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Waterfall Rotary Speaker Manual

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Add the immersive effects of a vintage rotating speaker cabinet in your mix.

Waterfall Rotary Speaker gives you the jaw-dropping sounds of the classic Leslie 147 rotary speaker cabinet,*  enveloping your guitars, vocals, keyboards, and more in chewy, three-dimensional modulation effects — far beyond chorus and flange — for classic textures heard on decades of legendary albums.

*All trademarks are property of their respective owners, and used only to represent the instruments modeled as part of Waterfall Rotary Speaker software.

  • Experience the rich, three-dimensional texture of a vintage Leslie 147 rotary speaker cabinet
  • Get "album-ready" sounds with perfectly-placed vintage microphone setups
  • Add rich tube overtones and harmonics with expertly modeled tube power amp saturation
  • Quickly get unique sounds with expertly crafted presets for vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums, and more 

Experience Immersive Rotary Speaker Sounds 

Only Waterfall Rotary gives you the three-dimensional movement and full tonal range of the legendary "Type 147" rotary speaker cabinet, captured in all its glory using expertly placed vintage mic setups as heard on decades of rock, R&B, soul, and funk records.

Add the Sound of a Classic Tube Power Amp 

The Type 147's tube power amp is a huge part of its fat sound, and Waterfall Rotary captures all of it, giving your tracks the rich overtones and harmonics that other rotary speaker emulations lack for unmatched realism. 

Get Mind-Blowing Rotary Effects Fast, with Presets

With deliciously-crafted presets tailored for vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards and more, Waterfall Rotary gives you the most legit "Leslie effects" ever put into a plug-in. Simply place it on an insert or aux channel, and mix with legendary effects used on thousands of hits.

Technical Overview

Universal Audio has captured the essence and soul of the iconic rotating speaker cabinet by recreating every detail, nuance, and quirk of the original hardware for an unprecedented, immersive playing experience.

Waterfall Rotary Speaker is an exacting emulation of the Type 147 rotary speaker cabinet. The rotary speaker was modeled by capturing its reflections and resonances with expertly-placed vintage microphones, and recording test signals at hundreds of angles (less than one degree apart for each mic configuration), resulting in a precise model of the time-varying sound of the spinning speakers.  

Additionally, the 147 power amp was accurately emulated for authentic nonlinear saturation and distortion. Together, the speaker component and tube amplification modeling faithfully recreate all of the three-dimensional swirling, grind, and grit of the original unit like no other emulation has before.

Note that as with the original hardware, the input is mono. If you place the Waterfall Rotary Speaker on a stereo source, the source will be mixed to mono before processing. The output of the plug-in is either mono or stereo, depending on the format of the track.

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Upper Section Controls

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Control notes

  • For knob controls (Volume, Drive, Balance, Output) you can click the text label to return the control to its default setting.
  • Option-click (macOS) or Alt-click (Windows) on a knob or control to return the control to its default setting.
  • For the rotary speed switch and on/off switch, you can click a text label (Fast/Brake/Slow, On/Off) to select a setting.
  • For Accel/Decel and Speed Trim controls, click + or - to adjust the controls in 10% increments.

Volume

This control sets the input level as the audio signal reaches the rotary speaker’s preamplifier. For a clean tone with a loud signal, set this knob low while turning up the Output knob. For a more saturated or distorted sound, turn up the Volume knob to feed a hotter signal into the rotary speaker, and reduce the Output knob to prevent the output from clipping. Note that the level of saturation or distortion is not simply based on the setting of this Volume knob; there is significant interaction between the Volume and Drive knobs.

Drive

This control varies the gain level of the amplifier in the rotary speaker. At the lowest setting of 1, this control produces a pleasing saturation that is suitable for many types of music. Distortion generally becomes more audible at levels above 5, and with hotter input signals. Set this knob to 8-10 for intense grind and distortion.

Note on Saturation and Distortion: The amount of saturation or distortion you hear depends on the interplay between the Drive knob, the source material, and the Volume knob. 

Accel / Decel

These separate controls for the horn and drum speakers adjust the rate at which the speakers ramp up or down from one speed setting to another. When set fully clockwise, changes between Fast, Brake, and Slow rotary speeds occur immediately for the horn, and nearly immediately for the drum. When set fully counterclockwise, changes between Fast, Brake, and Slow speeds occur very slowly. 

Speed Trim

These controls adjust the maximum speed separately for the horn and drum speakers. When set fully clockwise, speakers rotate very quickly. When set fully counterclockwise, speakers rotate very slowly. Note that both the Slow and Fast speed settings are increased or decreased by this control.

Rotary Speed Control (Fast, Brake, Slow)

This three-position switch sets the speed of the rotary speaker.The rotary speed can be set to Fast (top), Slow (bottom) or Brake (middle). 

