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  • Buying a new organ

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ID:	612488Hi all
    I wonder what the classical/church organist folk think of this instrument - it's a content 3 manual which is one of two organs I'm considering. It's main bonus is the fact it's a three manual with an array of new stops which my current doesn't have. The one drawback so far is that the 32 note radiating concave pedalboard is two notes more than I have, but is of very slight compact design much like my current Wyvern organ (which I'm convinced was made by content because the consoles are almost exactly identical in every way) and the gaps between the key groups are a little narrower and also the key length from top to bottom is somewhat shorter than almost every other pipe/digital organ I play on. However, having my current organ even with its slightly compact pedalboard, has greatly improved my pedal technique and I am able to play comfortably on all organs I go to. So maybe the tiny fraction of "compactness" in these pedalboard isn't as much of a big deal as I'm making it out to be? I'm a little OCD by the way. I'll hopefully have attached a picture for you all to see.

    any advice/thoughts will be greatly appreciated!
    thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Back in the 1960's & 1970's when home organs were the rage, you'd run into spinet pedals, 25 note pedalboards, as well as 32 note (mosly AGO) pedalboards. Allen made their own compact pedalboard with 32 notes, and Rodgers made their own, too, and it was different from Allen's. 25-note versions were usually flat and radiating, and 32-note versions were often concave as well. Now Allen is offering a parallel concave compact pedalboard, too, and the Rodgers/Roland C330 offered a 30-note compact pedalboard.

    In short, there are a lot of variations to pedalboards that an organist encounters, and we seem to be able to adjust to whatever is available. The concept of standardization in the organ console is a relatively new concept.

    In Europe there are other standard sizes.

    Then if you play pipe organs, and have some from the early 20th century you are likely to run into 30 note pedals as well as 32 notes, none of which was really standardized.

    If you will mostly play this organ, you shouldn't have any trouble, as you will adjust. If you regularly play many different organs, then this would probably be just one slight variation to the other variations you run into it. If the organ has the stops and features you want, the pedals are not a reason not to get it.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your encouraging response!

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      • #4
        I agree with toodles. I have played several Content organs with the same pedals, and really don't even notice the slight difference from true AGO. If you look at the photo and compare it to a photo of a genuine AGO pedalboard, you may notice that the Content pedals are not quite as long, but when I'm playing one of their organs, I never sense that anything is missing about the pedals. It's just a very nice substitute for AGO that takes up a little less floor space without sacrificing any playing ease. And the pedalboard is somewhat easier to handle when you're having to move it, or when you need to take it up to clean underneath ;-)

        Just give the Content a good listen before you commit. Here in the US, Content organs were represented by Hammond and sold by Hammond dealers as the "Concert Series". I worked for one of those dealers for a while and often got to play the Content organs just for fun. The sounds I remember were pretty good, though not as exciting as those of the better Allen and Rodgers organs. Even Johannus organs were a little more appealing to my ears than the Content. Not that the Content sound was bad, not at all. It was just a little bland by comparison. I don't know how it may compare to your present Wyvern. Your ears will have to help you decide that.

        I think I've read somewhere that Content does not use "samples" as the basis for their stops like most builders today, but they use some kind of modeling or synthesis. Theoretically this ought to sound as good as sampling, and should even have certain advantages when it comes to customizing the sound. It just depends on the skill of the tonal designer or the voicer who installs it.

        The pic you posted looks very much like the Hammond Concert Series organs that we sold, and I certainly would have loved to own one. I don't think you will go wrong if you get this one, as long as the sound pleases you.
        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
          Thanks very much for your response. I think I'll go for it. I shall report back!

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi,

            What model Content is it?

            In my part of the world, Canada, I come across them periodically. I agree with John, that the sound was not that good in the past. The tones were not very authentic to my ears. And as John said the sound was rather bland, or maybe dull was a better way to describe it.

            I'm not sure what their tone generation is, but have their own tone generator chip. I think their technology is based on getting samples of pipes, harmonically analyzing them, and using fast fourier to regenerate the tone on demand. At least that is what I think and hear when seeing these organs.

