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Your Favorite Allen Tone Card

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  • Your Favorite Allen Tone Card

    Since the Allen Tone Card thread has recently taken on new life, I thought it would be nice to list the cards we like. Please include the vintage (MOS or ADC/MDS), and card you like. I'll start with:
    • MOS 2--Flute Celeste-I like this card because it is SO NICE sounding, like a cloud of air.
    • MOS 2--Aeoline-It is the only card/stop soft enough for me to use against the Gt. Cor Anglais 8' on my 505-B!
    • ADC--Trumpet A 8'--I have ALWAYS loved this trumpet because it embodies what I feel a trumpet solo should sound like; not too harsh/brash, but not too round. I've used it almost every time I've performed on both the ADC instruments.
    • Both--Chrysoglott-Nice bell solo that seems unaffected by however badly the organ is voiced. Always pleasant-sounding.
    • MOS 2--Fernflöte-A very soft, but more pure flute sound than the Flute Celeste. It makes an excellent flute celeste when used in 2 alterables on my 2-computer 505-B.
    So, what are your favorites?

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

  • #2
    As I said some of the MADC reeds were pretty realistic, I would generally say they "won't disappoint" compared to the organ's internal sounds. In some cases they sounded better. I guess the ones I used the most were the Brass Trumpet or Spanish Trumpet 8. One thing that made the card system flexible wasn't just that you could select a voice, it was that you could use the "Alterable F" to make any sound a solo voice. I also liked the Musette and the Hautbois, and the various early reeds. The String 16-8-4 was excellent...I used to put that into both channels, then key the organ's own celeste voices and Celeste tuning, and play a MIDI file of Virgil Fox's "Come Sweet Death". It was super stringy. The Traversflote 4 seemed the most distinctive flute that sounded good, it had relatively little of the phase distortion issue for some reason. The Gemshorn 16 sounded good and was extremely useful, as MichaelHoddy has noted, Quintatens or Lieblich Gedackts as manual 16s are difficult to deal with.

    A few reeds I didn't like very much, like the rather metallic sounding Clarinet, but it might have been "realistic" for all I know.

    The only real dogs, as I've mentioned before, were the Military Fife 2 and the Erzahler 16-8-4. Likewise none of the 8' flutes I had seemed particularly worth owning. For one thing, the MADC-3 system has a nice pseudo-chiff on most of the internal flues (selectable with a general stop); for whatever reasons the chiff activated by certain MADC cards (but not others, the traversflote was chiff-free) was a much more primitive sounding digital "chirp".

    (I remember some of this so well because the purchaser was a friend of the family who owns a funeral home, so I wrote up a summary for them of some of the cards)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by circa1949 View Post
      I remember some of this so well because the purchaser was a friend of the family who owns a funeral home, so I wrote up a summary for them of some of the cards.
      I can just imagine that summary now: Would you like that "chirp" in Nightingale, Barn Owl, or Chickadee?:->

      I don't believe my non-MADC ADC has articulation on any of the card reader cards. Often, I wish I did have that option, though.

      In your post, however, I was a bit unclear if your post was all about cards or some organ stops? I've never seen the Traversflöte 4 offered anywhere--in brochures or online. I'm keeping in mind your review of the Erzahlers, though. I really like that stop quality, but your review does make me wonder about getting it in a card. Could your bad experience have anything to do with the voicing of the AV card in the cage? I've noticed my Alterable 1 & 2 are voiced slightly differently, but I like that. I can essentially get 2 stops out of one card! Perhaps not good practice, but I find it doubles the possibilities where I move my organs from place-to-place so often.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm sorry I was just remembering the wrong name: It was Traverse Flute 4. Still available. http://www.allenorgan.com/store/tonecardsmadc.html
        I have attached a pdf of all MADC cards for reference.

        I was talking strictly about MADC cards. The ADC/MOS Erzahler cards, if such a thing existed, might sound very different. I tried to voice the AV-1 board to sound close to the other generators in volume and tone. That's the nice thing about Alterable F, it give flexibility to make it much louder. The Erzahler 16-8-4 was the quietest by far and I guess one reason I didn't like it was it seemed like the sound was barely above the noise floor! You had to turn Alterable F on to make it even barely useable. Maybe you'd like that if you like quiet stops. It still sounded very un-organ like to me, more so than any card. Somewhat like a pulse-width or FM modulation sound put through a mild lo-pass filter.

        A little curiosity of the MADC system that hasn't come up in conversation was the "coupler" cards that only worked on later MDS organs (see the attachment). (which is to say, the smaller MDS organs that used the MADC card system, the larger early ones used the ADC system presumably for the breadth of available voices versus the better quality. I bet next to the MDS voices the ADC cards sounded very rough around the edges indeed. ;-))
        Since it only worked on those made after a certain date in 1991, here's my theory. The very earliest MDS used AV boards exactly as they would have appeared in ADC or MADC organs. At some point toward the end of alterable voices, on MADC models at least, the circuitry was more integrated into the MDS way of doing things. Some byproduct of this was an ability to do intramanual coupling. I'd love someone with such an organ to do a test, but I wonder if what happens is: you select a Swell registration, insert the card and it "copies" the active waveform from your registration into the alterable memory space, but at a higher or lower octave. It's so curious they introduced such a feature just before killing the whole alterable card system, because once MDS W5 came along a year or so later, they abandoned it in favor of "second voices". Did the various Euro organs like the AG PIII have intramanual couplers? I just can't remember if the one I sometimes did service playing on had them or not. (I do remember, as I have no qualms about admitting, the quality of the individual voices was superior to Allen's erstwhile ADC offerings) Maybe a lot of people complained about a lack of intramanual couplers and it was thought up as some kind of stop-gap measure. I generally interpret the early MDS era as an attempt to stay competitive with the new organs coming out of Europe.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          Traverse Flute 4' card is still available for the MADC models.

          It may be that the Erzahlers 16-8-4 are only functional in the later MDS organs, as was the case with a few of the cards. I don't have the old order form in front of me, so I'd have to look it up to be sure.

          Toodles

          Comment


          • #6
            No, only the coupler was somehow specific to the MDS system, and then only those made after July 1991!
            I could see how it was some vague impression of what an Erzahler 16-8-4 might sound like. I've played such a combination on a big 3 manual Allen at one of the dealers. It was gorgeous.

            The card was NOT gorgeous. I think it was just beyond the capabilities of the system to reproduce such a complex sound. But taste is subjective...I'm sure someone out there loves it!

            Second thought on the coupler: "Full Swell" strikes me as a rather odd term to use. Maybe they just put a sample in there that was a sample of a full swell registration, but an octave higher or lower! Now that would have been crazy! The audio systems on these smaller organs are frankly just adequate enough to handle the signal strength generated by the generators. My little ADC-1140 sounded scads better when I reconfigured its audio to be more like the ADC-2160 or 3160, with 4 channels. Sometimes I even had the alterables on 2 more channels and that sounded better when they were used. I think super and sub octaving a full swell registration on a 2 channel (MDS-15) would have sounded like crap. Unless maybe you were just playing one note at a time! Oh well. Until somebody with such an organ comes along, we'll never know.

            Comment


            • #7
              My old blue order form for MADC cards showsn the Erzahler being only usable in MDS made after July 1991. Maybe a mis-print, but it's there!

              Toodles

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