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Why are lovely and amazing used organs suddenly going begging for takers?

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    Why are lovely and amazing used organs suddenly going begging for takers?

    I notice that just in the past few days we've had threads here on the forum pointing us to some extremely nice used Allen organs, some of the most elaborate and well-appointed models I've ever seen up for sale. For example ...

    There is a thread going right now about a beautiful MDS-80S in California that can be had for $40K, and that includes 14 speaker cabinets. Gorgeous white oak console with all-white drawknobs. Amps in the console so that one only needs room for the console itself and the 14 speakers. So it's quite suitable for a home with a large music room, or for any church with good-sized chambers. You couldn't buy a new organ like that for $150K. Maybe $200K.

    Another thread concerns an ADC-4000, which in itself is not a terribly remarkable organ. First generation ADC with standard basic stoplist, but with four-channel audio, divided expression, complete capture action. No 32' stops or Festival Trumpet, but otherwise a good enough set of stops. The remarkable thing is that this one must have been custom-built by Allen for some massive auditorium or public venue of some kind, as it comes with not four, but EIGHT S-100 amps, and SIXTEEN HC-12 speakers (though they are in need of re-coning all around). It also includes an elaborate reverb system and a full set of antiphonal relays. Even though a modest organ from today's line would have at least as good a stoplist, all this extra audio would be worth well over $20K by itself if new.

    It's just kinda sad and unsettling to see instruments of this caliber and size being offered and having no takers. I sure wish I had the money, the space, the time to go and get these. I'd sure love to have both of them. But to be honest, I haven't had a great deal of luck re-selling any kind of large church organs the past couple of years.
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Rodgers Allegiant 677 with expanded four-channel audio
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

    #2
    Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
    I notice that just in the past few days we've had threads here on the forum pointing us to some extremely nice used Allen organs, some of the most elaborate and well-appointed models I've ever seen up for sale. For example ...

    There is a thread going right now about a beautiful MDS-80S in California that can be had for $40K, and that includes 14 speaker cabinets. Gorgeous white oak console with all-white drawknobs. Amps in the console so that one only needs room for the console itself and the 14 speakers. So it's quite suitable for a home with a large music room, or for any church with good-sized chambers. You couldn't buy a new organ like that for $150K. Maybe $200K.

    Another thread concerns an ADC-4000, which in itself is not a terribly remarkable organ. First generation ADC with standard basic stoplist, but with four-channel audio, divided expression, complete capture action. No 32' stops or Festival Trumpet, but otherwise a good enough set of stops. The remarkable thing is that this one must have been custom-built by Allen for some massive auditorium or public venue of some kind, as it comes with not four, but EIGHT S-100 amps, and SIXTEEN HC-12 speakers (though they are in need of re-coning all around). It also includes an elaborate reverb system and a full set of antiphonal relays. Even though a modest organ from today's line would have at least as good a stoplist, all this extra audio would be worth well over $20K by itself if new.

    It's just kinda sad and unsettling to see instruments of this caliber and size being offered and having no takers. I sure wish I had the money, the space, the time to go and get these. I'd sure love to have both of them. But to be honest, I haven't had a great deal of luck re-selling any kind of large church organs the past couple of years.
    Where did you see these organs?

    Comment


      #3
      I'm guessing the people who might be interested in them don't live near enough to want to spend the time and money to get them. I spent about $1000 just getting my 305-B to Dallas from Alabama, and another $1000 to get it working well.

      David

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        I notice that just in the past few days we've had threads here on the forum pointing us to some extremely nice used Allen organs, some of the most elaborate and well-appointed models I've ever seen up for sale. For example ...

        There is a thread going right now about a beautiful MDS-80S in California that can be had for $40K, and that includes 14 speaker cabinets. Gorgeous white oak console with all-white drawknobs. Amps in the console so that one only needs room for the console itself and the 14 speakers. So it's quite suitable for a home with a large music room, or for any church with good-sized chambers. You couldn't buy a new organ like that for $150K. Maybe $200K.

        Another thread concerns an ADC-4000, which in itself is not a terribly remarkable organ. First generation ADC with standard basic stoplist, but with four-channel audio, divided expression, complete capture action. No 32' stops or Festival Trumpet, but otherwise a good enough set of stops. The remarkable thing is that this one must have been custom-built by Allen for some massive auditorium or public venue of some kind, as it comes with not four, but EIGHT S-100 amps, and SIXTEEN HC-12 speakers (though they are in need of re-coning all around). It also includes an elaborate reverb system and a full set of antiphonal relays. Even though a modest organ from today's line would have at least as good a stoplist, all this extra audio would be worth well over $20K by itself if new.

