B-3 V realistically recreates the special sound of the B-3 tonewheel organ. One of the most iconic and influential instruments of all time. One which has graced many of the greatest recordings of all time. Today Arturia brings this to its award-winning Analog Classics family of virtual instruments that recreate hard-to-source synthesizers and classic keyboards.
Keyboard players have made their mark in all forms of popular music with the B-3, back from its inception in the Fifties way past its discontinuation through to today. Procol Harum’s hit ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ proved particularly memorable with a melancholic countermelody displaying an altogether softer side to the B-3. But raucousness remains the order of the day for the blues, jazz, and gospel genres with which it first found favour. After all, it had historically been aimed at churches as a more compact and affordable alternative to conventional pipe organs.
One saying springs to mind: Pulling out all the stops — to hold back nothing — is an allusion to organ stops being pulled out to turn on each set of sounds in a pipe organ. The B-3 effectively ‘emulates’ this with its drawbars. Doing this and a whole lot more is what B-3 V does best, thanks to Arturia pulling out all the software stops to make it happen!
Thirties-developed tonewheel technology originally made that special sound happen. An electronic current is created when rotating a metal tonewheel near an electromagnetic pickup and amplifying that signal. The B-3 has 91 of those tonewheels with each key connected to a fixed set of tonewheel outputs. Drawbar settings control how these are mixed together. The tube preamplifier subsequently shapes the sound a little further — filtering and distortion take hold here — while factoring the position of the expression pedal. This not only acts as a volume control but also affects the frequency response of the preamp which is connected to a speaker.
Speaking of which, B-3 V faithfully simulates the favoured Leslie tone cabinet, containing a power amplifier that drives a rotating horn and a stationary woofer firing into a rotating drum reflector. Spellbinding spatial and frequency-shifting effects above and beyond the sound-shaping effects of commonplace loudspeakers are all perfectly possible!
B-3 V brings this classic combo — complete with the inherent imperfections that made that tonewheel technology sound so unique — to the present-day desktop as an AAX-, AU-, VST-, and VST3-compatible plug-in in any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or as a standalone version. Visually, things couldn’t get clearer, thanks to the resizable (Retina/4K-compatible) GUI (Graphical User Interface) that’s as easy on the eye as it is to use.
Under the hood, things couldn’t be better with MIDI control of many parameters and insert slots for ANLALOG DELAY, CHORUS, FLANGER, OVERDRIVE, and PHASE effects, as well as ADVANCED SETTINGS for upper and lower manuals and rotary speaker behaviour. B-3 V boasts a built-in step sequencer, allowing anyone to easily set an amount of modulation for each step of the sequence! Naturally, Native Instruments’ new NKS® (NATIVE KONTROL STANDARD) allows advanced integration with B-3 V.
All of the benefits of the original iconic instrument are available to modern music-makers with B-3V, but without the heavyweight hassles. Where anyone chooses to take it musically is anyone’s guess, but bet your bottom dollar that special sound will be being heard for many more years to come... courtesy of B-3 V!