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  • Adding MIDI to an Allen MADC 3100 organ

    Hi Forum,

    First of all — if what I am posting has already been addressed — I apologize. I have done the forum search for this - but I have not found a definitive or clear answer to my questions/situation.

    I have an Allen (M)ADC 3100 organ. I really like this organ and plan on keeping this one a long time. It took a lot to get it in the house and into the room that I have it in — plus 4 speaker cabinets that I painted and installed new grilles on to match and blend in with the room.

    I use MIDI on the organ I play at church — and I would really like to add MIDI to my 3100. I understand that it will not be full MIDI implementation — but note on/off only and no expression — and I will not be able to program the MIDI sounds into the organ presets/pistons. I am ok with that and I really want to add an Allen MIDI Division II unit for MIDI sounds.

    I have had two Allen folks give me a price for an Allen MIDI Kit (921-00132). The lowest price for this kit that I have been given is $1,450. This has really deflated my hopes to add MIDI to my 3100.

    Is there another MIDI kit (non-Allen) that I can use to add MIDI to my organ?

    I am 70 miles from my local Allen dealer — and with the service call and travel fees and installation fees — I was hoping to very carefully install a MIDI kit myself.

    Is there a MIDI kit out there that I would probably be able to install myself (very carefully and with lots of help from you wonderful folks..)?

    Or, am I locked in to having to buy the Allen MIDI kit? If I am locked in to the Allen MIDI kit — is this something that I can install myself? I want to use some unused tabs to control the MIDI for each manual.

    I wish that I could just order what I need and have the Allen folks come out and do their thing — but this would be a big expense for me — and I keep asking myself is the expense worth it?

    I would appreciate any help that you can give me or guide me to.

    Please feel free to respond on here or feel free to send me a PM.

    Again, if the above has already been covered and/or discussed with clear, definitive answers — I apologize for reposting. I did use the forum search but I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find the answers that I need — but my search terms may have been incorrect.

    Thank you so much!
    Geoffrey
    Rodgers W5000 --- home (currently at church)
    Rodgers MX200 module --- home (currently at church)
    Kawai UST7 studio piano --- home

  • #2
    The Allen MIDI kit is the simplest way to add MIDI to this organ. There is no other plug 'n play solution that I'm aware of. While there are other keyboard MIDI encoders available, they will not be useful if you wish to continue to use the Allen voices without adding another set of contacts. In theory, given the right circumstances, it might be possible to key MIDI and the Allen from the same set of contacts, but it would not be a trivial undertaking and I know of no one who has done it.

    So I think your choices are basically add another set of contacts to the manuals and pedals and connect those to a suitable third party generic keyboard encoder, or buy Allen's solution. By the time you add and wire an additional set of contacts to an encoder, the savings over Allen's solution will disappear.
    -Admin

    Allen 965
    Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
    Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
    Hauptwerk 4.2

    Comment


    • #3
      I checked on this a few months ago. Allen no longer sells the MIDI kit. Allen techs are capable of installing midi alongside the existing system but they have to use third party parts and it takes a lot of time. Plan on spending around $5k and a few days to have a tech install MIDI. (I'm not completely sure, but that may have included a way to have MIDI input to the organ and allowed full sequencer functionality.) I'm working on a way to use the same contacts for Allen and MIDI (out only), but that project has stalled while I take care of other things.
      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


      • Admin
        Admin commented
        Editing a comment
        In order to do this, your encoder will have to use the same matrix dimensions used by Allen and be compatible with Allen's keying voltages. Most off-the-shelf encoders drive the matrix lines. To maintain compatibility, your encoder can only sense the matrix lines as the Allen circuitry will have to drive the lines, so I think you'll need to roll your own encoder and program it. Doable if you have the knowledge and are willing to risk damaging the existing circuitry as part of the development process.


        The correct way of doing it is the way Allen does by inserting the encoder in the serial data line for the keyboards. This is what my MOS 2 encoder does. Again, this would be a custom solution that requires a knowledge of programming and the makeup and timing of the serial data stream.

    • #4
      Sam, this may not mean anything, but the "Universal ADC/MADC MIDI kit" is still listed on the Allen tech site in the dealer store. Of course it may not actually be available but hasn't yet been pulled from the catalog, perhaps due to an oversight. But there's no real reason why Allen wouldn't want to keep selling it. It is, as Geoffrey noted, VERY expensive, appears to be hundreds of dollars higher than it was last time I checked. (If a dealer has offered him one for $1450, I'd say jump on it before he changes his mind!)

