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Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

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  • #16
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

    I remember that old Conn Tube Minuet I played on some had an Oboe 8 on the upper manual, and Reed 8 on the Lower Manual. It seems the Oboe and String tones were closely related, but I could tell it was very similiar to an Oboe. I enjoyed this organ because the coupler system with those 8' pitched stops were most interesting in how they built up their tones. The pedals were so rich, firm, etc. and all were pitched at 16'. Sub Bass, Major Bass, and Echo Bass. I don't think there was any Sustain on this model. It was a decent home organ for its day and time, and was above many others.</P>

    Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
    Baldwin Spinet 58R
    Lowrey Spinet SCL
    Wurlitzer 4100A
    Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois

    Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

    Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
    Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
    Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models


    • #17
      Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?


      Conn organs were just pretty good in their day. They had a separate oscillator for each pitch, just like the analog Rodgers and Allen organs, so they had a wonderful warm ensemble tone that most other organs lacked. Their construction quality was excellent, too, with pretty all-wood cabinets, sturdy keys, good audio systems.</P>

      Very early Conns and their predecessors the Connsonata organs had keyed oscillators. In other words, the keying voltage actually went straight to the oscillator tube and "started" the tube when that pitch was needed. This was analogous to a unit pipe organ, just as the keyed oscillator Allen analogs. However, the keyed oscillator Conn models generally had only 8' stops and used a system of couplers to provide the other pitches. They had well-designed voicing filters so that all these 8' stops were quite interesting, often even pretty. You could put on an 8' flute and 8' diapason, then use the 4' and 2' couplers to create a wonderful rich pipe-like ensemble. The pedals had an independent monophonic 16' generator that provided several different levels and tone colors of pedal tone.</P>

      Later Conn models had continuously running oscillators and the notes were keyed by a transistor or diode circuit for each note of each rank, at least on the better models. At the lower end, they sold many models that had only the flutes keyed by a diode keyer, so only the flutes could have sustain and only the flutes would keep on playing reliably after many years. Other stops were keyed by vinyl rods (more about that below).</P>

      These Connflutes were almost pure sine waves, so they sounded very dry but blended beautifully with one another. Building up an ensemble of flutes at various pitches, and the flutes normally were channeled through a Leslie speaker, you'd get a gorgeous lush tone that few other organs could match, as long as you wanted flutes.</P>

      The rest of the voices were keyed by these odd vinyl/graphite - coated rods. The keying wires would come in contact with this partially conductive vinyl stuff in such a way that the tones would come on a little gradually rather than just pop on and pop off. That was a good idea, but unfortunately that vinyl/graphite stuff decayed over time and the keying of all the strings and reeds became just awful. Many notes would not sound at all, or only sound very softly or only if you pushed the key down really hard.</P>

      The ultimate solution is to have these vinyl rods ripped out and replaced with metal rods. This takes the talents of a competent tech, and there is some modification of the voicing circuitry that needs to be done at the same time to prevent the strings and reeds from sounding overly bright and loud after the rods are changed out.</P>

      Up the linea little, the 720 and the later 721, along with the 830 and perhaps othersused diode keying for the principal rank too, So you'd have your beautiful flutes plus perfectly good analog principals. These models still used the vinyl rods to key their strings and reeds, though, and they eventually got nasty sounding.</P>

      The biggest Conns used diode keying for everything. The last models they builteven used a type of digital multiplexing to key everything, making possible a transposer and other nice features, while retaining the trademark Conn flutes and other tones. The drawback on these models (such as the 714, 716, etc.) was that the soldering on the digital circuitry was not well done and they eventually developed all kinds of problems and would have to be re-worked by a technician to get rid of the ciphers and stuff.</P>

      Conn also made some cheaper models which didn't have the independent oscillators and they weren't necessarily so good. But for the most part you can count on hearing some nice tones out of an old Conn if it's still in good working order.</P>

      <P mce_keep="true"></P>
      *** 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!



      • #18
        Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

        I have an old Conn 651. The vinyl rods can be cleaned and rotated or slid a little left or right. The problem was a grove would get worn in the conductive coating. Move the rod to get a fresh spot for the contact. </p>

        It really is fun to play and still sounds good. The great thing is the independent oscillators. With everything not being in perfect tuning, the organ sounds bigger and better.</p>

        The 651 has a tibia harmonic tab and a chiff tab. The harmonic gets rid of the sine wave. The chiff is nice for classical music.</p>

        Early digitals had a problem of not enough data bits. Lets say each note was 8 bits. 2 notes would require 9 bits. Play more notes and stops then adding all of those samples together would require lots of bits - so the organs dropped bits. Thats why early digital Allen's sounded great with a stop or two, but go towards full organ and it all started to sound the same because there weren't enough data bits to add up all the samples being played. Play nearly full organ then add more stops and you didn't hear much difference. Older analog organs didn't have that problem.</p>



        • #19
          Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

          Newyorkfarmboy-"wow-that is some instrument!</p>

          wombat 11