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Hammond Midi Controller Project

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    Hammond Midi Controller Project

    Just thought I'd share a few photos of my Hammond midi project so far.

    It's in very early stages, just building the cabinet and collecting parts at the moment.

    Drawbars from a C2 organ.

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    Cabinet is B3 inspired but a lighter version.

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    Just thrown together in this picture to give an idea.

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    Also got a nice set of bench and pedals from a Hammond Grandee.

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    I'm waiting on 2 Fatar waterfall keyboards for the manuals, instead of preset keys I'm going to make a control section with faders and knobs to control the different functions in B4 II.

    Let me know what you think so far!

    Luke

    #2
    Looks good so far. Keep us informed as to how it goes.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
    Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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      #3
      Very Nice! Are you currently working with B4 software? I'm thinking of getting it and putting it on my laptop. I just recently heard it on a friends set up and was very impressed with its sound(s)
      Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by lukehigs View Post
        Just thought I'd share a few photos of my Hammond midi project so far.
        It's in very early stages, just building the cabinet and collecting parts at the moment.
        Drawbars from a C2 organ.
        I'm waiting on 2 Fatar waterfall keyboards for the manuals, instead of preset keys I'm going to make a control section with faders and knobs to control the different functions in B4 II.
        Let me know what you think so far!
        Luke
        Luke, this is totally great.
        Phenomincally cool.
        I saw some kind of web page for another guy (somewhere in europe) who built a similar controller for his B4.
        He used real hammond keyboards though.
        Aside from having the "exact feel" of a hammond keyboard, your use of the Fatars gives you much more flexibility.
        I think the B4 is just flat out phenominal. The leslie sim is dead on.

        How are you going to encode the drawbars?
        Are you going to use a 36 channel CV to MIDI encoder?
        Are you using one of the kenton kits (or some other off the shelf unit) ?

        More data please !!!
        Jeremy H.
        B2, Chopped B3, Chopped RT-2, Baby B Clonewheel
        145 Leslie w/Midi
        Custom 50W Leslie
        Custom 100W Leslie #1
        Custom 100W Leslie #2
        Lots of Synths

        Comment


          #5
          For what it's worth:

          Native Instruments no longer makes or supports B4 software, as of about 2005. Their current product is simply called "Vintage Organs". You can use Kontakt 4 to interface with those patches, or whatever software controller you wish.

          The Vintage Organs product is REALLY awesome - it seems. Lots of control, and samples of 5 different organs - B3, C3, M3, Vox, and something else I can't recall. Complete control of the type of cab/leslie being used, all the goodies.

          B4 is awesome too. I'm wondering if anyone has had the opportunity to compare B4 with their current "Vintage Organs" product?

          Comment


            #6
            Hi thanks for the replies!

            Hamman, you should definatly check out B4 II it's great. It has lots of good preset sounds already on but you can literally edit everything about the Hammond and Leslie. It also has a lot of functions to accommodate hardware like a midi learn function and invert drawbars (very handy). I wonder if you can get a demo version?

            Jeremy, you'll have to excuse me because I'm a bit of a beginner to electronics at the moment. I am using a circuit board made by Midi Gadgets Boutique Link Here. Each metal strip in the drawbar section will be connected together with resistors in between giving a different fixed voltage across each one. The actual drawbars then wire onto the circuit board individually, I think this is basically making 9 way switches although I'm not sure.

            Unfortunately I could only get hold of ratchet style drawbars without the base plate but I could always upgrade them if I wanted, it's a pain trying to find any Hammond console parts in the UK and shipping from the US is too expensive for me at the moment. I could of made up the set from spinet ones but to be honest I prefer the old style ends and the silver numbers and lines.

            Luke

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by lukehigs View Post
              Hi thanks for the replies!
              Jeremy, you'll have to excuse me because I'm a bit of a beginner to electronics at the moment. I am using a circuit board made by Midi Gadgets Boutique Link Here. Each metal strip in the drawbar section will be connected together with resistors in between giving a different fixed voltage across each one. The actual drawbars then wire onto the circuit board individually, I think this is basically making 9 way switches although I'm not sure.
              Luke
              Wow... that little gadget is a fantastic find.
              Yes, it appears you will need to put dropping resistors across the 9 drawbar busses giving you 9 distinct "selectable" voltages which the controller can then interpret coming off each drawbar. Very nice and easy. But... it say's that is a 24 input unit. That is only 4 x 8... and real hammonds have 9 drawbars (which would be 28 inputs)
              Ok... I guess they are only counting on you using 1 set of drawbars for the Great and 1 set for the Swell. You could always "bank switch" them with a handful of relays to utilize the full DB set.


              FWIW... I cannot understand why they dropped the B4 II and tried to replace
              it with a sample player. Just not the same. The B4 was the shiz.
              Jeremy H.
              B2, Chopped B3, Chopped RT-2, Baby B Clonewheel
              145 Leslie w/Midi
              Custom 50W Leslie
              Custom 100W Leslie #1
              Custom 100W Leslie #2
              Lots of Synths

              Comment


                #8
                Native Instruments is going through several changes, not all seem to be for the good. The B4 (II) and Pro-53 products were discontinued because they were very early codes that were out of date with current products, and sales didn't support reworking them. Several other products were discontinued and rolled into the Kontakt Sampler. The pianos, electric pianos, and of course Vintage Organs.

