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  • Allen Protege...



    So what does an older Allen AP 4 sound like? There is one available close to me, but it's too much, but someday, I'll be able to afford it. I am thinking Allen because I'll always be able to get it serviced and it will not fall apart like a viscount, etc. But I've never been really impressed with even the newer Allen sounds. How does this compare to a similar 90's model Rodgers, etc.?</p>

    buzzy...[8-|]</p>

  • #2
    Re: Allen Protege...



    Buzzy,</P>


    I like the Protege for all the reasons you give. If that is an early AP it would, I believe, have MDS technology. That was pretty darn good stuff, and I'd personally rate it above other digitals in the same price range and from the same era. It was basically Allen's 5th generation digital, and they'd learned to do a lot of things right by then.</P>


    Go give it a listen and give us your honest opinion. Remember that a self-contained model without digital reverb may sound quite dry up close, so don't forget how much better it will be with some remote speakers.</P>


    John</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>
    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


    • #3
      Re: Allen Protege...

      You see, this is why we have the buzzyreed contest, so you can hear such organs without bothering the nice people who are selling htem, whom you have no hope of purchasing an expensive organ from until you graduate for the last time (God willing). Ironically, had I gone into another profession besides music, I'd be able to afford an organ like this easily and a nice house, etc.

      Anyone have a recording of a protege?

      the buzzzz

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Allen Protege...



        Buzzy,</P>


        I just looked up the AP4 in my Allen reference material. It is indeed MDS technology, AGO pedals, 2 manual self-contained dual channel audio. Very attracti\ve console, not as tiny as the Princess, but about as compact as true AGO can be. The "Lumitech" stop controls are nice, the LED's don't burn out and don't radiate heat like other lighted actions. I has digital reverb built in and can accomodate external speakers. Capture action with 7 generals (no divisionals) and a second memory to double the capacity to 14 combinatins.</P>


        If you have heard any of the larger MDS models from the early/mid 90's you will recognize the MDS sound. After going through MOS1, MOS2, ADC1, and ADC2, the MDS sound was the best yet. In fact, I am not convinced that the next step, Renaissance, was actually an improvement. Sure they went to full sampling and note-by-note leveling, but with MDS there was complete control over the attack sounds, air component, and so on. With Renaissance and Quantum (and Rodgers Trillium too) the samples are what they are. On the MDS generator the stops are divided into four subgroups, each group having adjustments for bass, mid, treble, overall level, and "wind" -- so you can customize the sound a lot. I had a church that wanted their MDS 40 (pretty good size 3 manual) to sound likea wheezing old air-leaking pipe organ, so I turned the "wind" and "treble"up on all channels. They loved it!</P>


        MDS and ADC technology actually "created" sounds on the spot, even though the tones were based on pipe samples. Each sound was a genuine fresh creation at the time it was played,perhaps not just exactly the same as the last time that note was played,not just the playback of a specific sample with a specific loop point. To my ears that adds to the realism and charm.</P>


        How much are they asking for it? Maybe you could ask Santa Claus for your Christmas present now. Who knows? That would save him the trouble of coming down the chimney.</P>


        John</P>
        <P mce_keep="true"></P>
        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


        • #5
          Re: Allen Protege...



          John,

          I agree with you here. The AP4, MDS based model is really not a bad organ at all. One thing though, if you want to add external speakers, you need to put in a Universal Relay Board (I think that is what it is called). I don't believe they were shipped with this board unless it was ordered with it. One thing about Allen, they never built organs with really poor build quality, unlike some other manufacturers, so this little organ should last awhile.
          </p>

          Getting back to Allen and their tone generators, I totally agree with you. I have yet to come across a Renaissance instrument that sounds as good as a 1988 ADC-4300 I service. I also came across a MDS-36 that was pretty good.</p>

          Makes me wonder, what Allen's thinking is when building organs these days. The Renaissance organs to me sound like they are filtered, with little or no air around the pipe tone. They sound "electronic" to me.
          </p>

          Allen, also it is no secret continued using their root samples over and over. So a lot of sounds from Allens were similar or the same over the years. Just different processing. They basically just sat on their reputation and did little innovation.
          </p>

          It is interesting to me that it is Allen that has suffered the most in the downturn in the digi organ business. Allen's halo is a lot lower than it used to be. Allen used to be very dominant, especially in the higher end. Increasingly, buyers are selecting Rodgers, Johannus, Phoenix over Allen's standard models. And the high end, the talk is mostly Marshall &amp; Ogletree, Walker.</p>

          Oh well, I'm sure Allen will re-invent themselves. They still have a name, but they also have a lot of money in the bank. Recently they have made noises with a new custom organ called "Elite" Should make things interesting in the marketplace.
          </p>

          Arie V</p>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Allen Protege...




