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Each type of organ has its own charms, or does it?

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  • Each type of organ has its own charms, or does it?

    Here's a conversation starter, not exactly a poll, but a survey of preferences....

    I'm letting my mind wander over all the issues that we've waded into over the years. Of course one issue that always gets some attention is comparing one kind of organ to another. (How many times have we fought the "pipes vs. digital" war? Or the battles of the brand names?)

    Nowadays another digital divide has emerged -- the "hardware" organ vs the "software" organ, aka the VPO. Some are convinced that the hardware organ will soon be a dinosaur, while others think not.

    But all these divides seem to draw folks who want to prove definitively that one kind of organ is superior to another, and settle it forever. As we all know, that usually doesn't happen. Even truces don't last very long in this territory. I don't imagine we'll settle anything with this, but it might be fun.

    Anyway, I'm thinking about how all the different kinds of organs have their unique charms and appeals. And what you are looking for in an organ may influence the kind of organ you obtain.

    So, without re-starting any debates about this vs that, anybody want to explain in a few paragraphs why you play the type of organ you do. What specific characteristics of that organ cause it to meet your needs (musical or economic or space, etc.)?

    I do have a dog in this fight, of course, as I ponder what kind of home organ I want. Sort of "between organs" right now, with a functional but needy VPO project to practice on, and the possibility of bringing home one of several hardware organs I have at the shop.

    Some of the distinct organ types that a person might settle on could include, among others:
    (1) genuine pipe, and whether tracker or other action, unit design or straight
    (2) analog oscillator, be it Allen, Rodgers, Baldwin, Conn, or whatever
    (3) Hammond tone wheel
    (4) MOS
    (5) Later Allen technologies
    (6) Other factory-made digital hardware organs -- Rodgers, Johannus, Viscount, Baldwin, etc.
    (7) Home-brew VPOs
    (8) Custom VPOs from one of the various suppliers of these
    (9) A hybrid solution combining parts of more than one organ type

    Procedure: Pick YOUR preferred organ type (what you actually own and play, or if you'd rather, what you'd own and play if you could). Then tell me what it is that makes you think of that as the best kind of organ.

    Go.....
    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
    As usual, coming from John, a very Insightful (inciteful) and compelling issue. In my humble view and with limited exposure to the organ field, I have one litte egg to lay - a small one...:->. The field you touched is indeed a very vast one for the very reason of so many choices, of which you mentioned quite a few, available to organists or would-be organists. The small egg is that there are distinct differences in organs of the same make and model - I have owned pairs of organs in this fashion and found that each one sounds different than the other. I have therefore come to the conclusion that organs are much like people, they may look alike, share the same values or tastes but each one is unique. This may add to your quest for a straight answer or set of answers to your thought provoking topic John, but you might even agree that this is really so.
    Thanks for your valued thoughts shared here.
    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

    Comment


    • #3
      Nico,

      I certainly agree on that point. I myself have owned many hardware organs, and every one was different. Several of them were Allen digital organs, but each had its own qualities to like or dislike.

      Perhaps I should have re-phrased the question to something like this:

      "Tell me what kind of organ you own, whether hardware or VPO or pipe or other, and WHY you own that one -- what is it about that organ that made you buy it?"

      For example, until last fall, I owned a fine Allen Renaissance R-230. What I loved about this particular organ were the beautiful authentic pipe sound, ability to be voiced in great detail, high quality keyboards and pedals, and convenient layout of the stops, pistons, control pedals, and other parts. But there were things that I didn't like so much about it -- I became frustrated with the voicing process because there were so many options and possibilities, thus I always had the nagging feeling that I needed to fire up DOVE and "fix" this or that flaw in one stop or another. I also was never satisfied with the way it sounded in headphones, which has been true of every Allen I have ever owned, no matter how good it sounded in speakers.

      So, someone out there who owns and loves his or her "X" brand organ, please tell me what are the features and qualities of that organ which drew you to it and which make you happy with your decision? Are there any negatives about your organ?

