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Thread: What Do I Need To Set Up a VPO?

  1. #1

    What Do I Need To Set Up a VPO?

    This is my very first post to this board so please allow me to explain what I want and ask your input as to what I need to buy. First of all, I've had it up to here with buying used organs to use as a practice organ at home. Most were older organs that were obviously on their last leg to begin with when I was foolish enough to buy them and pay to have them moved to my home. The most recent organ ( a Hammond Commodore) is living in its' last days and I have decided it's time to get with the times and move into the world of the virtual organ.

    For the past several months, I have been reading all I can find about the virtual organ and how it works, etc So far, it's so technical I know less now than when I first started. Since I am limited in both my knowledge about the VO and a virtually non-existent budget, I am on this site hoping somebody will give me some easy-to-understand ideas about exactly what I need and want, along with what each piece of equipment might cost.

    First of all, let me say that I need only a very simple organ set up. I need but one keyboard, no toe pistons, or any of the 'more technical' aspects of an organ but I do want a 32-note AGO pedal board.

    Will someone tell me exactly what I need to buy, and from whome I should buy it, and to whom I can turn for putting it together and making it work. I know enough about computers to do the usual things, but from what I've read so far, it seems that in order to get a VO up and running, a person must have an in-depth knowledge of computers. I have simply been blown away by the sound of some of the virtual organs. I am by far the least professional person on the planet when it comes to playing the organ, but the sound of the virtual organ far, far surpasses any electronic organ on the market today. I live for the day when I can own my own little VO and practice, practice, practice.

  2. #2
    pp Pianissimo voet's Avatar
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    Watertownorganguy,

    One option that looks interesting to me is the virtual system from Mlnark. Here is a link to their site: http://www.smartorgan.eu/index-en.html They have sample recordings that sound really good. They also seem to have a modular approach that should enable you to have a one manual and pedal setup. While I do not know their prices, they claim to be "affordable." There are two one manual and pedal options in their offerings, one romantic and the other German baroque .

    There are many knowledgeable people on this forum who could advise better than I can about the specifics of setting this up. It also sounds like Mlnark will work with private individuals who want to "grow their own."

    Good luck to you.

    Bill

  3. #3
    p Piano samibe's Avatar
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    Watertownorganguy,
    What are your minimum requirements (#manuals, pedals, expression shoes, touch screens or moving stops or mouse, etc.)?
    What would you like to have (moving drawknobs or SAMs, several manuals, a crescendo pedal, etc.)?
    What is your budget?
    Where are you located?
    What equipment do you already have (computers, speakers, amplifiers, existing console, etc.)?
    What is your technical level (can you build the components or will you need to buy a console to midify, can you handle a soldering iron, etc.)?

    I don't blame you for getting lost in the VPO world. There are so many different options and possibilities that it get complicated really fast. Answering the above questions should help narrow things down.

    There are a handful of popular routes through VPO land.
    1. Buy a purpose-built VPO console ($5,000 to $20,000+)
    2. Acquire a fully midi capable AGO spec console and set it up to use the VPO ($400 to $10,000)
    3. Aquire and midify a non-midi console then set that up to run the VPO ($400 to $10,000)
    4. Build a VPO console from scratch ($200 to $10,000)
    5. Put together a console using MIDI capable parts ($200 to $10,000)
    Last edited by samibe; 04-13-2018 at 10:17 PM.
    Sam

    Home: Yamaha P22 and a modified Allen ADC-4500 ... for now.
    Church: Allen MDS-5

  4. #4
    p Piano Horseshoe_or's Avatar
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    Perhaps the least expensive way to go is to pick up an Allen MOS1 or MOS2 instrument. Add midi from Zuma or Harrison Labs. Then download Hauptwerk on to a laptop. The free version of Hauptwerk comes with only one classical organ and unfortunately, it is out of tune. You can find relatively inexpensive virtual organs to download on the Web. You may also find some Rodgers analog instruments that have midi and there are early Viscount, Johannus, and Baldwin digitals that you can buy rather inexpensively. In any of these cases, you can run the audio through the organ. Best of luck.

    PS. I have an AG3200 (three manual digital) that I am no longer using that I am asking $9000 for.

  5. #5

    In it's simplest form you need a keyboard that puts out a midi signal, a pedal board that puts out a midi signal. A sound card that has aiso capability (I bought one used on eBay for $70), some organ software (grande organ is free), and a couple pair of speakers to play it through.

    The midi keyboards is easy -- most modern keyboards output midi. There tricky bit is the pedalboard. They're either expensive or you will have to diy that one. There are several folks on the internet net that have done that.

    Otherwise you could take one of your old organs and convert it over step by step. I'm not an electronic genius but I managed to work my way through most of a conversion with just the pedals left to complete. Currently it's waiting on some other stuff, not that I expect it to be too difficult.

    Pick your poison -- there is plenty of help her. The cheapest is to get a keyboard with a midi out and then add the pedals later.

  6. #6

    I would also note that most modern keyboards also have a midi in as well. You may be able to put your pedalboard out into your keyboard in and then the keyboard out to the computer whereby both signals can come 'from' the keyboard. If that works, which it should, it would be about the cheapest easiest way to get to where it sounds like you are wanting to go.

  7. #7
    f Forte rjsilva's Avatar
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    Do you have any friends/family who are saavy on a computer? It’s actually pretty straightforward for someone who is computer competent.

    I’d suggest you look for a MIDI enabled organ console and then ask or hire someone to help you choose a computer and set it the VPO for you. Probably your cheapest and easiest route.

    If you have the money for a newer digital organ (relatively), such as horseshoe’s AG3200, I think you’d find that they sound pretty great. Comparable to or better than a VPO.

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by rjsilva View Post
    Do you have any friends/family who are saavy on a computer? It’s actually pretty straightforward for someone who is computer competent.

    I’d suggest you look for a MIDI enabled organ console and then ask or hire someone to help you choose a computer and set it the VPO for you. Probably your cheapest and easiest route.

    If you have the money for a newer digital organ (relatively), such as horseshoe’s AG3200, I think you’d find that they sound pretty great. Comparable to or better than a VPO.
    What do you think one of those AG3200 organs goes for? My guess is very few folk could afford to put that in their house to practice on!

  9. #9
    f Forte rjsilva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyrayandersen View Post
    What do you think one of those AG3200 organs goes for? My guess is very few folk could afford to put that in their house to practice on!
    He said $9000

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