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1972 Allen SYS-300

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  • 1972 Allen SYS-300

    I mentioned this in another reply to a previous post, but I'll post it here for "fresh" input.

    I found a 1972 Allen SYS300 on craigslist that is being given away due to replacement with a newer organ. The description says that it has been well-maintained over the years. What is your opinion of this organ? Good? Bad? so so? I'd like to get a nice church organ to have in my home for practice and pleasure. Does it have external amps or anything separate besides external speaker cabs? I also will need to find out the depth to see if it will fit through my doorways.

    Thanks all.
    Craig

    Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

  • #2
    That's a typical single-computer MOS church model. It will probably be in the early 70's "contemporary" console, which is fairly compact. Could be in the optional "B" console, which is still manageable. Should be easy to get into your house. Two external speaker cabinets. The amplifiers will either be in the console floor or possibly in the speaker cabinets, if it has the gyro speakers that were commonly used at that time. There are only two amps and they are small, so no external amp rack.

    The 300 was a decent little organ with the standard MOS tone generator system plus an analog celeste rank. It will have "sequential" capture action. Card reader was standard on this model. It will have a single expression pedal plus a crescendo pedal. No "voicing" adjustments other than volume control on the amps, a simple bass control on the DAC board or on the small metal box next to the DAC, and the "voicing" knob on the front of the console, which is nothing more than a treble tone control. The analog celeste has note by note tuning and level. Hopefully, the celeste rank will still be in good working order. Might need tuning if it hasn't been tuned regularly.

    This system is MOS at its most basic, and some people find it pleasant enough. I've heard early MOS organs that sound great, especially in a lively room. You might or might not like the sound close up. If it has gyro speakers, they will help somewhat.

    There is plenty of material on this forum about these early single-computer MOS organs. Look for threads that mention the 300, 301, 100, 102, 120, 200, 202, etc. These all have the same basic components in various configurations, with and without card reader, capture, external speakers, etc.

    Certainly worth picking up for free. Even at its age, it should be solid, given Allen's reputation for build quality and long life.
    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!

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    • #3
      That description sounds very similar to my recently-acquired 305-B. It's a nice little instrument.

      David

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      • #4
        Very close, David. The System 300 was part of the very first batch of MOS-1 organs out the door. Your 305 is of course MOS-2 technology, but it is the direct descendant of the 300. Very nearly the same stop list, same console configuration, but you have DM capture action, along with all the various improvements that come standard with MOS-2 technology.
        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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        • #5
          Can any of y'all tell me what the depth of the SYS300 might be? I need to know if it is even doable to get it through my doorways. I live in a 100 year old house and my doorways are narrower than the newer houses. I looked up the MOS 1 and 2 systems on Allen's website. It looks like this organ might even have the gyro speakers with it - that would be cool (I'm a fan of leslie speakers anyway...). Thanks!
          Craig

          Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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          • #6
            There appears to have been one in use at Midland Lutheran Church, Midland, TX in 2013. It might still be there. YouTube That guy has also worked on it, so if you can figure out how to contact him, he should be able to give you some specifics. His name might be "Nipper."

            On edit: More pictures, including one of the "computer."

            This was their FIRST digital organ? Yikes!

            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

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            • #7
              Thanks, SP. appreciate the lead for this information.
              Craig

              Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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              • #8
                Find out whether this particular 300 is in the "B" cabinet or the "contemporary" cabinet and I will look up the dimensions on the Allen tech site for you.

                The "B" console is the decorative design with a traditional look. The "contemporary" console is sometimes called the "spaceship" and is 1970's modern -- all sleek and angular. The bench may even have a "Jetsons" look to it with the sides flaring out at the bottom.
                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
                  Here's the link to the ad on Craigslist. There's a picture there, so maybe you can tell by it.

                  If so, I"d be grateful for those measurements!

