Rotating Speaker (Leslie?)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Wooley, Feb 7, 2006.


  1. Wooley

    Wooley Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans
    I was looking at the Little Lanelei 10" rotating speaker. Has anyone tried these? Are they worth a damn? Or are they for suckers like me who almost bought one on the spot until I realized it was only 18" high. How does this work with an amp, is it loud enough for small club playing etc? Hell, just tell me everything you know about 'em... please. ;)
     
  2. EXP

    EXP Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,009
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    the Boss RT-20 seems to get alot of raves, its not a rotating speaker but a great Leslie Sim.

    just ordered one today, heard nothing but good things.
     
  3. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Central NY
    I run a pedal for the Leslie effect. I love my old Korg G4 but it's a tad big for what I wanted on my pedal board. I tried an Option 5 Destination Rotation which died on me and I was not impressed with it at all. I then bought a DLS Effects RotoSim, which is good, not as good as the Korg G4, but is great because you can open it up and really dial in a Leslie tone that works for you. I'm happy with the RotoSim and I keep it on my board, I just need to tweek it some to get exactly what I want. I haven't tried the Boss RT-20, but I've heard great things about it as well so that might be worth your trying out (I'll be trying one out soon myself).

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. ModTourMan

    ModTourMan Member

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    I have a Little Lanelei Rotary Wave. It sounds great at home (amazing actually) but I think you would need to mic this cabinet (with at least 2 mics) to get the full effect in a live setting. It will give you some nice Leslie type tones but keep in mind that it's only a stationary 10" speaker (no spinning horns) so the tone is not quite as nice as the real thing. It's also a bit fragile looking (but simple to fix I would imagine). I have not had any problems but I wonder if this unit would hold up getting tossed around going to and from shows. That being said, I LOVE mine - especially when coupled with an analog delay while on a slow spin...beautiful tone!
     
  5. jpagey

    jpagey Member

    Messages:
    3,110
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have 2 LL amps and the extension cab and they sound absloutely amazing for rock and blues tones. I have never tried the RW, but based upon the stuff I have tried I am sure it sounds great.
     
  6. Wooley

    Wooley Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans
    Yeah, I have plenty of pedals that simulate a Leslie to one degree or another, but anyone who says a pedal is anywhere near as good as the real thing, has never heard one live (I'm sure I don' even have to say that). What I was hoping this thing was, was a more compact and less expensive Leslie, basically. That's what it looked like at first glance. Apparently it is a single ten inch rotating speaker, but at only 10 inches I wonder if this thing will produce enough to be worth it live.
    If anyone has an opinion on this, or better, knows of any smaller less expensive version of a Leslie, I'm all ears.
     
  7. Enjoyer

    Enjoyer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Location:
    Seattle
    Mesa was building one for a while. I am not certain if they are still in production. You can pick up a Leslie Model 16 or 18 on ebay for around $500 +. I bit the bullet and picked one up a very clean Model 16 last year. No comparison to any of the simulators. Moving real air in a real speaker cab can not be simulated. Big monsters and a bugger to move about, but the sound can not be duplicated! Makes me want one of the real Leslie behemoths with the rotating horn and speaker, the four roadies that it would take to move it around and a good lawyer to handle the divorce that my wife would, no doubt, file.
     
  8. GDSblues

    GDSblues Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    My take on the "Leslie"
    First of all, Leslie is a brand name but I will admit is has becone synonimous with rotating speaker cabinets.
    I luged a Leslie 257 (full cabinet) around for years. With a Hammond B3, its a must have. For a guitar, its a sweet sound.
    A few interesting notes about the Leslie tone cabinets.
    Leslies have a horn driver ,a 15 " bass speaker , and a built in amplifier.
    The horn driver and the 15" speaker dont rotate.
    The horn driver is screwed under a devider board on the top end of the cabinet. The sound is channeled thru this devider into a plastic horn thats placed on the top of the devider and this is the part that spins. The horn is actualy 2 horns for balancing purposes but only one side is open to allow the sound to enter it.
    The 15" speaker is placed face down on another deviding board at the bottom of the cabinet.Thru a hole and below this deviding board is what I can only describe as a round tumbler with sound baffels to help with sound distribution. This tumbler is what spins.
    The spinning motion is generated thru belts and 2 sets of electric motors.
    Small motor for slow and larger motor for faster speed for horn and bass.
    The beauty and sound of a true leslie is that when you switch from slow to fast speed, there is a lag time needed for the motors to reach optimum speed. This slow accelerations is very hard to synthesise.

    When I was playing, the Leslie had only B3 type inputs, so if you wanted to pay a guitar thru it, you neede a special box that would convert a B3 cable into a 1/4" input jack.

