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can anyone identify this organ ?

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  • Larrytow
    replied
    Yeah, I see the lens on the bottom now. Maybe it does not look as elegant with that big music desk ( probably some peoples opinion ), but it sure seems handy from a practical standpoint.

    As an aside, I never quite got the whole plexiglass music desk idea anyhow. Yes, you can see though it to direct a choir, or see what is happening in the church. But, that only works if there is no music on it ! If there is music on it ( like when most people are playing ), then you can just as well have a nice wood one that compliments the console woodwork.

    As far as the tremolo / vibrato on Silent Night goes, I suppose that is a matter of taste. To tell the truth, most times when I'm playing that one, I use flutes with tremolo on the middle stanza ( shepherds quake ....) . For the last stanza I go back to a pretty full principal setting with as much low bass ( 32' flue if available ) as possible in the pedal.

    That recording is pretty cool; Christmas music sounds good in Polish, even if you don't know the language.

    That church appears to have at least the facade of a pipe organ there. What is the situation of that organ ?

    Leave a comment:


  • jbird604
    replied
    As I recall, the big plexiglass music desk was standard on the 830. Looks like it is lighted for most of its length -- going by the photos that show the white lens on the bottom.

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  • pipe64'
    replied
    I was at midnight mass last week and it always amazes me when I hear the old Conn fire up again. It still sounds the same as it did when I was a little kid. Has great bass for an electronic organ in a church that size. They must have a lot of subwoofers hidden somewhere.

    But how does it keep playing? Are there still companies around that can maintain those old electronic organs? Or is it a case of it was made back in a time when things were built to last.

    I just noticed the auction ended. Can't believe it went for $500. If I were in driving distance, I would have gotten it for nostalgic reasons alone :)

    Oh and last month I got to see the organ in action on television for the first time. The Bishop of Trenton came to celebrate a Solemn Pontifical High Mass and it was televised on EWTN. They came with their own choir and organist and it was interesting to hear the organ registered by somebody different, he got it to sound more like a traditional pipe organ for the special mass.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Originally posted by Larrytow View Post

    As I was looking at that e-bay listing, I was struck by how big the plexiglass music desk is on that 800. I really like that feature. Is that a factory one, or a modification ? Is it lighted as well ? All the way across ? That is something you do not see often, and I think it would be very handy for laying music out in order.
    Looks very similar to the one still being used in my church

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  • Larrytow
    replied
    That organ really does sound pretty nice in that You Tube recording. I've never had a chance to play any of those Conn church organs from that era. I think that is due to a lack of Conn dealers here in WI. Most brands were well represented here back in those days, but I think Conn only had a dealer in northern ILL, about 120 miles from my area. That sorta explains why I don't see many used Conn organs available ( of any style ), or encounter them in the many churches I visit here in WI.

    As I was looking at that e-bay listing, I was struck by how big the plexiglass music desk is on that 800. I really like that feature. Is that a factory one, or a modification ? Is it lighted as well ? All the way across ? That is something you do not see often, and I think it would be very handy for laying music out in order.
    Attached Files

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Yep, that would be a bargain for anybody who has the space and can use it. Apparently comes with some Conn pipes too, and the pipe sets alone should be worth more than they're asking for the whole thing. Sorta sad that a setup that cost $25K is now going for $500 or less, but that's par for the course with electronic equipment of all kinds, and organs especially.

    I worked for a Conn dealership in Fort Worth from about 1977 - 1980 and we had an 830 in the store for a while. Never did sell it and it eventually went back to Conn. I enjoyed playing it and appreciated the fairly elaborate diode keying system which allowed the couplers to work better than on the cheaper models, where only 8' stops could be coupled.

    In addition to the usual Conn flutes and pulse voices, it also had a square wave output on the oscillators that was used to create a very nice clarinet and gedeckt. There was a separate rank of oscillators for the celeste. Ours had a setterboard combination action that moved the tabs. Alas, Conn/Kimball lost out against Allen and Rodgers (and even Baldwin) who were making much greater strides toward digital technology.

    We sold some of the 717 (AGO) and 632 (25 pedal) models to small and medium-size churches. I believe the 632 got replaced with a newer 25 pedal church model at some point, one that had a true celeste and a few presets. Could it have been called a 625 or 619 or 714? Too many numbers in my head these days. I thought Conn had a nice sound back then. When I heard the first Allen digitals I couldn't imagine that they would supplant Conn and other analogs. Little did I know.

    As to very old Conn organs -- I had a small 1950's Connsonata model once, the first organ I played on seriously. It had two 61 note manuals and 25 pedals. There was a single rank of oscillators shared by the two manuals. A set of voicing tabs altered the basic tone of the oscillators from flutey to stringy to reedy, and the only difference one could have between the two manuals was which couplers were engaged on each, ranging from 16' up to 2' with some mutations in there as well. I think the pedal had a one-note generator that would switch to any of the 25 pitches depending on which pedal was down. The thing sounded amazingly good to me since it was my first real organ.

