Hammond asked their user base what they’d like to see in the ultimate Hammond stage keyboard and the four sound- engined Sk Pro is the result.
Everyone wants more out of their keyboards these days and players of Hammond organs are no exception. While other manufacturers tend to include organs as an afterthought for Hammond that sound is front and centre. But if you’re taking an authentic Hammond organ onto the stage what other sounds would complement it and save you from having to take more equipment with you? How about some piano, strings and a properly controllable lead monosynth?
The Sk Pro brings all these things together in a solid stage keyboard covered in controls and instant accessibility.
Your organ section is covered with all the controls and finesse you need. It uses the Modelled Tone Wheel 1 (MTW1) sound engine from the XK-5. The keyboard has a Virtual Multi-Contact function to replicate the distinctive feel of a Hammond organ. The new-generation Digital Leslie brings stunningly authentic movement, tone and multi-dimensional effects. There’s some new tube emulation technology and transistor matching going on. Hammond has pulled out all the stops (!) on recreating that classic drawbar sound. They’ve also added classical and theatrical pipe organs and combo organs for good measure.
The Piano and Ensemble side comes for a large high-quality sample library with up to 162 voices and some world-leading piano sounds. You can edit all sorts of parameters like sample choice, envelope, LFO and filter and save them as a patch.
The Mono Synth is fabulous, it has it’s own section of the front panel and is a physical modelling synthesizer based on the usual classics. You have 6 different oscillator configurations and realtime filter and amplitude controls for some genuine synth action. It’s somehow ironic that Korg has just announced the miniKORG 700 FS that was designed to sit on top of a Hammond organ to provide easy access to that sought after synth lead sound favoured by organ players. Hammond have built that idea directly into the Sk Pro.
You can combine the sound engines with the four buttons that sit directly below the screen. You can set up mixes between them, splits and layers and save them all as performance patches. You can have the Sk Pro configured to be exactly what you need for every song in every gig.
The Sk Pro is a versatile and capable stage keyboard that will please their fans and take them forward. Hammond has such a pedigree and history but I’m slightly disappointed that they’ve managed to make the Sk Pro look quite dated rather than retro or vintage (like their website). That screen is straight from a 90s synth and not in a good way. I think the features are fantastic but the design isn’t quite special enough. It’s a solid choice though for the most authentic organ sound and playing experience on the planet.
The Sk Pro is available in 61 and 73 key versions and should ship by the end of 1st quarter 2021.
- Hammond website.
- More from Hammond.