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View Full Version : What is the best Leslie pedal out there?


straightblues
04-23-2007, 08:57 PM
I have tried several of the cheap versions of a Leslie type pedals (Dano Rocky Road, Arion SCH-Z, analogman Clone Chorus amongst others) and I am ready to buy the best one out there. I am not interested in a vibe pedal or sounds, I want the Leslie sound. (I want a pedal not a speaker cabinet.) Yes I know none of them capture the Leslie sound perfectly.

I play blues and I want it for those B3 sorta sounds and stuff like SRV Cold Shot. I have a budget of $500 if I need it. If I can get one that ramps up and down by touch that would be great. What should I look at?
A couple I have already been researching are the:

Calypso FX's Wirligig
H&K Rotosphere (MKI and MKII)
DLS RotoSIM

If you have any opinions of these, let me know.

mprvise
04-23-2007, 09:03 PM
I was down to those very three when I did my search. Ended up with the new version Whirligig (with the ramp up/down). Think more Leslie 120 (single lower rotor) and you'll have it. A guy I play with has a real 120, and while that sounds great, in a band context I can get pretty damn close and I'm carrying about 80lbs less than him. Very happy with the Whirligig. YMMV and all that (in fact, get ready for many differing opinions on the subject....).

lifeinsong
04-23-2007, 10:01 PM
Check out the newest version of Option 5's Destination Rotation, it sounds pretty authentic to me. True Bypass, 2 speeds with Ramp Up/Down...you can fine tune the ramp speeds, and it's the perfect size for a pedalboard. I've been thru a bunch of different Leslie simulators including a Rotosphere, Arion SCH-1, and an Analogman Mini Clone which I still use for my chorus...to me the Destination Rotation gets closest to the real thing.

Lamont
04-23-2007, 10:09 PM
The cool thing about the rotosphere is that the tube distortion and the slow and fast speeds are very much like the leslie,,of coarse on guitar , you have to think and vamp like a b-3 player.Roll off the treble and think like Chester Thompson and Jimmy .

localmotion411
04-23-2007, 10:10 PM
I did all the research and after many many hours of looking and listening, decided on and ordered the Option 5 Destination Rotation Single (new version of the Destination Rotation). Should be here in a couple of days, so I'll post a report on it as soon as I've put it through its paces. Sound clips on the site sound really good, so I think it'll be a home run if it lives up to the clips in person.

The size is such a bonus, too -- my pedalboard is too big anyway (look at my sig) and a Rotosphere would have been too much. For most of us who aren't stricly blues players, a Leslie sim will probably not be used nearly as much as the other pedals on our boards, so I would hate to have to dedicate the space needed for a Rotosphere -- I think the Destination should be a great pedal. Wish I could get rid of that clunky Whammy as well, but I use it enough to need it.

slyzspyz
04-23-2007, 10:40 PM
An alternative if you've already got them, is to use a tremolo after the usual chorus trick. I set my Tremulator at a similar (not exact!) speed to the chorus with the Depth between 9 to 11 o'clock. Not the same I know but more authentic than just chorus if you think about what a Leslie actually does. Requires two stomps of the foot as well, but I use the effects anyway so I save myself some pedalboard space. For live use I like it enough and have had only positive comments. Good luck with your quest

Mullet Kingdom
04-23-2007, 10:56 PM
The Line 6 "Roto Machine" sounds pretty good and it's relatively cheap too. I don't know whether or not it's "the best", but it's definitely worth investigating.

Janglin_Jack
04-24-2007, 12:06 AM
I thought the Line 6 was cool. I think the best pedal might be the Rotosphere, (but I haven't used it first hand). I know that Warren Haynes uses one, and he gets some killer Leslie sounds.

I always wanted to try a Jaques Spin Archer, but I could never find one in stock anywhere.

Jack

gillibi
04-24-2007, 07:22 AM
Rotosphere

stevie2600
04-24-2007, 08:29 AM
DLS Rotosim!

MattHahn
04-24-2007, 08:34 AM
the voce spin is in fact very cool!
not really a pedal....but sounds great....

orogeny
04-24-2007, 08:47 AM
Can't touch a Korg G4. You just can't touch it. Listen here if you like:

Check out Bronze. Comes in at about 10 sec:

http://www.madhed.com/songdownloads.htm

enharmonic
04-24-2007, 08:49 AM
It would be a mistake to not consider the Boss Rotary station. It unseated the H&K Rotosphere in my rig. having used real leslies in the studio, it is my .02 that the Boss is as close as you can get without humping a leslie cab everywhere you go.

I think nothing of dropping $400 on a pedal if I have to. The Boss Rotary Station is a rare situation where I don't have to.

Now, the negative...

