Organ Settings

Classical ‘Hammond’ settings on VR

The VR09/VR730 Roland organ engine has a ‘sound on its own’ that cannot reproduce all the timbres of a Hammond B3: VRs ‘base sound’ – the ‘pure sine waves’ – are ‘too sine’ and lack fine overtones.
When you try ‘standard’ B3 registrations on VR, some will work, some won’t. Some of ‘don’t work’ can be tuned-in by adding ‘higher harmonics’ (to compensate the lack of overtones): e.g. a pure Hammond 8′ can be compensated by adding small amounts of 4′ and 2′ (and 1′).

By music-style:

  • Rock: rock-type ‘full out’ (all drawbars at maximum, massive overdrive) works allright (‘aggressive noise’)
  • Church organ: VR does an amazing job
  • Reggae (Bob Marley style), Latin (Santana style) : VR works very well
  • Jazz organ: the typical ‘Smith full-out’ registration works. The classical 888000000 cannot be reproduced (sounds ‘cheasy’ even when compensating higher harmonics). Many mellow or ‘sphercial’ tones of modern Jazz (post Smith) cannot be reproduced – VR09 is not an organ for Jazz players

To get more out of VR organ, read the following chapters.

Learn to play ‘Hammond’

Classical ‘Hammond playing techniques’ are important for creating an authentic Hammond sound:

  • An excellent book for ‘initiating’ organ play is Hammond Organ Complete (Dave Limina, Berklee, check-out your local shop, amazon, etc): it shows playing techniques, typical registrations and includes an audio CD.
  • Those mastering the language of Goethe can watch Bonedo Hammond Workshop – an excellent introduction into organ playing
  • Many many ‘organ guides’ can be found in the wide web (youtube, google, etc)

Tuning VR Organ

  • Organ Type: ‘RockOrgan’ is probably the most used organ type – but for ‘mellow tones’, don’t hesitate to experiment with organ type ‘Jazz’ and Rotary type 1/2 or ‘standalone Twin-Rotary’ (see below) – it can sound better on your PA than default Rock-organ
  • Organ-Chorus: be carefull when combining ‘Organ Chorus’ and ‘VR Rotary’: Chorus 3 and Rotary type 3 produce a ‘muddy’ sound. Eventually step down to Chorus 1 or 2 – and/or use Rotary type 1 or 2. Chorus 3 works well with ‘standalone TwinRotary’
  • Higher harmonics: VR organ harmonic bars lack a lot of overtones. To a certain degree this can be compensated by adding small amounts of higher harmonics, e.g.: to drawbar 8″ add 1-2 ‘drawbar steps’ of 4″, 2″ and 1″.
  • Overdrive: VR overdrive is one of the most critizised features of the VR: it’s ‘harsh’ and ‘digital’, it’s ‘inconsistent’ (turning the knob works in ‘steps’ that change sound character) etc. etc. Using VR Overdrive for smokey Jazz Bar tube sound is near impossible. There are some tricks to make it more handsome though:
    a) use the ‘OD dry’ (wet/dry) option of VR menu ‘EFX’: adding ‘dry organ’ signal slightly reduces the ‘harsh’ OD
    b) experiment with ‘OD stepping’: as said, turning the OD knob not only increases the amount of OD but shows ‘stepping’ – and each ‘step’ changes the timbe of OD (towards more harshness and ‘digital’). A ‘trick’ can help: set the drawbars then reduce the organ LEVEL (fader): this ‘spreads’ the value range of the OD knob and allows much finer tuning of the effect
  • TONE: TONE knob is a ‘V’ (or lambda)-shaped equalizer: turn clockwise to rise highs (and bass) for aggressive sound, turn anticlockweise for a ‘nosey’ sound
  • Leakage: be careful when using leakage: VR leakage adds a lot of (non-authentic) ‘deep fuzz’ – especially with big bass PAs VR start rumbling like a powerplant substation 🙂
  • Cry babe, cry: particulary VR Rotary types 2 and 3 produce a rather ‘dull’ tone. To make your VR ‘squeak’:
    – turn TONE knob clockwise
    – play with ‘organ gain’ (VR menu ‘Organ’): example: set ‘low gain’ to -5 and ‘high gain’ to +10 (or equivalent)
    – use the ‘brighter’ VR Rotary type 1 – or even stronger:
    – use ‘standalone TwinRotary’ which produces a very sharp and rough hard rock organ with a lot of cutting-through overtones

Tuning VR Rotary

Eveybody loves ‘VR Rotary type 3’ introduced to VR by latest firmware update. But with all the excitment don’t forget the ‘older’ rotary types as they can produce better results depending on PA and style of music. You might also exploit the possibilities of ‘standalone TwinRotary’.

‘Real Leslie’ rotational speeds and accelerations

All men are equal – but Leslies are not 🙂 There is no such thing as the true unique real ‘Leslie speed’. Leslies rotate differently depending on the model, ageing of bearings, tension and ageing of belts (friction, slip), the chosen pulleys of the belt driven horn, etc. etc. etc.

Grosso modo ‘authentic values’ are: tremolo (fast) speed: 360-400 rpm, chorale (slow) speed: 40-50 rpm.
Setting (slow/fast) speeds of drum and horn to identical values will result in a ‘church like’, rather ‘clean pulsing’ effect as drum and horn will be phase-coherent. Setting them slightly apart causes a ‘phase shift’ between drum and horn, which makes the sound more vivid.

In real life, rpms of horn and drum always differ to a certain amount (on purpose or by imperfections / ageing) with the horn rotating faster. Changing the ‘pulleys’ of the belt driven horn of a real Leslie changes horn speed about ca. +/- 10 rpms.

