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  • #46
    Originally posted by Clarion View Post
    Thanks! That's the first time I ever heard a Shaw organ. What a ghastly, ill-sounding contraption!! :o
    Funny, I really liked the JSB BWV 538? A minor P&F on the Shaw U-tube also found. Comes from my high school band training, I suppose where we in the top band really worked to keep any beat frequencies from happening. As a double reed player, every note required different mouth tension, because the instrument doesn't actually produce notes in tune just by fingering the notes. There were 75 of us band players in lockstep tuning, just like a good divider organ, I suppose. I find real pipes sound best when Miller P.O. company had been tuning it this morning - the truck is often still outside.
    that 1974? recording had really good microphones for the era, too. Austin Custom Records that did our band recordings, and the guy from the school district with the 1" Ampex deck, made tapes and LP's that really sounded bad, like a $6 Olson two transistor radio with a 1" speaker. I hunted for 41 years to find a decent sounding microphone I could afford, and it requires a $100 pro mixer to power it. All the best sounding LP's from 64-68 (C.R. Fine was my favorite engineer) used Neumann microphones, or Telefunken, and used beat up Neumann mike housings missing the capsule go now for $800 on Nashville Craigslist.
    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

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    • #47
      Clarion,
      Hearing anything - particular a musical instrument - on YouTube hardly leaves me willing to judge the sonic quality of a contraption.
      I do agree that proper tuning and voicing by someone with an excellent ear and good taste will make any instrument sound better.
      I don't care if it's a scientist or a drummer - if he/she does good work. =-O

      BO
      Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

      Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
      Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
      We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
      Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
      I'm a Methodist organist.
      I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
      Became a Technology Specialist.
      Retired from Education after 32 years.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
        Clarion,
        Hearing anything - particular a musical instrument - on YouTube hardly leaves me willing to judge the sonic quality of a contraption.
        There are a lot of things I cannot hear, but tuning can be clearly heard on YouTube. If the tuning is sterile, with absence of ensemble, then the rest really doesn't matter. Even pianos have three tone sources for each note!
        2008: Phoenix III/44

        Comment


        • #49
          I'm in awe of your hearing.

          I just find myself remembering all the analogs organs I've played through the years and thinking how this seems to have more life than most of them did.

          But each to their own.

          BO
          Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

          Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
          Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
          We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
          Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
          I'm a Methodist organist.
          I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
          Became a Technology Specialist.
          Retired from Education after 32 years.

          Comment


          • #50
            Wow! I'm so happy to see this thread. To be truthful, it's been a while since I've felt like doing much on the forum. Not that I've lost interest in organs or in you guys, but it seemed like nobody was interested in much of anything that anyone else had to say. This post proves that we're all still quite open to bouncing around some good ideas. I plan to keep checking this thread and see what else comes up.

            I've often thought about building a digital organ to overcome many of the limitations of stock models. I too feel cheated when I play some 50-stop digital that only has five audio channels (and that is in fact a very common configuration). At some point you know you just aren't getting what you see on the stop rail.

            I used to own a Baldwin D-422 (the only digital series that Baldwin ever built right here in the USA) that had a rather unique audio setup. As many as 16 audio channels could be connected to the console, though various mixing-down options were also available. The system was an early attempt (about 1990) to do what some of you are talking about -- whenever you played a note, the computer would find the "least busy" audio channel to send the new signal into, up to a point. At least there seemed to be a more additive effect than you get from organs with very few audio channels.

            The very nice Allen MDS-45 I play at church unfortunately has the dozen or so DAC outputs within the cage mixed down to just four cage outputs, so without extensive mods I can only have the four channels. Better than the more common two and three-channel organs I've played, but still subject to compression.

            One thing I have noticed in the past -- upping the amplifier power and size of the speaker array can in fact help alleviate some of the jamming, compression, and other drawbacks of digitals. I used to play at a church on a smallish Allen Renaissance that had only seven output channels. But I had replaced the Allen amps with enormous 1000-watt per channel commercial amps driving some vast speaker systems, and it sounded far better than any stock Allen install of a similar organ. I never heard any IM distortion or clipping, no matter how much I pushed it.

