The Classic-H provides the essence of an old tonewheel organ within the VST environment. This VSTi captures the distinctive personality of a classic Hammond/Leslie combination, as well as simulating twin manual operation across a single MIDI keyboard, using a variable key-split function. Thirty extremely cool presets provide a jumping-off point for almost every type of music, from the ‘Full Throb’ of old time soul to the screaming distortion of Deep Purple-type rock. It does gobble CPU, but it has the sounds, and it doesn’t cost a penny.
Each virtual manual has its own set of nine drawbars. The set on the left controls the lower manual. The set on the right controls the upper. You can arrange the drawbars as you please, then split the manuals across the keyboard as you please. By default, all the presets are split at C3. You can change the split point by clicking on the blue selector in the top right hand corner of the console. Because the VSTi uses a separate audio stream for each simulated manual, it will use more resources when both manuals are played simultaneously. To cut down on the amount of resources used, you can set the instrument for single manual operation. This is done by selecting either C1 (upper manual only) or B6 (lower manual only) with the key-split selector.
The Skanksta is a ska-orientated VST organ, designed to produce a light and bright sound which will fit in well with quite a number of quirky and/or rhythmic music styles. It’s essentially a Vox Continental II with animation provided by a rotary speaker rather than a vibrato unit, and selectable key-splitting to simulate two manuals across a single MIDI keyboard. The key-splitting is particularly important for reggae-derived styles, where the left hand part will typically contrast sharply in tone with the right hand.
To the left of the upper manual are two switches. The left hand switch is labelled Rotor, and switches the rotary speaker effect on or off. The right hand switch is labelled Speed. This allows you to alternate between slow and fast rates of spin. The simulation mimics a speaker-plus-horns setup, with both rotation components speeding up and slowing down at their own rates. The key-splitting is set by clicking the blue note name at the top right of the graphic display. This will open a menu of notes from C1 to B5. Simply click on the desired note and the key-split will be set at that point. To use the upper manual only, spread across the whole keyboard range, set the key-split not to C1. To use the lower manual only, spread across the whole keyboard range, select the key-split note B5.
Classic-H and Skanksta are available to download as freeware VST instrument plugins for Windows.