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  • Allen MDC

    Ok, I was offered an MDC-22. I know how they work based on the discussions here, but what I'm curious of, is how difficult is it to wire the entire console, stops and all for MIDI?

    Is it even possible to MIDIfy the stop tabs? Linux programmer friend is excited at the prospect of getting a Raspberry Pi to operate Hauptwerk for this thing. I think he is more geeked than I am lol.

    I haven't accepted it yet, as I want to make sure I can convert it.
    Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
    Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
    Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

  • #2
    As long as you don't mind the princess pedals, the MDC-22 should be fine for MIDI conversion. The keyswitches will be the heavy duty leaf switches that Allen used throughout the MOS and ADC eras, and the pedals have magnetic reed switches. Stop tabs use open-air metal leaf switches too. All of these are easily wired up to MIDI adapter boards after you clip away the existing wires.

    MIDI-fying the expression pedal won't just quite as straightforward, as you will have to get a MIDI adapter that can connect to the LDR cells in the pedal. There are probably plenty of systems out there that wire directly to Allen expression cells though, since they are so common.

    As you know, Allen consoles, keys, pedals, and other hardware are all very sturdy. Even though the MDC models were fairly inexpensive, they still used the same high quality hardware throughout.

    And the price is right.
    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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    • #3
      What about changing the pedalboard out for a standard (allen) AGO? Is that possible?
      Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
      Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
      Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by organman95 View Post
        What about changing the pedalboard out for a standard (allen) AGO? Is that possible?
        Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the MDC organs came primarily with what Allen called the "Princess" pedal board. I think it is slightly narrower than the AGO pedal board by Allen, therefore, it wouldn't fit.

        Sorry I couldn't give better news.

        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

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        • #5
          First you'll have to saw away the front feet of the console because they are in the way of the wider pedals. Then figure out a way to keep the console from toppling over forward with its front supports gone.

          Then you'd have to find an Allen AGO pedalboard and contact rail, and then mount the new contact rail in precisely the right position, going by AGO measurements and rules. After you figure out the exact position for the new pedalboard, provide some kind of notches to hold it in place. And get an Allen AGO bench, because your existing bench won't span an AGO pedalboard.

          Now, Allen is currently offering a 32-note parallel/concave pedalboard as an alternative to the princess, and it is apparently a much more suitable board, with the playing portion of the keys almost exactly the width of AGO, since the back end of the board is the same width as the front. This requires a larger bench, but apparently is a drop-in replacement for the princess. Not sure whether you could actually find one of those to buy, but if so, that would be a much more practical change.

          Best course of action -- If you want to come and get one, I have several AGO consoles to give away. None of them work, or not very well anyway, but they are all as good as anything if you really want to convert to MIDI anyway. Would be happy for you to have one. (Or any other forum member.)
          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


          • #6
            Are you sure Hauptwerk will run on the pi? The min RAM on the Hauptwerk site is 2GB (suggested 16GB, pi has 1GB) and it says it requires an Intel/AMD processor (pi uses ARM).

            I did see a thread about getting GO running on a pi. There's also the new ODROID-C2 which is more powerful and has more RAM than the pi.
            Viscount C400 3-manual
            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, I'll pass on the pedalboard idea... John, Arkansas is a bit of trip for me, or I'd come take a look.

              I also looked at GO or even jOrgan. I have some sample sets for both.
              Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
              Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
              Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                As far as I know, Hauptwerk itself only works on the Windows or Apple iOS.
                What these devices such as Raspberry Pi and Orduoino and others can do is act like a console control if you will that can MIDI a console, and provide a MIDI input to Hauptwerk.

                AV

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                • #9
                  That's essentially what I want. I just want a control with a small screen to do setup and configuration changes (Transpose, Organ sample set change, stop layout)
                  Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                  Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                  Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by arie v View Post
                    Hi,

                    As far as I know, Hauptwerk itself only works on the Windows or Apple iOS.
                    What these devices such as Raspberry Pi and Orduoino and others can do is act like a console control if you will that can MIDI a console, and provide a MIDI input to Hauptwerk.