                Very recently, Kore was discontinued in favor of centralizing everything into Machine. I use Kore and hate to see it go too. It should be usable for the foreseeable future but I don't understand the reasoning they have for putting everything into Machine. I have heard other synths may go away as well like Absynth, Massive, FM-8 and Battery.

                I have used both B4, B4II, Vintage Organs and VB-3. I currently use VB-3. I liked B4 a lot and B4 II added a lot of really good stuff BUT, they ruined the overdrive in that version. Vintage Organs works well and I have used it live when I wanted to bring a minimal setup. (running Kontakt for organ and piano) I didn't feel like I was missing anything with it. I don't think the Leslie sims in any of these products are that great. VB-3 may be the better one with more options. In my case, I run VB-3 through a Ventilator.

                Geo

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just downloaded the VB-3 demo and actually I'm thinking it might be better for what I'm doing. I was thinking about having buttons to access the inverted presets but I can't find a way on B4 II to midi learn the preset keys, in VB-3 you can. I use a laptop with a touch screen and the layout of VB-3 seems a bit easier to access.

                  I suppose the beauty of a midi controller is that you can run whatever you want! I'll just have to have a play around with both programs and see which one I like the most.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So tell me more about how this will work? Aren't those real drawbars pulled from a real Hammond? How will those drawbars be adapted to midi signals and assigned to control B4 or VB-3?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by muckelroy View Post
                      So tell me more about how this will work? Aren't those real drawbars pulled from a real Hammond? How will those drawbars be adapted to midi signals and assigned to control B4 or VB-3?
                      Yes they are real ratchet type drawbars from a C2 I think, a company called Midi Gadgets Boutique make a circuit board to wire up real Hammond Drawbars with no need to modify them (Link in post #6) and this just outputs midi control change messages. It also has a midi merge port so I'm hoping to run the whole organ from one midi cable.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        WOW! Does it come with a wiring harness? How exactly do you wire everything up to this thing?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by muckelroy View Post
                          WOW! Does it come with a wiring harness? How exactly do you wire everything up to this thing?
                          I believe it does come with the plugs for the circuit board. Its fairly simple to wire up actually, each of the drawbars wire directly onto the circuit board via the 8 pin plugs and the bussbars are connected together with resistors in between each one and then onto the circuit board via a 2 pin plug. They have a full circuit diagram on the website which will probably explain it better than I can.

                          I do have one question about the console drawbars.....

                          Do the bussbars run the whole length of the unit or is there a split in the middle? If this is the case, do the pedal drawbars connect to the left or right bussbars?

                          Luke

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Your question answers one of my questions - which was if you intent to put actual 61-key Hammond manuals into this thing.

                            I do believe bus bars run the entire length of the keyboard. At least, they did with the M3 I worked on when adding foldback.

                            I could be wrong though. I'm not the person in this room with much of any experience on the larger-format consoles.

                            In a real-world Hammond, the tips of each bus bar go to their respective drawbars individually, and then you'd need to take the 8 different wires from the drawbars corresponding to the 1-8 volume level of the drawbars, and connect those 8 wires (the first one is grounded - volume = 0) to a matching transformer (which, to my understanding, is responsible for giving each 1-8 volume level of the drawbars its proper attenuation level, and sums all the signals together to the output signal.)

                            Here though, it's a COMPLETELY different concept, where your only goal is to let each drawbar act as an independent potentiometer on its own...
                            -- In real drawbars, as stated above, (correct me if I'm wrong...) there is a bus that goes across each 1 through 9 volume level of all of the drawbars to sum together the audio signal. So if you're playing this registration on the drawbars:
                            888111222

                            What' actually happening is you have 3 drawbars summing signal to the "8" bus, 3 drawbars summing signal to the "1" bus and 3 drawbars summing signal to the "2" bus. (so those 3 busses, 8, 2, and 1, go to the matching transformer, and then to the amplifier).
                            -- What you're doing here is going to require you to separate each drawbar from one another. You will need to find a way to either remove the drawbar's bus bars (Yes, I'm talking about 2 different kinds of bus bars - some inside the manual, and the others inside the drawbars) or modify the drawbar's bus bars in a way that they will serve this function. I'm now going into territory that is making my head hurt.

                            But I hope you see my point.
                            Last edited by muckelroy; 06-17-2011, 12:44 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I dug up this photo of the drawbar bus bars - so you can hopefully see what I'm talking about. I've never disassembled drawbars that deeply, so maybe yours are different.

                              http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-LvZwHdZqSH...0/Drawbars.jpg

                              I'm seeing noise online that later model Hammonds (like the LSI models) have more "digital-friendly" drawbars that are easier to retro-fit to a midi controller environment.

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