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Hammond C2 or Hammond SK2


Jim Alfredson

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Step right up and dive in!

 

I'm going back and forth between my '54 C2 and the SK2 in this audio sample. Both are running into a Mini Vent on STOP.

 

The first two bars are one organ, the next two bars are the other. Whenever I play the same riff twice, I'm switching between them. Left hand is staying on the same organ. Only my right hand is switching. Can you hear a difference? Which one do I play first?

 

Hammond C2 vs Hammond SK2

 

You have a 50% of being right! Listen and let me know why.

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Yes use some C/V.

 

I thought maybe I could tell from the spit but the left hand is staying on the C2. I can't tell. If the left is riding the SK then the SK is friggin impresive.... which I'm sure it is because it is a Hammond, anything else is just a clone. :laugh:

"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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I think there may be a bit of confusion regarding what I'm doing.

 

I'm keeping my left hand on the just one organ through-out the first half of the mp3. I'm switching between the two organs with my right hand. So for example:

 

0:02 to 0:05 - right hand organ A

0:06 to 0:08 - right hand organ B

0:09 to 0:12 - right hand organ A

0:13 to 0:15 - right hand organ B

 

etc. etc.

 

At 1:08 I switch the left hand to the other organ and do the same thing with the right as in the first half (starting on the same organ as before).

 

Signal flow is as follows: SK2 into the C2 preamp, C2 preamp into a mixer to boost the level, mixer output into the Vent on STOP, Vent into the my DAW.

 

I'm going to make a video with this set-up this weekend.

 

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I feel it's kinda cheating to run a clonewheel thru the real AO-28 in comparisons, because it adds so much mojo that will be missing when you play it live.

 

The preamp, leslie amp, speaker, and cabinet coloring are major components of the sound.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

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It's an AO-10 but yeah, I guess it's cheating a little. But it sounds badass! :)

 

Honestly, I can get pretty dang close with the SK2 running direct into the mixer via the onboard EQ and that's how I'm programming my set since, as you say, when its played live you probably won't have an AO-10 preamp to route it through (although I want to put one in an amp case for just such a purpose!) The hardest thing to nail is the midrange. The tubes in the preamp do something to the midrange that I haven't been able to fully emulate on the SK alone so far. But when I put the SK through the C2 preamp, the midrange sounds identical. It's pretty cool! I might put some white noise through the preamp and see what it's doing.

 

Anyhow, the biggest differences to my ears:

 

Key-click - When you let off a note on a tonewheel Hammond in a certain way, you can get it to bounce a bit. That bouncing causes the release key-click to be re-strike with the effect of it appearing longer. You can't do that on the SK2 nor on any digital keyboard that I know of. I think this is what most people are hearing when they claim the key-click is "static". Yes, it triggers the same way every time due to the limitations of the digital keyboard itself.

 

How to combat this? Well, linking velocity to the timing of the key-click isn't a bad idea but then you need employ two sensors beneath the keys to calculate that velocity, with the lower sensor determining when the note is played. This will change the response and make the organ feel more sluggish, as it did before Hammond added the ability to change to the upper sensor in a recent OS update.

 

Another option is randomly offsetting the timing of the key-click via an algorithm, something that will take up CPU cycles. To increase the illusion, perhaps linking that randomness with a subtle LPF filter that randomly rolls a bit off here and there. Again, more CPU cycles.

 

Speaking of filtering, the key-click has less high frequency content as you go down the keyboard, due to the filter networks Hammond installed to curb crosstalk / leakage. If I set the SK2's keyclick to sound good in the mid and upper ranges, it is a bit too bright in the lower ranges. If I set it to be darker in the lower range, it's not bright enough in the upper. They need to add a keyboard scaling function to the LPF that's already in the key-click submenu.

 

Then again, the added bright key-click in the lower range helps the drummer hear the attack of the note better, so maybe it's not such a bad thing?

 

Distortion - There's some fuzz around the edges of the real thing, due to the preamp. That difference gets much smaller when the SK2 is run through the preamp. I can kind of mimic it using a small amount of the onboard overdrive, specifically the EP model which is much more subtle and better sounding than the TUBE model.

 

Leakage - In order to try and mitigate the leakage, Hammond moved the location of certain tonewheels in the generator throughout the years. Since the VASE III engine was originally modeled on a 70s B3, the last of the line, it represents Hammond's final arrangement of tonewheels. And that arrangement is different than my '54 C2. So the character of the individual tonewheel leakage on some notes is different between the two, because the '54s tonewheels are in different positions. I got them as close as I can but I cannot change the actual frequencies involved in the leakage.