            My guess is that a pretty good organ of 40 or 50 stops could be designed with about 20 audio channels. If each stop is divided on a C-C# scheme, you need two channels per stop. But you can combine a lot of stops with others, such as putting your softest strings and flutes in with the big reeds. And if the C-C# split is designed properly, one stop can be in speaker 1 while the same note of another stop is using speaker 2, thus doubling the utility of your channels. And using just a couple of very high-power channels to handle all the pedal stops would suffice in an average room.

            So it shouldn't be that hard. And in fact, I believe Allen has been on that track for a number of years, using schemes that send a given stop into as many as four channels. I'd love to try out something like that. We can have better organ sound if we work at it!
            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


            • #51
              Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
              One thing I have noticed in the past -- upping the amplifier power and size of the speaker array can in fact help alleviate some of the jamming, compression, and other drawbacks of digitals. I used to play at a church on a smallish Allen Renaissance that had only seven output channels. But I had replaced the Allen amps with enormous 1000-watt per channel commercial amps driving some vast speaker systems, and it sounded far better than any stock Allen install of a similar organ. I never heard any IM distortion or clipping, no matter how much I pushed it.
              I'm part of the 3 speakers is enough crowd (one sub). But I believe in having enormous headroom. My base hifi setup runs at 1/2 watt classical listening, but into 8 ohms can pump out 200 W for instantaneous peaks like a bass drum or cymbal crash. Organs do mega-volume longer than symphonic orchestras, having many ranks going at once at fixed volume with the shutters open. I would imagine a 2kw rated amp and speakers rated 1 KW RMS with less than 1% HD would be quite in order for organs in a big sanctuary. Band soundmen usually double the watts of the speaker rating to buy an amp, since a solid state amp should NEVER clip, as that sounds awful. As far as the IM distortion of consecutive notes, there are low IM speakers available now, if you dig deep enough. Speaker sales brochures are full of mumbo-jumbo and outright lies, and having poked around the Dutch organ website (Johannus?) due to the Bloomington IN dealer, I find they are no exception. A subwoofer cabinet 11" wide? Come on!
              High wattage low distortion performance wasn't available in the Shaw organ day, and those low levels of IM distortion are rare even now. The only speaker system my band trained ears respected in 1974 was Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater, and those were so expensive they were mostly in movie theaters (where I heard them). Nobody even stocked any in Houston, TX. Whether 12 channels of 360 w/ch amps and 200 W RMS speakers sounds better, or 3 to 5 channels (one antiphonal, one sub) of 1 KW rms speakers sound better is in part an economic decision IMHO. Multiple sound sources do give multiple reflection paths, in that I defer to the experts. However, the sanctary of my home church has been built with no reflective surfaces, so multiple speakers would be lost in that space IMHO. It is a tall cone, with the PA speakers at the top of the cone pointed down- bad voice only PA speakers, thank you building committee. The two channel organ retrofit system the music committee bought from Bose for the Rodgers organ is totally underwhelming, as they intended I am sure. 6" woofers - come on! However, my denomination is running away from organs as fast as the kids can learn to play guitar, so they don't play the wimpy Rodgers anymore.
              BTW I bought a 1.3 KW amp to learn on and stuff in my h100 unified pitch organ. It won't fit, but I'm planning to replace the 30 w/ch amps (tube, which clip very nicely instead of transistors) with copies of my 60 w/ch RMS 200 w peak hifi amp. Going around the auto-compressing Hammond transformers with any additional sounds (like principal pipe, sawtooth wave reeds, or midi-synth) are also part of the plan.
              Last edited by indianajo; 11-26-2014, 11:08 AM.
              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


              • #52
                John,

                Glad you found the thread interesting. I think the responses have been thoughtful and mostly reasoned and reasonable.

                I began this by saying I believed digital sampling is getting better and better. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most organs are using 24 bit digital-to-analog converters. That's a place where improvement MIGHT be possible. I presume we've hit some theoretical wall in this conversion. Thus, it may take some innovation to improve the process.