      If it is still available, the installation is not brain surgery, but also not just plug and play. You must mount the MIDI translator board, install the correct EPROM, add the data cables to place the translator in the correct segment of the data chain. Then you add a power cable which must be soldered to the cage power supply output.

      Then there are control wires that must be connected to the blank tabs or knobs you want to use for turning on the MIDI in each division. So there's some detailed wire-routing, soldering, testing. Not impossible for a careful owner to do himself, but you don't want to risk damaging this board, considering how much Allen is asking for it these days, or any other part of the system, given the high cost of Allen replacement parts.

      Even though it's pricey, and a tech would have to charge a few hundred dollars more to install it, it's still a huge bargain compared to the time-consuming and very complex project of adding extra contacts and wiring and such to your Allen. MIDI adapter boards from third parties are fairly cheap, but there's no telling how many days of intense labor would be involved in adding an entire new set of contacts to the keyboards and pedals. If your time is valued at anything at all, it would be a massively costly project.

      There is an old "southern engineering" method that I have heard of, though I haven't actually done it myself. A guy I used to work with in a music store told me that he did it once. To wit -- you buy a fairly cheap Casio or Yamaha keyboard with MIDI for $100 or $200 somewhere. Then you take out the pc board underneath the keys that carries the contact strip, and mount it underneath the Allen wooden keyboard, lining up the rubber button contacts with the bottoms of the wooden keysticks. Since the spacing of organ keys is a standard layout, the keyboard's contacts should match up perfectly. Then you just have to "red-neck rig" some kind of framework to hold the pc board in place.

      The final step is to simply mount the electronics of the Casio or Yamaha in the open space behind the Allen keyboard stack, connect power to it and a MIDI extension cord. If you want to use the native synth sounds of the Casio or Yamaha, you can mount the control panel where you can access it, then run the audio out of the unit to a mixer and feed it into your Allen's speakers.

      I'd sure like to see such a setup, if anyone here has ever done it. It's certainly the cheapest way to MIDI up an Allen that I know of, though of course it only does one manual.
      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
        If you find a MIDI encoder for your organ, I have a spare MADC EProm you could have, as well as perhaps some of the wiring. I also never used any of the tabs, rocker, or drawknobs for the MIDI controls.

        Best of luck finding a MIDI board.

        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


        • #6
          Hey Forum,

          If you have read any of my earlier posts - you know that I am considering adding the Allen MIDI kit and an Allen MDS Expander II or Allen Ensemble unit to my MADC 3100 organ.

          I realize that I will only have note on/note off and no MIDI expression control via the organ. I am also aware that I cannot store the MIDI samples with my organs capture memory system. I plan on keeping the MADC 3100 for a long time. It took a lot to get it in the house and in the room that I have it in. I cannot afford an Allen MDS or newer organ with full MIDI integration. My 3100 has draw knobs and mechanical stop/memory action — which I really like.

          I would still like to move forward with this project — even though it is costly — but I am trying to learn as much as I can about this. I believe adding the MIDI capability (though not fully usable as with MDS series and up Allen organs) will give me more stop options and versatility.

          So, those of you with ADC or MADC organs that have MIDI — is it worth the cost? Some folks I have talked to about this say it's not worth the cost, etc.. Do you use it frequently enough to justify spending the money for it? Even with the limited MIDI capability — do you find it useful?

          If you wouldn't mind sharing — I would like to hear what price range you spent for the MIDI kit and install — feel free to send me a private message.

          I would really like to see some videos — or hear some recordings of ADC or MADC organs using MIDI.........

          Thanks in advance for your input.
          Rodgers W5000 --- home (currently at church)
          Rodgers MX200 module --- home (currently at church)
          Kawai UST7 studio piano --- home

          Comment


          • Admin
            Admin commented
            Editing a comment
            No need to start a new thread on this topic. I've merged your topic into this one.

        • #7
          I've had an expander on more than one Allen in my home and at church. Some were ADC or MADC and some were later with full MIDI functions.

          Actually the full functionality is not as important as you might think. I mostly used the expander for a few special effects such as festival trumpet and orchestral strings, so the ability store patches on pistons was unnecessary.

