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What Reverb for Allen ADC

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  • What Reverb for Allen ADC

    Originally posted by larrymolinaro View Post
    My next home project (if I ever get the time) is to create a custom HW organ that mirrors the ADC 5000 - over time I have found samples from a variety of organs that are extremely close to the Allen sounds. Which speaks highly of the quality of the Allen sounds, I think.
    Not sure if I should start a new thread but my question actually follows from the MIDI discussion so I’ll just post it here...

    As noted above, I have an ADC 5000 that has the Allen MIDI kit installed. Now I'm wondering, is there a way to add reverb to this? I’m asking because, sometime during the fall, I was visiting a friend who had a Renaissance in his living room. Sounded wonderful. Interesting, while playing around, I turned the “Acoustic Portrait” reverb off and the result was an organ that sounded a lot like mine. So – got me thinking about how that level of reverb would enhance the sound.

    I do realize Allen sells an ADR reverb kit and mixer (c. $2000 together as quoted to me) but I'm wondering whether, in today’s digital world, there is a way to add reverb--more cheaply and with less effort--between the organ and speakers.

    Thanks for any insight you might have.

  • #2
    If Allen even still sells the 1980s era "ADR" system, it would be absolute insanity to buy it. It's incredibly outdated and is going to combine all the channels as an "effects return" bus. Reducing realism, especially, in a home installation. (I can only assume you are using all 8 channels and haven't downmixed it) For about $1000, you could reverb-ize, individually, every single channel produced by an organ that size. Using brand new really nice units like the 4 channel MX400 from Lexicon. Cheaper? There are quality, used outboard stereo reverbs for as little as $50 on ebay. So you would just need 4 of those. $200! They would still sound light years better than the hissy, 8 bit ADR-4 of the 1980s!

    Buying that now would be like buying a 10 lbs AMPS cell phone for your 1980s convertible Mercedes, because you want the "vintage mobile communications experience!"

    Comment


    • #3
      True. The Allen reverb package you mention at $2000 would certainly work, and would be better than nothing, but modern reverbs are better and cheaper. The problem is just figuring out the easiest way to implement the reverb. Your 5000 is only six channels, right? So you'd only need to buy three stereo reverbs. Simply connect the reverb units ahead of the six amplifier inputs. (If your channel with the 32' pedal stop is bi-amped, you don't need to put reverb on that seventh amp, as the other audio line will have enough of the 32' stop in it to give you the effect you want.)

      Modern reverbs from Lexicon, Behringer, Alesis, and others will do the job. You can probably get three units for well under $1000. Just connect the audio that is currently going into the amp to the "input" jacks on the reverb, then connect the reverb's "output" jacks to the amps. Read and follow the directions carefully about setting the levels on the reverb units. You may have to adjust the organ voicing and/or the amp levels after doing this.

      Be sure to set the three reverb units for identical delay times, etc., so the organ will sound like all the stops are in the same room! Now you'll have magnificent reverb. Only extra thing you would've had with the factory Allen setup is a tab on the console to turn reverb on and off.
      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
        Several companies have made a device called a mixer/splitter. This device is particularly useful for multi-channel organ applications because of the way it is configured. It permits 6 channels (sometimes with 2 optional channels) to be combined into a stereo mix while still providing an independent output channel for each of the 6 input channels. This is perfect for mixing 6 channels down to 2 for driving a reverb unit. This could also be used to drive a headphone amplifier, by the way.

        Some of these products are obsolete, but still available either new old stock or used. Alto made such a product called "link"; Rane's was SM-26. There are others.

        Behringer currently offers the MX882. About $100.

        I recommend using separate amplifiers and speakers for reverb because in any live sound situation in a good acoustic environment the reverb reflections do not come from the same location as the sound source. Allen even acknowledge this when they started to offer their "reflections" package. However many mix the reverb signal back into the main organ speakers. This would necessitate two mixer/splitter devices: one to mix the organ channels down to stereo to drive the reverb, and one to mix the reverb output back into the organ channels.

