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Is there a "Poor Man's X-66?"

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  • Is there a "Poor Man's X-66?"

    Hello everyone,
    It's been a while. I'm really jonesing for an X-66 lately, but as we all know, they're hard to find and seem to be very expensive when they do come up. There's currently one on Reverb for $4k!

    That's way out of my budget, so what would you guys recommend as a poor man's X-66? I also really like the sound of the Wersi organ Klaus Wunderlich used on his album Sound Explosion. I don't know what all was done on that album, but the variety of sounds he gets out of that organ is incredible.

    I also really like the Yamaha EX-42, but again, they seem to be impossible to find!

    I have a C3 and love it, but am looking to supplement it with something with a more diverse sound. Some old school analog transistor voices with spring reverb. I don't need perfect authentic drawbar/leslie sounds because I already have that! What would you recommend as a counter to a C3? I would be looking for a console not a spinet, and would want the option to use full size outboard speakers, as I like a large sound.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    -Jon
    Last edited by Vercus; 04-21-2018, 02:30 PM.

  • #2
    Starting off with these:

    In the Hammond domain alternatives: Concorde and Elegante. Both have internal speakers with external Leslie sockets.
    X-77 - close to the H-100 Series.

    In terms of Yahama, there are analog console organs from I think the same era as the EX-42: E 5, E 10, E-50 and E-70 with internal speakers, come to mind.

    Baldwin built the PR-200 an open base pedestal theatre type organ w/ external tone cabinets.
    Have: Hammond 340212 Elegante
    Had: Hammond T-311 and 333114 Colonnade
    Never will have: Laurens Hammond 350 w/ 2 - 751 Leslies

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    • #3
      kkeys,
      Thanks for the suggestions. It's funny you mention the Concorde and Elegantes, because there's a Concorde for sale on Craigslist not too far from me. However the seller wants $1,000 for it! I've always been told to pay little to nothing for the LSI Hammonds. With that said, it seems like a pretty interesting organ. Perhaps after it's been listed for a sale without any interest the seller will come down.

      -Jon

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      • #4
        An X-66 is a wonderful instrument but it should never reach $4K! Over here, when they do sell, it's usually for a few hundred £.

        And there is nothing like it. It is truly unique in the Hammond line-up and the Concorde and Elegante are just not the same animal. A Concorde should be nearer $10 than $1000!

        You might like to see my story of the X-66. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pzSbl-1ek8&t=60s

        If you like the Wunderlich sound (and do remember it's all heavily multitracked with other instruments being used) then the H100 will produce a lot of what you like! :) But, the H has its own set of issues, all well documented on the Forum.
        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 Genos, 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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        • #5
          Hello Andy,
          Thanks for all the great information! Yes, I actually have already watched your video. Well done by the way! That's actually what got my fire lit for one of these again. It's refreshing to know they're not as expensive as I had previously thought. I imagine the hardest part is finding one!

          It seems like right now there just aren't any interesting organs for sale near me. All I can find are spinets. The most interesting thing I found was a Wurlitzer 950. I'll have to just keep my eyes out I guess.

          Listening to Eddie Layton Plays Lawrence Welk on the X-66 as I type this. Those vibratos and reiterating percussion sounds really are unique to that organ aren't they?

          -Jon

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          • #6
            I wouldn't pay more than $200 for a Concorde. And that's if it's in great condition and everything works.

            Free is a good price for one that doesn't fit that description...

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            • #7
              Just found a Wersi Beta DX400 for sale not too far away, but the seller wants $2,700!! Where do people get their values for these things? Any suggestions on how to talk some sense into someone without offending them?

              I really want the Wersi, but that's just an insane price and I can't even dream of affording that right now.

              -Jon
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                The X-66 was the ONLY one with a 12 note tonewheel generator, which was divided out with divider circuits (so therefore, each tone didn't require tuning like an oscillator would.)

                I don't think you can really call any organ a "poor man's" X-66.

                I know of very few people who love tonewheel Hammond organs that also share that love for the X-66. It's just a different instrument. Then again you probably knew that already, or you wouldn't be asking.

                Be patient. I think if you wait long enough, you'll find one for free, or close to free if you're willing to do some work to them. I serviced an X-66 a few years ago. A couple months after my service visit, I followed-up to help the owner clean the bus bars, he informed me that he had already disassembled the organ and thrown it in the dumpster. He never even called me asking me if I wanted it before making such a rash decision.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Vercus View Post

                  I have a C3 and love it, but am looking to supplement it with something with a more diverse sound. Some old school analog transistor voices with spring reverb. I don't need perfect authentic drawbar/leslie sounds because I already have that! What would you recommend as a counter to a C3? I would be looking for a console not a spinet, and would want the option to use full size outboard speakers, as I like a large sound.
                  I was considering the above when first responding.

                  Adding these amendments to my earlier post, second generation LSI Hammond consoles, Colonnade, Elegante. or Commodore (no solo instrumental voices).
                  Although these organs do not sound like an X-66, they do have solid state derived analog voices and percussion. Love the orchestral strings and vibes on mine. There are newer or later HX and HT models than on the on the list above. Apparently these organs are no longer in production.

                  I would most probably consider the Kawai DX-1900 over the earlier Yamaha Electone home organs mentioned in my first post. I never had the chance to try one as they were special order. I realize that there are newer organs than this but Western Canada dealers closed I think before they came out.
                  Have: Hammond 340212 Elegante
                  Had: Hammond T-311 and 333114 Colonnade
                  Never will have: Laurens Hammond 350 w/ 2 - 751 Leslies

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by muckelroy View Post
                    The X-66 was the ONLY one with a 12 note tonewheel generator, which was divided out with divider circuits (so therefore, each tone didn't require tuning like an oscillator would.)
                    Worth noting: The 12 tonewheels act as a clock source only, their audio signal isn't actually heard. So, although it has tonewheels it's actually closer to the modern LSI organs in design than it is to the traditional tonewheel organs.
                    Current organs: AV, M-3, A-100
                    Current Leslies: 22H, 122, 770

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by enor View Post
                      Worth noting: The 12 tonewheels act as a clock source only, their audio signal isn't actually heard. So, although it has tonewheels it's actually closer to the modern LSI organs in design than it is to the traditional tonewheel organs.
                      I didn't know this. I knew it had only 12 tonewheels, but I thought their tone was used, and just run through an octave divider circuit for the tonewheel organ sounds. So instead, the tonewheel sound is generated with transistors? Interesting.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by enor View Post
                        Worth noting: The 12 tonewheels act as a clock source only, their audio signal isn't actually heard. So, although it has tonewheels it's actually closer to the modern LSI organs in design than it is to the traditional tonewheel organs.
                        Enor is correct. Here's how it's explained near the beginning of the X-66 service manual:

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Vercus View Post

                          Listening to Eddie Layton Plays Lawrence Welk on the X-66 as I type this. Those vibratos and reiterating percussion sounds really are unique to that organ aren't they?

                          -Jon

                          Having worked on replicating the electronic designs of the X-66, I came to the same conclusion, it is the vibrato scanner assembly that creates the characteristic sound. That and the Bass Vibrato Board. Luckily the BVB is present in other Hammond organ Bass pedal amplifiers. Waiting for a second hand instrument is the only option, I waited nine years to get a vibrato scanner.
                          Neil Jenson 'Connoisseur' 3/35 VTPO. Gulbransen Rialto II.
                          Building a full set of WERSI W3 voice filters and designing new Hammond X-66 voice filters for a new MIDI controlled organ.
                          Various Leslie speaker projects including 'Rotosonic' L102, L103, L212S and building a new L122 cabinet.

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