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  • Demo of the sounds of the Allen MDS-45

    I sat down at the console this afternoon with my Roland R-09 handheld recorder propped on top of the music rack and proceeded to describe the stops of the MDS-45 and record a snippet of sound on each stop and chorus. This is a good sampling of how the MDS-45 sounds at the moment at First Christian Church of Sherwood, following my most recent re-thinking of the speakers and voicing. Next week it may sound different ;-)

    Pardon the extraneous noises, such as passing cars and other street sounds that penetrate the walls, and the clunk of the keyboards. I never notice the keys making noise when I'm playing for a service, but they do sound a bit thumpy in this recording. Also, pardon the clumsy playing (even though I'm just mostly doing chords and such I manage to muck it up at times).

    It took me 16 minutes to go through the whole stoplist, so you may not be interested in the whole thing. The great stops are demonstrated first, then the swell, and finally the pedals. Here's a link to the file on SoundCloud:


    Demo of the MDS-45 stops:
    https://soundcloud.com/john-birdsong...68/mds45-stops

    And here's another file I uploaded, a brief improv on "This Is My Father's World" -- much as I might do on a Sunday morning as communion is being passed around. In this track, I start out playing on the flute celeste, switch to the strings of the swell, then do a solo section using the great Krummhorn. The lengthening of some notes, pauses, etc., are of course intentional ;-)

    My Father's World:
    https://soundcloud.com/john-birdsong...-fathers-world
    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

  • #2
    Thanks. That was interesting. Do I understand you correctly that using the Celeste stops on either manual is like having a Celeste tuning tab for the entire manual? If so that is shocking. I thought Allen did away with that after the ADC era.

    Comment


    • #3
      Apparently, Celeste Tuning became a "hidden" stop in the MDS organs, at least in the early ones, such as this one. There is no knob for it, but when one of the celeste stops is drawn, you can clearly hear some of the stops going sharp, as the system switches to the celeste pitch table for stops in the affected channel. This is of course an undocumented "feature" but one that comes in handy, especially in the swell, where I really like using the Gemshorn and the Flute Buchee to beef up the somewhat thin tone of the Salicional/Voix pair.

      The system also turns Celeste Tuning off when appropriate. For example, if I'm playing on the great with the celeste drawn and the 8' and 4' principals and flutes as well, there is celeste tuning and a beautiful "grand celeste" sound. But if I add either reed or the Mixture to the registration, celeste tuning is immediately canceled. Obviously they made it that way because a mixture or reed would sound very strange that way.

      That particular quirk makes it possible for me to instantly transform the great from celeste to solo mode. I may be playing the flute celeste on the great (as heard on "My Father's World"), and all I have to do to switch to solo is to draw the krummhorn. Celeste tuning disappears, and the soft flute tones, while still present, are drawn into tune and make the krummhorn a little rounder.

      I don't know that all MDS models work this way. It may be that later ones did away with this quirky behavior of the tuning. But in this organ I take advantage of this undocumented feature and actually am glad that it works this way.
      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


      • #4
        Thanks for posting this! Not having listened to an MDS in person I've been interested in the sound quality of the MDS series, so to hear your decent quality recording in addition to knowing it's voiced well is really great!
        Viscount C400 3-manual
        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

        Comment


        • #5
          jbird,

          I enjoyed your posting of the various stops on your church Allen. However, please list the reed stops on both manuals and pedals. I didn't understand the names of a few of them. You do have a very nice organ to play in church. I wish I had something better when I was younger and played for church.

          PaulJ and others need to make a posting like you have done for us. I find the analog organs with their stops of most interest without all the spinning speakers, and percussive effects.

          James
          Last edited by james; 09-21-2016, 09:40 AM.
          Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
          Baldwin Spinet 58R
          Lowrey Spinet SCL
          Wurlitzer 4100A
          Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


          Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

          Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
          Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
          Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

          Comment


          • #6
            John--thank you for posting that. I enjoyed it thoroughly!:->

            James: the MDS-45 organ reeds are as follows:

            Pedal: Posaune 16; Trompete 8; Schalmei 4.

            Swell: Basson 16, Trompette 8, Hautbois 8, Clairon 4.

