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Allen Protégé L9 drawknobs - questions about it

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    Allen Protégé L9 drawknobs - questions about it

    Hi all,

    I recently moved to a new location here in the Netherlands, so now I'm becoming to play for the first time an Allen organ! It is a Protege L9 with drawknobs. I found the guide on the Allen website. I have to read it thoroughly, the operations seems rather complicated.
    I.e. I was not able to operate the setting pistons. In the manual is stated that the first Memory Bank Always should be unlocked but nevertheless nothing happened when I operated them following the manual.(the others can be locked - thus far nobody here can tell me more about the organ so I'm not sure about that).

    For now I have some questions I did not find in the manual yet:
    1. What is the reputation of this instrument (qua sound, reliability etc)?
    2. Is it voiceable?
    3. How old is this model? edit: the display says 2000, the manual is copyrighted 2008.
    4. Is it possible that the setting pistons of Memory Bank 1 are locked some way?
    5. When turning on the organ the registerdrawknobs MUST be off, otherwise the drawknobs will not function properly. Is this normal?
    6. I only played for two hours yet, but it seem, when I draw a knob half open and then push it off again (because I made a mistake), then that knob do not longer function properly, but reversed: drowkob in = sound, the voice plays; and drawknob out = quiet, the voice gives no sound. One has to put the organ off and on again. This seems VERY strange for me, is this normal by Allen? I cannot believe that. But, what might be wrong? And more important, is it curable?

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Dutchy.

    #2
    I am not familiar with that particular model, but I have never heard of Memory 1 being locked on any Allen I am familiar with. It could be a bad contact on the Set button so that the organ isn't noticing that you want to set the piston. If you press and hold Set and then press the "R" button, does the console controller scroll through its menus? That would verify the operation of the Set button itself. You can also unlock all memories by scrolling through the console controller until you get to the last entry.

    In general, Allen builds solid instruments that last for many decades. For example, just last Saturday I played for my son's wedding on an Allen that must date back to the late 1980s if my estimates are correct, and it still worked just fine, with the only exception being what sounded like dirty contacts on the solo trumpet. All of the rest of the probably 70 stops worked just fine. My mom has an instrument of the same vintage, and it too has just one problem with the solo trumpet card having some intermittent connections. I'm certain both problems could be fixed pretty easily, possibly just by moving the voicing potentiometers back and forth a few times.

    Since the instrument appears to be only about 10 years old, it should use Renaissance technology, which does allow note-by-note voicing. If the console voicing controls are enabled, you can also adjust the overall volume, treble, and bass for each audio channel, plus adjust the volume of each stop independently, all right from the console controller. DOVE software is needed if you want to do note-by-note voicing.

    The oddities you noted regarding the drawknobs do not sound correct. I've never played an Allen that behaved that way, even when misbehaving.

    PS: You should join the new Allen Organ Owners Group here on the Organ Forum website. It is just getting off the ground here, but is intended to be the continuation of a very long-running group over on Yahoo which has many very knowledgeable people who contribute regularly.

    Michael

    Comment


    • Dutchy
      Dutchy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for your answer.
      I did not use the Console controller, because on the music rack of the organ is placed/glued a A4 paper that explicitely states something like this: DO NOT TOUCH THE CONTROL SYSTEMS - ONLY USE THE DRAWKNOBS. And it is not my own organ but is in the retirement home and is their property. I first want to get some advise or help.
      Currently I didn't meet any person who knows more about het instrument.
      Thanks again.

    #3
    I worked on quite a few L-9s when I was a tech at Allen. I knwo them very well. The L-9 organ usually had Lumitech (lighted rocker tabs). I don't recall a drawknob version though. Memory 1 can never be locked. Memories 2,3 & 4 can be locked and unlocked by using a 3 digit code. As far as the drawknobs not playing when pulled half way and back in doesn't sound proper. The drawknobs activate a reedswitch which sends a message to the circuit board. Could you post a picture of the organ? The organ was probably built around 2008-2009.
    Last edited by you795a; 11-25-2019, 07:15 PM.

