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  • Allen HR and HC speakers

    I stopped selling Allen Organs in December 2004. The HR speakers were a new product around that time, perhaps a bit earlier. Allen said not to combine HR with HC speakers. Has anyone combined the two products. What was the result; and does anyone know why they should not be combined. Thanks, Allen

  • #2
    I don't know the official word, but the HC speakers had relatively flat response, and the HR does not. If used on the same channel, they would be out of balance in parts of the spectrum relative to each other.

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    • #3
      It's not that something bad will happen if you combine these speakers types, it's just that they sound COMPLETELY different from each other, and with the way Allen channelizes their audio, you'd have some stops in a given chorus or division that sound radically different than others.

      I'm not sure if measured audio response traces were ever published for the Allen full-range speakers. My impression is actually that the HC speakers are a bit treble-shy, especially in the high midrange, and that the HR speakers are more treble-forward overall. If you hook a Renaissance or Quantum organ up to HC speakers, it'll sound somewhat dull, especially in air and transient sounds, relative to a real pipe. The HR speakers, to me, sound more appropriate for the hi-fi nature of Allen's Ren/Quantum technology, and the organ sounds as it should without any treble adjustments. I have played Ren organs with both types of speakers, including examples of the same model installed with HC15s, and another example with HR100s.

      I suspect the duller HC speakers were more appropriate with Allen's earlier technologies- especially ADC, which tended to be rather harsh and clinical in the treble. These speakers would have had the effect of taking the edge off. It's worth noting that the HC speakers have disappeared from Allen's website now.

      The challenge with the HR speakers is that the constant-directivity horns they chose for the high-frequency section are, by their nature, EXTREMELY directional, which is problematic for the relatively non-directional nature of pipe organ sound. I suspect that this is the reason some people think HR speakers are so treble-forward.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
        The challenge with the HR speakers is that the constant-directivity horns they chose for the high-frequency section are, by their nature, EXTREMELY directional, which is problematic for the relatively non-directional nature of pipe organ sound. I suspect that this is the reason some people think HR speakers are so treble-forward.
        Further adding to the complications of using the HR speakers in combination with the HC series.

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        • #5
          While I have not combined HC and HR speakers on the same organ, I have occasionally supplemented the factory-supplied HC speakers with something different, really different in some cases.

          A simple example is adding a PP speaker in parallel with an HC (or with an HR, for that matter). The PP-3 was the presence projector in use at the time I was involved with Allen (back in the 80's), and I frequently added on a PP-3 to supplement an HC-12 or HC-15. There are several differences between the HC crossover and the PP crossover. And the full-range driver used in the PP is quite different from the Peerless midrange drivers in the HC cabinets. The dome tweeter is the same, but the crossover is different enough to give it a different coloration.

          In spite of these differences, and in spite of the fact that HC-12's sound very different from HC-15's, I always thought the PP-3 made a positive contribution to the tone of the organ. Obviously, it served to increase the dispersion of the tone, which is always a good thing. But I think it was a positive that the PP-3 undoubtedly had a somewhat different frequency response curve from its paired HC, of whichever type. Since neither of them was truly flat, the addition of a secondary speaker with a slightly or somewhat differing response curve would probably have tended to flatten the overall response radiated into the room. (Of course, it could conceivably work the other way and worsen the response irregularities, but we are dealing here with very good speakers, all of them.)

          I've also used HC-9 speakers to supplement HC-12's and have used HC-13's to supplement HC-15's. In both cases, there could be some differences in coloration, but if so, I never noticed any degradation of the organ sound. And in the most extreme cases, I've paired an Allen cabinet of some kind with a "home-brew" cabinet made up with generic drivers and a hand-built crossover that might or might not come close to the same crossover points as the Allen design.

          What I'm suggesting is that each different type of speaker system probably has its own distinct contribution to make to the sound. So it might well be that the slightly dull sound of an HC would be complemented by the slightly over-bright sound of an HR on the same channel. I just don't know for sure, having not tried this myself. But I can see how it might work.

          One caveat ... I'd avoid placing an HC and an HR very close together when wired in parallel. I'm just thinking that with their totally different crossover points there might be some kind of cancellation happening if they were within a few feet of each other. I wouldn't put them a long ways apart either, as that might create a situation where the organ sounds different in one part of the room from another.

          Well, that's a rambling suggestion. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
          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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          • #6
            I've used the PP speakers (Presence Projector) in larger spaces that John mentions, and have had very good results. Generally, I try to lean the speakers back against the wall (angled toward the ceiling), and use the PP speakers underneath each HC-12, HC-14, or HC-15 to prop it up. Important notes--this is a temporary situation, and I don't recommend it as a permanent installation.

            When there is a large choir on risers, I've had to put the main speakers behind the choir. In that case, I lay the PP speakers on top of the main speakers to carry the highs through the choir in front of them. By doing this, the bass carries on its own, but the mids and highs are reinforced to have a decent balance.

