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  1. david
  2. Vanity Monster Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  4. Wednesday, 07 April 2021
SKpro 73 just arrived. I flew through the presents as fast as possible.

I see what people have been saying as the rotary is far more dynamic and immersive when activated on the SKpro vs YC.

Surprisingly some of the "others" voices are really on par with Yamaha and very high end. I heard some stuff that stopped me in my tracks.

I'll have to spend a lot more time with it. The keys as I knew already are organ-ish by design because it's not trying to be a piano.

I like the Yamaha std weighted on 73 better but I didn't like the YC61 keys either.

Build quality looks really good but I haven't touched everything yet to see how solid it feels. I'm totally new to Hammond.

I'll compare them side by side to really get a feel for the wow factors vs the not so wow factors.

TBC....
Responses (30)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It's too early to tell but I think that the YC73 version with weighted keys and the SKpro with waterfall keys are actually different enough to keep both.

The SKpro is certainly a Swiss Army Knife of options. The sound quality is superb which I couldn't tell a thing from demo videos as we know.

I don't have the YC61 anymore but I prefer the SKpro action as it might be slightly more uniform and a tad stiffer. A little less toy-ish than YC61.

Organ players have their own opinions I'm sure. I'm still learning the interface but seems simple enough. I want to dive to see what's inside the options.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
With the current price of the SKPro - here in the UK - I think I would spend the same money on a YC61 -- together with a P121 and a Neo Vent 2, plus a Kenton MIDI USB Host.
(to link the P121 to the YC61)

That would give me:
• 61 note waterfall keyboard for organ
• 73 note weighted keyboard for pianos - (using the great YC61 piano voices).
• A best quality rotary sim

All for around the same money as the current cost of the SKPro !

But we all have different preferences of course...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Then you'll have to haul around all that separate gear and hook them together.

I priced those out here and it's over $3,000.

However I have the YC73 which is $500 more but I didn't pay that much for it.

Then you're missing the mono-synth and all the SKpro real organ content plus 300 other voices, plus the ability to sound design.

Yes, there are lots of options but then you loose a lot too.

Wait for a refurbished or sued on to come available. It will be worth it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
With the current price of the SKPro - here in the UK - I think I would spend the same money on a YC61 -- together with a P121 and a Neo Vent 2, plus a Kenton MIDI USB Host.
(to link the P121 to the YC61)

That would give me:
• 61 note waterfall keyboard for organ
• 73 note weighted keyboard for pianos - (using the great YC61 piano voices).
• A best quality rotary sim

The problem is that the Vent (or any external rotary sim) does not work well on the YC61, because there's no way to send different sounds to different outputs (no assignable outs, no fixed L/R assignment or panning that you can store either globally or within a Live Set). That creates two real limitations: (1) You can't split/layer a YC61 organ sound with any other sound and have the ability to send the organ sound through the rotary without sending your other sound through the rotary as well, and (2) you have to remember to switch the Vent "in" every time you go to an organ sound, and switch it back "out" every time you go to another sound. I used to use a setup like that, and gave up quickly after too many times of forgetting, and suddenly having my strings or brass going through a Leslie.

If you can't deal with the YC Leslie but it is still your board of choice for other reasons, I think the solution is, not a Vent, but an external organ sound source, like the B-3X app running on an iPad, or maybe the new VB3m app which runs, not only on iPad, but also iPhone/iPod Touch and even Android smartphones.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
the solution is, not a Vent, but an external organ sound source, like the B-3X app running on an iPad, or maybe the new VB3m app which runs, not only on iPad, but also iPhone/iPod Touch and even Android smartphones.


You can see the massive circular irony in there.

The disconnect being you bought an electronic "Stage Organ", and end up having to use an App.

I'm no expert on good vs bad leslie sims, but it seems like Yamaha need to take a serious look at the Leslie effect on their YC Stage keyboards.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
the solution is, not a Vent, but an external organ sound source, like the B-3X app running on an iPad, or maybe the new VB3m app which runs, not only on iPad, but also iPhone/iPod Touch and even Android smartphones.
You can see the massive circular irony in there.

The disconnect being you bought an electronic "Stage Organ", and end up having to use an App.
You left out the context of my suggestion. I said, "If you can't deal with the YC Leslie but it is still your board of choice for other reasons." I was making no assumption about how many YC owners this would apply to. I merely put it out as better than Roger's idea of putting a Vent on a YC.

BTW, Vents are used by people with Hammonds, Nords, and other stage organs. This isn't a defense of the YC, but suggesting someone use a Vent (or an app) is not an inherent indictment of the board. It's apparently a very difficult effect to get right, even if some come closer than others. (In fact, i think the new one in the OP's Hammond's Sk Pro is something like their fifth attempt.)

