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Allen TC-3S

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  • Allen TC-3S

    Hi all, </P>

    How would an Allen TC-3S be as a practice instrument? What would be a good price range for this instrument? The one near me comes with the amps and speakers it was originally installed with. </P>

    Any thing in particular stand out about this organ - good or bad? </P>

    Thanks in advance</P>

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

  • #2
    Re: Allen TC-3S

    Could be a quite nice practice instrument. This was a very late Allen analog, and some of them even have a real capture action, though it will be of the "sequential" type (clakity-clak-clak)and may need a rather expensive battery replacement to work properly.</P>

    This organ is typical Allen analog with a unit diapason, a unit flute, and a unit reed (though the reed generator is actually piggybacked on the flute oscillators and a flute pitch will always sound along with a reednote -- a bit of an oddity, but works OK.) All the essential pitches are available from 16' up to 2' plus a mixture or two and some mutations. There will be a tab to change the flutes to stopped and to change the diapasons to strings. So there is a good bit of tonal variety.</P>

    You'll have a good full-bodied classic sound, about as good as analog gets, as Allen's oscillators were better than most at producing the right harmonic mix for diapasons and flutes. The drawbacks of unit design as the same as they would be on a similar sized pipe organ, but for practice purposes should not be much of a problem.</P>

    Most of these models were equipped with "Random Motion Electronic Whind" (sic) which was probably a good thing in its day. However, as the oscillators age they begin to have trouble working with the "Whind" -- you get terrible gurgling and raspy noises on many notes. The cure is to have a technician totally extract the Whind generator and wire the keying contacts directly to the +14 volt magnet supply. The generators will no longer exhibit this "random motion" effect, but that is a small sacrifice for getting all the pitches to sound again! (Some versions of the whind generator allow you to disable the effect without having to move the keying wires to the magnet supply. Have you tech check this out.)</P>

    Also, you may find a number of pitches still dead and may have to replace keying capacitors on those oscillators to get them sounding. This is relatively easy and inexpensive, but you will need a knowledgeable and experienced Allen analog serviceman.</P>

    Don't fail to tune it completely. It has individually tunable notes for the entire compass of each unit rank, including an independent celeste rank, if that option is present.</P>

    Selling price? They are often available free for the taking, but it wouldn't be too bad to pay a few hundred dollars for one, maybe $1000 if delivery is included.</P>

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    *** 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!


    • #3
      Re: Allen TC-3S

      Thanks John, </p>

      The price being asked is $1500 and it's a couple hour drive from my place so your post confirms my original thought that it is priced too high. I'll keep an eye on it and see if it goes down at all. </p>



      • #4
        Re: Allen TC-3S

        Hi there.


        As you can see from my signature I'm a proud owner of a late model sequential capture Allen TC-3S.</p>

        Allen TC-3S are fine instruments. Granted they don't sound very realistic when compared to the modern day digital stuff, but then again it is a practice instrument so 100% authentic sound quality is not the most important factor. However for 1960-70s technology, they do sound pretty good and as John says its difficult to find better. After the TC series Allen moved on to digital organs, so the TC series is the culmination of the best of Allen's analogue technology.

        If the instrument has drawers containing many switches on either side of the organ, then its a setterboard model. If like me, you don't have any drawers and have a set piston, they you have the more desirable (some would say) sequential capture action.</p>

        As for price. I think $1500 is way over the top. Allen TC models now have very little worth, perhaps a token few hundred dollars (max $500) is what its worth. In fact most churches are giving these away, so you should definitly haggle over the price. Mind you they are very heavy (i have the exact weights of the console somewhere...) so factor in having to hire a U-Haul van, and perhaps getting some mates to help you lift (at least 4 people). </p>

        Also enquire about purchasing a TC-3S technical information pack from Allen. It comes with handy wiring diagrams and servicing notes which will prove invaluable for future reference (about $60).</p>

        Do you have any pictures of the instrument you could post, or the serial number?</p>

        Good luck with you're purchase!</p>

        1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
        Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.