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Which Leslie to search for?


Lou_NC

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Ive been playing organ for 40+ years, for my own pleasure. I play mostly in my family room at home, occasionally with friends at work, and sometimes at my church. I have a Hammond XK-3 and play through a Ventilator into stereo speaker setups whenever possible. Ive never owned a Leslie, came close a few times but all were hundreds (or thousands) of miles away, and I couldnt get to them in time for numerous reasons.

 

Im approaching retirement, and decided that one way or another, Im going to own a Leslie before I leave this earth! My thinking has been to try to find a 142/145 and park it in my family room, and continue to play the vent when away from home. Oh, and I play bass pedals, so ideally Id like to have both a home and away setup that has the bass capability of a traditional Leslie cabinet.

 

Here's a few questions. Im thinking of buying a 3300 since theyre still available new (with free shipping to my door). I read some reviews on the 3300 that claim the bass is lacking compared to a 122. (Not sure how that relates to the smaller 142/145). I dont have any way to audition these things side by side, and Id hate to pull the trigger on a new 3300 knowing that I might be compromising on bass. Has anyone done an A/B comparison between a vintage Leslie and a 3300, and found that the bass is equal? If not equal, how good is the 3300?

 

If I end up with a 3300 (assuming the bass is good), Im pretty much done, since I can use it at home and away from home. But if I end up with a 145 or other vintage cabinet at home, I still need/want a portable setup that is 1) stereo, and 2) has bass capability as close as possible with a 122 or 145. Ive been thinking about combining a SSv3 with a powered subwoofer, but not sure which sub would work best to clone the response of a Leslie. Any suggestions based on personal experience with this?

 

Interested in hearing how folks have approached this!

 

Thanks,

Lou

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Where are you located? How much are you willing to spend? There's nothing wrong with short cabinets in fact a lot of guys like myself prefer them.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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The newer 3300 with the plywood cabinet has plenty of bass. I don't know what stubb is talking about with "magic", but the 3300 sounds great. A 145/147 is also great. The 3300 has a tube pre amp and solid state power amp. This makes it more reliable and louder. I changed the preamp tubes on mine per Jim A's suggestions on his blog. Unless you like fixing things and maintaining old equipment, I would suggest the 3300. There is another option out of Italy called the Tornado which looks very cool. It is supposed to sound like a 147 but is lightweight. However, it is expensive to get to the US. I would love to try one.

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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I'm interested in this thread as well.

 

I play a Nord Stage 3, Vent II through a pair of RCF TT08-a. Doesn't suck, and I've learned how to get a sweet sound out of it -- for now.

 

Strangely, the Nord has the best sounding tube-distortion drive among all my current options -- better than the Vent to my ears. Looking at a Summit Audio tube preamp to bring some sadly needed warmth to my rig. But $$$.

 

Next rig will likely be a Mojo 61 and a real Leslie. The Motion Sound stuff didn't work for me. I tried. I've got the AP thing totally figured out. B3 sound is next on the list.

 

I would prefer tube preamp joy without spending for a separate tube section. Hot quality tubes matter,I'm learning. As does cabinet construction.

 

The starved plate stuff is total suckage.

 

I'm OK with weight, because I'd only bring it out for extra-special creamy gigs.

 

Let me know what the consensus is here, please?

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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3300s are a road Leslie. They are loud. The onboard overdrive is killer and the bass is absolutely massive using the built in sub out. But for playing at home without the need to sonically compete in a loud band and without the need to move the Leslie I would get something else. Which extract model depends on the organ..... Where does the B+ need to come from ect... If you want a home rig you want a real organ. You don't need a 3 series. The best 3 I ever played was a 2 with aftermarket percussion. I've played a killer CV that is an awesome Rock organ but rachet drawbars sort of suck if you want to change registrations while active.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Where are you located? How much are you willing to spend? There's nothing wrong with short cabinets in fact a lot of guys like myself prefer them.

 

I'm in Raleigh, NC. A great place to live, but not a great place to find Leslies to demo! In fact, I've never seen a drawbar organ in the local GC or Sam Ash, much less a Leslie!

 

I'm willing to spend a fair price for quality gear (new or vintage), but my problem is actually hearing something before buying, especially if I have to pay freight shipping for a Leslie on a pallet or through a moving company. If I can't actually audition the gear, I need the experience of folks who've been there before me to help guide the way.......

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3300s have a solid state amp. They are louder than a 145/147/122 but have NONE of the magic.

 

I would have to agree. If you're going to go to the trouble of getting a Leslie, why screw around with anything but the best. That old 6550 amplifier is a freaking work of art. So your main choices are 147 or its shorter brother the 145, or a 122 or its shorter (and fairly rare) brother the 142. These are generally acknowledged to be the best they ever made, and accordingly will hold the best resale value when it comes time for you to sell.

 

I have pretty strong opinions about preamps too but getting the right Leslie is primary.

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Here is a Leslie 122 which may be close to your area. $1200 including an unspecified model of Hammond Organ.