        Note that all professional sound mixing equipment uses XLR and 1/4 inch phone connectors, so you'll need to make or purchase cables to adapt to the Allen RCA connections.

        Of course, doing this sort of mixing is very easy for anyone who knows basic audio electronics, and some companies offer the same sort of functionality, but none are quite as professionally packaged nor as reasonably priced.

        I concur with the commonly expressed opinion here that the Allen ADR is not the way to go--much better and less expensive options are available with 3rd party devices.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you all. As you can tell, I'm no electronics expert (or even proficient amateur). I did reasonably well with the Hauptwerk setup but that's because it's really a separate system. I didn't think the ADR package made sense but didn't want to risk inflicting any damage to what is currently working well by trying to create a reverb configuration on my own. Very helpful! Thanks for all of the advice - this will get me started.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by toodles View Post

            I recommend using separate amplifiers and speakers for reverb because in any live sound situation in a good acoustic environment the reverb reflections do not come from the same location as the sound source. Allen even acknowledge this when they started to offer their "reflections" package. However many mix the reverb signal back into the main organ speakers. This would necessitate two mixer/splitter devices: one to mix the organ channels down to stereo to drive the reverb, and one to mix the reverb output back into the organ channels.
            Most if not all outboard reverb units actually have an stereo input, and a stereo output...and the ability to fully control the wet/dry mix. It's true that to _add_ a huge, echoey reverb to the sound of an organ it would be best to have separate speakers. But as a practical matter, on a 6 channel organ, doing a small hall/chamber reverb...inline with each stereo pair...will sound much better than doing even a stereo effects send to one, new, separate stereo reverb channel. And the Allen version of that isn't even stereo...I believe a mono 6 to 1 single channel would get sent to the ADR-4, which would then get added back to one of the 3 main stereo channels. Unless you arranged your speakers all in a row - and who would do that when the whole reasons to have 6 channels is to spread them around a room - you're going to have the "echo" of say, the diapason 8 on the great, come out of the speakers used by the swell trumpet. What is realistic about that? It might pass in a church but in a living room installation it would be noticeably strange.

            The far easier counter example - and the elephant in the room here - is that of course almost all Hauptwerk systems have the reverb _in the sample_ and output _via the same speakers as the main mix_. Which is the same net effect you will get using an inline stereo reverb and setting the wet/dry mix to something reasonable. (well, there are slight differences in summing, acoustic vs. electric...but that happens anyhow, to some degree, unless you can afford a Hauptwerk system with over 100 speakers and audio channels!) With everyone praising the superior quality of various (large, serious, more expensive) HW digital organs...how can having the reverb _not_ on separate speakers be a serious problem? Yes maybe there is some way to do that now, but not for the first decade of Hauptwerk was it a realistic option.


            Originally posted by toodles View Post
            Note that all professional sound mixing equipment uses XLR and 1/4 inch phone connectors, so you'll need to make or purchase cables to adapt to the Allen RCA connections.

            Of course, doing this sort of mixing is very easy for anyone who knows basic audio electronics, and some companies offer the same sort of functionality, but none are quite as professionally packaged nor as reasonably priced.

            I concur with the commonly expressed opinion here that the Allen ADR is not the way to go--much better and less expensive options are available with 3rd party devices.
            I have seen at least a couple outboard reverbs, intended for only "semi-pro" users, that have RCA jacks. But would have no idea how to find them...guess maybe the little Alesis ones? But in any case, nowadays it should be super easy to find cheap TS to RCA cords on ebay.

            Comment


            • #7
              It "used to be" that lower and midrange reverb units--say those less than $500--mixed the stereo down to mono prior to reverb. I have not researched today's models, so I can't say that this is still the case, but probably is for the least expensive units.

              My recommendation for independent reverb speakers comes from the fact that the echoes of a sound come from everywhere except the source location. My advice is never to mix back into the source channels, but I say that it can be done because many don't want to spend the money for 4 extra amp and speaker channels.