The overdrive is again, IMO, useless on the Boss pedal. Use it for the leslie features only, and you are going to have a tough sim to beat.

iualum
04-24-2007, 09:13 AM
...I went for the RotoSim...tons of tweaks, outside & in...has every Leslie flavor that I need & want...worth a good strong look...

eric-d
04-24-2007, 09:15 AM
I started with a rotosphere and then went to a ChoralFlange and then went to an AM Mini CHorus and couldn't be happier. The End.

Stressfest
04-24-2007, 09:17 AM
I'm dig'n the new PCI Arion chorus. Sounds like the SCH-1 with more warmth and better tone sweep plus True Bypass...Frikkn' SWEET :D

ScottB
04-24-2007, 09:42 AM
I've been fairly satisified with the Boss RT20, but now I'm gassing for the new Option 5...

The clips sound a little more "organic".

clothwiring
04-24-2007, 09:43 AM
I use a Korg G-4 and have tried 3 of the bigger name ones, came back to the G-4.

gillibi
04-24-2007, 10:52 AM
It would be a mistake to not consider the Boss Rotary station. It unseated the H&K Rotosphere in my rig. having used real leslies in the studio, it is my .02 that the Boss is as close as you can get without humping a leslie cab everywhere you go.

I think nothing of dropping $400 on a pedal if I have to. The Boss Rotary Station is a rare situation where I don't have to.

Now, the negative...

The overdrive is again, IMO, useless on the Boss pedal. Use it for the leslie features only, and you are going to have a tough sim to beat.

I stated previously that I thought the Rotosphere is the best Leslie sim. I also own the Boss RT20. I could never get the Boss to sound good. The noise gate on the effected signal killed it for me. Plus it sounded too harsh on leads and with any overdrive. I only bought the BOSS because I was hating the noise of the H&K-I went back to the H&K and will deal with the hiss. It just sounds SO much better in my opinion.

mprvise
04-24-2007, 11:08 AM
I stated previously that I thought the Rotosphere is the best Leslie sim. I also own the Boss RT20. I could never get the Boss to sound good. The noise gate on the effected signal killed it for me. Plus it sounded too harsh on leads and with any overdrive. I only bought the BOSS because I was hating the noise of the H&K-I went back to the H&K and will deal with the hiss. It just sounds SO much better in my opinion.

+1 on having the RT20 and not really digging it. I hear too much "digitalness" in it that is not there in others I've tried, like my current favorite the Whirligig. I pull it out of the closet from time to time but will probably never use it on a gig. I purchased it when they first came out, but before I got the Whirligig.

gearlovin
04-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Can't touch a Korg G4. You just can't touch it.

+1 :dude

joe bonamassa use that one too :RoCkIn

Phil M
04-24-2007, 11:43 AM
I love this effect, but getting the right one in a pedal format can be elusive.

The 3 mentioned in the original post (Rotosphere, DLS, Whirligig) are the three that I've had. I loved the Rotosphere's tone but got sick of the size and wall-wart. There might've been some high end suck too, so I traded if for the DLS. The DLS had the features I wanted (size, true bypass, ramp footswitch, built in drive, standard 9v tap) but I thought the tone was lacking big time. Compared the Rotosphere, I really didn't care for it. The Slow speed on both the Rotosphere and DLS were pretty killer, but the DLS's fast speed didn't compare in my book.

Recently I found a bargain on an older Whirligig. It don't think it sounds just like the Rotosphere which is probably right because I think one's based on a leslie and one on a vibratone. At any rate, it's got a real nice feel, I just wish I could turn the intensity of the effect down. It also does a nice Univibe impression at it's slowest setting. I like that is accepts a standard 9v tap, is true bypass and is smaller.

enharmonic
04-24-2007, 11:47 AM
I feel you gents on the RT20. I have some of the same concerns...but the H&K I had was noisy compared to the RT20, and nowhere near as flexible. I wouldn't object to using either unit, but for versatility and "good enough to leave the leslie home", I think that the buyer should at least give the RT20 a spin :)

A spin...lol...I love leslie humor :D

guitarb
04-24-2007, 11:54 AM
Korg G4...hands down best...IMHO!

bilbal
04-24-2007, 02:37 PM
I just this minute ordered an Option 5 Destination Rotation Single. I called and spoke to Jay at Option 5 and he was extremely helpful. He told me to call Musictoyz.com to order. I called, got it on order, and hopefully will be using it for this weekend. If you get a chance to check one of these things out - do it. I was up in the air on which one to buy (rotosphere, rotosim, or the Option 5) and the Option 5 seemd to be the better of the three IMO.

bilbal

PedalFreak
04-24-2007, 02:59 PM
Korg G4 is the best.