I'm no expert on good vs bad leslie sims
The irony is that some of this forum's loudest complainers about the rotary effect hadn't, themselves, noticed any problem. For some reason, there are people who see what others complain about and use it as an excuse to rail on Yamaha.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Another Scott...

sorry dude, I wasn't intending to be malicious about your post, it wasn't intended that way.

I don't have a dog in this fight either. But I was merely musing on the case where someone might feel compelled to use an App with their YC61 for the sake of getting a decent/integrated Hammond + Leslie sound.

Is the YC61/73/88 Leslie really that bad? I don't know.

I have heard a friend with a Roland VR09 and a real Leslie cab. The sound of the real Leslie was awesome, it made the whole room pulsate. It was quite spooky, because the sound feels like its jumping out of the walls all around you.

So I imagine creating that type of effect with some software and electronics is a tall order for anyone.

FWIW my friend hates the Leslie Sim on his VR09.

Maybe we are expecting too much of any "2 Dimensional" DSP effect when it comes to Leslies. The real Leslies just have so much presence, like an elephant in the room, that any sim is going to fall way short.

However, since the YC61 Leslie effect has drawn so much criticism, I would hope Yamaha are at least looking into it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
They are "looking at it" for a year now. Looking and looking and looking.

They are probably not able to fix it else it would have been fixed long ago.

I suspect they are testing several other versions.

I envision a mad Yamaha programmer/scientist in his cubical with a mask on trying to figure this out. Spilling his coffee and cursing etc.

A swirling bass frequency and a twirling tweeter at different rates layered on top of each other must be difficult and/or YC is DSP underpowered.

If I had to guess, the engineers are plenty smart enough but corporate is tying their hands and telling them to fix it at the same time.

I'm pulling for the engineers.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. YC Series Stage Keyboards
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I've been through the SKpro and it's many options. It's more of the pro league version of the YC unless Yamaha can make additions and improvements.

If you want the best organ that's still portable and does everything SKpro is more expensive but worth it.

I layered some voices using the mono-synth capability and it's astonishingly fun and diverse.

SKpro has a lot of dual layered single voices plus you can build your own, haven't tried that yet. Way more versatile than YC.

The organs are more and sound very realistic, the keys click almost before you touch them.

It doesn't have the real time one-to-one dashboard tweaking effect/gain knobs but it has the color display for editing.

Of course it has tons of storage to save your tweaks like you want them.

Seems like Yamaha did away with almost all the storage except enough for a performance. Not very useful for studio and design work.

SKpro kept some of the programmability and detailed design capabilities.

YC is more like changing everything on the fly thus the name "stageboard" code word for taking much of the goodies out of the machine.

Some people love that simplicity but it could have had both. Maybe I paid a net difference of $400 more for the Skpro.

So potentially $400 more into the YC could have made it totally awesome minus the weighted keybed upgrade to the 73. I do prefer this for keys.

I'd play both before deciding if you can only afford one. If organ is your main focus then SKpro is the better and if it's price with fun lights and switches then the YC.

Both sound great. If I had to sell one I'm not sure which I'd sell as I'm only a home studio enthusiast. They are probably different enough to keep both for now.

I actually paid less for my Roland Fantom than either of them BUT it was refurbished as new. If you buy new you always lose.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Between the YC and the SK Pro, how would you compare the pianos, rhodes, wurli, strings, brass?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Pianos are very subjective. I've had many Yamaha boards and they all had essentially the same regurgitated pianos.

The SKpro sounds different for a change. Different might not mean better or worse but depends on the sound you're after but I do like it. If it sucked I'd say so.

I'll have to compare the dynamics side by side and report back.

The SKpro harpsicord is phenomenal and I don't care for that but it's so good I play it now. They have a slide pedal steel guitar which blows my mind why Yamaha never does.

Solo instruments are better on the YC however the strings, again different, sound amazing on the SKpro plus you get vocals and percussion for backing.

Brass and wind solos are better on YC. BUT, big BUT, SKpro does some combination or ensemble groups and variations that are good.

The SKpro has the MK1 and II I think and different variations. They are good but not sure side by side which is better.

SKpro includes some "toy" pianos that are actually really cool.

Wurli I don't recall but I'll see what they have. YC has real FM and SKpro has some FM/EP voices. Lots of voices in the "Free Reed" category.

It was reported that Hammond upgraded their sample quality/resolution for this model.

The guitars might be comparable. SKpro has a little more variety of other voices overall and has ethnic stuff as well.

A ton of chromatic percussion on SKpro that are good.

It's difficult to describe different as a better or best classification but solo instrument are better on YC I can confirm directly.

