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Allen MDS-5 Reverb Questions

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  • Allen MDS-5 Reverb Questions

    Hello! My name is Stephen and I am new to the forum so I am still learning things. Please be patient and bear with me. I have a few questions regarding reverb of an organ I bought for home in early 2018. The MDS-5 organ that was purchased has a reverb tab, but apparently is not "hooked up" to anything. I was told these were optional features for when the organ was first purchased in the early to mid 90s I think. (This organ's reverb does not activate, so I guess the church it came out of had pretty decent acoustics). Haha!

    Anyway, I inquired about my desire to enhance the organ with some reverb to a semi-local dealer, and he said that a current reverb system from the same company that built the organ could cost over $2,000 total. I know that a Nanoverb system for reverberation would work well and hopefully be MUCH cheaper; I think anyway. The ADC-2010C organ I had before this had a Nanoverb system. I should have had the movers let me keep the old reverb system of the ADC organ, but I didn't for some reason.

    Question 1: How would one install a Nanoverb (Al*sis) reverberation system to an MDS-5 organ?
    Question 2: Should I have a technician do the job, or is it as simple as plugging in a cord?
    Question 3: There are other reverberation systems out there. Which ones would work best? I only have had experience with the one mentioned, but could others be easier to install?
    Question 4: Would using a "used" or "pre-owned" reverb system be a good option?

    Thank you to anyone who can give some advice. This is by no means "important", really. Just something I've been curious about.

  • #2

    Welcome to the Forum. I hope you continue to participate for some time to come even after your question is answered.

    The Reverb was "prepared for," as you have already learned. However, occasionally Allen Reverb modules (ADR–Allen Digital Reverb) become available for much less than Allen's asking price. Of course, others have opted for the Nanoverb or other reverberation options, including a mixer with an effects processor that will add reverb to the signal before pushing it out.

    Keep an eye on *Bay and other online auction and sale sites in case an Allen module becomes available. You may feel more comfortable, though with the Nanoverb or other after market product. Whatever works is great.

    Try searching the Forum for threads on Allen and Nanoverb, and you might be surprised what you scare up!

    Again, welcome to the Forum.

    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 & 6 Pianos


  • #3
    Thank you, myorgan, for your reply! I'll see what can be done. I was checking the threads you offered, and it looks like I will save for an ADR of some kind, just because someone like me, while fascinated with organs (in this case an electronic), doesn't know diddly about them. The ways in which one could potentially install reverb in these instruments would make me too nervous. I will continue with research, however. Thank you for your time!

    This organ gives me great pleasure anyway, reverb or not. The way I think, if it were a pipe organ, there would REALLY be no reverb! Hahaha!
    I'll keep looking into it, though. Thanks again!



    • Organkeys Jones
      Organkeys Jones commented
      Editing a comment
      I have heard of (not in person) of a pipe organ in a "dead" acoustic where the builder added reverb via microphones, mixer, reverb unit, amp, & speakers. I did hear, in person, a pipe organ in a studio at a university where there was no reverb. The sound stopped before you took you hands off the keys, it was so dead! And the organ prof was so proud of that room because one could hear only the "pure" pipe sound. It was hard to imagine how that teaching studio would inspire young organ students.

  • #4
    MDS-5 is a simple two-channel organ, so you can use a Nanoverb simply placed in series between the tone generator cage and the amplifiers. If you're careful and at least comfortable with audio and electronics you won't have any trouble. Just get the cables and adapters you need, take the RCA cables off the pair of input jacks on the amp, take THAT signal to the INPUT of the nanoverb (you'll need RCA to 1/4" adapters), then take the OUTPUT of the Nanoverb and carry that signal to the amplifier input jacks (again, you'll need some adapters, or else some cables with 1/4" plugs on one end and RCA plugs on the other end.

    You have to adjust the input and output levels of the Nanoverb to make sure you don't overload the digital circuitry. Otherwise you'll get gross distortion. But the owner's guide that comes with it should explain that well enough. Adjust the wet/dry mix knob and other controls to get the type of reverb you want.

    Make sure that you don't mix up the channels. In other words, the channel 1 cable from the amp should connect to the left channel of the nanoverb. And be ure that the channel 1 output of the tone generator is going IN on the left channel of the verb. Otherwise, you'll have the organ trying to produce 16' pedal tones with the 8" speaker, which is unsuited for that.

    Unless you wire it up somehow, the reverb will have to be left on all the time, can't be turned on and off with the reverb tab on the Allen. But that is probably what you want anyway.
    *** 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!



    • #5
      To Organkeys Jones...
      Hahaha! I've never heard of anyone being proud of an acoustically dead room before! Interesting story there. That is a good option with the microphones, mixer, etc. That way I wouldn't risk screwing something up on the inside of the organ. I would personally feel weird about asking an Allen technician to install a non-Allen product, such as another type of reverb system. So the microphone, mixer, amp, speaker option may be viable down the road. We'll see.

      Anyway, the answers you all gave, including the threads myorgan gave were quite helpful. Thank you for your help.



      • #6
        To jbird604, thank you for your response. That was indeed quite helpful. This is something I will use as a reference down the road when/if I am comfortable with doing it. I do very much appreciate all your input on this matter! It will come in handy! Thanks again!