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  • Need Help with Allen ADC 5000 & Midi

    Hello All,
    I have purchased an Allen ADC 5000, around an 1987 vintage with the brass ensemble on the swell. The instrument is in excellent condition. I just had all the mid range speakers replaced. The organ at this point is not midi capable. it does not have the Midi kit already built into the organ. I would like to upgrade this organ organ to be midi capable on both manuals, the pedal board and that both expression shoes worked with the midi. Do I have to buy all Allen parts? Can I get them used or are there other companies out there that make parts to make this organ do what I want it to do! Please advise! Any help is very much appreciated! Thanks very much in advance.

  • #2
    You might check with Harrison Labs, and they might have MIDI encoders that work with the Allen multiplexing scheme: http://harrisonorganworks.com. It isn't clear from their website if they have them for the ADC or just the MOS organs.

    You might also check with Artisan: http://artisanorgans.intartists.com

    The Allen encoder ONLY provides key information, and the basic MIDI encoders provides by others likely provide only key info. If you want to encode the expression shoes to provide expression info for MIDI out, then you can use extra devices to do this, but you have to "invent" your own scheme. "MIDI Solutions" has a pedal encoder that can do this, but you have to add a potentiometer to each expression shoe and rig a mechanical means to move the pot. Not difficult but requires a little engineering.

    If you want to have MIDI IN control the ADC organ expression, I don't this this is possible without considerable design effort--you'd have to design a scheme to provide the equivalent information as the LDR (light dependent resistor) in the expression shoe and have that scheme override the expression shoe info. The ADC organs weren't designed with this in mind.

    Comment


    • #3
      If the "MIDI Solutions" encoder uses a potentiometer as its control input, would it be possible to get an LDR of the appropriate dark value and insert it into the same housing with the Allen LDR? (Could the same lamp operate both of them?)

      David

      Comment


      • #4
        Allen used to offer replacement expression cell plates with extra LDR elements mounted, just for this purpose. They have now discontinued these items. A creative do-it-yourselfer could drill a new hole in the plate and mount an element for that purpose. Then you'd only have to program the MIDI Solutions encoder to properly interpret the changing resistance of the LDR, which should be a snap.

        As to the question you're asking, you say the ADC-5000 you bought already has the MIDI kit installed. I take that to mean that the Allen-MIDI translator board is connected to the USCM, and that you have a MIDI tab or knob for each division. If what you lack is a MIDI sound source of some kind, the Allen MIDI expanders are nice, and when paired with an MDS or later organ (newer than the ADC), the pistons of the organ can control the expander. But even without that feature, the Allen expanders are truly great sound modules, with tremendous orchestra, theater, percussion, and classical organ sounds, though pricey when bought new. It isn't that hard to learn to use one of these, as you set up your own "presets" that contain specified MIDI patches for each division, and you can scroll through these presets with the touch of a button.

        Of course, there are a lot of other ways to get MIDI sounds, with software solutions like Hauptwerk being very popular these days. So if your main need at this point is to have the expression data available, you'll need to either add on the potentiometers, as described in another post above, or have extra LDRs added to the expression shoes, unless Harrison or Zuma or some other third party can provide an encoder for that purpose.
        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


        • #5
          jbird604, The organ IS NOT set up for midi now. It has none of the components needed to make the organ midi capable on the instrument now. It needs to have everything installed. This being said, I want to do it correctly and add midi to both manuals, the pedal board and have both expression shoes work with the midi!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by caddyadam View Post
            It needs to have everything installed. This being said, I want to do it correctly and add midi to both manuals, the pedal board and have both expression shoes work with the midi!
            In that case, the Allen kit will not suit your needs. It only offers note-on/note-off information. No combinations or expression.

            It sounds like you're looking more toward Admin's MIDI controller sold by the Zuma Group. There is a video on their website of the board being demonstrated with an ADC Theatre organ. This is the page, to which I was referring. Hope it helps.

            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


            • #7
              So let me get this right. This will make the organ midi capable? With just this board? What about the stop tabs for the midi on/off for the divisions? and where can I get expression shoes that will work with the volume as well. I am very new to all this and don't understand much about the electronics. I know how to play them but this is my first venture trying to better a used organ! Will the stops that are currently on the organ still work with this setup?

