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Electro-Harmonix Lester-K Stereo Rotary Speaker Pedal Reviews

4.5 stars based on 13 customer reviews
Questions about the Electro-Harmonix Lester-K Stereo Rotary Speaker Pedal?

Questions about the Electro-Harmonix Lester-K Stereo Rotary Speaker Pedal?

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  • from Philly September 30, 2016Music Background:
    Professional musician

    Completes the sound!

    Like another reviewer on here, I got the Lester K to complete the sound of the Yamaha YC. I have a primary organ rig (a Crumar Mojo, which to my ears is so close to a real B3 that the difference seems more like the difference one might hear between two real Hammonds rather than the difference between the real thing and a clone - but that's another review). I use that for major gigs. But for gigs with only SOME organ, or limited stage space (or limited compensation), I wanted a truly portable rig. So I got the YC, and linked it with a 61-key MIDI board. The basic drawbar tones are very good, but it absolutely suffers from that "too clean" sound of old Rompler organ patches, and the Leslie sim isn't great. It's not giving you the true DUAL ROTOR simulation with different ramp up/down speeds for the rotor and the horn, and it's not getting any of the cabinet tonal coloring, either. And the fast speed is really nothing to write home about. Lastly, the drive in the YC is NOT good. It just adds fuzzy white noise on top of the sound rather than giving you that warm crunch that's integrated INTO the sound.
    Enter the Lester K. It has absolutely transformed the YC. I now feel I could use that portable rig anywhere, even an organ-centric gig, and not feel like I'm missing something. No, it's still not the Mojo, but with great drive, great amp sim and rotational simulation of the Lester, it sounds and feels like I'm playing a truly professional instrument. Before, the YC sounded like an "adequate approximation". Now, it' got some real soul in its tone. This is a fantastic pedal for any clone or keyboard patch that can't quite cut it on it's own.
    And as always, Sweetwater was prompt, professional and thorough. These guys really understand how to run a business!

  • from Rockaway. NJ June 26, 2016

    EHX hits a home run!

    I'm spoiled: I own a B-3 and a pair of 122's, so I know what they sound like. After gigging for 50 years, they don't get out at all anymore. I'm using a popular Sweedish clonewheel, but I recently bought a Yamaha reface YC because I want a 4 lb. Hammond and I also want my grandson to learn organ on mini keys first, then full size. The YC is great, but the chorus/vibrato isn't, and the rotary simulation is not customizeable. I saw the Lester K demo'ed on line, and thought it had promise. After I hooked it up I was sold. Great sound, easy to adjust, OD with a realistic grunge not noise, and a tiny form factor justify lugging an extra patch cord and power supply. Bypass and rotary speed switches are completely silent in the audio chain. The only negative I've found is that you can't adjust the ramp up/down values (oddly enough, they add this control on the guitar model).
    For the price EHX has created a realistic rotary simulation that delivers a very elusive sound. I think Don himself would be impressed.


    Enjoy.

  • from May 21, 2016

    Better and cheaper than the Neo Mini Vent

    At one time, I had a Neo Mini Vent for my Hammond SK1. It sounded pretty good, but it cut the lows, making my SK1 sound thin. I recently began to search for another Leslie sim and came across a demo video of a Hammond C3 through a Lester-K and sounded great. But what can you really tell from a video? So I ordered one just to try it out and it sounds way better than my old Mini Vent. It's definitely a keeper. My SK1 now has a fuller sound and both the chorale and fast speeds sound very close to a real Leslie.

  • from Milwaukee WI March 26, 2016

    Lester-K is AWESOME!!!

    Electro-Harmonix Lester-K is everything I hoped it would be. Love the Leslie effect on my synth. Get the Lester-G for your guitar. It will blow you away!!!

  • from March 24, 2016Music Background:
    professional keyboard player

    Loved it on my gig ! (update)

    I finally got this baby on a gig and it sounded fantastic! I was playing in stereo using two Peavy KB2 Keyboard amps. I love these amps as they use a separate 10" woofer and 1" dome tweeter in coaxial arrangement. Plus, they are in a SEALED cabinet (not ported). Sealed cabinets are rare these days, but a far superior design.

