setBfree - ToneWheel Organ


A DSP Tonewheel Organ emulator.

setBfree is a MIDI-controlled, software synthesizer designed to imitate the sound and properties of the electromechanical organs and sound modification devices that brought world-wide fame to the names and products of Laurens Hammond and Don Leslie.

A rendition of Jimmy Smith's The Cat (using the Ardour DAW).

setBfree is a 'Tonewheel Organ Construction Kit', a physical model with over 1000 configurable parameters. Like a real B3 one can 'open it' and tweak parameters from mint'53 condition (default) to dusty tube 80's run-down.

By default setBfree expects two manuals (midi channel 1,2) and pedals (midi channel 3). All controls can be dynamically bound to MIDI-CC messages as needed (there are default config files for common keyboards such as the Kurzweil 2500 or Oxygen61 included).

Interaction with the synth is done can be done via mouse/PC-keyboard and MIDI. The communication is bidirectional: GUI updates will be sent as feedback to the MIDI output, incoming MIDI message update the GUI. The GUI lends itself as quick visual feedback in case the midi-keyboard cannot provide it.


SetBfree is a huge long standing project. Fredrik Kilander started it in 2003 as fixed-sample-rate commandline application under the name "Beatrix". In 2012 Will Panther and Robin Gareus woke up the sleeping beauty. She meanwhile thrived and played many concerts from San Francisco's Jazz Clubs, church masses in Austin to Philip Glass concerts in Bratislava...

A big thanks goes to Julius O. Smith III and Jonathan Abel. Their publications on 'Digital Waveguide Modeling of Musical Instruments' and 'Doppler simulation and the leslie' were essential for the respective parts of the modelling. Many thanks to all who contributed ideas, bug-reports, patches and feedback, in Particular (in alphabetical order): Dominique Michel, Fons Adriaensen, Jeremy Jongepier, Julien Claasen and Ken Restivo.