Notes

  • Because of the difference in mass between the drum speaker and the horn speakers, the drum takes longer to adjust to speed changes, and longer to brake, than the horn. 
  • When Brake is selected, you can manually rotate the horn or drum by clicking and dragging each speaker component. Use this to precisely adjust how the microphones capture sound emitted from the components, and to affect the overall tonal balance of the audio input. 
  • You can control the Rotary Speed with MIDI. See Speed MIDI Assign below.

On / Off

This switch enables and disables audio processing. When set to OFF, emulation processing is disabled, processor usage is reduced, and the “room” in the plug-in window goes dark. 

Lower Section Controls

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Mic Position (Horn)

These buttons select one of three possible micing configurations for the horn. The top-left option is a mono setup with a single microphone pointed directly into the center of the horn opening. The top-right option is a stereo configuration with a spaced pair of microphones placed off-axis and pointed diagonally into the horn opening. The bottom-right option is a stereo configuration with microphones placed on each side of the rotary speaker and picking up sound from the louvres (small slits) on the side of the speaker.

Note: When the plug-in is used in a mono-in/mono-out configuration, only the top-left (mono) mic position is available.

Horn

This drop menu lets you select the microphone(s) used to capture the horn of the rotary speaker. The menu provides seven classic microphone options. 

Tip: When the mic list is open, use the up and down arrow keys to select different mics.

Balance

This knob sets the mix between the horn and drum microphones used to record the rotary speaker. The LED intensity indicates the loudness level of signals coming from the horn and drum microphones after they are blended. 

To center the control, click the Balance text label, or Option-click (macOS) or Alt-click (Windows) on the knob.

Mic Position (Drum)

These buttons let you select the position of the microphone used to capture the drum of the rotary speaker. The left button places the microphone on-axis and points directly at the center of the drum opening. The right button places the microphone off-axis and points it diagonally into the drum opening.

Drum

This drop menu lets you select from five classic microphones that you can use to capture the drum of the rotary speaker. 

Tip: When the mic list is open, use the up and down arrow keys to select different mics.

Output

This knob sets the output level of the blended microphones and can be used to trim the output. For example, if the Drive and/or Volume are pushed heavily, you can turn down this knob to compensate for the increase in output. Alternatively, if the Drive and/or Volume are set low for a clean tone, then Level can be turned up to provide makeup gain.

The level meter to the right of the Output knob indicates the output level from the plug-in.

Additional Settings

Click the gear icon in the tube chart on the top left of the plug-in to open additional settings.

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Mechanical Noise Level

This slider adjusts the volume of mechanical noises, including the upper rotor wind noise, lower baffle wind noise, and the relay clicks when switching the rotary speed switch. The wind noise sounds match the acceleration and deceleration rates of the rotary speaker, and are accurate as recorded from the modeled unit. 

Mechanical sounds are not affected by changes to the Drive or Volume controls, as they are physical sounds that the mics pick up from the room, and don’t vary depending on preamp settings.

At the default setting of 100%, these sounds are accurate to the actual rotary speaker and the switch. At a setting of 0%, these sounds are completely removed from the signal.

Speed MIDI Assign

You can assign MIDI control of the rotary speed to the Mod Wheel, a Sustain pedal (hold or toggle), or None. 

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In most DAWs, when a MIDI-controlled effect such as Waterfall Rotary Speaker is instantiated after an instrument plug-in, MIDI messages affect the instrument plug-in, but do not pass through to the following effect plug-in. MIDI does pass through an instrument to the plug-in with LUNA, but the MIDI messages are received by both the instrument and the following plug-in. 

For example, if you use the mod wheel to control rotary speed, the instrument will respond to the mod wheel messages (and they will pass to the rotary speed switch in Waterfall Rotary Speaker), unless you disable mod wheel control in the instrument. 

Mod Wheel

When set to Mod Wheel, the Mod Wheel (CC1) changes the speed as follows:

CC1 value

Rotary Speed Assign

0–53

Slow

54–73

Brake

74–127

Fast

Sustain (Hold)

When set to Sustain (Hold), depressing the sustain pedal (CC64) sets the speed to Fast, and releasing the pedal sets the speed to Slow. If the switch is manually set to a value other than Slow, depressing the pedal forces the speed to Fast, and releasing the pedal sets the speed to Slow. There is no Brake setting with a Sustain pedal. 

Sustain (Toggle)

When set to Sustain (Toggle), pressing and releasing the sustain pedal toggles the rotary speed between Slow and Fast. There is no brake setting with a sustain pedal.

Using the sustain pedal for rotary speed is well suited for live performance. However, using the sustain pedal when recording automation can cause inconsistent results, because the toggled state depends on the rotary speed before playback. For optimum results, it’s usually best to record automation with the Mod Wheel instead of the sustain pedal.

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