          I just set it to have strings on the great and festival trumpet on the swell, then let the MIDI tab for that division serve as the tab for that one sound. Not that I never used any other sounds, but those mostly.

          Worth the money? Not sure. If I were a better player maybe..
          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


          • #8
            You asked, "Is it worth it?".

            The answer lies within how you intend to use MIDI. The MDS Expander II does not have much more than what is available with the 3100 tone cards as far as organ voices and organ percussions with the exception of handbells, chimes and cast bells (better than the cards), Marimba, Xylophone, Tympani, reiterating percussions, and Zimbelstern. The expander also has some orchestral voices. The expander allows one voice to be added to each division, or with some effort, a 2nd voice on one of the divisions.

            What the expander will allow which isn't available with the alterable voices is divided tremulant--such as using a 4' flute with tremulant with an 8' reed (usually a trumpet or tuba) without trem. This is a common theatre organ registration for a solo line. Also non-tremmed percussions can be used with tremmed organ voices. You could arrange the 3100 to do this without the expander if you have vibrato on the swell if you run the alterable voices after the vibrato circuits and using the vibrato rather than the tremulant.

            Also, the expander has 10-2/3 ft voices which can make pretty nice resultants for 32 ft. voice effects.

            Comment


            • #9
              We added a 32ft pedal voice to a 3100 in one of our local churches by using the midi to talk to a "Boss" synth box small enough to fit in the card drawer on the right side of the organ. Used a trombone voice shifted down an octave and ran the synth output through the unused 4a input on the ADC mixer, thus keeping the voice under expression. It can be programmed in the capture system since it is switched by one of the blank tabs. We also added a draw knob to the lower left pedal set of knobs. It works great!

              Comment


              • #10
                Do you think I am correct in thinking that the price of the Allen MIDI kit will go up over time?
                Rodgers W5000 --- home (currently at church)
                Rodgers MX200 module --- home (currently at church)
                Kawai UST7 studio piano --- home

                Comment


                • myorgan
                  myorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It already has. The first one I ever purchased was only hundreds. Now, look at the quoted price for installation!

                  Michael

              • #11
                Originally posted by gebohmusic View Post
                Do you think I am correct in thinking that the price of the Allen MIDI kit will go up over time?
                Hi Geoffrey,

                I installed the Allen MIDI kit into our church ADC-3000 a little over two years ago. In answer to your last question...at the time I paid AU$1100 for the kit which was probably the equivalent of around US$800. So the price looks to have nearly doubled over the course of two years. As the kit is for organs over 30 years old and as Allen's stocks get lower I'm guessing the price may rise even further.

                Is it worth it? For me a resounding yes. My goal was to incorporate a Virtual Pipe Organ set up into the organ but retain the original sound, both for the aged organists we have and also as a fail-safe if the VPO computer failed. I also added the Zuma Group's MIDI stop encoder which encodes all the stops, pistons and (after adding some components and a bit of soldering) expression. The only things on the organ that aren't MIDI encoded now are the transposer and crescendo. I'm unsure if the Zuma encoder is compatible with the MADC series. To be honest I was never a big fan of the original Allen ADC sound (perhaps too classic American :-> ) so to now be able to use the console as a VPO is wonderful.

                It's not that difficult to install but a bit of electronics knowledge is certainly helpful...jbird's post above regarding installation is (as usual) spot on. There is a thread about installing an Allen MIDI kit to an ADC-3100 which may be helpful...link below.

                Good luck!

                Peter
                Discussion MIDI devices and software for use with your organ

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by Jramsey View Post
                  We added a 32ft pedal voice to a 3100 in one of our local churches by using the midi to talk to a "Boss" synth box small enough to fit in the card drawer on the right side of the organ. Used a trombone voice shifted down an octave and ran the synth output through the unused 4a input on the ADC mixer, thus keeping the voice under expression. It can be programmed in the capture system since it is switched by one of the blank tabs. We also added a draw knob to the lower left pedal set of knobs. It works great!
                  I tried to do that with a Bassoon on the AE-50. If I recall though, the unit could only transpose down/up 7 steps. Could make a decent Resultant with the 16' Bassoon if you set it right
                  Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                  Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                  Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                    Sam, this may not mean anything, but the "Universal ADC/MADC MIDI kit" is still listed on the Allen tech site in the dealer store. Of course it may not actually be available but hasn't yet been pulled from the catalog, perhaps due to an oversight. But there's no real reason why Allen wouldn't want to keep selling it. It is, as Geoffrey noted, VERY expensive, appears to be hundreds of dollars higher than it was last time I checked. (If a dealer has offered him one for $1450, I'd say jump on it before he changes his mind!)

