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HK Rotoshpere vs. Korg G4

Catoogie

Senior Member
Messages
3,969
I have a Korg G4 but I'm interested in getting another Leslie-type pedal and am curious about the Rotosphere, they seem to be more readily available and cheaper than the G4s. Anyone ever compare the two?
 

79stratman

Member
Messages
870
I began with the Rotosphere years ago. I still love it's warm tone, but essentially began wearing my poor H & K out. It began making more spurious noises. I suspect the input/output jacks may be getting some slop on the PCB connection. The one thing which always bugged me, was the lack of an adjustable rotary speed knob. Having an a variable speed knob would have made the Rotosphere perfect (except, for it's real estate hogging size and weight...).

I have since acquired 2 Korg G4's, each with subtle differences, yet neither unit clicked with me, so they've been sidelined. I currently have a DLS RotoSim on my pedal board. I love the size and the features, plus the wonderful customer support. Yet, I still miss the tone of the Rotoshere. I've even tired to track-down some bright talent, both in the States and abroad, who might be able to modify the Rotosphere for me. No go. I've run out of avenues for finding Rotosphere mods... :bkw

The recently-issued Leslie cabinets are intriguing, but my rig already takes up way too much floor space, however, I would like to give one a whirl sometime...so-to-speak!


If you don't mind having only "Fast" and "Slow" fixed-speed settings and can handle the typical H & K bulkiness, a Rotosphere is worth experimenting with.



*This is my first reply/post, so I apologize if I've screwed anything up in the process!
 

drolling

Member
Messages
6,102
Both very cool toys - miles beyond 'fakin' it w/a chorus, a phaser, or even a Univibe.

My little bro's got an old Hammond and a couple of Leslie cabs and he preferred the sound of the G4, when used w/his electronic keyboards.

He didn't like the H&K at all, but again, this was in conjunction with synths - not guitar. And the Rotosphere does sound killer w/a guitar. Especially in 'overdrive' mode, where it pwns the Korg.

I still have a G4, as the H&K is just waaayyy too noisy in front of an amp. If I had modern gear, a buffered effects loop in any of my amps, it would have been a much tougher choice.

Any pedal at all will work as a controller for the G4's speed. I've used a Line6 expression pedal and a BOSS FV-H, no problem. Players complain they can't get an even sweep, but that's because Leslie's ONLY HAD TWO SPEEDS; slow & fast. In fact, that ramping up and/braking between speeds is part of the magic/charm of a real rotating speaker.

The new (ish) BOSS twin pedal's pretty good too. You could probably snag one used for a fraction of the cost of the discontinued Korg pedal.

But while we're talking rotary speaker sims, my all-time favorite is the DigiTech RPM-1. Like the Hughes & Ketner, this one's got a real preamp tube in there.. Only drawback's the fact that it's a rackmount unit.

But it's also TRIPHONIC! The horn (treble) is a stereo spread and the rotor (bass) has its own channel. I run it straight down the middle into a big ole bass head (Ampeg V-4), with the horns left & right into a VOX (AC-15) & a Fender (Vibroverb). simply stunning sounding:eek::bow:RoCkIn
 

Catoogie

Senior Member
Messages
3,969
I was gonna ask about the Boss RT-20, how does it stack up agains the ones you already mentioned?
 

Angle Loss

Senior Member
Messages
1,505
I was gonna ask about the Boss RT-20, how does it stack up agains the ones you already mentioned?
I've had all three. The Rotary Ensemble sounds much more accurate to a real leslie than either one of them. The Roto has the best feel, due to an analog circuit, but lacks the lushness of the other two. The Boss has a much (much!) better bypass than the other two as well. I use an overdrive pedal as I find that all three have terrible built in overdrive (the Roto being slightly better than the others, but no where as good as a Timmy).

When the Boss came out a few years ago, I recorded a quick clip right after I got it. The Leslie sounds are in mono. Try here:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=471217&songID=6142995

It shouldn't be a surprise that Roland (who makes keyboards and digital organs) have spent the most money getting the right leslie sound for this pedal. I'm not saying that all they do is golden, but they sure have made some classics.

Be advised though, many of the Leslie sims will also give you the EQ'ing and mid notch from the crossover that a Leslie has. To me it is part of the sound and is not intrusive. Some prefer a transparent EQ like the DLS Roto-Sim, but I found it to not have enough effect level and too transparent. I wanted the sounds I've heard on records (and have played through real Leslies). Hope this helps a little for you.
 

