EHX B9 turns your axe into an organ grinder
New York's EHX (electro-harmonix) has designed an effects pedal that allows guitarists to dial in classic tonewheel and combo organ sounds from the 1960s and 70s without having to worry about trudging through multiple MIDI parameters or having to route a signal through a special synth pickup to a computer before it gets to the amp. The B9 Organ Machine offers nine presets with either chorus, tremolo or vibrato effects, a percussive "key" click control and knobs to determine the mix of dry signal and organ preset at the output jack.
The B9 uses the electric or bass guitar's output signal to produce the sound of the chosen organ preset, with EHX reporting that the tracking is flawless. A nine-position white knob to the right of the stomp's logo is used to select a classic organ tone. Four black knobs sit above.
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The Dry control is used to blend in the dry instrument signal at the Organ output jack to fatten up your tone or have a rich harmonic backdrop accompany your picking. Its neighbor sets the organ sound volume level. These knobs determine the mix at the Organ jack. EHX has also included a Dry output jack, which caters for signals to be routed to different amps.
The Mod knob controls the speed of the modulation effect that accompanies each preset, while the Click has been designed to simulate the percussive attack on organs like the iconic Hammond B3, though for a few presets this knob controls specific parameters. "For maximum authenticity, the click is added to the very first note or chord played and only retriggers when current notes have been released and their amplitude falls below a threshold," explains EHX.
The footswitch toggles between effect mode and buffered bypass, which will help maintain signal level and quality in both effect and bypass mode.
The Mod dial controls a chorus effect for the first six presets. Position number one is given over to an organ simulation called Fat & Full which adds an extra octave above and below the guitar sound to fill out the tone. The Jazz preset is said to be reminiscent of the sound of Jimmy Smith, and appears to be a good fit for some Green Onions love, as you can see in the video at the end.
If you're looking for a Reverend Cleophus vibe to open a soulful blues belter, Gospel is the preset for you. The Classic Rock preset is described as just a little dirty, and is said to call upon the tones of Procol Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale for inspiration.
As the name suggests, the Bottom End preset is used to add a lower drawbar sound to a guitar's sound. Octaves adds an extra octave tone to the proceedings, with the Click control used to dial in higher harmonics. Cathedral should help you to get your Dr Phibes groove on, the Mod knob for this preset is a tremolo effect, and the Click control is used to adjust its depth.
The Vox Connie is one of my favorite keyboard sounds from the 60s, and probably the best looking combo organ ever. It provides the canvas for Alan Price's key-thumping mastery in the House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, the wonderful melodic backdrop for Jim Morrison's smoldering vocals on Light My Fire, and a somewhat familiar riff for (We ain't got) Nothin' Yet from Ralph Scala of the Blues Magoos. The Continental preset brings it all back in style, and sports a vibrato modulation effect, with the Click control used to alter the depth.
The last of the nine is the Bell Organ preset, which combines an organ sound with that of an electric piano. The Mod knob controls a tremolo effect and the Click adjusts the amount of "bell" that's added to the sound.
The B9 Organ Machine comes supplied with a proprietary 9.6DC-200BI power supply and carries a list price of US$293.73, though the street price will likely be lower.
The video below shows the stomp in action.
Product page: EHX B9