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Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

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  • wombat11
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    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



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

    wombat 11
    </p>

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  • Lajko
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    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>

    </p>

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    James,</P>


    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>


    John</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>

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  • james
    replied
    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>


    James</P>

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  • james
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    AV,</P>


    I am glad to hear the "tide is turning" since I have not been around any new organs since 15+ years ago. I just don't keep up with them too much, but have had some nice recordings sent to me by several companies. They all sounded great just by hearing them via a CD, but I do realize things are so much better on the spot.</P>


    I was and still am interested in the older as well as newer organs that were/are designed to be played, not any gimmicks, rhythms, easy play features, etc. added on them. I think sustain is very nice, but I don't care for other percussions unless they are on a theater model that sounds great. The very old vintage electronic organs for the most part were interesting in that they were designed to be played and make decent sounding music via their stops. It took skill and practice to accomplish that well. As a saying went back in those days, "some were better than others."</P>


    So many electronic companies IMHO just began putting a lot of toys on the MKT to entice people in big shoppingmalls and many show room floors how "easy" it could be to make music. I had one customer tell me, "if the organ costs that much and can almost play itself with me only using two fingers, I might as well buy a nice stereo." Some were cheap junk, and even the larger models were big very expensive toys that could go on the blink in one way or another much sooner than their older counterparts.</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


    James</P>

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  • arie v
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    James,</p>

    I agree with you that many of the old classical electronic organs were built very solidly. Things began to change late 60s and early 70s. They then started looking less like pipe organ consoles on the inside, and started using cheaper materials especially in the lower end models.</p>

    Regarding, the sound of digitals sounding the same, I'm not sure I agree. Many digitals that I have seen in the field, do not sound anywhere up to potential. They tend to have marginal speaker complements, too few audio channels, speakers poorly placed, and the organs themselves are poorly adjusted or voiced. The biggest problem seems to be at the dealer end, as many of them don't have a clue about what an organ is really supposed to sound like. Also the manufacturers build organs that are compromises simply so they can market various lines and models. The marketplace is also to blame, as it seems to want lots of keyboards, many stops, and a huge list of features.</p>

    Even so, there is now no reason why any digital organs should sound really bad. All come with a measure of adjustability, and the basic tones, while not always that great is passable. Just some musical sense is required to get them to sound up to potential. </p>

    I can understand that your comment may have been valid 10 or 15 years ago, when there were organs out there that had no adjustability, little tone generating hardware, samples that were too few and very short, etc. But even today's entry level instruments are a vast improvement over much of what was available 10 to 20 years ago.</p>

    AV
    </p>

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  • james
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    I would have to say yes the old analog organs do hold a certain interest for me. Years ago when I was learning about the various organs, I learned to recognize a certain brand by the sound. Most of the older tube models were built like a battleship with pride in their construction by each company. They had a tone that was strong and powerful. I even thought all those who later had trasistors in the tone generation system, but had tube amplifers still had a glorious tone.</P>


    To me the digital organs sound so much the same, and some keyboards can do just as well. These day I wouldn't know one brand from another, but I sure know when I am hearing a true pipe organ. The digitals to me are like a Hammond in that everything you hear is pure Hammond or via a digital you hear something that is not that totally "alive" sound.</P>


    That is why we all differ in our opinions, but I do know what I like. I can agree with you John about those old Conn organs. I liked the flutes and diapasons too, but found other stops to be far from what they should be. The first Conn I ever played on was an old tube Minuet with just stops, and no sustain, etc. I enjoyed this organ so much since I liked the rocker tabs as well as those guides that enabled one to set up a decent registration for various tones. This organ sound was rich, smooth, and not like the percussive Hammond I played on all the time or the newbrassy, buzzy Baldwins I played at the local dealer's store. I knew then that other brands had just as much going for them as the big boast of the ones I played frequently.</P>


    I also found the Wurlitzer reed and tube organs as well as the early transistors models to be great. The old reed Wurlitzers had a glorious classical sound that just came "alive" very close to a church pipe organ. Some of the stops were just softer versions of some of the others, and very far from being an actual string or reed tone. It seems these older brands to have a certain charm which I will always treasure. I wished I had an old tube Conn and reed Wurlitzer. If you can play an electronic that is over 30 years old and it works just fine then you will know they are well built. Most of us know about some of the later transistor models and some that were glorfied toys have already met many city landfills.</P>


    Those old organs sure had a lot going for them when pride was the main thing in construction. For the most part the tones are what my ears enjoy hearing.</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>


    James</P>

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    Arie,</P>


    "Forgiving" is probably a good word to use about analog tone. I recall a discussion on this forum some time ago where we were comparing a 1980's digital to a 1980's analog. While that early digital probably had a more accurate, pipe-like waveform for each note of each stop, and had no unification, it was probably much less comfortable to listen to up close.</P>


    I was selling Allen back then, in the ADC era. We had a fine product, and I still enjoy playingthose when I run across them. We did some installs that I am still very proud of, some of the best electronic organs I know of anywhere.</P>