        It's just kinda sad and unsettling to see instruments of this caliber and size being offered and having no takers. I sure wish I had the money, the space, the time to go and get these. I'd sure love to have both of them. But to be honest, I haven't had a great deal of luck re-selling any kind of large church organs the past couple of years.
        I feel just as you do, John. So much talk about the decline in use of church organs, and in the number of organists- I certainly can't add anything to that.
        It would be nice to think that both these organs you spoke of are on the market because the church got a newer digital, or a pipe organ, but likely not. Things are SO different from 1970 when I started as a church organist, and 1973 when I started in the organ business...
        For a glimmer of hope, as I write I'm downloading Allen's new Youtube vid ("Church Organ Basics") which has something to do with pianists learning to play church organ. Dare I hope that this- church pianists switching to organ- will help keep alive the centuries-old tradition of organ music in churches?
        Pax, Bill

        Comment


          #5
          Radagast,

          Here are the current threads that refer to these two organs:

          http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...-HC12-speakers

          http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...S-in-San-Diego
          John
          ----------
          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
          Home: Rodgers Allegiant 677 with expanded four-channel audio
          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


            #6
            Bill,

            It's great to know that Allen has put up a video aimed at helping pianists make the transition to organ. I only hope that will encourage some to try it.

            Almost every month we run across some church with only one organist left, and he/she is 80+ years old, with no replacement in sight. Sometimes the church will have some good pianists, but they seem reluctant to even try the organ. Many reasons could be behind that reluctance -- maybe they are just afraid because of the pedals, the stops, the multiple keyboards, and such that they don't understand, or maybe they have a bad impression of organ-playing in general, especially if the present organist either was never much good or else has gone downhill badly due to age or growing disability, or maybe they've bought into the line that the "church growth movement" is pushing that "you can't grow a church with an organ in the building."

            But these are days for those of us who relish the organ to enjoy the bounty that is ours! We have unprecedented opportunities to buy amazingly big and complete organs for a small fraction of their original cost, many of these sounding practically as good as the best current models. And we have the Virtual Pipe Organ route, making it possible to try out the world's most interesting and exciting historic organs with little more than a decent computer attached to almost any midi-fied organ console. (Much cheaper than the airline tickets to travel to all these great places!)

            It's just sad that our surfeit of opportunity is coming on the heels of this unfortunate loss of interest in the organ by a major chunk of the church world.
            John
            ----------
            Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
            Home: Rodgers Allegiant 677 with expanded four-channel audio
            Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
            Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


              #7
              Well said, John, and many thanks.
              Bill

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                Radagast,

                Here are the current threads that refer to these two organs:

                http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...-HC12-speakers

                http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...S-in-San-Diego
                Oops, I should have looked more. I noticed it has 6 divisions. Does the "S" in the model number mean it has a string division?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Being the curious lad that I am I Googled the MDS-80S to look for photos of other instruments of this model. I came across one that looked quite like the white one discussed above with 4 expression pedals and a crescendo pedal:

                  http://allenorganstudioaugusta.com/i...page=install11

                  Then I saw this one also claiming to be an MDS-80S but the drawknob complement is not the same and it only has 2 expression pedals.

                  http://www.music.stmaryseastbourne.com/4.html

                  And curiously, the Allen web site has a manual for the MDS-70S but not the MDS-80S.

                  Since there are no tilting tablets or stop tabs over the solo manual, one can speculate that the 3rd section of the left stop jamb is for general functions, not a 6th division, as speculated by Radagast.

                  So what else do we know about this lovely instrument? What does the "S" stand for in the model number and what do those extra drawknobs control?
                  Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