    Comment


      #4
      Here are the pictures. May be it is a custom model? I found the manual (paper, not digital) in the organ bench and it clearly reads Protégé L9. The relevant instructions on the rack reads:
      • Switch on the organ only when all registers are closed.
      • Switch the organ on, off and on again (to prevent malfunctions with the registers).
      • Wait until the organ style on the small display constantly indicates a style (eg English).
      • We request that you only use the registers and do not change any settings.
      • During registrations pull out the drawknobs fully.
      • Only switch off the organ when all registers are in.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Dutchy; 11-26-2019, 07:00 AM.

      Comment


        #5
        Allen didn't make that console. I would have remembered that console. The keycheeks, Console Controller and the LCD are indeed Allen but not the console. The internal workings of that model should be a CEN-2 board.

        Comment


          #6
          It sure looks like someone took the guts of an Allen organ and transplanted them into a custom baroque style cabinet. I can't believe those bizarre instructions would ever be part of the function of an original intact organ from the factory. This seems very suspicious.

          I have a feeling that when the builder of this instrument took the Allen stop controls out of the original organ to make them work with the tracker organ style stop register pulls they messed up something in the way the Allen controls work. I can't think of any other reason for such an odd sequence of operations to work the registers on the organ.

          If you are following their instructions explicitly and are still having trouble, the only recourse would be to find and contact the person/company that transplanted the Allen parts into that case.

          I should add that Allen has indeed constructed a custom baroque style organ case, but I highly doubt the factory would ever build an organ that needed the kind of register use instructions that you have on that instrument.

          If you've never seen this page on the Allen web site before, take a few minutes to look at the photo sequence and videos to see how much work is involved in building a custom cabinet like this.

          https://www.allenorgan.com/europeano...ole/index.html

          https://www.allenorgan.com/www/allen...OfTheWeek.html
          Last edited by AllenAnalog; 11-26-2019, 10:38 AM.
          Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

          Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
          Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
          Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

          Comment


          • you795a
            you795a commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree that someone took the guts out of an Allen organ. The L-9 only had Lumitech stops. As far as the console, I should have said that Allen didn't make that console for an L-9 model. They do indeed make custom consoles. I would like to know how they wired it up to the drawknobs.

          • AllenAnalog
            AllenAnalog commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, since the Lumitech controls work very differently than a drawknob control, I suspect there is a major functional incompatibility between the native Allen organ electronics and the in-out operation of those stop register handles.

            Someone had an interesting idea but used the wrong organ as a basis to pull it off. If it had been a draw knob or even stop tab organ (obviously much more expensive) it probably would have had a better chance of working.
            Last edited by AllenAnalog; 11-26-2019, 11:47 AM.

          #7
          I'm with the other Allen guys above ^^ . That organ has been highly mutilated by someone, and they seem to have done some damage.

          Since it was only offered as a Lumitech organ (which is Allen's term for lighted tabs), it wouldn't have been set up to respond to drawknobs in any way. The Lumitech controls are "momentary contact" switches -- they close only for a moment when you turn on a stop, then close again for a moment when you turn it off. Drawknob switches, on the other hand, are "toggle" switches -- they are in full closure when the knob is drawn out and fully disconnected when the knob is in.

          So, someone trying to adapt the operation of this organ to somebody else's drawknobs would've had to jump through a LOT of hoops. I'm surprised that it works at all.

          Your only option is to try to work around these quirks. It could even be that the pistons will never set at all, given that the drawknobs do not send the correct type of signal to the CEN board.

          Good luck and do your best. Too bad that someone thought they could "improve" the organ with this kind of tinkering.
          John
          ----------
          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
          Home: Rodgers Allegiant 677 with expanded four-channel audio
          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


            #8
            I believe I have the answer in what’s going on. But it’s Thanksgiving and I won’t write about it until later or maybe tomorrow. At any rate I happy Thanksgiving to everyone on here and I’m thankful for all the advice that I received here
            Can't play an note but love all things "organ" Responsible for 2/10 Wurli pipe organ, Allen 3160(wife's), Allen LL324, Allen GW319EX, ADC4600, many others. E-organ shop to fund free organ lessons for kids.