                My first computer was a 4 bit unit.Then the standard went to 8, then 16, then 32. Now some of us are using computers that operate at 64 bits. Think of bits like lanes on a highway. The signals from the computer are like the vehicles. A two, or a four lane road is fine for many areas much of the time. But for peak rush hour traffic, 8 lanes would be better. But the cost goes up. Think of 16, 32 or 64 lanes. No municipality would ever be able to justify the enormous cost of such - without a very compelling reason - or because of an innovation that would lower the cost of each lane. Many here have raised the very realistic issue that cost is a major factor that is limiting what will be available in stock digital organs - especially in a limited and perhaps dwindling market.

                You may have some degree of repair proficiency that many don't have. Thus, most of us must make do with the stock item they purchase from a name-brand organ company.

                I agree that there is less distortion and intermodulation muddiness when a large amp is being run at half-throttle rather than a small amp run wide-open. But having speakers adequate for peak performance coming from 1,000 watt amps per channel may be like justifying 16 or 32 lane highways.

                Those who say that if you're going to spend the money to build a digital like I was describing that can PERHAPS rival the sound of a pipe organ say, 'you might as well build a pipe organ for the same amount of money". And they do have a point. But I suspect they MAY be thinking of only the norm we have known for centuries.

                The new M&O touring organ Cameron Carpenter is using may be a sign of things to come. I have a sense that he's aiming to meld the traditional church organ, the theater organ AND a synthesizer into one package. Will it promote more interest and passion from the masses? I honestly don't know. But I'm pretty sure the pipe purist will cling to what they think is the TRUE organ to play the music that was written for it. And I think that is just fine. But the traditional pipe organ may require changes that represent a bridge too far for the future. Maybe a new paradigm will prompt new music and new sounds that will please people, yet will also be capable of playing the traditional literature.

                But if we say, "What we've got is the best we can do because of cost and it's good enough". The motivation for something better probably won't be there.

                Anyway. I've enjoyed the back-and-forth.

                Bach On
                Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

                Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
                Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
                We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
                Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
                I'm a Methodist organist.
                I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
                Became a Technology Specialist.
                Retired from Education after 32 years.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                  You may have some degree of repair proficiency that many don't have. Thus, most of us must make do with the stock item they purchase from a name-brand organ company.
                  John,

                  Do you know if there is a way to separate the channels coming from Allen's cages into more channels? For example, I'm wondering if there's a way to separate each card, and/or the A vs. AA portions of the card into discrete channels. I know one of the first things I've done with the ADC-4300 was switch the 4 channels into 7 channels (separating the Great from the Pedals), but that's not possible on the 3-manual organs.

                  To follow up the above question, what other manufacturers are more "friendly" to more discrete channels on their older instruments (i.e. Rodgers, Johannus, Phoenix, etc.)?

                  Good to see you back, John.

                  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


                  • #54
                    Michael,

                    I have searched for but not found schematics or pin-outs for the TG boards in ADC and MDS cage boards. If we knew where to pick up the audio signal at the output pins of each TG card in the cage, we ought to be able to build an audio system to match and have as many discrete channels as there are stop groups in the cage. For instance, your ADC4300, like my church's MDS-45, has exactly 12 DAC outputs (not counting the alterables or the articulation), each one carrying 2, 3 or 4 stops. I know this because there are 12 groups of BTMG controls for the spec stoplist. So either of us could be playing a 12-channel organ (plus subs for the pedal stops) if we could crack the code! Fourteen channels if you gave each alterable its own channel.

                    Now, I have taken the back cover off several ADC and MDS cages, and what I see in there is the backside of the sockets in the "slots" -- each socket having perhaps 100 pins. A network of little wires interconnect all these boards. (Some models had printed circuit boards as backplanes, but I think the larger organs all had wire matrices.)

                    Surely, a person COULD carefully touch each pin with a probe with stops drawn and notes blocked down and determine which stops are on which pins. Then you could solder or wire-wrap a shielded audio cable to each of the 12 pins (and you'd also want to tap the two for the alterables, since they'd no longer be mixed into the swell, and you'd have to tap the outputs of the articulation board as well and externally blend that sound with the appropriate stop channels.

