Forum Top Banner Ad

Collapse

Ebay Classic organs

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Need Advice on a Good Digital Organ for Small Church

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Need Advice on a Good Digital Organ for Small Church

    For awhile I've been trying to get the church I play at to get a new organ since the one they currently have is, to put it simply, awful. It took some damage from a storm, not everything works, and what does doesn't have a very good sound. It's an old Rondo organ. I'd never even heard of one until I got to this church. Anyway, a pipe organ is out of the question since I know nobody would be willing to pay for one of those. It's down to digital. Now, the church has funds to purchase a new one, even a very, very good digital (actually they have funds for a pipe organ from what I hear), but more than one person has told me that they're having a hard enough time getting the committee to agree to fix the roof (in bad need of repair), let alone an organ. For some reason they seem to think that money is there to not be spent, even when there's a real need to use it (and there are several). I understand saving, but to the point they do it, it's ridiculous.

    Well, despite all that above, I've actually gotten at least one person on the council who agrees that there needs to be a new organ. However, I have a feeling that if they agree, they'll want the cheapest thing money can buy. So what I'm looking for here is advice on the various digital organs out there. What would be suitable for a church that seats approximately 125 - 150 people. The organ goes in a loft and there is a lofted ceiling. Unfortunately there is carpeting, so sound is deadened somewhat. I have a Johannus Studio 170 (costs roughly $7800) for a home organ, and it suits MY needs well enough for practice, but I'm unsure that something like that would be able to project itself in a larger building. I don't have any other experience with digital organs since everything that I've played prior to my Johannus has been analog (Rodgers analog is awful, in my opinion!).

    Recommendations? Would the Johannus 170 be large enough for the church? Need a larger one? What about Rodgers or Allen digital? Also, again, cost is a factor because getting $10 out of these people seems like a major chore.

    Thanks for any advice.

  • #2
    That's really a broad scope - I'm still a relative newbie to this field but I was able to find an older 3 manual Allen for $800! (http://drewworthen.com/Drew_Worthen/Allen.html) Luckily, I live in Indianapolis - a city large enough to have organs coming and going all the time. Your location can be a big factor.

    The forum here was a great help to me in my quest, reinstallation, troubleshooting and all manner of help.

    Just hold tight - the other members will be along shortly with their input. Allen and Rodgers are the easiest way to go, I think, but also the most expensive. Building a digital (via Hauptwerk) is possible if you're a serious DIY'er.
    Drew A. Worthen
    www.drewworthen.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I think I'd be leery of trying to convince an already-skeptical committee of the desirability of a DIY build of a Hauptwerk instrument. Although such organs can be very good, I just believe it might be hard to sell the idea. You don't say where you are located, but it is possible that you might find some good deals on well-maintained used instruments if you're in a good location. Unless you are planning to play really high-level concert music, a 2-manual instrument should be sufficient (many churches get by with one), but I think I'd aim for one with an AGO 32-pedal arrangement. Allen and Rodgers are both good brands, and there are others, of course. Allen still is able to maintain virtually every instrument they have built (although it can be costly), so it would be better to find one not more than 20 years old, I think.

      You state that the organ is in a loft, not down on the main floor. That suggests that just playing it through speakers contained in the console is probably not sufficient, even for a relatively small building (150 congregants is about 10 rows of 15 people, which comes to a floor space about 35'x50'), so you'd want an instrument with at least one set of remote speakers. If the choir is seated in the loft with the organ, either internal speakers or a set of external ones for you and the choir will also be needed.

      I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions, too.

      David

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dw154515 View Post
        That's really a broad scope - I'm still a relative newbie to this field but I was able to find an older 3 manual Allen for $800! (http://drewworthen.com/Drew_Worthen/Allen.html) Luckily, I live in Indianapolis - a city large enough to have organs coming and going all the time. Your location can be a big factor.

        The forum here was a great help to me in my quest, reinstallation, troubleshooting and all manner of help.

        Just hold tight - the other members will be along shortly with their input. Allen and Rodgers are the easiest way to go, I think, but also the most expensive. Building a digital (via Hauptwerk) is possible if you're a serious DIY'er.

        Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
        I think I'd be leery of trying to convince an already-skeptical committee of the desirability of a DIY build of a Hauptwerk instrument. Although such organs can be very good, I just believe it might be hard to sell the idea. You don't say where you are located, but it is possible that you might find some good deals on well-maintained used instruments if you're in a good location. Unless you are planning to play really high-level concert music, a 2-manual instrument should be sufficient (many churches get by with one), but I think I'd aim for one with an AGO 32-pedal arrangement. Allen and Rodgers are both good brands, and there are others, of course. Allen still is able to maintain virtually every instrument they have built (although it can be costly), so it would be better to find one not more than 20 years old, I think.

        You state that the organ is in a loft, not down on the main floor. That suggests that just playing it through speakers contained in the console is probably not sufficient, even for a relatively small building (150 congregants is about 10 rows of 15 people, which comes to a floor space about 35'x50'), so you'd want an instrument with at least one set of remote speakers. If the choir is seated in the loft with the organ, either internal speakers or a set of external ones for you and the choir will also be needed.

        I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions, too.

        David
        The location is a couple hours south of Chicago and fairly close to the Indiana border. I know there's a Rodgers dealer in Chicago and they have a few old analog organs for sale used. There's also a Johannus dealer in Chicago, though I got my personal one from a dealer in Wisconsin. They have some older used organs, as well. I think there's an Allen dealer in Indianapolis, which would be... what, two and a half hours away approximately? The Hauptwerk wouldn't be a good choice because I'm not very good at that sort of thing and nobody at the church would do it either.

        Two manual is what I would be looking for. Considering the size of the church, I think anything else would be a bit of overkill. The organ the church has is two manual and only goes through its own speakers and no outside sound system. I will have to ask some people how well they can hear it, though I suspect that they hear it well enough because I get comments about it quite often. For specifics on the church, their are twelve rows of pews in two columns and then I think three more on each side of those. I'd say your estimate on floor space is fairly close, though I could measure it a bit closer when I go there tomorrow.

        Thanks for the input.


        EDIT: Getting the console up to the loft may pose a bit of a problem, too. The stairs up are very, very narrow, so I don't think that's an option. Most likely some kind of lift would have to be used to bring the organ up over the balcony rail. I can see that being a point of contention among those who oppose getting anything new (though that's speculation).

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay, location helps. There is a Johannus dealer in Bloomington, IN, advertising a 2004 Sweelink 20 model demonstrator on craigslist. http://bloomington.craigslist.org/msd/3227111452.html $9995, too rich for my dreams. 47 stops, 2 manual.
          I've helped install floppy 48"x90' rubber belts from a forklift mast 30' in the air, so I view getting something solid like an organ over a rail as a simple task. We had to work over a handrail, also. Getting the seats out of the way of the forklift is the hard work involved.
          I second the motion of DavidCasteel about getting the volume to the congregation. The organ is responsible only for producing the sounds and letting the organist know what he is playing. The sound system for the choir, and the one for the congregation, are separate systems. I prefer Peavey equipment, and have a great sounding former bar band system in my living/dining room. My church prefers Yamaha PA equipment. I think what I have bought (and restored, since it was very used). sounds better. There is an art to setting up the sound system, and Rogers and Allen dealers like to muddy the issue by calling their art "voicing" and keeping the whole sound system within the corporate brand. They can do good work that way, and by reading the posts on this thread I find that not all such dealer installed single brand systems are ideal. Look around and listen to some setups before committing to the sound system, is my opinion. I thought I wanted an Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater setup like a cinema I heard once, but found this SP2-XT system on poles at the end of the room suits my needs fine, for my ideal concert hall shaped (Wien Philharmonica) rooms.
          The Bloomington ad has a picture of 5 speakers, which is probably a good start on a congregational sound system.
          Last edited by indianajo; 10-06-2012, 04:49 PM.
          city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by indianajo View Post
            Okay, location helps. There is a Johannus dealer in Bloomington, IN, advertising a 2004 Sweelink 20 model demonstrator on craigslist. http://bloomington.craigslist.org/msd/3227111452.html $9995, too rich for my dreams. 47 stops, 2 manual.
            I've helped install floppy 48"x90' rubber belts from a forklift mast 30' in the air, so I view getting something solid like an organ over a rail as a simple task. Getting the seats out of the way is the hard work involved.
            I second the motion of DavidCasteel about getting the volume to the congregation. The organ is responsible only for producing the sounds and letting the organist know what he is playing. The sound system for the choir, and the one for the congregation, are separate systems. I prefer Peavey equipment, and have a great sounding former bar band system in my living/dining room. My church prefers Yamaha PA equipment. I think what I have bought (and restored, since it was very used). sounds better.
            The church could afford that easily. Would they want to spend that much? I have my doubts. Thanks for the info though, it's good to have. I wasn't aware of the Johannus dealer in Bloomington, although that could be because I just started looking around last night. Unfortunately, I feel that a decision will be a long time in coming, so nice used organs out there right now might be long gone before the church decides to get one. I hope I'm wrong. Really wrong! I'll bookmark that page just in case, even if it's only to give estimates on price.