                    AV
                    Windows can apparently run on the pi :) I thought perhaps organman95's friend might have been thinking that, but there'd be the issue of the pi not meeting the Hauptwerk hardware requirements.

                    That's pretty cool to setup a pi for MIDI. I'd be tempted to convert my own organ if I could make it look and work not like a VO. I know it's possible but I doubt I have the time.
                    Viscount C400 3-manual
                    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by arie v View Post
                      Hi,

                      As far as I know, Hauptwerk itself only works on the Windows or Apple iOS.
                      What these devices such as Raspberry Pi and Orduoino and others can do is act like a console control if you will that can MIDI a console, and provide a MIDI input to Hauptwerk.

                      AV
                      Right. Hauptwerk runs on an Apple or Windows box. The console control can be done with the Raspberry Pi.

                      I just finished converting an Allen 505B using Artisan products for the the control. I'm using an Artisan sound engine but Hauptwerk would work just as well. I'm not that familiar with Raspberry Pi and Linux to roll my own control system. The Artisan sound engine runs on Ubuntu [Linux] but my dealings with that are limited to simply writing a plain text configuration file for the sound engine program to read.

                      The MicroMidi controller from Artisan has four inputs on it that can take an analog signal up to 5 volts. i use one of them to read the voltage coming from a slide pot connected to the swell shoe.

                      Bill S.

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                      • #12
                        I fail to see the advantage of a MIDI expression pedal. Why wouldn't it work to keep the expression in the analog domain. This would allow reuse of the existing expression components which are already functioning on the organ. I have Gulbranson MIDI on my MADC-2110 and there is no digital expression involved, just the existing Allen analog expression. Works very well this way.

                        Seems to me that, in our rush to embrace digital technology, we often forget the simplicity of many analog devices.
                        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Keeping (too many) old organs alive.
                        Allen ADC 2110-T, Rodgers Trio 321B
                        Conn 651, 713
                        Hammond M-3 w/Leslie 120
                        Hammond Solovox
                        Mass-Rowe model 96 Carillon

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd say that for day to day playing, using analog expression on the audio signal (as in all Allen organs prior to the MDS series) is a perfectly good way to do it. Less complicated, and potentially less troublesome. I remember one organ I set up for a guy, and we connected the expression pedal to MIDI, and found that the "jitter" created by the minute movements of the expression pedal in the MIDI stream overwhelmed the processor. I know there must be ways to avoid that kind of effect, but it is something that has to be dealt with.

                          OTOH, if you wish to use a sequencer with your organ and record your performances for playback, it is essential to have the expression data in the MIDI stream. Otherwise, the sequencer will not be able to control expression in the reproduced music. Of course, you may not actually move the expression pedal in many pieces, but if you do use it, and if you want to record that movement, running it into the MIDI stream is the only way to go.
                          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
                            When I Midified my Allen console for use Hauptwerk a few years ago, I faced the same analog vs MIDI expression question. I ultimately went with MIDI expression using the LDR in pedal and the analog inputs on the Zuma Midi Stop Controller board. Reasons for choosing MIDI
                            1. Recording. You can record either MIDI or wave audio in Hauptwerk, but you'll need MIDI expression data for that, as jbird says.
                            2. Simplicity. Much easier to have a single MIDI cable that transmits all data including the expression data for both expression shoes and the crescendo pedal. No shielded cable runs necessary.
                            3. Lack of grounding issues. I found it difficult to entirely eliminate hum with analog expression due to ground potentials between the console and the computer.
                            4. More realistic expression. Hauptwerk has a fully adjustable swell box model that is used by most sample sets that allows you to set the degree of overall attenuation as well as the degree of harmonic attenuation on a note by note basis.

                            YMMV
                            -Admin

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

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                            • #15
                              What king of a recording can you make with Hauptwerk? Does it save as a MIDI? And would it play back with Hauptwerk samples?
                              Allen 530A

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