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  • Same Hammond; Different Sound

    This is coming from a Hammond novice (I'm a player - not a technician) although I have had close to a dozen different Hammonds over the years.
    Here's my question: Why does the same model Hammond (let's say an A105) sound different from an identical model?
    Years ago, I sold my A105. Not too long ago, I bought another. They do not seem to sound the same. Am I nuts?
    Or do I just not remember well? I can understand a B3 or C3 with different cabinet configurations can sound different, but why does a basic A105 not sound the same?
    I read somewhere about "capacitors" being replaced, but that went over my head.
    Any info will be appreciated.
    Thanks

  • #2
    You've (re)opened a can of worms, here. Several threads on here about the 'difference' that the C3 vs B3 cabinet makes etc.

    Fact is, they're not like peas in a pod. Each TWG Hammond was hand built. Components vary within accepted tolerances when new and rather more when aged. The quality of build would vary slightly from person to person. No two pairs of valves (tubes) are exactly the same. And so on....

    Put enough of this variance together in a TWG Hammond and it's pretty obvious that no two are going to be exactly the same new, and of course they'll all have aged slightly differently for many reasons. So no two identical models will sound the same.
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PlayerElectone View Post
      This is coming from a Hammond novice (I'm a player - not a technician) although I have had close to a dozen different Hammonds over the years.
      Here's my question: Why does the same model Hammond (let's say an A105) sound different from an identical model?
      Years ago, I sold my A105. Not too long ago, I bought another. They do not seem to sound the same. Am I nuts?
      Or do I just not remember well? I can understand a B3 or C3 with different cabinet configurations can sound different, but why does a basic A105 not sound the same?
      I read somewhere about "capacitors" being replaced, but that went over my head.
      Any info will be appreciated.
      Thanks

      In addition to what Andy has stated, the cabinet style has zero to do with the sound you hear.
      Although the A100 has it's own speakers, the fact that the cabinet is not enclosed makes the cabinet design a moot point.
      Remember that any console model needs an external speaker of some sort in order to function...that is where tonal differences come from.
      You did not mention what type speaker system any of those Hammonds have had...there are dozens of different options.

      I believe that the inconsistant ageing of electrical components is the largest factor in tonal differences, all else being equal. The most noteable differences come from the capacitors in the Tone Generator.

      Bob
      In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
      In reality, there is.
      '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
      H-324/Series 10 TC
      '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
      Look at some of my rescues:
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/58226398@N03/albums

      Comment


      • #4
        That is something I heard somewhere (capacitors) in tone generator).
        If it's not too much trouble, what does that mean? Are some better than others?
        Should they be replaced if they are old (the A105 is 60s or 70s vintage).
        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          You'll hear some tell you that they must all be replaced immediately due to their age.

          If they are electrolytics with rubber seals, I guess they should be replaced so they don't leak.

          But in all other cases, there's little point in replacing them unless they are obviously a problem. If the organ isn't doing anything objectionable, I wouldn't mess with them.

          That's my two cents.

          Comment


          • #6
            I love how some of the cork sniffers think they can tell between a B3 and its electronically identical variants...... Hahahaha fools.
            These are the same gullible suckers who’ll pay $15,000 for a mint B3 and ignore the $2,000 mint C3 sitting right next to it.
            Current:
            1971 T-202 with Carsten Meyer mods: Remove key click filters, single-trigger percussion, UM 16' drawbar volume correction. Lower Manual bass foldback.
            Korg CX3 (original 1980's analogue model).
            1967 Leslie 122 with custom inbuilt preamp on back panel for 1/4" line-level inputs, bass & treble controls. Horn diffusers intact.
            2009 Marshall 2061x HW Plexi head into Marshall 4x12 cabinet.

            Former:
            1964 C3
            196x M-102
            197x X5
            197x Leslie 825

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PlayerElectone View Post
              That is something I heard somewhere (capacitors) in tone generator).
              If it's not too much trouble, what does that mean? Are some better than others?
              Should they be replaced if they are old (the A105 is 60s or 70s vintage).
              Thanks
              There is a capacitor on most of the tones on the Tone Generator.
              Lift up that green felt cover on the TG and you will see 2 rows of caps on top of a small coil.
              At the factory that capacitor is matched to the coil on that tone and the generator is calibrated to match that cap/coil.
              The older capacitors tend to change in value over the years, and as the capacitance changes, so does the tone.
              The result is a lack of highs.
              You may have noticed that the older Hammonds have a more mellow sound whereas the newer ones are brighter.
              At some point in the manufacturing process (I think late 60's) the type of cap went from the paper or wax dipped to newer plastic encased mylar.

              The plastic ones (usually deep red in color) tend to hold their values and unless a particular one has gone bad (unusual) there is no benefit to replace them.

