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Practice Instrument for Student Apartment

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  • Practice Instrument for Student Apartment

    Does anyone have advice on a small suitable organ that would fit in a small apartment? A used Allen or Rogers I think would be too large. Budget would be under $1000. I'd have to be able to MIDIfy the instrument for headphone use so I could practice while my roommates are home/sleeping. I'm really looking for a basic practice instrument to carry me through the week until I can practice on a pipe organ on weekends.

    The digital DIY method may be my best bet. I'm considering the Yamaha HX1 but am concerned about the 25 note pedal board (would prefer an AGO). Do you think it will make a big difference switching back and forth between a 25 note and AGO? I've been playing organ for about 3 years after 20 years of piano. Having a home instrument would help me progress more quickly considering I'm a student and trying to get to church before the office closes is a pain.

    Anyway, any suggestions welcome. If I went with the Yamaha HX1 I'd eventually like to add Hauptwerk to it and possibly an AGO pedal board if I can find one.


    PS: I'm in MD so if you know of someone wanting to part with an AGO pedalboard within a 250mi radius let me know!

    Thread moved - 'Home Organs' is for entertainment type instruments only. Andy-Moderator
    Last edited by andyg; 02-10-2016, 01:12 AM.

  • #2
    Unfortunate that his request cannot appear on both forums as his initial choice, the HX-1, is unlikely to have any followers among the classical instruments. On the other hand, it is the classical folk that know the issues associated with playing classical music on flat pedal boards. That HX-1 was one of my first attempts to have a portable organ but I never implemented it. It is one of the few with 25 note pedal sets that comes apart for transport, something I thought important. Organs that do not separate almost have to have organ dollies to move, requiring professionals or an expensive purchase. Still, I'm thinking that most 25 pedal organs are going to be in the entertainment section.

    The argument against the HX-1 is that they are getting really long in the tooth; late 1980's I believe. But they separate and have MIDI. Also, you get velocity from the pedals, a rarity. If 25 pedals are acceptable, there are other full consoles available. My brother's neighbor has a Kawai from the 70's that would be free or nearly so. The only thing it has going for it is 61/61/25 and no MIDI plus very distant from Maryland. As a Roland fan, I suppose I have to ask, is it possible to use 20 spinet pedals? That opens up most of the Ateliers from 1996 on, organs that have classical sounds, are plentiful, inexpensive, have MIDI, and separate into two 140 lb sections. Obviously, most of the pedal practice ends up waiting for the weekend but not everything requires two feet. Manuals are 56/76 and you can split the lower (long) one for a pseudo third manual.

    Been a while since logged in and this may not be my best contribution. Good luck locating the right instrument for apartment use.
    Roland Atelier AT-90s, AT-80s, AT-70, 30, and 15. Roland VR-760 combo
    Yamaha S-90, Kurzweil PC-3x, Casio Privia PX-330, Roland E-80, G-70, BK-5, Leslie 760, 820
    Moved on:
    Allen 3MT/Hauptwerk, Technics GA1, Yamaha HX1, AR80, numerous Hammonds, including 2 M's, an L, 2 A-100's, XP-2, XM-1/1c, & an XK-3. Roland Atelier AT-30, 60r, 80, & 20r(2 units), and a slew of Leslies (147, 142, 760, 900, 330).
    Korg Triton Le-61, Casio Privia PX-310 & 110, and Kurzweils: PC-2x, SP-88, Pro-III, K1000


    • #3
      Viscount, Johannus, and Galanti all have put out fairly compact models and usually they had an earphone plug. Rodgers imported from Italy some organs built by one of these builders. Your problem will be your budget. I have seen some Baldwins built by either Viscount or Galanti for less than $1500 in the past. I have seen an Allen AP-2 recently in the same price range but it has a "princess" pedal board which is not AGO standard and you would have to have the local service tech order and install the head phone plug for you. If you are patient and search craigslist in major cities and check Ebay, you might find something.


      • #4

        Welcome to the Forum.

        Baldwin also had headphone jacks too, but you need to be careful the vintage of digital organ you get from them. There were 3 that I know of. John (JBird604) had a practice Baldwin in his home at one time and could advise you further (as well as others on the Forum).

        I hope you find something soon.

        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


        • #5
          I don't know where you are located but the given price you maybe able to pay for shipping and stay within your budget. I did not remember that early Allen digitals had an earphone plug.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Horseshoe_or View Post
            I don't know where you are located but the given price you maybe able to pay for shipping and stay within your budget. I did not remember that early Allen digitals had an earphone plug.
            This Allen would be perfect for what you are looking for. If you check around, you should be able to get it shipped to you under your budget. Hope you can get this.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pipeorganbuilder View Post
              This Allen would be perfect for what you are looking for. If you check around, you should be able to get it shipped to you under your budget. Hope you can get this.
              That looks like a nice one. Id definaltely be lookingvfor a broke one. If you are lucky the headphone amp will be working and you'll be set. If you want you can check over in the VTPO area and see what it takes to do the conversion.


