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  • Help me identify this organ model

    Greetings all. I am currently playing an older Allen analogue organ in our local Lutheran church. I can't get behind the organ to find the model number, and I don't currently have paperwork for it. Can you help me identify the model?

    It has the pull out drawers to manually program the 4 general preset capture pistons, and then two sets of 4 pistons - one for each of the manuals, a 32 note AG0 pedal board, 3 Swell to great couplers (4,8, and 16), one swell to swell coupler, mixtures on both manuals and on the pedals, a 32 foot stop on the pedals as well. It also has the flute tremolo which I believe is a small motor in the one speaker cab and also several vox/celeste stops. There are 3 expression pedals.

    These are just a few of the details that might ring a bell for someone out there who is more familiar with all the Allen models. The organ has an amazing sound for its age.

    Sorry that I don't have any pics to show.

    Thank you everyone for any info you might provide!
    Craig

    Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

  • #2
    The lid is hinged and secured with a chain. Tilt it up and you may see the nameplate dead center on the back panel. It sounds like a two manual "Custom." These models had remote generators in a large cabinet.

    There are two expression shoes plus crescendo. Are they marked "Great" and "Swell" or "Reeds" and "Flues"? If the former, then it is considerably larger than the standard Custom of four generators.

    With the multiple sets of generators plus "Electronic Whind" these organs can still produce a surprisingly authentic sound. Let's hope it give you and the church many more years of pleasure!

    I still own the fancy Allen brochure for the Custom series. And in a moment I'll be practicing on a 1957 Allen! Tonally it isn't nearly the organ you are playing but it is just as sturdy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, it has the electronic blowers - there are three lights that come on to indicate that they are working. The expression pedals are marked swell/great/crescendo. I'll check the inside. Thanks!
      Last edited by musikfan; 05-07-2015, 10:28 AM.
      Craig

      Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

      Comment


      • #4
        The expression shoes for swell and great shows that this one has independent generators for the two manuals. Most frequently this meant the following arrangement:
        Swell: Flute, Diapason, Celeste, Reed
        Great: Flute, Diapason, Reed

        Seven sets of oscillators produce a very nice chorus. The Allen used for the opening of Lincoln Center (and similar Allens on many Columbia recordings) had just three sets.

        Comment


        • #5
          That would be larger than any custom Allen I have ever seen. Must be an awesome instrument! I hope the church considers it a treasure to be maintained and enjoyed. While today's digital organs may have the edge when it comes to the realism of individual notes of individual stops, these big old analogs are in some ways more "real" with an authentic tone source behind each note, just like a pipe organ.

          We occasionally service a big old TC-4 around here. I'm always struck by the realism of the reeds, their authentic attack characteristics, especially in the lowest octave. And the brilliance and drive of those reeds in the middle of the keyboard is just amazing. A good analog trumpet just blows away most digital trumpet stops, at least on the typical digital organ.

          How about posting some pics? Would love to see the console and stop controls, as well as pics of the generator racks and speakers if you can get them.
          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


          • #6
            I'm wondering if the oscillator arrangement might be more like:

            unit flute, unit diapason, and then a unit "swell" going to a set of voicing filters, and "celeste strings". Such an arrangement would explain the divided expression and the sub and super octave couplers without resorting to such a large set of oscillators.

            This number of oscillators would fit in the console--about the same as a TC4--but the arrangement described by MarkS would most certainly require remote oscillators--that's probably the key issue. Is there a remote rack of oscillators?

            The sub & super couplers done with the oscillator set MarkS indicates would likely have required a remote relay--the matrix keyswitches could do the sub/super couplers, and the remote relay handling the unit keying. It's hard to imagine a matrix style keyswitch arrangement both unit ranks and sub/super couplers on the same unit ranks--it's a bit more cumbersome (mechanically) than I've typically seen in matrix keying. Unless, perhaps, Allen had provided diode style keying (a la Rodgers) for the unit keying--they certainly were capable of doing that, but I've never seen it done on an Allen.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll see what I can do for pics. Yes, I must admit that I have fallen in love with this instrument. It has a gorgeous sound, and it fills the sanctuary. The cab is fairly large - 32 inches deep and probably about 5.5 feet in width. There are three of the "classic" allen speakers mounted on the wall on the one side of the chancel, and then on the other there is a "speaker cave" with a number of these inside, I believe. It also has a set of real chimes. Honestly, when I play the full organ, you'd swear you were hearing a pipe organ - it's just amazing for an analogue. The sad part of it is that this church only has about 20 people attending on a Sunday, and it is dying a slow death. Most of the folks are at least in their mid to late fifties/sixties and then older - many in their 70's and 80's. There are no young families and no children. I'm not sure what the future of the church will be, but I do know that if anything ever happens and the church has to close, I will be at the door offering to take the organ off their hands if they decide they don't need it. Unfortunately, I probably could not fit it into my home as our doorways are only about 29 or 30 inches in width (100 year old house). But if I could make a way to do it, I certainly would! I hope I don't sound warped by that comment. Honestly I hate the thought of a church closing down, but it happens, and usually the newer churches that take over have no desire for an organ. It often just sits, or else the latter - they try to get rid of it. In that case, I will be there and I will find a way to keep it in my possession. In my opinion, this organ is every bit as good as a digital one. I'd be completely happy with it.
              Craig

              Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

              Comment


              • #8
                The sub and super coupling is probably done right underneath the keys with rods and separate keying wires for each footage. The ones I've seen have rotating rods more or less like the rods you see in an old Conn organ. In response to the coupler tabs, solenoids rotate the rods into position to supply keying voltage to the appropriate rows of wire whiskers.