      Or if someone out there is totally committed to his or her home-brew VPO system, please tell me what it is about that type of organ that caused you to put your time and money into it rather than getting a good hardware organ?

      Someone who prefers to totally stay away from the modern digital concept altogether, and is clinging to an old analog or a Hammond tone wheel organ -- what do you love about your older organ?

      Personally, of late, I have begun to wonder if I should just find myself a good used Hammond. With drawbars I can mix up the harmonics to my liking and get perfectly consistent tone colors across the scale without the fuss of note-by-note voicing. And with only one audio channel, I won't have to worry about placement and balancing. Just put a speaker where I can hear it and be done with it.

      But of course I'm not really thinking seriously of doing that.... Or am I? I don't know. I just want off the merry-go-round.
      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        Personally, of late, I have begun to wonder if I should just find myself a good used Hammond. With drawbars I can mix up the harmonics to my liking and get perfectly consistent tone colors across the scale without the fuss of note-by-note voicing. And with only one audio channel, I won't have to worry about placement and balancing. Just put a speaker where I can hear it and be done with it.
        No, John! Say it isn't so! Step a-w-a-y from the cliff.;-) I have actually been looking at Hammonds myself, but the highly inflated prices and modifications (i.e. Trek Percussion) are an immediate turn-off.

        I hate to be so shallow, but my ideal organ is the organ I can afford, will work well with the Symphony, and one I can repair myself (can't afford a repair person). I avoid certain brands, technologies, and vintages because I know they will end up costing me more than I can afford, and/or won't fill my needs with the repertoire I play.

        I would guess I tend toward hardware organs, as they generally have less to fiddle with, they're fairly straightforward, and there isn't a lot of fiddling and diddling with various settings to make something work better, or get a new sample set, or depend on a touch-screen on stage. In a "hit-by-the-bus" scenario, I also need to make sure the organ could easily be played by someone else should something happen to me.

        Michael

        P.S. Lighted drawknobs are also something I avoid, as they create a distraction on stage, and they're difficult to understand when the bulb blows.O:-)
        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)
        • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          I hear you on all that, Michael. Looking at my history, you'd say I have preferred hardware organs. And the attractions are as you mention -- not much to fiddle with, and controls that are within easy reach and operate in a conventional fashion. There's a lot to be said for that.

          Having that R-230 sort of opened me up to the possibilities of "software" even though it was still a hardware machine. The ease of playing around with tuning, voicing, leveling, balances, gradients, filters, and even whole samples (for a given stop) drew me in. So it wasn't a huge step to decide to try out a fully software solution.

          And a bit of buyer's remorse is setting in -- not really loving the sounds as much as I thought I would, though most sets do sound lovely in headphones -- becoming so aware of my physical limitations as far as building stuff like piston rails and music desks -- seeing how much the really superb sample sets can cost.

          Thus the need to re-think my conclusions. thanks for your input.

      • #5
        The number one consideration in making such a decision has to be the type of music you enjoy. If you're a jazz player, you're going to gravitate to Hammonds with their percussive attack and rapid speech. If you're playing skills are minimal, you'll want to consider "player assisted" organs like Lowreys. For theatre and classical music, authenticity might be paramount.

        As can be seen in my Sig, I have a Hauptwerk based system. In my younger years I preferred theatre organ over classical, but it's been the other way 'round for a long time. Having a VPO provides the best of both worlds, with numerous, authentic sounding options to chose from. While some VPO owners seem to collect different organs, I'm content with a few sample sets that give me resources to play whatever genre, classical, theatre, jazz, or pop, that I please.
        -Admin

        Allen 965
        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
        Hauptwerk 4.2

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          So I guess your preference is for the VPO, at least in part because you can quickly switch among various sample sets to pull up the resources you need for a given type of music. You're not confined to either the theater organ or the classical organ, you can have either one loaded up in minutes, or even a Hammond or an orchestral organ or whatever. Good points! Definitely something to consider for anyone who likes to play more than one genre of organ music.

        • Admin
          Admin commented
          Editing a comment
          Not so much for the flexibility, but for the bang for the buck. I'd be just has happy with a large 3 manual from Allen or another builder, but there's no way to even approach the sound quality I have in a new commercial instrument for under $50k.