            It's nice to know that moving the organ up there would be relatively easy. I figured it wouldn't be that hard of a job for an experienced mover, but it's pretty daunting for anybody who doesn't know anything about that.

            EDIT: I was thinking Bloomington, Illinois, and not Indiana, but I'll still keep that link around.

            Comment


            • #7
              It would be helpful to know what kind of church we're talking about here as an organ suitable for liturgical music is quite different from one used to back up a praise band. What kind of music is expected? The issue of not fixing the roof would seem like false economy and needs to be addressed before any discussion of a new organ however.
              "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Snowbandit View Post
                It would be helpful to know what kind of church we're talking about here as an organ suitable for liturgical music is quite different from one used to back up a praise band. What kind of music is expected? The issue of not fixing the roof would seem like false economy and needs to be addressed before any discussion of a new organ however.
                The church is Catholic. The organ is used to accompany traditional hymnody and chant, plus used for preludes and postludes. I usually (but not always) play baroque music for anything instrumental.

                The roof... was just an example of their not wanting to spend money even though they have the funds. The same person who's taking up the argument for the organ has been (and still is) trying to get the roof repaired. So, yes, I know I'm fighting an uphill battle!


                P.S. I like your signature.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do not succumb to considering normal PA (Public Address) amplifiers and speakers for use by the organ! The powerful low tones generated will destroy ordinary speakers in short order! Using the sound-production apparatus recommended by the organ builder is probably best, because sometimes the sound of the instrument depends on the proper system being used (the speakers and organ are designed to work as a team).

                  You say that the present organ's internal speakers apparently do a good enough job because you get comments about your music. Although that is nice, I suspect that you'd get many more if a good speaker setup were being used. For a small space such as yours (my church seats 1375), probably only one well-placed set would be needed--perhaps mounted high up on the rear wall of the balcony (which would serve both the congregation and you and the choir). Ideally, an organ should be capable of producing a loud enough sound that some people in the Nave would be motivated to leave. (That is not to say that such volume should be used very often, but the instrument should be capable of it.)

                  David

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                    Do not succumb to considering normal PA (Public Address) amplifiers and speakers for use by the organ! The powerful low tones generated will destroy ordinary speakers in short order! Using the sound-production apparatus recommended by the organ builder is probably best, because sometimes the sound of the instrument depends on the proper system being used (the speakers and organ are designed to work as a team).
                    I'd be the type to go with what's recommended by the manufacturer for this sort of thing. I don't know enough about sound systems to deviate from it.

                    Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                    You say that the present organ's internal speakers apparently do a good enough job because you get comments about your music. Although that is nice, I suspect that you'd get many more if a good speaker setup were being used. For a small space such as yours (my church seats 1375), probably only one well-placed set would be needed--perhaps mounted high up on the rear wall of the balcony (which would serve both the congregation and you and the choir). Ideally, an organ should be capable of producing a loud enough sound that some people in the Nave would be motivated to leave. (That is not to say that such volume should be used very often, but the instrument should be capable of it.)
                    I added the bold to your post because I thought that part was funny. I agree, the organ should be able to put out an impressive sound and not just one that can be heard clearly (but not loud). I did some testing today and had another person play the organ on a softer setting and a louder one. I could hear both distinctly no matter where I was in the church, but the "loud" stops just didn't have the kick that they should have. I'd also assume that if the church had a congregation in it, the organ sound would be dampened some more. Even in the empty church, I though it was underwhelming to say the least. It tells me that while we could (and do) get away with only using internal speakers that it's less than ideal.

