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  • Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



    I found another possible practice organ that I haven't seen or heard and know nothing about so I'm asking the forum for help.</P>


    The preist said it was a Wurlitzer C-400 V that was actuallysold by and manufactured by Church Organs Systems.</P>


    He didn't know the date of manufacture but thought it was in the mid 90's. It has a console like I've never seen before...it almost looks European from the picture I saw. It has 3 manuals and about 52 ranks and has at least oneself contained speaker that I like because I have very little room for much else than a console. The are two external speakers (I believe he saidtwo A-100 Allen speakers) that come with the organ as well.</P>


    I'm wondering if the pedals will speak thru that self contained speaker as well.</P>


    The price is $4,000.</P>


    I'm also curious about parts and service should I get over my head trying to solve some service problem that might come up.</P>


    What do ya'll think??</P>


    Al</P>
    Allen T 12B

  • #2
    Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



    Hi Al,</p>

    The Wurli C-400 V is actually a Viscount product marketed and sold by Church Organ Systems. Hence the reason you might think it looked somewhat European. Date of manufacture is likely to be early 1990s rather than mid 1990s. </p>

    About the organ. Well it is not the greatest sounding organ ever produced, not even the best by Viscount. Too many stops, not enough hardware. Self-contained speakers not very good, external speakers can help a lot here. Electronics I believe are relatively stable. Typical problems, at the top of the list is likely to be the pedalboard. They were poorly screwed together, became very noisy, the open contact system became intermittent. Some of the benches begin to wobble over time. All problems like that are fixable if time and energy are spent on them. Bottom line, it looks better as furniture than it is a musical instrument.</p>

    As for technical and parts support, I suggest contacting Viscount Tech. The fellows name is Norm Ninneman, ph. # is (715)231-4096, e-mail is [email protected]</p>

    I should add, not all of the earlier generation Viscount Classical organs are equally well supported. That is because Church Organ Systems went broke, and didn't leave all that many parts behind. I'm sure Norm does his best to help out with older instruments.</p>

    AV
    </p>

    </p>

    </p>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



      I don't mind a little preventative maintenance from time to time. The Lord knows my TC 6 required a tuning touch up every few months.</P>


      What do you think it's really worth?</P>


      Thanks,</P>


      Al</P>
      Allen T 12B

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



        Al,</p>

        These days it is hard to peg a value on used organs. They are not highly in demand, and certainly older Viscount models are not the most sought after used organs. Because it is a 3 manual and has lighted drawstops it could sell for a bit more. </p>

        I would contact the Viscount tech. person first and ask him about the state of support for this model. If it is good, then I would consider paying somewhat more. If it is really low, I wouldn't spend much at all on it.</p>

        My guess is an organ like this is worth at the very most $3,500 for a good working, good looking specimen. More likely a decent price is around $2,500 to $3,000. If the organ has any kind of electronic problem with it, I would look at something else.</p>

        AV
        </p>

        </p>

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



          Dear Al, </P>


          The Wurlitzer C400 is based on 8 bit linear sampling. Without going into great detail, it roughly means that the flutes are very nice, as are some of the principals. If you use reeds, you must do so sparingly or the sound will become overly harsh. If you like to play in the English style, coupling 8' flue stops with the occasional 4' added (Voluntaries by Stanley, e.g.) or a liturgical-style instrument, it is quite remarkable. One can vary the tuning from manual to manual and pedal by means of small knobs under the keydesk. The swell Oboe is very nice as a solo, too! The a/b voicing also provides a little extra variety.</P>