                  Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
                  Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
                  Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    An organ tuner told me last Friday that Southen Baptist Seminary in Louisville had closed the organ pedagogy program and sold off the organs.
                    My American Baptist chuch has stopped playing the Rodgers, and "everybody" prefers the sound of a ***** oriental keyboard played through $50 speakers. I've stopped singing. I've offered to donate some speakers with real sound, but the music committee only want devices that are new, and only from the company that invented music, Yamaha.
                    At the country church where I play piano in the summer, attendance is up 70% if the guitar player is bringning his guitar playing friend to do a special. The six people that like my piano playing are over 70 years old.
                    These organs you mention, don't sound as if they would fit through a house door. Besides the $1000's it takes to go get one. One stupid speaker the schober console and the bench pretty much filled up the 10' U-haul van, with the dollies & ramps necessary to load it. $.85 a mile instead of $.60. to rent the truck with the built in ramp. It was $200 just to go 80 miles one way.
                    When it comes to promoting the organ as an instrument, those vile performances they sell at funeral homes leave a bad taste in everybody's mouth. Hideous contraptions.
                    Last edited by indianajo; 02-18-2016, 04:08 AM.
                    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I would have to agree heartily with many of the comments that y'all have posted here. Church organists are becoming a dying breed of musician, I think. I've been saying this now for the past 10 years, but I think its only been in the past three to five years that I'm REALLY seeing this become reality for so many of us who love it. The old Lutheran church across the street from my house is all but finished (20 people attending). I was the last organist to play in a service. I had to stop at the end of August 2015 (due my commitment to play organ in my own church) and the organ has not been touched since then. They had to hire a pianist. My home church of 24 years always had an organist every Sunday, and now they are lucky to have it played once every five to six weeks according to my parents who still attend there. I'm glad that my own church still uses it every week. I think that the church has morphed in many ways, and the continued presence of "praise and worship" music has kicked out so many of the traditional hymns. In many people's minds, no hymns=no need for an organ. I do not necessarily agree with this.

                      We are definitely seeing a bounty for those of us who love these instruments. I personally think we'll continue to see prices go down on the used ones. I'm still waiting for that big huge organ that I can somehow squeeze into my living space. I'll probably blow out the windows and drive my neighbors crazy, but I'd be in seventh heaven while doing it!
                      Craig

                      Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

                      Comment


                        #12
                        To answer a question, the "S" at the end of the MDS-80-S refers to "sub and super couplers" being available on the instrument. That is what the "S" always means in MDS models. I'm not sure just how many of the MDS models were offered in an "S" version, but I see on the tech site that several of them are so listed.

                        Because of polyphony limits, Allen digitals normally didn't have sub and super couplers. So, in the MDS era, Allen devised a work-around and started offering these "S" versions of some of their models. These models would have both 4' and 16' intra-manual couplers on the swell, and the swell could also be coupled to the great and/or pedal at these pitches.

                        The way it worked, there were in fact duplicate copies of most of the swell stops residing on extra tone generator boards in the cage, but these duplicates were pitched an octave above and below the unison stops. So, drawing the sub or super coupler or both would actually bring in additional stops from the extra tone generator boards. Not every stop in the stoplist would have duplicates, so some would not respond to the sub and super couplers (notably the 16' stops and the very high pitched stops). It also should be noted that the duplicate ranks would not necessarily be as "good" as the unison ranks, as they might be relegated to a board that carried more stops or they might use a simpler sample without the detailed attacks or wind of the unison stop.

                        But this was an interesting way to provide these sub and super couplers that other builders, such as Rodgers, had always had, at least in their larger organs. I'm sure there are technical reasons having to do with the way their tone generators work, why Rodgers could do this with their system and Allen could not without going to the extra trouble of having more boards.

                        Why was the sub/super feature an option and not standard? Well, it obviously required a lot more resources be used for the swell division (other divisions were not normally equipped with these couplers). That cost money of course. And the models without the sub/super feature could have "second voices" residing on the boards that were otherwise occupied by the couplers. Our MDS-45 at church is an example of that. No sub/supers, but both swell and great have second voice knobs which convert a number of the stops into alternative stops. On the swell, these alternates are orchestra tones, and on the great they are percussion stops such as chimes, handbells, chrysoglott, harpsichord, etc.
                        John
                        ----------
                        Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                        Home: Rodgers Allegiant 677 with expanded four-channel audio
                        Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                        Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by indianajo View Post
                          I've offered to donate some speakers with real sound, but the music committee only want devices that are new, and only from the company that invented music, Yamaha.
                          Can anyone confirm or deny that Yamaha got its start in digital tone sampling by obtaining permission to use Allen's tone sampling patents?

                          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


                            #14
                            According to Jerome Markowitz's book, Yahama licensed Allen's patents after protracted negotiations and threats of suits and countersuits.
                            http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post397659
                            Last edited by Admin; 02-18-2016, 01:34 PM. Reason: added link
                            -Admin

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

                            Comment


                              #15
                              musicfan
                              send me a private message, have 4m organ

                              Comment

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