Over the past six years, I’ve used the Leslie simulation of three different clonewheels. In their order of authenticity: Korg BX3, Hamichord, and Nord C2.
The Nord was my favorite, but still sounded digital and grainy when compared to the same keyboard mic’ed through a Leslie.
I also have a B3 with Leslie 122, so I appreciate how good the real thing sounds.
After reading a bunch of good reviews, I decided to pick up a used Neo Ventilator. I poked around the Internet for a while longer, and decided to buy a Bose F1 812 powered speaker to use as a keyboard amp.
The Bose speaker ended up sounding terrible with the Ventilator. The bass was boomy, and the treble was both muffled and shrill sounding at once. Some keys on the top octave of my Nord made the tweeters rattle. Also, the line input didn’t have nearly enough gain for my keyboard to be loud enough for a gig.
I sent the Bose back, and decided to try a Yamaha DXR-12. At about half the price of the Bose, the Yamaha sounds way better. Amazing, in fact.
After using the Yamaha DXR-12 with the Neo Ventilator with my Nord C2 at a couple of rehearsals, I decided to take it to a gig.
It sounded great. The speaker was clear and powerful, and the Ventilator sounded remarkably close to a Leslie 122.
The Ventilator helped me with a big problem I’ve had with the Nord- the two top octaves of the upper manual with C3 vibrato and percussion always sounded both muffled and shrill at the same time. With the Ventilator, the notes were clear and present.
I also discovered that the Nord half-moon switch works perfectly to control the Ventilator speed, with the added bonus of giving me a ‘brake’ mode where the rotors fully stop.
One other feature of the Ventilator that I really appreciate is that when you switch to brake mode, the virtual rotors always stop pointing towards the virtual mics. That is something which always bugged me about the Nord’s built in simulator- the rotors would often stop in a weird place and the organ would sound awful.
For jazz, I found that the Ventilator sounds great with all of the controls set to 12 o’clock. I appreciate that it sounds perfect right out of the box- at least with the right kind of speaker.