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Mark Gerasimov
Mark Gerasimov

Native Instruments B4 II: A Virtual Hammond Organ for Your Studio

Native Instruments B4 II: A Virtual Hammond Organ for Your Studio

Native Instruments B4 II is a software synthesizer that emulates the sound and feel of the legendary Hammond B3 organ. It offers a wide range of authentic tones, from warm and mellow to bright and punchy, as well as realistic rotary speaker effects, drawbar control, and MIDI learn functionality. Whether you are a keyboardist, producer, or composer, B4 II can add some classic organ flavor to your music.

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In this article, we will review some of the features and benefits of B4 II, as well as some of the drawbacks and limitations. We will also provide some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of this virtual instrument.

Features and Benefits

B4 II is a standalone application and a plug-in for VST, AU, RTAS, and DXi hosts. It can be played with a MIDI keyboard or a computer keyboard, and it supports multiple MIDI channels for split and layer modes. You can also use a MIDI controller to adjust the drawbars, switches, and pedals in real time.

B4 II has four different organ models to choose from: B3, C3, A100, and Mellow. Each model has its own tonal characteristics and response. You can also customize the sound by selecting different tonewheel sets, percussion settings, key click levels, leakage levels, and chorus/vibrato modes.

B4 II also features a powerful rotary speaker simulation that recreates the Doppler effect, phase shifting, and distortion of a Leslie cabinet. You can choose from six different speaker models, each with its own speed, acceleration, brake, horn balance, and microphone distance settings. You can also bypass the speaker simulation and use B4 II as a direct organ sound.

B4 II has a built-in spring reverb that adds some ambience and depth to the sound. You can adjust the reverb level, decay time, and color. You can also use an external reverb plug-in if you prefer.

B4 II has a simple and intuitive user interface that resembles the original Hammond organ. You can access all the parameters from one screen, or switch to an expanded view that shows more details. You can also save and load presets, or use the preset manager to browse through hundreds of factory and user presets.

Drawbacks and Limitations

B4 II is not a perfect emulation of the Hammond organ. It has some limitations and issues that may affect your experience. Here are some of them:

  • B4 II does not support polyphonic aftertouch or pitch bend. This means you cannot use these expressive features on your MIDI keyboard or controller.

  • B4 II does not have a built-in overdrive or distortion effect. This means you cannot achieve the gritty and dirty sounds that are often associated with rock organ playing. You will need to use an external effect plug-in or pedal to add some distortion to your signal.

  • B4 II has some CPU usage problems when used with certain hosts or plug-ins. According to some users[^2^], B4 II's CPU usage runs exceptionally high when used alongside other plug-ins in Cakewalk's Sonar 5 (my sequencer of choice). This may cause glitches, pops, or crashes in your audio playback or recording. You may need to adjust your buffer size or disable some plug-ins to avoid this problem.

Tips and Tricks

B4 II is a versatile and powerful virtual instrument that can enhance your music production. Here are some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of it:

  • Experiment with different organ models, tonewheel sets, percussion settings, and chorus/vibrato modes to find the best sound for your genre and style.

  • Use a MIDI controller with drawbar sliders or knobs to adjust the sound in real time. You can also assign other parameters such as rotary speed, reverb level, or key click level to your controller for more expression.

  • Use split and layer modes to create complex sounds with different organ models or presets on each MIDI channel. You can also use different speaker models or effects on each channel for more variety.

Use automation to create dynamic changes in your sound over time. You can automate parameters such as drawbar levels, rotary speed, e0e6b7cb5c


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