79stratman

Member
Messages
870
Hmmm...transparent EQ. You know, that's a pretty-good term to describe the DLS, now that you mention it. I think that very thing of enough effect level and the mid-notch crossover presence you describe is similar to why I haven't been quite satisfied with the most of my rotary pedals. I'll have to digest this a bit more and see where it may lead.

Speaking of digesting information...I've got to go back a spend more time with your TIMMY op-amp comparison. I wanted to experiment a bit with mine, but didn't know where to begin. You did all the hard work. I just have to do the homework! Thanks for posting those clips!
 

Catoogie

Senior Member
Messages
3,969
Angle Loss,

The slow sounds on the demo of the RT-20 you did could possibly some of the sweetest modulated sounds I have ever heard. SOLD!!

Now I've got a Korg G4 and a Rotomachine I need to unload.

Thanks!
 

zestystrat

Member
Messages
2,561
I have both versions of the Rotosphere (long story as to why) so I'll throw my $0.02 in on this....

Sometimes you have to say what goes without saying but if you have the roto in gtr mode and a KB player is playing thru it, it will sound like crap. I'll assume that in the above post, the switch was in the correct KB position and just assume that it wasn't for him. Playing a synth patch, I'm sure, didn't help.

I have played with a few KBist that have used my roto to fatten up a b3 patch and it has sounded very lush, esp in stereo. I also find it very lush going thru my rig and into a 68 twin. No noise and a great sound. I never looked at the drive portion of the pedal as a OD or distortion and I'm not sure if that’s the intention there. I do wind up using the slow setting as a chorus and can really nail a Wall-era David Gilmour chorus tone.

As far as an adjustable rotary speed knob I agree that it would be helpful to have one.

Not that this helps but in the second version there are adjustable trim pots where you adjust the fast speed separately for the drum and horn.

I have not tried the others mentioned mainly b/c the Korg G4 is even bigger the roto so that wasn’t worth it for me and I didn't want to go with COSM via the boss pedal. I have heard good things a/b the DLS RotoSim but I'm not sure how much more I would like it vs. my roto. I'm happy with it so why make a change? I've got bigger fish to fry...like a Aquavibe or a Pink Flesh ;-)

EDIT: Just went on to http://www.dlseffects.com/sounds.php I stand by my choice. I think the Boss clip sounds better then what is up on this page.
 
Last edited:

Angle Loss

Senior Member
Messages
1,505
Hmmm...transparent EQ. You know, that's a pretty-good term to describe the DLS, now that you mention it. I think that very thing of enough effect level and the mid-notch crossover presence you describe is similar to why I haven't been quite satisfied with the most of my rotary pedals. I'll have to digest this a bit more and see where it may lead.

Speaking of digesting information...I've got to go back a spend more time with your TIMMY op-amp comparison. I wanted to experiment a bit with mine, but didn't know where to begin. You did all the hard work. I just have to do the homework! Thanks for posting those clips!
Catoogie said:
Angle Loss,

The slow sounds on the demo of the RT-20 you did could possibly some of the sweetest modulated sounds I have ever heard. SOLD!!

Now I've got a Korg G4 and a Rotomachine I need to unload.

Thanks!
Thanks guys, I'm glad to have helped! The fast Leslie speed can be done moderately well by many pedals, but the slow is the hard one. I've heard no other pedal that can do it accurately, although runner up would be the DLS. Still really digging the RT-20 and the Timmy with a TL072.
 

Catoogie

Senior Member
Messages
3,969
The slow speed is really what I'm most interested in. However, I do also love to ramp between the speeds as I feel that's how leslies are really used and where the magic and expressiveness truly lies.
 

Angle Loss

Senior Member
Messages
1,505
The RT-20 maintains the correct ramping speed for the individual rotor and horn. You can hear the horn speed up/down faster than the rotor. The overall ramp speed is adjustable, but it like the stock Leslie ramp. Many cheaper units ramp now, but they do uniformly. I like the mismatched speed change. The complexity of the sound is great--or magic as you said.
 

FF71

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,535
I've been using my Rotosphere for almost 5 years now for my leslie tones. I've tried everything (Option 5, Korg, Boss etc..)

The only other pedal that you have to consider is the Line 6 Rotomachine!
 

axemanjoe

Member
Messages
733
I've been using my Rotosphere for almost 5 years now for my leslie tones. I've tried everything (Option 5, Korg, Boss etc..)

The only other pedal that you have to consider is the Line 6 Rotomachine!
So just how noisey IS the HK Rotosphere, I've heard it described as a washing machine.
 

aeonlux

Member
Messages
371
I have 3 different rotary emulations: the H&K Tube Rotosphere mkII, the Korg G4 algorithm in my Korg OASYS PCI card, and a Rotary algorithm in my Roland SDX-330 Dimensional Expander.