            Comment


              #9
              Ok, Thanksgiving is over, and I put my brain at work. Actually the organ is functioning perfectly normally, except.... it has been used incorrectly! Meaning that that type of Allen organ with Lumitech tabs rely on a MOMENTARY contact! And that is where the problem stems from. Those tabs rely on an electronic "reversible" circuit, which means momentary contact to flip either way, or rather from one state to the other. If the builder of this contraption used the draw knob switches to turn a stop on or off, he's basically confusing the reversibles which are NOT looking for a steady ON or OFF state but rather an electrical interruption to flip states.
              That is why you need to turn the thing off for things to go back to normal, and also if you operate the draw knobs you may get the opposite of what you expect, as the reversibles see that as a pulse, or even pulses as no mechanical contact is perfect the first time it effects a closing of contacts.
              When you apply these thoughts to what you are experiencing, you'll see it all makes perfect sense.
              What should have been done in this case, is to modify a standard tab or draw knob organ to work in this pretty casework. Lumitec with its reversibles was the wrong choice.
              Finally, to Dutchy: Hartelijke groeten uit Amerika!
              Can't play an note but love all things "organ" Responsible for 2/10 Wurli pipe organ, Allen 3160(wife's), Allen LL324, Allen GW319EX, ADC4600, many others. E-organ shop to fund free organ lessons for kids.

              Comment


              • AllenAnalog
                AllenAnalog commented
                Editing a comment
                Your thinking confirms what John said above and what I alluded to in my comment about them picking the wrong organ for this project. Too bad since that case and the effort to transplant the Allen electronics was a lot of work for very questionable results - at least as far as the instrument being user friendly.
                Last edited by AllenAnalog; 11-30-2019, 10:06 PM.

              #10
              With the Lumitech technology, if you hold a rocker tab down and press another one it will light but will go out when the tab is released. Also, there were 2 different versions of Lumitech at that time. Allen was in transition from pressing the bottom of the rocker to turn on the stop and pressing the top of the rocker to turn off the stop to another version which was pressing either the top or bottom to turn on and off the rocker. MAYBE if the drawknob is pulled out then pushed back in it might work correctly.

              Comment


                #11
                Dear Gentlemen,

                Thanks for all your responses. MUCH APPRECIATED!

                In the meantime, I have explored the instrument extensively. And have played it during a ‘memorial meeting’ for the people who passed away during last year: accompanying the singing family members who were present and playing some solo pieces. An important moment, therefore I wanted the organ not to ‘trick’ me with malfunctioning stops.
                Here is my experience:
                • switching the organ on once is enough (no need for the odd “on-off-on” in the sheet on the rack).
                • do not touch the registers during start-up procedure is also stated in the user manual, so this seems normal for this kind of instrument.
                • when I pull out or push in a register in one go, everything will go well. If I change my mind halfway and push in a button that was already half-pulled out (or the other way), the problem of malfunction arises: the ‘reversed function’. That is, drawknob in = the voice sounds, drawknob out = no sound. And that is not correctible, the only way to correct it is: switch off the organ, push all stops in, switch on the organ. Exactly as some of you had predicted.
                So, I trained myself in decisively pushing and pulling the drawknobs in one go. Luckily, everything went well during the memorial meeting. No malfunctions.

                I think your diagnoses are correct: the function of the drawknobs doesn’t match with the original “Lumitech’. I could not figure out yet who did the tinkering. It probably doesn't matter because, if I interpret some of your stories correctly, it is already a miracle that it works and it most likely is not curable. Nevertheless, I maintain trying to know who delivered this organ and subsequently contact him or her. If this occurs, I will keep you informed.

