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  • Allen ADC-2160A

    Hi all,

    I'm curious to get comments from those on the forum about Allen's ADC-2160A. My reading shows that the "A" version has MIDI, ADR-4 Reverb, Antiphonal Relays, and Alterable Card Reader as standard. I've also located a stoplist. The instrument in question has 6 speaker cabinets (4 large and 2 small). I'm suspecting it was equipped for antiphonal speakers as the literature says it is normally only two channels.

    Any commentary about how this organ's sound compares to the other ADC models is appreciated - my understanding is there are MADC / Early ADC / Late ADC models but I'm not sure how different they are from each other. Also my understanding is the MIDI is limited on ADC but would it be enough to control Hauptwerk? I was also looking for a console to play my carillon system from once the MIDI retrofit is finished (the original console needs a lot of work so it won't be ready anytime soon). This instrument was purchased in the early 90's.

    Also any information on the console dimensions or an estimated value of the instrument are appreciated. I've seen ADC instruments sell all over the map - recent eBay sales include $1600 for a 3m Theatre and $1000 for an ADC-520. The seller was given a figure of around $3000 but that seems a bit high given the other sales I've seen - maybe a dealer's valuation?

    I wasn't expecting to find something nearby - but it makes me reconsider ADC as an option - even if temporarily.

    Thanks a bunch!
    Corey

    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)

  • #2
    That was a good organ in its day, especially at the fairly low price. Solid console, real Allen in every way, great keys and pedals, all the hardware is top notch. This model was among the very last of the MADC models made, and the small incremental improvements in voicing and performance over the years made it sound somewhat better than the earliest MADC organs.

    These organs are actually six channels internally, with two for the great/pedal, two for the swell, and two for the alterables, each channel having its own tone and gain controls. The audio gets mixed down to just two channels by a configurable mixer board that can give you four channels by flipping a few DIP switches and adding two more amps. So it can be a bigger organ than it is.

    Nice sounds, but not in the same league as the big ADC models or the MDS models that followed it. You know the stoplist, so you can see that it's basic but adequate. Very little in the way of borrowing, mainly just the swell celestes used on the great, and few great stops used in the pedal division.

    Card Readers in these enhanced MADC models are superb. Unlike other Allen models such as the MOS and the regular ADC, the MADC card reader does not read a waveform off the card. The card gives the reader a numeric code, which calls up a voice stored in a ROM on the tone generator board. There are about 300 voices stored in the ROM, and they are much more authentic sounding than most of the card reader voices you get on the other models. Unfortunately, there is no way to access these voices without the punched cards, so you will have to buy cards to hear them.

    I'd sure love to have one of these at home if I had room for the speakers. All the bells and whistles available in the MADC range except for the drawknobs and the four-channel amp, both of these features reserved for the 3160 model.

    The MIDI, as in all ADC instruments, sends only keying data, nothing in the way of stop or expression data, so you are a bit limited in using this with Hauptwerk. There may be a simple way to capture this data and send it, but I don't know how to do that. The incoming MIDI stream does NOT control the capture action, so you can't really expect it to work with a sequencer except in a rudimentary way.

    Hope that helps a bit. A nice organ and worth getting if it meets your needs. $3K is probably high for one of these purchased from an individual with no delivery, setup, voicing, warranty, etc. But that would be a very low price if you were buying one of these from a dealer.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

    Comment


    • #3
      jbird gave you an excellent rundown; the late MADC models were excellent, in my opinion--they are very musical in their results. The stops chosen in this series of organs makes it almost impossible to create a bad registration. Expansion to 4 channels is very easy as John said--it may have been done, based on the speakers you indicated.

      I agree that $3000 is high. The ADC 520 and its kind (ADC-3 numbers) are smaller organs, without the alterable voice option; they are fine, just more limited. I bought an ADC-3160A for about $4,000, but that was nearly 10 years ago.

      Currently some good photos at: http://kansascity.craigslist.org/msd/4272615234.html though priced way too high

      Comment


      • #4
        I have looked at this stop list before and am puzzled that the Swell has no 8' string except in a two-rank celeste.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for all of the input - I was supposed to go look at this instrument tonight but the bad weather put a stop to that. Maybe in the next day or two. This discussion did get me to revisit old threads regarding card readers and how to make cards for these ROM based systems. Should be interesting if I do get the organ.