    The lester works best if the input signal is NOT processed in any way, so be careful about using source signals that already have a rotary, phasing, tremolo effect, etc. as it will likely interact adversely with the Lester K i.e. lower the volume due to phasing issues, change the timbre, attack, etc. Of course there are exceptions. Otherwise, this box is pure gold.

  • from March 19, 2016

    Makes my keyboard come to life!

    I've only messed around with this for about a day, but I am really delighted with the sound. I am a veteran professional keyboard player. I am not a trained organist, but like to play organ on gigs. I have a Korg x50, and a Yamaha MX49 and the Lester K really makes the Korg come to life! Quiet, nice size, and stereo in/out. While the Lester K allows you to adjust the speed of the rotor, the knobs have a center detent that sounds perfect! The distortion (drive) is also very convincing. Good build quality, and the price was fair, especially compared to the Ventilator. I might have liked a controal that would allow me to adjust the blend between the effect, and the clean signal, but the sound is so good I don't think it's going to be an issue. I can't wait to gig with i next week! Customer service was excellent, and was able to use Paypal over the phone.

  • from Freeport, NY March 3, 2016

    Very Nice Keyboard Accessory

    I had been looking for a way to get the "Big Hammond" sound on my Yamaha PSR-S550 for years. This is an amazing keyboard and I love it, but trying to create a true rotary organ effect on it is not really possible. You can come close by combining two sounds and messing with the parameters but it does not really come together. The band I am in occasionally wanders into the blues genre and some 60's keyboard songs too so when I saw the description of the Lester-K I jumped for it.

    I practiced with it for one session before one of our gigs. Let me say I like this effects box a lot. To start with, it is very well built physically and when the effects are brought in and out and changed there are no clicks, pops, or audio problems, which is important.

    The Lester K will replicate the Hammond sound quite well in my opinion. On my particular keyboard I use the "Pipe Organ" or "Church Organ 3" settings. The Lester K has a "slow" and "fast" mode; in my opinion the "slow" gives the best results. There seems to be some light grunge that comes in on the
    "fast" settings but this is probably part of the design for some sounds and not a technical issue. The speeds of the "slow" and "fast" are adjustable so the fast slow and the slow fast might resemble each other. There is a balance control to blend these speeds and I did not use that very much; I preferred to stay on the slow speed. I will have to play with this control some more.

    This pedal, like good spices, should be used sparingly. If you use it on other sounds it does some strange things to them like detuning. I do not recommend it for piano and strings.. It is really meant to emulate the rotary organs of the 60's and it does that quite well I think. I have not tried it on every possible input my keyboard can make but I'm sure there are lots of possibilities to create unusual effects using this device.

  • from February 6, 2016

    Lester K Amazes

    I am an old school organ player and keyboardist. I have a Leslie but have sold my B-3's in favor of the Nord C2, Hammond SK2, and Nord Electro 3 - so I know what real organ should sound like. The onboard Leslies for my keyboards are very good and, as I said, I have a real Leslie too - a Leslie 3300.
    Before the Lester K there was one alternative in a box - the Neo Ventilator now in several different models.
    The thing is, technology is always changing - a newer development surpassing an older one, often at less cost. In my opinion, that's what Electro Harmonix has done with the Lester K (and G which I do not own) - surpassed everything else out there except a real (heavy) Leslie. The Lester K is a veritable fraction of the cost of its competition and I think better. This box is amazing. Whoever and however they came up with it is an amazing techno!

  • from Bloomington, IN January 14, 2016Music Background:
    Keyboardist, composer, for over 40 years

    New life for my XW-P1 drawbar organ

    First off, I love the versatility of my Casio XW-P1. Casio crammed a lot of stuff into this keyboard with the solo synth and hex layers and tons of PCM tones. I've used it extensively for gigging and recording in the year that I've owned it. However, the biggest disappointment for me has always been the drawbar organ feature. I totally get it. In order for Casio to provide the most bang for the buck and hold the price point down, they had to make a few compromises, the most glaring of which was the rotary speaker effect. Until now the best solutions have been the Neo Ventilator or the GSI Burn, both of which in essence would have doubled the cost of the keyboard. Hey, if I wanted to spend a thousand bucks on a new keyboard I would have bought a thousand dollar keyboard. Now along comes the EH Lester K at a price I can afford. Being the frugal (poor) musician that I am I think this sounds reasonable so as soon as Sweetwater gets them in stock I place my order, a little nervous that by cheaping out on my desire to have a decent sounding organ I don't get bit in the behind. So what's the verdict you ask. Well, what does it tell you when I say I plugged it in and played with it until I finally had to force myself to get some sleep. When I got up in the morning the first thing I did was play with it some more before being forced to go to the day job. As soon as I got home from work instead of plunking my butt down in front of the TV like I normally do I fired up my rig again and played some more. While not as customizable as those other high-end rotary speaker effects mentioned previously, this thing makes my P1s drawbar organ sound awesome. Rich, full, swishy and shwirly and with the overdrive I can even get gritty (think Stevie Winwood with the Spencer Davis Band or Jon Lord with Deep Purple). I couldn't be happier. It's like I have a whole new keyboard to play with. If your frugal (poor) like me and want to simulate a Leslie sound, this is definitely something you should consider.

