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  • Recording an Allen ADC 6000

    I will be recording a Christmas Concert. Our organist would like to hear more of her organ, as opposed to the vocalists, than I capture with microphoness. Just trying to fine-tune the balance in a CD that I make for her. I would like to come directly out of the pre-amps and go into my sound console (Behringer X32) and then into my laptop. I successfully record the individual channels from the X32 at the moment using Reaper.

    My question is where are the "pick-off" points on the organ? It is an Allen ADC-6000-D. sn# 48627. I have attached some photos of what I assume are (some?) of the pre-amps. There are gray RCA connectors that eventually go to the amps. There is a second empty RCA jack next to each gray RCA plug: is this a sistered pre-amp output that I can use? If so, from there I can go into a small submizer that I have and can send two channels to my X32.

    I understand from my readings on this forum that there may be up to 6 channels/outputs on this organ. In my photos I see 5 outputs on the 4 pre-amps. There is a 6th possible output on the left side, below the top left preamp, coming from a small silver box. Will this work, or am I all wet? I don't want to take any chances on damaging the organ. It is still used every Sunday for services.

    Thanks!

    Lance

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  • #2
    Lance,

    Your organ should have 7 channels. From the photos you provided, you have 7 amplifiers. You have three S-100 amplifiers, and one 4-channel ADC amplifier. The RCA plugs you see on both styles of amplifiers are inputs, not outputs. Generally, the inputs are coming directly from the cage.

    I'm curious why you wouldn't record the organ with a microphone or digital recorder? If you use directional microphones, it would be possible to raise the organ's volume in relation to the rest of the recording. Are you using a multi-track recorder? I'm also thinking you'd end up with a better recording if there is some ambient sound in the recording.

    On second thought, the organ may have what Allen called presence projectors. They are smaller speakers with just a tweeter and a mid-range that will be paired with each channel. You might be able to get the additional sound from there.

    Hope that gives you a start on the recording.

    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)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

    Comment


    • #3
      Michael

      Thank you very much for your reply. I spoke with an Allen technician yesterday and he explained to me that the "sistered" rca jacks might be expression control points not parallel inputs. He recommended that I get some Y connectors and split off the gray inputs. Thank you for informing me that I have 7 amplifiers! That makes so much sense.

      As to why I don't record with a mic, I do. I get wonderful recordings when only the organ is playing. When a soloist, a choir or additional instruments are playing together is when I would like to have a little more of the organ present on the recording at times. We don't have a conductor for these performances so it is up to everyone to work together to blend their sound. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a postion to hear well or has the skill to do this well. I make a CD for our organist after the program and on some songs she wants to hear more of this singer or less of that instrument. I can usually accomplish this in the past except for the organ. By recording the direct outs of the organ I am hoping to be able to mix a bit of the direct recording with mostly the mic recording to "up" the organ presence. If I can boost the organ only by 10-20% I think that that will be sufficient.

      As to the Allen speakers, there are at least 2 dozen. The majority of the speakers are located above the alter area, which are hidden behind a half-dome shaped ceiling made from fabric (the white area in the first photo) that is acoustically transparent to the speakers but acts as a parabolic reflector to all sounds generated in the altar area. There are an additional 9 speaker cabinets at the rear of the church in the balcony, which are visible in the second photo.

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      • #4
        There are two more amplifier channels in this organ and a mysterious silver box in the audio system. That's a two-channel D-40 amplifier on the shelf to the right of the upper S-100 amp. You can see the gray input cables on the right, the two volume controls, and the twisted pair speaker cables on the terminal strip. So we have quite a mashup of three different generations of amps with a total of 9 channels. I'm not sure what the silver box mounted on the underside of the shelf holding the two S-100 amps does. You would have look at the markings on the box and trace the RCA cables connected to it to determine its function.

        The three S-100 amps should be type 13 models, which do not have the additional preamp stage. The second RCA jack should indeed be paralleled with the one in use but take a look at the chassis - there should be some markings on it indicating the function of the two inputs.
        Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

        Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
        Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
        Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

        Comment


        • #5
          Larry

          Thanks for the info. The more info the merrier! I am going to head to church in a bit. My cabling supplies came in from Parts Express so I have a fun afternoon ahead!

          I will take more photos of the rest of the organ, if anyone is interested in seeing any other parts of it.

          Lance

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          • #6
            I wonder if there might be a way to split off the mono signal that gets sent to the reverb so that you get a 'pre-mixed' organ signal (rather than having to capture and edit all of the audio channels separately).
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Usually the stock response to this kind of inquiry is "just don't." And I do get a shiver when a typical sound person mentions opening up the organ console to "tap into" something. They are normally up to no good.