I own a Line6 Rotomachine. Set right and it is very close, you can dial in the right amount of overdrive, ramp up and down and switch between two speeds. For the price it is a very nice pedal. I didnt like the Boss RT-20, like to have one on my board for the cool spinning light though :D

iualum
04-24-2007, 06:26 PM
Korg G4 is the best.

I own a Line6 Rotomachine. Set right and it is very close, you can dial in the right amount of overdrive, ramp up and down and switch between two speeds. For the price it is a very nice pedal. I didnt like the Boss RT-20, like to have one on my board for the cool spinning light though :D...well, as posted earlier, I like the DLS...

...but I'll absolutely agree with the part about the RotoMachine...plus, it's a spectacular bargain compared to the others...

straightblues
04-26-2007, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the input guys. I don't like the RotoMachine or RT20. I am thinking Whirligig at this point but the H&K and the Korg G4 are still in the running.

ancient
04-27-2007, 09:20 AM
Digitech XP-200... Very cool!

KustietheKlown
04-27-2007, 09:32 AM
I get a positively nasty leslie sim from my lexicon vortex. the only problem is a slight volume issue that i think i can fix by lowering the output volumes of all my other vortex patches and then turning the unit's input volume up slightly. maybe i need an EQ too to help shape it.

Anyway, it's in stereo, i can use an expression pedal to control speed manually or press the vortex footpedal's A/B button to morph from slow to fast with a little lag time. it literally swirls around the room with the vortex's panning ability--all tweakable.

It's really more like a leslie on acid. good times.

localmotion411
04-27-2007, 11:13 AM
Okay - got the Option 5 Destination Rotation Single yesterday afternoon. It's perfect. Never tried the original Destination Rotation, but with the Single, I am pretty sure I never needed to.

Features:
- Fast and slow speeds, each with its own trim pot for fine tuning of speed (great feature)
- Speed selector footswitch (when clicked, the speed ramps up or down completely naturally)
- Overdrive, with adjustable drive and volume levels, which sounds great, can be dialed in for thick, creamy overdrive -- LOVE IT!
- Overdrive on/off switch
- Mic placement knob, which essentially increases or decreases the presence of the effect

I've tried the fast chorus thing (Analogman Stereo Clone Clone Chorus) with tremolo, Rotosphere, Boss RT20, Line 6 Rotary Machine, etc. Nothing comes close to the Option 5. I was looking for authentic-as-possible Leslie sounds, true bypass, silent switching, as many features as possible, and a generally noise-free pedal. I couldn't be more satisfied.

My amp is a Voxy circuit, but with my new Line 6 Verbzilla, Fatboost, and BBE Sonic Stomp (HIGHLY recommended), I am able to cop some ridiculously good Fendery cleans. With the Option 5 Destination Rotation Single, I'm in Cold Shot heaven.

CarbonArc
04-27-2007, 01:52 PM
LocalMotion411 - does the new Destination Rotation Single have a stereo output option? I'm wondering how good a Leslie sim can get without stereo. If I had one I'd probably be using it mono most of the time, but I'm still curious.

MkIV
04-27-2007, 02:23 PM
I had the Destination Rotation and I must say that I was really pleased with it! The only thing I wasn't completely satisfied with was the fact that you couldn't adjust the ramp up/down time - it was to fast and I wanted to slow it down so that it would react more like my old Fender Vibratone cabinet. I talked a lot with Jay about this and I hope that the new version is more accurate in the ramp up/down.

cbpickin
04-27-2007, 02:35 PM
I had the Destination Rotation and sold it because I actually prefer the sounds I get out of my Maxon PH350 Rotary Phaser. With the speed and depth set high I get more convincing Leslie sounds, and it has the bonus of being my favorite phaser too.

SteveStrat
04-27-2007, 02:47 PM
Can't touch a Korg G4. You just can't touch it.

+1 on Korg G4. Hard part is finding one now.

Steve

Ud Reks
04-27-2007, 05:41 PM
What would you all say the difference is between a Vibe and a Roto pedal?

AlligatorMtn
04-27-2007, 06:07 PM
With the destination rotation, can you hook up a TIP 3rd Arm and adjust the ramp speed.

I want a pedal like this, but I have to be able to adjust the speed from fast>slow and slow>fast blah blah

Doug H
05-02-2007, 08:31 AM
I own a Line6 Rotomachine. Set right and it is very close, you can dial in the right amount of overdrive, ramp up and down and switch between two speeds. For the price it is a very nice pedal.

I agree that the RotoMachine is a great pedal and here's a tip for getting a good "Cold Shot" sound out of it- split your signal out ahead of the RM for a "dry" signal. Send it to a separate amp and run the RM on "L16" mode, fast speed, in stereo preferably. The mixture of the muddy L16 warble along with the highs from your dry signal gives it that funky, chewy Vibratone sound.

