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Microphone Month

Keyboard of the Day: Hammond SK1

The Hammond SK1 is a real, honest-to-goodness, fully functioning Hammond organ with a Leslie…plus. Did we mention that you can also carry it under your arm? Sure, a 15.5lb, 61-key synth is no big deal but Hammond went to unprecedented lengths to re-create all of the detail possible in order to make the SK1 more than a synth or sample player.

The 12 Organ Macro Profiles allow you to start with the most popular Hammond varieties, from Showroom New to Road-Worn Antique and all points in between. The SK1 uses real drawbars in the true size, shape, and configuration of the Vintage Hammonds. Their Vase III “Engine” uses an exact digital model of Laurens Hammond’s original 1935, electro-mechanical mechanism, retaining all of the idiosyncrasies, imperfections, and nuances of the original. This digital realization allows sophisticated control of every Tonewheel facet: volume, timbre, motor noise, and leakage; which allows you to match the characteristics of any vintage Hammond or create your own. Extensive digital modeling of the original “Chorus Vibrato” mechanism allows for a wide range of adjustment not available on the original. You can even “age” the effect, which adds subtle distortion and treble emphasis for a “sweeter” sound. The SK1 also has adjustable Touch-Response Percussion, Key Click, and Tone Control; which was originally located on the side of the organ and designed as a hi-cut for church or mortuary use where a more muted organ sound was desired. Hammond organs and Leslie speakers are inseparable and the eight Leslie profiles — each with 17 tweakable parameters — lets you dial-in the perfect complement for your organ sound.

Hammond’s flagship 935 Church Organ was used as the pipe organ model with 32 individual ranks digitally modeled and fully controllable. The SK1’s Drawbar section becomes Drawknobs to select the stops of your choice. Classic Vox and Farfisa transistor combo organs were also extensively modeled for inclusion on the SK1.

Now for the plus: the SK1 also includes an Extravoice package, in which all of the sounds can be layered with or played independently of the organs. Those sounds include a world-class acoustic grand piano, classic electric pianos, a clavinet with all of the pickup positions modeled, harpsichord, vintage string synth, and various wind instruments and tuned percussion. Extravoice also includes a model of the entire range of a Suzuki 120 Accordion with authentic registration capability, their unique registration symbols appearing in the display window. A Musette setting is also available. Hammond has a growing online library of new Extravoices available free of charge on their website.

The SK1 automatically adjusts the attack for the instrument you’re playing; instant attack for the organs, slightly lower on the key range for the pianos. No surprise or need to adjust your touch when switching from piano to organ.

Two independent DSP sections, one for Organ and one for Extravoices, feature Overdrive, Phase, Flange, Chorus, Auto Pan, Ring Modulator, Wah, Delay, Tremolo, and 3-Band EQ. Three external MIDI zones can be controlled by the SK1. The intuitive control panel features 10 buttons in the center for one-touch access to your favorite settings and are assignable to any of the 100 factory presets or the 100 user-adjustable presets. The Sk1 is also available with 73 or 88 keys.

All these incredible features in a real instrument that’s easy to use and transport. The Hammond SK1 is 100% pure Hammond organ and much more.

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