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Hammond Vibrato

(Excerpted from the OriginalHammondLeslieFaq.)

Vibrato is the periodic raising and lowering of the pitch (frequency modulation), and is thus fundamentally different from tremolo which is a variation in only the loudness of the pitch (amplitude modulation). The early Hammond organs featured a Tremolo system however it was generally considered to not be very effective.

The Hammond vibrato was invented by Hammond engineer JohnHanert. This vibrato is implemented using a tapped DelayLine: really a low-pass filter. The signal is applied to the DelayLine (aka LineBox) and a rotating Scanner, attached to one end of the ToneGenerator assembly and geared to turn 412 RPM or about 7 times a second, picks the signal off of the DelayLine at the tap points. The Scanner, a single-pole 16-throw air-dielectric capacitor switch, is wired so that the tap point will traverse the entire delay line twice, once up the DelayLine and once back down, for each Scanner rotation. As the DelayLine is traversed phase is added-to and then subtracted-from the signal.

The chorus signal is produced by adding the "dry" non-pitch-shifted signal to the "wet" pitch-shifted signal.

The three settings each of vibrato and chorus correspond to different amounts of total delay thus different amounts of total pitch shift.

In addition to the pitch shifting function, the vibrato, as implemented in the Hammond organ, also acts as a sweeping low-pass filter. There is some frequency response and amplitude variation as the tap point of the filter is swept.

Provided on the organs so equipped are vibrato and chorus settings V1,V2,V3 and C1,C2,C3.

SpinetOrgans, at least the M series, have only two vibrato/chorus depths: normal and small (VibratoSmall) --- these correspond approximately to the '1' and '3' settings on ConsoleOrgans.

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