              Replacing the older caps will most certainly result in a brighter sound.
              Beware that although the recapped TG probably sounds like it did when it was new, some do not like the brighter sound.

              Do some research on recapping a TG...you will see that this is not a simple job.

              All that being said, the answer to your original question is still the same. All Hammonds sound different, and the difference is more pronounced the greater the age difference between organs.


              Bob
              In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
              In reality, there is.
              '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
              H-324/Series 10 TC
              '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
              Look at some of my rescues:
              https://www.flickr.com/photos/58226398@N03/albums

              Comment


              • #8
                Bob, Andy and KC are right. Anecdotally, this is my experience:

                I have an A100 from a church, and it sounds bright enough. I haven't looked up the date. I don't plan to recap and will intervene when needed. Good is often better than "best." Because if you keep fiddling in your quest for best, you might really mess up your instrument...

                I also have a 1955 B3 which sounded muddy to my ears, and so I had the TWG recapped (but saved all the old caps. Is that hoarding?) The organ did really liven up, (especially with 88800008 when the percussion is flipped off, Leslie fast) but what I didn't expect was that the woody sounding percussion now sounded pingy. Annoying. So I had a pot bridging the percussion resistor and I have dialled things back to that woody sound, and can always brighten it on the fly.

                I have seen Joey Defrancesco and Tony Monaco on A100's, and we all know the sound is identical to the B3.

                Love the phrase "cork-sniffer." My B3 was $2500, has a few scratches from living in 2 homes, and sun rash, and a potted plant ring on the fall board. It has personality, some little quirks, key click, cross talk, tube leakage, but I love it best.

                I have had a C3 in the past, and I really enjoyed it, so it is still in the family. But there is something from my youth that made me love the shape of the B series.

                So, coming back full circle, isn't it nice to know that there is so much variance in the sound? Tony Monaco, during an online lesson, told me of a Hammond in a venue in Toronto that had the neatest gritty, dirty sound. He remembered that with fondness.
                1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Put in simple terms:

                  Some things are user (or technician) tweakable, like the tone control settings, the "drive" adjustment and the tone generator calibration. But those aren't the whole story.

                  The reason why two Hammonds of the same model and year still sound different from one another even when identically adjusted as per above, is that they are electromechanical, analog things made up of discrete components. Thousands of them, each with their own tolerance span. That's to say that even a brand new resistor marked "47 ohms", for instance, isn't going to be _exactly_ 47 ohms, but it'll be somewhere within plus/minus 5% of that marked value.

                  With thousands of these components that can each vary like that, it's only natural that although identical on paper, the "sum of all parts" makes for an infinite number of variations in the circuit - in turn leading to small variations in the signal (=sound) they put out.

                  ... and that's the beauty of them. Nothing bores me more than digital instruments that all sound exactly the same.
                  Current organs: AV, M-3, A-100
                  Current Leslies: 22H, 122, 770

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There like snowflakes!
                    Fender Rhodes 73 (1972), Minimoog D, Hammond A101 w/ Leslie 147, Yamaha 223, Motif XS8

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Then that begs the question: if you put all A's B's and C's on a bell curve for "quality" of sound, have there been some just awful-sounding rigs, right from the factory?

                      And for those who gig on the road, relying on the venue, have there been some that far exceeded your and others' expectations?
                      1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I doubt if there would have ever been anything 'awful-sounding' right from the factory, as quality control would have seen to that. Hammond's QC in the LSI years became more questionable, it could be argued, but we're talking about the tonewheel era. But some better than others when brand new? Undoubtedly.
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          HAHA love this thread ...I don't want anyone calling my B3 'Snowflake" not even sure about the cork sniffing analogy but then your not talking about the instrument .......I just hope that I got that gritty one Monaco saw in Toronto That's where mine came from and it has all the marks of a super gigged machine. ITs going back together now so we will some know.
                          Practise the theory...realize the practical
                          Hammonds L100 /A100 /B3 Leslie 147 and 122 Yamaha E352 Key board driven in OVATIONS 15" 40 watt power

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Don't forget that snowflakes form around a piece of grit or dirt. That's the core. Then you get all the nice lacy crystalline formations.

                            When you get the innards all put together, not leaving any surgical instruments, sponges or retractors inside, maybe turn that preamp drive level screw counterclockwise a bit without blowing the v21 (grit), then let's hear what you've got under the hood...
                            1955 B3, Leslie 21H and 147. Hammond A100 with weird Leslie 205. 1976 Rhodes. Wurlitzer 200A. Yamaha DX7/TX7. Korg M1. Yamaha C3 grand, 67 Tele blond neck, Les Paul Standard, PRS 24, Gibson classical electric, Breedlove acoustic electric, Strat, P Bass, Rogers drum kit, Roland TD 12 digital drums, Apollo quad, older blackfaced Fender Twin, other amps, mics and bits and pieces cluttering up the "studio."

                            Comment

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