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  • Allen T15A

    Hi guys, I'm planning to go pick up an Allen T15A to use as a practice organ. I was originally hoping for something with an AGO pedalboard, but the more I thought about it I figured the smaller profile of the T15A would be a better fit for a home organ - especially since it's self-contained. Plus, it's in beautiful condition (coming from a church, predictably); and the price is certainly right.

    My question is about adapting it further. I'm thinking of either MIDI-fying it or, just as a short term solution, adding a headphone jack so I can practice at any hour. Is anyone familiar enough with this model to know whether either of those options are feasible? Either way I want to keep the original sounds intact, even though they're very early analogue/electronic -- this baby is loaded with specialty stops like bells, carillon, etc., which I've been quite impressed with on other Allens of the same era.

    thanks for any thoughts-
    td
    Nobody loves me but my mother,
    And she could be jivin' too...

    --BB King

  • #2
    MIDI-fying on an older model would require soldering on every note to connect to a MIDI box. All the contact busses are in use for the electronic circuit so I'm not sure where your contact point would be. I started my vintage career with an S15 (same organ but tube driven) and yes it has a most impressive sound for its time. Tends a little to the theatrical when they gyro is used. I used to play mine late at night and I think the other family members found it soothing. You won't get the full effect through headphones since the gyro action is acoustic. Just keep the tone smooth and soft. That instrument can fill a room easily without rocking the walls. Save your Phantom of the Opera registrations for afternoons.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your thoughts, OR4Me. So it sounds like MIDI is a non-starter on this one; no problem, I was really more immediately interested in the prospect of a headphone mod. (Your point about quiet, soothing registrations is well taken by the way; my schedule just happens to work out so that my best practice slot is often at 1 am, when others are trying to sleep!)

      So, my follow-up question would be: is the T15A properly two-channel? From pictures it looks like there's an internal Gyrophonic, plus a stationary 15" woofer (at least). So I'm wondering if that works out to a two-channel setup, with e.g. Flutes/Main and Complex voices, or whether it's one channel and the lows are just directed to the woofer to protect the little 8-inch guys in the Gyro - ? The reason I ask is, I have a rackmount Leslie sim module that could substitute for the Gyro in a headphone scenario. I even have a little Behringer mixer I could press into service if need be... but obviously there's a point where this might begin to become too complicated to be worth the trouble.

      Anyway just kind of thinking out loud here... thanks again-
      td
      Nobody loves me but my mother,
      And she could be jivin' too...

      --BB King

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      • #4
        I sacrificed the service literature to a dealer when I traded my S15 for a Hammond Colonnade so I'm sorry to say I don't have access to check the schematics any longer. (There is one set of booklets for the entire analog line. The set is very rarely sold on Ebay. If you should come accross such an auction I highly recommend the books) I do recall that it was a dual generator: Flutes/Strings and through filtering all the voices you would consider "main" were from the second generator. I believe all the voices were directed to the gyro when it was activated. You would have to locate information on the PinOut to locate the signal into the Leslie and possibly install a halfmoon switch to choose between the original and your new path. It would create the same kind of circuit as an echo which is the pole you would use on the half moon. Many of our Hammond experts understand this switching better than I and hopefully they will share some information you can use to continue to explore the possibility. I'd be interested to hear how you compare the headset results to the internal speakers if you are able to work this out.

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