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  • Is it just me? or.......

    I've been listening to quite a few tutorial videos on *tube about certain pipe organ stop voicing. Specifically the "Principal" stop(s). I love that foundation voice of the organ but it seems that on my Allen ADC 5300 my Principal stops sound way off and not even close to the examples on these. Mine sound more fuzzy almost exactly like a Conn organ square wave. I've played around with the BTMG controls which really didn't help at all but I was able to level out a few things while I was in the cage.....so not a complete waste of time. Oh! and I had both my articulation and romantic tuning tabs off while I tried to voice them. Any ideas if this is normal or not?
    Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

  • #2
    Hamman,

    If I can recall the last time I "voiced" one of my organs, it seems I remember the Principal samples sounding a bit more dirty than those of some organs. What I mean is there were more highs prominent in the tones instead of being mostly fundamental. Not as much as Strings, but definitely more than Flutes.

    Perhaps the best advice I ever received when following Allen's voicing chart, is something John shared a few years ago. First, place all pots approximately 1/2 way between the extremes, and then voice from there by tiny bits. The theory is that the organ comes quite well regulated in that position from the factory, and dealers can make final adjustments in the new environment once installed in the space.

    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)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

    Comment


    • Hamman
      Hamman commented
      Editing a comment
      Michael...spot on "Dirty" would be the correct description! Have you found a work around or are you just living with it?

  • #3
    As a fellow 5300 owner I understand your frustration. Frankly, these instruments were designed during the time that Lawrence Phelps was advising Allen on voicing and stops. His idea of a principal was very different from my taste, which goes more along the romantic organ lines. I prefer a fuller and less thin sound than the ADC principal stops have. I bought every principal and principal chorus ADC voice card and voice card pair I could find and they can give me a more satisfying sound than the resident stops. I also have jazzed the voicing for the alterable voices (bass and midrange) a bit more than what I have done with the native stops.
    Last edited by AllenAnalog; 04-15-2019, 11:29 PM.
    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

    Comment


    • Hamman
      Hamman commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Larry.....I also was wondering if it was because I had the speakers placed so close to me?!
      I would really like to find out what Alt. cards you obtained or mixed to get a more pleasant principal tone.

    • AllenAnalog
      AllenAnalog commented
      Editing a comment
      It's too late to edit my post but I should have said that I bought all of the Diapason and Diapason Chorus cards, along with some Principal cards to try to find the sound I wanted from my 5300. The descriptions on the ADC tone card ordering form were my initial guide.

      I bought both of the Diapason Chorus two-card sets, the 16-8-4-2 and the 8-4-2-1. The Diapason 16' card (D1112XA) is described as "Slightly tubby" and the Diapason 8' card (D1112XB) is described as "Matches Diapason 16'." Yes, slightly tubby works for me. Haha.

      The Montre 16' card (D1113XA) says it complements the Montre 8', which is a native stop on the 5300. The Principal-B 8' card (D1097XB) is listed on the order form as being "German, classic large scale." I'm on the other side of Colorado from where I have the organ stored so I can't fire it up to refresh my memory of how these cards sound. I recall being less satisfied with them than with the two Diapason cards and the Diapason Chorus sets.

    • musikfan
      musikfan commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm so glad to hear others on this thread expressing what I have been thinking for quite a long time, now . I'm not sure what it is (as I am definitely NOT any voicing expert) but I have never really liked the sound of most Principals that I have heard. They always seem thin. I always wanted it to sound more like the Hohlflote although it is in a different family. But I have never enjoyed using just the Principal to fill the sound with something deeper. Does this make sense? I have also found that the tone cards have worked well to compensate for what I feel is lacking.

  • #4
    Yes, the trends in organ sound back in the 80's when ADC models were produced may have called for a little thinner and nastier principal tone than one would like, and Phelps may have pushed them even more in that direction, in the interest of "pipe-like" sound. Interesting to note than when the Renaissance models came out in the late 90's, an entirely different flavor of principal tone was installed in the default sample set. Highly romantic, to be sure.

