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  • Allen ADC-8000 with HC-12 speakers

    We had an interesting service call yesterday. A gentleman who recently re-located to this state needed help with his ADC-8000, which he'd bought about four years ago for a home organ. It had previously served a large church in a nearby state. This was actually the first ADC-8000 that I've seen other than at the factory back in the 80's when I was a salesman.

    It was a beautiful example of Allen craftsmanship, in a custom "C" drawknob console on a dolly he had built (very professionally). The console finish was a combination of natural wood and white painted panels, very smart looking. And in mint condition. His home had been previously owned by people with a large RV, and this room had been the RV garage until enclosed and finished on the inside. So it was quite a big room with a high ceiling and he had adapted it well into an organ room. He said in his former home he had a much larger organ room, but this one was plenty big.

    (Before he got this ADC-8000, he told us had owned an enormous MOS-1 custom organ which had eleven (11!) computers and had been one of Jerome Markowitz's pet projects for a very large church. So he's no stranger to BIG Allen organs!)

    At 30+ years old, this ADC organ was in need of quite a bit of work, as one would expect. As I adjusted the voicing pots on all the boards, I found most of them to be scratchy. Also found that once a board was pulled from its slot in the cage it took extra effort to get it back in. When we go back, we'll spend time exercising all the pots and greasing all the card edge connectors.

    His immediate problem was a defective USEG-1 board in one of the cages. As Allen told us years ago, a single EG-1 board going bad can bring a whole cage down, and this was the case. We'll be going back with a new board. To get the organ playing we pulled the bad one and moved the EG-1 that serves the Alterables into the empty slot. So he can play it now but with no card reader.

    As you might guess, every HC-12 cabinet, of which there are 13, was bad. Most of the woofers were still working, though nearly all had some gaps in the foam. A couple of them were completely blown out. The midranges were all bad as well. He is restoring it as a hobby, so he plans to re-foam the speakers himself, as he has already done a few on a previous Allen he owned.

    I just thought the overall sound of this organ was amazing, perhaps as good as any Allen I have ever heard anywhere. That's what you get when you have two full cages of boards to work with. A total of 13 audio channels to minimize the jamming and compression we associate with all digital organs.

    Also, a few stops (festival trumpet, carillon, contre-bombarde) were generated on USTG-2 boards, which are dedicated boards for a single stop and have "region" controls to adjust the level in half-octave sections. Apparently there are individual samples for each half-octave of each stop on this type of board.

    Finally, I was impressed with the sound of the HC-12 cabinets, even though they were mostly in need of driver repair. There seemed to be a sweetness and fullness to the sound that I don't think we get from some other Allen speaker designs. Not sure just why that is, but they did sound really nice. I'm looking forward to hearing it once all the speakers are restored and once we get the boards and pots cleaned up and accurately voiced.

    If the owner is agreeable, I may post some pics when we go back in a few weeks.
    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

  • #2
    You know I've been pleased with the HC12s we recently bought. Sound good and built like a tank. Good bone structure.

    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.

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    • #3
      My 305-B has 2 HC-12s that were rebuilt at the local Allen outlet and they sound great.

      David

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      • #4
        John,

        Wouldn't a whole raft of HC-12 speakers make the organ sound rather mid-rangy? Isn't that the speaker that has extended bass response as well as dual mid-range drivers?

        So the Allen would sound more Skinner-like rather than Flentop if HC-14 speakers were used.

        John, sounds like you might want to go back to selling ADC and MDS organs again. Sounds like you are really taken with that era of Allen's organbuilding.

        AV

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        • #5
          Originally posted by arie v View Post
          Wouldn't a whole raft of HC-12 speakers make the organ sound rather mid-rangy? Isn't that the speaker that has extended bass response as well as dual mid-range drivers?
          AV,

          Yes, a boat-load of HC-12 speakers would too.;-) You are correct about the dual mid-range drivers, but that's what presence projector speakers were created for. They reinforce the highs in larger spaces. No real need for that in smaller spaces, unless that's what you want, of course. The bass would go down to E/F in the 32' range before dropping off.