Clearly, part of what informs my choice of which to use is form factor - one is a pedal, one is a 1U rack, and one is a card in a computer with a software controller.

While the H&K Tube Rotosphere mkII is less controllable than the other options, it does have a great sound, and I like it in front of a couple of slightly overdriven amps. I prefer the H&K Tube Rotosphere mkII with guitar. Tt is certainly easier to spontaneously connect to other pedals when in creative pedal-jamming mode.

The Korg G4 algo also has a great sound, but the drive is not as sweet to me, even with the cabinet emulation. Separate ramping for the horn and rotor is much appreciated, but note the speed for transition to fast and slow is symmetric in both cases. I generally don't do this, but you can make the horn and rotor spin in opposing directions. Virtual mic placement and stereo spread is valued here as it concerns sitting in a mix, as is the extensive realtime MIDI control. I prefer the Korg G4 algo with organ, or for those times I need a noiseless and/or digital I/O solution. Another reason I prefer the Korg G4 algo for keys is that Korg also has a fantastic model of the tonewheel Chorus-Vibrato effect - killer for organ tones.

The Rotary algorithm in the Roland SDX-330 Dimensional Expander is from 1993-1994 - I don't know if it went on to be the algo in the RT-20. One thing I love about this algo is that you not only have separate ramping for the horn and rotor, but you can set the rise time and fall time for each - good stuff! Other bonuses are that you can control the tremelo depth for the horn and rotor to either smooth out or exaggerate the pulsing, and you can also adjust the degree of doppler-shift for both the horn and rotor - very tasty, especially for more psychedelic sounds. A slow speed of .05Hz is very welcome - it allows use of the algo on other kinds of sounds other than organ or guitar. The Roland also has extensive realtime MIDI control.

Sorry for the ramble... :)


cheers,
Ian
 

79stratman

Member
Messages
870
The slow-speed clips of the RT-20, really have piqued my interest. I did look into the RT-20, while researching the G-4 and Rotosim, but got scared-off by the frequent and quite vocal critics of it's overdrive sounds. Now, I wished that I would have, at least, demo'd one before committing to both of the G-4's I purchased. The G-4's are holding their value, so I shouldn't loose anything by selling-off one, or both of them.

I loved the sounds of the RT-20 clips. Thanks for the link!
 

79stratman

Member
Messages
870
For my application, there was a mild background hiss with Rotosphere, but nothing that obtrusive in a gig setting. My well-worn Rotosphere started making a few extraneous noises and/or would cut-out once in awhile towards the end. I think the jacks themselves may have been loose/bent, or the solder connections on the PCB where starting to be compromised from years of bouncing around.

You know, the variable speed knob might not be such an issue with me, if there was a way to adapt a separate foot pedal to control the brake function. Anyone out there capable of doing something like this?

I started using the brake switch more like an actual Leslie near the end, but was always on edge, since the only other problems I ever had with any of my 2 Tube Factors or Rotosphere where that the footswitches would occasionally fail. I was worried the brake switch would eventually succumb to the fate. A separate control pedal might bring me back to the Rotosphere, depending on if I ever get the chance to try one of the RT-20's.
 
G

GearOnTheBrain

The RT-20 maintains the correct ramping speed for the individual rotor and horn. You can hear the horn speed up/down faster than the rotor. The overall ramp speed is adjustable, but it like the stock Leslie ramp. Many cheaper units ramp now, but they do uniformly. I like the mismatched speed change. The complexity of the sound is great--or magic as you said.

your demo is the best leslie demo i've heard, and i've heard lots.
i owned the RT20 and liked it a lot, but couldn't afford to keep it at the time.
the slow chorale speed is indeed THE hardest tone to nail and that RT20 is the only one ive heard that nails it. The HK came close too.
i only wish the RT20 had a real tube in it for more warmth and growl.
i may get another though, i dont use the leslie sound much, but its a sound i've always loved.
The rotosim sounds nothing like a leslie.
The destination sounds ok, but still doesn't have the chorale sound.
Listen to "Angel" by hendrix.......prime example of the chorale sound.
Anyone that hears your clip and still thinks it doesnt sound like a leslie or isn't the most accurate................well they obviously dont know what a true leslie sounds like.
People think modding a chorus can get you there, but its not the same.......there is something about chorale......its like a combination of flange, phase, i dont know............nothing else sounds like it and its so subtle but its obviously there.
anyway.
 




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