It's also worth noting that in SKpro you can create a new voice that only occupies a single slot that can be comprised of any 4 waveforms of your choosing.

Essentially it can play 2 organs + 4 (in piano slot) + 4 (in ensemble slot) + a monosynth voice. YC can only play 2 organs + 1 + 1.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
For me, the Montage's pedal steel guitar is way (way) far off the mark of what I want for that sound - so I use a tweaked clean guitar sound instead. Still not perfect - but less ____ (pick your negative emotion/description/etc). Not surprising that anyone else can do better on that sound. I guess this is where Yamaha would say find 3rd party content that fits what I want.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Voice counts are 145 -6 (organs) = 139 non-organ waveforms on YC. Yamaha counts up to 144 but includes "0" as one of the numbers so actually 145.

SKpro has 163 non-organs waveforms. It has 8 organs vs 6 (A-100, B3,C3, Mellow, pipe, Vx, Farf, Ace) And then a million options for customization and Leslie cabinet types, mic positions etc.

Plus the onboard monosynth that catapults the SKpro to another level.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I used to have a Montage but never recall it having a pedal steel. Does it really?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Voice counts are...139 non-organ waveforms on YC..

SKpro has 163 non-organs waveforms.

Those are not comparable figures, as I'm understanding it.

SK Pro lists the component waveform sets, some of which are complete playable sounds, some of which are not (e.g. key off noises). Yamaha has some unknown number of waveforms underlying their voices... they are not listed separately, because the YC does not include the deep editing that allows you to access them directly. Though even this is a little confusing if you were to compare to other boards (like Montage) where each component waveform is listed individually. On the SK, they appear to bundle some waveforms into sets, where different velocity layers are not listed separately, as they would be in the Montage data list, even though other components, like key off, are separately listed/selectable. When I first saw the list, I wondered if maybe that was because the sounds simply didn't have multiple velocity layers, but in hearing demos, it sounds like some of them clearly do (as they similarly did in the earlier SK series, if you listen to, for example, the EPs and clavs).

So to get back to what seems like a more direct comparison to me, In terms of the non-organ directly selectable, "factory preset" playable sounds, yes, the Yamaha has 139 (created either from samples or via FM synthesis), while the Hammond appears to have 400 (300 created from samples, 100 from VA synthesis)... plus the Hammond's are more deeply editable, and there are spaces to save your own variations of these individual sounds (as if you were able to save customized Voices in their categories on the YC, which you can't). Both boards, though, do have a separate section where you can save your own recallable setups... Live Sets on the YC, Combinations (I think) on the SK. (I'm still not clear on the SK about the distinction between "combinations" and "bundles." ) This is all just from reading the manual, though. I haven't gotten my hands on an SK yet. But it does seem pretty clear that the SK has more sounds, and more ability for the user to edit those sounds.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Lots of storage on SKpro and 100 organ programs plus 100 custom as well. On YC if you create a custom organ you're forced to store it in the only location available shared by all.

It's super simplified on YC but way too limited but then you'll have to stay organized on a thumb drive which can be cumbersome.

SKpro has "Patches" then "Factory/user/bundles" then" Combinations" and finally "Favorites"

A Patch is the individual unit of a voice (The term "Voice" is used as a classification like "Piano", "Ensemble", "Strings: etc.)

A Combination is a collection of up to 4 patches and all parameters associated with that such as pedal and manual assignments, effects etc.

The Factory/User/Bundle are the methods of storage. The definition of Bundle is strange. Says it is a Collection of "combination parameters" including organ & monosynth sections grouped together for inclusion into new patches. Kind of a contradiction in terminology since patch is only a single unit. If patch is a single unit how can we create a new one?

Then the "Tip" explanation of "Bundle" gets just as confusing and says something different without the word "New Patch" included. It shows a diagram of a combination (which already might have an organ and monosynth included) plus another organ and monosynth bundled together in a package. Key word must be "Combination PARAMETERS". Claims that this reduces the number of steps in creating a combination. Previously it said "New Patch". Contradiction again so I'm not sure how to apply it.

Once you've created a custom patch then you can include it inside a combination. I don't see how organ and monosynth could be included within a "New Patch" plus combination because you can't play more than one of those at a time.

Favorites are 10x10 storage locations for stuff you like best or use the most.