      • #6
        John has presented an interesting challenge. Here is my 2 cents.

        Two years ago I was fortunate to find a recent model 3-manual Content organ. In addition to the three manuals, it has a floating solo division. While it has some decent sounds, I wanted something more satisfying, so I took the plunge and upgraded to Hauptwerk.

        As readers of this forum know, Hauptwerk has a remarkable degree of realism. If I want to play Bach or Franck, it is possible to actually obtain a sample set appropriate for their music. However, while I own a half dozen sample sets, my “go to” set is the main Marcussen organ in Rotterdam.

        Rotterdam is the largest mechanical action instrument in Europe. Its 85 ranks are arranged over 4 manuals and pedal. The instrument follows the classic design principles of the golden age of organ building, but it also includes a swell division with French style reeds and strings, and a full battery of Spanish chamades. The organ was designed for the performance of all major organ traditions.

        Two additional sample sets that I enjoy are the Metzler organ at Poblet Abbey and the Eisenbarth organ in Friesach, Austria. The Metzler organ is beautifully voiced. If the 3rd manual were enclosed, I believe it would be much more popular among the Hauptwerk crowd. The Eisenbarth organ is also 3 manuals, but the third manual is a solo division. While it increases the flexibility of the organ, it is not a fully realized 3rd manual that some might wish for. However, for someone with a 2-manual console, this would make an excellent choice.

        While I am generally pleased that I converted to Hauptwerk, there are some issues that someone contemplating that move should consider. Hauptwerk is a computer-based system. As such, it has the usual annoyances that computers occasionally exhibit. One can read the Hauptwerk forum to get more information about that. While some churches use Hauptwerk, I probably would not make that recommendation for most church installations. Hauptwerk is not a turn-key system. You don’t turn on the switch and begin playing. I realize that glitches can occur with any organ, but in my opinion, Hauptwerk has more of them than alternatives.
        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

        Comment


        • mrdc2000
          mrdc2000 commented
          Editing a comment
          I must agree with Mr Voet that the Marcussen organ in Rotterdam is one of the best VPO sample sets to get but that reputation came after the Dutch Flentrop organ company partially rebuilt and completely revoiced the Marcussen. I have heard several VPO's with the Marcussen sample set and they all sound very good. However, hearing the Marcussen/Flentrop pipe organ in its own natural environment during a concert is a whole different experience. No VPO comes even close to the actual live pipe sounds it is trying to emulate, no matter how good the VPO may sound, but I digress, we can't afford the real thing in a real stone building.

        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          So I suppose, even with the occasional glitches imposed by the computer, you still think it was worthwhile to convert to Hauptwerk? Your Content organ sounds like it was a pretty decent organ in itself, but you certainly opened up a whole new world with Hauptwerk.

          Has the Marcussen organ been the basis of a number of sample sets over the years? I seem to recall from the early days of jOrgan that there was a SoundFont supposedly based (loosely) on that organ.

      • #7
        John,

        I'm not professionally trained. As you know, I own a Roland AT-90. As Admin said of his VPO, the Roland allows me access to classical voicing, theatre voicing, orchestral, Hammond, and Lowrey flutes. It also allows me to use styles/rhythms. The only thing I don't like is about it is that I grew up playing on home organs like Yamaha, Thomas, Lowrey, etc. On the Roland, I miss the analog reed and string sounds from those type organs. Also, many players would not like the 25-note flat radiating pedal board. I don't routinely play AGO spec organs. So, the the pedals don't bother me.

        Later,
        Allen
        Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

        YouTube Channel

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          So your Roland meets a lot of needs all in one package. That's a good thing, and a great recommendation for that type of organ. The Roland Ateliers, the Rodgers W-5000, the Hammond 926, 935, etc. -- these have been similar solutions brought out by different companies. Trying to meet the varying needs of organists who enjoying playing more than one genre of music. Interesting concept. Glad you are enjoying yours. (Hope the bench is holding up for you.)

