Andy Burton Compares the Hammond XK-5 to a Vintage Hammond B-3

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Acclaimed keyboardist Andy Burton (John Mayer, Cyndi Lauper, Rufus Wainwright, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul) compares the new Hammond XK-5 portable organ to his vintage 1971 Hammond B-3 and Leslie 122 speaker.



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Andy Burton Cyndi Lauper Hammond B-3 Hammond Organ Hammond XK-5 John Mayer Keyboard Magazine Leslie 122 Little Steve... Little Steven Rufus Wainwright


AMMO 461
Love those old Hammond organs. Had a neighbor who’d open her windows & play all sorts of music on her Hammond.\n These were so popular in the 70’s! Wonder how many they sold?
Alexander McAllister
Sounds close enough for me ... I'm sure Joe Public ( your audience if your a gigging musician ) wouldn't notice the difference .\nPersonally I'd probably go sk / skx as I'd like the additional pianos for stage use but this is very nice .
Arnold Vroomans
Good job! Smart idea to route through the tube amp. This way you are really just making a comparisment of the actual tone before the amplification. In a blind test my guess is no one is able to hear the difference. Especially because no two b3’s sound exactly alike.
Blues Deacon
Not a true tone comparison, both are running through the hammond b3 amplifier, I don't want to hear what that sounds like , let me hear the XK through a pa system or bass amp, or hey just thru the external leslie, my brother Thank ya , lord i done drank a quart of vodka thinking about this
Bob Aldo
What kind of amp would you play your XK-5 through if you didn't happen to have a handy B3's amp to play through?
Bob Viavattine
I'm, only a trumpet player, but don't really see this as a true comparison to see how the keyboard compares to the B3.. How many players will bring out both to a gig? I would want to hear the Suzuki keyboard with a straight line to a Leslie or amp with no help from the B3's pre amp.... Am I wrong? Even this way, you can still certainly tell the difference.
C Cornwall
Whats with the lousy mic setup? Why are the organs so quiet? I don't think this demo is fair, the new board can't touch the old one.
Chip Gaasche
If you're running the xk-5 thru the b3 pre, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the comparison?
Chris Nowak
Really overpriced once you get the lower manual and cases :( B3 is cheaper.
Clark Gayton
great demo. the XK-5 seems like a nice alternative
Darryll Corpening
Very good review. What people hear is 'highly' influenced by what they see while listening. I listened 'without watching' using studio grade headphones and I could not consistently guess which organ was being played. You've shown that the XK-5 can be tweaked to sound as good as a vintage B3 if a person is willing to spend the time to program it and mate it with a 122 leslie. Anything less than that simply will not cut it. Again, great job!
David Cate
I've owned an Xk-5, a Nord and the wood. I've also played lots of other simulators with both keyboards and various Leslies. Unfortunately, this argument always comes down to sound. What is always missing is the way it feels to play the instrument. I find all the simulators \
David Vicari
If you stand up to play keyboards in a rock band, the clone wheel is a better choice. If you are concerned with overdrive , the clonewheel is a better choice. If you are playing in the jazz trio format, guitar drums and organ, anything but a complete console with bench and pedals is a compromise. If you’re playing in the jazz trio format, the most cost effective rig is still the 40 to 60 year old classic with Leslie.
Dаvіd Вrоmаgе
6:15 I can hear Jon Lord in early Deep Purple!
Ed C
Andy, Great Studio!! Thank you for the comparison. Like obci-US stated below, I agree \
Eric Morata
In my opinion, the most important thing is to make a blind comparison so that the people who listen, including Hammond organ experts, do not have preconceived ideas and, on the other way, with a real LESLIE cabinet. This is the important point, Leslie cabinet simulators even at Hammond are not 100% optimized. In conclusion and it is my opinion, the best Hammond B3 organ \
Floyd Atema
This video was playing the background while doing something else. Every time it drew my attention you where on you old one. New one makes sense but I'd treasure the old one. Also going by the acoustical sound the new keys make at times I imagine the old one to feel better.
GREG MOORE
Having played Hammond all my life (since 1955), but never having played the Suzuki version, this is fascinating to watch - and I'm impressed with how well they did. I used to have a Roland JX-10 with a from-scratch tone creator, which build from sine waves, square waves, sawtooth, etc., and found it was easier to make a sorta-B3 than almost any other type of tone (since the Hammond concept is built pretty much on sine waves).