    When we got a Renaissance organ (R-280) donated to my old church to replace the ADC4000, I was not happy with the rather thick 8' Diapason in the default disposition, and used DOVE to replace it with a sample called "Prinzipal" (which you might recognize as the Gt. 8' of the MOS organs!). Of course the Renaissance version of the Prinzipal was much more developed than the simplified half-wave sample on the MOS, but clearly the same tone. And now I have that same sample on my R-230 at home. In some ways I suppose I'm a relic myself of the 80's organ scene. I do understand though that many people aren't satisfied with the somewhat crisp principals that Allen tended to use in the 70's through the 90's.
    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


    • Hamman
      Hamman commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for your input John......I knew you would probably chime in...lol. I'm still a bit green in the conservative organ scene and have alot to learn. I just know that I'm not happy using just principal stops on my organ....more likely mixed with flutes to get somewhat more of a pleasant sound.

  • #5
    Hamman,

    I would also encourage you to check out the MOS tone cards. In the Allen Tone Card thread, we discovered that MOS cards ACTUALLY WORK in ADC instruments that take the colored (not silver) cards or paper cards. There might be slight variations, but I use them all the time because there were a far greater number of cards available for the MOS organs.

    Myself, I like the Diapason C 8' card (not listed below–perhaps Principal B below), but then I like my Principals a bit on the softer and thin side rather than tubby. The tubby sound came about from organs in the early 20th century and theatre organs, which had larger-scaled pipes. If one's childhood was pre-1970 or so, they were used to hearing the tubbier sound of organs before the Baroque revival (or American Classic) came about.

    The MOS cards are:
    • Diapason 8' A–Smooth
    • Diapason 8' B–Foundational
    • Principal 8' A–Soft Diapason
    • Principal 8' B–Even Softer
    • Principal 8' C–Classic
    • Principal 8' D–Less edge than spec F (forte)
    • Principal 8' E–Mellow Heavy
    • Principal 8' F–Solo Stringy
    • Principal - Bright 8'–Foundational
    • Principal Harmonic 8'–Bright Foundational
    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)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

    Comment


    • #6
      Michael, are you saying that those of us on Social Security are biased towards tubby diapasons? :devil: IMHO, the organ "deform" movement went just as far in the opposite direction.

      My organ-formative years in college were influenced by 1) a 1940 G. Donald Harrison voiced Aeolian-Skinner American Classic organ that I heard every Sunday, 2) a brand new Schlicker built during during the height of the Baroque revival, 3) a 1952 Estey that was my practice organ, and 4) multiple Wurlitzer and Moller theater organs.

      Of course since then I have heard hundreds of other instruments of all sizes from many periods and builders that have further shaped my tonal preferences. And those preferences do change a bit over time as I am exposed to new organs.

      To this day I can be seen running screaming from rooms with thin shrieking pipework. Haha. Happened just a few weeks ago during an organ tour when I heard a late 1960s Reuter that seemed to be mostly upperwork and thin principals. (I have nothing against Reuter; earlier instruments from the same builder are more to my liking.)

      From all of that exposure in college, I liked the Aeolian Skinner as the best compromise between the richer bass and midrange of the tubbier pipework and the clarity of the more recent stuff. Many organbuilders today are creating pipework that has the best voicing attributes of both worlds, leaving behind the extremes of the symphonic period and the Baroque revival period.

      One of the best explanations of all of this is a treatise presented by Colin Pykett on his excellent reference site: http://www.pykett.org.uk/principals1.htm

      Once I read through the entire article, I came away with a much better understanding of the evolution of organ principal pipes and the many changes in them over the centuries.
      Last edited by AllenAnalog; 04-16-2019, 10:35 PM.
      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

      Comment


      • voet
        voet commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the link to Pykett's article. I just spent a couple of hours down that rabbit hole. It was enjoyable reading. I also found his digital renderings of various organs interesting to listen to.

      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Allen,

        Just got back from Pittsburgh and didn't have access to the Internet. The nice thing about the Allens is that you can make the ADC Principal as tubby as you want, but there are trade-offs. As we all know, stop voicing is a moving target and differs from organ to organ. I have to admit, I've heard both extremes, and have some of the same reactions as you.

        Balance is good!