 

https://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/d/leslie-speaker/6742630165.html

C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
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1. You would need to have a really big family room, the 3300 is LOUD.

2. The old one was a bit lacking in bass, but the new one is fine.

3. As per Jim Alfredson's advice, I swapped out the supplied 12AX7 for 12AT7, it helped smooth out any distortion from the pre-amp. Most people recommend NOS, but they are hard to find. I got a new Electro Harmonix one, and it is excellent.

4. You may want to add a Tall & Fat pedal, I found it made a HUGE difference.

5. I heard a Tornado, and it sounds amazing, just like a vintage 145. You need the T-115 model with the seperate amp, not the T-135.

 

Good luck.

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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If you buy a vintage Leslie, you will need to budget a small sum for a technician to look it over and make sure it will be reliable.

 

You live very close to David Anderson, who is a top-notch Ham/Les tech. Don't go anywhere else.

 

Once someone like David over your speaker, it will be more reliable in the long term than new production.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Here is a Leslie 122 which may be close to your area. $1200 including an unspecified model of Hammond Organ.

 

https://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/d/leslie-speaker/6742630165.html

 

I appreciate the link....I already communicated with this person and the organ is a CV. It's not a bad deal for $1200, but I really don't want a CV (or any 300lb. tonewheel right now). I'd also prefer to let this particular organ/leslie go to a church in the area that would likely keep them together.

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1. You would need to have a really big family room, the 3300 is LOUD.

2. The old one was a bit lacking in bass, but the new one is fine.

3. As per Jim Alfredson's advice, I swapped out the supplied 12AX7 for 12AT7, it helped smooth out any distortion from the pre-amp. Most people recommend NOS, but they are hard to find. I got a new Electro Harmonix one, and it is excellent.

4. You may want to add a Tall & Fat pedal, I found it made a HUGE difference.

5. I heard a Tornado, and it sounds amazing, just like a vintage 145. You need the T-115 model with the seperate amp, not the T-135.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks for the info! A couple of follow up questions........

 

1. Not trying to be a smart guy, but can't the 3300 volume simply be adjusted down if you're in a smaller room/venue? If I decide on the 3300, I was planning on keeping the volume reasonable in my family room, but having some "reserve capacity" for playing out in larger venues.

2. How can I tell an "old" 3300 from a "new" 3300?

3. What specific change was made to improve the bass in the 3300?

4. Is the "new" 3300 equal in bass response to a 122/147/145/142?

 

Thanks!

Lou

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If you buy a vintage Leslie, you will need to budget a small sum for a technician to look it over and make sure it will be reliable.

 

You live very close to David Anderson, who is a top-notch Ham/Les tech. Don't go anywhere else.

 

Once someone like David over your speaker, it will be more reliable in the long term than new production.

 

Wes is right. I was at his house and we were talking about this two days ago with the Real MC. Leslie's need to be serviced. Luckily with regular service these cabinets will last and last.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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3300s are a road Leslie. They are loud. The onboard overdrive is killer and the bass is absolutely massive using the built in sub out.

 

So is the bass of the 3300 alone equal to a 122 (when the 3300 is played at similar volume to the 122's capabilities)?

 

I really don't want to have to buy a subwoofer if I buy a 3300, to equal the bass performance of a 122/147/145/142.

 

Lou

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Lou remember the performance in a 142/145 is different basically as the cabinet is 8 inches shorter. I have a 147 I am getting rid of but some people want the standard cabinet height for that reason, bass response. You don't have buy a sub woofer. Also remember that unless you are doing 90% of organ on a gig you probably don't need a Leslie. It's a commitment to gig with one.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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1. You would need to have a really big family room, the 3300 is LOUD.

2. The old one was a bit lacking in bass, but the new one is fine.

3. As per Jim Alfredson's advice, I swapped out the supplied 12AX7 for 12AT7, it helped smooth out any distortion from the pre-amp. Most people recommend NOS, but they are hard to find. I got a new Electro Harmonix one, and it is excellent.

4. You may want to add a Tall & Fat pedal, I found it made a HUGE difference.

5. I heard a Tornado, and it sounds amazing, just like a vintage 145. You need the T-115 model with the seperate amp, not the T-135.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks for the info! A couple of follow up questions........

 

1. Not trying to be a smart guy, but can't the 3300 volume simply be adjusted down if you're in a smaller room/venue? If I decide on the 3300, I was planning on keeping the volume reasonable in my family room, but having some "reserve capacity" for playing out in larger venues.

2. How can I tell an "old" 3300 from a "new" 3300?

3. What specific change was made to improve the bass in the 3300?

4. Is the "new" 3300 equal in bass response to a 122/147/145/142?

 

Thanks!

Lou

 

 

I don't think that you're trying to be smart. You CAN turn it down, but the "start" volume is about twice as loud as my Yamaha DXR 10's.

2. If it's newer than about three years, it's a new type, made from plywood.

3. Changed the cab material from mdf to ply, and did something (can't remember what) with the electronics. Possibly the driver?

