Drawbars Again?

Yep – We are talking about drawbars again. Who would have thought it would be one of the most popular topics on the site? Certainly not me! Jeff contacted me regarding his most recent Wersi HD article. I’ve attached a short description below. Make sure you take a listen to the demos at http://www.wersiorganshowcase.com/vb3.html along with the complete Wersi HD project. Jeff has done an outstanding job explaining the overall configuration and how you can do the same thing.

Thanks Jeff!

In this next set of Wersi HD Series demos we feature the drawbar sounds of the VB3 virtual tonewheel organ from Genuine Soundware and Instruments (GSI). Note that this is a later version than that previously available as a VST on OAS instruments. It incorporates a number of additional features and enhancements, so OAS owners can expect a significant improvement in their drawbar sounds. Also, unlike the ‘Wersi Edition’ available in the OAX, it’s the full feature commercial version offering many extra playing features and tonal adjustments. So OAX owners will have the benefit of a much more versatile and higher quality drawbar facility.

The VB3 can be played exactly like the actual instrument either live or by using presets. In addition, some extra features that were not present on the original instrument are also available. A string bass with adjustable release time is provided on the pedals, and both manuals have a sustain function, activated by either an expression pedal footswitch or a toe piston. This will hold and sustain any notes played when the keys are released. A Leslie Speaker speed select switch can also be programmed into the footswitches and/or toe pistons thereby enabling a quick and convenient transition between Chorale and Tremolo modes. A keyboard split function with adjustable split point is provided to enable both VB3 manuals to be played on the same Wersi keyboard, either upper or lower. This frees up the other Wersi keyboard for use with other OAS/X sounds. Alternatively, the normal Wersi keyboard split feature can be utilised to place either of the VB3 manuals on either side of the split.

This version also includes a set of drawbars for the pedals, two sets of drawbars for each of the upper and lower manuals, and independent vibrato and chorus controls for each manual, adjustable for depth as well as speed. Variable length and depth reverberation is provided by emulating the spring reverberation unit installed in the original instruments. A set of 9 configurable drawbar presets are also provided for each manual, selected in the original instrument by reverse coloured keys at the lower end of each manual. The VB3 enables these preset keys to be assigned to the bottom octave of each Wersi manual. A further two of these keys can switch between the two sets of manual drawbars. In addition, an entire configuration for the organ including all the drawbar settings and associated controls can be stored and recalled as presets. A completely redesigned Leslie Speaker system is included together with six different types of Leslie Speaker. Five distinct tonewheel scaling options are provided that enable the user to define different ratios for the harmonic drawbars. Although essentially a Hammond organ emulator, this enables other drawbar systems e.g. Wersi analogue and digital units, to be constructed. Three different B3 organ variants are also available.

Unlike the other software used on the HD Series, the VB3 is not a stand-alone package. It needs to run either as a VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plug-in or an AU (Audio Unit) plug-in inside a suitable host program either on a PC or an Apple Mac. A wide range of compatible host software is available for this purpose. This also enables us to utilise all the features provided by the host, including equalisation, reverberation and the ability to run multiple VB3 instances. The latter enables a range of completely new effects to be created that cannot be obtained on the original instrument.

For the first demo we choose the VB3’s model 122 Leslie Speaker in both Chorale and Tremolo modes in this classic song by Procol Harum. The original drawbar settings used by the group’s guitarist Mathew Fisher have been used for the recording. The organ sounds are complemented by a drum pattern from the OAS accompaniment unit and a guitar rhythm from the OAS Rhythm Designer.

The second demo demonstrates the advantages of running multiple instances of VB3 in the host program. Sounds with a vibrato setting are used on the upper manual whilst those with a Leslie Speaker setting are used on the lower manual, the sort of thing Klaus Wunderlich might do in his recordings. However, he needed a multi-track recording studio to do it!!  The drawbar chimes are added from the Wersi OAS drawbar unit.

The third demo illustrates how the VB3 drawbar sounds can be combined with any of the other organ sounds. We use a variety of orchestral sounds from the OAS sound database and a style from the Open Art Arranger.

You can find the demos and more details of VB3 at:-


Just click on the ‘Sample Sets and Demos’ button and select the ‘VB3 Virtual Hammond Organ’ entry.