        • afuller5
          afuller5 commented
          Editing a comment
          John,

          As much as I love my Roland, I also love the Yamaha 415 (D-85 outside USA) that I owned before the Roland. The 415 is one of my all-time favorites to play. I like the simplicity of turning it on, selecting stops, and playing. The Roland has many voices on the panel, but many others are available only through the menus. Since my AT-90 doesn't have a touchscreen, these cannot be selected while playing. I have set up one piston to bring up a classical specification and another to bring up a theatre specification. With those, I can change registrations "on the fly" while playing. Believe it not, if presented with a "new" 415, it would be a hard choice between it and my Roland. The 415 would probably win if it had 61 note manuals and 25-note pedalboard!

          Later,
          Allen

      • #8
        What about an organ that has a computer on-board with all its sounds etc. done by software, and has the ability to load and play VSTs live like Hauptwerk.
        How would you class this, hardware (It comes with manuals and pedals built into a cabinet) or software (Everything runs on the PC built in) or does it just make the question of hardware or software irrelevant.
        As to differences, every manufacture is different and you choose whatever suits you best.

        Bill

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Your question opens an entire new can of worms! In fact, I wrote an entire comment down below (see #12) to expand upon it. Thanks for the input, Bill. I hope to get more opinions on this very thing.

      • #9
        OK. I'll wade into this. Having played everything from a chord organ for a wedding and an electrically pumped reed organ in a small mountain Baptist church to the massive Moller at Calvary Church in Charlotte NC and the even more massive console in Hurricane WV, I am now working on a small but versatile three manual organ with Artisan innards for myself. It will be housed in a Thomas Trianon console, with Allen keyboards but with the original Thomas 25 note spinet pedals, and basically have theater voicing when the trems are turned on, but have a small classical organ available when the trems are off.

        I also have a Galanti Praeludium III, so that I can play classical or liturgical music, but I want something on which the play gospel tunes when the urge hits, plus be available for public concerts whenever we get over the current coronavirus scare. The Galanti satisfies the urge for the big sound (it currently plays through ten audio channels!), but it defintely is not portable, nor does it do gospel music.
        Mike

        My home organ is a circa 1990 Galanti Praeludium III, with Wicks/Viscount CM-100 module supplying extra voices. I also have an Allen MDS Theatre II (princess pedalboard!) with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          That's an interesting project you got going, Mike. Personally, I've never been a fan of Thomas's pedals. They seem too narrow for my big feet! But yours will be a first -- Allen keyboards inside a Trianon case with Artisan voices!

          Your post brings up another question -- is Artisan a "hardware" system or "software?" It turns on and off with a switch like an ordinary organ, right? But it's running some kind of program, similar to jOrgan, I think? Almost bridges the gap between hardware and software.

          Or maybe not. I have an older Artisan system on a shelf in the shop, and I've played with it a few times, but I don't remember the details of how it works.

        • m&m's
          m&m's commented
          Editing a comment
          Artisan is now using a completely solid state drive, and I plan to use permanent voicing. I am currently running Grandorgue on my desktop computer just to get the lay of things, before I give Mark Andersen the final stoplist. For my purpose, I will consider it a "hardware system.

          I realize that not many will approve of the Thomas pedals, but I am building an organ that will fit into my minivan if I do concerts in the future. By the way, I will be using the Barton Theatre organ by Graham Goode, and also mixing in some classical ranks from another sample set. I am using the Allen keyboards to have 61 note manuals, and also because I originally planned to use a gutted Allen console, before I had a stroke and plans changed.