    Later on, my first paying organ job was on a 721 at a small church. At another church we had a 720 that I liked a lot. Then at the church where I spent most of my career we had a Conn 700 (or maybe 710?) for a while -- those who know me know about the string of different organs I brought into that church over the years! The 710 was not much more than a doubled-up version of my old Connsonata. It had two ranks of oscillators so you could at least have different stops on the two manuals. However, all stops were 8' and you could only get higher pitches using the intra-manual couplers at 4' and 2' and also at mutation pitches I think. There were swell to great couplers at 8' and 4', which allowed playing both sets of oscillators from the one keyboard. I intentionally tuned the two sets a few cents apart so I could get a celeste when I used that coupler. That organ got replaced with a 720 that was being discarded by another church, and the 720 served us for about 3 years. I upgraded it with a new solid state amp and a nice set of external speakers. It sounded great except for the poor vinyl rod keying on strings and reeds. The excellent unit diapason rank topped off with a 1 1/3' mutation was delightful to my ears. I always liked the pure clean Conn flutes too, and the chimes were great. The independent pedal division had some very strong 16' stops and could fill the little church with powerful bass when needed.

    Conn had a good basic idea -- a separate oscillator for each pitch -- but Rodgers sort of took the idea and ran with it in ways that Conn failed to do. Even now, when I play one of the larger Conns such as the 720, 721, 717 I hear some qualities in the diapason that are missing on the Rodgers analogs. We lost something good when Conn gave the business up.

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  • pipe64'
    replied
    First time I've ever seen one like it listed on Ebay

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-800-Ser...70966464563%26

    Leave a comment:


  • pipe64'
    replied
    well i made it to midnight mass again this year (well last year now 12/24/2011) and it sounds like the old Conn is still pumping out the notes

    i sat dead center in the church with my digital recorder. this was the 1/2 hour of Polish caroling prior to the mass and then Silent Night at midnight kicking the mass procession off plus one extra Polish carol after it

    this organist seems to use some type of vibrato switch on some of the songs. not something i remember the organist using as a kid. i don't really care for it either. not in a church setting anyway


    Leave a comment:


  • twnelson
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    Done. Thanks for the reminder, Jay.</p>

    -- Tom</p>

    </p>

    Leave a comment:


  • Jay999
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    Thanks for that enlightening post, twnelson!</P>


    Please be so kind as to edit that post and in the "tags" section, label that post "Conn Church Organs". It would be very helpful to a lot of us Conn fans here on the forum. Wonderful reference material!</P>


    Thanks again, and best wishes.</P>

    Leave a comment:


  • OrgansR4Me
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?

    Found a current listing on Ebay for the 717 which bears a strong resemblance to the sloping sides pictures in the Trenton Organ. I notice pistons in both pictures as well. See http://cgi.ebay.com/Conn-Organ-Model...item20aef2c285

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  • twnelson
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    Ah, the great Conn 'church' instruments. Worked on at least one if the following over the years as a tech:</p>

    <u>700 'Artist' Series</u>
    </p>

    All 2 manual instruments.
    </p>

    There were several models in the range below the 720, the 710 being the most common I saw. All were 61 note 2m, 25 note flat pedalboard. Plate keyed tube oscillators with 75VDC on the key contacts. Burned a few holes in the ends of my fingers when carelessly cleaning the contacts.
    </p>

    The 720 came along around 1967 and was the first true AGO Artist model. Tube oscillators with transistor diapason and flute keyers, vinyl rod direct keying for strings and reeds. Rocker stop controls, single expression, no presets.</p>

    The 721 arrived around 1972 and was the first all solid-state Artist. Stop keys w/ rocker controls on the keycheeks, blind presets, flute chiff, split expression. Installed several of these in churches.
    </p>

    Conn then regressed to the 716 and 717 numbers for the last Artists in the late 70s. These were digitally keyed with a separate celeste generator, transposer, blind presets. The latter was a 'Kimball/Conn' and had a 32' pedal Bourdon.</p>

    <u>800 'Classic' Series</u></p>

    All were AGO consoles.</p>

    The 810 and 820 were stopkey 2m with plate keyed oscillators. As I recall, the 820 had split expression, but neither had presets.</p>

    The 825 arrived around 1967 and was similar to the 720 electrically, but it had a Klann 'clunker' tripper combination action, split expression, crescendo, and tutti piston. I owned one (bought it used from the Elkhart factory) for many years and still have most of the parts. The console's been recycled for Hauptwerk.
    </p>

