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32' Contre Violone OR Contre Bourdon?

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  • 32' Contre Violone OR Contre Bourdon?

    Folks,

    I was just wondering. Allen used the Contre Bourdon 32' in most of their MOS, ADC, and early MDS organs as the staple for the first 32' stop. However, in later years/organs, they began using the Contre Violone 32'.

    Which stop do you prefer as the first 32' stop on your organ, and why?

    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

  • #2
    The Bourdon every time- it's more useful under soft combinations, and with louder ones, the extra harmonic development of the Violone gets covered up anyway.

    In order for the Violone to be useful under strings or other quiet registrations without sticking out, it needs to be voiced way down in volume, which makes it useless in louder combinations. This is not the case with the Bourdon.

    I think Allen introduced the 32' Contra Violone because it was able to be reproduced effectively by smaller speakers like the B20 subwoofer, given the stop's higher harmonic development and lesser fundamental. Both that stop and the B20 made their debut as the main Allen 32' flue in the W5 MDS era at nearly the same time. This allowed it to also be included in the HC15-equipped 2-manual and small 3-manual organs like the R-270, R-300, MDS-38, and so on, with or without the sub. The B20 is very capable with 16' stops and the Contra Violone, but is overmatched by last few bottom notes of the Bourdon in the larger Ren and Quantum organs The 32' Contra Bourdon in the original ADC organs really needed the B40 or its modern equivalents to be heard and felt in the bottom half of the 32' octave.

    Now, a Violone at 16' pitch in the Pedal is indispensable!

    Comment


    • #3
      Without a doubt, I prefer the Contra Bourdon 32'--for the same reasons as michaelhoddy pointed out.

      Fropm what I recall, the 32' CV came into Allen's repertoire with the MDS-38, and was pretty much essential there because of the self contained speaker system . Mostly I think a 32' Contra Violone is a waste of an otherwise perfectly good stop.

      The Contra Bourdon sits under soft combinations and purrs, and is still noticeable with loud combinations as it provides an extra octave lower to the mix. The fundamental of the CV is so low that it really isn't heard.

      1. Contra Bourdon 32 fist.
      2. Contra Bombarde 32 as the 2nd 32' stop on an organ.
      3. Never bother with a Contra Violone 32. I can't think of any time I would want to use it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Michael,
        Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
        Now, a Violone at 16' pitch in the Pedal is indispensable!
        I agree wholeheartedly. Your analysis of the 32' stop pretty much confirms my suspicions. I understand why Allen did it, but am not sure I agree with their reasoning (cost savings & the need for a dedicated speaker/crossover for the 32' C.B.).

        I remember when the first MOS organs came out, and you'd have a larger 3-manual organ (MOS-903) with no 32' at all. To me, on an organ that size, at least 1 or 2 32' stops is indispensable. I would hope Mr. Phelps would have been instrumental in the change during the ADC era, but do not know for sure.

        Regarding your observations about the Contre Violone, I wonder if it has something to do with the "voicing" of the stop. I know with my ADC-5400 I was highly disappointed with the 16' Posaune until I read the Voicing Guide for the organ: (Adjust Bass Boost to at least 3/4 [Possibly Full] position. Mid and Treble all the way down, then adjust level to taste.). Only then did I realize it had no "punch" because I hadn't turned the Bass pot up enough. Now, it has the "snarl" I had been missing, and it even makes it so I don't even miss the Contre Bombarde 32' I've been coveting for years. In fact, for a couple of pieces, I've transposed them to a higher key (up a 4th or 5th), so I can turn the transposer down a 4th or 5th and get my 32' Contre Posaune that way. I did that on the French Echo Noël the other day, and loved the effect.

        I do love a good 32' stop! In fact, that could be my mantra or moniker, but it's already taken.

        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
          I remember when the first MOS organs came out, and you'd have a larger 3-manual organ (MOS-903) with no 32' at all. To me, on an organ that size, at least 1 or 2 32' stops is indispensable.

          Michael
          Wow. Never knew that about the first gen MOS. My 1105 has three 32' stops. I think they could use more "umph" but I understand the limitations of the day...
          Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
          Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
          Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm with all the above ^^.

            The Contre Bourdon 32 on the Allen at church is a superb all-purpose room-shaker. Works beautifully to undergird the softest string or flute celeste, when joined with the Lieblich Gedeckt 16 and the 8' flute in the pedal. And still palpable underneath a tutti on the biggest hymn.

            I've always suspected that Allen went to the Contre Violone just for the reasons suggested above -- to get by with lesser speakers. No need to substitute an HC-12 on the one channel, and no need for a crossover and sub. But in truth, the Contre Violone is hardly even noticeable as a 32' stop. Without any significant fundamental component, it just doesn't do what we expect 32' stops to do. It did look good on the sales brochure, to the unsuspecting organ committee anyway.

            Michael, I don't know if the idea you mention will work or not, boosting the bass on the channel with the CV 32. It would seem to be possible, but if the CV 32 is in the same channel with some other pedal stops, as it surely is, boosting the bass enough to make it shake the house might completely ruin the other pedal stops. With careful tinkering one might be able to come up with some improvement though. I haven't tried that. Of course, with Renaissance models that COULD be done because you can voice each stop individually, without affecting any other stops. But then, if you did that then you'd need a different speaker for it!
            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


            • #7
              Fully agree on 32' stops: #1--Contre Bourdon; #2--Contre Bombarde; #3--Open Wood.