              But in this case, I can see the logic. I still think the sound that's going to be picked up at the input to the seven amps isn't going to be real "live" organ sound, as the sound of an organ is a complex entity, developed in the open space into which the organ speaks. The unadorned signal at the amp input is the "raw material" of the sound, but is only one component of it. At least you will get SOME "real" organ sound picked up by the microphones to help augment the crude and raw signals your seven organ lines will provide.

              I trust that you will be using very high quality shielded audio cables between those organ amps and inputs to your mixer. I have all too often discovered that even a well-trained sound engineer's efforts will introduce some hum or interference into the organ's amps and speakers, since your direct connection to the amp input not only feeds you a signal to work with, but simultaneously, of course, opens the door for extraneous noise and especially hum to be fed back to the amps via your cabling. Also be absolutely sure that there is no phantom power going down those cables from the mixer into the organ!

              You must be sure that the trimmers and faders and various tone controls on the seven inputs channels are carefully adjusted so the resulting signal coming out of the mixer correctly matches the balance of the organ stops as they come out of the organ speakers. If you don't get this right, the recorded sound of the organ will be out of balance, with some stops or some frequency ranges exaggerated and others diminished in relation to how they should be balanced. This is an ART as much as a science, and represents the work of the organ voicer who installed the organ to begin with.

              Bottom line though, and I speak from experience, the sound you'll get on your recording may well be quite uninspiring and ugly. I have tried recording my own organs at home over the years using both the "direct out" method and the "microphone" method. There is no comparison in the quality of the results. The direct-from-line-out recordings are always lacking in life, seem harsh and flat, no matter how I try to equalize them, pan the signals around, add reverb, or whatever. It just doesn't sound "natural" and your organist may well be disappointed and just ask you to simply record with the mics and pick up whatever organ sound you can, even though the choir will dominate.

              BTW, just a bit of experimentation with microphone placement might yield surprisingly good results. If those mics are right over the choir, you might get a much better blend of organ and choir if your mics are pulled back 40 or 50 feet.

              Good luck!
              John
              ----------
              Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
              Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
              Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
              Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

              Comment


              • #8
                What John said. That mixer is certainly up to the job of adding some ambience to the lines coming out of the organ, but AllenAnalog raises an interesting point about the channel count. You want to get them all or not at all. So you really want to know 'exactly' what is what. Given that the question is being asked at all ... eesh ... I'd be leery. Allen's are squirrely about 'y'ing outputs off pre-amps and sometimes it messes up expression signals and sometimes not. I don't know about this model in particular. But it seems to me that although there are 2 dozen speakers, if there are only 9(?) channels then there are only 9 sources of unique information. 9 microphones placed in close proximity to 9 speakers carrying unique channel information could be fed to the mixer to add 'presence'. FWIW, as a musician, if not as an organist, for an archival recording of a performance with choir I would want to hear it as the soundboard technician heard it. Hopefully the soundboard heard it as a listener also heard it. If it is organ shy then that would be instructive I would think. Rather than boost the organ in the recording process have the organist throw on the Tuba Magna. Just kidding. But I think our good sound technician is pretty long suffering. It's great to want to go above and beyond the call of duty but, really, there is a LOT of work involved in getting 9 channels of organ properly available to the mixer regardless of whether its microphones or direct. If the problem can be solved by using more organ resources in the first place, that is what I would be recommending.

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                • #9
                  Well, the deed is done. No harm done, that I'm aware of. We will be having a full run-through of our Christmas Concert tomorrow evening, so I'll find out if I've added any noise to the system then. I didn't hear anything significant, but not being an organist I couldn't really put it to the test. My most important goal is to do no harm. I am prepared to remove what I put in place if there is any thought that I've degraded the sound. I decided to use my rca taps where the 7 channels came out of the card cage. I am going to go with only the 7 channels for now. My small mixer only has 8 channels so I have to leave at least one channel behind for now. I'll just have to see how this works. I will adapt as needed or toss the whole thing.

                  I see where one side of the D-40 dual channel amp is one feed to the backside of the mysterious silver box and a second feed is one of the 7 lines from the card cage (I think I traced it correctly. It is somewhat difficult to trace some of these cables since I don't want to move them). Those 2 must be summed because the third line (the one visible in one of my earlier photos) runs into the quad channel amplifier. I'm guessing this is some type of mixer for delay or reverb for one of the instruments?

                  I am aware that capturing the direct signal out is very different than capturing the live sound. I realize that the building's acoustic characteristics are as equal a part of the sound as are the speakers and how the organ itself is played. I am trying to beef up the live sound by a little bit. I know that I am not good enough a sound tech to match the sound of the live organ by adding reverb and other effects in post-processing.

