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Allen Organs--general chat

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  • Moller4/79
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    I had the recent experience of playing a pipe organ with an Allen console, and that console was simply amazing to say the least. The drawknobs had a very nice feel as well as the keyboards. Overall, a very successful blend of pipe and digital

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  • odellorgans
    replied

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  • clumber
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    >> The assertion that a console produced by any of the electronic builders is the equal of a pipe organ
    >> console - this is simply not true.
    Any electronic builder's console sold as a replacement for a pipe
    >> organ
    console is really just an upgrade path to an eventual all-electronic
    organ.

    Okay, I'll bite... what makes them unequal? I guess I'd buy the statement if you had said some or most, but "any" is a pretty big claim. I've seen cheap consoles and well built consoles on digital instruments. I dare say the Phoenix consoles are every bit as well built as a pipe organ console.

    >> Did you ever stop to consider that the business model of the electronic
    organ builder depends
    >> on the fact their product will need to replaced
    after a few decades?

    Whereas the business model of the pipe organ builder depends on, what, finding new congregations with large sums of cash who can afford to spend a lot on their music programs? What happens when those run out?

    >> The reality of the modern electronic organ-buying market is a very,
    very tough place to do business.
    >> Likewise for pipe organs; the
    definition of the pipe organ as a luxury item becomes truer by the
    >> day. Modern builders have take this into account.

    How so?

    Andy

    Leave a comment:


  • odellorgans
    replied
    not true. Any electronic builder's console sold as a replacement for a pipe organ console is really just an upgrade path to an eventual all-electronic organ.

    You can of course insist on having your electronic organ console trimmed out with better keyboards and hardware, but by the time you do so you often meet or exceed the price of a real pipe organ console. I would concede, however, thant some electronic buiders consoles might be preferable to a supply house console, some of which are indeed very poor quality.

    I have often made the following point to churches considering an electronic replacement for their ailing pipe organ:

    Did you ever stop to consider that the business model of the electronic organ builder depends on the fact their product will need to replaced after a few decades?

    Wicks recent foray into all electronic organs, while viewed as controversial by some, is actually just a reapplication of the long standing Wicks business strategy to sell a good quality product at the bottom end of the market. I say let them go for it, though buyers should know the entry level units actually use Viscount components. This is by no means a secret and the Wicks dealers acknowledge this. The more expensive models do have Walker components.

    The reality of the modern electronic organ-buying market is a very, very tough place to do business. Likewise for pipe organs; the definition of the pipe organ as a luxury item becomes truer by the day. Modern builders have take this into account.

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  • anthonypaul2
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat



    Hello everyone!</P>


    Allen...Well, I dont have much experience with it... I have played them a few times , mostly at weddings that i have done. 2 of them were digitals from the mid 80's and the last one I played was a new installment (2005) They all sounded like pipe organs to me... I have never played a rodgers. NO opinion there. I have never really been interested in them (Allen) because my type/style of playing (in or out of church) Allen doesn't have the sound I seek.. I like that electronic organ sound, with Rotary speakers... One thing that always seemed interesting was those "gyrophonic" speakers Allen had..Do they still make those...Did they really sound like Leslies? Does Allen currently make a Theatre or gospel type of organ? But I do think Allen makes a good pipe-alternative....I know that they are expensive, but what digital organ isn't these days?</P>


    from</P>


    Anthony , in Hayward, CA</P>

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  • clumber
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    >> the organist gets fired and replaced by MIDI files

    Interesting issues...

    Who "owns" a performance of a piece? Is it the organist or the church? Can the church record a performance without the organist's consent? Does a church owe an organist for later replay of a piece? Could an organist make a nice living from selling MIDI performances? Should the church pay per play or can it buy a piece? You don't need to go to Hauptwerk for this stuff, it's all a part of MIDI now... Obviously there's no synergy between the choir and the organ, the choir follows the organ or else!

    Any lawyers out there who can shed light on this? The technology has been there for years.

    A-

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat


    Here's a scenario:

    Someone decided to test this wireless MIDI out. They press a button on their laptop while sitting somewhere in pew 14. Suddenly the console (that has been thoughtfully rigged up to play from Hauptwerk) starts to roar out. "Wow, thats very neat, I never knew our little 10-year-old organ could sound like that", they all exclaim.

    A few nights go by, and they get to thinking... "Gee I wonder how much a system like that could cost to integrate into our church"

    So you tell them, and they are astonished that they can have a player organ for so little.

    Long story short, the organist gets fired and replaced by MIDI files, and the console gets sold because the whole shebang can be operated within a single little computer.


    Granted, this is an extreme case, but how can you compete with long-term savings?



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  • clumber
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    >> I like the idea myself as then you'd be able to control the organ via a laptop anywhere in the
    >> church to test registrations, and to be able to operate the organ without having to be anywhere
    >> near the console.

