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Hammond SK Pro 73

Keyboard By Gordon Reid
Published October 2022

Hammond SK Pro 73

Could the SK Pro 73 be Hammond’s most versatile keyboard yet?

I recently reviewed the SKX Pro, the dual‑manual model in a range of stage keyboards that incorporate Hammond’s latest organ technologies, virtual analogue synthesizer and PCM‑based polysynth, and I described it as the best Hammond B3/C3/A100 emulator yet developed for live use. This wasn’t a conclusion that I reached lightly because I have long been a fan of the Korg BX3 and the Nord C2, but spending some time with the SKX Pro convinced me that it improves upon both of them.

Single Manual

There are also two single‑manual models in the range; the 61‑key SK Pro, and the 73‑key SK Pro 73. Both use the same semi‑weighted waterfall keys as the SKX Pro and, as before, they are velocity sensitive but not pressure sensitive. (I still think that precluding aftertouch is a mistake, especially in a keyboard of this format.) I was supplied with the wider of these and, as I soon discovered, its extra keys proved to be invaluable when programming and playing complex setups. Happily, the colour display and associated controls of the SKX Pro have been retained on both models, although the layout of the rest of the panel is necessarily different — but not by so much that you’ll have significant difficulty jumping from one to the other if the need arises. For example, the full set of Hammond drawbars on the SKX Pro (nine upper, nine lower and two for the pedals) has been replaced by a single, assignable set, and some of the dedicated buttons have disappeared, their functions relegated to the menus. Similarly, the knob to control the amount of organ overdrive has been lost, and you can’t use the monosynth’s amplitude envelope faders to control the master EQ. In addition, the screw holes that allow you to attach a Leslie half‑moon switch to the front of the SKX Pro have gone AWOL, although I could see some people finding a way around this because one of the switch inputs on the rear panel (which is functionally identical with that of the SKX Pro) still supports this, and the appropriate menu item still exists. Nonetheless, there are some small but useful bonuses too. Unlike the SKX Pro, the SK Pros have a cover at the rear of the drawbars on which the names and footages of the associated sounds are printed for each of the Acetone, Farfisa, Vox and Pipe Organ models, and the portamento button has moved to a more conventional position in the left‑hand controller panel.

Since...

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