            Hammond did use Content for their church organs for a ciuple of years, but that didn't work out, so they stopped the arrangement. But that has to be at least 10 years ago.

            Servicing, I have found them reasonably well built, and pretty easy to service.

            I understand that Content is about to be distributed in the US again, along with Eminent. It will be news next week.

            AV

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            • #7
              Look forward to seeing Content back on the market in the US, as well as Eminent. Can't hurt anything to shake up the field a bit.

              A dealer I was servicing for during the 90's carried the full line of Hammond tone-wheel clones and also kept a church model or two on the floor. He sold quite a few of those "one size fits all" Hammonds with drawbars, AGO pedals, pipe organ stops on tabs, and some synth/GM sounds. And probably sold a dozen or so of the various Content-built Concert Series organs over the years. They cost less than the all-in-one models and appealed to churches that wanted a classical-style organ at a reasonable price.

              These Content organs contained an interesting "Extra Voice" feature. A piston for each division would bring in the selected patch from a Hammond MIDI module tucked away inside, or perhaps there was a circuit board just for those voices. I don't know if that feature would be on a Content-branded model sold in the UK, or if that was just something Hammond added to the organs they imported to the US.

              The Content models have proven to be extremely reliable. As far as I know, every one of them he sold is still working perfectly and still in service at the original church. The only problems I've had to address are related to the pedal reed switches, which seem to have a higher than normal failure rate. They're easy to replace of course.
              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


              • #8
                Thanks for your encouraging response. I am considering doing what anther owner on this forum did and having a full AGO spec pedalboard built by an organ builder to suit me for this organ, if this happens, would the reed switch issue prevail or would the new pedalboard have its own reed switch system, which could potentially be free of common issues?
                thanks for your help and advice!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I suppose if someone built a custom pedalboard for the organ, they would use new reed switches. Not that the old ones are necessarily bad, and couldn't be re-used. But a custom pedalboard might well have an entirely different type of keyswitch system, or a different way of arranging the switches.

                  I'm not sure why the reed switches on some of our Content organs had problems. But it seems that once an organ has one switch go bad, it's not long before i'll get another call to replace another one, and so on, until several of them have been changed out on a given organ. Perhaps they had a bad batch of them at the factory.
                  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


                  • #10
                    Hi,

                    If you are wanting a wider pedalboard, it likely won't fit, as these Contents kind of have consoles mated to a certain width of pedalboard.

                    John, I have had to swap out the odd reed switch on them as well. I think they just use generally inexpensive reed switches, they are very small units. Nothing like what Rodgers put into their organs.

                    AV

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                      Look forward to seeing Content back on the market in the US, as well as Eminent. Can't hurt anything to shake up the field a bit.

                      A dealer I was servicing for during the 90's carried the full line of Hammond tone-wheel clones and also kept a church model or two on the floor. He sold quite a few of those "one size fits all" Hammonds with drawbars, AGO pedals, pipe organ stops on tabs, and some synth/GM sounds. And probably sold a dozen or so of the various Content-built Concert Series organs over the years. They cost less than the all-in-one models and appealed to churches that wanted a classical-style organ at a reasonable price.

                      These Content organs contained an interesting "Extra Voice" feature. A piston for each division would bring in the selected patch from a Hammond MIDI module tucked away inside, or perhaps there was a circuit board just for those voices. I don't know if that feature would be on a Content-branded model sold in the UK, or if that was just something Hammond added to the organs they imported to the US.

                      The Content models have proven to be extremely reliable. As far as I know, every one of them he sold is still working perfectly and still in service at the original church. The only problems I've had to address are related to the pedal reed switches, which seem to have a higher than normal failure rate. They're easy to replace of course.
                      Wow, I had forgotten about Eminent. I'm pretty sure they are another company using additive synthesis in their sound engine.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I read somewhere else (maybe Eminent's site) a few years ago that mentioned synthesis for the tone generator.
                        Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                        Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                        Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

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