VR Rotary types

VR has 3 ‘principal rotary’ types PLUS the ‘Twin Rotary’ from VR MFX section. The latter can be used for ‘double rotary effect’ but also as ‘standalone’ additional rotary type.

Important: the tuning parameters for rotary speeds and accelerations are not consistent and depend on the selected rotary types (see tables below)

  1. VR ‘principal rotary types’: these are ‘active’ when the (VR left panel) ‘ROTARY SOUND’ button is ON: the types differ both in ‘amp characteristics’ and ‘rotary effect’
  2. VR ‘standalone Twin Rotary’: this can be activated when (VR left panel) ‘ROTARY SOUND’ button is OFF and VR MFX is set to ‘Twin Rotary’
  3. VR ‘Twin Rotary combined’: the ‘double rotary’ effect (two rotaries on stage as used by some rock bands) becomes active when (VR left panel) ‘ROTARY SOUND’ button is ON and MFX is set to Twin-Rotary
Using VR Twin-Rotary ‘standalone’

Standalone Twin Rotary is fully controlled by ‘slow/fast/stop’ set by the ‘ROTARY button’ and/or the mod-lever and by options of VR menu ‘ROTARY’

‘Standalone Twin Rotary’ produces a very clear, sharp, transistor-like sound that can be used ‘as is’ for aggressive ‘crying’ Rock organ, as a very clear Jazz or Reggae organ or as ‘base sound’ feeded into an external ‘amp simulation’ FX processor/pedal.

To setup ‘standalone Twin Rotary’:

  • switch VR ‘ROTARY SOUND’ OFF (this switches the VR ‘amp simulation’ off)
  • set MFX to ‘Twin Rotary’
  • turn the MFX knob clockwise (preferably to max)
  • chose a ‘Twin Rotary’ type: Twin Rotary varies with the ‘rotary type’ selected in VR-menu ‘ROTARY’:
    – type 1 produces a rather ‘monophonic’ rotary effect
    – type 2 produces gives a decent stereo rotary effect
    – type 3 is _identical_ to type 2 but slighly ‘louder’
  • tune ‘rotary’ speed/fall/rise options in VR-menu: this is necessary as speed/fall/rise values massively differ for Twin Rotary (see tables below)
  • apply Overdrive, organ Chorus/Vibrato, organ low/high gain etc. uppon your taste
Tuning of VR Rotaries

In the tables below examples are given for ‘rotary tuning’ of VR Rotaries.
The ‘value’ is the number to set in VR menu (or CTRLR EDITOR), the brackets iodicate the corresponding rotations per minute (rpm) or ‘fall/rise time’ in seconds.

  • VR ‘factory settings’ for VR Rotary are ‘non-authentic’ – but if you like the sound leave it as it is
  • VR ‘authentic settings’ correspond to an ‘averaged Leslie’ – feel free to change them.
  • CTRLR EDITOR helps with tuning VR rotary as it indicates rpm and ‘ramp time’ numbers
  • Depending on rotary type ‘VR values’ generate different speeds and ramps, e.g. you cannot ‘copy’ the values of type 3 to type 1
  • Tip: if you tune speeds by yourself set slow speeds for drum and horn 0-2 units (5-10 rpm) apart and fast speed 1-6 units (5-30 rpm) apart

  • VR Rotary Type 2+3 factory setting:
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 12 (56) 23 (108) 62 (292) 99 (467)
      Woofer RISE Horn RISE Woofer FALL Horn FALL
    value (time) 36 (7s) 92 (1.2s) 36 (7s) 80 (1.7s)
  • VR Rotary Type 1 ‘authentic setting’ (e.g. used in CTRLR EDITOR)
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 9 (42) 10 (47) 80 (377) 82 (387)
      Woofer Accel. Horn Accel.
    value (time) 6 (6s) 12 (1.5s)
  • VR Rotary Type 2+3 ‘authentic setting’ (e.g. used in CTRLR EDITOR)
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 9 (42) 10 (47) 80 (377) 82 (387)
      Woofer RISE Horn RISE Woofer FALL Horn FALL
    value (time) 50 (5s) 90 (1.2s) 50 (5s) 85 (1.4s)
  • VR Twin-Rotary (on rotary type 1) ‘authentic setting’
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 5 (55) 5 (55) 94 (360) 95 (370)
      Woofer Accel. Horn Accel.
    value (time) 6 (6s) 12 (1.5s)
  • VR Twin-Rotary (on rotary type 2/3) ‘authentic setting’
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 2 (48) 2 (48) 74 (390) 77 (380)
      Woofer RISE Horn RISE Woofer FALL Horn FALL
    value (time) 50 (5s) 90 (1.2s) 50 (5s) 85 (1.4s)
  • ‘Leslie 147’ (measurement by Mr. Fischer), matched to VR Rotary ‘type 2/3’:
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 8 (35) 10 (47) 72 (340) 85 (400)
      Woofer RISE Horn RISE Woofer FALL Horn FALL
    value (time) 50 (5s) 91 (1.2s) 50 (5s) 83 (1.5s)
  • Averaged values of a couple of ‘real’ Leslies, matched to VR Rotary ‘type 2/3’
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 9 (42) 9 (42) 78 (368) 79 (372)
  • Neo Ventilator, matched to VR Rotary ‘type 2/3’
      Woofer SLOW Horn SLOW Woofer FAST Horn FAST
    value (rpm) 10 (48) 10 (48) 83 (390) 87 (408)