          I'll have to see what exactly the audio system is for certain. Any other things I should be on the lookout for? I presume these still had batteries like the earlier ADC instruments to be wary of? I know to check for speaker-rot too.

          Any thoughts on what would be a reasonable price? $500? $1000? I figure that the ADC Theatre model (4500/4600?) with 3m and more audio channels and full card-cage is probably quite a ways off and it only sold just above $1500.
          Corey

          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)

          Comment


          • #6
            Regarding the lack of a separate 8' String on the Swell:

            The top of the line model in these series is the 3100/3160/3160A, a small drawknob console. The drawknob console did not have enough space to separate the 2 strings, so the smaller models using tabs had to follow the same approach (my opinion) and have them combined in the Allen scheme of the world, though they probably had space for 2 tabs.

            Also, these organs had 2 frequency sources, and to create celestes they broadened the tuning between the sources, offering 3 different tunings in the 3160 & 3160A: tight tuning, romantic tuning, and celeste tuning. In the tight mode (romantic tuning off), the effect is like 2 straight ranks of the same stop--slight ensemble effect, not at all perceived as a full celeste.

            Regarding prices:
            The ADC theatre organs likely have lower resale values than their successors (MDS, Renaissance, and Quantum) because the later series made big advances in theatre sound. They also followed a more "unit orchestra" approach, although the MDS series is truly a straight organ, designed to mimic a unified stoplist.

            Larger MDS, Renaissance, and Quantum 3 manual organs also all had 2nd touch.

            My off-the-cuff idea of price for the 2160A is $1500 to $2000. But value depends upon the availability of other comparable instruments in your area. If I paid $3,000 for this organ from a dealer who included delivery, setup, and a warranty, I wouldn't feel cheated. From a private party, it's too much.

            Remember, dealers have to make profit to stay in business so they will be there when we need service!

            Comment


            • #7
              Whoops - I should have clarified! This is a private party - no warranty/guarantee of any kind - as-is where-is. I'm a bit bummed that it isn't a 3160A as I've never had a console with drawknobs but would love one. There seem to be very few that come up for sale compared to tabs.

              What I cannot understand is the crazy variation within non-dealer and dealer pricing - I can certainly understand the reason for the spread given the amenities normally included from a dealer - although it is a bit off-putting when you're looking at organs outside your home turf and the dealer price is the same or more as the local would charge if a similar instrument were available (but no warranty/delivery/setup of any kind is included)! Then I start seeing the price differential in a different light. I actually thought about purchasing a very nice instrument - but the price was sky high and didn't even include the requisite speakers. I would then have had to pay to have it shipped cross country - so I just let it go.

              What I cannot fathom is this 3m Theatre ADC instrument selling for $1600ish and then I see an MDS 317ex listed just recently at $45k!! The Renaissance instrument from the dealer in a well-to-do higher priced area WITH speakers wasn't going to cost near that much. The infamous eBay seller doesn't have this one - but the 317ex he had sat for numerous re-listings until it sold for somewhere below a third of that price I believe. I dislike "Best Offer" as you never know how much the item sold for - so it is deceptive to establishing an accurate fair market value.

              At any rate - there seems to be an unrealistic list price on instruments from various sites. I spoke with a dealer in a nearby region not that long ago - he told me what his price ranges would be for various instruments - they were quite reasonable which just makes me wonder how/where some of these other sellers are getting their pricing structure from. If HE had that Renaissance instrument I wanted for sale it would have been sitting in my living room by now!!
              Corey

              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)

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry for the prior rant - it just gets frustrating trying to make a fair offer and find the best instrument for the money at any given time!

                Just a quick update - I'm going to look at the organ either tonight or tomorrow. I'll report back with more findings as things progress.

                One thing I did want to ask - I see that Allen still sells (most?) of the tone cards on their website. Does anyone know if there is a comprehensive list of all the MADC-2 tone cards ever offered? If I would get this instrument - I have glorious visions in my head of a box similar to the one that a tinkerer built in 2009 for a MOS organ. The funny thing is that this device would be even simpler to create as it would just have to signal to the organ to pick one of the preset stops. That's easier than having to input all the card data/models from waveform cards.
                Corey

                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)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I understand your frustration. Keep in mind that dealers have to have cushion in their asking price for someone who wants to trade in an organ that is, in fact, pretty well worthless as a trade in, but the owner thinks it is very valuable. Often times when you actually talk to the dealer and let them know yours is a cash offer, they can provide a very reasonable price.

