Hammond SK Pro 73: 3-Part Organ MIDI setup (adding pedals & lower)

May 10, 2020
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For awhile now, I've been considering adding a lower keyboard for my SK Pro to use along with the Mojo pedals I've had for years. A couple of new songs that my band wants to do will need the 2nd keyboard, so I just took the plunge to do it.

Here's what I've got:
SK Pro w Pedals-Lower-Midi 2 sm.jpg

My old set of Crumar Mojo pedals for the feet (only has MIDI out). And for the lower keyboard, I got an M Audio Keystation 61 MK3 as it also has the 5-pin MIDI out, while their smaller 49-key version only has MIDI out via USB. It doesn't have all the extra cost/weight/bulk or all the extra knobs, pads & sliders that many MIDI controllers have, but I'd already determined that I didn't really need those.

After checking several options, I got the Doremidi "Merge 3" (3 in, 1 out -- all via 5-pin) MIDI merge box which was half the cost of the first merge device that I'd considered. Best part is, using a USB Y-adapter that's plugged into my SK Pro, both the MIDI merge and the M Audio are getting power off the Hammond -- so there's no need for any separate power supplies with more cables added.

And, it's working GREAT!!! I'm loving it!!!

It was all "plug & play" too, with the only programming being to set the M Audio to use channel 2 for the lower (the pedals were already on channel 3), and then easily select the correct MIDI template from the SK Pro's MIDI menu (done at startup each time).

The guitar player in our band now says the Hammond's keys need to be brighter... -- Ha! LOL Me, I was sorta thinking that the M Audio's keys needed to be stained by soaking them in tea to color-match them to the "Hammond Aged Ivory" color of the SK Pro's keys. Oh well...

One unexpected benefit..............

The piano sounds from the SK Pro are MUCH BETTER when played from the M Audio Keystation, likely due to the semi-weighted keys and having a different trigger point. It's not as good a keybed for the organ as the SK Pro's keybed, but for the lower manual organ parts it will do just fine. But the much-improved piano tones and better dynamics now have me playing more piano from the SK Pro than I've ever done before. I'm stoked! Time to rock!


Old No7

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