Tales from the lab

Our blog covers current developments, future products and tales of the lab. Sorry, text partly not available in english yet.


12/03/2015: New Products: HX3 Drawbar Expander, Drawbar Controller - And a Sustain Issue

dbc1Lots of work, made in Germany: Two new products will arrive in December. The HX3 Drawbar Expander is a complete organ with all the bells and whistles - but without manuals. Our HX3 Drawbar Controller is dedicated to the HX3 MIDI Expander, but may be used with other MIDI gear also (conpatible to NI B4 standard).

Due to some demand, I also made the MIDI input work with Sustain or Sostenuto MIDI CC #64 in new ScanCore #19. You can either choose Sustain or Sostenuto functionality on MIDI CC #64 by HX3 Remote.

Also, Vibrato frequency is adjustable now by HX3 Remote parameter "Scanner Gearing". Phew!


10/13/2015: New Scanner Vibrato in HX3

Thanks to Hammond afficionado Mr. Kunz from Germany, HX3 got a new vibrato. This was overdue, since the former algorithm dated back from 2011 and ended in a blind alley. Now we have a completely re-written scanner vibrato and scanner capacitor blending which makes playing with V3 real fun. Feel like Jackie Davis and Cherry Wainer! Also, bass pedal level was raised and harmonic content corrected.


diversi07/25/2015: HX3 at NAMM show  in Tennesse, US dealers


We got distributors in US: Well-known Analog Outfitters and Diversi will sell HX3 modules for the north american market. Analog Outfitters will show the HX3 Expander on the summer NAMM show these days in Nashville, Tennessee. For their MIDI organ controller, we updated our firmware #3.822 to some new specs. Also new in shop: Drawbar9-MPX board with electronic switch to control two sets of drawbars per manual.

06/26/2015: Uhl organs X3-1 und X3-2 available, XB2-Kit available

Wolfgang Uhl from Uhl instruments sold his first lot of  X3-1 and X3-2 organs, next will be available in July. Wolfgang tweaked some HX3 parameters to his taste - good work! Here are three demos, played by Martin Meixner and Gerd-Jan Naus on the X3-2 and recorded straight from line out jacks of internal HX3 rotary simulation (absolutely no effects added):


More clips available under menu HX3 Sound Demos.


Some XB-2 kretrofit kits are available also. Upcoming: new firmware #3.81 for HX3 expanders and mainboards.



04/15/2015: New HX3 mk4 boards available, firmware update

New HX3 mk4 boards are available now, also new firmware (beta, final release expected end of April 2015). Please check forum and wiki for details.

  • Updated presets to Emil's "Hammond Theater Presets" - thanks to Emil for his help
  • Cleaned up HX3 Remote user interface, moved some buttons to "Advaced" page
  • Fixed some minor bugs in HX3 Remote preset file handling
  • Re-work of firmware, FIR coefficients in flash memory instead of EEPROM, frees 512 EEPROM bytes for future use
  • Cleaned up MIDI CC interpreters, making room for additional CC set
  • Added MIDI CC support for both Hamichord and KeyB Duo (i.e. now 6 MIDI CC sets)
  • Fixed "saved to upper" display bug
  • Updated HX3_tapering.exe with better user interface
  • Slightly changed bass pedal tapering
  • Fixed Tone pot overflow bug
  • Deleted obsolete Swell TrimCap param 483 in HX3 Remote
  • Complete rework of AO28 amp and tapering
  • Editor for capacitor sets and tapering schemes (HX3_tapering.exe)
  • Loadable capacitor sets (taper_levelsX.dat), upload by HX3 Remote
  • Common Presets save current keyboard split mode and split point
  • Binary combinations of Common Presets allowed (pressing two or more preset buttons at one time)
  • 4 TG capacitor sets from 1955 to 1972 plus "Recapped" (more aggressive)
  • Scan Cores "SysEx" and "MIDI Timing" bugs fixed
  • Pedal foldback bug fixed, new pedal sound mix

Please note: Developer Carsten is still ill and cannot answer questions for now. Anyway,  most products are available again and in stock.

02/10/2015 Indisposition/Illness, HX3 mk4 available soon

Due to illness for several weeks, I am currently not able to answer emails. Friends are working hard to keep business alive, so next lot of HX3 mk4 boards and expanders will be available in late April 2015. Sorry for any inconvenience.

06/19/2014 HX3 Remote Software, HX3 mk3 delayed

The new MS Windows application HX3 Remote makes life a lot easier: No more fiddpling with terminal emulation or AVRdude for updates, parameter tuning and MIDI CC assignment. See our Wiki for details.