              Comment


              • #8
                The MIDI Stop Controller from Zuma Group midifies the stop rail and has analog inputs to midify expression and crescendo pedals. It does not midify the keyboards. AFAIK, if you want to keep the existing internal electronics intact, Allen offers the only solution for midifying the keyboards on ADC models.

                So a solution that maintains the ability to use the organ in its original form as well as either a source of midi signals for a VPO or use with midi expansion devices would consist of:
                1. Allen Midi expansion kit
                2. Zuma MIDI Stop Controller using either expression pedal LDR's or potentiometers.

                The latest version of the Zuma MIDI Stop Controller automatically switches the combination system between internal memory and external control. When the board senses a MIDI signal the combination action is controlled by MIDI messages from the VPO software which usually provides greater flexibility than the original system. When there is no MIDI connection, the board switches to the legacy mode allowing you to set and recall combinations as originally designed with combinations being stored on the board in non-volatile memory. You can download the User's Guide for more information.

                If you don't care about preserving the organ's current electronics and intend to gut them, there are other many other solutions available.
                -Admin

                Allen 965
                Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                Hauptwerk 4.2

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you are completely new to MIDI, you need to know some background info. MIDI can provide both Output and Input data.

                  MIDI OUT
                  MIDI OUT provides the note on and off information as well as expression information in order to drive an external MIDI sound module--the organ controls the external device. This is often how MIDI is used with an organ. Acting with MIDI OUT, the organ console becomes a MIDI Controller.

                  I should mention for the sake of completeness that MIDI provides vastly more functions, since it is a universal data interface system, so things are incorporated that are not typically used in the organ world, such as are used with non-keyboard instruments.

                  MIDI IN
                  MIDI can also function as an input system (MIDI IN) which makes the organ a controlled device instead of the controller. This is how MIDI is used as a sequencer or to playback previously recorded MIDI data sequences.

                  ADC Organs
                  The ADC organs can become useful MIDI OUT or controller devices, but it is not economically practical to turn them into MIDI IN controlled devices. It is simply a matter of how the organs were designed and what signals are easy to convert to MIDI and what signals are hard to convert. Simply, if it is easy it becomes affordable, and if it is hard, it becomes expensive.

                  If MIDI OUT is what you want, it is do-able with note information, and expression if you want to go with the MIDI Solutions product: note that the MIDI Solutions module is about $125 per pedal, and if you want to encode both swell and great expression pedals, it would cost about $250.

                  I don't know what your dealer would charge for the Allen board, but I suspect maybe around $800, add $250 for the expression modules, and $850 for the Zuma Group stop controller and by the time you are done you've spent about $2,000.

                  If you are very serious about MIDI capabilities and want both MIDI IN and OUT, I recommend that you try to find an MDS organ as they all come with a very complete MIDI implementation including in and out. If you just want MIDI OUT you can get it for probably $800 to $2,000 depending upon how complete you want the implementation:

                  $800 can likely buy you note on and off information
                  $1100 can get you that and expression
                  $2000 can get you note on/off, expression, and stop on/off info.

                  Depends upon what is most important to you and what your pocketbook can afford!
                  Last edited by toodles; 07-29-2016, 12:09 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by toodles View Post
                    If MIDI OUT is what you want, it is do-able with note information, and expression if you want to go with the MIDI Solutions product: note that the MIDI Solutions module is about $125 per pedal, and if you want to encode both swell and great expression pedals, it would cost about $250.

                    I don't know what your dealer would charge for the Allen board, but I suspect maybe around $800, add $250 for the expression modules, and $850 for the Zuma Group stop controller and by the time you are done you've spent about $2,000.
                    I agree with toodles, but a minor correction to his figures. The Zuma Midi Stop Controller has analog inputs for expression so the expression modules would not be needed in this case. Also the $850 quoted for the Zuma is for the version with the internal memory capability. The standard version is about $75 less.