                    If it is still available, the installation is not brain surgery, but also not just plug and play. You must mount the MIDI translator board, install the correct EPROM, add the data cables to place the translator in the correct segment of the data chain. Then you add a power cable which must be soldered to the cage power supply output.

                    Then there are control wires that must be connected to the blank tabs or knobs you want to use for turning on the MIDI in each division. So there's some detailed wire-routing, soldering, testing. Not impossible for a careful owner to do himself, but you don't want to risk damaging this board, considering how much Allen is asking for it these days, or any other part of the system, given the high cost of Allen replacement parts.

                    Even though it's pricey, and a tech would have to charge a few hundred dollars more to install it, it's still a huge bargain compared to the time-consuming and very complex project of adding extra contacts and wiring and such to your Allen. MIDI adapter boards from third parties are fairly cheap, but there's no telling how many days of intense labor would be involved in adding an entire new set of contacts to the keyboards and pedals. If your time is valued at anything at all, it would be a massively costly project.

                    There is an old "southern engineering" method that I have heard of, though I haven't actually done it myself. A guy I used to work with in a music store told me that he did it once. To wit -- you buy a fairly cheap Casio or Yamaha keyboard with MIDI for $100 or $200 somewhere. Then you take out the pc board underneath the keys that carries the contact strip, and mount it underneath the Allen wooden keyboard, lining up the rubber button contacts with the bottoms of the wooden keysticks. Since the spacing of organ keys is a standard layout, the keyboard's contacts should match up perfectly. Then you just have to "red-neck rig" some kind of framework to hold the pc board in place.

                    The final step is to simply mount the electronics of the Casio or Yamaha in the open space behind the Allen keyboard stack, connect power to it and a MIDI extension cord. If you want to use the native synth sounds of the Casio or Yamaha, you can mount the control panel where you can access it, then run the audio out of the unit to a mixer and feed it into your Allen's speakers.

                    I'd sure like to see such a setup, if anyone here has ever done it. It's certainly the cheapest way to MIDI up an Allen that I know of, though of course it only does one manual.
                    Hmm... interesting. Just buy one keyboard for each keyboard/manual. If you can get hold of an old Casio CT-series with MIDI, I believe those had a THRU port on them. I think you can simply daisy chain.
                    Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                    Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                    Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by organman95 View Post

                      I tried to do that with a Bassoon on the AE-50. If I recall though, the unit could only transpose down/up 7 steps. Could make a decent Resultant with the 16' Bassoon if you set it right
                      We used a little Roland box that had all of the usual Midi voices in it and it had no problem allowing us to transpose down a full octave. It also remembers where it is set when you turn the box on and off with the organ. The only extra thing I had to do was to run its output thru a little headphone amp for some additional gain before putting it back into the ADC mixer. I used the 4a input of the mixer which is paralleled with the regular gr/ped input that drives Ch 1 of the ADC amplifier. Since the 32 ft stop added a bit of extra stress on the ADC amp's power supply, I installed a separate S-100 amp for that channel. While we're only using it for pedal, one could utilize the other Midi channels for different voices as well.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Originally posted by Jramsey View Post

                        We used a little Roland box that had all of the usual Midi voices in it and it had no problem allowing us to transpose down a full octave. It also remembers where it is set when you turn the box on and off with the organ. The only extra thing I had to do was to run its output thru a little headphone amp for some additional gain before putting it back into the ADC mixer. I used the 4a input of the mixer which is paralleled with the regular gr/ped input that drives Ch 1 of the ADC amplifier. Since the 32 ft stop added a bit of extra stress on the ADC amp's power supply, I installed a separate S-100 amp for that channel. While we're only using it for pedal, one could utilize the other Midi channels for different voices as well.
                        I'm not familiar with Roland's boxes. Until the AE-50, the only synth/expander I had used was a Kurzweil K2000R (FANTASTIC strings on that unit). Like you Roland, it would hold the settings when turned off, and could be shifted by octave
                        Allen MOS 1105 (1982)
                        Allen ADC 5000 (1985) w/ MDS Expander II (drawer unit)
                        Henry Reinich Pipe 2m/29ranks (1908)

                        Comment

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