            One day, I hope to have the opportunity to actually set the Symphony's organ up properly in a space and see how it turns out. Nowadays, it seems the organ is less important to conductors, and they appear to be satisfied to have keyboards with organ sounds. But I digress. John's suggestion is probably better than adding HR speakers with the greater variety in crossover frequencies from the HC speaker series.

            John, have you ever used PP speakers to reinforce HR speakers? If so, how was the result with the variance in crossovers? I'd imagine it would be a greater (negative) difference than with the HC series speakers.

            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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            • #7
              Originally posted by myorgan View Post
              I've used the PP speakers (Presence Projector) in larger spaces that John mentions, and have had very good results. Generally, I try to lean the speakers back against the wall (angled toward the ceiling), and use the PP speakers underneath each HC-12, HC-14, or HC-15 to prop it up. Important notes--this is a temporary situation, and I don't recommend it as a permanent installation.

              When there is a large choir on risers, I've had to put the main speakers behind the choir. In that case, I lay the PP speakers on top of the main speakers to carry the highs through the choir in front of them. By doing this, the bass carries on its own, but the mids and highs are reinforced to have a decent balance.

              One day, I hope to have the opportunity to actually set the Symphony's organ up properly in a space and see how it turns out. Nowadays, it seems the organ is less important to conductors, and they appear to be satisfied to have keyboards with organ sounds. But I digress. John's suggestion is probably better than adding HR speakers with the greater variety in crossover frequencies from the HC speaker series.

              John, have you ever used PP speakers to reinforce HR speakers? If so, how was the result with the variance in crossovers? I'd imagine it would be a greater (negative) difference than with the HC series speakers.

              Michael
              Hi Michael,

              As you probably recall, we used six HC12s in our digital system to match up with our pipes. Our Artisan digital system has eight audio channels (four stereo channels). I put two of these speakers to handle most of the the Swell stops, two to handle most of the Great stops and two more to handle the Celestes and Mixtures (from both the Swell & Great). You may also recall that we got 8 PP-3 units (I think that is the series). I placed six of these - one wired in parallel l with each HC12. I've been very pleased with the results. I've experimented by adding and removing the PP units out of the mix. They add greater sonority in the upper frequencies. And as John said, they are good for creating a better sense of spatial awareness. Our PP units allow the treble to be reduced or enhanced using a wire-wound resistor. I've currently got ours wide-open. The sound pressure level (volume) for the HC12s and PP speaker is (IMHO) an excellent match.

              The only HR speaker we currently have is the single HR100 used to carry to overtones and partials in our pedals. The HR100 is way more efficient than any of the HC12s. I've heard and read the same is true for all the HR series - as Toodles mentioned. I cannot imagine the PP speakers would be heard very much if in parallel with the HR speakers.

              Bach On
              Last edited by Bach-On; 12-29-2015, 08:56 AM.
              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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              • #8
                I see that I never answered Michael's question about using PP's with HR's. No, I haven't ever done that. I believe that Allen still sells some version of a PP speaker though, and I have to wonder for what purpose they are still offering them. As Bach On points out, the HR speakers are VERY efficient compared to all other Allen cabinets, so it raises the question of whether or not a PP would be loud enough to make any kind of contribution to the sound of the HR. I don't have any HR cabinets around to test that hypothesis, so I can't answer.

                Since the HR cabinets are so very efficient, it now makes more sense for the installers to point the speakers at some large smooth surface within the chambers (or else at the ceiling in the room, if speakers are not in chambers). With the high sound levels they produce, you can afford to lose a bit of the sound without having to eat up a lot of amplifier power.

                So dealers, at least the two that I've dealt with, tend to do that these days. This "bounce" effect helps send the sound outward in a broader pattern. In an ideal chamber situation with large openings on two sides and hard surfaces all around, the sound of an HR cabinet can be directed at the rear wall of the chamber, at an angle, so that it bounces off the wall, then bounces again off the ceiling or another wall before entering the primary room space. If done properly, this can overcome much of the "beaming" that makes speaker organs sound so much like speakers instead of pipes.

                This isn't the end of the road, but it does represent a step toward a more realistic presentation of organ tone. Unfortunately, many installers probably don't understand this technique at all, and may be simply pointing the speakers backwards or upward without any regard as to what kind of surface the sound will encounter or how it will be redirected by the bounce.

                What we do with PP's supplementing HC's is to broaden the dispersion angle without resorting to the "bounce" technique. For example, if the dome tweeter in an HC cabinet has a useful dispersion of, let's say, 90 degrees, adding a PP cabinet with its own dome tweeter sitting at an angle on top of the HC, you can pretty well cover a room with the sound. The bass frequencies are non-directional, so they don't need to be PP-ed, thus the lack of significant low frequency output from the PP box.

                What we really need is a speaker system that is totally non-direction at all frequencies. In other words, putting out a spherical pattern with absolutely no variation from point to point. I'd love to hear an organ built with that kind of speaker, if it should exist. But we can come pretty close using either the bounce system or multiple tone cabinets on the same channel.
                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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