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There goes my home organ, AGAIN! (Rodgers Allegiant 677 going away)

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  • There goes my home organ, AGAIN! (Rodgers Allegiant 677 going away)

    It was inevitable of course. I'm in the organ RE-selling business, so every organ I have is ultimately FOR SALE. Fortunately, I had been loving on and playing with this Rodgers A677 for a few months now, and have become intimately familiar with it. The setup options are tremendous -- stop by stop and note by note control of volume, tone, tuning, ability to move individual stops around to different audio channels, overall tonal balancing controls, expression curves, acoustic enhancement. I could go on and on. Rodgers/Roland put together a pretty nice little organ, and I've enjoyed it.

    Yes, I complained at first. It seemed to be less organ than the marvelous Allen R-230 that it replaced. And I never warmed up to certain features, such as the Voice Palette system. But it turned out to be quite a decent organ for me. It sounds wonderful in headphones, for one thing, which I couldn't say for many other organs I've owned. The keyboards have a nice feel and touch. Everything about it is of high quality inside and out. After all the time I spent getting it voiced and tuned and set up with my speakers, I'm a little sad to see it go. But as with the other organs, I've had an offer I can't refuse!

    So it will go to a new home in a lovely church where it will be played by a masterful young organist, used for several services every week, appreciated by an excellent choir and music lovers in the church. I'll be moving it next week, then I'll have to figure out what to do for a new home organ.

    The Rodgers was at least the thirteenth home practice organ I've had in the 27 years or so that I've been playing regularly in church. I used all kinds of setups in a variety of brands -- Hammond, Baldwin, Rodgers, Allen, Viscount, Conn, Yamaha, Casio. From spinets to stacks of keyboards to massive 3m AGO church models. Some quite interesting, others just so-so.

    No real idea what I'll bring home next. We've suddenly gotten lucky and sold off several of our best organs in the past few months. There are a couple of MOS organs in the shop that I could bring home, one Rodgers Cheetah with pink glue oozing out the keys and would need a very extensive renovation, one Allen MADC (520) with barebones features, a huge Johannus 3m Rembrandt that is just too overwhelming. Most interesting is the Viscount G404, but the main board was sent off to Italy several weeks ago and I have no idea when/if it will ever come back to me.

    This could be my chance to make the leap to a VPO, and I'll surely consider that. If an Allen MDS or Renaissance should pop up for not much money I'd be all over that of course. Or Viscount may surprise me and get that board back to me soon. I never even heard that G404 play, it was dead when I took it in. But the specs and feature set are intriguing. It was built in about 2000, and should have a rather good digital reverb built in, should sound good in headphones. The C-C# split on most voices ought to make for an interesting effect as well, especially once I add the four external audio channels.

    But we'll see what turns up. I'll certainly post about it, as you all know I never keep anything to myself!
    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
    Well John....you could always go up to your Aunt's house and bring home one of those old pump organs....she has dozens of them, as I recall your writing about. Ha ha. Just kidding..

    Comment


    • jbird604
      jbird604 commented
      Editing a comment
      True. I haven't been as close to Aunt Minnie and all her family since I moved an hour away from them, but I would imagine that my cousin Tay still has that houseful of old organs all wired together into one massive instrument. The only thing I know about Minnie and Yvonna and the folks at Twin Creeks Church is that there was an attempted takeover of the church by some folks who moved into the community from California or somewhere, who wanted to kick Aunt Minnie off the piano bench and move out the big Allen organ to make room for a drummer's cage. Needless to say, there was quick action by the church elders and no changes in the song service ever took place. The newcomers quickly moved their membership to one of the churches in town where the inside of the church is already painted black.

    • Jay999
      Jay999 commented
      Editing a comment
      Ha ha....I love it. In your upcoming search for a new house organ, have you ever though about going backwards to one of those charming sounding old analog organs....say, perhaps, an old Magnus chord organ? To make it an authentic organ, you do have to oil it every now and than, just like a Hammond. And it has a reed stop on it, and an authentic blower sound, too.

    • jbird604
      jbird604 commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm not interested in getting THAT authentic!

  • #3
    There's no reason not to start assembling the elements of a VPO now. I'm guessing that any organ you are interested in will already have MIDI. There's no reason that the VPO and digital organ have to mutually exclusive.

