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Church organist gone off the deep end -- Yamaha HX-1 in the house!

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  • Church organist gone off the deep end -- Yamaha HX-1 in the house!

    You all who've known me for five or six years recognize me as an ardent classical organ fan, mostly interested in Allen, Rodgers, the better Baldwins, etc. In other words, the digitals that do a decent job of imitating pipes. These are the organs I work on every day and play on Sunday and really enjoy getting to play a good one.

    Now I've gone off the deep end, even for me. Last weekend my wife helped me move a Yamaha HX-1 to the house. (Google it to see pics and read the fan pages.) I've been trying to resuscitate an old Galanti Praeludium II that's sitting in the shop, but when my latest work on it produced more problems, I threw up my hands and looked around the shop for anything that I could bring home to practice on!

    Would have been good to bring home that Galanti because it happens to be identical to the one I play at church. But I'm hoping the day will come when I can upgrade the church's organ anyway, and then I'd be stuck with the Galanti in the house. So I guess this new monstrosity will do as well as anything right now. It's also quite compact. Has two 61-key manuals and 25 pedals, but is about 6" narrower and takes almost a foot less space front to back than the smallest AGO consoles. It has a complete MIDI implementation, so maybe I'll eventually convert it to Hauptwerk or j-Organ or something.

    Obviously, this thing is a wholly different animal for me. A "combo" organ or perhaps an early "synth" or something. No stops as we know them, just a control panel that might have come out of a jumbo jet. Best I can tell, there are several independent sound engines. One is what they call "AWM," which generates a handful of quite realistic digital sounds (including one labeled "pipe organ"), then there are the FM generators (Yamaha's proprietary tone generation system that creates decent but not truly realistic orchestral tones) and a Hammond-like section that mixes sine waves at numerous footages to create organish tones including numerous "church organ," "theatre organ," and "jazz organ" settings along with 16 user-adjustable mixes.

    It's apparently quite difficult to make registration changes on the fly, but it has 16 changeable pistons so that one can laboriously set up a series of tonal schemes that roughly mimic organ registrations. I say laboriously because to set up one piston you have to go through numerous menus to specify which tones from each of the generators you want to mix into the particular patch for each manual and pedal division. Each tone you add to the mix is adjustable for brilliance and volume, so it's possible to create almost unlimited shades of tone. In addition, the tones can be processed through a celeste or symphonic pitch-shifter or through a Leslie-like chorus/tremolo generator.

    Fortunately, there are tons of pre-made presets that can be loaded in on floppy disks. Apparently Hector Olivera was working with Yamaha back in the late 80's when this organ was created, and created a set of 16 "classical organ" presets that I have loaded and can choose among to get some semblance of real organ sound for practicing my hymns and service music.

    Of course, I had to sacrifice the AGO pedals, and I'm not happy about that. I've worked on getting the bench at the right height so that the pedalboard feels more "normal" but I think I will always wish for a real pedalboard. So far it doesn't seem to mess me up having to practice on this thing and then play services on the Galanti.

    Just goes to show to what lengths a guy may go to have a practice organ in the house!
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  • #2
    Is that one of the ones with MIDI? Possible jOrgan project?

    mike
    If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

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    • #3
      Heretic!

      --- Tom
      Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107

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      • #4
        Yes, nice MIDI setup. Upper on ch 1, lower on ch 2, pedals on ch 3. So I could go right out of it into a computer and do j-Organ or Hauptwerk or whatever. It's also occurred to me that I have that Content box with a barebones but usable 2m spec that I could attach it to. Too early to tell what I'll do with it.

        Had a little fun with it tonight trying to create my own classical "presets" like Hector did. I found that blending a standard Hammond combination (strong on the 8' 4' and 2' with a sprinkling of odd harmonics and 1') with the sampled "Pipe Organ" AWM tone produced a rather decent tutti. I ran the Hammond combination through the Leslie simulator on "chorus" and ran the Pipe Organ voice through the Celeste generator. All this mixing and swirling around created a plausible big pipe organ sound effect. I also dosed it with a goodly amount of reverb and a bit of sustain.

        On the upper keyboard I programmed a big Brass sound from the orchestral set. No celeste or chorus on it, just sustain and reverb. It passes for a Festival Trumpet to play against the tutti. And the pedal has its own "Pipe Bass" sample which I mixed with a dose of "Contrebass" for a rich undergirding.

        Altogether it sounds at least as interesting as a lot of the church organs we service, and is actually somewhat beguiling with all that swirling and chorusing going on.