                    Then you could run each of these shielded audio cables into its own amplifier and speaker, and "voila!" a super-duper organ!

                    One thing I'm not sure about is expression. I don't know if the audio coming off the TG boards (or the W-14 boards in MDS cages) already has expression applied, or if expression is done on the USAP-1 board in the cage, which is the tie-together point for all the audio channels. If expression has to be applied after the TG outputs, you'd have to come up with some kind of expression circuitry. Such circuits already exist among Allen parts, since all of the MADC models and some of the smaller MDS models used post-cage expression. However, one could run up quite a parts bill using these regular Allen parts, so it might be necessary to build something from scratch, such as a simple photo-cell based volume gate for each channel, similar to what Hammond did on some of their 80's models.

                    Oh, well, we can dream I guess. Right now, I'm thinking the best thing I could do for our MDS-45 would be to proceed with adding the subwoofers (I've had the parts for months) and adding on the PP speakers (which I've also had since before Easter, when I tried to wire them up and found no easy wiring route from my main chambers to where I wanted to put them).

                    Problem is, I'll never had time to do all the tinkering I want to do until I'm too old to do it!
                    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


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                      Problem is, I'll never had time to do all the tinkering I want to do until I'm too old to do it!
                      Awwww, you have a few decades left until you get there.

                      On topic, though, I'm sure someone is smart enough to shortcut the process. Where is Dell or Don when you need them?:-)

                      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


                      • #56
                        Yep. There must be someone on the forum who knows those boards and could tell us how to tap the audio. Maybe one of them will chime in here.
                        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


                        • #57
                          I thought this comment on the Hauptwerk Forum interesting:

                          Even one speaker substituted for each pipe would not really give the electrical equivalent of a whole organ of these individual pipes. Speakers do not give the equivalent of say a positive phase emission at the top, reinforced by a negative output phase from the lip at half a wavelength away.

                          http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13714
                          -Admin

                          Allen 965
                          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                          Hauptwerk 4.2

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Admin,

                            Thanks. And yes, it was an interesting read. I read the comment you quoted. But I did not get the sense that there was clear consensus on how all pipes sound. What I did get was opinions on positioning of speakers.

                            BO
                            Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

                            Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
                            Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
                            We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
                            Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
                            I'm a Methodist organist.
                            I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
                            Became a Technology Specialist.
                            Retired from Education after 32 years.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                              But I did not get the sense that there was clear consensus on how all pipes sound. What I did get was opinions on positioning of speakers.
                              Bach,

                              Because the air inside and between the pipes interact with each other, while speakers do not (the air inside the speaker isn't being affected), I'm not sure speakers would ever "equal" pipes--even one-for-one. However, the listener who can discern that difference is probably less than one in a million (billion?).

                              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


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                                Bach,

                                Because the air inside and between the pipes interact with each other, while speakers do not (the air inside the speaker isn't being affected), I'm not sure speakers would ever "equal" pipes--even one-for-one. However, the listener who can discern that difference is probably less than one in a million (billion?).
                                Michael,

                                I think the sounds between speakers do interact - at least a bit. I have observed this happen. Recommendations on speaker placement I've read indicate that placing speakers playing the same sounds too close to each other can cause sounds to negatively interact. Plus there is the reversing wire polarity on speakers which results in them being out of phase. That is caused by the various sound frequencies cancelling each other. Isn't that interaction? Speaker placement, pointing speakers in certain directions can also interact and affect the acoustics in a room. Woofers in a corner will be more pronounced, for example. The length of a bass speaker port will affect how low the pitch can go. All of these things are part of the physics of sound energy (as well as an art). I will grant that this is not the same as what happens within a pipe chamber. But I just don't think it is quite fair or accurate to say there is no interaction within sounds coming from speakers.

                                I do agree that the number of people who can discern small differences in sound is miniscule - and probably getting smaller.

                                BO
                                Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

                                Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
                                Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
                                We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
                                Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
                                I'm a Methodist organist.
                                I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
                                Became a Technology Specialist.
                                Retired from Education after 32 years.

                                Comment

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