                  Below are some more photos I took. The keyboards and the pedal photos are self-explanatory (I think). The very small keyboard at the organist's left elbow is a Schulmerich Carillons (or chimes as our organist calls it). There's a photo of the D-40 amp and the before and after with my RCA splitters. I bought fairly cheap cables just to prove the concept. If this seems to work for our organist I will buy some serious shielded cables. For now I made sure to bundle and route my cables away from anything that looks to be high-voltage. The proof will be in the pudding. I will follow up with any results, good or bad.

                  I love the build quality and attention to detail that went into the construction of this organ. It truly is a work of art. I imagine the workers that built this organ went home with a smile on their face, knowing that were building something that would be loved and appreciated for a timespan that might even outlast them. This organ is still going strong after 34 years!

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                  • #10
                    The way you chose to do it (right at the cage) is probably the best you could have done. Since all the sounds are generated in the cage, you can be sure that you are getting all the stops, regardless of how they may be distributed among all those amps. I'm certain that the 6000 is and always was a "seven channel" organ, though most of them were installed with at least one extra amplifier, which was for "bass boost" and drove a subwoofer. But in order to sample the organ properly, you only need the seven outputs from the cage.

                    Perhaps the extra amps in that one were put there just to drive a set of separate reverb speakers or something. Doesn't really matter though, since you've already got the full signal coming into your mixer.

                    There is no concern about your Y-cables affecting expression, as all expression is handled inside the cage, before the signals go through their final pre-amp stage. So that signal emerging from the cage is certainly recorder-ready. There "might" be some post-cage options installed, such as special tremulant units or reverb generators, and you won't of course be picking up whatever those external devices contribute to the sound, except with the microphones. But that is a minor consideration, given that you only want to add a little bit of extra organ sound to the mix.

                    Oddly enough, it used to be more common for sound engineers to complain to me (as the guy who installed a good many Allen organs back in the 80's and 90's) that when they tried recording their choir, they were getting TOO MUCH organ in the microphones, not too little! Not sure why, except that in a great many churches the organ speaker chambers happen to be directly above and behind the choir, and with the choir mics often hanging right over the choir, they were getting a big load of organ sound too, being so close to the chamber openings.

                    In recent years, I have heard the opposite though -- sound operators claiming that they don't get any organ at all in the mics, and wanting a line out so they can mix it into their recordings or broadcast. I often find in such cases that the organist is an older person or sometimes just very insecure or barely competent and really isn't playing loud enough for ANYONE to hear the organ, even in the church itself. Or (worst case) the church's music director has intentionally toned down the organ so much (by turning the speakers around backward, or by making the player keep it very soft) because he or she doesn't like the organ anyway, and wants a piano or (God forbid) the "band" to be heard instead of the organ.
                    John
                    ----------
                    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AllenAnalog View Post
                      There are two more amplifier channels in this organ and a mysterious silver box in the audio system. That's a two-channel D-40 amplifier on the shelf to the right of the upper S-100 amp.
                      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)
                      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There are 7 independent channels. What signal are assigned to these channels? Are they assigned to the manuals (2 x 3 = 6) and the pedal (1 x). Or are they assigned to certain stops? Are there separated channels for reverb? Or do they have some special multichannel surround layout?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You'll be wanting the cage chart from Allen. It shows which cards produce which voices and the output each is assigned to. If you can't find it inside the organ, Allen will send you a PDF. I have an ADC-6500 and sent a request to Allen on their web contact page along with the serial number and they sent me the chart very quickly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by paulhoffmann View Post
                            There are 7 independent channels. What signal are assigned to these channels? Are they assigned to the manuals (2 x 3 = 6) and the pedal (1 x). Or are they assigned to certain stops? Are there separated channels for reverb? Or do they have some special multichannel surround layout?
                            Paul,

                            Could you send me a private message regarding your specific needs? I have an ADC-6000 and probably have what you need.

                            Depending on the organ's original configuration, two channels are assigned to the Swell, two channels are assigned to the Choir, and the remaining three are assigned to a combination of the Great and Pedal stops. If you have an ADC-6000 with reverb, it depends on the type of reverb you have installed. If it is the standard Allen reverb, the signal is usually fed back into the audio stream of each channel, so both the original sound and reverb sound come from the same speaker.

                            The ADC-6000 is (to my knowledge) not capable of surround sound as we currently understand it. However, to an extent it is capable of surround sound, depending on speaker placement. That said, it is generally not good practice to place the speakers at different distances from the intended audience due to possible phase interference.

                            Hope that helps.

                            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)
                            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you for these Information. I want to learn more about Allen's technology of and "thinking" behind their organ sound system. Actually it is not about an ADC-6000 but a new model that should be connected to a very sophisticated sound system to be installed in a church.
                              Especially I am interested in what signals can be accessed separately and whether it is possible to access individiual pipe sounds (Hauptwerk enables this).

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