Greg Hickey
Very awesome sounding B3 amazing.. XK-5. Like it. Your getting a nasty Deep Purple John Lord vibe there. Sounds like a great clone to me. Wow! Greg Rolly!! Vibe! Santana! Cool! Real close. Incredible.
Hammond Voodoo
Thanks for the comparison. A little advise though with all due respect: There's a technique how to do proper glissandos which not only will make them sound way better but also doesn't ruin your keyboards. Waterfall keyboards are very durable but after a while they start to get bended laterally like the keys on your vintage B3. I've seen and played B3's of the first few production years (so 1955 onwards) which have been played a lot but their keyboards didn't look as bad. That's because people didn't attack them the way you do. And that also refers to the strength you apply to a rather soft and smooth action. You know, it's not a piano. Please don't be offended, I had to write these lines on behalf of the instruments under your fingers. I cringed a lot when I watched this video.
Henry Black
Sadly had to stop because of the constant moving footage - poss set up cam on a tripod \noverlooking the keyboard - great instruments - also maybe cutting out the smacking lips.
Ianthe22
it always amazes me how much effort japanese manufacturers put into an instrument whenever they convert from something older to digital.
JDHammondman
- You're taking the XK5 through the AO-28. This is not a clear and complete comparison.\n\n- Your 71 organ needs some work (see fast/slow prc decay)\n\n- Takes nothing away from the fact the XK5 is the closest clone option out there. I want.\n\n- Sidenote: One can learn a LOT about operation, hand position, smears and palms by studying some jazz organ.
Jack Narly
why did i ever sell my 59 B-3.moved only twice in its life.the action was so perfect and quiet and fast,nothing like the one in the movie.Maybe i can buy it back
Jack Ponissi
I'm impressed by how thin and weightless the XK5 sounds…I thought it was supposed to sound much better than this!\n\nAlso amazed to see so many positive comments: not there at all for me.\n\nIt seems to improve a lot using the B3's preamp, though.
James Reeno
Should have recorded the direct outs.
Jason Lee
running an xk5 with the 2nd manual and the pedalboard...WHAT A KILLER SETUP...driving both into a Leslie 3300 for road use. Heavy and large, but not nearly as heavy and large as the \
Jason Man on a mission
Allllll that slow talking! Just get to it already! It’s start around 2:39 everyone!
Jocke Kantola
Thanks a bunch! I've been using a NI B4D for 12 years & after that LogicPro X. I'm happy to have the NI B4D Bundle Midi Driver Hardware to be able to some realtime drawbaring! Usually I use my Ensonig TS-10 as the organ keyboard.
Joe Luca
That's not a '71 B3. The 71 B3 had a black transformer on the AO-28, had a paper, \
John Eli
Minor differences
Johnnie Guitar
Thanks for the test--- I'm impressed with the incredible electronic mimicry of this classic analog instrument. :)
Jon Jacoby
the difference between the two is inertia. The old one sounds older and heavier by a mile. The new one light and cheap. Surly a Hammond connoisseur could be fooled by the sound but in the playing that extra 250 lbs makes all the difference as you mangle and bash the keyboard it just sits there and takes it, moving the case is a real chore. Do that to you little toy and it breaks. So if you want something you can carry in one hand that's cool but if you want to recreate fanfare for the common man you need to put in in an old cabinet so you can tumble it around the stage. that little thing just wont impress people when you start tossing it around. Plus you CAN NOT STAND on the little toy. A real Hammons is also a stage for your lead guitarist or bass player to do theratics and jump from. It's much more than just a great big heavy box..
Joseph Smallwood
Have you tried the B3 MkII?
Kiryk Drewinski
The real thing doesn't sound as bright. It's more of a match with the tubes engaged in the XK5, I think. But otherwise it's damn close.
Leonardo Gabrielli
Good that you show how the test was conducted, but running the XK5 over the AO-28 is not fair.
Mabel Pleasure
I appreciate including the contact points as one of the similarities between the B3 and the XK5.....wherever you r on the B3 journey it will always b about what you want to hear....
Major Seven
Try smashing a milkshake in a glass by throwing it at the wall and shouting Shaka Shaka back back pippington loft bags.
