The Native Instruments B4 keyboard. Click image to enlarge the view.

The Native Instruments B4 control. Click image to enlarge the view.


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July 12
Native Instruments Reinvents the Tone Wheel
VST-compatible application emulates B3 organ and rotating speaker

by David Nagel
Executive Producer

Native Instruments will be releasing a new tonewheel organ synthesizer for the Macintosh within the next month or so. The B4 is a VST-compatible B3 and rotating speaker emulator that the company says produces sound "virtually indistinguishable from the original hardware." It's based on the same NSP technology as the company's Reaktor modular system for synthesizing and sampling sounds, as well as producing effects.

Unlike a sample-based instrument, the Native Instruments B4 uses modeling to produce such details as harmonic foldback, drawbar crosstalk and loudness robbing. It's designed for a variety of sound styles, including rock, jazz and house. A rear panel gives access to numerous adjustment parameters, which allow the sound to be tailored for particular applications. Features include:

  • 91 tonewheels
  • Nine drawbars per manual
  • Two manuals and pedal keyboard
  • Scanner vibrato/chorus
  • Percussion on any harmonic
  • Adjustable keyclick
  • Tube distortion sound
  • Rotary speaker
  • Many parameters for fine tuning the sound.

The Native Instruments B4 works as a stand-alone application or as a plugin with any VST 2.0-compliant sequencer.

The B4 should be available within the next month, though no firm ship date has been set. It will cost $199 for the Mac and Windows versions. A demo will be available on Native Instruments' Web site soon, according to the company. For more information, visit

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