                We had a custom Allen analog in the shop for a while that was built like that. It had only four ranks in an external cabinet (same basic ranks as a TC-4). However, what Allen had done with those four ranks was nothing short of astounding. Inside the remote cabinet were rows and rows of gang-switches. Turning on a stop would activate the corresponding gang switch, which would couple the keying lines of that keyboard to the appropriate generator. When drawing, for example, a Gemshorn, the keying voltage for that manual would be directed into the diapason generator, but would pass through an array of 61 resistors on the way, cutting down the voltage enough to make the diapason tone key softer and lighter. However, on the other manual at the very same time, the diapson rank might be in use by another stop, which would be keying it at its own appropriate level.

                These gang switches, along with steering diodes that followed some of them, could key a rank at any required footage, or could key two ranks simultaneously, could key the chiff or bring on sustain just for one particular stop. The flute generator had both open and stopped flute trunks, and the switching could activate either one as needed. The reed generator also had tone changer circuitry which was actuated by the stop tabs.

                So it really seemed from the console that there were numerous ranks of independent voices, though in fact there were only the four (diapason, flute, reed, and celeste). Not a great way to build an organ, but it sure did give a lot of variety. Problem was, with all this complicated circuitry in front of the basic oscillators, there were lots of things to go wrong. As this organ got old (and it was over 40 years old when it was finally junked out and the console converted to MIDI), diodes and gang switches gave the most trouble, along with the usual suspects in analog Allens, keying capacitors and oscillator transistors.

                But as to the coupling, underneath the Swell keys were three rows of contacts for sub (16'), unison (8') and super (4') keying, any or all of them could be active at the same time. Under the Great keys were five rows -- great unison, great 4', swell 16', swell 8', and swell 4'.

                Pedal keying and coupling took place in the remote cabinet with gang switches.

                Expression on that one was divided with Flues on one shoe and Reeds on the other. I suspect the Allen our OP plays on really does have separate ranks of oscillators for the two divisions. I don't think Allen would've marked the expression that way if it really didn't work that way. I'll bet there are seven ranks and seven amps, seven speakers (or eight if there is a sub).

                Maybe we'll get some photos eventually to settle all bets!
                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


                • #9
                  musikfan, at least one member of this forum has ripped out a door to bring in a big organ (and then, presumably, rebuilt it). You might get buy with just removing the frame and door and then reinstalling them.

                  David

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                    musikfan, at least one member of this forum has ripped out a door to bring in a big organ (and then, presumably, rebuilt it). You might get buy with just removing the frame and door and then reinstalling them.
                    David,

                    Don't forget about the window! Our old Victorian house wouldn't fit the Estey through the door--so, there went the window! Since then, we've replaced all the windows, except those two. I can't replace them until the organ leaves.:-|

                    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


                    • #11
                      The console itself may fit through a 36" door.

                      What about the huge cabinet containing the generators and stop switches? Where will you put it? And the speakers?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        David,

                        You were reading my mind!!!! I was looking at the door frame and thinking that very same thing. Oh the things we will do to get a beloved instrument into our homes. Ha ha!

                        By the way everyone, I looked inside the lid of the console, and the model says "2 manual Custom". so there you have it. I tried to download pics, but I think the files are too big. I'm sorry folks. I'll try it again on Monday when I'm at work with my faster computer. It might make a difference.

                        In the meantime, can anyone tell me about an Allen SYS-300? I found one about 2 hours away in a catholic church that is GIVING it away for free because they are getting a new organ. They said it's been maintained over the years. It's from 1972. Opinions?? Recommendations?? Yes or no???

                        Thanks all...

                        - - - Updated - - -

                        Where would that cabinet be? I didn't see anything. Is it up in the "speaker cave" with the other speakers? I know nothing about the electronics of these organs. I just figured everything is inside the console. I have lots to learn....LOL

                        - - - Updated - - -

                        Y'all are making me laugh. What would our wives say? I can just hear my wife giving me grief for ripping up the house. I bet a lot of you have stories about your spouse getting up a dander over our organ habits. I have two hammonds in my basement, but they are spinets. If I can manage it, I'd do whatever I could to make room for a church organ, too! I'd find a way to pack it in there!
                        Craig

                        Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          MarkS,

                          I think you've correctly identified the organ. Read my last post. After reading what you wrote, I'm definitely going to have to give up on any hopes of having this organ in my home someday. There just wouldn't be room for the generator cabinet and everything else that comes with it. How big is that generator cabinet? Nevertheless, I suppose room could be made for it if I was desperate enough.

                          - - - Updated - - -

                          I think that is going to pose a problem. I replied back to MarkS with the same comment. How big is that generator box?
                          Craig

                          Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've thought that if I have to modify an interior door, it would be the one from inside the garage, but I wonder if a huge window or a partially dismounted sliding glass door wouldn't be easier -- or cheaper if one needs to pay somebody else to do it.

                            SP
                            -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The 2 manual custom will be similar (sort of) to a TC-4 so most likely will have tone generation in the console. Amplifiers will be remote and probably in the speaker cabinets.
                              Still a big pile of stuff to move.
                              There are no photos of this organ in the Allen analog service manual.

                              td
                              Servicing electronic organs since 1969.

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