Hammond hopes to bring the B3 sound and feel into the future with the XK-4. It features a new Modelled Tone Wheel Engine and digital Leslie for the best in virtually authentic hardware.
You do have to love a Hammond organ. Hammond has kept the classic B3 vibe going quite respectively with the SK Pro and XK-5 “portables”. But for a new generation of sound engine and some improved technology, it’s time to make way for the XK-4.
The XK-4 is a nicely designed, portable and gigable compact digital instrument with the heart of Hammond’s legacy spilling out of every key. The Modelled Tone Wheel Engine 2 (MTW2) captures the sound of all 91 tone wheels from the original vintage organ. And this time the imperfections are encouraged with pitch, volume and tone wheel backlash fluctuations all worked into the sound. Even the keyboard has a multi-contact system to emulate the feel of a mechanical instrument.
The drawbars feature British, Italian and Japanese settings to model all the organ styles effectively. The other knobs can be mapped to whatever parameters you wish to control. An optional pedal board gives further expressive control and replicates the same multi-contact system through your feet.
The Leslie rotary effect is of course, vital to the B3 organ sound. Hammond has worked up a new digital algorithm that even models the airflow to produce the most responsive and authentic effect possible through a pair of headphones. Some tube modelling brings in a good bit of vacuum warmth, and an emulated “matching transformer” adds to the ballast. You’ll also find a large bank of effects, including the Chorus/Vibrato that’s essential to any Hammond organ.
Suffice to say that Hammond has nailed the portable, compact and sensibly sized digital version of their analogue behemoth.
I’ve not seen a price or availability yet, but Hammond says, “you won’t break the bank taking it home”. The XK-5 goes for around £3,500 but is quite a different style of instrument. The XK-4 is closer in features to the SK-Pro at around £1,900 or XK-1c at £1,500.
Hammond will have the XK-4 on demo at booth 9110.