      • #10
        Hi Gang!
        I’ve been inactive for a while and have missed these specific topics. I’m so glad this forum is still here and active. Anyway to add my seven cents to the jar.
        I never ever thought I’d have a home organ due to the cost, space requirements/ sound containment.
        Then I found my Conn 830 being offered for free from a church 8 miles from our home. It eventually came with four sets of speaker pipes and a bass unit with Leslie.
        I added seven more sets of speaker pipes, another bass unit, five other speakers and an additional subwoofer.
        What I like is the massive pipe display, having three manual and a concave pedal board. I liked the esthetics and solidness of the consoul. I appreciate the vintage solid state technology and how well it’s held up. The setter board is primitive yet advanced enough to make changes. I like the ability to assign stops to various speakers and have them in different places. I mostly satisfied with the offered stop, pre sets , toe studs, couplers. At times it almost sounds like an acoustic instrument. And it was free! The less than optimal points- the size it’s Massive and heavy, the aging technology, it’s not 100% dependable ( the reeds sound when they want to) I’d like a separate expression pedal for the swell division and I’d love a 32’. Because I’m greedy Lol!
        Too excited to put my shoes on!
        conn 830 and conn 621-F several harps and a piano.:-B:-B

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          I well remember having an 830 in stock at the Conn dealership I worked for in the late 70's. I loved that organ, though it was my first exposure to a large true classical organ, so I had little previous knowledge to go on. I still think those Conn flutes are beautiful when I hear them, and the 830 had a good system for making diapasons too. I liked the mixtures.

          Your vote would definitely go to "hardware" -- you love the massive look and the massive sound. No doubt part of the massiveness of the sound comes from all those independent oscillators in the Conn. And all the speakers you have.

          Another thing in favor of hardware, especially older hardware, is that such organs are often "free." That's good.

        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by Charles
          It eventually came with four sets of speaker pipes and a bass unit with Leslie.
          I added seven more sets of speaker pipes, another bass unit, five other speakers and an additional subwoofer.
          What I like is the massive pipe display,
          Charles,

          Do you have pictures of the display? Sounds like it's worth looking at. I had someone try to give me a couple of Conn subwoofer speakers a few months ago, but I didn't have room to take them.

          Michael

      • #11
        While I don't have an organ at home, my church is just 5 minutes away so it's like being in my backyard.

        It has an AOB (Associated Organ Builders) Analog installed new in 1989. For what it is, or isn't, to my ears the sound of some stops is so pipe like that it's scary. The 8' Krummhorn for instance with its distinctive attack and release sounds as a solo stop is outstanding. How they achieve this in analog electronics is beyond my scope of comprehension. If one holds down a chord in the 4th octave and then plays notes in the 1st and 2nd octaves the sound "wavers" much like a pipe organ would due to the change in air regulation.

        For my ears all the digitals are just too sterile ... everything is perfectly in tune all the time ... not at all like a pipe organ, or my AOB. The only downside to the AOB is the number of speakers (48) and having to replace the components in them about every 20 years. The AOB I play at my church has given us 31 years of totally maintenance free operation ... besides a couple tuning or voicing issues here and there it has been very stable.

        My sanctuary has just under 2 seconds of natural reverberation ... ideal for this organ.

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Interesting observations. You are expressing a clear preference for "hardware," and your AOB uses ordinary off-the-shelf analog hardware to create sounds that are amazingly authentic. And it takes analog to the extremes of its possibilities, with all those audio channels, lovingly enhanced by a beautiful acoustic setting. I'll call that a vote for the hardware approach!

      • #12
        Some comments bring up a question that needs addressing -- how do you define "hardware" organs vs "software" organs? Are there in fact shades of gray in between the two types? Are there other kinds of organ outside these two categories? Is there a simple distinction or a fail-proof test to tell the difference?

        No doubt there is a blurring of the lines between hardware and software organs these days. Most organs built the past 20 or 30 years create sounds by some sort of digital rendering of stored samples. And many of these can have their samples changed out or manipulated via computer. Are these still "hardware" organs just because they are built into a standard console?

        Some pipe organs have sophisticated digital control systems -- not just programmable piston memories, but fully configurable digital relays that allow the pipes to be played by different keyboards, at different pitch levels, combined in mixtures of varying compositions, all of this accessible to the player using a computer interface. Is such an organ still a "hardware" organ even though the pipes are keyed through this complex digital matrix?

        Clearly, a traditional tracker or hard-wired unit organ is "hardware." A Hammond tone wheel organ is "hardware." An analog organ from the 1950's or 60's is "hardware." Most of us would agree that even an Allen MOS from the 70's is still "hardware" even though the tone generation is a simple form of digital synthesis.