Here's a schematic of the L16 switching system:

http://www.mosweb.com/knowledgebase/leslie/id10.htm

Note that when the crossover is used and the rotary spkr is on, the amp output signal gets fed through the crossover network into the amp speaker(s). So the amp speakers stay on (with a deep 3khz-4khz notch) when the rotary speaker in the L16 is used. The L16 essentially handles the midrange, and it is the mixture of that with the stationary amp speakers handling the highs and lows that give it the characteristic sound.

The RotoMachine, when using the L16 setting, mimics the L16 cabinet alone and therefore sounds pretty muddy by itself, which is the common complaint people have. But if you mix that with your dry tone, preferably scooped, it gets the "Cold Shot" sound happening. Give it a try- it sounds cool and is a lot of fun.

Doug

buddyboy
05-02-2007, 08:49 AM
Excellent point - I have the Roto Machine ($119 out the door!). I run a stereo pedal of some sort ahead of it in the chain. I run the dry signal (non-Leslied sound) out of that into a '66 Deluxe Reverb with a Reissue C12K, set bright. The Leslied sound goes in to a '64 Super Reverb with C-10R's.

I set the Roto Machine to "L16" and usually run it on the slow setting. Gain is set all the way up. With this arrangement it can absoultely nail the early-seventies, slow Leslie tone. You need a clean, bright amp to complement the effected sound to create the most accurate tone. It does a dead-on Jesse Ed Davis with Taj Mahal-type thing. The gain is really cool on it and creates that thick, chewy Leslie sound!

The other settings are cool too, but the L16 is the best.

Doug H
05-02-2007, 09:50 AM
The other settings are cool too, but the L16 is the best.


:AOK

I like all 3 settings equally for different things- the L45 is just a good all around leslie sound for guitar. I use the 122 with my HOG for B3 sounds. I also like the L16 by itself (without the dry mix) pre-loaded with a lot of distortion for vibey-textures. It's a very flexible pedal- esp for the price.

Doug

popinvasion
05-02-2007, 11:00 AM
I dont get the cold shot love fest, the cold shot sound imo is a poor version of the leslie sound. Sure SRV's playing is superb, but its a weak leslie sound. Its not even like he used a good sounding version of the leslie he used the fender vibratone. I think the real challenge is to match some beatle leslie tones, cop those tones in a pedal and feel like you really found the holy grail.

George Adelson
05-02-2007, 11:23 AM
I agree with Sunsetamps, I don't get the Vibratone fascination. The Leslie sound I dig is when Danny Gatton was using his (Leslie 147, I believe. could have been a 122. I can't recall) on Reneck Jazz Explosion. Especially on "Song Of India", "Rock Candy" and "When Sunny Gets Blue". I dig the Chorale sound too, but I don't use it that much in the bands I play in. Currently using a Rotosphere MKII. It's noisy, huge wall wart and takes up too much real estate. Yet, it sounds pretty good and I put it in an Axess Switcher and that helps.I used to use the Dynacords (analog CLS-222 and digital dls 300) , but quit using rack gear and only use them at home now.

Have been contemplating getting a Korg G4 . Maybe the DLS.

I know it's a Vibratone simulator, but I would like to hear some clips of the new Destination Single on the fast setting for the hell of it.

Doug H
05-02-2007, 11:28 AM
I dont get the cold shot love fest, the cold shot sound imo is a poor version of the leslie sound. Sure SRV's playing is superb, but its a weak leslie sound. Its not even like he used a good sounding version of the leslie he used the fender vibratone.

I agree that the L16 sound is not the "end all be all" rotary sound for me. I was just explaining how to produce it with a pedal where people complain that it doesn't sound right. YMMV...

buddyboy
05-02-2007, 12:43 PM
Looking at some photos from the 1968-1971 period, many rock guitar players were using a vibratone or a Leslie 16. IMHO, that is the classic Leslie sound for a rock/blues style of guitar, particularly the slow (non-Cold Shot) setting.

JeffreyC
09-14-2007, 01:45 PM
Looking at some photos from the 1968-1971 period, many rock guitar players were using a vibratone or a Leslie 16. IMHO, that is the classic Leslie sound for a rock/blues style of guitar, particularly the slow (non-Cold Shot) setting.


Gotta bump this... So what does this slower classic Leslie sound best in a pedal? I know it's an opinion and I really love my Mojovibe for univibe stuff, but lately been itching for a really good rotating speaker sound.

GearOnTheBrain
09-14-2007, 02:10 PM
My top picks are:

HK Rotosphere
Boss RT20
Digitech Exp-7

I choose those because ALL three of those do a great slow(chorale) leslie sound, which in my opinion, is the hardest sound to nail.


Luke