    Last point
    when you realy look at a leslie, what you have is a horn driver and a 15" speaker placed into a wooden cabinet. The rotating stuff are seperate items. I saw many fellow rockers take a Marshal Amplifier head and hook it up to the Leslie speaker wires, bypassing the weak Leslie amplifier completely. They still got the rotating action BUT driving the hec out of those speakres with a Marshal got them a whole new sound.
    OK..thats it...sorry it took so long getting here.
     
  9. SDallman

    SDallman Guest

    I've got a few simulators, and several single rotor Leslies, including my modded Vibratone. We found 4 rotating horns from old organs and two from e-bay. Two of the horns are wood, two are foam as is the rotor in the Vibratone. I also used to own Yahama's version of a Leslie, which had stationary bass speakers and two rotating horns. I still have the horn assemblies. I've also a Maestro PS-1 phase shifter which has three speeds, slow, medium and fast. The slow and fast speeds are the same as Leslie speeds with great ramping when switching from slow to fast. Most simulators are chorus type circuits.

    In a two rotor Leslie there is the rotating drum for the bass, and a rotating tweeter (just the horns and drum rotate, the speaker and treble driver are fixed). Depending on the source of info, the horn rotates in the opposite direction than the drum. Even though a tweeter is used, the horn frequencies are quite the same as the high end of a guitar speaker, and doesn't produce frequencies as high as a PA tweeter.

    Simulators can mimic side to side rotating tones, but can't nail the front to back tones that a real rotating device can...at least as far as I have heard. Now, through a PA or in recording, unless you are mixing in 5:1 surround sound, the sound will only be FM and AM moving in and out or side to side.

    I will be curious to hear the new Roland simulator, and the Line 6 Rotomachine. Both are not billed as "simulators" but are modeling pedals. Perhaps the modeling can nail the aspects of front to back tones.

    So far there just isn't anything that can nail the sound of tone being spread throughout a room.

    I purchased two single Leslie Rotors from e-bay quite cheaply...Less than $20 each plus about $20 in shipping each. One came with a single speed motor, the other with no motor.

    Then I bid on two speed motors several times. Most of the two speed motor assemblies were selling for around $85. Persistance paid off. I got two complete working motor assemblies for less than $30 each.

    Despite having several single rotor drums and the two Yahama horns, I've never owne a real two rotor Leslie. So with two of the Ebay foam rotors, I'm building a two rotor Leslie. I added a vane to each rotor chute reportably to increase the FM (frequency modulation) ratio to AM (amplitude modulation). In the top rotor, I will use a 10" guitar speaker with a coaxially mounted tweeter. The speaker and tweeter will produce 800Hz and above as is a true two rotor Leslie. The tweeter will start around 1.8kHz and will be switchable.

    The bottom drum will be driven with a bass speaker, but I'm not certain which speaker I'll use yet. It will handle 800Hz and below.

    The drums will each have their own two speed motors and will spin in different directions. If I don't like the sound of the opposing drums, I can mount one of the motors upside down to reverse the spin.

    This should be an interesting project. I'll house it in a wood cabinet similar to a real Leslie. The whole project shouldn't cost more than about $100, not including the speakers, which I already have.

    Sorry I don't have a digital camera yet to document the project.

    I got interested in Leslies because of the lead guitar player in a country band I played in during the mid to late 70's. He used a Fender Telecaster thinline (neck humbucker) into a Twin Reverb and the first Vibratone I ever heard. I LOVED the tone. Unfortunately, he got tired of hauling both the amp and Vibratone around, so he traded the Vibratone for a Mutron Phase Shifter which never equalled the spinning rotor. I looked for a few years and finally found a Fender Vibratone in 1988 for $130.

    Many older console organs (not just Hammonds, who probably didn't use these) have internal single rotor Leslies. I've seen them thrown out and in thrift stores for as little as $30. These can easily be built into cabinets. They don't have the complexity and range of a two rotor Leslie, but they get their foot in the Leslie door and can be great sounding. I have an 1979 Roland VK-09, which was their first attempt at making a B-3 clone (and not a great one). I added a relay to the internal Leslie simulator so I could control external Leslies with the speed switch on the organ. The internal simulator (a chorus with two speeds and appropriate ramping) in conjunction with the Vibratone (which I added coaxial tweeters) sounds great.

    For guitar players, supposedly the Line 6 Rotomachine colors guitar tone a lot giving a guitar tones closer to a B-3. It's around $105 less than the new Roland/Boss pedal at $119, so it's worth a try. I'll probably get one eventually.

    Gotta love these things!
     
  10. drolling

    drolling Member

    Messages:
    6,100
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Great thread! This one's a *MUST READ* tutorial for anyone who's really interested in the 'Leslie' sound and/or the physics of how it works.

    I used my brother's Leslie for many years, but he and his Hammond 'E' series organ are thousands of miles away now, and I've been making do w/simulations ever since. For a guitarist, especially a guitarist who's never used a rotating speaker cab, some of the digital emulators are good enough, IMO.

