Corky’s VST Organ Tips and Tweaks Page 🎹


My experience with my last serious gig.
I have a wonderful Viscount Legend, which is an Hammond clone with all hardware commands.
Since my MIDI controller does not give me full safety, I opened bag of the Legend.
But after two ear tests Hammond B3X VST by IK was better than the Legend.
Hammond and guitar amp simulations are incredible.
So I used Legend only as controller.
Mapping drawbars was easy, a program change for every song driven by C3 and I was totally satisfied.
For me no match. VST and C3 are always better


Furio, we are in agreement. That is why I said the B-3X will be my go to plug for organ, but if I were to suffer some kind of C3 failure, it is at least nice to have a genuine Hammond with digital Leslie built in as a backup to carry on. After playing my XK1c, I’ve found so far, it is a really great keyboard on its own, but will make an even better controller for B-3X, or any of my other organ plugs


Good to hear from you again Steve. Hope things are well with you and yours. Happy New Year!



I am not a professional.
I have been playing with VSTs since 18 years. Before using C3 I was totally with Reaper (extremely nice, low cost daw)
I had only one problem once with a virus, because I was so stupid to try an hacked synth.
So I had to run to buy a Kurzweil PC3 to be sure to have an hardware solution available.
In one night I defeated that virus on my laptop.
I immediately started again to use VSTs.
Reason was clear, I was using a lot Native VintageOrgans and results were much better than with Kurz.
After one year I sold the Kurz.
And bought a Yamaha Montage because of internal usb audio board.
If you care about your PC, chances to have a problem are extremely low


That is true. Taking a risk of repeating myself from threads years away, but I had Two hardware keyboards fail, and Zero computers fail while gigging all these years. The hard keys are also computers, which take a lengthy process to ship back to manufacturer, and return, not to mention the cost. I can always repair a computer, and carry a cheap backup if a fail happens. I do not take a $3000 + hard synth out to a cheap gig anymore. Just not worth the effort, and why should I? I have the best sounds on my laptop, and my many controllers do the job just fine. I don’t need a high dollar rig to play and sound great! :sunglasses:

Not judging what others do, but this is how I roll, and to each his own, eh? :grin:


Same here - the only thing that’s crashed on me on stage was my Akai Masterkeyboard. Brought in another 88 key controller, swapped MIDI cables and continued the gig.

I do carry a second laptop plus audio interface just in case, but that’s definitely cheaper than my Kurzweil PC3. Haven’t sold that one - it has a wonderful keybed, so does a great job (albeit a bit overqualified) as a MIDI controller.




Granted, any device can fail, but putting all your eggs in one basket, no matter which one, IMHO is asking for trouble. I have backup computer wise and dual controllers, so I’m covered either way. Both of my controllers split duty with my various VST’s and my Integra 7 sound module. My XK1c will primarily handle all my organ VST’s but provide excellent backup if need be. If I have any hardware issues, I live less than 30 min. from several authorized repair shops that cover just about every brand on the planet. I have a small backup workstation that travels to gigs with me.


When I discuss going midi controller->laptop->VST->audio interface with keyboard players (in bands I play bass in) they dismiss it out of hand. They agree that VST’s are better but they would never risk something so complicated on stage. They’re not interested in my freely offered time to get them set up on Cantabile and a “glitch fee” laptop. They sound just OK for pianos but the on-board organs they use are a joke.

When I first started playing out with Cantabile I had my fair share of mishaps:

  1. Forgot to plug in laptop to mains power - controller screen back light on but nothing else because it’s of low voltage from battery operated laptop
  2. Setup keyboard off stage - while carrying it on stage but bumped into drawbars while Hybrid was running and it happened those CC values were mapped to filters so first song was a distorted mess.
  3. Laptop decided to restart for Windows 10 updates even though I had it set not to (was lucky it finished before we played)

There were more but since those early outings I’ve had zero problems and moving through songs is a breeze.


They are afraid of change. I embraced it, and after the C3 learning curve set in, I was on my way. Several keyboardists have approached me, wondering how I was getting those great keyboard sounds. Same with guitarists…“how are you getting all those great tones without an amp?”.
In all cases, they were amazed, but too uncomfortable with the technology. I occasionally let keyboardists sit in, and I give them a quick tour, and they love the feel, and sounds, but most will say they could never go that direction. One of the musicians was on the original “Knock On Wood” record, and I let him play 6 songs on my rig, and he was in awe. Bragged about it all night.
I’ve offered to help many, but only 3 people took advantage of my offer, and they never went back to old school. When I am allowed to use C3 in studio work, engineers are happy to have the direct signal, no micing.