          Good luck, Eric</P>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



            Dear Arie V and others who give colorful opinions of digital organs,</P>


            I have read, with interestthe comments on Viscount organs. Not every negative comment has been factual. I represented the product while employed directly by both Mr. Kuhn, now with Rodgers! and as a direct Baldwin employee. I have installed over 60 organs in churches, many of which were made by the Viscount firm. I am proud of every installation, some with pipe augmentation.I am also a trained organist and church musician with considerable knowledge on pipe organ building. Firstly,It should bestated that the Viscount company is a reputable company. I have toured the plant in Italy and have dined with the Galanti family. (The brother of the Ahlborn-Galanti) They have always employed alarge number of technicians in their Research and Development.Viscountis known to many as a field-serviceable instrument, as can be attested to by Mr.Norm Ninneman, their U.S.head technician. Digital organs since the 1990s, and trust me--I have played hundreds, have always had positive and negative aspects. These are most quickly pointed out by the salespeople who represent them! We really need not engage in arguing that one is ultimately superior to another. A good and creative organist almost always can find a way to make them pleasant sounding and, above all, musical.I am always disappointed by organists who "trash" one brand while singing the praises of another. Each brand with its various step-up features from one price level to the next will have enticements to organists. If there is tio be any validity in comparing one brand to another, it should be done with a non-biased checklist of features, such as:</P>


            <U>Ensemble</U> (How well do stops combine toterrace toan organ pleno or full organ?) <U>Variety</U> (Do even the flue stops at all pitches sound different from eachother?) <U>Presence</U> (Does the sound appear too "far off" or does it physically move the listener?) <U>Quality</U> of individual stops. (How does the 8' Principal, e.g., sound as a solo stop?)<U>Warmthand richness of tone</U> (Not just from detuning or"chorus" effects) <U>Wide number of good solo stops</U>,mutations, cornets. <U>Authenticorgan touch</U>(Personal preferences may be subjective here) </P>


            Besides these, consider the room the organ is in. How much reverb? Most importantly, play several pipe organsin your area that are noteworthy instruments in-tune and fully functioning.Listen carefully to each stop, and slowly add stops to built up an ensemble. Take the time. Do the research.Playorgans by European pipe organ builders,or if not available, listen toCD recordings.These instruments have withstood thetest of time and have benefitted from years of apprenticeship in voicing and practice.</P>


            Let's all be kinder to one another. Imagine how the owner of one brand or organ may feel as their instrument of choice is berated by fellow organist. Each organ company is doing their very best to produce instruments of integrity. The tonal designers usually take great pride in developing sounds that are authentic and musical. Agree to disagree, but in good fellowship and as Martin Luther was noted to have said, "Put the best possible construction on everything." </P>


            Sincerely,</P>


            Les Aire</P>

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mod,el C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



              Dear Mr. Aire,</P>


              A few threads below you find one with a title like "Relatively total ignoramus paster needs help with new organ."</P>


              Perhaps you can help him get repairs for his church's Baldwin/Viscount.</P>


              It sounds as though they are in pretty dire straits.</P>

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?

                [quote user="Les Aire"]

                Dear Arie V and others who give colorful opinions of digital organs,</p>


                I have read, with interestthe comments on Viscount organs. Not every negative comment has been factual. I represented the product while employed directly by both Mr. Kuhn, now with Rodgers! and as a direct Baldwin employee. I have installed over 60 organs in churches, many of which were made by the Viscount firm. I am proud of every installation, some with pipe augmentation.I am also a trained organist and church musician with considerable knowledge on pipe organ building. Firstly,It should bestated that the Viscount company is a reputable company. I have toured the plant in Italy and have dined with the Galanti family. (The brother of the Ahlborn-Galanti) They have always employed alarge number of technicians in their Research and Development.Viscountis known to many as a field-serviceable instrument, as can be attested to by Mr.Norm Ninneman, their U.S.head technician. Digital organs since the 1990s, and trust me--I have played hundreds, have always had positive and negative aspects. These are most quickly pointed out by the salespeople who represent them! We really need not engage in arguing that one is ultimately superior to another. A good and creative organist almost always can find a way to make them pleasant sounding and, above all, musical.I am always disappointed by organists who "trash" one brand while singing the praises of another. Each brand with its various step-up features from one price level to the next will have enticements to organists. If there is tio be any validity in comparing one brand to another, it should be done with a non-biased checklist of features, such as:</p>


                <u>Ensemble</u> (How well do stops combine toterrace toan organ pleno or full organ?) <u>Variety</u> (Do even the flue stops at all pitches sound different from eachother?) <u>Presence</u> (Does the sound appear too "far off" or does it physically move the listener?) <u>Quality</u> of individual stops. (How does the 8' Principal, e.g., sound as a solo stop?)<u>Warmthand richness of tone</u> (Not just from detuning or"chorus" effects) <u>Wide number of good solo stops</u>,mutations, cornets. <u>Authenticorgan touch</u>(Personal preferences may be subjective here) </p>