              I used 4 corner speakers with a Yamaha DSP-1 processor, and the reverb effect was exceptional. That unit mixed the input to mono prior to processing, but processed each of the 4 output channels separately with different reflected sound to each of the 4 speakers. On some of the hall setting, it used actual measured reflections of specific halls as the basis for the reflections it created.

              I also advised against the use of an ADR-4, as have others in this thread, for the same reasons. Too expensive and not as good as available elsewhere today.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by toodles View Post

                My recommendation for independent reverb speakers comes from the fact that the echoes of a sound come from everywhere except the source location. My advice is never to mix back into the source channels, but I say that it can be done because many don't want to spend the money for 4 extra amp and speaker channels.

                I used 4 corner speakers with a Yamaha DSP-1 processor, and the reverb effect was exceptional. That unit mixed the input to mono prior to processing, but processed each of the 4 output channels separately with different reflected sound to each of the 4 speakers. On some of the hall setting, it used actual measured reflections of specific halls as the basis for the reflections it created.

                I also advised against the use of an ADR-4, as have others in this thread, for the same reasons. Too expensive and not as good as available elsewhere today.
                Well, I agree, as a hypothetical - it is surely the best way to do it and I'm sure your system sounded grand. But your first statement "the echoes of a sound come from everywhere except the source location. My advice is never to mix back into the source channels, but I say that it can be done" kinda comically skirts the fact that almost all commercially produced music works this way. And with quality speakers that image well, yes, in fact the reverb effect, whether electronically added or naturally present in the music, "works". When I listen to a recording of Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto, it isn't as though a symphony orchestra and grand piano have been crammed into my living room. I get an effect of what the concert hall actually sounds like. Likewise some high quality pop music record like Adele (don't actually listen to her, just using an example) has surely been processed through a high-end $5000 Lexicon reverb system...and downmixed back to two stereo channels! (yes, there is some 5.1 classical music in the marketplace, but that is a real tiny niche) So, yeah, this "works", even though it might not be as good as a dedicated system to create reverb tails would work.

                These days it should be easy to find true stereo outboard reverb units, on firesale prices because so many music studios have gone "virtual", or just closed period.* It does help to be a little smart about electronics. My used Lexicon unit had its power supply die. Harmon wanted $500 to do ANYTHING to one of their vintage units...and that was a few years ago! Well, I simply examined the stock number of the existing unit and was able to deduce it is a fairly standard mass-produced Asian switching power supply...standardized wiring harnass and everything. The replacement looked very similar and was a drop in that took only a few minutes to change. Price from Allied Electronics or Mouser, can't remember, was $60.

                (* - I bought a bunch of stuff over the years from some goofy place in Baltimore that operated as some kind of "kids talent agency". The JonBenet Ramsey-like pictures on the walls were actually rather creepy, but they were using surprisingly nice gear in their studios. Yes, there was more than one! They sold stuff on ebay for years but went out of business towards the end of the great recession. And funny enough the other type of party I've had a lot of dealings with in terms of buying or selling pro audio gear on ebay? Megachurches! For example when I sold a Roland keyboard I'd had from the mid 90s to around 2001, it went to a Texas megachurch. I knew it was getting dated and I was running out of time to get some value out of it.)
                Last edited by circa1949; 01-29-2017, 08:17 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm with Toodles on this.

                  Separate channels for reverb is the way to go for the most realistic results. It was mentioned that some Hauptwerk samples include the reverb tail. My experience with them is that they sound fine in a two channel stereo configuration, but full registrations lack detail and coherence when reproduced over multiple stereo pairs because of the recorded reverb. I've taken to buying dry sample sets over wet ones or truncating the reverb tails and adding reverb with a Lexicon MX400.
                  -Admin

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Admin, I agree. The wet sample sets don't sound as they should with my multi-channel setup. I'm using the dry Skinner sample set with 2, 4 channel Lexicon units and the results are great. Allen

                    Originally posted by Admin View Post
                    I'm with Toodles on this.