        I made four presets out of that combination just by tinkering with the relative volumes of the samples, giving me four levels of loudness and brilliance at the touch of a piston.

        Next project will be to come up with some flutey registrations, some celestes, some solo combinations using orchestral reeds and percussions. Who knows, I may start to like this contraption!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
          Now I've gone off the deep end, even for me. Last weekend my wife helped me move a Yamaha HX-1 to the house. (Google it to see pics and read the fan pages.)
          You HEATHEN!!! How could you?! And I used to think so highly of you. What is this world coming to?

          JK, of course.

          Michael

          P.S. I've even been known to "touch" a Hammond from time to time, so I guess I can forgive you--this time.
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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          • #6
            Thanks, Michael! If I could play worth a hoot I'd post some recordings. This thing doesn't sound half bad, it just doesn't sound much like a real organ.

            I'm sorry, though, a Hammond is just beneath my dignity.... (just kidding too)
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


            • #7
              I donated an FX500 I decided not to refurbish after the 2004 hurricanes (minor water damage to the cabinet) to a small mission church (storefront) and am currently playing it on Sunday evenings when the regular organist can't make the 35 mile drive in the dark because of her age. She requested a classical reed type setting and I thought I had found one but she just wasn't happy with it. I have one piston set for myself on an almost theatrical setting as I play only for congregational singing. Some of those synthy sounds in the reed family, especially cosmic, are a total waste to churches I admit. You're a brave soul to practice classical music on a Yamaha! Speaking of Hector, if members haven't seen his new You Tube video of the C200 single keyboard organ please do. I'm sure it is the wave of the future in small churches.

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              • #8
                I run the gamut on different style organs....albeit all analogs. I'm really enjoying classical right now but from time to time I jump on one of the theaters and when I'm really Pentecostal I jump on the Hammond!. I just wish I could find a instructor in my area that can teach me some proper 2 foot pedal technics
                Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

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                • #9
                  Look for John Stainer's pedal course. I believe I got mine through Lorenz music. Didn't keep up with it after I traded my Allen 120 for the Technics GA3 but need to go through it again now that I have 3 AGO units including another Allen (R100C) that is very close to the 120. As you are probably aware the main part of training is working the foot to locate the gaps in the black keys and then relating the note to be played with its position relative to the gap. It is supposed to be much easier than conditioning the foot to automatically make the full move. My trouble is can't think about the music I'm playing and move the second foot to the gap at the same time. I don't have to do very much fancy footwork since my early training was on a spinet and I'm doing mainly hymns. Have some nice arrangements put away from a time two decades ago when I had more time to practice and I was growing musically. Moved on in my career and social life and let my practice slide to where I spent most of my time on the organ just going over my old favorites for sheer enjoyment.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for that info. I'll look that up. After watching countless Youtube videos of people using 2 foot pedaling...it looks so smooth but when I try it it gets me tangled up...LOL I don't know where the left foot is suppose to end and the right foot begin and vicsa versa. I just want to make sure I learn the "correct" way. When it comes to Hammond Jazz, Blues Gospel I have my right foot down to a tee....better then some bass guitarist but it sounds aweful on my Conn 905 which has a built in delay in note actuating. Really there are a lot of things I would like to learn correctly on the classical organ. I have to say that it is a whole different beast then just a "standard" organ!!
                    Originally posted by OrgansR4Me View Post
                    Look for John Stainer's pedal course. I believe I got mine through Lorenz music. Didn't keep up with it after I traded my Allen 120 for the Technics GA3 but need to go through it again now that I have 3 AGO units including another Allen (R100C) that is very close to the 120. As you are probably aware the main part of training is working the foot to locate the gaps in the black keys and then relating the note to be played with its position relative to the gap. It is supposed to be much easier than conditioning the foot to automatically make the full move. My trouble is can't think about the music I'm playing and move the second foot to the gap at the same time. I don't have to do very much fancy footwork since my early training was on a spinet and I'm doing mainly hymns. Have some nice arrangements put away from a time two decades ago when I had more time to practice and I was growing musically. Moved on in my career and social life and let my practice slide to where I spent most of my time on the organ just going over my old favorites for sheer enjoyment.
                    Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OrgansR4Me View Post
                      Look for John Stainer's pedal course.
                      This isn't the pedal course, but it is a free download: http://archive.org/search.php?query=Organ%20Stainer

                      Michael
                      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                      Comment

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