    Comment


    • jbird604
      jbird604 commented
      Editing a comment
      The ideal VPO, in my mind, would be a barebones keyboard stack sitting on a plain shelf with a touch screen monitor beside it, a midi-fied AGO pedalboard on the floor. The kind of setup that some of the Contrebombarde guys have, with no extraneous stuff, no hardware stop tabs or such. Such a setup could be easily moved around, wouldn't require me to hire a moving company for it, and wouldn't depend on finding just the right old console.

      That's just the picture I have in my head. And partly because I have so very little room in my house for my organ. The organ has to sit in a small nook where a compact AGO console just fits, so there's no room for it to be surrounded with computer screens and such unless they are mounted right on it.

      My small space makes me wish I had the cash to simply order one from a company like Mixtuur of The Netherlands, with everything neatly contained. But in my state of semi-retirement (especially as I've watched my retirement savings vanish into thin air with the stock market crash), I can't justify spending five figures.

      Perhaps the best compromise is the Viscount G404, but who knows what is going on over in Italy... If/when that board comes back, I'll have a perfectly decent and fairly modern hardware organ that could become the basis for a future VPO. It even has a compact console, about as compact as a true AGO 3m can be made, and the sloping stop jambs would be perfect for replacing with touch screens in a future VPO system.

    • tbeck
      tbeck commented
      Editing a comment
      It is possible to run a "headless" VPO. That is, just a computer without a monitor. The are several very small footprint PCs available which could run HW or GO. Of course you will need a monitor to set up the software and configure your console. You can control all aspects of the sample set using stop controls, combinations, sequencers, etc. Of course the limitation is that you probably won't have a direct match between the disposition of your organ and the sample set you are using.

      I wouldn't find this to be a huge problem. It is similar to using a different voice palette on modern digital organs where the name on the stop tab isn't exactly the same as the voice being used. But, really, if you are using a French sample set and you draw the principal 8' (or diapason, or prestant or what have you) you know you are drawing the montre 8' of the sample set.

  • #4
    Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
    Most interesting is the Viscount G404, but the main board was sent off to Italy several weeks ago and I have no idea when/if it will ever come back to me.
    Typically in Viscount Italy they are very fast in repairs. Unfortunately Italy for about a month has had a national emergency linked to Covid-19, so all companies and commercial structures have been closed from weeks. Citizens must also observe the mandatory quarantine to avoid the spread of the virus.
    When the emergency is over they will return the card (repaired, if possible).

    Comment


    • #5
      In my own VPO set up, I have 60 pistons spread over three manuals and pedals, plus the monitor, to set new combinations all the time, as well as adding or deleting a stop not quite right for a particular piece I'm playing. I find this works well, having the monitor there. Even sixty combinations does not always "fit" what I'm working on. The big wake up call for me has been the amplifier and speaker system. In a multi-channel set up, the "good - better - best" audio results can get expensive.

      Comment


      • #6
        John,

        Is it time for an ADC-8350 drawknob in your home? Maybe even an ADC-9300?

        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        This could be my chance to make the leap to a VPO, and I'll surely consider that.
        You're right, John. It's time to get something no one else would ever want. You're on the right track!

        If you get a keyboard stack, why not go for 4 manuals?!!! Might as well do it right.

        I'm sure you'll let us know when you find another project organ to bring into your home. Your poor wife!

        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


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yep. My wife has already passed the eye-rolling stage when I trade organs. She just stands back and watches.

        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Haven't you noticed the look of glee when the organ leaves?

          Michael

        • AllenAnalog
          AllenAnalog commented
          Editing a comment
          Unsolicited advice #56: Bring home the smallest AGO pedalboard organ with working MIDI in your shop, grab a decent used PC or laptop, stereo amp and speakers, Hauptwerk 4 (which I think you already have) and a free sample set and use that until the console of your dreams shows up. You may never go back.

      • #7
        I'm thinking about that very thing, Larry. I have a couple of surplus AGO pedalboards in the shop, and a very nice two-manual key stack that I salvaged from a 1980's Baldwin organ. These have a good feel and a single contact per key, thus easy to MIDI up. And there are two or three surplus MIDI kits on the shelf. Most likely I could have pedals and keys done in a day or two -- especially if I have to cancel all service calls the next few weeks due to the you-know-what.

