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Keyboards & MIDI
While pipe organs are the undisputed kings of the organ family, their immense size makes them few and far between. When you want the flexibility and power of this instrument anywhere else, an electronic organ is the solution. When attached to a powerful rotary speaker, these organs can rival the smaller of their pipe-based ancestors in power, and they also have the flexibility to be used for rhythm and blues, jazz, rock and reggae music. To make the organ more portable, most of the models in this section feature a single manual.
If you need something that you can pick up and move at a moment's notice, consider the exceptionally compact 61-key Hammond SK1. It captures the essence of the timeless Hammond B-3 in a 15-lb. package you can easily travel with. The SK1 also has excellent samples for playing other instrument voices—even the accordion. For those who want a few more than 61 keys, you can step up to the 73-key model instead to get all the same features with some added range. If you're looking for a more pipe organ-like feel, take a look at the Nord C2D and the Roland VK-88. These organs have the two manuals you'll need to emulate the great and swell manuals of a real pipe organ, as well as a great selection of drawbars to provide plenty of stop options. You can also add stops through MIDI control by picking up a drawbar controller like the Hammond XMC-2.
Together with a pedalboard controller and the keyboard, this makes it possible to create a completely virtual organ with roughly the same physical layout and controls as a real vintage organ. Whether you're looking to set up a replica of an original tonewheel Hammond organ or building a compact virtual pipe organ with a Leslie speaker, your setup starts here. Electronic organs are a natural fit for gospel, rock and, with the variety of voices sampled in each model, any other genre as well.