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Adjusting Sound Old Allen

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  • Adjusting Sound Old Allen

    Hi everyone!

    Haven't posted here in ages.

    After a year or so of listening to several broken speakers, our Allen dealer finally admitted they were broken and fixed them. The flute doesn't sound like a jackhammer anymore, and some really nice sounds are again available. I do have a question though, apparently while servicing it they changed the volume on several stops. The Choir is barely audible even with the expression pedal completely open, and the flutes are real loud and so are some reeds but others you can barely hear. What has resulted is the organ sounds worse now then before they fixed the speakers. They are supposed to come back this week and fix this but unfortunately I cannot be there and neither will the music director or the other organist.

    My question is, how are they adjusting the volume on these stops? Is there a way to adjust individual or groups of stops on this organ? It is an Allen 903-3DKC which I believe is an MOS-1. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Not sure about the MOS-1 but on other Allens I've played (MDS, and MDC series) the different voice families have individual pots that can be used to adjust the volume, as well as some of the voices having bass boost adjustments. From what I understand later model Allens are voiced using software on a laptop (probably something Allen only lets their techs have). I personally would recommend that you reschedule the appointment until at least one of the congregations Organists, or better both organists can be there. If you watch them carefully as they make adjustments you just may learn what you need to know to make minor voicing adjustments in the future yourself. Also if you aren't there while they adjust the voicing how do you expect to get the voicing set to your preferences?


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I remember hearing about the pots in a discussion in the past, just not sure where to look for them. If anyone has a picture it would be greatly appreciated just so I know what I am looking for.

      Ray your suggestion makes perfect common sense, here lies the problem
      -I live an hour away from the Church and work all week as does the other organist
      -Organ company is very difficult to schedule (they come whenever they want during the week can never get a straight time from them)
      -Music Director never seems to want to meet with them would rather play phone tag

      Basically it ends up becoming a game and trying to figure out what the other party is really trying to say. I'm not a huge fan of the work done by the Allen dealer (they always miss things on service calls even if we tell them) On the flip side I can imagine they are frustrated with this as well. As you can imagine I'd like to bang my head against a wall. This is why I'd like to know where these pots are so I could make minor adjustments on the weekend myself. I love my church but the simplest things are always so difficult there.


      • #4
        This organ would have three computers: two for the Swell/Great/Pedal with all voices doubled by both computers and one for the Choir.

        Each computer for the Swell/Great/Pedal has two channels, flute (all flutes, pedal voices, and 16' reed on Swell) and main (all the other voices). So there are four channels which must be in balance. It may be possible to achieve the correct levels at the amplifiers.

        The choir has its own computer, likely with two channels and a similar split. (I've never played one of these but possess the Allen brochure for the 900 series organ.) These two channels may be adjusted on their respective amplifiers.

        Good luck with the adjustments.


        • #5
          ok just want to make sure, to do this with the amps I would be adjusting the Gain knob, correct? The organ has about 8 amps and then 1 more that seems to effect only the pedal, that one appears to have some sort of filter mounted nearby it.


          • #6
            Yes, try adjusting the gain knobs.

            The extra amp is likely connected to one of the two flute channels; it will add some extra power to the bass, just as you surmised.

            Good luck.


            • #7
              Ok, played around with the gain on the various amps this weekend. It's a little difficult because while all the amps were labeled as to what they controlled, some of the labels have fallen off and are gone.

              There are 7 amps, the 7th helping to add more punch to the pedal as you said.

              I have been able to get the organ to sound normal again (well better then normal since all the broken speakers now work).The choir is still too quiet, but I have found the amp for the choir flutes and I think the un-labeled one above it is for all the other voices, will try that one next, noticed amps are either labeled "Flutes" or "Main"

              Just one more question, one of the labels by one of the amps says "Treble A B" and I think the names of some of the manuals. When I move the gain knob around, I can turn it virtually one end to the other and barely anything happens, I can hear the high end getting softer and louder, but not drastically like when I adjust the other amps, is this amp just there to help add power to the higher end? That would only leave 5 amps which would mean the choir would only have one amp? I can figure it out this weekend when I get back up to the church just curious of anyone has any guesses as to what's going on there.

              Thanks for all the help Mark, the organ was able to sound great for Palm Sunday, you really helped me understand what was going on with the amps and how they control various parts of the organ.


              • #8
                I hope it sounds good for Holy Week and Easter!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cantornikolaos View Post
                  I hope it sounds good for Holy Week and Easter!
                  Yeah don't worry Because my feelings are same that it will sound good for both Holy Week and Easter..!!!


                  • #10
                    SuperOktav 2',

                    It is good that the organ is working better.

                    I know nothing about the Treble AB markings on the amplifier. There are folks on this forum who have forgotten more than I know. Maybe they will see this and be able to assist you. In the meantime perhaps you can increase the gain on the choir amplifiers.

                    All the best at this busy time.



                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone, I was able to get a decent sound for Easter, but since then I have been able to spend a couple hours figuring out exactly what amp controls what. Apparently the labels next to the amps are wrong, because for example the one that says 'Choir Flute" does nothing with the choir at all but rather makes the Sw/Gt louder/softer. Regardless I was able to fine tune each amp and finally have the best sound possible coming out of the organ. With the speakers working, and the Choir amp turned where it should be (it was turned way down before) we can get a really powerful trumpet out of the choir when using the "En Chamade" stop. This is great because before adjusting the amps and having the speakers fixed you could barely get an audible trumpet, now you can get a nice blast of reeds if wanted.

                      I did stumble across something that I wasn't sure about though. On all of the amps, there is a thin red push button, what does this do?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SuperOktav View Post
                        I did stumble across something that I wasn't sure about though. On all of the amps, there is a thin red push button, what does this do?
                        That's a circuit breaker.

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