                The programming of the memories still seems impossible. Well, I have to live with that. On an ordinary Dutch mechanical pipeorgan in a church, one mostly has no Setzer or memory bank either. And this Allen has only 28 voices, so it’s easy to keep overview.
                Remains two questions:
                • how old is this organ? (I mean the Allen Protégé L9, not the cabinet)
                • what reputation has it (sound, reliability etc).
                I would think it’s 18 years old because on the start screen the year 2000 appears. But the user manual in the organ bench is copyrighted 2008 – and some of you akso thought it would be approximately 10 years old. Can anyone solve this ‘mystery’ for me?

                Thanks again for your all expert responses, really nice to get so much skilled help here!

                Kind regards (hartelijke groeten for the Dutch descendants),
                Dutchy.

                Comment


                  #12
                  The organ would have been built sometime around 2008. The manuals came when the model was finalized. The year 2000 is when that version of the console controller was finalized. Here is something that you can try...Pull out a drawknob and push it back in immediately then try to play. If it does play then pull out the same stop and push it back in and see if it still plays. That is how the Lumitech works, momentary contact. If you try this please list the results, I am curious.

                  Comment


                  • Dutchy
                    Dutchy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    As soon as I can, I will try and report

                  #13
                  I'm curious about that too. But I'm predicting it will not work all of the time. Then again, I don't mind being proven wrong, that's how I learn too.
                  On the Memory issue; two things come to mind: 1. Allen supplied specific models to the church of Latter Day Saints. They came with an unchangeable registration that could be defeated by an internal switch inside the console. Could this be one of those models?(credit for this info to my friend; a former Allen salesman)
                  2. Do these models still use a battery for Memory? If so, when bad it causes memory problems - as in older models.
                  Just tossing this out there- who knows...
                  Can't play an note but love all things "organ" Responsible for 2/10 Wurli pipe organ, Allen 3160(wife's), Allen LL324, Allen GW319EX, ADC4600, many others. E-organ shop to fund free organ lessons for kids.

                  Comment


                  • you795a
                    you795a commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The L-9 has 4 memory levels. Level 1 can't be locked. The L-9 wasn't made available as an LDS version. The L-9 doesn't use batteries, it is saved on the flash memory.card. CEN1 and CEN2 organs do not have any batteries in them. The CEN1 models saved the memory on the CEN1 board itself while the CEN2 models wrote to the flash card.

                  #14
                  Hi Dutchy,

                  Is this organ located in Zwijndrecht? Is it possible that that origunally the organ was a Cantor? My guess is that the Cantor organ had a problem or problems that could not be fixed, possibly because the company went out of business, and the case work was re-purposed to run Allen electronics.

                  There was a fellow from Sexbierum who posted on the forum, who was involved with the Allen distributor in the Netherlands. I can't recall his name though.

                  Most of my story at least fits the facts.

                  Generally, Allen organs were considered reliable, but if you look on the forum here, Allen organs suffer from failures just like everyone else

                  As to sound, most companies produce organ sound that is as good or better than what Allen produces.

                  of couse, organ tone is quite subjective, what one likes, another may dislike.

                  AV


                  Comment


                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Originally posted by arie v
                    There was a fellow from Sexbierum who posted on the forum, who was involved with the Allen distributor in the Netherlands. I can't recall his name though.
                    Arie,

                    I believe his username is: Gerritfrl. (the screen name includes the period). Hope that helps find some of his posts.

                    Michael

                  #15
                  Thanks you795A, It was just a thought.
                  John
                  Can't play an note but love all things "organ" Responsible for 2/10 Wurli pipe organ, Allen 3160(wife's), Allen LL324, Allen GW319EX, ADC4600, many others. E-organ shop to fund free organ lessons for kids.

                  Comment


                  • you795a
                    you795a commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No problem John. It was a good idea to think about batteries. Around that time the LDS models were the AP22 and AP22a and prior to that was the AP-16LDS. Each of those had 16 memory levels and memories 15 and 16 were locked from the factory but could still be unlocked. The LDS had access to all of Allen's models but usually stuck with their own versions. I can recall only 2 instances where they chose a slightly different model when I worked there.
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