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Excerpted from the OriginalHammondLeslieFaq:

How do you record a Leslie speaker? How many microphones are used and where are they placed? Everyone seems to have their favorite technique. Just to give you an idea of the range of methods that have been used, here's an excerpt from UnearthingTheMysteriesOfTheLeslieCabinet, by Clifford A. Henricksen.

As with just about anything, recording a Leslie is a matter of particular taste and purpose. You might want record the best possible recreation of a live Hammond B3/Leslie combination; you might also want to make it sound "better". You might also want to use it as send and receive device, like an echo unit, with a high level send to the Leslie Amp, and a mono or stereo microphone receive. You could put it in a studio, in a reverb room (or in the bathroom) during the mix, or you might use it live. The possibilities are only limited by your level of creativity and/or insanity. However, the following are some standard techniques and descriptions of behavior.

Mono Recordings. I have recorded Leslies with a single microphone mounted as close as 1 foot from the treble horn, with very pleasing results. If the mike is placed even closer (within several inches) the severe amplitude-modulation effect becomes very annoying, and wind noise from the rotor at high speeds sounds like you have a helicopter in teh room. Which is a sound you might want. The same thing happens on the bass rotor, where up close there is also a lot of mechanical noise. A loose scrim will be real noisy; tighten it up. The sound from both rotors is mellower coming out of the louvres. By removing the back panels and miking the Leslie from the rear, the sound is more "direct" and defined.

Stereo And Multi-Mike Recording. Use of two mikes on the top and bottom of the cabinet is a very effective way of getting a good sound, bearing in mind the AM effects of close-miking. The best way I know of recording a Leslie, however, is in stereo. The left and right channels can be recorded with either a top and bottom pair of mixed mikes, or with just single mikes panned between left and right. The stereo image achieved with two pairs panned full left and right is very exciting. Many combinations are possible though, the point being that a Leslie is capable of providng a great deal of spatial information.

I spoke with a few engineers I know about such recording techniques, and here are a few of their preferences:

Jay Mark (Sigma sound, New York) has been pleased with a "tight" or "direct" Leslie sound, when recording organ. His principle reason for this is because the organ is used as background and not a featured instrument; the tight sound is needed so that the organ sound is very clear and unmistakable, even when way down in a mix. Jay has used the following setup with good results: an RCA 77DX ribbon at back of the top rotor cabinet, about 8 inches from the treble horn, with the high-end rolled of to suit. He also uses, at the back of bottom rotor, a U87 with the lows rolled off, and mixed with the top mike to suit. He remembers experimenting with the top and bottom sound panned left and right, and not liking the effect.

Allen Sides (Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood) prefers a pair of tube U67s, located about 5 feet away from the Leslie, aimed midway between top and bottom rotors, and spaced 10 feet apart. The mikes are panned left and right, and recorded on two separate tracks. Allen prefers the U67's natural roll-off on the high-end for de-emphasizing the high-frequency distortion on top. He told me of recording BillyPreston, who played a Fender Rhodes electric piano with stereo vibrato, and sent each channel to two separate Leslies.

Joe McSorely (Veritable Recording, Ardmore, Pennsylvania) likes to use a pair of U87s mounted relatively close in top and bottom cabinets. For a "tight" organ sound, he rolls of the lows from the bottom rotor, but records the top flat. Joe echoes a repeating problem --- wind noise up close --- and he always uses windscreens on the mikes. He says that most organ Leslie recordings done at Veritable are on one track, but a great "fake stereo" mixdown effect can be achieved by panning the dry track to one side, and using a Harmonizer in the "doubling" mode on a second track panned full opposite. Joe describes the resultant sound as "monstrous".

Micing the lower rotor

Many have recommended the RE-20.

Adding Permanent Internal Mics

?DavidHagler has used Kobitone mic elements (Mouser:25LM032) installed internally in his Motion Sound Pro3T and his ?LowPro.

Other References

There's a ?KeyboardMagazine article by MarkVail on Miking Leslie Cabinets at:

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