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From the MAKE Flickr pool

Holy Wow – Marcus’ love for digital organ emulation inspired him to emulate the instrument’s physicality as well. Modeled closely after the Hammond B3 organ, the B4 Controller is designed specifically for use with Native Instruments B4 (II) virtual organ software. On top of a hefty amount of good ol’ woodworking, funcionality was developed with Arduino/etc -

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Most of the electronics had to be custom developed as there was nothing available to cover all the functionality of a classic Hammond B3 with the full drawbars set, preset keys and all switches. The Arduino platform was of great help for doing all the prototyping.
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The electronics for the white keys section of the two manuals as well as the actual manuals where bought from Doepfer. The manuals are the same as used in the Nord C1 and Nord C2 combo organs and are manufactured by Fatar.

Much more info a photos from the build right over here.

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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Comments

  1. Chris Gammell says:

    This is an amazing controller. I know the Hammond company (now owned by a Japanese parent company) has also started selling a digital version of the original (with a tube-based power amp for the “warm sound”). They also happen to retail it for 30 grand or so.

    I have used the Native Instruments B4 program before and it’s pretty spot on in terms of emulating the original sound. With a controller like this I bet you could trick some of the best pros out there. Maybe not though, I’m nowhere near being a pro.

    If nothing else, I’m sure this would be a ridiculously lighter version to transport. That alone could make it all worth it.

    1. Collin Cunningham says:

      That’s true – you could actually move it around the room without a forklift.
      Once helped a friend move an hammond up a flight of stairs – well, we def made it halfway anyway :/

  2. Taylor Livingston says:

    What’s the point? I don’t mean that rhetorically. I’m genuinely curious. I have used B4 and it sounds great. The whole point of using B4 (I thought) was that you can fit a laptop and MIDI controller under your arm, on the subway/bus, take it up stairs, etc. easily. If you’re going to have a gigantic console, why not just get a real Hammond? Seems like the worst of both worlds here: fake sound, real inconvenience.

    1. Collin Cunningham says:

      From the project page -

      “Just like the software this project attempts to replicate the ‘real thing’—the classic Hammond B3—as much as possible. All of the software’s functionality known from the original instrument can be controlled from this controller. There is no need to take a look at the computer display or to control the software with the mouse or computer keyboard at any time.”

      Plus the original instruments can be quite costly – and as noted above, very heavy! ;)

  3. wut? says:

    how’d you get ONE little arduino to send all the midi info of all the keys and drawbars, etc?