    The 830 was the first and only 3m classic, with a stopkey console, and was built in two 'types' from around 1972 until the 1977 acquisition by Kimball. Both had diode keying systems, setterboard combination actions with moving tabs (SAMs), independent celeste oscillator, split expression, crescendo, tutti. The later Type 2 had enhanced reed and pedal voicing, and additional stops and couplers.</p>

    <u>900 'Custom' Series</u></p>

    As the name implies, customizable models. I only ever saw a 903, vintage 1967, which was a 3m AGO stopkey console with 4 sets of external tube oscillators (one celeste), all transistor keying, Klann tripper combination action, split expression, crescendo, tutti, 6 audio channels. Sounded exceptional considering its vintage.</p>

    </p>

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  • pipe64'
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    even though it's not a real pipe organ, i love that old Conn so much</p>

    it's the organ i grew up to in church, it's the organ that got me into organs</p>

    my parents had one of those old 500 pound magnavox console stereos that they bought in 64. then when i was like 9 or 10 (late 70s) i was looking through it and found an old Christmas record that our church put out. it was in polish and even though i can't speak polish i played that record hundreds of times just to hear the organ. it was an all male choir with a female organist, the pic on the album cover was black &amp; white (i posted a sample a few posts back)
    </p>

    first time i went to midnight mass was incredible. it always amazed me at how powerful the organ was with 1500 people singing silent night </p>

    the sad part is nobody is allowed up in the choir loft so i only got to see it twice. once when our nun teacher took us up there as a whole class and one other time i snuck up there as a kid to look around[6]</p>

    i was so happy to find those pics on their website and amazed that the same organ is still in use
    </p>

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  • Jay999
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    Honestly....I've been away from the old Conn Organ dealership I worked for, for so many years...I can't recall all the model numbers. Plus, I left the dealership in 1977, and there were other models that came along after that.</P>


    The current model (1977) in the two manual...32 pedal classic organ was....I believe...the 720. The three manual...32 pedal was an 830.</P>


    I have seen, from time to time, what appears to be a later model of the 720 (2 manual). The stop rail appeared to be a fancier back board. But I can't tell you what the model number of that organ was. I'm quite sure that the two and three manual organs were probably "updated" in the 1980s when digital keying was introduced. That era produced anupdated "Seranade"....(the old 634) intothe "Caribe", (new model 635) and was built on a theatre organ stop plan. The old 634 Serenade had a sister church organ (2 manual...25 pedal). Don't remember the model number of that organ...although I should, because I sold a lot of those church organs. Surely the church organ version was also updated when the 635 replaced the 634, and likewise, the "Classic" series....700 and 800 organs probably received an upgrade, just as the theatre models did....the 644 and 652.</P>


    Having said that, I haven't encounted any "updated" three manual...32 pedal models that would have replaced the 830. So I may be assuming that more changes got done, during the upgrade to digital keying, than actually happened.</P>

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  • OrgansR4Me
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    Jay, do you think there were different models in the 700 line? My 720 (now gone) and others I have encountered online had rectangular end caps at the end of the keydesk and rocker tab stops. I have seen some later Artists under other numbers.</P>


    At one early point there was a two manual classic. I had a record from Paul Mickelson demonstrating that particular model. It was one of the items I lost to mold in the Florida hurricane disaster of 2004 so I can't give you the specifics but I think it was released from Word records.</P>


    Rex Humbard's cathedral in Akron, Ohio was one of the first showcases for the Conn Pipes for those who have mentioned some of the more prestigious installations. I personally have been reluctant to invest in any even though a couple of my Conn's have had the connection. (Because I didn't pay that much for the who organ!) I was successful in using the circuit on my trinidad with some nice stereo speakers but recently blew the circuit trying to upgrade to some larger JBL's. The sound was awesome for a few moments and then suddenly I realized I'd blown the circuit. (That's a repair I'll be getting back to later).</P>

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  • Jay999
    replied
    Re: can anyone identify this organ ?



    In re-reading the posts about your Conn church organ...They are right, and I am wrong. The 700 series was a two manual "classic" organ. The 800 series was the three manual "classic" organ.</P>


    Yes, the organ probably receives good maintenance to play all these years. In one of the conversations about another church, where the priest elected to throw out a pipe organ instead of doing maintenance on it, and installing a Hammond.....well, that's one for the GREESE PIT! I just visited a fine old 125 year old pipe organ this past summer, where the bishop tried to get rid of this organ, and install an electronic, instead of rebuilding the pipe organ. In that church, the members of the choir battled the bishop's decision, and won.</P>


    Too many folks just look at the price to overhaul the old pipe organ, and forget the long term reward that an overhaul will return on the investment.</P>

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