        Michael

      • jbird604
        jbird604 commented
        Editing a comment
        "Moving target" is an apt description, Michael! As with most ADC voicing, extreme changes to one stop may result in totally undesirable effects on other stops. The BTMG controls certainly can and do make all the difference in the world in matching the overall brightness or bassi-ness of an organ to its environment, but they aren't a perfect tool for greatly modifying the overall character of an organ's tonal design. Each model has a "personality" of its own, and the goal of voicing is to reveal the nuances of that unique personality and let it shine by customizing the audio curve to the room in which the organ is to be played.

    • #7
      Pykett sure speaks his mind, doesn't he? Strong opinions and preferences, and good arguments for them. I like that kind of writing. No question as to what he likes and doesn't like.

      I've never quantified my feelings about principals in that way, but I do agree with most of his conclusions. My earliest exposure to the details of organ tone came during the "Baroque revival" period, and I was very much a fan of all that chiff and noise and shrieking. Seemed so "realistic" to this country boy who'd previously never heard anything except old Hammonds with 12" speakers for "tweeters" in the tone cabinet.

      And Larry Phelps was at the peak of his influence at Allen in the 80's when I was selling them, so I heard a lot of arguments in favor of "articulation" in organ tone. That famous story about the demo organ at the factory with a set of empty holes in the chest used to add "air sound" to the oscillator principals. Thus my puzzlement and dislike of the big fat bulky "diapason" stop that passes for the 8' great principal on many Renaissance organs.

      As with most arguments, the "truth" is probably somewhere between the extremes. Few of us want to hear a principal so shrill and shrieky that the fundamental is nearly obscured, and most of us want more development from our principals than the "loud flutes" passed off as diapasons in some English or 1920's US organs. We're looking for a rich full sound that is clearly not a flute, with strength and dignity.

      It would be nice to truly "love" one's principal enough not to feel compelled to always draw a flute along with it so it sounds round enough.
      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
        Revisiting this thread....I just got back from a long weekend down is So Cal. While down there I visited my friend, George Butterfield, who, along with, Wayne of Organ Stop have a Allen dealership in the San Diego area. George has a 2 manual custom 2 cage ADC organ ( in his air plane hanger!! LOL) that has each stop on its own card. I wasn't there to consider the organ but sat down to play around on it......the principal stops were just beautiful!! I again quizzed George on my ADC 5300 as to why the principal stops were so "dirty" sounding. Explaining further that I had, in fact, already played around the BTMG pots with no success. He seemed to know what I was talking about but had no other recommendations. I almost considered relieving him of that ADC Custom 2 Cage organ purely on the Principal sound!
        Allen 5300-DK, Hammond A-105, Conn Custom 905-DK

        Comment


        • Organkeys Jones
          Organkeys Jones commented
          Editing a comment
          George would have been very pleased if you had relieved him of that organ. I have an MDS Classic, single cage with one board per voice (2 boards for the GT Mixture IV). Limited stop list but incredible sound.

      • #9
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        And Larry Phelps was at the peak of his influence at Allen in the 80's when I was selling them, so I heard a lot of arguments in favor of "articulation" in organ tone. That famous story about the demo organ at the factory with a set of empty holes in the chest used to add "air sound" to the oscillator principals. Thus my puzzlement and dislike of the big fat bulky "diapason" stop that passes for the 8' great principal on many Renaissance organs.
        [snip]
        It would be nice to truly "love" one's principal enough not to feel compelled to always draw a flute along with it so it sounds round enough.
        John,

        Perhaps the reason people tend to be mixed up on the 8' Diapason is the same reason that stop is thought by some to have interchangeable nomenclature. An 8' Diapason, 8' Prinzipal, and 8' Montre are actually 3 different stops, hence 3 different sounds. There is a lot of nuance to naming organ stops, and unfortunately many organ builders don't truly understand that nuance. I think perhaps Larry Phelps did have that understanding, having come from Casavant Frères organ company. It may have been taken to extremes by others within the company, which probably accounts for the Renaissance issue.

        Originally posted by Hamman
        I again quizzed George on my ADC 5300 as to why the principal stops were so "dirty" sounding. Explaining further that I had, in fact, already played around the BTMG pots with no success.
        Hamman,

        Have you spent any quality time with the TG-10 card at all? I think you might be able to clean up the dirt by adjusting the 8' Great Principal articulation there. Personally, I haven't made any adjustments on my ADC-4300 TG-10 card, as it was set quite nicely when I bought it. It was in a reverberant space, and is now in a less-reverberant space, but smaller. For that reason, the adjustments on the TG-10 were mitigated by both the size and acoustics of the new space.

