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  • "Warming up" an organ

    Good evening all,

    Has anyone ever taken the time to "warm up" an organ, especially when it comes to older models made by Conn, Allen, etc.? Did you happen to notice any advantages or disadvantages by doing so? Myself personally, I have alternated between turning my organ on and letting it sit for a few minutes to simply flipping the switch and playing 10 seconds or so after that. I have determined that this does not seem to affect the performance of the instrument in any way. Thoughts?
    My current organ:
    • Two manual and 25 pedal Conn Serenade 621F

  • #2
    The only time I do that is when it makes me do it.

    That is, you have to let organs with thermionic tubes warm up before they will play. But that doesn't really stop you from trying to play them when they're cold; it just means they won't make the kind of sounds you expect.

    Oh and technically any electronic oscillator will be out of tune at the wrong temperature, but you're unlikely to notice.

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    • #3
      ConnOrganOwner,

      That may have been the case with tube organs, because the tubes "warm up." The current lot of digitals don't necessarily need time for that, but they do need time for the mute relays to kick in. Without the mute relays, the organ could/would make a booming sound from the speakers as the amplifiers turn on. The mute relays delay turning on the speakers for a split second to make sure that doesn't happen.

      Once when I was playing for chapel in college, I was a bit late getting to the organ bench. Each chapel service started with the Doxology (aka Old 100th). The piano did the introduction, so I switched the organ on, and just as I pressed the first chord the mute relays allowed the sound through (phew!):embarrassed: Fortunately for me, the several thousand voices all began singing, so if I was late, I don't think anyone really noticed.

      Where I live in New England, the term "warm up" takes on a different meaning. This AM when I opened my office door, it was 52˚. About 1 hour later when I had a meeting, it had warmed all the way up to 58˚! When I move my organ from storage to stage, I need to be sure it has adequate time to warm up as well. If I turn it on right away, I run the risk of condensation of the moist air on the metal parts, thereby possibly creating a short.

      Just a different perspective, I guess.

      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
        ConnOrganOwner,

        That may have been the case with tube organs, because the tubes "warm up." The current lot of digitals don't necessarily need time for that, but they do need time for the mute relays to kick in. Without the mute relays, the organ could/would make a booming sound from the speakers as the amplifiers turn on. The mute relays delay turning on the speakers for a split second to make sure that doesn't happen.

        Once when I was playing for chapel in college, I was a bit late getting to the organ bench. Each chapel service started with the Doxology (aka Old 100th). The piano did the introduction, so I switched the organ on, and just as I pressed the first chord the mute relays allowed the sound through (phew!):embarrassed: Fortunately for me, the several thousand voices all began singing, so if I was late, I don't think anyone really noticed.

        Where I live in New England, the term "warm up" takes on a different meaning. This AM when I opened my office door, it was 52˚. About 1 hour later when I had a meeting, it had warmed all the way up to 58˚! When I move my organ from storage to stage, I need to be sure it has adequate time to warm up as well. If I turn it on right away, I run the risk of condensation of the moist air on the metal parts, thereby possibly creating a short.

        Just a different perspective, I guess.

        Michael

        Michael,

        All very good points, my friend! Glad to know that everything went well with that service as well. Speaking of which, a few years back, I also had a couple of opportunities to play my former church's 1920s era 33 rank three manual Austin pipe organ as well, but only did so after service hours. I never managed to play the organ in front of the full congregation, but a few of them did take notice one Sunday when I let out the Sforzando toe stud at the end of an improvised version of "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." I'll never forget the glorious sound of that. I am proud to say, though, that I do have a few recordings of this organ in my possession. Sadly, however, my former church has since closed and the Austin pipe organ there is no longer functional. It needs a new blower motor just to get up and running again.

        As for my Conn Serenade organ here at home, I have found that if I turn the organ on and start playing it right away, it normally takes a few seconds for everything to kick in...which is understandable given the organ's age, electronics, and technology built into it. I like to think of it as an orchestra going from a softer to a louder sound in a matter of seconds (depending on what stops are used at the time, of course). Being that the Serenade is definitely tube based, though, I normally do allow the instrument to warm up a little bit before playing it and have rarely ever turned it on and played it immediately. My organ certainly has some years on it but still sounds as good as ever.

        Josh
        My current organ:
        • Two manual and 25 pedal Conn Serenade 621F

        Comment


        • #5
          Goodmorning.
          Transistor amplifiers often sound better after a warm-up period. The transistors (and passive components) have an optimal operating temperature. Several hi-fi and hi-end companies even recommend keeping their amplifiers switched on (eg Naim). in many amplifiers standby only disable the output relays, but the circuits are always on.

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          • #6
            1957 vacuum tube Allen takes about twenty-five seconds for all oscillators to respond and tuning to stabilize.

            There is a pipe organ control system that takes ninety seconds to boot!!

            Comment


            • #7
              I used to have to wait for my organ to warm up before the tone card reader would function correctly. That problem went away when I replaced the batteries.
              Sam
              Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
              Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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