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April 2017 Giveaway

Rotary Speaker

The first thing that usually comes to mind when you think of a rotary speaker is the Leslie, which came in a nicely finished, solid wood cabinet and thus weighed about 400 pounds. Most people have the impression that Leslies were produced Hammond, the same company that made the B-3 tonewheel organ, but in fact, Hammond never built a rotary speaker and actually refused to market one. Still, most serious Hammond B-3 owners bought Leslie cabinets. There have been other rotary speakers, most notable of which was the Fender Vibratone, which was introduced in 1967 and discontinued in 1972. This was also marketed under the Leslie brand name from about 1965 on, as CBS (which owned Fender at this time) owned the Leslie patents. The rotary speaker produces its signature sound via the Doppler effect. Today there are a number of software versions of classic rotary speakers, as well as digitally modeled effects pedals, but most agree that there’s no substitute for the real thing. Among the popular current hardware rotary speakers are the Pro-3X and SRV-212 manufactured by Motion Sound.

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