          Keep in mind that when the Allen MOS and HC-12 speakers were developed (late '60s and early '70s) "tubby" sound was the order of the day in most pipe organs. The Baroque revival was barely 10-20 years old. In Allen analog organs (the TC series--i.e. TC-3S I grew up with) there weren't even any mixtures until you got into the 3 manual organs. There was only 1 or 2 mutations on a larger 2-manual organ.
          Originally posted by arie v View Post
          John, sounds like you might want to go back to selling ADC and MDS organs again. Sounds like you are really taken with that era of Allen's organbuilding.
          John is not the only one. The earlier organs actually sounded good, and there was a "sweet spot" of Allen technological development that was user serviceable/voiceable, as well as having the good sound. The large-cage ADC organs (i.e. 8000 and above), the later ADC organs (i.e. x300 or x350 series), and early MDS organs had the voicing, samples, and technology right. Then, they had to mess with it and make it so complicated, only technicians with music skills could do it right--and many didn't as we've heard so often on this Forum. Somehow, Allen got the message that complicated was better, and ruined their technological development. I'm not even sure their R&D department still exists. That's the sign of a downhill turn in a company, when they shed their R&D department. I think their attempts to incorporate MIDI may have had something to do with that.

          During that "sweet spot," the only thing I would have changed is the sample depth to get more sample points. The application of technology to the sound was just right. Just my opinion, of course, but at least it could have been done.

          Michael
          [braces himself for rotten tomatoes heaved his way!]
          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

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          • #6
            I've often assumed that the HC-12 was a tubbier sounding speaker, but I didn't hear that yesterday, not in this organ in this room. Beautifully balanced sound. I did note that the trebles in the cage were all turned down a bit, and when I turned one up to see what would happen, the dome tweeters in the HC-12 were quite capable of putting out the highs.

            Honestly, I haven't done much side by side listening to evaluate the -12 vs the -15. I do know that I accidentally put a 12 on one channel and a 15 on the other channel of an ADC in the shop one day and found that I simply could not get the two parts of the celeste to match up. There was a really different tone color overall.

            And yes, I really think ADC and MDS were the peak models for Allen. Not that I don't enjoy a good Renaissance when I hear one, but those older organs can really make fine music when working well and properly voiced. I'm not sure that Allen's newer speakers, such as the HR series, are as sweet-sounding either as the older ones. But then I'm old too and I sometimes tend to appreciate older stuff!
            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

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            • #7
              John,
              Will the card reader function be restored eventually?

              Did his previous 11 computer MOS organ come from Menlo Park, perhaps?

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              • #8
                We plan to have the card reader operating when we finish up. The boards look good, no sign of battery damage. (I assume that someone in the past took care of getting the batteries off the boards.) AS to the origin of the 11 computer MOS, I can't say. He may have told me but I don't recall. I'll ask about that when we go back.
                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

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                • #9
                  I played an ADC-8000 for about 4 years every Sunday. Double audio, with 26 HC-15s and 2 B-40 subwoofers, plus an antiphonal and the optional Brass Choir. Wonderful ensemble. The individual stops were a mixed bag, but the whole thing was thunderous when you built up the ensemble, and like you say John, no real evidence of the cancellation and "smallness" that characterizes many electronic organ ensembles.

                  Do you recall how the channels were split out? I don't remember anymore.

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                  • #10
                    Looking at the cage charts, I see that the 8000 was channeled thus:

                    Swell has four channels -- two of them carry the primary stops plus the Alterables, a third carries only 16' and 4' reeds, and a fourth carries only the Festival Trumpet and the Carillon (these two stops cannot be played at the same time).

                    Great has four channels -- two carry the primary stops, a third one carries only the Trompette and the Mixture, and the fourth only carries the Klarine 4' and the Scharf III and is shared with some pedal stops.

                    Choir has two channels -- the usual A/B separation of choruses, although the 18 stops of the choir are set up in six different groups for voicing. This illustrates just how much circuitry Allen put into this model. All the divisions are similarly equipped, so a great deal of detailed finishing is possible, and the integrity and distinctiveness of the stops are truly impressive.

                    Pedal has three channels of its own (plus optional subs) and a fourth channel which is shared with the great Klarine and Scharf.

                    When the Brass Choir is installed, it gets a channel of its own.

                    Easy to see why this organ sounds so good. Seven channels are devoted to just the great and pedal. That's more audio for those two divisions than most models have for the whole organ. Just think of all the 3m Renaissance organs out there installed with just four channels!
                    Last edited by jbird604; 04-16-2015, 07:05 AM.
                    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

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