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Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

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  • Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

    My church has a Trillium 837 2m electronic, brand new (installed 2 weeks ago), and we're planning to add pipes next year (as budget allows). We need to figure out which pipes will be best for us (we have an 8ft maximum because of the space in our sound chambers). We're looking at (probably) 2 small pipe chests. Rodgers makes their own pipes, which we might be able to purchase relatively cheaply, then there Ruffatti pipes, and a company called Pinchi is also available through our organ dealer. Should we be looking elsewhere? Are the Rodgers pipes a good pipe? If not, what are their weaknesses? Can anyone give us some guidance here?

  • #2
    Re: Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

    Rodgers are particular known for their electric organs. I would buy a quality wicks organ pipes. If you don't know what Wicks is, its one of the best organ manufactures in the United States.
    Very expressive and educational site.
    These organs might be somewhat of more quality, thus being more expensive. I have not yet ask them for what they would charge to install what stop, but you can check out their link to Pipe Additions, they can create up to 32' as you say 8'.They are more than Capable of doing what you ask. I totally recommend 100 percent there organs, as they have built one of the organs I have played on at Cathdral Basillica(accually Kilgen organ company, which is Wicks).
    Rodgers would probably be more inexpensive, and it depends where you live. Wicks is located in Highland, Illinois.


    • #3
      Re: Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

      We have a large Rodgers 2-manual, the last of the analogs, purchased in 1987. We also purchased 4 pipe ranks. The fad at the time was to aim the speakers at the ceiling in the hope that the diffused sound would soften the harsh sound of the electronic voices. The sound of the electronic voices was quite acceptable, though we spent a great deal of time voicing those ranks. That organ has very few tone generators but lots of stops so the ensemble was not the best. The organ compensated for the lack of independent voices by simply increasing the volume of the few voices available. the sound could become quite harsh. The pipes made a great deal of difference to this, lending a genuine character to the ensemble that greatly improved the sound.

      In 2003, a major portion of the electronic voices failed nd we were left to depend on the 4 pipe ranks. Because Rodgers, at the time, borrowed those few ranks to make them playable all over the specification, the pipes have saved the day! They are very effective as the only manual voices available to us, though the pedal electronics still work. We are planning to replace the organ in the near future and are wondering what to do with these 4 pipe ranks. If we go for another electronic organ, we will probably keep them. If we go for a pipe-organ, builders indicate that they can re-use them.

      Having now listened to a few new digital organs, I do not think that the added cost of pipe ranks is necessary. The digital sounds are not nearly as harsh as the old analog organ and so there is much less need to try to "trick" the ear by adding pipes. A few ranks will cost you a lot of money, in the neighbourhood of $15,000 per rank. I would only consider it if you were adding lots of ranks of real pipes so that you ended up with a small pipe organ and lots of digital voices.

      If you do choose to add a small complement of pipes, I would regard it as insurance. Should the electronics ever fail, the pipes may come to the rescue.

      good luck.


      • #4
        Re: Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

        My limited recollection comes up with two Items: when Rogers started doing pipe/electronic combos, they bought Rufatti pipes for them, then later made their own; and when aeolian-Skinner went down, Rogers bought their scales and voicing data. I would see no reason to hesitate to continue to deal with Rogers. Also, they would have an easier time connecting the hardware systems, I shoul think.

        As to the connection between Wicks and Kilgen, I was not familiar with it. Is the writer sure?



        • #5
          Re: Best Pipes for an Electronic/Pipe Combination Organ?

          Lee, your recollection is correct about the Rodgers electronic/pipe combo history. I remember that I didn't think the Rodgers/Rufatti combination was all that good when I first heard it. I also hadn't heard any of the AS-derived combos until recently, when I had an opportunity to play a Trillium combo with Rodgers pipes at our local dealer, who is also does pipe-only installations. Rodgers has spent significant effort to make the digital and pipe sounds blend very well in the hands of a properly qualified designer/installer, and should this be the choice of the buyer, gives excellent results.

          Rodgers digitals can also be voiced to match almost any other existing pipe installation for rebuilds or augmentation. There are a number of organs in my area that have been modified in that manner.

          As to the ability to use the pipe stops when the electronics fail, that may have been true on the analogs (it sounds like something major in the audio paths failed), but with the modern digitals, it's likely that the pipe control won't be available either. They're much more reliable and modular, however, and easier to repair.
          Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107