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Digital Organ Voicing Project (DOVP)

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  • Digital Organ Voicing Project (DOVP)

    I will be getting a 3 manual Content D5800 organ in three weeks. It is also sometimes called “Pastorale” or “Mondri 5800.” I think the name may depend on the console style, as I believe that the specification is the same for each of these designations. According to a couple of people I have spoken with, this model was made around 2012. (If anyone has more certain knowledge of that, I would appreciate knowing.)

    In anticipation of its arrival, I have been thinking about how I may want to voice it. As readers of this forum know, there is a lot that can be done to voice newer digital instruments. I realize that it is difficult to imagine what something might sound like without actually hearing it, but I have a few thoughts that I would like to share here. Feedback from all of you is not only welcome, but encouraged. To begin, here is the specification:
    Content D5800
    Great Swell Pedal
    Bourdon 16' Diapason 8' Violone 32'
    Open Diapason 8' Bourdon 8' Open Diapason 16'
    Rohrflote 8' Gamba 8' Subbass 16'
    Quintaten 8' Voix Celeste 8' Octave 8'
    Octave 4' Gemshorn 4' Gedeckt 8'
    Flute 4' Nactohorn 4' Choral Bass 4'
    Twelfth 2 2/3' Nasard 2 2/3' Mixture IV
    Fifteenth 2' Conical Flute 2' Bombarde 32'
    Cornet IV Mixture III Bazuin 16'
    Mixture IV Fagotto 16' Fagatto 16'
    Cymbal II Oboe 8' Trumpet 8'
    Double Trumpet 16' Trumpet 4' Clarion 4'
    Trumpet 8' Tremulant Mono Bass
    Tremulant Sub Octave Positiv to Pedal
    Swell to Great Unison Off Great to Pedal
    Posative to Great Super Octave Swell to Pedal
    Positiv Solo
    Stopped Diapason 8' Harmonic Flute 8'
    Principal 4' Concert Flute 4'
    Rohrflote 4' Clarinet 8'
    Quintflute 2 2/3' Vox Humana 8'
    Waldflute 2' Tuba 8'
    Tierce 1 3/5' Trompette en chamade 8'
    Ripend 1 1/3' Tremulant
    Sifflote 1' Solo to Pedal
    Krumhorn 16' Solo to Great
    Cromore 8' Solo to Swell
    Tremulant Solo to Positiv
    Swell to Positiv Pedal-Soloist
    Here are a few of my thoughts.

    1. This is a 3-manual instrument with a floating Solo division. I actually like the flexibility this offers. However, I have a particular thought about how I want to use this division, at least in some situations. The Swell has an Oboe as the only 8’ reed. I would like to voice the Oboe as a more traditional oboe (i.e. quieter) and use either the Trompette en chamade or Tuba from the Solo division as a second louder 8’ chorus reed on the Swell. That would still leave the other 8’ reed on the Solo as a big solo stop.
    2. The Dutch pedigree of this instrument is evident in the specification. Personally, I would rather have had a string in place of the 8’ Quintaten on the Great. I cannot change this, but it would have been nice if they put another string on the Solo division so it could be used in any division.
    3. I would also have preferred a Violone or Principal stop in place of the Great 16” Bourdon. This is a bit surprising, because this would actually be more common on a Dutch organ of this size. It also would have made more sense given that there is a 32’ Violone in the Pedal.
    4. The third thing I would have done differently on the Great would be to move the Cymbal to the Positiv division. It would be really useful there and could still be coupled to the Great when a second higher mixture is desired.
    5. I really like having two 16’ reeds in the pedal. I like a softer 16’ read to give a bit of definition to the pedal line for fugues.
    6. Because this will be in my home, I am thinking that I will make the Pedal 32’ Violone a quiet stop, since there is a 32” Bombarde when you want it to roar.

    These are just my preliminary thoughts. When the organ is actually here, I may feel differently about some of these tweaks.

    Anyway, if any of you would like to offer your thoughts or suggestions, be my guest. Also, if any of you have had experience playing this model from Content, I would really like to know your impressions. I only had about an hour with it.


    My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

  • #2
    Your last statement is probably more true than you suspect. Once you have it in place and start playing it, you may be surprised at how much you like those aspects of it that you think you'd have done otherwise.

    Though you might not be able to fully change out one stop for an entirely different one, perhaps with the very flexible nature of the Content voicing you can make that Bourdon 16 on the great very light and suck a lot of the bass out of it, thus making it more suitable as a typical manual double. Likewise with the Quintaten, which I agree would be more useful if it were a nice Gamba. But you may be able to "thin" the sound somewhat and make it more interesting.

    I suppose you'll be able to tune each stop individually. If so, you might alternatively consider trying to turn that Quintaten into a faux "Erzhaler Celeste" by tuning it quite sharp in the low end of the scale (maybe 25 cents sharp at C1) and taper it off to about 5 cents sharp at C6. Then it will have a lovely beat against either the Open Diapason or the Rohrflote. This might prove useful, as the organ only has one celeste pair at present.
    *** 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!


    • #3
      My church's Klais pipe organ is 4-manual and does not have a floating Solo division, but the Hooded Tuba 8' is individually playable from several of the divisions (has multiple knobs). It's a gorgeous, smooth reed that takes over and just sings. If your Tuba is like that, I think you'll want to be able to select it independently, so leave it in the Solo Division.



      • #4

        Having serviced a number of Content organs over the years, I have found that the adjustments on these organs is rather limited. There just doesn't seem much in the way of range to a lot of the parameters.

        They have a number of global settings, such as fine pitch control, various tuning temperaments, reverbs, wind pressure, fluctuation, dynamic contour. Divisional controls are tremulants ( both speed and depth), keyboard inversion, etc.
        As to per stop controls, the following, volume, attack, for the reeds a tuned attack, initial transient, chorus.

        I don't think there is much scope for moving stops around either. Basically these organs are what they are. Thhey still sound much the same after fiddling with the controls.



        • #5
          Thanks, Arie V. I appreciate hearing from someone who has actually worked on one of their instruments, because aside from the short time I played this one, I have never played or heard a Content live.

          You are correct in the parameters that are adjustable. The manual lists the following adjustments that can be made on individual stops: volume, wind noise, chorus setting, contour setting, and fluctuation. They parameters can be saved in 3 different profiles. Apparently the only thing that might affect the relative strength of harmonics is in a global setting. One which favors the lower harmonics, another that is more balanced and a third that emphasizes the upper harmonics. These adjustments would not appear to enable dramatic changes to the character of a given stop.

          Your statement seems accurate, "Basically these organs are what they are."

          You are also correct that you cannot move stops around. However, because the Solo is a floating division, I am planning to soften the Solo Trompette-en-chamade and use it coupled to the swell in the reed chorus, so that the 8' Swell Oboe can be used as a softer chorus or solo read.


          My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk


          • #6
            Another choice, albeit involving some expense, is to use an auxiliary module to supply the missing stops. I have done this with my Galanti Praeludium III, as I wanted a Tumpet and a Cymbale on the Great, along with some other voices there and on the Choir and Pedal. At this point, i have them programmed on the combinations, but plan later to add some rocker switches under the music rack to work them individually.

            My home organ is a Theatre III with an MDS II MIDI Expander.