Marco M
Given the situation I'd rather like to see a comparison of that XK5 against A Clavia, a Legend and a Crumar Mojo, all passed thtough the same setup ( clone --\u003e AO28 --\u003e Leslie --\u003e microphones) and compared A-B instantly. BTW I think that even a clone of 20+ years ago, like the Korg CX3, would play very close to the B3 when passed through the same setup. Just my 2 cents
Michael Bradley
In the 70's, my Dad had a B-3 and Leslie speaker in the living room. Imagine the room we would've had if the XK-5 was around then.
Michael Clark
Still gon need bass pedalboard, real leslie, second manual.
Missy Victoria
Close enough.. and the bonus is its much lighter, more compact and much easier than hauling around a B3. And you don't need a van. If I were a keyboardist, I'd go w the XK-5 for gigging.
NURREDIN
When you're playing for those 300 drunks in the club,can they tell the difference? When someone is listening to your music on their Iphone with cheap earbuds,can they tell the difference?
Nate Dog
there is no difference in sound between a B3 and C3, just the cabinetry.
Nitzan
...what with the ambience noise? how can we compare between the b3 and the clone with that?\nnever mention the fact that this comparison is unfair when you plug the xk5 thru the b3 tube pre-amp and the reel leslie.\n a *true* comparison is when you record directly from the xk5 output, and put it in front the b3-tru-leslie-tru-2 condensers mics - without the sound from the onborad mic in the camera.
P C
Impressionant merci
PastTime777
Great video. A pro can tell the difference, but honestly, the average person won't notice. It's like comparing a real grand piano to the patches in the Korg Kronos. The differences are so minor, you could say it's the difference of the instrument like the way all B3s sound different. Bringing a real B3 or Piano does give one a physical presence on the stage. I play an XK-5 dual manual with a Leslie 3300 and a Korg Kronos 88 in a 3DN tribute. That setup has everything I need. One bug on the XK-5, is if you accidentally swipe the black preset keys, the organ can get stuck on a note, and the only way to reset it is to power off and on.
Pau Cosmos
Hey guys Whats the small keys on the background behind his head above the Fender Rhodes 73?
Paulo Roberto Machado
Que maravilha!
PhilMul
It's all about the Leslie! both tone generators do approximately the same thing.
Pontus Mutka
Not a fair way to compare running through the AO-28 preamp. Also, you should loose the key sounds, they are really annoying. Maybe close mike and put the leslie in another room.
Richard Wielgosz
I would say this is anything BUT a true side by side. If the emulator is supposed to be any good it should stand up to the B3 without having to run it through the B3's preamp.
Robert A.
Right on, Andy! Great comparison and I would have to say that the XK5 is the real deal. Nice playing and already has me playing the drawbar configurations you used and your progressions. Have fun out there and thanks very much for this video.
Scott Cranidge
If only Jon Lord were here to hear the XK-5.
Scott Yahney
Hammond XK-5 HAS NO BALLS !!!
Shawn Lyday
Your skipping over the fact that you are not going to be playing thru a B3 preamp with the xk5 which alters the sound considerably..I did it it with an old xb 2 and it improved the sound considerably..
ShreadTheWeapon
The original B3 was still being manufactured in 1971? I thought it had been discontinued.\n\nDid you play the riff from Rod Stewart’s “Baby Jane” (down a step from Dm to Cm) at 10:00?
Snoo Lee
Andy, you didn't have to say, \
Steve Kappes
Man, hats off to the people that made this product happen. I can't imagine how small of a market there must be for this vs the amount of effort that went into producing it.\nAlso, thanks for a review that is relatable even to folks like me that are fascinated by music and sound but have no talent for it.
Steven Piekarski
GETTHE LEGEND! xk5 not good
Supertone Pre'75
One thing he's not demonstrating is the length of play. Listen to a clone for an hour and a B3 for a an hour. I get listening fatigue with a clone, others may not. I Love clones make no mistake. But if I want to play a B3 for the thrill of it, I will.
TIEMPO VEGANO
es una copia horriblemente perfecta... a la hoguera..!!!
Tamer Abdalla
I'm just happy with my Roland VK-8.
Tarmo Tiinus
Where is the \
TeamKevSev FE
The original B-3 sounds more full and warmer.
The Ark
like old organs.
Tom Jones
Amazingly close BUT running the XK-5 through the B3 doesn't make it a real comparison. The difference is very subtle but in each case the B3 seems to sound 'fuller' and more richer but only just. Nonetheless it's noticeable.
Tom Smith
Not even close!!!!!