                  Thanks.

                  http://allentown.craigslist.org/msg/5016595706.html
                  Craig

                  Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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                  • #10
                    I'm helping replace an Allen 301 in Jeffersonville IN, with a pipe organ. The console with moving tabs does not set off my wretched excess alarm, so it is probably 32" deep or less. Maybe 30". I'll be down there Wednesday 5/13, maybe sooner.
                    BTW it took two of us a couple of hours figuring now to get in there to remove the deagen chime unit control. Hint- the whole top tips back on hinges on the back. There are two screws under the side, one on each side,pointing up, much worn as they should be.
                    The power amps are behind the back: one is failing thus the sense of urgency for the replacement project. Nothing $12 in new electrolytic caps wouldn't fix I imagine, but the organ has been sold already, so I won't be working on it.
                    I have one nice to say about it, they were running the 1 to 2 amp 24-40 VAC deagan solenoids directly off contacts of the upper manual. Those are pretty tough contacts to be used for the <10 ma load of a MOS circuit. I can't say I liked the sound much, but an amp re-e-cap job and some inspection of the speakers for rotted surround replacement might work wonders.
                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by musikfan View Post
                      Here's the link to the ad on Craigslist. There's a picture there, so maybe you can tell by it.
                      The picture was quite dark, but it appears to be the contemporary console. Where the entire top is on a hinge in the front, that leads me to make that conclusion. A "B" console would have a roll top lid.
                      Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                      The "contemporary" console is sometimes called the "spaceship" and is 1970's modern -- all sleek and angular. The bench may even have a "Jetsons" look to it with the sides flaring out at the bottom.
                      John,

                      On the Contemporary console, did the entire top of the organ lift upward for service? If so, then I would imagine it would fit through any standard door as long as the top of the organ were lifted and the organ were put through the door on its side. I have also heard of people lifting keyboards to get an organ through a door, but I'm not sure that's a viable option on the B console--even though that's not what your potential organ has for a console.

                      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

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                      • #12
                        Yes, that's a contemporary console. The depth is 31 & 1/2" at the arms, so it will squeeze through a 32" door opening. Typical 36" exterior doors are a breeze. It weighs 326 lbs (console only), so two strong men can lift it a few inches onto a four-wheel dolly for easy moving.

                        This console type has, as Michael noted, a "flip-top" key cover instead of a roll-top. And for servicing the key contacts or stop switches, you tip the entire upper portion of the console back, after removing (as I-Jo discovered) two screws at the sides near the front. Sometimes they put these two screws underneath and sometimes in the sides of the arms. Once they are out, the top raises (grab the arms and lift) and will go back about 90 degrees and stop, held in place by a locking bracket. Very easy to service, although you have to pull it out from the wall before lifting the arms.

                        The back door of the console is held in place by two screws, which are clearly visible when you look at it from behind. Removing the back door gives you access to all the MOS boards, power supplies, and the amps (unless the amps are in the speaker cabinets, which I would expect in one this old.)

                        It will probably have two gyro speakers and one or two bass cabinets. After a couple years of the MOS era, they stopped selling the gyro cabinets and introduced an improved "random motion" circuit on MOS models to compensate (although the gyro actually did a better job of creating some movement in the sound).

                        I have to wonder what the "new organ for Pentecost" will be! Right there in the Lehigh Valley, I would imagine it's a new Allen. Obviously, they bought one of the very first MOS organs out the door, and it has lasted well over 40 years. Would be surprised if they aren't putting in a new Allen. Of course Walker is right there too.
                        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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                        • #13
                          Thanks JBird. You've been extremely helpful to me with this information!!

                          Y'all have a great week.....
                          Craig

                          Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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                          • #14
                            I was also wondering what organ they might purchase as well!


                            Well, based on the measurements that you gave me, I'm thinking that I might have to remove the frame around my doorway - 30.5 inches is really cutting it close. I need to go back and re-measure again to see what kind of "demolition" I might have to do. I'd really like to have the organ, but I suppose it's going to be dependent on what I can do with the doorway. I'll keep everyone updated as I find out what exactly will happen.
                            Craig

                            Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

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                            • #15
                              In a pinch, you can stand the console up on one end and slip it through the doorway. Because of the way it's shaped, you can guide the upper part in at an angle, then rotate it and pull the lower part in after it. It would easily go through your door that way. Just open it up first and be absolutely sure that there isn't anything loose inside to get thrown around when you tip it on the side.

                              Oh, and note that it is 31.5" deep, not 30.5"

                              One more thing... since the arms are relatively "skinny" you might actually get it through an opening less than 30" wide, if you have the key cover opened. Angle it a bit and pull one end through, then straighten it and all you need is whatever the depth is from the key fronts to the back of the console, which is certainly less than 31.5". Then when you get it all inside except for the last arm, angle it again to pull it through. It can be done in most cases.
                              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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