        And clearly, a Hauptwerk setup is "software" regardless of what type of console is used to control it, even a converted midi-fied pipe organ console. A Marshall & Ogletree organ is "software" even though there is a beautiful console that looks like a massive pipe organ console.

        But is an Allen Renaissance organ hardware or software? It LOOKS like a piece of hardware (but then so does a Marshall & Ogletree). But it works a lot like Hauptwerk -- samples are recorded, processed and cleaned up, loaded into memory, can be manipulated in the digital domain, filtered, tuned. The big difference is that Hauptwerk is very obviously a "note by note playback" system, while Renaissance retains the methodology of earlier Allen technologies, using samples as patterns or recipes to create whole ranges of notes in a rank. But all this is done inside a "computer" system.

        I tend to see the presence of a single ordinary on/off power switch as an identifying feature of a hardware organ. If there is a computer that has to be booted up separately, it's not a hardware organ. But then you have Rodgers Masterpiece organs (and many other Rodgers models) with a "push and hold" power switch -- you hold it in for a couple seconds while the internal computer system comes to life and takes over. Is it still a hardware organ?

        I'd be interested in some opinions about this.
        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


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          John,

          You know too much to answer the question simply. My understand is much simpler:
          * Software–requires knowledge and use of a particular computer operating system IN ADDITION to organ operation. Required periodic upgrading of both the computer operating system and/or software. Generally, at an added cost.
          * Hardware–requires NO knowledge and use of a particular computer operating system to play the organ. Requires no periodic upgrading of the logic systems for the organ to work. What you purchased is what you get.

          Many computer programs have gone from stand-alone licensing, to subscription-based or cloud-based licensing in order for particular programs to work. I sure hope organs don't go that way!

          Michael

        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Way to cut to the chase, Michael! Yes, that makes a pretty clear line, and I will agree for the most part. Yes, it will be AWFUL if the organ builders decide to make their instruments subscription-based and we have to pay a monthly fee or else the thing won't play!

          Along those lines, I have an Artisan module that a friend gave me after he moved up to Hauptwerk. I assumed I could just hook it up and play it like any other module. But when I emailed Artisan to ask about enabling more of the stops (which were already loaded on the module's drive but not enabled in the configuration file), I got a rather sharp note back informing that I was NOT licensed to use that module and certainly could not enable any new voices! So apparently you can't re-sell or even give one of those things away unless the new owner buys his own license....

      • #13

        I moved jbird604's comment here to respond.
        .
        1. So I suppose, even with the occasional glitches imposed by the computer, you still think it was worthwhile to convert to Hauptwerk? Your Content organ sounds like it was a pretty decent organ in itself, but you certainly opened up a whole new world with Hauptwerk.

        I am basically happy with Hauptwerk. The sound is so much better than the Content. There are occasional glitches that may require a reboot. I had some difficulties when I tried to set up my pistons to trigger the Hauptwerk pistons. After an hour or so of tinkering, I finally worked out the kinks. I have learned how to deal with these things. However, in a church situation, I would not want to have to wait for the computer to reboot while the congregation sat there wondering why I was not playing if a problem arose. Also a guest organist might not be as computer literate. That could be a problem.
        .
        2. Has the Marcussen organ been the basis of a number of sample sets over the years? I seem to recall from the early days of jOrgan that there was a SoundFont supposedly based (loosely) on that organ.

        I know that some developers have used the Marcussen as the basis for custom designed organs. Jake [Subbas32] has been working on an expansion of the original organ for a couple of years. I will probably want that when it is available, but I am not holding my breath until it arrives.
        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

        Comment


        • #14
          Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
          Some comments bring up a question that needs addressing -- how do you define "hardware" organs vs "software" organs? Are there in fact shades of gray in between the two types? Are there other kinds of organ outside these two categories? Is there a simple distinction or a fail-proof test to tell the difference?
          This is a great question, but one that does not have a definitive answer.

