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will this work???

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  • will this work???

    I have a Rodgers W5000 organ and I am considering adding an Allen MDS Expander II unit to it.

    Will this work?

    I like the fact that the Allen Expander will allow 3 different MIDI sounds at the same time. One per manual.

    I have a Rodgers MX 200 unit -- but it only allows one MIDI sound at a time --- or the same MIDI sound on all manuals.

    Will the Allen MDS Expander II unit work with my Rodgers W5000?

    Rodgers W5000 --- home (currently at church)
    Rodgers MX200 module --- home (currently at church)
    Kawai UST7 studio piano --- home

  • #2
    Not very well, but doable. Rodgers organs interface seamlessly with the MX200 (and the old PR300) because they let you set up your MIDI patches by pressing the MIDI tab or piston and then tapping a key to go straight to a given patch number. Then you can store the chosen patch number on any piston. You can have as may pre-selected MIDI patches as you have pistons to store them on.

    (This is the way it works with Rodgers classical organs at least, and I think the W5000 would work the same way with the MX or PR.)

    I don't think the Allen Expander would not know how to respond to the Rodgers "tap a key to select" commands, so you'd have to select your MIDI patches via the menu on the Expander itself. (This is actually not terribly difficult. I have an Allen Expander on the Allen organ at church and I have to select patches via the menu anyway. It's just an extra step that you don't have to do on a Rodgers.)

    But the big issue would be storing the selected presets on the pistons. I really don't think the Allen Expander would recognize the piston presses on the Rodgers, so you would not be able to store your selected MIDI patches on the pistons. You would have to store them on the "presets" button of the expander itself. Like the patch selection procedure above, this is not terribly difficult, but it involves an extra step each time you want to switch patches.

    The Allen Expanders are designed to interface seamlessly with Allen organs and mine works beautifully with the Allen at church. I don't make a lot of use of it, but I can easily store a full set of MIDI patches (one for each division) on each piston. But in truth, I think the Rodgers system of finding a patch with a simple key press is much quicker, and you can instantly store your patches on the pistons, while that process takes one extra step on the Allen.

    Short story -- each manufacturer designed their organs to work with their own expanders and that's how it works best.

    BTW, do you really need that expander on a W5000? I've not worked with one extensively, but when I've serviced them I've been amazed at the vast variety of sounds that are inside the thing, even though there's a learning curve for figuring out how to call them up and use them. Can't you store a different patch on every single tab?

    I could be wrong about the mismatch between these items, and if so, perhaps someone on the forum who has done this will chime in.
    *** 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!