            How much are they asking for it? Maybe you could ask Santa Claus for your Christmas present now. Who knows? That would save him the trouble of coming down the chimney.</p>


            John</p>
            <p mce_keep="true"></p>

            </p>

            tee hee.. you know if the standard doorway is like 36 inches.. I wonder what the standard chimney is...</p>

            </p>

            Thanks as always for your wise advice and knowledge</p>

            </p>

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Allen Protege...

              I have such organ lust for this organ it's silly. Really, it is the perfect size, color, and specs for me. Too bad they pay grad students so little! I would, however, replace the plastic music desk with a wooden one. I assume Allen keeps those things on hand, right?

              Anyway, I'll just wait until one of my "Norwegian Bachelor" famer uncles dies and I'll cash in (and I'll play the funeral for free, of course)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Allen Protege...



                Arie you know a lot but I don't think it's correct to say Allen did little innovation after MOS came out. I've studied the patents and there was a clear unbroken series of innovations. Yes there was a pretty big gap say from MDS in 1989 to Renn. in 1997, but Renn. was quite advanced for the time and totally new. Complete software synthesis on RISC processors. Remember in 1997 the average PC was only, what...a Pentium Pro 200 with 128M of memory? I remember how kludgy the computer digital audio was at the time. And it takes time to commercialize something so the technology was probably really 1995-era. I could buy what you say if, for example, Allen had stuck with the discrete logic architecture for another 3-4 years but they didn't. (MDS, ADC, etc. are discrete logic. Not true computers.)
                </p>

                You are right they might have been lazy to just reuse the same samples in every iteration, but they might have felt they were "good enough".
                </p>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Allen Protege...



                  Circa,</p>

                  My take on Allen's history is that for standard production organs, there was little innovation from 1971 to 1983 when the ADC models came out. Sure they cleaned things up a bit, but all in all not much difference. ADC was different in that they put cards into a rack, and used 4 waveforms across the keyboard. They also improved articulation, wind noise, and allowed some regulation. MDS again was a slight improvement on the late ADC. Renaissance changed things from being a hardware based organ to mostly software. Again it was more a change in doing things rather than a major improvement in sound. Technically if you read specifications you would think from ADC to MDS was a big step forward, and then a big step forward again with Renaissance, and now Quantum (which is just a refined Renaissance platform with multiple suites). If one hears a late 70s MOS1 organ and then hears a MDS organ, you would say they were built by the same company. Allen had that signature sound.</p>

                  By innovation, I mean industry leading new ideas. If one does not come with ideas first , one is not an innovator, but a follower or a copier. I can't think of a whole lot in the last 10 or 15 years where Allen has truly innovated.</p>

                  These days, most everyone can compete with or outdo Allen, sometimes at a much lower price. And that is perhaps why Allen's sales have suffered so much the last few years (much more than the industry decline). </p>

                  With the new Elite custom organs (no one is divulging what is actually ticking with these organs), Allen hopes to regain lost ground. I for one hope that they do put out some outstanding and " innovative" custom organs.</p>

                  AV
                  </p>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Allen Protege...

                    So how does the tech adjust such things these days? I assume you don't just turn a few rheostats or whatever adjustable resitors are called (it's been a very long time since I held a soldeing gun). Do you guys use some sort of proprietery software or something? Always, always, always intersetd in what guys like John, Arnie, and Radagast have to say about these things. So much information... just don't die on us anytijme soon, ok you guys?!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Allen Protege...

                      [^o)]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Allen Protege...