  • from February 7, 2016

    Lester K can sound great!

    The Lester K is a very cool contraption, and at this price a great deal. I play organ a lot and use a Ventilator when I play live. I heard a demo of this thing; it sounded nice, and thought it would be cool to have in my music room, so I wouldn't to dig the Vent out of my gig bag every time I wanted to play the organ. Let me say that at first I was disappointed with the Lester and was thinking of returning it, but after working with it I found I really liked it. The first thing to note is that this thing has a massive bass response - out of the box it sounded muddy - to get a usable sound I had to turn the balance control towards the treble horn side and lower the bass on the organ (I used it with a Nord C2 and Electro 5). I also first tried it in mono through a smaller monitor and it just didn't sound so good. Then I played it in stereo through a pair of JBL Eon 315's and got rid of some of the bass - and it sounded great!. It still has an incredibly rich sound and bass notes through it can shake the rafters, but if you bring up the treble horn you get a nice balanced sound. I discovered that it has a very different sound from the Ventilator - the Vent recreates the sound of a Leslie with 2 mics on the treble and 1 mic on the bass, and it has the intense sound of a mic'ed Leslie. Lester sounds like you have a Leslie in the corner of the room (with the louvers facing towards you) - more subtle but very realistic. The fact that the bass rotor effect is in stereo helps create the 'Leslie in the room' illusion. I've yet to try the Lester in a live band situation, but I can say that for sitting around and having fun at the organ, Lester K is a great addition. If you don't want to spend $500 on a Ventilator but want a step up from your organ's built in sim or you just want a nice sounding Leslie sim to have fun with, Lester K could be just what you're looking for!

  • from NEW JERSEY April 21, 2017Music Background:
    keyboardist

    lester is ok

    having used leslie tone cabinets for years I have found nothing that sounds quite like then, however I also remember carrying then to gig's ,my back still hurts. the lester is a pretty good emulation of a leslie, and you can carry it in your pocket. it has a warm full sound at slow speed and a vibe-rent ring at fast speed. you can also adjust balance, slow and fast speeds, and add drive. I would recommend this product as a great alternative to a wood rotary speaker cabinet .........

  • from Chicagoland August 5, 2016

    Definitely Worth the Money

    Bought a Roland VR-09 (from Sweetwater, naturally) as it really suited my needs. The built-in rotary effect was passable but disappointing. I know that the Mini Vent is all the rage when it comes to Leslie simulators, but it cost more than I was willing to spend. Enter the Lester K. It really gave the VR-09's tonewheel organ a richer, fuller sound for a lot less money than the Mini Vent.

    Pros -- great sound; a variety of control knobs; stereo out; small footprint
    Cons -- no woofer/tweeter acceleration control (would have rather had these than the speed controls as I use the default speeds); overdrive effect and speed brake implementation could be better

  • from Morgan Hill, CA January 22, 2016

    Lester K is a great value!

    I gig with a vintage Korg CX-3. It has a built in rotary effect but that is technology from the 80s. I love the CX-3 for its look and the vintage gear adds some personality to my rig and my band. The Lester K is at a great price point and adds warmth, depth, and character to my organ sound. The rotary effect (even with both inputs and outputs in mono) is really awesome. The slow speed especially sounds super authentic. The drive can be used (sparingly in my view) to get some grit into the sound. Past twelve o'clock the drive knob is a bit too distorted for my taste. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the balance, slow, and fast speeds but with all set a mid the effect is very satisfying and will add a new dimension to your keyboard's sound.

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