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Nord Electro 3 Vs. Hammond SK1


Polkahero

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I'm in the market for a better clonewheel organ and want to know how the Nord Electro 3 61-key compares to the Hammond SK1. My original plan was to get the Hammond as it has great pipe organ sounds that I can use for church, but I'm now leaning on just getting a used Alesis QSR module for that purpose.

 

I'm still in the market for a better clonewheel organ unit so I'm wondering how these two compare. I don't do a lot of drawbar tweaking during songs so I don't think the digital drawbars of the Nord would bother me too much. I pretty much rely on presets and stick with those for a song. I just want to know how the two compare soundwise and how the other sounds (acoustic piano, EPs, etc.) compare to each other. Which has a better Leslie simulator? I don't plan on buying a Ventilator so I guess that's pretty important. The Nord has been around longer so I figure I can get a better deal on a used unit than the Hammond right now. The size and weight are nearly identical, I just have no idea how either of these sound. Also, how do the keyboard actions compare? Thanks for any input or recommendations!

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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Sonically, both the Nord and Hammond have their fans. The bad news is you probably can't know which will sound better to you unless you personally try them both. The good news is that they are probably both good enough that you'd be content with either one of them, if you never heard the other. ;-)

 

In terms of functionality, the big advantages of the Hammond are the real drawbars (which you don't care much about), and the ability to split and layer sounds (the Nord only plays one sound at a time, though it can split to the extent of being able to do two organ registrations at the same time). Also, if you end up still wanting to use the QSR, the Hammond is more flexible as a MIDI controller, in terms of being able to store presets that call up specified sounds on the attached module (and splitting and layering them if desired with the Hammond's own sounds).

 

The big advantage of the Nord is the superior piano capabilities, and their sample library which offers many kinds of sounds unavailable from the Hammond (as well as the ability to load your own custom samples into it).

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Scott,

Thanks for the input. I'm not big into splitting and layering sounds and wouldn't be using the Hammond as a MIDI controller. Are the sample libraries from Nord available as free downloads? I plan on running a Yamaha CP33 on the bottom tier for piano/EPs, do you think the Nord's new acoustic pianos rival that of the Yamaha's?

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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Are the sample libraries from Nord available as free downloads?

Yes.

 

I plan on running a Yamaha CP33 on the bottom tier for piano/EPs, do you think the Nord's new acoustic pianos rival that of the Yamaha's?

It's subjective, but I would say so. And you can use the CP33 to trigger the Nord's piano sounds in order to play them from a weighted keyboard. But again, the E3 only plays one sound at a time, so you can't play its piano sound and its organ (or other) sound at the same time.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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The Nord samples are free- and they have some real nice pipe organs available.

 

I haven't played the CP33 to give an opinion, but Nord has a lot of high quality piano sounds that are also free downloads, so it's not hard to find something that works for you. Set it up to trigger from the CP33, you can have a your favorite Nord piano sound played from a weighted controller.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

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Not only do piano sounds rival the CP, the library gives you a lot of flexibility options depending on what you want to play.

 

The piano tones I look for to play on solo classical pieces like Grieg's lyric compositions or Mozart's Piano Sonata in C major are TOTALLY different than what I would want for something I play in the rock band like 'Roll with the Changes'. If I am tinkering with a some Jazz stuff I look for a different ideal piano sound.

 

I would be totally on board with using a a 73 key Electro 3 in my rig and using the thing as a slave to my Kawai if the E-3 could play more than one sound at a time. But it won't. For me that is the killer ... there is Nord that will play multiple sounds at the same time but it cost more $$$.

 

If you use the Nord for piano then you can't play organ on it. I'm still lusting for one as a light weight rehearsal keyboard.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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My two cents:

 

SK1 - better keyboard action, drawbars (which can be used on the pipe organ sounds, too), pipe organ sounds are incredible, better Leslie sim, multi-timbral, better Hammond organ

 

Electro3 - better acoustic piano and Wurli, more sound sets available

 

I don't know why you'd buy a QSR module. It's another thing to haul around. If you want pipe organ sounds, get the SK1. It does them with aplomb.

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In case you missed it:

better Leslie sim

 

I've played the XK1 Leslie sim and I'd say it's better than NE3. I believe SK1 is same or possibly better than XK1. I wouldn't say it's night-and-day better. Even the NE2 Leslie sim, which is clearly inferior to any of the above, is good enough for me. Yes, I'd like better, but not enough to force me to upgrade. The difference in piano is more likely to do that, if used prices on NE3 ever comes down enough.

 

The NE certainly is a great rehearsal board. I'd imagine the SK1 is also. Hopefully its piano is better than NE2's.