                        Patience, Buzzzzzz. After all it's Sunday and some of us have been at church ALL DAY (or taking a long nap).</P>


                        The AP models that employ MDS technology are not voiced or finished with any kind of software. The basic "W-5" generator module that Allen used is a four-channel system -- the stops are divided somewhat arbitrarily into 4 groups. (Larger instruments would have a second or even a third W-5 module in the console feeding 8 or 12 audio channels).Each grouping has a set of controls to regulate thetonal balance of the entire group. So you can't specifically adjust the volume or tone color of an individual stop.</P>


                        But Allen's technology is so good in that respect that you wouldn't want to tinker with basal stop levels. What you need to adjust is the bass to treble balance so that the organ sounds good in whatever environment it is placed. More treble in a lively room, more bass in a dead room.</P>


                        The level control in each group is provided so that the group can be set to proper volume relative to all the rest. You'd make the bass and treble adjustments first, then tinker with level, as you may find that you've affected level by your tone adjustments.</P>


                        Finally, the "W" or "wind" adjustment in each channel allows you to vary the amount of chiff and other transients, along with the injected white noise (air sound). This is adjusted to suit one's taste. As I said earlier, one church wanted their organ to wheeze and sputter, so I turned the wind up pretty high. Most players, though, will want only a moderate amount of this going on.</P>


                        There is a step by step leveling procedure in the service manual. If it is followed, you'll get it right.</P>


                        Did you hear from Santa yet?</P>


                        John</P>
                        <P mce_keep="true"></P>
                        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


                        • #13
                          Re: Allen Protege...



                          oops..sorry that little "[^o)]" was supposed to have been added in and edit to the previous post. I hope I'm not coming off as someone with Asperger's syndrome! I greatly appreciate how all of you guys are able to indulge me with your knowledge.</p>

                          </p>

                          Haven't heard from Santa, but I may be able to work something out if I can take on a church job here...</p>

                          </p>

                          I just hope that it isn't sold and that they can knock down the price a bit.. if not I will bide my time until another organ comes along. I was really turned off by some of the Allen sounds, but I have heard some good stuff recently with the newer ones. I look at it this way, I can afford this thing if I don't get a new computer every two years like I usually do. The organ will obviously last much longer than the computer and eventually the practice will pay for itself. I might even be able to sell my MOS 600 and TC-3 to someone.. who knows.

                          So does anyone know how this would sound in comparison to a Rodgers 530 or 520? Not great instruments but they have soem nice things abou them and I can live with their flaws. I am wondering if they are more or less flawed tonaly than an Allen Protege. Tough call, I know.. but I am sure someone is just dying to comment on this... especially all of your die hard Allen/ Rodgers feuders!

                          </p>

                          Anyway.. sorry to seem like I'm expecting an instant reply! Just the nature of my computer skills and insomnia, I guess!</p>

                          </p>

                          buzzzy</p>

                          [8-|]

                          </p>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Allen Protege...



                            Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy,</p>

                            My exposure to your instruments in question would conclude that the Allen Protege is superior to the Rodgers 520/530 (or even 525/535) models both in terms of sound and build quality. These Rodgers models are just not very good.</p>

                            Arie V</p>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Allen Protege...



                              Buzzzzzzzzzzzy,</P>


                              I'm with Arie V. The Allen Protege models use identical technology tofull line Allen's, just less of it -- not as many separate audio channels, etc. -- and of course dispense with drawknobs and magnets in favor of the lighted rocker tabs (but importantly they use LED bulbs that do not burn out). The keys, pedals, console, and all other hardware are still made in the US and are of the same quality as the higher priced Allens.</P>


                              While I am a Rodgers fan today, I can't be very excited about the old Insignia or Cheetah organs they sold back in the 90's. Rather than using a trimmed-down version of their top-line technology, these organs areforeign-builtone-board-wondersand theyhave no voicing controls. (IIRC, you can globally adjust certain parameterssuch as chorus and chiff with certain piston-press combinations.)They sound OK butare not nearly as nuanced as the better digitals of the day. The build quality is alsosomewhat inferior to real Rodgers models.</P>


                              But they can sometimes be had on the cheap. A good external amp and speaker system, along with an outboard equalizer, could certainly make the sound more agreeable. One of my church customers gota 535(purchased I'm sure just because it was cheap) and I added a nice external audio system to it. It sounds much better than it has a right to. You'd just have to hear one to know if you could live with it.</P>


                              John</P>
                              <P mce_keep="true"></P>
                              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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