Torben Hellborn
Brilliant demonstration
WalterDiamond
I really like this but one issue springs to mind: how is the audio going to the track that is on the video? Is it just the camera mic? If so, that really kinda blurs any noticeable distinction. Or did you put the mic'd stereo signal on in post?
William Speakman Cherry
I don't really understand the value of the XK-5 when it has no pedal keyboard. And, in fact, it looks like Andy doesn't have a pedal keyboard on the B-3.
adam872
The XK sounds close as makes no difference IMHO, which is to say it sounds great. I especially like the overdriven sounds. They're nasty.
adhanda2017
Correct me if I'm wrong, but digitally generated pitches can never match the patented mechanically generated equal tempered pitches of the original B3.
arkuz
Does this Hammond clone (or any other) address the core aspect of Hammond sound architecture: tempered and shared harmonics? The B3 chassis could not support enough tone wheels for accurate and dedicated harmonics across all the tone bars. So the harmonic at one tone bar position will show up at many other disparate harmonic locations. That means when you pull out all the draw bars you can lay your arm across the keyboard and you will not hear any real dissonance. Makes any amateur player sound like a genius, but also creates that unique Hammond sound that borders on cheesy. Great for rock'n'roll keyboardists using distortion to fatten the sound even more. Any note played can fit the key of the song well enough that you can play any kind of a run you want and sound great. Samplers cannot offer this effect, so a proper simulation has to have a dedicated tempered oscillator for every tone wheel normally found in a B3. Curious if that's how this is engineered....
armstronglance
Thanks for this review! \n I’m turning 65 and have owned & travelled with several Hammonds and Leslie stacks. I compared my DX7 B3 patch just like you did here, running it thru the B’s preamp & to the Leslie’s. Yamaha published my B3 patch in their DX magazine. Trick was rolling off the amplitude of each drawbar as you played up the keyboard. (Takes 2 DX7’s to simulate all 9 drawbars of course) \n I also like to breakout an oscilloscope and compare each drawbar’s waveform. On a tonewheel each tone looks like a sinewave with some wiggle, obviously from the mechanical tone and wheels moving around a little bit. I don’t see that on a lot of B3 clones.\n (Hands down...there ain’t nothing like a real Leslie! Or two!)
darganx
I want your t-shirt
jsamc
B-3 has more of a growl
marcoballa
the difference is huge also with this bad ambience audio.\n(curious to listen to a direct mic audio)\nbut they both sound very good!
obvi•US
These tests are ALWAYS under a microscope. #1) No two Hammonds will sound EXACTLY the same, and the differences will easily exceed that of the modern/digital organs #2) Played within the context of a BAND, virtually none of this will be discernible #3) If you are playing a GREAT song, no one would care if you played a Lowrey... This microscopic-level comparison has reached the horseshit level. The same goes for all the synth A/B comparisons. Create good music and stop losing sleep over this nonsense. I love you too...
phil phil
It's all about the Leslie ... which in this case is fabulous.. The Hammond has almost nothing to do with the great sound. I have heard Hammond B-3s played through other Leslies and sometimes they sound like crap. It's all about the Leslie. Play both through a regular Fender amp and let's see what happens!
rodriguez63
They sound pretty close...the problem with your test is that you put both trough the Hammond Pre and the Leslie...in a real situation you wouldn`t do that...you would go straight into an Amp or the PA with the XK-5 I guess...that`s the way they should be compared...nobody would do this set up since it makes no sense...but its impresive close
synthartist69
The original Hammond sounds so much better but I would never own one because I can't haul it around, no room for it, and maintenance. I did have the XK3-C but even that was pretty heavy to haul around and I personally did not like the feel of the keys, too stiff for me but I grew up playing synthesizers with light action. I thought the XK3-C sounded good with the fake leslie.
tchum chi
The old organs has the best sound but are starting to get costly to maintain.Can t find good repairman anymore
tehtube
Ok, much more better the B3 than XB5, but sadly this B3 is very late type. I think the sound different will be more with compared 1960-61 B3 :-)
tomek zień
Could You tell me- how did You connect Xk5 to B3s preamp? just thru xk5 L/mono output to RCA ao28 input on swell box?I understand that xk5 is switch on, B3 connected to Leslie 122 by 6pin cable also? I want to connect my sk2 hammond to C3 ao28 preamp with Leslie 122...and I wonder- is it healthy connection an digital organ to ao28 phono inpu...