                Besides these, consider the room the organ is in. How much reverb? Most importantly, play several pipe organsin your area that are noteworthy instruments in-tune and fully functioning.Listen carefully to each stop, and slowly add stops to built up an ensemble. Take the time. Do the research.Playorgans by European pipe organ builders,or if not available, listen toCD recordings.These instruments have withstood thetest of time and have benefitted from years of apprenticeship in voicing and practice.</p>


                Let's all be kinder to one another. Imagine how the owner of one brand or organ may feel as their instrument of choice is berated by fellow organist. Each organ company is doing their very best to produce instruments of integrity. The tonal designers usually take great pride in developing sounds that are authentic and musical. Agree to disagree, but in good fellowship and as Martin Luther was noted to have said, "Put the best possible construction on everything." </p>


                Sincerely,</p>


                Les Aire</p>

                [/quote]</p>

                Hi Les Aire,</p>

                Just to say, that I am more familiar with the Baldwin/COS than you might think. I service them. I helped install a bunch of them. On top of that for about 2 years I had a C-400 at my disposal. As your conluding quote says, "put the best possible construction on everything" - if Viscount had of followed that maxim both in terms of build quality as well as sound quality in the early 90s, they may very well have succeeded in building a good reputation for the brand, in North America. In my humble opinion, the first digital Viscounts (C-250, C-300, D-912 etc) were better sounding than the later ones. Reason, they made the stop list bigger, reduced the hardware. Then they introduced a whole line of Alpha or "A" series organs. These organs were advertised by Dewey Kuhn as "the lowest priced organs on the market that meet AGO specifications with the quality and sound of a higher priced organ" You can guess what they did, they cheapened it further, cheap components, very little tone generating hardware, very inexpensive internal audio system, etc. There was so much blending of stops, so few samples, so many stops, and all shoved through inexpensive full range speakers. To say they sounded poor is an understatement. It should be added, that the early digitals were not really voiceable. Then they came out with the "B" series, which lasted for a very short time. Better sounding, you could pick your samples, and make some rudimentary adjustments. </p>

                Viscount really didn't improve much until about 1997, when they introduced the Prestige 5xx series organs. They were a definite improvement. But for a long time it seemed to me anyway, they were selling off a warehouse of the older "C" organs - all legacy stuff from Baldwin Piano and Organ. Also, it seems to me that COS pushed harder the models of the Prestige 4xx series, which were still poor sounding instruments.</p>

                If Viscount had of followed your check-list for building organs, I am sure that they would be much more respected today than they are. This always "we have the lowest price" stuff, is nothing but a race to the bottom.</p>

                Certainly, the latest Prestige organs are fine instruments, and even the Vivace organs are a major step forward from the cheapie models from the 90s.</p>

                AV
                </p>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



                  @Les Aire: I really appreciate your words, they're wise. It is uncommon to read something similar on these forums. It could be said, that the organ is a business rather than an instrument for most of the companies. In my experience that's not quite true. Many employees, techs, and executives are committed to their work and try to produce good organs to make good music. Again, in my experience, most people try to do good.</p>

                  That has exceptions, of course. I would of course say that it stands mainly for custom organ builders, small companies and so on.</p>

                  Just an example, I would say: should an organ produced by a multinational company such as Roland (i.e. Rodgers) be made with the same passion as the one made by a custom builder? I'd probably say not. Despite it may sound good or not. And despite your next door salesman is for sure a nice person which love organ music.</p>

                  @Arie V: I don't believe old Viscount instruments were made cheapish for a mere business logic. Maybe they found during decades easily to sell in the lower end market, while other targets were already covered or maybe they just lacked some quality inspection procedure. Quality is a keyword today, because economy has changed. Now we have every possible kind of certification against quality of production, quality of procedure, management for quality, quality of workers environment, bla bla. But 30 years ago everyone thought it was right to produce and sell as much as they could. Now with the Chinese colossus everywhere we know the importance of quality. Think about food: who cared about genuine organic food 20 years ago? Now is a must have!</p>

                  So to recap: if you look into Viscount history (as well as other's) they started changing their perspective towards higher quality standards. If you compare the supposedly insufficient electronics they put on early digitals A, B, C series organs with the powerful one they put in a Unico organ, well, you see they shifted to a different perspective. It needed from Prestige to Unico to change and it'll need even more time to change our opinion, but I think they're on the good way.</p>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Model C-400 V Baldwin-Wurlitzer?