            Great: Trompete 8, Krummhorn 8.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for that list, toodles. That is correct. On the swell, with the "Orchestral Voices" enabled I also have an orchestral oboe, a clarinet, and the two varieties of "brass choir" that might be classified as reeds.

              It would be great to hear other organs recorded in the same way. Maybe some other members will follow suit. The little handheld recorders (or even the recording function on some phones) can yield surprisingly realistic recordings.
              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
                Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                And here's another file I uploaded, a brief improv on "This Is My Father's World" -- much as I might do on a Sunday morning as communion is being passed around. In this track, I start out playing on the flute celeste, switch to the strings of the swell, then do a solo section using the great Krummhorn. The lengthening of some notes, pauses, etc., are of course intentional ;-)

                My Father's World:
                https://soundcloud.com/john-birdsong...-fathers-world
                John,

                Thanks for sharing. The voicing sounds great (& swell)! Now, that's what a Krummhorn should sound like. A few months back someone was describing a Krummhorn as being a Trumpet sort of sound, and I knew it wasn't accurate, but couldn't describe the sound any better than I already had. That stop sounds quite nice with a slow tremulant.

                I was also glad you played so slowly and allowed time for the sounds to fully develop. It was very helpful to hear not only the initial attack, but also the sustain and release portion of the envelope. Unfortunately, your service wouldn't allow me to listen to the first clip without signing in, or signing up for an account, so I guess I'll never hear the stops individually.

                Again, John, thanks for sharing and being so generous with your information here.

                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


                • #9
                  John, the organ sounds great. You have definitely brought out the "Allen" sound. Thanks for the recordings. Allen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Michael, I don't know why soundcloud would do that to you. It's a useful site for sharing music files. If I could I'd email you that file, but it's over 30 megs, so probably can't be sent that way. I hope it was a temporary glitch and that you'll get to hear the stops. Thanks for the kind words about the other file.
                    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
                      I demo'ed the MDS-45 at a dealers back when it had just come out, and it did NOT sound nearly as good as it did in your demo. That dealer, though, tended to voice rather thin, and that probably makes all the difference in the world! Makes me want one of the full cage MDS organs!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                        It would be great to hear other organs recorded in the same way. Maybe some other members will follow suit. The little handheld recorders (or even the recording function on some phones) can yield surprisingly realistic recordings.
                        I've actually been intending to do that using some good audio equipment. I plan on recording my C400 before/after I get the v2 voicing ICs, and then also the Walker organ at my church for reference (to use as a basis of comparison).
                        Viscount C400 3-manual
                        8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                        Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There's a lot in the MDS-45 to voice, and it has literally taken me three years of trial and error to get it "right" at the church. Each division has its stops divided into four groups, for a total of 12 different sets of stops to adjust (not counting the Alterables, but of course I don't have those any more). Easy to understand how a large cage MDS sitting in a dealer's showroom might not be very well voiced.

                          The sound that I get out of it has gotten better over time, as I've put better speakers on it, and figured out how best to arrange them and bounce the sound off hard surfaces. At the beginning I had some really wonky speakers, some old home-made cabinets with speakers salvaged out of a variety of old organs. I had it in my head that I could build better speakers than Allen, but as I've replaced them with mostly Allen cabinets it's gotten better and better. The speaker setup is still not factory-kosher, but where it varies from that I have good reasons for doing it differently.

                          Thanks for the compliment on the voicing. I do think it sounds about as good as any digital of its size that I ever get to play or hear in this area. I'm lucky to get to play 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


                          • #14
                            John,

                            Thanks for the samples and demo. I've not heard a live MDS so it's interesting to compare with my ADC.
                            The SoundCloud recording seems to be very high quality. I had to listen on computer speakers but could tell, even there, that the sound is very good. I've entered the "Smart TV" realm and can get some really good sound with the TV hooked to my home hifi system. Am able to listen and view YouTube, Amazon, and many other sites using iPad apps to set up. Alas, there is no SoundCloud app but maybe there will be one in the future.

                            Sam
                            Sam

                            Allen ADC5400, 1910 Chickering QuarterGrand
                            Past---Allen ADC4000, Galanti Praeludium II, Yamaha Clavinova, Hammond A102, W.W. Putnam Reed Organ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              samzer, I have my home computer (laptop at the moment) connected to my home sound system--it is a great improvement over the little speakers.

                              David

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