    Of course, they'll never capture that sound in a little pedal - it's like tube amp tremolo, or accutronic spring-pan reverb; I've never heard a pedal yet that sounds just like the real thing - that why ALL my amps have both features. But plenty of players are happy w/their trem pedals & digital reverbs.

    There's always a trade off w/stuff like this, but to get back on topic, I haven't heard the Little Lanei, but as a previous poster mentioned. I doubt it would be loud enough for stage work without being miced to the PA.
     
  11. somecafone

    somecafone Member

    Messages:
    3,281
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    I owned a Mesa Revolver for a while. Finances forced me to sell. :mad:

    It was rated at 8 ohms, and it could handle 100 watts. I drove it w/ a Fender Pro Jr.
    Yeah, you read that right... a Pro Jr.

    The speaker rotated. I guess it had an extended frequency response compared to most guitar speakers for the high end.
    It was a real physical and visceral sound.
    The practice room was carpeted, and when I turned it on, it would shake. We called it the washing machine.

    Sounded like God. :angel
     
  12. BMF Effects

    BMF Effects Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,041
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Location:
    S-Lomita, CA
    Motion Sound makes a rotary speaker cabinet for guitars (as well as keyboards) and while I can't comment on the guitar cabinets, I have heard and used their keyboard cabinets and they do sound like the real deal.

    Every now and then I'll get on a kick where I have to have a Fender Vibratone or Leslie 16/18, then I finally get one and realize -

    a) how little I use it.
    b) how heavy it is.
    c) how much space it takes up.

    For what I need I find that a good chorus pedal set correctly does the job just fine.
     
  13. jbird327

    jbird327 Member

    Messages:
    520
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Phila., PA
    I have the Little Lanelei and have used it at a few gigs. I used an amp switcher (ABY) and powered the Lanelei with a Crate Power Block. I used it to supplement my normal sound - usually running at slow speed. It did get loud enough without a mic. My biggest problem with it is that the 10 inch speaker sounds very thin when up against a 12. I have been able to dial in as much bottom as possible but it is still weak. I do like the size/weight.
     
  14. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,794
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
  15. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,949
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    NoVA
    I've owned a bunch of doppler-effect pedals. IMHO, the RT-20 is as close as you can get without having a real leslie. Allow me to qualify that by isting some of the gear I have owned in pursuit of a great leslie sound without having to buy/haul a leslie.

    H7K Rotosphere
    Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe
    Lovetone Doppelganger
    Dunlop Rotovibe
    Univibe

    I've run my guitar through a Motion Sound, and A Leslie in the studio. The closest anything gets to my ears is the Boss RT-20.
     
  16. TheGrooveking

    TheGrooveking Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Location:
    An Alternate Reality in a Parallel Universe...
    I'll stick with the Digitech RPM-1, I have the RT-20 and the Korg G-4 too and more than a few other leslie simulators, but those three do a good to great job. The RPM-1 has three outputs, left horn, rotor and right horn and flexible controls such as mic placement.

    TheGrooveking
     
  17. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I use a '63 Leslie 120 cabinet. It has one downward-facing 12" speaker (WeberVST C12CA) and a 1/4" input jack to plug an amp into it. It is not crazy-heavy because there is no amp, it's set for any 8-ohm guitar amp and smaller than a typical leslie cab. I enjoy it a lot and it is definitely its own thing despite what some of my pedals do. There is a footswitch for speed control. If you have any type of rotary speaker cabinet or emulation thereof, you should really look into trying a heavily compressed signal into a really short delay into an E-H POG... you will get scary good organ tones!
     
  18. JohnnyL

    JohnnyL Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    I own a Cordovox 'Leslie Vibratone' cabinet. Cordovox was an accordian and keyboad producer from yesteryear. It is a Leslie 16 with two speeds: chorus and tremelo. The labelling and schematic also have the Leslie trademark. It was modified when I bought it with a twelve inch speaker in place of the original 10. I run mine from my Marshall JCM800 or Rivera Knucklehead. The analogous rotating sound is great. The chorus is so smooth. The tremelo setting is a lot of fun too. Can you say SRV? I would like to have a way to ramp the speed between the two. Any suggestions?

    I picked up a second unit as mentioned by SDALLMAN. I pilfered it from an old Conn organ along with many other goodies. It has the original Jensen 10 speaker. I have the 15 inch as well. I have yet to build a cabinet to house it. I look forward to the day that I can run them together in various timings.

    I would like to have a Leslie with the horn and have demoed the Motion Sound. I loved it, but very pricey!!!

    Don't overlook Cordovox when looking for a Vibratone.

    Peace,

    JohnnyL
     
  19. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    There's a Yamaha Leslie/Vibratone type cabinet on craigslist here in nashville for $250.... fugly, but I think that's what Gilmour used to use...
     
  20. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,820
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Location:
    The OC
    Can you characterize how the Dunlop Rotovibe and the RT-20 compare? I'm interested more in the swell type effect than the chorus effect. Thanks.

     

Share This Page