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Tracked a Real Leslie Last Night


Dave Pierce

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So, my originals project is in the studio right now. Last night I needed to lay some organ down on one of the tunes. The studio where we are recording has an M-111 and a Leslie (looks like a 147, but I'm not positive). The engineer didn't trust the M-111, so we didn't muck with it. But we did run my Nord Electro through the Leslie.

 

Wow. I had forgotten what a difference a real Leslie makes! I like my Motion-Sound and everything, but it sure isn't the same. We were able to dial in just the exact amount of overdrive I wanted. And the way it softens up yet brightens the highest octave is truly amazing.

 

I had such a blast tracking that last night. Makes me really wish that Leslie's weighed 50 lbs less, so that I could take one to all my gigs!

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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The 2101 is light and sounds pretty damn good. Won't really get the bass response without a bottom too, but it IS full-frequency - works as long as there's a bassist too.

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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Do you recall what mic setup the engineer was using? I used to try sooo many configurations in the studio. Most successfully, but the sound can vary greatly (depends on what you are going for). For "rock" organ, I was happiest with 2 421's xy pair, centered on the upper rotor (the actual rotor, which is offset, not the center of the cab), and an RE20, or D112 on the lower rotor.

 

A single Tube (like a U67) about 2-6 feet away from the cab also sounded good for a mono/room sound. I also got pleasant results from a single omni earthworks mic, pointed right in the center of the cab.

 

I was never happy just sticking an SM57 on top- didn't do it for me.

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I didn't really pay attention to the brand/model mics he was using. But he had a condensor mic on top, and a mic that looked like a kick drum mic on the bottom. Listening to the recording, it probably could have been placed better, but it's still pretty good. We were getting major wind noise from the top when it was placed near the back, so he moved it to the corner.

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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I did a bunch of organ tracks a few months ago using 2 SM57s on top and a large diaphragm dynamic on the rotor. The top mics were 6 inches from each side louver, and the rotor mic was 6 inches from the front of the rotor.

 

The sound was smooth with a bit of room ambience to it. Next time I will be looking for a bit more presence, and will try the corners of the back opening without the cabinet louvers in the way.

Moe

---

 

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One of the coolest Leslie sessions I did was back in the early-mid '90s with my old band Fighting Gravity. We put the Leslie out in the lounge area with stereo close mikes on both the top and bottom. I cannot remember which microphones were used. Then there was a room overhead mike. Finally, there was a 6th mike down the hall from this. I'll never forget listening to mixdown when we had 6 mikes dedicated to the Leslie. The engineer muted everything else except that hallway mike and it was like some magical distant sweetness.

 

I have the tracks from this session, but am such an MP3 idiot that I don't really know how to get them uploaded to the internet.

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Yeah Dave I just went thru the same dance. Small studio with drums in tracking room. Used vocal iso booth for my 145. Only needed organ for one track and space was at a premium so I used the Nord Electro 61 > Speakeasy tube pre. Pearlman large condenser mic on bottom rotor, I'm not sure what mics on the top rotor but he placed them 180 degrees apart. Sounded pretty good to me when I heard the tracks ... very full.

 

I think my Electro has a little more "click" than my '58 B3 in the percussion but maybe that's because they sampled an A100 instead of a more mellow B. I'm sorry, I have tried to like the Motion Sound stuff but it just doesn't cut it for me. I had a KBR-M and have played the Pro 145 at a jam.

 

My advice to players that want a Leslie sound, is to bite the bullet and buy a real top and lower rotor Leslie. Usually $800-1000. Spend some money bringing it up to snuff if necessary (tubes, belts, motor cleaning and O-rings) and you might have $1200 in it.

 

What kind of vehicle do you have Dave? The supposed difficulty in moving it is way overstated. You do need a large volume vehicle though. A Geo probably isn't going to cut it. A shorty 145/142 isn't that hard to move. I made a skateboard type dolly out of leftover plywood that works better than a furniture dolly. PM me if you'd like a sketch and dimensions of it. The only time I need help is lifting it out of the back of my Runner to the dolly. If it rocks, it rolls. The tube Les won't be loud enough to compete live with Twin Reverbs or Marshalls so I bought an Audio Technica ATM25 for the bottom rotor and a SM57 or Senn MD421 for the upper rotor.

Yamaha CP73; 145 gig Leslie; Nord Electro 61; Oberheim OB3^2; Wurlitzer 200A; Ampeg Gemini I amp; Speakeasy Leslie preamp; QSC K-10

 

 

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Eric, email it to me (learjef at aol dot com) and I'll post it for you. That's right, just one 'f'.

 

Thanks Jeff!

 

I fiddled around and was able to upload one track from this CD that has the cool Leslie sound. It is not that easy to hear all the various channels being consumed by the organ on this song, but overall I am very proud of the organ tracks on this tune. This was recorded in 1996 and engineered by John Alagia, who did the first few Dave Matthews Band recordings. It is a good song.

 

Mission Bells

 

 

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Nothing like a real Leslie. SM57s are best used live, although they can give decent results in the studio. The key is to back them off a bit, more than you would think (both live and in the studio) otherwise their midrange will get the better of you.

 

Put them about 6-9 inches away if mic'ing through the louver, perhaps a bit more if mic'ing the horn direct.

 

On the bottom I like a big dynamic like an SM7 or an RE20. A nice large condensor is always good, too. Tube condensor? Even better!

 

For pencil condensors, if you have the right room, a nice pair of omnis on the upper rotor can sound fantastic.

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