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Kronos CX-3 vs Hammond Clone
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bitflipper wrote:
I've just spent some deep time with the IKM Hammond in preparation for a review (not yet published, will be online in another week or so).

I've had my differences with IKM over the years and am generally not a fan of the company. Consequently, I was ready to hate this B3/Leslie emu. I took the writing assignment only because I'm kind of the default go-to organ guy for the online magazine (soundbytesmag.net) I write for.

To my great surprise, it's frickin' fantastic. The best Hammond/Leslie sim you can buy today. My only complaint is the Leslie doesn't really growl right. But for clean and clean-ish tones, it can't be beat. Not even by a Ventilator.

I tried out the IKM Hammond and also thought it was very good. A deal-breaker for me is the lack of control for internal splits. Every clone (hard or soft) I've used allowed you to set up a split with upper and lower manuals mapped across a single keyboard with the all-important option of raising the lower manual up an octave or even more. This is something that cannot be accomplished with using zones on a controller as raising MIDI pitch by an octave is not the same thing as the organ responding an octave higher to an incoming note. I was very surprised by this omission.

On the Kronos, by default, the joystick -Y turns on/off the split which is extremely handy.

Kronos 73, Minilogue, VL-1, V-Synth, B3 w/122, (3) Rhodes, Clavinet D6, 200a, AvantGrand, Minimoog Model D, Studio Electronics Omega 8, Hammond SK-1, Protools HD, Mac Pro, VSL, LASS, Sample Modeling, East West, Ivory, Komplete 8, Spectrasonics, etc.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bitflipper wrote:
I do like GG Audio's product quite a lot, but the IKM Leslie edges out Spin for the win.

Since IK sells the Leslie sim separately (for less than the cost of B-3X), GG's Blue3 through IK's rotary could be a way to go, too. I've seen some complaints about B-3X's CPU usage, maybe that would be a way to address that and still get the sound one is after. Another nice thing about that combination (and something else you can do with the GG product alone that you can't do with B-3X) is you can run other VSTs you may have into the rotary sim, or insert any other effect you might have between the organ and rotary (though I understand, IK supplies an assortment of their own as part of B-3X).

But maybe the biggest potential benefit could be answering your comment, "My only complaint is the Leslie doesn't really growl right" -- depending on how much growl is coming from where, I wonder whether Blue3 into IK's rotary could possibly even give you a better growl than B-3X... if not natively, then maybe by taking advantage of that last feature I mentioned, and inserting some kind of tube drive effect between the organ and the rotary effect. Then you could conceivably get the benefit of IK's "best rotary" (which you'd still be using) without having to sacrifice on the growl.

Bitflipper wrote:
And you're right, I am using a 73-key Kronos. I have used a synth-action MIDI controller with it and that was a decent solution. I also have a Crumar Mojo. However, there are many times I don't want to pack more than a single instrument to, say, a jam session or a 30-minute festival set with a 10-minute turnaround. Or to squeeze onto a small stage with six other people. That's why I have a Kronos to begin with. It does it all.

Yeah, unfortunately, physics prevents any single keyboard from having the hammer feel of a piano and the kind of responsive action you want for organ, so there is no single do-it-all that doesn't compromise there in one direction or the other. If I had to use one keyboard for both (as in your "jam session or a 30-minute festival set with a 10-minute turnaround" scenarios), I'd probably pick something else, because even though all single actions are compromises, some handle the compromise better than Korg's RH3 does. Yeah, you might lose some sonic horsepower, but there are lots of boards that cover a lot of stuff very well, and if you're willing to hook up something like a Windows tablet (as you might for running B-3X anyway), you can make up for lost sonic horsepower through VSTs. A hammer action board that handles organ better than the Kronos would be the Forte 7. Or you could look for a more organ amenable action that maybe isn't so bad for piano... Kronos LS, could be a possibility. Maybe that's the best do-it-all option? Though for that 10-minute turnaround scenario, I might prefer something that boots faster. Wink
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