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New Praeludium V (or AG 3000?) vs. new Vivace 90

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  • swell-to-great
    replied
    Hi – an interesting topic. I started looking around for a three-manual practice instrument a year or so ago. I looked at most of the readily available instruments in the UK, and eventually selected an Ahlborn 3000, for various reasons, not least the price. It is well specified, and very solidly made.

    For every stop, there is a series of related alternatives. Also, each manual has one Alternative stop with about 20 variants – so you can find almost everything you will be looking for, including, for example, harpsichord or timpani. In addition, you can change most of the parameters controlling each stop, relative volume, tone quality, release timbre et cetera. Indeed, if you are really fussy, you can even change each note. Having specified the voice, and set the various parameters, you can save these into one of five different organs.

    However, the length of time this set up procedure takes should not be underestimated. If you've got an hour to practice, it is easy to spend half of that just messing with the sound effects – Great fun, but not something which will particularly improve your playing. By the time you've adjusted the reverberation and channelling (that is, which speakers the various sounds come from) the set up is quite complex. I can imagine some organists would not want all that complexity – they just want to get practising.

    The sound quality of the organ is partly dependent on the computerised samples, but also on the quality of the amplification, which is very good, especially if you couple external speakers to give a sense of space and depth.

    The Ahlborn technology dates from around 2005, but it is only now being matched and superseded by other manufacturers. I doubt whether they will develop a replacement system, but this makes their existing specification very good value. If you're looking for a practice instrument, Ahlborn is worth considering.

    Leave a comment:


  • Josh
    replied
    Plain,

    I'd be interested to hear (privately) where you tried out the UNICO line of organs and when. The technology is incredibly flexible, but out of the box it is not acceptable for a typical American Organist. These organs require a lot of voicing to get it just right for our particular ears. Plus, there have been some very recent additions to the library of voices that are specifically for the American Market. Because of the flexibility of the Physis Technology platform, these updates are available to all owners of a Viscount Organ using Physis Technology, and it's as easy to get as accepting an e-mail attachment.

    Leave a comment:


  • plain
    replied
    Thank you for the information and a thoughtful response, don60!

    Leave a comment:


  • don60
    replied
    No one holds any hatred in his heart for Galanti, just misgivings about the future of the company. Even a bottom-end organ from this firm will set you back more than the cost of a nice car; why would you take a chance on buying an orphan when other companies are clearly more viable and much better at providing support?

    In my limited experience with AG (when they still were AG) products, I found them to be highly versatile but very overtly computerized. Less tech-savvy customers often despaired of even being able to play the things because they offered so many configuration choices (although they were optional and one could mostly play without touching them). Theirs is one approach to building organs that I and many people do not like: giving up the pretense of sitting in front of a pipe organ and simply embracing the technology to its fullest.

    Very similar comments apply to Rodgers at the moment. While they are building more organs than Galanti, their future is also hazy because Roland has no emotional attachment to this division. Support is sorta there, depending on the dealer, and these instruments too have completely embraced the technology and can dazzle or baffle the organist with choices.

    One source of the distaste that many have for Galanti is that when the AG division of Generalmusic was failing, many here on the Forum were speculating as to the cause and outcome. Clearly, the company had a cash-flow problem and needed to concentrate on becoming solvent again. However, management felt that the best use of their limited resources was to hire attorneys to write threatening letters to those who alleged that the company was near bankruptcy. Of course, those letters ceased once the company actually did go bankrupt!

    Notice to attorneys who write threatening letters from Italy: I am not alleging that Generalmusic is bankrupt. It is apparently quite solvent and able to sell nearly any musical instrument one desires except for classical organs. The Galanti classical organ company is a separate business now and is apparently also solvent for the moment.

    Leave a comment:


  • plain
    replied
    Thanks for the heads up, don60. I'm staying away from the competitors' battles. I'm simply after the sound only. :-)

    A bit curious though: what is it about AG that provokes the 'hate'? I get it: people in Illinois are reportedly non-existent (I'm no expert here, just repeating), but are they about to die out in Italy, too? Viscount people clearly know better how to promote their products and what 'internet presence' actually means, but does it automatically disqualify their competitor?

    I know, all these subjects were raised some time ago, but it's probably been a couple of years since, so a sensible update would be nice.

    Leave a comment:


  • plain
    replied
    To arie v:
    Thanks again for your quick and comprehensive response! Your messages are always well balanced and to the point. :-)
    If I may, another question: is there another Viscount model within similar price range (not more than 20K?) that may be considered a better alternative to an AG3000? I'm not sure which ones are sold in the US: Prestige 80? Cadet or Envoy models? (looks like probably not sold in the US?). Just trying to make sure, I've covered all my options.

    I have played a Physis-based organ and am going to assume that it wasn't voiced properly, as it's sound wasn't 'impressive'. Still sounded like a digital organ, really.
    And yes, I'm going to use external speakers.

    Leave a comment:


  • plain
    replied
    To Josh:
    The instruments are quoted very similarly, within 15-20K.
    I have a somewhat limited experience in playing both instruments, hence the question to the blog, otherwise I might've been able to decide myself.
    I like the sound of pipe organs, and of all the digital ones Phoenix organs sound the best to me, though for the higher price.

    Leave a comment:


  • Josh
    replied
    What is your budget for this purchase? Have you already been quoted on both instruments? What are your personal thoughts on both instruments after playing them? Knowing this would help me make a suggestion to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • don60
    replied
    Galanti's North American parts and technical support staff is one man who works part time and answers the phone when he feels like it (and when he does not see an "undesirable" number come up on his caller ID). As the remains of Generalmusic's organ division (Alhborn-Galanti), Galanti is struggling financially and not likely to last another five years. If you love taking chances on shaky companies with essentially zero support and no long-term prospects, then buy the Galanti!

    OTOH, Viscount has full support for their products based right here in the US. Technical questions and parts requests are handled very quickly.

    I just played a Vivace 90 and my impressions are much more favorable than Arie's.

    Leave a comment:


  • arie v
    replied
    Hi,

    I'm familiar with both. The A-G is certainly a level higher in terms of overall sound quality, and also in terms of features.

    The Vivace is the lower level line from Viscount, and it definitely shows in the sound. Samples are few and short, and the internal speakers are not very good. Also, I found that it was hard to get a good cohesive sound, even when substituting different samples.

    I have anote A-G 3000 as my rental organ. I use it with 6 or 8 audio channels, and it sounds really very good, even when put in large hotel rooms (where organs usually sound terrible). I spent a lot of time setting up a default voicing, and it works really well, regardless of the acoustics of the venue.

    If you are really after the better sound, I would suggest the A-G model, and then add external audio, as it makes it sound so much better.

    The Ahlborn Praeludium V, is not normally sold in North America. It is the quiz lent model to the 3000, but made for European clients.

    AV

    Leave a comment:


  • plain
    started a topic New Praeludium V (or AG 3000?) vs. new Vivace 90

    New Praeludium V (or AG 3000?) vs. new Vivace 90

    Has anyone had a chance to compare these two for it's overall sound quality? I'm thinking of buying a new organ, in the US.
    A short comparison from an informed/knowledgeable person would be much appreciated!
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