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"New" Allen ADC for a Church

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  • "New" Allen ADC for a Church

    Does anyone know if an Allen ADC series organ is too old for a small church to purchase? Would it be expected to last a long time? This would be replacing the...Clavinova...which the church got when the old organ died 5 years ago...:-P


  • #2
    Not at all! I know of several churches that still use MOS-1 instruments from the 70s :) Allens are built to last
    Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
    Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
    Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)


    • #3
      Many forum members own ADC Allens and others play them in church. Most would say that an ADC is not too old. Allen, of course, can provide any part or board needed to repair an ADC, just as they can for even older organs (MOS and analog). Parts bought from Allen are expensive, but still preferable to discarding an otherwise good organ. And it's becoming quite common to see salvaged ADC boards for sale on ebay at about 1/10 the cost from Allen.

      So parts are not a problem. Servicers who genuinely know Allens of every age aren't found on every corner, but a lot of advice is dispensed here and on a couple of other Allen user groups. Since most Allen repairs are fairly simple, some are readily done by the user with only moderate electronics knowledge and skill.

      The #1 caveat about buying an ADC -- it's old enough to need a considerable amount of normal maintenance and some routine repairs. For example, all ADC models are voiced with mini-pots on the TG boards, and these must be "exercised" and the voicing reset every few years. And many ADC models came with speaker cabinets that have foam surrounds on the woofers and/or midranges, and these will need replacing if they haven't been already. Other normal maintenance you'll probably need to do includes general cleaning, cleaning and lubing the metal-to-metal connection points within the cage and in the audio path. Pedalboards from that era are very durable, but may need new felt in some cases.

      This might sound daunting, but in reality many owners just plug and play and only do these things as they become necessary. And some of this work takes longer to describe than to actually do. For example, on many models I can lube the cables and connectors and exercise the pots, then reset the voicing to a normal range in less than an hour. Large complex models may take several hours to do all this. Re-foaming speaker surrounds has become a well-documented DIY project that doesn't cost very much.

      ADC models have the advantage of numerous upgraded features over the older MOS models -- authentic couplers and mixtures, wonderful chimes and other percussions, beautiful celeste stops, far more flexibility in voicing. For sheer tank-like reliability the MOS organs probably beat them, but with a bit of attention to the things that age the most, an ADC can be made into a very fine organ.

      It's a sweet spot in Allen's history, as there were so very many of these built, thus many spare parts available and many owners out there to help you with your maintenance. And the sound reached a sort of peak, especially in the last ADC models to be rolled out. Properly set up and voiced, an ADC can sound and perform as well as any modern digital organ and should give you decades of reliable service with only minimal cost.
      *** 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!


      • #4
        Thanks jbird. That's a lot of help!


        • #5
          Amen to everything Jbird just said ! I was just practicing for tonight's midweek Advent 2 service on my ADC6000, and I still love it as much as when I picked it up used many years ago. Tonight I will be playing a 7 rank 1913 era Wangerin organ, and would much prefer to be playing even a smallish MOS or newer Allen.

          As much of a Yamaha fan as I am, even a newish Clavinova ( and I have to play some regularly in churches around here ) is no match for an Allen when it comes to real church organ sound. And of course there are no pedals on a Clavinova.
          Regards, Larry

          At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.


          • #6
            Ditto to everything that has been stated (please note my signature line). Was there a particular model you had in mind? I do know where one can find an MOS-2, reportedly in working order, for a nice price.

            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