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When it comes to getting a true Hammond organ sound, nowadays your only real options are either software-based plug-ins, or big clonewheel keyboards that emulate the famous tonewheel sounds of yesteryear. Well, these aren’t your ONLY options anymore: enter the Ferrofish B4000+, probably our new favorite way of coaxing classic organ sounds from a tiny little module that can sit atop your MIDI controller.
While we appreciate things like the Yamaha reface YC (which, incidentally, is about $200 cheaper), it just doesn’t have the flexibility that most true performs are after. And the miniature keys are no help, either. You’re likely gonna want to get another full-size MIDI controller to use the darn thing, anyway, so there goes any savings.
So, what’s an organist to do? The B4000+ puts true Hammond tones into a small-format module, that’s easy to hook up via MIDI, and which contains a TON of tonal variety via its built built-in DSP. The best part is that unlike the reface keyboard, you have real drawbar action (not tiny faders), and this is where it shines. The interaction between the stops and the sound is instant, and inspiring. Much like the larger offerings from, say Crumar and their MOJO 61, it’s this back-and-forth interplay between the drawbars and the chosen sound that really allows the Ferrofish unit to outclass not only the reface, but any plug-ins you may have tried.▼ Article continues below ▼
Sound quality is truly outstanding across the board and dialing in your desired tone is a simple matter of adjusting the aforementioned drawbars and using the on-screen display and rotary knobs to adjust parameters. The layout and UI are simple enough for anyone to pick up without needing to consult the manual, and the sheer number of options is deep without being intimidating. That’s a tricky balance, and we appreciate the effort that went into designing such a powerful yet easy to master module. The on-screen display, while a bit small, shows you your drawbar settings and other parameters, and you can even dial in fx like Leslie swooshes and overdrive on-the-fly.
Overall, we’re in love with the B4000+. We’ve tried a number of organ solutions over the years, and since space and money are both considerations for our own office studio, this is the perfect option if you’ve already got a fave MIDI controller to hook it up to. You even have the option of adding both an upper and lower manual since there are two MIDI ins on the rear.
While we’d love something with true waterfall keys, the reality is that for many players, they just don’t have the space or cash to set up a full modern Hammond rig. And for them (and us), this is the perfect solution. We love it, and we think you will, too.
excellent sound, easy to configure, tactile drawbars
small-ish, but clear/bright screen.