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Anyone own the 122xb or newer Leslies and have motor-noise issues?

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  • Anyone own the 122xb or newer Leslies and have motor-noise issues?

    I am considering buying a 122xb, but concerned about potential noise due to a newly designed motor mechanism, hoping to get feedback. I don't think there are any Hammond/Leslie showrooms close enough to me to check out one in person.

    I owned a 3300 maybe 5 years ago. The motor mechanism was loud, and ultimately the sole reason I sold it---incredibly distracting/noticeable. I now have an older 145 - it has some minor mechanical issues and cosmetically is pretty ugly...but it works generally and is quiet as a mouse. I really would like a prettier Leslie to match my pretty Hammond, and the quarter-inch connection is something I really like...but not if its the same motor as the 3300 or similarly audible motor. At least with the 3300, the noise had something to do with the revolution/rotary mechanical function I think.

  • #2
    I've never encountered a post-1990 Leslie cabinet that was as mechanically quiet as a vintage cabinet with the motors properly serviced.

    But when they rebooted the Leslie cabinet in 1990, they either couldn't get the original-style motors or they would have been too expensive, so the people who designed the 122A/XB used what they could get.
    I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.


    • #3
      What model organ do you have, and have you considered refinishing your 145 and keeping it instead?


      • #4
        I 2nd the motion to keep the 145.If you want pretty, it can be cleaned up and parts like edge trim, backs, rotor covers can be purchased.


        One thing you might want to consider that "looks" and "sound" are mutually exclusive. Find a cab that sounds good fix her up. if you like your 145's sound, save her.

        The newer motor designs IMO was an attempt to reinvent the mouse trap where there was no real long time data to know how a single motor doing the job of two, starting and stopping two masses under inertia would prosper.

        The tried and true double stack is the way to go IMO.

        There is also something to be said about traditional vents or louvers. The sound coming out of them exits out of phase.

        You can browser search fluid and air dynamics that show this principle when going through a vent or a louver.

        Click image for larger version

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        A square hole in a box destined for a Leslie rotor system loses that out of phase phenomenon. There's more to traditional Leslie sound than meets the eye AND the EAR.

        Whether synchronous or serendipitous (if when they designed the Leslie louver they knew about how vents affect sound and air..or not) what Don ended up with became the touchstone in the sound and operation of a Leslie as has been widely accepted as the cabinets with real traditional louvers.


        • #5
          Thanks for all the feedback and info. Yeah I am thinking I just need to have 145 serviced (for the minor mechanical issue) and, less urgent, refinished. As you alluded to, and others on Reddit echoed, the tone on the newer Leslies isn't the same either, and I really love the tone of my 145. The quarter-inch connection was really important to me/key driver in me thinking about getting the 122xb, but not at the expense of the rotor noise issue or the tone.

          Muckelroy - currently using a chopped B-3 with the Leslie, it's not as pretty, and a beautiful cherry A-100


          • #6
            I have a 122XB and the upper motor failed after not so many years of use. Apparently not repairable, and heard those motors were prone to failure. I haven't replaced it yet because I've been using a 914. I don't remember hearing noise except just before if locked up. When I replace it, the bottom motor will be replaced, too. Those old Leslie motors, even barely oiled, never seem to fail.


            • #7
              Well there's two versions of the "new style motor". The early version having bushings while the later versions having bearings. These motors run hot since they get no rest. The older ones tend to have the bushings wear out from the heat and lack of oil. Once it gets bad enough, the rotor won't turn because armature can't stay centered. Then it really gets hot and buzzes. All replacements have the newer bearings and they seem to last much longer. I've had very noisy motors that once replaced, quiet again. Well, as quiet as they get.

              As for the old style motor stacks, yes, they too wear out. I have replaced dozens and dozens of slow motors due to bad bushings. Apparently there are/were techs who ignored these motors as long as they were spinning. Unfortunately, they do need oil. Fast and slow motors. I routinely pull these out and completely oil all bearings whenever I have time. If no time, I recommend a return trip to do this. More recently I am running across bad fast motors which is unusual. I have a batch of good used ones so so far, so good.

              I recommend regular oiling of these older motors to keep them going.