        For tone generation, I have my old Content 220 module (very dated sound, but a decent stop list), I have one Ahlborn module, but it's more of a "supplement" than a useful set of stops. Also a Walker system that I have no idea how to use, and an Artisan module that I could figure out with a bit of study. Not to mention some residual knowledge of jOrgan from the days I was involved in that, and I do have the free version of Hauptwerk 4.0 and a few free sample sets to tinker with.

        I could do it, and perhaps that would be a great way to pass the time until things get back to normal. And the good thing is that I wouldn't have to hire a moving truck to bring the pieces home. Well, maybe it's time, but I'm still stuck, looking at the startup effort required and the learning curve on all the VPO systems.
        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


        • AllenAnalog
          AllenAnalog commented
          Editing a comment
          If ever there were an ideal time to try this, the next two weeks seem like a great candidate.

          It took me all of 2 hours to set up that Britson/Johannus with Hauptwerk 4 and the free St. Anne Mosely sample set that came with it, and that's including the wiring of the stereo amp and two speakers. Once I had that done I knew everything else would be just enhancements to a working system.

      • #8
        Man, this impending virus lock-down is making everything look harder. With more bad news every day, I'm thinking I may in fact be stuck at home with nowhere to go before long, and I sure want to have a working organ when that happens! Also, the local mover I've called on for years suddenly had a heart attack and sold the business, and now I'm dependent on a new mover, more like a chain operation, who not only charges more, but has to be scheduled far in advance.

        As I ponder the VPO route, I see how valuable an old console is, with everything lined up just right and held in place with hardware. When I was younger and had more patience, I might have sought out the plans and built a simple, sturdy rack or shelf system to hold my keys and pedals, but nowadays that sounds daunting. I've been pondering which ready-made organ at the shop might be suitable for a transitional instrument.

        Seriously considering bringing home the oldest and simplest MOS organ in the shop -- a little basic 100 series with no card reader, only three pistons, no folding lid or roll top, barebones for sure, but possibly lightweight enough for me to shove into the van and bring home myself. That minimalist "spaceship" console is about as compact as an AGO console can be, which is a good thing in my limited space. Barebones sound too, but eventually I could use it as the basis of a VPO, and I would have those wonderful Allen keys and pedals to play on.

        No MIDI on it, of course, but the Harrison Labs adapter is cheap and wires directly to the Stopboard Array, providing note-on/off data for all three divisions without disabling the native tone generation. I'm not concerned with MIDI expression or even stop or piston data at this point, as a touch screen will most likely be my interface.

        Of course the best thing that could happen would be for the Viscount G404's board to come back from Italy and I could bring that one home. It's actually slightly more compact than even the Allen 100, and of course it surely sounds better. But then... the keys and pedals are not nearly as nice as the Allen... Those Baldwin keyboards I saved and the Rodgers pedalboard, those are quite nice too, but then there would be the tedious hand-wiring of a MIDI system...

        Anyway, the wheels are turning. Unless the virus derails us completely, the Rodgers is going out Thursday, and next week I'll have plenty of time to start on my new organ, whatever it may be.
        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


        • #9
          I spent a few minutes today playing around on that little baby MOS organ. Sure, it sounds pretty thin, but maybe I could tolerate it for a while if I ran it through that Lexicon reverb I bought a couple years ago and never used.

          Would you believe though that the Viscount is fully FIVE INCHES shallower at the arms than this little MOS? Yep, the Viscount is just 27" deep, while the MOS is 31-1/2" at the arms. The extra space in my tiny nook would be appreciated, but there are many advantages to having those marvelous Allen keys and pedals. Even though it's pushing 50 years old, it still feels nice to the fingers and feet.

          On the plus side, the MOS has quite a bit of room inside to accommodate more stuff when/if I should do a MIDI conversion with it. The console is even big enough to serve as a decent subwoofer enclosure, potentially saving me a lot of space in the nook.
          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


          • AllenAnalog
            AllenAnalog commented
            Editing a comment
            The Nanoverb made a world of difference with my MOS-1 423-C. The Lexicon should sound even better. And you are right about the feel of the Allen keys and pedalboard (not that I'm trying to push you or anything.) Put Stan's (Harrison Labs) MIDI adapter on it and I'll bet you can sell the package of the organ/Lexicon/MIDI for a nice profit and then bring the Viscount home after that!