    Bluetooth has a limit of 10 meters, so "anywhere in the church" means you have a smallish church.
    People report up to 50 feet for high quality MIDI cables, but you could also just use a program like VNC on one computer to control the computer attached to the console through MIDI. That of course assumes you have a network in your church to which both computers attach. I don't see Bluetooth as an advantage because of the distance limit. If the Hauptwek direction continues, perhaps the line between "the organ" and "the computer" will blur to the extent that your connection choices will be whatever you want. You could change your instrument every week to some new sample set. That'd keep the congregation on their toes!

    A-

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  • NYCFarmboy
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    I do understand why Allen is not on the bleeding edge of the latest technologies...

    The way computers interact with devices is in such a constant state of change.....although it seems that Allen hung onto the old 1980's floppy disks too long (still selling equiptment with them in 2003 at least.

    And if they are still selling only organs that connect with serial ports... YIKES.

    USB1 is pretty much toast. USB2 is the flavour of the last few years although fortunately the old USB1 stuff still works wtih USB2 (just much slower transfers)

    Firewire is fantastic, but seems to be a Mac only standard pretty much.

    Bluetooth seems to be the way of the future in terms of just having wireless connections instead of having to have any physical hardware connection between the devices.

    Is Bluetooth well enough developed to incorporate it into organs without it being replaced with something else in 5 years?

    It seems to me whoever gets bluetooth going first will have a competitive edge.

    I like the idea myself as then you'd be able to control the organ via a laptop anywhere in the church to test registrations, and to be able to operate the organ without having to be anywhere near the console.


    .......

    A local church just got a brand new Allen....being delivered this week or next..... I very much look forward to giving it a whirl and to see what type of plastic is used on the keyboards!

    Leave a comment:


  • clumber
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    >> That is a issue with Allen, i.e. the technology being so dated. The MIDI on our church's 2 year
    >> old Rennaisance Allen uses the old IBM style large flexible floppy disks that have not been
    >> used in modern computers in like a decade...

    >> what is up with that?

    A Laptop, a USB-MIDI connector, and OrganAssist (free software) and you can toss that 5 1/4" floppy in the dump where it belongs... And get a Phoenix and the Allen can follow that floppy!

    Just my biased opinion, of course!!!

    Andy

    Leave a comment:


  • NYCFarmboy
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    they still make laptops with serial ports?

    That is a issue with Allen, i.e. the technology being so dated. The MIDI on our church's 2 year old Rennaisance Allen uses the old IBM style large flexible floppy disks that have not been used in modern computers in like a decade...

    what is up with that?



    Leave a comment:


  • Bombarde32
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    Sorry ... didn't think about the USB2/Firewire side of it.

    Yes, he was using the serial port on his laptop to connect into the organ. He said that's all Allen's software would allow.

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  • fuguebwv582
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    Actually, serial connections don't have to be slow. Of course, if you're talking the PC serial ports--they are slow. But USB2 and FireWire are serial as well as the relatively new SATA hard drives. They are fast and work well. I am surprised that Allen (or anyone) is still using serial ports. That's so early 1980s!

    Leave a comment:


  • Bombarde32
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    The problem with Allen is the price and sound quality. As mentioned countless times in this thread, the price is outrageous. Especially compared to Rodgers and Phoenix (another popular alternative discussed in various threads). We were looking at a 3 manual, 45-50 stop organ for our church. The prices rang up at 60, 72 and 80. Allen was the 80 and that was without the full speaker complement. The full sound system brought the total up to 90 (including the rear reverb system).

    On sound quality. Well, that's a personal preference. I prefer Allen and every time I see the name Rodgers I cringe knowing what it will sound like. Others feel exactly the opposite.

    Oh ... one more thing. For as advanced as Allen's technology is ... I found it amazing that our dealer trumpeted a new record/playback/midi system to replace their floppy based one. Um ... I may be mistaken but didn't floppies go out awhile ago? And to have the organ voiced was outrageous. You had to use a serial connection to hook the laptop up to voice the instrument, load in samples, et cetera. Seriously ... spring for a parallel connection. The serial connection is so slow that on the large instruments the voicer will hook it up, start the transfer for one of the manuals and come back in an hour and a half. Of course, he's on the clock the whole time.

    Oh yes, the keys. Don't use Allen as the poster boy for bad standard keys. You want bad standard keys ... go play a Johannus.

    Now that my little rant is over .... I love Allen. I prefer Phoenix.

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  • Moller4/79
    replied
    Re: Allen Organs--general chat

    I recently heard a recording of the large custom 1989 Allen at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, and it was the most realistic sound I have ever heard. If that was 1989 era technology, Allens have vastly improved their already great sound, IMHO.

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