    But if I were to put a small ADC Allen side by side with a small Rodgers analog of the same era, both with nothing more than internal speakers and no add-on reverb, I might prefer to play the analog because of that "forgiving" quality.</P>


    In a church or recital situation the unification and other shortcomings of the analog become annoying, but in a small room with the speakers in your face, playing for pleasure, the grittiness and graininess of the early digitals quickly tiresthe ears.</P>


    While the Conn 720 I had to make do with at church for several years had some real shortcomings, the smoothness of those flutes and diapasonswas always pleasurable. I still see one of those now and then and can't help enjoying it. That model is 45 years old and still easy on the ears (unless you turn on a reed or string stop).</P>


    John</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>

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  • NYCFarmboy
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

    you've hit on something ArieV....I don't know what it is but digitals just lose interest to me... I don't know if it is that they sound "too perfect"? At this point I have interest in 3 types of organs: Pipes, Hammonds and old analogs.

    Pipes require LOTS of space, labor, love & money.

    Hammonds are Hammonds..either you love them or you don't......


    After being in the organ collecting hobby the analogs that after several years of ownership I am still interested in are Rodgers by far and above over anything else.

    Interestingly I have never heard or played a Allen analog organ so I can't say that I'd not like one, and I MIGHT pick on up someday... I'm particularly interested in some of the BIG 3 or 4 manual custom Allen organs built back in the 1950's that I presume are still around and might pop up someday.


    Any Rodgers analog organ I think is a good organ to have, of the late 60's and 1970's. I don't have any experience with their newer (1980's) analogs so really can't say anything about those.

    I think the Rodgers 990/660/550/330 models of the 70's have to be some of the best analog organs built of all time.


    The other analogs I have some interest in are Conns. My Mom had a spinet of some sort from the early 60's and its tones if you ask me are very very nice (excepting the reeds which were well..rather stark)....the flute/bourdon tones on a Conn I think are extremely nice.

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  • arie v
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    Nullogik,</p>

    I'm not sure that there is really that much interest in old analog organs. I follow once in a while both the Allen and Rodgers discussion lists regarding the old models, and there is very little activity in either of them. I am beginning to wonder actually how much interest there is in digital organs period. Various lists that I read, have seen a huge falloff in postings.
    </p>

    Doing a little service work, I come across older analog organs, and what I think is best about the better ones, is not the accuracy of the tone, but rather how forgiving the tone is to the ear. A lot of digitals, mostly the earlier ones, had a very sterile, etched tone about them, that was boring, irritating and did not maintain an abiding interest. Even with newer digitals, sustained interest in them is not like listening to a pipe organ, but at least if installed properly with careful voicing, should be much better than earlier digitals. </p>

    Maybe because I worked in the field for so long, I got overly fussy................</p>

    I have never had an electronic organ in my house. Probably if I did, I wouldn't play it much.</p>

    I do have a 110 to 120 year old console in my basement. If I get inspired..........I may put in a Hauptwerk system.</p>

    AV
    </p>


    </p>

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  • nullogik
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    Its nice to see that analogues still have a following. </P>


    Theres something about the sound of my TC-3S that keeps drawing me back and keeps my "ear" interested. Sure the Viscount digital is a great sounding instrument in terms of realism but I find I soon get bored of the sound if I play it for too long.</P>

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  • twnelson
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?



    As I've stated in past posts, I enjoy the elegant simplicity of working with the older analogs, especially the Rodgers models from the 60s and early 70s. My 660-on-steriods, when completed, will have 9 sets of oscillators total from various donors of the same vintage, and my ex-36D/C will end up with around 14 sets. Both will be have many channels of audio as well. Call it a perverse passion [:P].
    </p>

    Along the line of OrgansR4Me's comments, I'm willing to trade off the tonal accuracy of what would have to be a very small pipe organ due to space constraints against the enjoyment I get from the greater resources of one of my analogs.</p>

    -- Tom</p>

    </p>

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  • Havoc
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

    To me they don't. And it is more for the keyboards than the tone.

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  • OrgansR4Me
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

    I'm a great fan of the analog organ. With careful registration and an ear for authentic tones -- which I cultivate with an extensive LP library of genuine pipe organ music (another collecting pitfall!) - I believe it is possible to accomplish many beautiful renditions and bring the art of the organ to small spaces that can't accomodate pipes! Thanks for the reminder that nothing that's been accomplished in electronics would have been possible except that these instruments had come before.

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  • NYCFarmboy
    replied
    Re: Do the old analogs have a certain charm?

    my 2 cents...YES the older analogs have a certain charm...a very nice charm.

    At my Mom's house i have a Rodgers 550 that I got for her about 4 years ago...



    Link:

    http://www.rodgers550.com


    Early 70's....very warm/lush sound.....I think in a great accoustic this organ would be simply stunning....in my Mom's house I primarily just play the softer ranks and it does sound wonderful.

    Unfortunatly it has developed a issue over the last year where the combination pistons can't be used (turning them on via the key constrol causes the organ to short out)..I need to get that worked on one of these days.....but for my Mom its not the end of the world to not have the pistons so we just play it "by hand"........

    This particular organ has a flute celeste rank that is just heavenly.

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