The new Hammond SK-1 and SK-2 are “Life Changing Keyboards” for all keyboard players
Let’s get one thing clear; the SK range is not a replacement for the new B-3 or XK but it is a very low cost, ultra-portable and lightweight true Hammond organ.
Home, Studio, Road
The beauty of the SK is the fact that it is equally capable of producing stunning results in the home, studio, or on stage. Gigs that were too small and sessions where it would be just too much hassle to carry your Pro XK System or B-3 are now a reality. I have supplied many of our existing New B-3 and XK owners with the SK and it has truly changed their lives as far as Hammond playing is concerned.
VASE III Engine and Extra Sounds
The VASE III digital tone wheel engine is exactly the same as the New B organ and XK keyboards. Coupled with a stunning, on-board Leslie simulator, it is a real mini Hammond organ. The electric pianos and other voices are equally well produced, using a modified version of VASE III, which can now reproduce many other instrument sounds. (And we all know how good VASE III is!) Ignore the skeptics and critics who waffle on about authenticity and how other instruments are better at certain things. I would doubt that many of them have even laid finger on the SK and we know that the quality of some of the on-line audio and video is, well, a little suspect.
I urge you to try out the SKs for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
As many of you will know, I have played Hammond and other classic retro keys for many years and I can tell you, hand-on-heart, that the SK is the most versatile and fun keyboard I have ever used. Sure, there are dedicated piano keyboards out there with stunning samples and choices but let’s remember what the SK is all about. Lightweight, inexpensive and most importantly, a real Hammond organ that you can tuck under your arm.
The other great thing about it is that I have never felt the need to use a Leslie cabinet with this instrument. I get stunning results just using my straight stereo back-line combo.
In fact, last September I exclusively used the SK-2 and straight amplification during and extensive 10-day tour of Poland. This included one show at the prestigious Blue Note Club in Poznan. Let me tell you that the SK performed superbly, not only on the organ sets but also in amazing folk with the authenticity, warmth and fatness of the electric and acoustic pianos.
Don’t forget the B-3!
Having said all this, the object of the mission (should you choose to accept it) is to ultimately be the player of a Hammond B-3.
I see the SK as an additional keyboard for some players who perhaps already own a Hammond but need something portable and good enough to leave their main rig behind under certain conditions.
It is a first very affordable Hammond for those who just want to have the experience of the real thing as well as other excellent retro keys voices.
However, the B-3 is still the king, with the Pro XK System coming second.
I would not be without my SK2 now. Whether it is for that small gig, or when I need to put a piano part down without the hassle of finding a real piano or using MIDI to trigger something suitable. Or maybe running it straight into LOGIC or ProTools for a track. It truly does a fantastic job in any situation. Do yourself a favor and try one.
Malc Dean, Hammond U.K.