        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


        • davidecasteel
          davidecasteel commented
          Editing a comment
          I can't really contribute to this discussion except that in my visits to jolly old England I have noted that the Diapasons in their organs are much fuller and broader in their sound than the ones here and in Germany. They have more "oomph", if you will. (Of course, in Germany they are called "Prinzipal" and it has been mentioned above that they are really different voices.) I rather like the English Diapason sound.

          David

      • #10
        Doesn't the ADC-5300 have a Montre 8 in the Great as well as the Principal? If so, how does it sound and compare?

        Comment


        • Hamman
          Hamman commented
          Editing a comment
          Funny you should ask that Toodles. I was on the phone with George last night as he was going through some cage procedures with me...advising me and asked that very same question. Yes I do have the Montre 8 and it is more "buzzy" than the Prinzipal 8. I also turned down the D8 pot on the TG-10 card which really didn't help either. Treble is already turned down on the #19AA which  the Prinzipal stop is on......no articulation either

        • michaelhoddy
          michaelhoddy commented
          Editing a comment
          Does the Montre get a slot on the TG-10 for articulation in the x300 organs? In the earlier organs, it does not, even though the 8' Principal does, in the more rudimentary TG-3 form.

        • AllenAnalog
          AllenAnalog commented
          Editing a comment
          Just to confirm the information you are working from, here is what my 5300 cage chart says:

          Great Prinzipal: FG-2 in slot 8; EG-1 in slot 3; TG-8 in slot 19, section AA; TG-10 in slot 20/AA, pot 8C; audio channel 6

          Great Montre: FG-2 in slot 9; EG-1 in slot 3; TG-8 in slot 19, section A; no TG-10 articulation for this voice; audio channel 5

          TG-10 pot 8C also controls the Great 8' Rohrflote on my instrument. So I'm not sure why you turned down the D8 pot unless your instrument was built differently than mine. My chart shows two pedal stops on 8D.

      • #11
        Allen definitely had the stop samples for different diapason/principal tone. This was demonstrated way back on that voicing record, and that was what - MOS or ADC technology - 1980, 1982? I'm going to have to dig up my copy and play it tomorrow. So far, it hasn't been posted on youtube. Perhaps Allen would have a fit because of copyright violation or competitors telling potential customers to listen to the 'current' Allen sound. I think that record is definitely to Allen's credit - all the different pipe tones available; analog organs didn't come close to that variety and detail, IMO.

        George

        Comment


        • #12
          Check the speakers that carry the Montre--maybe the midrange foam is shot, or maybe the tweeter resistor got moved off its setting? Allen and Phelps knew what a Montre should sound like, and would not have designed a buzzy Montre.

          And, of course, check the voicing for the Montre channel.

          Comment


          • #13
            I did find the Allen voicing record and just listened to it. The date on it is 1980. I had forgotten how wonderful it sounds, and that would be MOS-1 I suppose for that year? Anyway, there are 5 principals demo'ed - baroque, 19th century romantic, French montre, 20th century romantic (tubby), baroque revival. They are all quite unique and sound authentic.

            I had planned on recording it to a CD and then uploading it here but for the life of me can't find a blank CD. 😞 The record is in quite good shape.

            George

            Comment


            • Larrytow
              Larrytow commented
              Editing a comment
              You really can't find a blank CD ?!? I have spindles of them here. PM me and I'll mail you some.

            • SchnarrHorn
              SchnarrHorn commented
              Editing a comment
              I put on my miners hat again and lit the carbide lamp to go digging in the basement. Found my blank CD stash. Side A is posted in the Allen owners group. I'll get around to side B sometime. While digging for the LP this morning, I uncovered some other stuff, like my 1955 LP of Charles Courboin on the Camden label on the Wanamaker and the Kilgen at St. Pat's in NY. Now there's a name not mentioned anymore these days. For goodness sake, he's been dead for almost half a century. And I know there's a 78 or two of Virgil buried as well. :-)

              A friend told me I'd be unpacking long after I moved and that sure is the truth.

            • davidecasteel
              davidecasteel commented
              Editing a comment
              I have moving boxes that have not been unpacked in 40 years. . . .
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