                    For what it's worth, I own a Wurlitzer C-380, which is essentially similar to the C-400 (They share the same owner's manual). I would agree, the internal speakers are not very good. But with external amps and speakers, I think the sound is magnificent given what I paid for it. I am happy with it generally, and have never needed service (I have had it about 4 years). I see what Arie means about the pedal board, but that is something I can rebuild if necessary. It is a bargain for a MIDI instrument. I paid about $3800 from a dealer with delivery and 90 day warranty. It is probably worth less today. The C-400 has drawknobs, which is more desirable, but otherwise, they are nearly the same. </P>


                    Before I bought it, I called Norm Ninneman, the only known tech in the upper midwest for these organs. He was quite helpful, and was willing to make the lengthly trek from Baldwin, Wisconsin to St. Cloud, Minnesota if the instrument ever needed service. I have been told that the 380-400 models were quite good for their time, much better than other instruments in the Viscount line.. </P>


                    I hope this is helpful.</P>


                    Gary</P>
                    Gary

                    Wurlitzer/Viscount C-380 3 manual with Conn pipes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is this organ a FULL MIDI organ, meaning (to me anyway) the pedals, all manuals and expressions are 'midified'??
                      Thank you'all, I truly admire your expertise!

                      Mike


                      Originally posted by arie v View Post
                      Hi Al,</p>

                      The Wurli C-400 V is actually a Viscount product marketed and sold by Church Organ Systems. Hence the reason you might think it looked somewhat European. Date of manufacture is likely to be early 1990s rather than mid 1990s. </p>

                      About the organ. Well it is not the greatest sounding organ ever produced, not even the best by Viscount. Too many stops, not enough hardware. Self-contained speakers not very good, external speakers can help a lot here. Electronics I believe are relatively stable. Typical problems, at the top of the list is likely to be the pedalboard. They were poorly screwed together, became very noisy, the open contact system became intermittent. Some of the benches begin to wobble over time. All problems like that are fixable if time and energy are spent on them. Bottom line, it looks better as furniture than it is a musical instrument.</p>

                      As for technical and parts support, I suggest contacting Viscount Tech. The fellows name is Norm Ninneman, ph. # is (715)231-4096, e-mail is [email protected]</p>

                      I should add, not all of the earlier generation Viscount Classical organs are equally well supported. That is because Church Organ Systems went broke, and didn't leave all that many parts behind. I'm sure Norm does his best to help out with older instruments.</p>

                      AV
                      </p>

                      </p>

                      </p>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mike, I have the C400 and can verify the manuals and pedals are midi-fied, but I don't know about the expression pedals. The manual says nothing about it and I haven't had the occasion to try it yet.
                        Viscount C400 3-manual
                        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi,

                          From the schematics, it looks like the expression shoes are wired into the data stream, rather than the mixer board, so my guess is, yes the expression shoes put out MIDI.

                          Also, the keyboards have single contacts, rather than double, so no velocity data is generated.

                          AV
                          Last edited by arie v; 02-07-2017, 11:28 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for adding that Arie, that would be good if that's the case.

                            Amusingly I saw this on eBay ...

                            https://www.ebay.com/itm/172503369704

                            This must be a later version than mine, as it has two more swell drawknobs and has four mysterious tabs in the middle above the swell manual.
                            Viscount C400 3-manual
                            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi,

                              Yes, the listing is likely 2nd production of that model, which may also be known as C-400 V.V. Or it may be a C-440.

                              The changes made were vari-voice (hence the V.V.) for each division, and adding a Trumpet 4' and Tierce 1 3/5' on the Swell.

                              AV

                              The

                              Comment

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