Output ChannelOutput Channel

Farfisa Fast 3 Emulator


October 24, 2015

This week's Web Audio Weekly was especially good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there was a shout out to my post on recreating the TR-808 cowbell. Secondly, there was a piece about a Farfisa Fast 3 Emulator, built by Ryan James McGill.

Farfisa, an electronics company based in Italy, released a number of organs throughout the 1960s and '70s. The company is still in operation today, but has shifted focus to intercom systems.

The Fast 3 was, as the name suggests, part of the FAST series (Farfisa All Silicon Transistor). The organ has a timeless, minimal, green-trimmed design, something which Ryan has recreated very well. The emulator has Web Midi support, which is a big positive for me, because it really elevates it from being just a toy that you play with using your Qwerty keyboard to something (with the aid of a midi controller) you can actually use as a proper instrument.

One of the reasons I've taken a shine to this instrument is that it's really simple to understand. You have a setting to turn vibrato on or off, and another setting to choose whether the vibrato should be fast or slow. Then, there are 5 voices to choose from, each one created from slightly different oscillators and filters. To hear what a voice sounds like on its own, just click the rocker to "on", and make sure all the others are set to "off". The general idea is that you have more than one voice active at a time, combining the sounds to give a more interesting timbre.

Here's a short video of me playing a bit of Metronomy on the Fast 3, with the help of a Korg nanoKey 2.