I apologize for the delay in production of new HX3 version mk3 due to parts availability. PCB assembler scheduled for week 26 or 27 (end of June). If you want to cancel your order and refund of payment, please send email to sales@keyboardpartner.de regarding "ORDER CANCEL" and your order no. you got from the shop system. This delay also regards the XB2 kit. I urged my distributor to get these semiconductors as fast as possible, but as a small batchs series manufacturer I don't have the same influence as a company who orders 100.000 units. Anyway, I got the new MenuPanels, displays, enclosures and other stuff, so I'm just waiting for the mainboards - as desperate as you, folks...

04/14/2013 New Firmware with Stereo Leslie Simulation

Done a complete FPGA overhaul to implement a stereo Leslie simulation, improved vibrato delay line, polyphonic bass pedal, configurable output jacks and much more. See our Wiki for details.

11/26/2013 Drawbar sets available!

Finally, after lots of seesaw, we got drawbars! May be ordered in our shop as mounted sets. When we receive our next lot, also will be available separately.

DSC_034911/17/2013 New HX3 expander and HX3 menu system

Available soon: HX3 MIDI expander - the tonewheel organ in a small box! Controlled completely via MIDI, selectable CC-Sets für NI B4, Hammond XK, Harmichord and other. 30 presets (to be stored locally), many "secret" HX3 parameters tweakable by menu with incremental encoder - like key contact flex and damping for key click response, or AO28 gain adjustments for more or less percussion punch etc. And, of course, it yields the legendary unmatched HX3 sound. Will be available in December 2013 as kit - only screwdriver needed to build!


10/04/2013 "Plop"-free key switching, new FATAR scan core

A new FPGA core is online which eliminates the small "plop" noise on upper octaves. I just disregarded the lowpass function of the Hammond generator's LC filters... They do not simply filter the TG noise, but also cancel the "plop" noise that occurs when a sine wave is immediately switched on. Fixed that with FPGA configuration #27092013.

Also online: A new FATAR scan core with better key click and improved keyboard split functions. Just press a key on upper or lower manual while switching SPLIT to ON  to get the split point there. If you want bass mapped to upper split area, hold two adjacent keys on upper manual while switching SPLIT to ON. Split point is retained even if split is switched off an on again until you power off the HX3.

The default split configuration after power-on may be changed permanently with remote parameter 520 (see our Wiki for procedure): Set 520=0 for pedal to lower, 520=1 for lower to upper, 520=2 for pedal to upper.


08/13/2013 Installation manual for the new  XB-2 retrofit kit is ready!

Hints for using of HX3-equipped Hammond XB-2

Installation manual with many pictures


04/26/2013: All-new Firmware Version #3.3

with improved MIDI control, improved preset handling (presets may be changed "live" and saved again). Choose MIDI CC set for NI B4, Harmichochrd, Voce or Hammond standard. Eliminated "fuzzy" noise induced by unstable analog controller A/D conversion. Improved Leslie bass rotor effect and reverb.

04/04/2013: Ponder about MIDI bugfix

Shit happens: Scan cores up to Rev. $06 do have problems with some MIDI keyboards due to faulty Active Sensing handling. Fixed with Rev. $07. Gosh, this one was nasty! Please update your HX3 if you experience MIDI problems to latest firmware, latest scan cores and latest FPGA configuration. This pays: #03042013 comes with a more explicit overdrive effect.


02/13/2013: Hundred HX3 sold!

Our first batch of HX3 production is nearly sold! We're working on the next run, yielding some hardware improvements: Better and stronger output amps, MIDI error correction and more. All boards sold by us will have these improvements from now on.


01/27/2013: New Leslie Emulation

Our new, completely revised Leslie emulation is ready to ship! New in Version 3.2/ FPGA 02012013: Much better Leslie horn simulation by reloadable convolution filter for exact reproduction of Jensen V21 driver frequency response. Your board may be updatet easily!


01/02/2013: Hammond XB-2 Retrofit Kit

Our next project will be a drop-in retrofit kit for the Hammond XB-2, as this model is prone for faulty custom sound chips. Spare parts for the XB's main board are no longer available since late 90's, so I decided to revive the XB-2 with much better HX3 sound. Our drop-in kit will install without soldering, using the existent drawbars, LCD and buttons. As some B3 functions are not present as direct button on XB-2, these are available through menu access (i.e. Vib/Chorus depth, Percussion volume/length, Reverb). The original XB-2 panel features following HX3 functions: Upper/Lower select (SOLO key), Percussion 2nd/3rd ON/OFF, Vibrato ON, Leslie SLOW/FAST. The preset buttons in front of keyboard yield 8 presets plus one "live" drawbar setting (CANCEL button).

Customers may also opt for a new Panel16 which has all B3 functions handy, without fiddling with menus. Here some cutting is necessary. See picture below.