                    I also did some more accurate estimates on church size. I think it can hold a little more than I said before... probably somewhere around 165 - 190 people. Dimensions are (approx.) around 50' x 40' with a little extra room along a portion of the sides (slight cruciform).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      With a room of that size, the speaker placement is less critical, because there wouldn't be troublesome delays in the sound reaching the organist from wherever they are located. Larger rooms (with dimensions greater than 100') can impose sufficient delays that playing becomes difficult. (Internal speakers avoid that problem, of course.)

                      David

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi there TCJ,

                        I agree with the others, an Allen or a Rodgers ( 2nd best IMHO ) would be your best choice, for your intended use. Any other brand and you will have the money folks wondering. A fairly good spec two manual is fine for most churches. We organists always want a three manual ( or more ! ), but you can play any church service on a good two manual.

                        Regarding internal speakers - that is never a good idea in most any church ! You need to be able to put the speakers where they work best for the room. Ideally they should be at a high point along the long axis of the room. Yup, some work involved to get them there, but it is worth it. That lets the organist hear the organ good, and lets the sound fill the room nicely so that what the congregation hears is not a point source.

                        As to your particular church, how things could / should be placed can't really be discussed much without seeing it. The console in the balcony is my preference, and also the main speakers if at all possible. Antiphonal speakers can be placed other places in the room, and used or not according to the situation.

                        I seem to ask this of everyone who comes here for advice on matters like this, so I will not disappoint. If you would take and post photos of the room, we could all offer more intelligent opinions on what your options are.
                        Regards, Larry

                        At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Rodgers analog organ was used for almost 40 years, apparently successfully, in a church that seats around 200. The console was in the balcony and they had taken the internal speakers out of it and installed them in some home made boxes high in the front of the church. It can be done but there are better options available today.
                          "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                            Do not succumb to considering normal PA (Public Address) amplifiers and speakers for use by the organ! The powerful low tones generated will destroy ordinary speakers in short order! Using the sound-production apparatus recommended by the organ builder is probably best, because sometimes the sound of the instrument depends on the proper system being used (the speakers and organ are designed to work as a team).

                            David
                            Key word "ordinary". The rest of the statement is up for debate. I have successfully used sound reinforcement power amps, speakers, DSP's and even mixers when it came to "upgrading" my organs and others sound system....but then again I have 35+ years of experience in the FOH field and the equipment used was designed for full range high levels.....including the 2- dual 18 subwoofers cabinets I use on my 905. That with a carefully dialed in DSP can really recreate the awe inspiring effects of the 32' pedal stops!! But as I have encountered many, many times....the sound system is only as good as the guy that's running it! I can almost guarantee you that any electronic organ either digital or analog would greatly benefit from some EQ'ing.....that and know how in properly voicing the stops....works hand in hand. 3 voicers....3 opinions on voicing

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hamman View Post
                              Key word "ordinary". The rest of the statement is up for debate. I have successfully used sound reinforcement power amps, speakers, DSP's and even mixers when it came to "upgrading" my organs and others sound system....but then again I have 35+ years of experience in the FOH field and the equipment used was designed for full range high levels.....including the 2- dual 18 subwoofers cabinets I use on my 905. That with a carefully dialed in DSP can really recreate the awe inspiring effects of the 32' pedal stops!!
                              I remember years ago, when Phoenix Organ was making a whole lot of noise about their wondrous acousti-cube speakers, with speakers firing in all four directions. My first instinct was: this is just a marketing gimmick lacking susbstance or merit. Then I heard them in action; and was totally blown away by the awesome sound of these speakers. And I am not talking about hearing full organ, but just a single trumpet stop which just filled the building from every direction!!

                              While I cannot explain the magic of these speakers, I suspect that it has to do with the same single sound arriving in four or more different phases, not to mention reflective phases. Add to that: 8 or so speakers connected to 8 different channels, firing in four different directions; the sound is absolutely awesome!

                              http://phoenixorgans.com/pdf/speaker...cube_10_12.pdf
                              2008: Phoenix III/44

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X