 

Chorus / Vibrato

 

See above. The '54 is very different than the mid-60's A100 that the SK's c/v is modeled after. They do not sound the same. That said, I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, just different. Nor do I have a mid-60s organ to compare it to but the SK2 chorus sounds very good to me. I'm excited about having the new Mix Balance control that was introduced in the XK1c on the SK. That might help to get it closer to the '54.

 

I'd like to see Hammond offer models of various eras of c/v, including the very cool and unique 2nd tone generator chorus of the BC model. Then again, I'm probably the only one that cares!

 

 

The point of the above demonstration is mainly to illustrate that the raw tone of the SK sounds really close to the real thing. There is room for improvement but are you going to hear the tiny details discussed above in a live setting with drums and guitar doing their thing? Probably not. I recently did a recording session in LA with the SK1 and Ventilator with drums, bass, and guitar playing Booker T type stuff. With some room reverb thrown on the organ tracks, you'd be hard pressed to know it wasn't real. It sounds really good.

 

What a cool time we live in!

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Been playing my sk1 through my vent - everyone I'm playing with loves it - more growl, more real are some of the comments - having the physical drawfaders definitely pulls me into manipulating them more than I ever did the nord draw buttons - the ns2 b3 sounds sterile in comparison...

gig: hammond sk-1 73, neo vent, nord stage 2 76, ancona 34 accordion, cps space station v3

home: steinway m, 1950 hammond c2

 

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Sounds as though you routed the SK2 into the C2's preamp. did you?

Signal flow is as follows: SK2 into the C2 preamp ..

Thanks for the honest confirmation.

 

..What I'd like to do is wire up an AO-10...
I think the XK3's tube's were an attempt at this but they didn't fully hit the mark ...

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

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I'm working on two videos with just the raw tone of each (the Hammond C2 and the SK2) side by side and without the SK2 going through the C2's preamp. I've got them sounding really close even without the benefit of the SK2 going through some real tubes. I think you'll be surprised.
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The SK c/v is based on a mid-60's A100 and does not sound like my '54. It would be comparing apples to oranges.

 

Different is OK, but the C2 vs SK2 with C/V would be less like apples vs oranges and more like a sweet apple or orange vs a not-so-sweet one. It would immediately be obvious which was which.

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Very subtle but I'll guess A is the SK and B is the Hammond. Oops, don't want to go there, B is the older Hammond.

 

And, again Jim this is so much fun, thank you very much. You're the geeks geek with this stuff and I love it.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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Ok, just saw the second vid and to anybody reading this I'm not giving anything away since nobody else has answered the question yet. Very interesting how simply watching you play completely masks whatever very subtle differences there are. I had to force myself to block out what I was seeing and just listen.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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Ok, which is which?

 

 

I picked which was which straight away, but for me the differences were negligible, and A and B were both sweet enough ... until you switched on the chorus vibrato. The great C/V on the C2 immediately set it apart from the good one on the SK2 (and the XK3c, which I have and prefer).

 

I'm looking forward to trying an SK2 with the upgraded firmware with more tweakable C/V that you mentioned (does the SK2 in this video have this already?) and hoping that they will consider making this available for the XK3c as well. For me, that would help to elevate its sound that extra half a percent from "excellent" to "inspiring".

 

(And thanks again for your efforts in promoting this and other improvements.)

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The SK c/v is based on a mid-60's A100 and does not sound like my '54. It would be comparing apples to oranges.

 

Is the SK C/V the same configuration the XK series? When I played the XK system on a regular basis, I thought C+V sounded great but it seemed as though HS skimped on the straight Vibrato.

Hammond XK1-c, Hammond XPK-100, Yamaha FC-7, Spacestation V3

 

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Is the SK C/V the same configuration the XK series? When I played the XK system on a regular basis, I thought C+V sounded great but it seemed as though HS skimped on the straight Vibrato.

 

The XKs and SKs both produce the vibrato/chorus digitally in a similar way but with slightly different parameters. To my ears, neither quite hits the mark, but both have the potential to do so with the addition of a little more tweakability (specifically, adjustment of the mix of modulated and unmodulated, or "wet" and "dry", components in the chorus.)

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I just know that on vintage Hammonds, I always enjoyed V3+Leslie fast (very soupy, yes) but when I played the XK3c, I couldn't wait to turn the vibrato off and just use the Leslie. I suppose that's one of the reasons I liked to add the internal Leslie along the 3300 - another thing to frown on I suppose, but it seemed to get a lot closer to the vintage sound I was looking for. I hope with the XK1-c, that will no longer be necessary.

Hammond XK1-c, Hammond XPK-100, Yamaha FC-7, Spacestation V3

 

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