Yup - that’s why it is extremely useful to suppress all controllers going into a rack EXCEPT the ones you really, really want to use live… With my keyboard abstraction approach, I usually only route note events to my racks, then explicitly assign controllers (aftertouch, mod, pitchbend, pedals) to the ones I really mean to. Makes life a lot more predictable…

I use StopUpdates10 to make sure this doesn’t happen anymore. Hasn’t happened to me on my Cantabile machine, but my wife’s LivePrompter tablet decided to go for a Windows update halfway through a song - hectic sprint to backstage to grab the “traditional” paper folder…

But the general rule of IT applies: there’s always one more bug…


Agreed, the question is just how much trouble you’d want to go to in terms of disaster backup. I usually carry a second laptop plus audio interface (fully sync’ed with my main laptop), plus a small “emergency” keyboard (just a light 49 key thingy) that could get me limping through a gig, should one of my boards fail. For serious/important gigs far away from home, I actually carry a second 88 key controller, but usually leave it in the car.

Again, a great argument for the Cantabile + laptop setup - who would/could ever carry a second B-3 + Leslie in their car (erm, truck…) just in case?


Hence the reason for my backup. Don’t get me wrong…I am looking forward to rocking my VST’s, but it gives me peace of mind to know if it hits the fan, I can carry on until things get back on track. My XK1c will be my primary organ controller with B-3X. If I suffer no issues, then I will roll with that on a regular basis. Same for my SL88 controller. It’s about 50% VST and 50% Integra 7. The supernatural sound of the Roland module is right up there with my VST’s. I’m not afraid to jump off the edge, but I will make sure I have a parachute just in case.


I too carry a second laptop and audio interface and a small emergency keyboard (MX49 synth) that I have “limped through” many a gig with. My second controller is part of my rig. I play with two controllers and the Hammond.

Of course no one would. You prefer to roll with just your laptop and controller(s). If that works for you or anybody else, then keep on rolling with it. I have always played with at least two keys. It’s how I prefer to play. Granted carrying a laptop and a controller minimizes/streamlines setup, but I have mine down to a science. I have my stand and a small rack, and my keys. Everything is cabled and labeled and I’m up and running in 10 min. I know during a gig, if it hits the fan, I have the ability to carry on by just turning up the volume. and have a direct connection outside C3 for my sound module. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years is be prepared for anything.


Absolutely - and there’s no right or wrong here, just what you feel comfortable with.

I’ve had my eyes on the Integra for some time, but just couldn’t really get myself to go back to a setup that requires me to carry a specific hardware synth with me. I’m just spoiled by the flexibility of my Cantabile rig - to rehearse with my “second” band, I simply take my laptop with me to rehearsal - I have a relatively cheap 88 key controller plus interface permanently set up there. With a hardware synth, I’d have to replicate the full setup, i.e. invest in a second Integra, or shlep my keyboard rack with me to the rehearsal room.

Before I discovered Cantabile, this was exactly what I needed to do, so I actually do have TWO Kurzweils in my arsenal. These days, one of them is permanently set up in my home studio, the other is sitting in its gigbag, ready to be loaded into the car at a moment’s notice. Luxury indeed…

OK, but now we’ve hijacked the thread enough - back to our regular scheduled program :wink:




Torsten…one of the reasons for the XK1c, was just for backup in case of failure. Playing the keyboard on the other hand and mapping it to the B-3X is something I am absolutely looking forward to… You as an IT guy, can certainly appreciate the accelerating advancement in computer power and function. We all remember the big bad Y2K. That seemed like yesterday. I remember logging on to the internet (which took long enough to make a sandwich) listening to my modem screeching out. Now, where we are is phenomenal. Look how far VST’s have come and how fast they are rolling out, becoming ever better… more stable, more powerful and infinitely more capable. It has become a pick and choose world where you can have a controller or two and buy whatever plug you want and build an arsenal of awesome sound, much like the infinite number of choices for streaming TV. It will probably be only a few years before the performance machines we work on will be relegated to the shelf or even to the scrap heap.