          You can say that prior 1970 all organs were hardware organs, but after Allen introduced their MOS-1 "Computer Organ" the difference between hardware and software organs becomes increasingly less distinct. Let's start with Allen's first "computer organ."

          No one today would consider these instruments to be computer based. They are digital, but they're implemented with hardwired logic circuits and they are not running what we would consider a program. Their "program" is determined by how the circuits are implemented and wired. There is no CPU running a program that determines functionality, and I think that is a reasonable way of making a distinction between hardware and software based instruments.

          So my first pass at definitions are:
          • A software based instrument relies upon one or more CPUs executing a set of alterable instructions in the form of a program and using general purpose hardware to produce sound.
          • A hardware based instrument relies upon fixed logic in the form of dedicated hardware and circuitry, or a mechanical means, to produce sound.
          Therefore, organs using CPU based console controllers and the like, are not necessarily software organs, as the tone generation could well be based on dedicated hardware. This is the case for most digital instruments produced in the last century and well into this one.

          As processing power increased, it became possible to generate and process sound by executing instructions provided by software rather than relying upon dedicated hardware for that purpose. Hauptwerk organs, M & O, and the like, are the examples of note here.

          These implementations are often referred to VPOs, Virtual Pipe Organs, but I would qualify this definition further:
          • A VPO is a software based organ in which every aspect of the instrument, including user interaction, is independent of the underlying hardware.
          For one thing, this implies that the visual experience of the instrument user change with the organ being virtualized. By this definition then, I would not consider an organ that has multiple sound suites to be virtualized unless, at the least, the actual stop nomenclature on the console changed. Virtualization goes beyond that in that it should be possible to configure the virtual organ using different controllers ranging from a traditional console, to a computer display, or to a MIDI sound module running in a VST.

          There are lots of gray areas, and you might not agree with my definitions, but this just begs the question, "What difference does it make?" In the end what matters is the capability and sound quality of the instrument. The definition of the technology used to get there is just semantics
          Last edited by Admin; 08-16-2020, 07:08 AM. Reason: fixed typo in definition
          -Admin

          Allen 965
          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
          Hauptwerk 4.2

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          • jbird604
            jbird604 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hear hear!!

        • #15
          So ya, this is going to be an interesting discussion. Most of the replies have been about some sort of church / classical organ in ones home. If that is the main intent here, my answers may be different than if it is more about any organ in the home. I'm pretty much of the mindset that each type of organ is intended for, and does best, a particular style of music. Because I play a number of different styles of music, I have several very different organs ( see my sig ).

          Each one of my organs has it's own unique character and charm. I have real old ( they are now anyhow ! ) transistor analogs here that can create sounds that no other organ can come close to replicating. I have early and later Allen digital organs that sound reasonably enough like a pipe organ to suit my needs.

          There is no way that only one organ can do everything well. If someone is not as crazy as I am to have a fleet of organs, then deciding on just one can be quite difficult. Then it is more a matter of what style of music you play most, and you get the organ that does that style well. You can play anything on any organ of course, but playing supper club lounge style on an Allen church organ is not nearly as nice ( or effective ) as using a Yamaha for that sort of music.
          Regards, Larry

          At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

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          • jbird604
            jbird604 commented
            Editing a comment
            That is quite the stable, Larry! And I totally understand. When you want authenticity, you want the sound, but you also want the look, the feel, the layout of the organ you need for a given performance. And looks like you've got the goods to do it right.

            Yes, it does come down to what kind of music you want to play. Not being very versatile myself, I "think" that what I want is a more or less classical organ in the style of Allen (or Rodgers, Johannus, Viscount, etc.). But my playing is generally limited to hymns and hymn arrangements and improvisation, so I don't really need a four-manual French cathedral organ. I just need a pretty simple organ with all the standard stops. Even the old Allen MOS that I recently had at home was actually good enough, though I must admit that I also "enjoy" savoring the delicate nuances of lovely pipe stops, which is one thing I like so much about the VPO sample sets I've tried. (And delicate nuances are not the forte of MOS.)
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