4. Sorry, can't help, only seen a 145 at a gig, no experience of the other three. Happy with the bass response of my 3300 though.

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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"Not trying to be a smart guy, but can't the 3300 volume simply be adjusted down if you're in a smaller room/venue? If I decide on the 3300"

 

Yes! I was going to state this obvious fact too. It is only loud when you turn up the volume. It works great at home. No the volume start is not loud...it is no sound...duh! I play at home with the volume about 20% up. Can also have it louder and use the expression pedal. Also, having everything passed through the 11-pin cable from my XK5 so simple. No need for external preamp, pedals, stomp boxes, etc. Controls on the XK-5 control the leslie. So simple. So sweet!

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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If you pull the back panel off and look at the edges you will see the plywood ridges. Also, I changed my pre-amp tube to 12AT7 NOS (easy to find on ebay (~$15-$30). Makes an improvement mostly by lowering the gain and warming the tone...in my opinion). Let me know if you want me to send you pics of the plywood edges for comparison.

 

 

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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I appreciate the link....I already communicated with this person and the organ is a CV. It's not a bad deal for $1200, but I really don't want a CV (or any 300lb. tonewheel right now).
Yes you do. :poke:

 

Or

 

I have a 147 I am getting rid of
Lou! Road trip!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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3300s are a road Leslie. They are loud. The onboard overdrive is killer and the bass is absolutely massive using the built in sub out.

 

So is the bass of the 3300 alone equal to a 122 (when the 3300 is played at similar volume to the 122's capabilities)?

 

I really don't want to have to buy a subwoofer if I buy a 3300, to equal the bass performance of a 122/147/145/142.

 

Lou

No.

 

But I've heard the newer models with the plywood cabinetry may be better in the bass but I wouldn't expect a huge difference. I haven't heard the new 3300. I have an old 3300 and a 122.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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1. You would need to have a really big family room, the 3300 is LOUD.

2. The old one was a bit lacking in bass, but the new one is fine.

3. As per Jim Alfredson's advice, I swapped out the supplied 12AX7 for 12AT7, it helped smooth out any distortion from the pre-amp. Most people recommend NOS, but they are hard to find. I got a new Electro Harmonix one, and it is excellent.

4. You may want to add a Tall & Fat pedal, I found it made a HUGE difference.

5. I heard a Tornado, and it sounds amazing, just like a vintage 145. You need the T-115 model with the seperate amp, not the T-135.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks for the info! A couple of follow up questions........

 

1. Not trying to be a smart guy, but can't the 3300 volume simply be adjusted down if you're in a smaller room/venue? If I decide on the 3300, I was planning on keeping the volume reasonable in my family room, but having some "reserve capacity" for playing out in larger venues.

2. How can I tell an "old" 3300 from a "new" 3300?

3. What specific change was made to improve the bass in the 3300?

4. Is the "new" 3300 equal in bass response to a 122/147/145/142?

 

Thanks!

Lou

 

Yes you can turn the 3300 down but the forte of proline Leslies like the 3300 is they are loud. At lower volumes a vintage amp just sounds better a lot of it is the lower headroom and natural tube compression from the smaller amp. So yes you can turn it down but if this is a home Leslie then just get a nice vintage box because it's the best cabinet for that job.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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About the Hammond CV.... If it is stock then the organ pulls its power from the speaker cabinet. So instead of a 147 you would want something like a 142 or have a tech install an internal B+ power supply. .... Or this may have already been done. The scariest thing about vintage Hammond gear is a lot DIYers have done crap you would not believe to organs. That's what I meant when I said the best Leslie depends on the organ. Buying a working pair would be nice. That way you shouldn't have to worry about power and having the correct connector kits.

 

If you are close to David Anderson then contact him. A tech can quickly tell what you need in terms of power and connection kits and maintenance.

 

A stock CV has rachet drawbars. If you try to move them while active they pop because you are breaking and reestablishing connections. Later smooth drawbars don't do this. But I like the sound of old organs. They can have balls.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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CEB and others,

Thanks for the wealth of information! I think I got answers to everything I was hoping for.

 

At this point I'm going to continue my search for a vintage cabinet for home-only use. I can always punt at some point down the road and order the 3300 if I give up on finding a vintage Leslie.

 

I'll probably end up with the Vent/SSv3/sub combination for playing out. I really want to keep the stereo amplification to enhance the Vent.

 

Lou

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Wow, Alfredson is phenomenal, isn't he?

Ludwig van Beethoven:  “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

My Rig: Yamaha MOXF8 (used mostly for acoustic piano voices); Motion Sound KP-612SX & SL-512.

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i think the 3300 is a great amp for a good clonewheel , most , if not all solid state amps loose it some where in the midrange , the 3300 doesn't , it sounds right . it does sound different than a 122 , my c3

sounds better , warmer through a 122 .but i'm preferring my two clones

through the 3300 . i think it works better for the mid-highs ,and yea , 3300 is as loud as you would ever need on stage

 

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