Here’s someone who really, really loves Native Instruments’ B4 (II) software rendition of the Hammond B3 organ. The work of Markus Berger, this dead-ringer for a real B3 is actually a carefully crafted replica with elaborate MIDI control inside. The body is built by hand from cherry wood. Electronics were prototyped with the open source Arduino platform and implemented with electronics from Doepfer, then finished with manuals (that’s “keys” for you non-organists) from Fatar (as seen in Nord’s organs). Authentic-style drawbars finish the project. Correction: I got my wires crossed and originally claimed this had Fatar drawbars, but it’s Fatar manuals. Thanks to comments for spotting that.

The integration of the hardware design with the B4 is extraordinary: the creator notes that every single function is perfectly replicated, so you never have to touch a mouse or look at a screen. Of course, you can then make meticulous models tweaked on the B4 software that wouldn’t have been possible on the original hardware – and this hardware, while substantial, should be dramatically lighter.

More on those custom electronics:

The main controller electronics were actually custom developed and prototyped with Arduino. They were complemented by electronics from Doepfer for the two manuals.

Most of the electronics had to be custom developed as there was and still is nothing available to cover all the functionality of a classic Hammond B3 with the full drawbars set, preset keys and all the switches.

And yes, the bottom line is that this puts every controller for everything I’ve ever seen to shame. Thanks to Germany-based Twitter reader tillephone for sending this my way.

B4 Controller Project Page

I hesitate to even suggest this, but – is a Leslie cabinet next?


More photos after the jump: