Hammond XK-5

61-key Virtual Tonewheel Organ with Waterfall Keys, Drawbars, Effects, and USB-MIDI
Hammond XK-5 image 1
Hammond XK-5 image 1
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Hammond XK-5
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The Drawbar Has Been Raised

In the authenticity sweepstakes, the Hammond XK-5 blows away the barrier between vintage and modern, redefining the state of the art in portable digital organs. Hammond's flagship portable, the XK-5, features a ground-up design that draws on original B-3 schematics, capturing that legendary sound, feel - and soul - with unerring accuracy. Onboard, new technologies include a cutting-edge sound engine that combines modeling and sampling to reproduce every nuance of vintage electro-mechanical tonewheel generators. The new custom waterfall keybed provides the inimitable feel of a vintage B-3 and is ideal for palm slides and other classic playing techniques. Other features include four sets of drawbars plus pedal drawbars, an uber-realistic Digital Leslie, and downloadable tonewheel profiles. The foundation of Hammond's new Heritage Series, the XK-5 is modular, letting you configure as large a system as your music requires.

Hammond XK-5 at a Glance:
  • Hybrid Multiple-key Contact System for realism and versatility
  • Redesigned Keybed gives you incredible playing feel
  • All-new Sound Engine delivers a stunning re-creation of classic Hammonds
  • Virtual Matching Transformer lets you dial in hysteresis and saturation
  • Streamlined operation makes the XK-5 a joy to use
Hybrid Multiple-key Contact System for realism and versatility

Play a key on a classic Hammond, and you're closing nine mechanical contacts - one for each drawbar. You hear these multiple harmonics as one note, but press a key slowly, and you'll hear the harmonics come in sequentially. In normal playing, this creates a characterful, albeit subtle, slop on the slow attacks; the more drawbars you have pulled out, the more that chewy, soulful personality comes out. Hammond knows this can't be realized with a simple MIDI note-on (which is how most contemporary organ and synth actions work). Instead, they use three mechanical contacts at different locations in the key travel. Each of these, in turn, triggers three virtual contacts, giving you separate note-on connections for every drawbar frequency, after the fashion of the original 9-contact electro-mechanical Hammond organs. The payoff is a fingers-to-sound relationship that duplicates playing a vintage B - without the cost and weight. A bonus is that you can program the time spread between these note-ons, and the order in which the harmonics speak. Moreover, because the contacts receive and transmit MIDI note data, you can capture the harmonic nuances of your performance in your DAW, to which you can connect the XK-5 via USB.

Redesigned Keybed gives you incredible playing feel

Hammond doesn't outsource the XK-5 keyboard action - they build it in-house. Designed to replicate the bounce, heft, key dip, and multi-contact actuation of a well-maintained new-old-stock B-3, this keybed has absolutely delighted hardcore B connoisseurs here at Sweetwater. Equipped with waterfall key fronts, this keybed facilitates palm slides and other classic Hammond playing techniques. Contrast the XK-5 playing experience with contemporary organs from other brands, and you'll see there's really no comparison. This is the real deal.

All-new Sound Engine delivers a stunning re-creation of classic Hammonds

Hammond's storied tonewheel generator has been digitally re-created with stunning accuracy in the XK-5. Hammond employed both modeling and sampling techniques to capture the frequencies of all 91 tonewheels found in their vintage organs, as well as other signature sonic artifacts like key clicks, harmonic percussion, vibrato/chorus, and more. Tonewheel generators left the factory all sounding the same, but after years of use, no two are exactly alike. And with the XK-5, you can program individual tonewheel behavior and generator characteristics, such as leakage and crosstalk between pickups, as well as replicate particular Hammonds, right down to the year, model, serial number, and condition. What's more, you can call up presets of your favorite Hammond artists' instruments - and Hammond will be providing additional downloadable tonewheel profiles from preeminent Hammond organists.

Virtual Matching Transformer lets you dial in hysteresis and saturation

The tonewheels of vintage Hammonds generated small voltages that required stepping up, and you could draw on some of the same wheels simultaneously by playing similar notes with similar drawbar settings on both manuals. All the signals from the upper, lower, and pedal manuals passed through a matching transformer that evened out the signal before it advanced to the preamp and vibrato/chorus scanner. Transformers have a "memory" based on how hard they have been driven. This is called hysteresis, and it's responsible for the organic, breathing quality you hear in vintage Hammonds - and in the XK-5. Now, as the transformer in question is digitally modeled, you have complete control over the amount of hysteresis and saturation in your sound.

Streamlined operation makes the XK-5 a joy to use

Hammond incorporated the best new ideas into the design of the XK-5, and naturally kept the features that made the XK-3C and compact SK series a joy to play, such as their streamlined patch naming and copying conventions. In the XK-5, the intuitive display lets you hold any button and the first page of relevant parameters pops up. For example, when you hold the Leslie speed button, you'll see all the Digital Leslie settings. Not having to deal with annoying, time-consuming menu diving when you're customizing your sounds makes for quick sound changes and an enjoyable overall playing experience.

Hammond XK-5 Features:
  • 4 complete sets of Harmonic Drawbars, plus pedal drawbars:
    • Just like a classic B-3
  • 12 additional virtual tonewheels dedicated to harmonically complex pedal tones:
    • In addition to the 8' and 16' sine waves found on Hammonds starting in 1945
  • Custom tonewheel profiles are available for download
  • Hammond's premium digital Leslie effect:
    • This is no ordinary "rotary simulator"
  • Continuously variable Digital Leslie speed
  • 12 reverse-color keys for selecting presets
  • Dedicated Octave Shift and Transpose buttons
  • DSP-based overdrive assisted by a vacuum tube preamp
  • Optimized vibrato/chorus
  • Dedicated on/off buttons and amount knobs for Reverb, Overdrive, and assignable Multi-FX
  • Lower B drawbars may alternatively control 9 MIDI CC messages for external gear
  • Left and right 1/4" outputs may be used concurrently with Leslie output:
    • Run the XK-5 through a real Leslie in parallel with monitors, sub, or house PA
  • Manual Bass function: key-triggering modes for pedal-to-lower coupler
  • Updatable firmware via USB flash drive or directly from your computer
  • Crisp OLED display is readable under variable lighting conditions
Hammond's XK-5: classic sound and feel, without the weight or cost!

Additional Media

Hammond XK-5 Organ System Demo at Sweetwater
Hammond XK-5 Organ System Demo by Sweetwater

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) Traditional electro-mechanical keybed with digital modeling
Number of Keys 61
Type of Keys Weighted Waterfall
Other Controllers 38 x Drawbars
Polyphony 61-note (manuals), 5-note (pedals)
Number of Presets 100 Factory patches, 100 User patches
Effects Types Tremolo, Auto Pan, Wah, Ring Modulator, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Reverb
Audio Outputs 2 x 1/4" (main out), 1 x 1/8" (headphones), 11-pin Leslie connect
USB 1 x Type A, 1 x Type B
MIDI I/O 2 x In, Out
Pedal Inputs 8-pin DIN (EXP-100F expression pedal), 2 x 1/4" (foot controllers)
Height 4.7"
Width 46.8"
Depth 15.8"
Weight 34.6 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number 002-XK-5

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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A Stunning B-3 Alternative!

As a B-3 guy since the 60s, I have longed for a true B-3 alternative that I could afford. Well, here it is, folks! I sold my XK-3c and lower manual (also a fantastic rig) to buy the XK-5 and lower manual from my Sweetwater bud, Zach Garrison. It arrived less than a day later and I set it up with ease. One of the main things I was continually missing in the XK-3c was the full set of drawbars as with the B-3. Well, the designers of the XK-5 addressed that issue, made the use of this keyboard far less complicated to use, and added many more features to make this the long-awaited grandson of the B-3 at a fair price. Coupled with my Leslie 3300, the sound is about as close to a B-3 as one can get, in my opinion. I could not be more happy with this Hammond, or with Zach and the folks at Sweetwater.

Finally - The Portable B-3 We've Been Waiting For

This is the real deal. I usually wait a few months for any brand-new digital product to have the early kinks (which are nearly always software) worked out. I just couldn't resist being able to gig now with an organ that so closely replicates my much-loved B-3. I switched out my excellent XK-3c and took a chance that the XK-5 would physically fit my XKL-3 lower manual. It does - perfectly. Even the cabinets' color match isn't too far off for my taste, although it's not perfect. The sound of the organ and the physical feel of the keys and controls should be very comfortable and familiar to most all Hammond organists, even if those who, like me, have played the Hammond A, B and C organs for decades. Pair the XK-5 with one of the Hammond lower manuals and a 3300 Leslie and you'll have the dream touring rig. The one thing I'll miss about the XK-3c is it's excellent set of physical MIDI controls. The XK-5 doesn't include the Mod and Pitch wheels or the dedicated midi rotary and switch controls that I used regularly to control a synth module. If that is a big deal for you, the XK-3c is still an incredible instrument.

Hammond XK5..a true killer in all ways

I presently own a Hammond B3, Hammond A-100, Leslie 122A, Leslie 145, and have owned Hammond XK3, SK1-73, M3, and L-100 organs, mainly for live performance and recording. I know, love, eat, breathe Hammond organs and the various technologies used to make digital versions of the beast. The origin of the XK5 is from the guts of the new Hammond B3mK2 digital B3. The mK2 is a marvelous instrument, it sounds and quivers like the real deal...and it's about $25,000. Hammond has taken the digital modeling and sampling technology from the mK2 and dropped it into a mass produced high quantity clone at an almost affordable street price of $3700. It is an absolutely marvelous piece of work, sounds like a high class, highly technical version of my grotty old 1964 B3, except better. There are an incredible number of helpful features that you couldn't dream of having in a B and the on board Leslie is crazy good (and totally programmable) Bye bey Ventilator; for $3700. you are getting the equivalent of a $25,000. portable B3mK2 Then I plugged it directly into my Leslie 122A with a 1122 converter box. The sounds coming out of the thing were the sounds of a real B3, it is amazing. Real. Strong, lots of power, lots of clear volume that you can dirty up with overdrive/drawbar combination. If you want the best possible authentic sounding B3 that you can put under your arm and carry, buy one. I'm not a shill for Hammond or Sweetwater. I feel passionate about great musical gear. Hammond did what Korg did with the Oasys; they took the guts out of it, dropped it in the Kronos, started selling lots of them. Test-verify-sell
Music background: P/T and F/T Performing musician

Hammond XK-5

Hands down this is major change in Hammond's design and implementation. Having owned and played the Hammond L-100, B-3 and XK3c, this is by far a mind blowing new experience from Hammond. Great percussion, key click, Leslie simulation and overall tonality. Highly recommend purchasing this in any form you desire whether it be one or two keyboards.
Music background: PT,FT, professional recording.

It's a smooth operator!

I bought the XK5 with the expectation that I might or might not buy the lower manual. I figured that if the instrument didn't measure up, I wouldn't spend the additional money. But, my apprehension proved to be a non-issue. The XK5 is everything for which I was hoping. Now, I plan to buy the lower manual. Of course, once I buy the lower manual I will be stuck with the original case (because the two manuals will not fit into it; so now I need a bigger case (another $). My only complaint is that when I change presets too quickly, a note will sound that I can't stop (or the organ plays nothing--sort of like it freezes). After I turn the XK5 off and on, it's fine. Somewhat frustrating.PS my expression pedal from XK2 works fine with the XK5.
See also: Organs, Hammond, Hammond Electric Organs