                  As to the tone cards, the MADC tone cards maxed out at around 130. The tone cards are encoded for voice, pitch (16-8-4), articulation, percussion and percussion length (I think). So the actual number of waveforms is fewer than the number of cards available.

                  If you send me a PM I can send you an Excel spreadsheet of all the cards. It's useful because I have the original card numbers on the sheet. Here's an example of why: card 100 0282 is Bombarde A 16'; Spanish Trumpet 8' is 100 0482; the 1st part indicates relative volume (larger numbers are louder); the 0282/0482 relationship tells you they are the same voice in different octaves.

                  So you might not be able to find a Spanish Trumpet 8', but if you have the Bombarde A 16', you can add a hole or cover one up (I forget which) to get the 8' Spanish Trumpet.

                  Similarly the Clarion 4 and French Horn 8 are the same voice.

                  By the way, since the 2160A and 3160A are identical in stoplists and so similar in all other respects (I think the only difference is the 3160A has tutti pistons, and was 4 channel from the factory instead of 2), the rather large price increase (about $8000) when they were new probably meant most customers saved the significant difference in cost and went with stop tabs. It probably explains the few used models. My dealer in Utah recently sold a 3160A, and was asking about $4000 for it--it went to Australia, so the purchaser probably spent about as much for the organ as for transportation.

                  You really shouldn't work yourself into a fenzy over the stupidity of people asking unreasonable prices. It isn't worth the damage you do to your cardiovascular system!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all of the information - I looked at the instrument a few days ago now. It turned on and everything seemed to work OK from what I could tell. There were apparently 2 HC-15 and 2 HC-13 speakers on each side of the sanctuary. I'm not sure how the audio is channeled out of the organ and even with the reverb stop drawn it was very dry. I presume the reverb was set to the very least amount possible. The card reader worked just fine and there were a bunch of cards present. The sound of the alterable stops was pretty good as John describes. Better than some of the other organs I've encountered in the past.

                    The console was in OK shape - flip-up bench was broken and some of the pistons stick. Definitely doesn't appear to have been serviced much. I wonder if it was even ever voiced as the overall sound was really pretty underwhelming. Sanctuary is all carpet and cushioned pews so I'm guessing that does not help but it really seemed like it didn't have much gusto - and the sound was just really flat. Not sure how much is my standard of reference of the card-cage ADC sound and how much is the room/voicing. I figure it could be re-voiced and sound at least somewhat better better.

                    At any rate I placed an offer on it - a tech apparently made an offer "for parts" and there might be another church or two looking at it. I suspect I might be outbid but we'll see. If this one gets away I'll be looking for another instrument to consider.
                    Corey

                    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)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "when they were new probably meant most customers saved the significant difference in cost and went with stop tabs."

                      Ummm, I dunno. In following all online and ebay sales of used digital organs since about 2003, I'd definitely say there have been more 3160/3100s than 2160/2100s. Even if you throw in all the other full MADC variants, like 1140, 1160, etc., the stopkey models barely outnumber the drawknob console. (if you consider the more tonally limited 3 digit MADC models, yes there were many more of those since they were pushed for the home practice market) That little drawknob console was adorable and was surely popular. When I visited the Allen factory as a youngster, that was the model that was promoted as a top of the line home practice instrument. (my parents wisely had some very close friends of the family take me - haha. No guilting the parents) The late 80s were a relatively healthy time in the country's economy, a few thousand more for a drawknob console wasn't going to kill institutional buyers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just wondering exactly when Allen began providing full MIDI implimentation.

                        mike
                        If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi,

                          I think either 1989 or 1990.

                          Allen was not one of the early adopters if I remember correctly.

                          I believe Rodgers was first with MIDI equipped organs in 1986.

                          AV

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            By full I mean at least expression if not stop tab output. I was thinking in terms of model type (ADC,MDS etc).

                            mike
                            If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              MDS was the first series to include MIDI for notes, expression, stops, and pistons. ADC was the 1st series to have MIDI as an option but it was note info only.

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