          • Larrytow
            Larrytow commented
            Editing a comment
            Here is another attestation to the quality of Allen pedalboards : I just got done with a job where I retrofitted an Allen TC series pedalboard onto a 100 year old pipe organ console. When discussing the job with the church, I told them that Allen was that only manufacturer that I would consider for the AGO replacement board. Now the 100 year old organ has an AGO sized 50+ years old ( kinda brand new in this instance ) board on it, and it plays as nice as can be.

        • #10
          On the PCorgan forum is a guy who has placed a mini-PC IN his organ console (Ahlborn) and a simple screen mounted on that console. Requires very little room. See http://www.pcorgel.nl/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3897.
          If you are interested and have trouble with the Google-translation of the Dutch text, I can translate it for you.
          If you wanna see the pictures, I'm sorry to say they are only visible when logged in. I think it is not allowed to copy and publish them here, but I can send you a copy of the pictures by PM, if you want to see them.

          Comment


          • jbird604
            jbird604 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the offer, Dutchy. If I get ready to go that far I may want to see those pics.

        • #11
          We got the Rodgers installed into its new home today, and it was indeed lovely. They have a very talented young organist whose playing would make even a poor organ shine, and he was bringing forth music from this organ that I can only dream of. And the church's amazing cantor was there as well, the two of them giving us a sampling of the music they use in worship. I was like a proud papa! And now I must get an organ into the nook before I lose too much of my finger tone.

          I called the moving company today and scheduled them for next Wednesday morning. Unless by some miracle the board for the Viscount G404 returns from Italy, I'll be bringing home that old MOS organ to play with for a while. Need to spend some time on Monday/Tuesday cleaning it up and doing minor maintenance. At least I'll have the time, as service calls have now gone to zero due to the virus and isolation orders.

          Good thing about the MOS is that I can use it as is, or do some audio enhancement, or go all the way to MIDI without much trouble. I've already tried connecting it to my mixer with a built-in FX engine. There are some tweaks in there that make the old gal a lot more interesting to hear, and I love playing with stuff like that. I'll come out of the mixer into a stereo amp and speakers to provide my up-front sound, then from there into the Lexicon and another stereo amp/speaker setup for the ambiance. In theory, this ought to give me a pretty satisfying basic organ sound. Not modern, and lacking the niceties we get with today's exotic sample rendering, but the requisite tone colors ought to be right.

          Then I'll get a Harrison Labs MIDI adapter ordered, along with a 3-to-1 MIDI merger, since the HL unit outputs all three divisions of the organ on separate MIDI jacks. I have several ready-made tone generators for sound sources, or I could get started building up a real VPO with my laptop. It depends on how much time and money I decide to sink into my setup. Unlike previous organs, it's unlikely that I'll have anyone wanting to buy this one. So I could have it around for a while.

          So this is likely to be a long-term project, a work in progress for perhaps years to come. But that's what we organ nerds do, isn't it?
          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


          • #12
            The church that bought the Rodgers put a video mass on youtube today, and you can hear the new organ making music, played by their fine young organist, along with some lovely singing by their talented cantor.


            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


            • Larrytow
              Larrytow commented
              Editing a comment
              Yup, that really does sound nice. Great installation again John. Is that cantor singing and playing at the same time ? I can't do that, and even if my singing voice was good ( it's awful ! ), it would mess my playing up.

            • jbird604
              jbird604 commented
              Editing a comment
              The organist and cantor in this case are two different people. I'm sure I couldn't sing like that and still play too! (Of course I can't sing or play this well anyway.)

              It is a very sweet acoustic environment. The ceiling is wood and quite high. The installation is very simple though. Just two Allen HC-15 cabinets sitting in the floor on the back edge of the balcony, plus I took the two mid/high (M5) Baldwin speakers from their old organ and connected them in parallel with the HC's through a 20 mfd cap. They added a lot of nice presence to the tone. Also used a good bit of treble boost in the voicing menu, as the room's liveliness definitely accented the bass.

            • myorgan
              myorgan commented
              Editing a comment
              Larry,

              Nope, two different people. The organist is male. He is EXTREMELY TALENTED if that is his cantor voice!

              Michael
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