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Rogers 805B versus new Allen Chapel L-15

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  • Rogers 805B versus new Allen Chapel L-15

    Our church is looking to replace our 1930 Austin pipe organ with a digital organ. We liked a 1999 Reed 805b with a 6 channel sound system both for its sound and looks. For our budget we could also purchase a new Allen Chapel CF-15 with a 2 channel sound system. We thought the sound was on par with the Reed but had concerns with the Fatar keyboards and it ;lacked some features (toe knobs/Crescendo pedal). The price difference was important, too: low $20's versus low $30's. Any thoughts?

    Also, what do you do with an old pipe organ (it needs a lot of restoration)?

  • #2

    Which organ was low $20Ks? I suppose the other one would be low $30Ks.

    Yes, the Allen Chapel series uses FATAR keyboards, basically a cost cutting move on Allen's part. And they are not FATAR's best either. Generally, if the organ does not see much use, less than say 5 hours per week, you will likely not see many problems for at least 15 years. If the organ gets heavy use, say 2 or more hours per day, yes, you will likely see trouble in less than 5 years.

    The Rodgers organ may or may not have FATAR keyboards. If they are not FATAR, they will certainly use a similar type of switching. Again, if used heavily, it is inevitable that problems will arise.

    My guess is that the Rodgers is a better sounding organ. The Allen Chapel organs are basic and uninspired instruments. They are designed to meet the competition, at least half way in terms of pricing.

    When it comes to used organs, make sure if you are paying decent money for it, that you are getting it from a dealer, or someone reputable, with good service and tech. support. Nothing worse than getting something only to find out that when trouble arises, no one wants to deal with you.



    • #3
      I'm inclined to agree w/Arie that the Rodgers probably sounds better overall, as it was a mid to upper tier 2 manual model from the late 1990s, with 4 real external audio channels versus the small, economy Allen model with 2 internal channels. (the Rodgers 2 sub channels will increase bass realism but not overall ensemble and tonal separation...except in the bass haha) When I played a couple Chapel models, though I found the individual samples nice, the audio didn't seem too powerful. Hopefully it had just been turned down, but it didn't seem to have as much "oomph" as the internal speaker models of the 80s & 90s did. My ADC-1140, even before I extensively enhanced its audio capability, could really rock the house with the amps set up to 8 out of 10. (and it does in its new home, according to the new owners)

      The issue to me is it sounds like you need this organ now versus some indefinite point in the future; if you're paying 22K for the Rodgers you're paying too much. In the sense that a motivated seller would never get remotely that much. But you're a motivated buyer, so you may have to pay that.

      I only search ebay about once a month but it's funny that we've had more of a stable pool of used Allens for sale there in the past few months than ever before. Is stable availability helping support prices...are these organs selling? Nope. Guess what, nothing is going to! (and I sometimes search Rodgers, too, the situation is that same)