Forum Top Banner Ad


Ebay Classic organs



No announcement yet.

Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models

    Can anyone give me some advice on what kind of an organ to search for? I am looking for a nice used Allen organ. I like the sound of Allens, and we also have a local Allen rep. and technician. We don't have a lot of money to spend on an organ, but we REALLY need a good-sounding organ to help our music program. </p>

    I am finding ADC models for sale all over the place. I realize that this is older technology, and my technician said that it would be considerably more expensive to repair. But the upside is that I can find these for sale, and we can afford to buy one right now. </p>

    On the other hand, I have been advised to look for a newer model, ie. MDS model. . ., but they are not as easy to locate and they are still a little pricier than we have the money for at present. </p>

    When all factors are added together (sound quality, repair cost, purchase price. . .) would it be advantageous for me to wait until we can afford an MDS or newer model? Did the technology change from the '80s to the '90s really improve the sound of the instrument considerably?

  • #2
    Re: Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models


    I am not really an Allen afficionado, but service the odd one.</p>

    From what I can tell, the late model ADC (i,e, 4300, 5300, 6300 etc.) don't sound all that different from the MDS organs. I'm sure there are some improvements though. I believe during the MDS period, Allen got rid of the card reader, and came out with an out-board tone module.</p>

    Also, I believe with the MDS series, they started to exclusively use console control computers, and had much better MIDI implementation because of that.</p>

    The ADC organs as well as MDS were screwdriver adjust organs, in other words the organs were more hardware intensive than software. This changed with the Rennaisance models.</p>

    For some reason I find Allen jumped ahead tonally with the late ADC organs, and I do not find that even the Rennaisance an improvement over them.</p>

    Late ADC organs are probably the "best buy" used organs made by Allen these days.</p>



    • #3
      Re: Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models

      I'd agree with Arie that the later ADC models are very similar in sound to MDS. Arie and I have had considerable dialogue about early ADC vs late ADC, and he's less impressed with early modelsthan I am. </P>

      My own church recently got a used 1984-built ADC4000 and I think it's quite wonderful, even though it's one of the first ADC models out of the factory. And my business partner has an ADC3100 in his church which was built in 1985, and it sounds great. However, Ihave heardother early ADC models that do seem a little lacking. </P>

      But when you get to the last ADC models produced, such as the 4300, there is a definite change -- Allen introduced a new type of chiff and wind noise generator that definitely raised the bar on authenticity, and the overall sound seems crisper.</P>

      MDS models can be roughlydivided into two groups --with card reader,and post-card reader. The models with card readers are barely distinguishable from lateADC except for the MIDI functionality.The internal workings are different, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference in sound. But then MDS morphed into the "W-5" models that abandoned the card reader and consolidated the tone generation into "sandwich" stylegenerator modulesinstead of multiple cards in horizontal cages. These represent the peak of the MDS era.Like Arie, I think these can sound as good as Renaissance.</P>

      MIDI was not fully implemented until the MDS era, so if you want really serious MIDI capability you might want to go with an MDS. I don't think even the current models have any more advanced MIDI than the MDS series.</P>

      However, basic MIDI will be found on late ADC models, and even the earliest ADC models can be equipped with basic MIDI through the addition of a single board, still available from Allen at a reasonable cost. It's just that the basic MIDI implementation of the ADC era does not send or receive expression or stop changes, so sequencing is not practical. If all you want is to send MIDI note info to an external module, the basic MIDI of ADC models is good enough. (ADC models also do not send transposer data on the MIDI stream, but there is an add-on board to do that, if it's important to you.)</P>

      Since ADC models are older, you're more likely to find the speakers worn out. When our church got the ADC4000, the four HC-12 speakers than came with it were completely shot -- woofer cones and mid-range cones all rotten. However, after about 1985 Allen used HC-14 or HC-15 units which do not have foam woofers, and they should still be good, though the mid-range may have rotten foam. Speakers can be repaired or replaced at reasonable cost, so that's not a huge issue, just something to be aware of.</P>

      You might post some of the offers you've seen in your area and maybe someone will be able to say something specific about a given model and the asking price. I do hope you'll find something suitable soon and start enjoying it. Best of luck.</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!


      • #4
        Re: Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models

        You mention the availability of an Allen technician. He might be an excellent source for information on an organ in your vicinity. Perhaps he remembers a formerly regular customer that isn't having service anymore. This can be a sign of a church not using its organ and many are glad to get them out of the building in such cases.</P>

        Most tech's are very sensitive to the budget needs of small groups and individuals with limited funding (just ask the ones here on our forum who provide us such valuable advice). I'm sure yours would feel very gratified to be able to get a good organ a good home!</P>


        • #5
          Re: Help--Allen ADC vs. MDS models

          Thank you all for your helpful advice. Most of the ADC models I have seen are just the obvious listings on the online classifieds like ebay. You know, ADC8300 for $12,000, ADC7300 for $8,900, or ADC6000 for $8,750. I haven't found anything in my area yet.