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You need to grab a copy of the latest Keyboard Magazine. There's an extensive review of the SK-1, and Fortner raved about about the organ sounds and called the Leslie simulation Hammond's best yet -- apparently the closest thing to the Ventillator he's heard. I've heard it on YouTube, and it sounds great through my tiny computer speakers. I just bought the Nord Stage 2, and I'm a little jealous even though I haven't played the SK-1 for myself. The Nord sounds great, too, by the way.
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I own both a Nord Stage 2 compact and a SK1. For Hammond B3 emulation the raw tone of the NS2 is excellent, at least as good as the SK1, and the overdrive is better than the SK1, but the SK1's Leslie sim is far better. The other keyboard sounds, from brass to EP to acoustic piano, to clavs, wurlies, and lead synths, are clearly better and more tweakable in the NS2 IMHO. The NS2, unlike the SK1, also has a pitch-bending stick and aftertouch. So I use the SK1 almost exclusively for its B3 sounds. I also like to layer the NS2 and SK1 brass patches together. The NS2 brass patches are beefy but need some brightness that I can get from the SK1 patches.

 

Spike

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I own them both and vote for the SK-1 for organ. I also own a vent, but don't always use it with the SK-1. The NE3, in my opinion, needs the vent.

 

The NE3 gets the slight nudge on the electric pianos....

Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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My two cents:

 

SK1 - better keyboard action, drawbars (which can be used on the pipe organ sounds, too), pipe organ sounds are incredible, better Leslie sim, multi-timbral, better Hammond organ

 

Electro3 - better acoustic piano and Wurli, more sound sets available

 

I don't know why you'd buy a QSR module. It's another thing to haul around. If you want pipe organ sounds, get the SK1. It does them with aplomb.

 

I figured I would get a used QSR module for all the extra Advent/Christmas services I got coming up to tie me over until I can get a good deal on a used SK1. I plan on controlling it via the church's Roland digital piano so it wouldn't be much to carry. The pipe organ sounds on the SK1 are the only thing I've heard in a hardware synth that even comes close to the Alesis.

 

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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You need to grab a copy of the latest Keyboard Magazine. There's an extensive review of the SK-1, and Fortner raved about about the organ sounds and called the Leslie simulation Hammond's best yet -- apparently the closest thing to the Ventillator he's heard. I've heard it on YouTube, and it sounds great through my tiny computer speakers. I just bought the Nord Stage 2, and I'm a little jealous even though I haven't played the SK-1 for myself. The Nord sounds great, too, by the way.

 

I'm a recent subscriber to Keyboard Magazine and read that issue. Really wish stores around here would carry either or both so I could compare for myself. :(

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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I am going to throw in my two cents.

 

I am one of the few members who owns a Numa organ, A Nord electro3, a Nord Stage and a ventilator.

 

If you are a huge fan of Chorus C3, nothing comes close to a Numa/Keyb and the internal leslie sim activated, combined with chorus/vibrato settings.

The ventilator destroyes the open breathing 3D projection of the Numa chorus sound when connected.

I have literaly tried all combinations with different speakers, but nothing sounds so

prestine as the Numa all by it self.

 

If it wasn't for the overdrive I would have sold the ventilator,....I am still considering the possibilty though.

 

My search is over, I have addepted to the somewhat sluggish keybed of the Numa and still can't believe how freaking awesome it sounds.

 

Sorry.....a little of topic, but I still can't believe why the Numa isn't more popular than it is right now.

 

 

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I've seen one!! I own it, and echo VanderSchoot's sentiments (I also own an E3 and a NS classic).

 

The Numa beats the E3 + Vent combination, especially in the upper registers and drawbars. I even like the overdrive in the Numa but, the vent's overdrive is better, but not by much.

 

My 2 cents,

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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I bought it after listening to some online videos and reading some reviews. The way I figured it, if it sounded as good as the E3 + Vent I'd come ahead because of the drawbars and the all in one package, among other things. As I mentioned, IMHO, it beats the E3+vent.

 

About music store stock, I couldn't find a Nord E3, let alone C1 or C2. I can't even find the sk-1 anywhere near me. The Xk3c is hit and miss, mostly miss. So, for clones, I think most of us may be buying on faith. Which is a pretty sad state of affairs.

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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I tried the Numa out a few couple ago at a store here in Toronto, along with the SK1, and have a NS2 and vent and thought the Numa sounded best of the lot as well... Mind you, we are splitting hairs at this point IMO. They all sound pretty darn good, esp. through Vent/real Leslies.

 

One needs to choose what is to be compromised.

 

Non-organ sounds - Nord wins. Numa, XK3C have none, SK1 has a few. Nord has many.

Drawbars - Nord loses but one can add OB drawbars

Multitimbral - NS2 and SK's win.

Leslie sim - Numa is best, XK/SK are second, Nord loses by a hair

Overdrive - Numa wins

Weight - XK3C loses

Appearance - XK3C wins

Stackability - Nord and SK loses. Numa and XK3C can sit on unconventional bottom of two keyboard rack

 

All IMO

 

Now when does Nord's C2 plus/Numa Combo come out?

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Sorry guys, I'm not interested in the Numa organ. It's too wide for my needs. I plan on stacking this on top of a digital piano and need room for my Soundcraft Notepad mixer on the right side. It has to be a board that's only as wide as 61 keys.

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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