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Review Hammond Leslie LS2215 Keyboard Amp

Hands-On Review: Hammond Leslie LS2215 Keyboard Amplifier

Posted on .

We take the latest Leslie for a test drive during a rocking house party.

By Christopher Dean Elliot
Musician’s Friend Copywriter

Once a month I throw a party at my house and invite my musician friends (many of them from Musician’s Friend) to get together and play. One notable guest of honor this time around was the new Leslie LS2215 keyboard amplifier, supplied on loan for the weekend. I am a trumpet player with nominal keyboard abilities, so I invited the best keyboard players I know, Mo Beeks and Gary Swan.

Mo is having a great year, his group Blind Dog Smokin’ having been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Blues Album category for their release, Decisions, featuring Dr. John. Gary Swan’s resume includes The Pointer Sisters, Mary Wells, and a recent string of dates with Rita Coolidge.

Built Leslie Tough

The first thing that strikes you with the LS2215 is its build quality. Leslie’s tradition is one of solid construction and top-quality components, and that is carried through on the LS2215. The large rotary knobs turn smoothly with satisfying resistance, the input connectors are solid, and the cabinet itself is ruggedly built, available with a black Tolex or tweed finish. Its dimensions are 21-5/8” x 13” x 29-3/16”, an easy fit in most trunks. At 70 lb., it is manageable for solo transport and an easy two-person carry.

The LS2215 is a four-input amplifier with three distinct input functions. The first two inputs are stereo, each equipped with a stereo effects loop. These additionally feature a three-band rotary EQ. The third input is monaural and features an XLR input along with an effects loop and three-band rotary EQ. This permits the singing keyboard player to perform using LS2215 alone. The fourth input is stereo with a volume control and no EQ, being designed for pre-recorded accompaniment from an MP3 player or other such device.

The front panel also has a headphone output with volume control. A master section provides another three-band rotary EQ as well as a master volume. On the rear, the LS2215 offers a stereo DI with level control and your choice of XLR or unbalanced 1/4” outputs. It additionally has a master stereo effects loop and is front ported for enhanced bass response.

All of the Chill, None of the Shrill

It has long been my philosophy that stage keyboard amplification for the work-a-day musician has never quite been figured out. A lot of amps sound great when you try them out in a store, but then seem to lose their presence when paired with live drums and a confident guitarist. With piano patches, traditional keyboard amps equipped with compression drivers can have a harsh and brittle top end, and that tends to hold true when using powered PA speakers as a keyboard rig. Keyboard amps with piezo tweeters get buried even at lower volumes and quickly turn muddy and dull.

The Leslie LLS2215 is a 200-watt block of mono power with a 15” low-frequency driver and a pair of 4” mid/high drivers, and perhaps that is the key to its warm, engaging, buttery and astonishing presence. The top end is gripping and robust with no shrillness at all. For keyboards, we had a Hammond Sk1-73 and a Roland RD-700NX.

Organ chirps and right-hand rock piano were rich and full, without the artificial brightness that can mar the charm of an organ patch or acoustic piano sample. Even when our rock band showed up and started pushing it on the T. Rex and Deep Purple covers, the LS2215 remained a distortion-free and undeniable presence in the stage mix.

The stereo output of your keyboard instruments is preserved through the DI, so if you want stereo effects to be communicated to your audience, two channels on your mixer panned at 9:00 and 3:00 achieves this beautifully. We patched the DI into the PA for our little party and found that we only needed a splash of it in the mains, as the stage volume of the LS2215 ably covered the 1,000 or so square feet we were trying to address.

An Unabashed Endorsement

At the risk of being conspicuously smitten, the Leslie LS2215 is the best-sounding general-purpose keyboard amp I have ever heard in action. If you’re using a powered speaker, sell it and get this instead. There are lighter keyboard amps that will get the job done, and there are amps with more features, but for your own aesthetic experience, for your own love of great sound, consider the Leslie LS2215. It has achieved a design victory in success through simplicity, impeccable component quality, and a company culture of dedication to great keyboard sound. I am buying one and so is Gary. Mo’s seriously thinking about it.

Musician’s Friend offers the Leslie LS2215 in basic Black or a retro Tweed version with included amp cover. When you order either from Musician’s Friend, you’re also covered with our 45-day lowest price and satisfaction guarantees.

Features & Specs:

Power Amp

  • Mono Solid State 200W RMS/300W Peak
  • Pre-Amp (mini mixer)

Front Panel

  • Master control: Volume / 3-Band EQ (Low/Mid/High)
  • Channel Inputs/Control: 4 + (1) Headphone

Keyboard Channel

  • Input # & Type: (1) L & (1) R TR - 1/4" mono each
  • Effect - Send & Return: (1) L & (1) R TRS - 1/4" mono each
  • Control: Volume / 3-Band EQ (Low/Mid/High)

Instrument Channel

  • Input # & Type: (1) L & (1) R TR - 1/4" mono each
  • Effect - Send & Return: (1) L & (1) R TRS - 1/4" mono each
  • Control: Volume / 3-Band EQ (Low/Mid/High)

Microphone Channel

  • (1) XLR & (1) 1/4" mono
  • Control: Volume / 3-Band EQ (Low/Mid/High)

Aux Channel

  • (1) L & (1) R TR - 1/4" mono each
  • Control: Volume

Headphones

  • (1) TRS - 1/4" Stereo
  • Control: Volume (independent of main volume)

Nominal Input Level (@1kHz, output 10%)

  • Instrument: (Passive) -25dBu, (Active) -19dBu
  • Mic: (XLR) - 38dBu, (1/4) -28dBu;
  • Keyboard “24dBu; Aux: -15dBu

Rear Panel

  • Master Line Out: Stereo

2 Output Sets (rear panel)

  • (1) L & (1) R TR - 1/4" mono each
  • (1) L & (1) R - XLR each with ground

Effect - Send & Return

  • (1) L & (1) R TRS - 1/4" mono each
  • (Send only provides right channel audio out to slave amp for stereo)

Nominal Output Level

  • (@1kHz): Phone: +15dBu
  • L&R XLR Balance Out (w/level control) +15 dBu
  • L&R 1/4" Out +15 dBu

Speakers

  • Tweeter: 2 X 4" mid - high frequency drivers
  • Woofer: 1 X 15" low frequency driver
  • Bass Ports: 2X Front
  • AC Input: 110/120 (50/50 Hz) - 220/240 (50/60 Hz)

Dimensions

  • Weight: 70 lb
  • Cabinet Finish: Black Tolex or Tweed
  • Cabinet dimnensions: 21 5/8" (W) x 13" (D) x 29 3/16" (H)

Warranty

  • 12-months parts/labor

Tags: Keyboards Pianos Amplifiers Monitors PA Speakers Speakers MIDI

Comments  

# Lloyd 2016-12-31 17:55
I don't see any mention of wheels. Does it come with them. Also, is there a stereo like to join two of them?
Reply
# Lloyd 2016-12-31 17:58
That was supposed to be stereo link.
Reply
# Tom Brabston 2016-11-14 18:36
What type and brand unit would you recommend to use in stereo.
Reply

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