What all this leads to, is the ability to play what you want, when you want and not have to spend $4K twice over just to get the sounds you need. We can now take advantage of all of these great plugs and apply these great tweaks and share discoveries and all continue to play ever better in the process


I jokingly tried to convince several bandmates to let me stream my performance from home. They, being technically challenged, are like, “WHAT?”. I still push it occasionally. :joy:


Video call gigging…now you’re on to something! Set your stuff up at home in front of a green screen, internet link to the PA and the only guy at the gig is a video/sound tech doing a mix. I like it! You can even wear your spandex pajamas :grin:


Yes I can, because I really rock spandex so well, lol! Much better than my leather pants! :rofl:


You can still wear leather in the form of your leather slippers with the spikes on them


OK. I wasn’t quite ready to post this, but since it became the flavor of the week, and a new decade has arrived, I decided to release it. Happy New Year to all!


Believe me, or don’t……I actually obtained drawbar settings directly from Tom Scholz. That story can be discussed at a different time, but it is absolutely true.

So, I do not have a Scholz modded M3 VST, or modded Leslie VST. “Foreplay’s” tone is not too hard to achieve…until you get into the conversion to “Long Time”. That’s when some VSTs fall short, but also where creativity comes into play. That means I have to squeeze every ounce of tone out of these VSTs, regardless of drawbars, distortion, and Leslie settings. B5 has a foldback feature, which was nice to know. Also, Blue3 has a foldback feature, AND an M3 capped tone set, and it DID make a difference. From what I hear, and see, “Foreplay” has no vibrato/chorus, and no percussion. The clavinet being used plays some of the same parts as the organ, which could be confused as organ settings.

This song is very dependent on expression pedal, and lower manual (keyboard). It starts out softly with pedal slightly pushed forward, single Bass notes on lower manual, while the intricate arpeggio patterns are on the upper manual. Slow Leslie. Drum entry initiates more swell, so more pedal produces gain and distortion. Eventually, Fast Leslie kicks in, more pedal until the stop with slow Leslie, and chord hold. Much better than a further lengthy description, study this and you will understand what he does, and where he initiates swell, full drawbars, and Leslie speed:

Also, here is my edited audio of Tom Sholtz demonstrating Fourplay on his other Hammond… a B3. I used it as my model. You can clearly hear how he does it here:


The presets include the B and Bb(full out) key settings, and the B/Bb key settings for lower manual. The VB3’s have B/A switch settings. It is very possible the B3 audio above had percussion on soft. Your choice.

VB3 1.4
VB3_x64 1-Boston Foreplay VB3 1.4 - CR.CantabileProgram (15.5 KB)

VB3 1.4 with IK Leslie v5.1
VB3_x64 1-Boston Foreplay VB3 1.4 IK Leslie - CR.cantabileprogram (15.5 KB)
TR5 Leslie 1-Boston Foreplay IK Leslie VB3 1.4 CR.CantabileProgram (11.2 KB)

BLUE 3 v2.2.2
Blue3 1-Boston Foreplay Blue3 - CR.CantabileProgram (24.1 KB)

BLUE 3 v2.2.2 + IK LESLIE v5.1
Blue3 1-Boston Foreplay Blue3 IK Leslie- CR.cantabileprogram (24.1 KB)
TR5 Leslie 1-Boston Foreplay IK Leslie Blue3.cantabileprogram (11.1 KB)

VB3 II v2.1 with resident Leslie
VB3-II 1-Boston Foreplay VB3 II - CR.CantabileProgram (33.0 KB)

VB3 II v2.1 with IK LESLIE v5.1
VB3-II 1-Boston Foreplay VB3 II IK Leslie - CR.cantabileprogram (33.0 KB)
TR5 Leslie 1-Boston Foreplay IK Leslie VB3 II - CR.cantabileprogram (10.9 KB)

B-5 v2.5

B-5 v2.5 + IK LESLIE v5.1

TR5 Leslie 1-Boston Foreplay IK Leslie B5.cantabileprogram (11.2 KB)

B-3X v1.1.0
Hammond B-3X 1-Boston Foreplay.CantabileProgram (34.0 KB)

PLEASE UNDERSTAND—PRESETS ARE ONLY A ROADMAP to a defined sound. Most organists constantly adjust drawbars, percussion, vibrato/chorus, and Leslie switches. What sounds great in one venue will not sound the same in another. So, adjustments are always necessary.