              • #8
                I believe the organ is in Apache Junction about 45 minutes from where I live. If you are seriously interested, I am willing to drive out there and see if it is playing. I am not a tech, just an organist.


                • #9
                  Hmmm.... Sort of a tough order to fill. Yes, that Allen fits some of your needs, but you said you feared a used Allen or Rodgers would be too big. That one appears to be a 100 series MOS-1 organ (the details in the pics show it is a very early one, having sequential capture), but it has internal speakers and a headphone jack. Obviously was custom-ordered or modified for someone's home, pretty much what you need, as the headphone jack looks like factory work. But the console that it's in is indeed a full-size AGO console, probably close to 60" wide and 32" deep without pedals. You'll need a 5 foot square space for it.

                  The AGO pedals would be nice, and you can't beat Allen quality, but this model may be too large and too heavy to suit you in a student apartment. But if you have the space and can get the seller to ship it to you, it would be a decent choice. You could do much worse. Old Allen MOS organs can sound great in a lively room, but maybe not so great in a home, though some have them and are happy.

                  What would be nice is something like the Rodgers/Roland C-330 that they were selling until rather recently. It's in an extremely compact and lightweight (almost "flimsy") console, the smallest box that can possibly contain a two-manual classical organ. The pedalboard on the C-330 has 30 keys, but it is concave like AGO and I have heard that organists have no trouble going from it to the AGO pedals. Another plus is the compact self-contained four-channel audio system. There are two small satellite speakers, but there is a space in the console itself to set them if wall-mounting is not possible.

                  Fairly modern little organs like the C-330 have headphone jacks by default, and they are designed to sound really good with headphones, having excellent reverb or ambiance systems built in, and the sound is "imaged" in stereo so that you get a nice realistic sound field through the headphones. (By contrast, the Allen MOS organ above, though it has a headphone jack, was certainly not designed to be heard through phones, and may sound somewhat unpleasant that way, unless the owner had a modern digital reverb installed.)

                  The C-330 was built over the past 10 years or so, and sold new for around $15K. It's only remotely possible you'd find one for sale for under $1K. However, other companies, such as Johannus and Viscount, offered very similar models aimed at the home practice market. They were priced quite a bit cheaper and you might actually find one of those if you look around for a while.

                  As I said, you've got a tough bill to fill, and you probably don't want to shop for the next 5 years trying to locate the perfect practice organ. You may have to settle for something like a Yamaha HX-1. I had one of these for a year or two as my home organ. It has great keyboards, standard 61-note compass, and it's easy to split into moveable parts. To be honest, I had a little trouble going from its 25-pedal system, even though it's radiating and slightly concave, to the 32-pedal Allen at church. And the sound was fairly decent through headphones once I learned how to install the Hector Olivera classical voices into the presets. YMMV on that.

                  You might be forced to grab something handy, even if it's an old Conn or Lowrey or something with 25 flat pedals, or an Allen ADC-220, which has standard keys and a headphone jack, but is handicapped with the "princess" pedalboard. Any of these would be better than nothing, and you can always upgrade when something better comes along, as long as you don't sink much money into something that's going to be temporary.
                  *** 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!



                  • #10
           Here is an Allen for free.

                    If you are going to consider pre-digital instruments, 25 or 32 Pedals, there are lots of them and usually not expensive: Baldwin, Conn, Kimball, Rodgers, Wurlitzer, and probably some I haven't thought of. Watch the weight as some may be quite heavy. I didn't include Lowery because of its long use of "piano type" keyboards. You might even be able to pick up a Conn 650 (three manual with internal speakers) in your price range. With all of them, they may need a service call once in a while.

                    Here is a Conn 652 for $200:
                    Here is an Allen 123-3. They are asking too much for it be you can negotiate:

                    I just looked at cragslist for a few cities west of the Mississippi. Check the cities in your area. You might be surprised at what you find.
                    Last edited by Horseshoe_or; 02-13-2016, 10:36 AM.


                    • #11
                      Although the photo of the free Allen in San José does not include the entire stop list, the Swell Division controls I can see are pretty close to what is on my 305-B (I have a 1 3/5' Terz not found on the freebie). The free console also seems to be slightly smaller than my 305-B (which would be an advantage). It would make a fine practice instrument.

                      I did a quick check on Craigslist on the east coast (Maryland) and there appear to be a couple of instruments that might be worth considering. I won't post links here--you can search "craigslist Maryland organ" and find them.

                      Last edited by davidecasteel; 02-13-2016, 03:36 PM.


                      • #12
                        As for switching between pedalboards, after a while of practicing on different instruments, it will be easy.
                        Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                        Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                        Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)