                    Separate channels for reverb is the way to go for the most realistic results. It was mentioned that some Hauptwerk samples include the reverb tail. My experience with them is that they sound fine in a two channel stereo configuration, but full registrations lack detail and coherence when reproduced over multiple stereo pairs because of the recorded reverb. I've taken to buying dry sample sets over wet ones or truncating the reverb tails and adding reverb with a Lexicon MX400.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While there may be advantages to exotic reverb setups using stereo (or dual-mono) processing and separate audio equipment for the reverb signals, a person can get a very nice effect with fairly ordinary equipment. The reverb signal is not at a very high level, and therefore puts little demand on the capacity of the existing amps and speakers. And the reverb benefits from the broad dispersion created by the multiplicity of speakers in a good-sized organ, although one could, of course, provide numerous speakers for their dedicated reverb channels if they wanted to do it that way.

                      The basic Allen method employed during the ADC and MDS era (pre-W5) was simple. All the channels were summed into a mono signal by a circuit on the USRM or other Reverb Mixer board, the resulting mono signal fed to a stereo reverb unit. The two channels of the reverb unit were intentionally "incoherent" in that they had subtly different delay times and other parameters. This made the output much more interesting and spacious than a simple mono reverb (like a spring). You might call this kind of output "faux stereo," but it is quite an interesting sound which most people find pleasing.

                      This faux stereo output from the reverb was delivered back to the Reverb Mixer (USRM board) where it was injected into the outgoing signals on their way to the amps. Some channels received the "left" reverb signal and other channels received the "right." So the reverb did in fact "mix up" the channeling to some extent, as the swell stops would be heard (delayed and reverberated) through the great speakers, and vice versa.

                      In a music room where you can set the console right in the center and put speakers all around the room, such a system ought to sound pretty good. Of course you want some kind of orderly arrangement of your speakers -- the great on one wall, the swell on another, the choir on another, etc. Otherwise you'll get quite a mishmash of sound. But that might actually be what some folks would want!
                      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
                        These are all really helpful comments. I'll consider not mixing back to the source channels but, ultimately, it probably will come down to space (not sure I can add more speakers. There are already 9, including the Hauptwerk set. It's not that big of a living room O:-) (and it already houses a French double harpsichord in addition to the Allen).

                        Different topic - "mixing" my issues here I realize. I've noticed of late when practicing that, very occasionally the sound will "fade in" rather than sound at the key attack. This happens for both manual and pedal - for example, in the middle of a phrase, a particular chord will experience a delay in sounding ("fade in" is the best way to describe it). But then the same chord is fine when I strike it again. I can't seem to discern any pattern here. Not sure it's related but I also have gotten a few "ciphers" but they always stop once I restrike the key. Neither issue ever seemed to present itself prior. Just seems to be the last few months.

                        Any thoughts on this?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is there a limit on how many pitches can be generated at the same time? Could the note that "fades in" possibly come on when some other key is released, thus enabling the generation of another pitch?

                          flashguy

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                          • #14
                            I don't think so. After it happened once or twice, I paid more attention to try to discern a pattern (and it hasn't happened a lot - very sporadic).

                            I'm pretty certain that this phenomenon wasn't related to changing any pitches, but just simply the amount of time that I held down a particular set of pitches (static - no new additions and no releases). Also, this seems to be happening *without* the MIDI enabled. So it's just the Allen tone generation at work here. I had never experienced this before - just now over the past few months.

                            thanks again.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The fade-in phenomenon doesn't sound like any ADC malfunction that I'm aware of. If your organ has not had a full end to end maintenance job, as has been described several times on this forum, it would surely benefit from such a treatment.

                              A big old ADC like your 5000 has dozens of mini pots, any one of which could be making intermittent connection. And some of them are in a crucial enough spot to affect the sound in important ways. Also, you have a large number of plug-in boards, each one having maybe 100 connections on the card edge, and some of them having hundreds of mini-pin connections as well. Then there are the socketed EPROMs and other IC's. And all the audio connections via RCA pin plugs.

                              So you have thousands and thousands of places where electrical conductivity may be compromised. A thorough cleaning might put a stop to this little issue, if it bothers you.

                              You could even approach the job in small bites, cleaning up a board or two each day.
                              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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