Thursday, January 30, 2014


There is a sound that is missing from the latest, and most accurate Hammond tone wheel organ imitators to date. What is that sound? Can everyone hear it? Or not hear it that is...

In a recent Youtube video I commented- 

All of my summations of clones:

-if a vegi-burger could speak
-like a fat-free milkshake
- sounds like it's low in iron
- In a side by side test with a real Hammond C3, the Hammond SK2 really does sound identical, but with one vital ingredient missing. Upon closer comparison it came to me that what that ingredient was. It was the sound of magnetism itself! This has prompted me to investigate the possibility of recreating this very subdued, but apparently very necessary magnetic connection using a real electromagnetic transducer revolving in proximity to an electromagnetic pick-up. Do we need 91 of these? Of course not, but having three or four contrasting one another by set frequency ranges overlapping might work a little better."

Sometimes the simplest inventions are the best! 
With that in mind lets consider a very simple multi-frequency tone wheel of sorts, but instead of this tone wheel being a steel disc with a wavy edge in the shape of a sine wave, picture a tone wheel with a magnetically conductive edge that similar to the ever changing surface of a speaker cone.

I really have no idea how to use social media to get people thinking on the same page when it comes to exploring what we as musicians want in terms of the best sounding Hammond clone imaginable. What can WE do to realize and materialize EVERYTHING we as musicians want to have available to us? But I picked up a book in regard to how to use social media to make change happen. 

And then I directed them here to my very overlooked and forgotten about blog, but I certainly didn't think posting all of the following as a Youtube Comment on just one video was giving it the most justice. What sort of justice? The justice of a portable Hammond clone sounding as close to a real Hammond tone wheel organ as possible.

You know, sometimes the simplest inventions are the best!
 I have been observing all of the feedback in regards to the various Hammond clones. Something interesting is that it is the abrasive arguments between the analog purists and the digital purists that has fueled me to want to please both sides. Since very few engineers seem to want to communicate about new and interesting avenues to explore in music electronics where the organ is concerned, I almost feel a certain responsibility to do it myself. I used to be the guy arguing on behalf of the real B3, but my narcissistic analog purist side began to tremble when I discovered the clones were getting better and better. So while still defending the virtues of analog I decided to at least open my ears a little more to where digital was going. Digital got better than good, it seems to have gotten great in just the past few years. But due to hardheaded attitudes of musicians there seems to be these two distinct camps of analog and digital. That's actually a good thing because it's usually the most stubborn who voice the best arguments for their side. A good motto is 'never compromise unless it's to come together for a greater common good'. Well, it's time to come together. Even something as ridiculously simple as a kitchen table creation might bring our camps together to a great common good.


Everyone likes to be a winner so the clear winner will be everyone who loves Hammond tone wheel organs and/or Hammond clones, but wants to really nail down that last 'sound of magnetism in motion' ingredient to allow ANY Hammond clone manufactured by anybody (including the NORD,KORG,3B,HAMMOND SK-1,XK-1, etc., and even older clones) to sound more authentic.

Many of you are confused by this whole topic because you don't understand what in the heck the sound of magnetism is. So if anyone who does understands wishes to expound on the topic please do so. Perhaps if I add that it is not necessarily 'magnetism' we are hearing, but the audible EFFECTS of the the magnetic relationship of the tone wheel on the magnetic pole in the pick-up. In the end, even if you aren't really sure what is taking place with this relationship you might still be able to fathom the possibility of such an audible relationship if you over exaggerate things a bit.

- The device should allow the line-out signal from any Hammond clone to pass through a revolving magnetic field device without altering the input frequencies in terms of pitch. In other words don't make a vibrato scanner. Think in terms of TONE WHEEL and PICK-UP, but instead of a single passive metallic tone wheel becoming an active player when it is rotated in front of a wire wound electromagnetic pick-up, what we are shooting for is a simple device that takes the entire clone wheel organ output signal and treats/exposes/converts (however YOU decide) to the physical properties of revolving electromagnetism. The output specs should either maintain the same specs as the original clone wheel specs unless they are even closer to the original Hammond tone wheel organ. 

Already existing electromagnetic devices for inspiration can come from:
INPUT TRANSDUCER ( tank reverb, oil filled reverb,microphone,piezo pick-ups/buzzer)
SPEAKERS ( both electromagnetic field coil, and rare earth stationary magnetic )
MAGNAPAN SPEAKERS (ie. Magnaplaner Smg1, look at how/why they work)
HEADPHONES ( take full advantage of the possibilities contained within an old pair of earbuds...rare earth magnets in some)
STUDY HOW THE EFFECTS OF ONE DEVICE MIGHT APPLY TO THE OTHER. Laurens Hammond was a master of reuse! He created a Hammond tone wheel organ using his invention of the Synchronous Motor. He used clockwork mechanisms to deal cards in his automatic dealer bridge table. For 3D glasses he utilized treating two identical things ( our two eyes) with opposite colored lenses in order to filter out.

If you have any ideas or questions feel free to respond to this blog, or the Youtube video comments in the link-

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