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Allen Pipe Interface system

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  • Allen Pipe Interface system

    I occasionally like to look at the "organ of the week" on Allen's website. Some are really beautiful consoles and some are very plain and almost embarrassing. This week, there is a very plain-looking protege being delivered that is equipped with a pipe organ interface. That turns a boring-looking Protege into something pretty cool! If anyone here is well-versed in Allen-ology, this question is for you.

    Can Allen's "Pipe Interface System" be installed in older Allen organs (like MDS, ADC or even MOS2)?

    I have a small pipe organ that needs a console and if a used Allen MDS could be used as the console and also add reeds and mixtures, that would be really good!

  • #2

    I don't think Allen ever promoted the idea of pipes with their organs until at least the MDS era. Most of their organs up until the MDS series were not microprocessor controlled (and did not have MIDI). Allen believed strongly, and advertised their digital organs as a new "third kind or organ".

    During the MDS era they did build a number of hybrids. They have a little combination organ sitting in the lobby of the corporate headquarters. I guess the very idea of losing sales to Rodgers hybrid organs, cost them some sleep, so they started doing their own pipe organ relays.

    However, I do think that any MDS organ to have pipes added at this stage, would mean at minimum some software changes, and possibly some hardware changes as well. Then the chamber electronics would need to be engineered and built, by Allen. I remember talking to an Allen dealer once, and he was astonished at how expensive the Allen pipe organ relay stuff was.

    If you want to go that route, I would suggest getting a modern digital organ, say less than 10 years old, one where the stops are configurable, and use a MIDI based relay. Would be cheaper.



    • #3
      I agree with arie v. It would be too expensive to go with an Allen interface, and I'm not sure if Allen would be willing to supply it because of the age of the MDS series. I sold Allen Organs for 10 years. Allen built a pipe interface for one of my existing MDS-60 installations. It was expensive, and software/hardware modifications were necessary on-site. Arie's suggestion of a modern digital organ is what I would choose.


      • #4
        This was something I looked into when I wanted to integrate my large carillon system (like having 5 ranks of pipes, effectively) into my ADC-6000. One could easily buy the tabs and use a third party relay (I'm using Artisan) and MIDI based driver boards. One board acts as the relay in its entirety. Since MDS has built in MIDI, if additional tabs could be interfaced into the organ (I know the capture action on my ADC can handle quite a few more tabs) then you would just need rank driver MIDI boards at the other end.

        Allen MDS-41-S with MIDI-DIVISION-II
        Schulmerich Carillon Americana - 61 notes Flemish / Harp / Celesta / Quadra / Minor Tierce
        - MIDI Retrofit finally underway & Moller console in need of refurbishment
        Schulmerich Campanile Digital Carillon (Cast & Harp)