Consisting of a rotating drum for lower frequencies and rotating horns for high frequencies, it delivers a much heavier effect than vibrato due to its Doppler pitch-changing characteristic. Key to the sound is the ballistics of how the drum and horns accelerate and decelerate between the slow and fast speed setting —another thing samples just can’t fully capture.
We’ve authentically modelled both the closed and open cabinet versions, and added separate speed and acceleration controls for drum and horn, drum/horn balance, and mic placement, giving you unprecedented customization. You can easily map the essential rotary speaker Stop/Run and Slow/Fast switches to a footswitch or other controller of your choice.
The B-3 V also comes with its own built-in convolution reverb. Choose from dozens of incredible performance spaces, different spring reverbs based on Impulse Responses based on vintage amps and gear —plus some cool ones you may have never heard of— to place your tonewheel sounds in just the right space.
If you want to add some grit and drive to your sound, a classic combo used by many rock and funk acts is now yours to explore, all within the instrument. Our gorgeously modelled "twin" guitar amp will help your organ sound cut through even the busiest mixes, with a girthy, bright tone that defined hit after hit.