What was hard to find was "Component". A Component makes up a Patch. A Patch can have up to 4 components which are waveforms. Each component can be independently adjusted. Now we're getting down to the level of synthesizer, not totally but far more than YC allows us to do. I can create a new patch with a solo violin, string section, brass instrument and percussion and use it inside of a combination as a single patch.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Favorites: 10 banks x 10 numbers (Combination), 10 numbers (Page)
Combination: Factory: 100, User: 100, Bundle: 100, Manual
Organ Patch: Factory: 100, User: 100, Bundle: 100
Piano / Ensemble Patch: Factory: 300, User: 400
Mono Synth Patch: Factory: 100, User: 100, Bundle: 100
Custom Tone Wheel: Factory: 4 x 3, User: 4 x 3
Custom Pedal Registration: Factory: 3, User: 3
Custom Pipe: Factory: 3, User: 3
Custom Cabinet: Factory: 8, User: 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The SK Pro does look cool. But I also want to offer a different perspective on your comment, "So potentially $400 more into the YC could have made it totally awesome" --

You can't really say that for $400 more (or whatever), Yamaha could have given us everything. First, companies have different talents and technologies, we don't know that Yamaha could give you everything you like about the Hammond (nor that Hammond could give you the things you prefer about the Yamaha). Second, even if a board has something at a given price, it doesn't mean another company can do the same thing for the same price. Third, even if they can do the same things and can do them at the same price, you can't expect a company to give you everything the other board does at that price and also still do all the things the board does that the other board doesn't do. That is, if you were going to add $x00 for the cost of the things the Hammond does that the Yamaha doesn't, you also need to take out (or add even more to the cost for) the things the Yamaha does that the Hammond doesn't (like the built in FM sound engine, the USB audio interface, the LED ring endless encoders, all the effects controls).

Also, Yamaha may simply want to market the board at its current price, and not at a price that's $400 (or whatever amount) higher. That helps it appeal to a different customer. After all, if someone prefers what the Hammond offers, they already have the option of paying $x00 more and getting it, And no matter what, no board is ever going to have everything someone wants. And considering that people have different preferences and need different things, it's good that there are differences in what different companies offer at their various price points.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
If I couldn't own both I'd get the SKpro. The FM on SKpro sounds not that different from YC FM.

If Yamaha makes a uncontrollable/uneditable FM engine and upcharges $400, it's really more of a waste than beneficial.

If they're only going to have 8 FM sounds or whatever the number is why not use samples of it for a fraction of the cost?

Add the savings to some other improvement. A Lamborghini with a 4 cylinder engine is just silly. FM is meant for modifications like the OPsix.

The "others" voices could have been somewhat limited but FM could have been essentially unlimited if they'd planned for it like SKpro's monosynth.

An engine that only goes 20 mph makes no practical sense. It's a selling point but then you realize the cost/benefit is nearly zero and question why?

The architecture & design, lack of useful storage and/or expansion etc. in YC is a dead end.

It's a disposable unit. It's meant to be replaced rapidly with the next stage version and likely by intention. I'm not liking that philosophy but maybe others will.

SKpro can hang around a lot longer with so much more to offer in capabilities, storage, customization, expansion, synth/controls etc.

I got into the design components and built some custom patches last night. I had some fantastic results just messing around with 4 component patches.

So easy but touch screen would have made it perfect. Still have to click buttons. Might be some shortcuts I haven't yet discovered.

They might have a editor eventually which would be fantastic.

YC is fine if you want to select 1 to 3 parts, play a tune, tweak the sound on the fly, sound good and then say goodnight.

SKpro is better if you want to do the same but more than YC, control everything like a real synth under the hood, build custom patches or combinations, save stuff all over the place, have more/better 3-part controlled organs, have a monosyth with onboard real-time controls, play 10 patches/4 engines at once sound structuring etc. It's just an outside the box thinking platform. It's a lot of different things so I'm not sure how it would be classified whether organ or synth or stage or analog but it's a cross-over into all of the above. Maybe Hammond has always been this interesting, I don't know, or they decided to go beyond the typical mark.

I'm not an organ player but building layers with organs, high quality and not just sampled organs, is a blast. I enjoyed it on YC too but this is next level to me.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
If they're only going to have 8 FM sounds or whatever the number is why not use samples of it for a fraction of the cost?

28 of its 139 non-organ sounds are FM (so about 20%). The FM engine is also entirely repsonsible for its (drawbar-editable) Vox and Farfisa organ models. So it's a very substantial part of the architecture of the board.

As for samples of, for example, an FM EP, it may sound the same, but it is very unlikley to play the same. Much like other kinds of piano/EP sounds, the way the sound can change with velocity is never quite fully captured through velocity-layered samples. (Similarly, the genuine FM electric piano sound of the CP1 would be expected to play better than the sampled FM electric piano sound of the CP5. A sampled copy is still a sampled copy, and good as it may be, will not be the same as the real thing.)

As for your comments about expansion, you may have it backwards. Hammond has said nothing about future expansions for the SK Pro, while supposedly, YC will be getting additional sound updates.

Personally, for a piano+organ focussed rig, I think a CP88 under an SK Pro looks pretty sweet.
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