                    Whether retrofitting MIDI to an existing organ or replacing it with a console with the desired capabilities built in depends upon your individual circumstances and the availability of an alternative console.
                    Last edited by Admin; 07-29-2016, 02:15 PM.
                    -Admin

                    Allen 965
                    Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                    Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                    Hauptwerk 4.2

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oops... I missed the word "not" in your original post, which made me think something entirely different! Sorry about that! As someone mentioned, the Allen MIDI translator board is quite pricey, and that gives quite a different outlook on your question, since you don't have one installed.

                      I don't know your circumstances or what your goal is for the organ. Just from my experience (having been an Allen salesman back in the 80's, and I sold several ADC5000 organs and similar models), I'll say that it will take some pretty darn good outboard MIDI sounds to greatly improve upon the sound of the 5000. It's a remarkable organ, even at 30 years old. When I go back and visit one of the installations I did back then, I am simply amazed at the sound, the ones in good acoustic settings anyway.

                      You might invest in a good digital reverb system to enhance the ADC sounds. That might be the #1 way to improve that organ without breaking the bank. Your 5000 might already have a USRM board in the audio path, which makes adding reverb very simple. And if it came with the "ADAC" digital reverb Allen was selling back then, a modern reverb unit can be slipped right in to replace it and upgrade the results considerably.

                      However, all that said, I know that many people are finding Hauptwerk and other new sound generation systems well worth the cost and the effort. You might keep an eye out for an MDS organ, as has been suggested, because all MDS models came with complete MIDI implementation built in. Even if you had to plunk down some cash for an MDS model, you might be ahead both money-wise and labor-wise, as it is going to be quite costly and difficult to full MIDI that 5000. As someone says above, it just isn't possible to make it fully MIDI compatible, both In and Out, as it wasn't designed with that in mind.

                      But you should do what seems best to you. I'm at the age where I just want a good organ to play, and I'd dearly love to have one as nice as a 5000 (to which I would add a modern reverb system). You may be more willing that I am to spend money and time creating an organ to your own liking.

                      Good luck and keep up the good work!
                      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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                        it just isn't possible to make it fully MIDI compatible, both In and Out, as it wasn't designed with that in mind.
                        If "fully MIDI compatible" includes using the existing organ as a MIDI playback or output device, you have a point, but that is not the usual reason for adding MIDI capability. Usually the goal is to allow the console to become a MIDI controller for tonal augmentation and recording. MIDI playback can be had through the VPO hardware.

                        This conversion can be done for his organ with the Allen MIDI kit and the Zuma Stop Controller. I don't know how difficult it is to install the Allen MIDI kit, but the Zuma board is a plug in replacement for the existing DM board. The only part of the conversion that requires some ingenuity is getting the necessary control signals from the expression pedals.

                        Certainly it would be easier to buy a MIDI console in the first place, but at this point the question for the OP is whether a suitable MIDI console is available that is competitive with cost of converting what he already has. Adding MIDI to his existing console should cost under $2000 if he keeps the existing electronics intact and $1000 or less if he scraps the electronics of the original. I've not seen many or any MDS models available in this price range.
                        -Admin

                        Allen 965
                        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                        Hauptwerk 4.2

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Allen MIDI translator board is very easy to install--it interrupts the data signal between the multiplexer and the "cage" with 4 wires (if I remember right) and has 4 additional inputs on a connector to control on and off for each of 4 divisions or fewer: swell, great, pedal, and choir.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, I should amend my remarks. If the goal is to make the console into a MIDI controller for Hauptwerk, etc., the Allen translator will take care of the keying output and is easy to install. And the Zuma Group drop-in replacement for the DM board will give the required stop and expression output. So that will do it, and for less than $2000, I'd think.

                            The point I was making is that it is probably impractical to expect this organ to function as a playback device with a sequencer, even with the MIDI translator and the Zuma Group board in place. But as long as you aren't wanting to use it for that purpose, your best route would be to get those two boards installed and go from 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!

                            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To add to using an ADC as a playback device with a sequencer...

                              A friend of mine was quite firm on wanting to do just that with an ADC-4000. I'm not exactly sure how he did it, but it ended up costing him about $4k. But it works.
                              Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                              Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                              Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

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