              David

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                I'm with all the above ^^.

                The Contre Bourdon 32 on the Allen at church is a superb all-purpose room-shaker. Works beautifully to undergird the softest string or flute celeste, when joined with the Lieblich Gedeckt 16 and the 8' flute in the pedal. And still palpable underneath a tutti on the biggest hymn.

                I've always suspected that Allen went to the Contre Violone just for the reasons suggested above -- to get by with lesser speakers. No need to substitute an HC-12 on the one channel, and no need for a crossover and sub. But in truth, the Contre Violone is hardly even noticeable as a 32' stop. Without any significant fundamental component, it just doesn't do what we expect 32' stops to do. It did look good on the sales brochure, to the unsuspecting organ committee anyway.

                Michael, I don't know if the idea you mention will work or not, boosting the bass on the channel with the CV 32. It would seem to be possible, but if the CV 32 is in the same channel with some other pedal stops, as it surely is, boosting the bass enough to make it shake the house might completely ruin the other pedal stops. With careful tinkering one might be able to come up with some improvement though. I haven't tried that. Of course, with Renaissance models that COULD be done because you can voice each stop individually, without affecting any other stops. But then, if you did that then you'd need a different speaker for it!
                I did some tweaking on my 32' CV when I had the R-270. It shares the same audio channel as the other bigger 16' pedal stops- the 16' Diapason and 16' Bourdon. I had a B20 subwoofer crossed into an HR100 on that channel, and it did very well making it sound quite big and bold.

                The issue (for me) with the Allen CV is not that it can't be voiced to be an adequate 32' stop to undergird the entire organ. It definitely CAN when there's a subwoofer involved, and in many ways sounds more like a small principal than a weaker string. It's simply that it's utility is limited as the only 32' flue on the organ for the reasons I mentioned in my previous post. Some of the larger Ren models (R-450?) had the CV AND a 32' Contra Bourdon, and that seems like an ideal combination that, when drawn together, would approximate the effect of a 32' Principal, as well as being useful separately in p and mp combinations. But as an only 32', the Bourdon will still get my vote.

                I think trying to get real 32' tone out of an HC15, or worse yet, the internal speakers of the MDS-38 or its later Protege equivalent, is an ill-fated venture that's more about making the stoplist look good than actually creating useful organ tone. I played a small 3-manual Renaissance Protege with doubled up HC15's on all 5 channels that had the 32' Contra Violone, and it was pointless below about G of the 32' octave.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So, what ever happened to Allen using the 32' Untersatz in their organs? Too heavy, redundant, or expensive to add?

                  I've only run into one 32' Untersatz on a Schantz 3-manual organ in Alabama. It's been nearly 35 years, so I can't remember what it sounded like. If I remember right, it was pleasant, but not strong.

                  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


                  • #10
                    Whenever I hear "Untersatz" I think of a Sumo wrestler, enormous rear end satzing upon whatever may be unter it!
                    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


                    • #11
                      What exactly is an Untersatz?
                      Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                      Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                      Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think Untersatz is a German word that means "that which sits under" ... the foundation, the bottom layer. Aptly describes this stop, which as I recall sounds very fundamental, so it truly shakes the building to the foundation. I have seen a 64' Untersatz in a spec somewhere, though I haven't heard such a beast.
                        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


                        • #13
                          In practice, an Untersatz is usually made up of stopped wood pipes, i.e. not that much different than a Contra Bourdon. Although the "Untersatz" in the Trinity College Chapel Hartford Austin is 32' open wood pipes retained from the previous Skinner.

                          There is also a whole category of "Untersatz" that was seen commonly on small Schlicker, Holtkamp, and other similar neo-baroque unit organs from the 1960's, in which a 16' Untersatz was typically the sole Pedal 16' flue, and as often as not was a stopped metal rank especially in Holtkamps, and in the case of Schlicker, was the ubiquitous common-wall "fence" wooden construction in the bottom 12 notes.

                          As implied and indicated already by John, the German denotes a generic "bass" stop, but which is almost invariably a flute.
                          Last edited by michaelhoddy; 04-18-2016, 05:15 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by organman95 View Post
                            What exactly is an Untersatz?
                            Translated from the German, it is a saucer or platter.

                            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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                              So, what ever happened to Allen using the 32' Untersatz in their organs? Too heavy, redundant, or expensive to add?

                              I've only run into one 32' Untersatz on a Schantz 3-manual organ in Alabama. It's been nearly 35 years, so I can't remember what it sounded like. If I remember right, it was pleasant, but not strong.

                              Michael
                              Our old 903 had an Untersatz along with a 32' Contre Bass. The Untersatz gave a barely there rumble that was only useful under soft strings. The sub on the organ was very small and not really suitable for such a large church so I imagine it would have been a little more potent in a smaller church or with a bigger sub if they had one at the time.

                              Comment

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