Forum Top Banner Ad

Collapse

Ebay Classic organs

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma

    We're having an awful time. I guess this is one place I can get answers not professionally tied to one brand or another of classical church-type electronic organ (CCTEO).

    My church purchased the entry-level model of a major CCTEO. Let's call it TFTA for my church's first trouble organ. It gave intermittent but frequent nagging trouble -- variety of strange problems -- for its first three years of operation, quite often before a big day like my student recital or Easter morning. It was fixed over and over and the dealer finally agreed to replace it at their cost. By the time they came to make the change, TFTA was working fine, but we of course felt we'd be safer going with the replacement. </p>

    Surprise -- it has had problems too. Workings (how to make it do things) are obscure or eccentric; inferior specification (no 4' flute on the Swell????); cheap tone like an old Farfisa or something on the principal chorus stops, and more; MIDI sounds nowhere as TFTA. Yet this is obviously a slightly higher-up model and the dealer says its sticker price is $8-10,000 higher than the other one. </p>

    WHAT DO WE DO? Wait -- it's not as simple as getting or money back with interest and maybe a few thou in damages. The other major brand's basic instruments don't hold a candle to the musical design and quality of the first one we got. Doesn't even have built-in MIDI sounds -- you have to order an extra unit for a couple thou more!
    </p>

    Strangely or not so strangely, a local piano and organ store has a used unit of TFTA -- and a bigger, more prepossessing Ahlborn-Galanti -- longtime floor model, seems in fine shape that he'd sell for about the same as what we paid for . He agreed to contact the lady who'd sold him the twin of TFTA; she had agreed to tell him her experience with it, but I haven't been able to get any more out of him about it.
    </p>

    The company doesn't make TFTA anymore, not that that proves anything. Don't they change model designs, names and numbers somewhat often? </p>

    Thanks in advance to all who will give their two cents (or more!) on this mess.
    </p>

  • #2
    Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma

    Sorry to hear your sad story. Without specific brand and model number there isn't much anyone can suggest except to keep working with the dealer. Have they voiced the new organ to match your acoustics? Did you tell them about the problems with the second organ? Have they sent a rep to train you about how to use the instrument? Is there a factory warranty? Did you buy from an authorized dealer? The major builders are usually willing to make sure their organs sound good and most of them come with a 5-10 year warranty. Keep them coming out to repair it until they get it right! Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma



      Thanks for your reply. The old one was Rodgers Insignia 537, the new is an Insignia 548. . Anybody worked with either? </P>

      They didn't voice it, they made the switch and gave me all the time I needed to try and provisionally OK it. There's on-site voicing with a low-level series organ? </P>

      They haven't sent a rep to show me the ropes -- I haven't felt the need till Wednesday when I referred to the manual for the first time. Yes, it's an authorized dealer, we have 10-year guarantee. We don't want any more repairs, we had little more than expensive frustration there with the 537. </P>

      I'm left wondering if Rodgers is an unstable business.You'd hardly know the 548's related to the 537. Rodgers has gone from one parent corp to another over the years while Allen's held the fort all alone, right? </P>

      I'm keen on knowing whether anybody has experience with the 537 or the 548. Maybe I'll start another thread on that. </P>

       </P>

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma



        Be not afraid! Go to Johannus.com and check out their limited time 50% off. I have just bought a Sweelinck 37 for under 20,000 dollars. Read all of their literature on the net. This is a top notch company. Finacially solid. The time is limited. Submit your request and they will find a dealer in your area to help you. Good luck.</P>


        John Remmel</P>


        Michigan City, IN</P>

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma



          Victor,</p>

          In the past on this forum, I have mentioned the older Insignia models such as the 520/530, and the 525/535 models. I have serviced the odd one and have come across some more. I always found them sub par organs, instrument that sounded poor and were rather poorly built. I think the 537 was another of the same. These were made in a Roland factory in Italy.</p>

          The 548, I believe is made in the US, The build quality is likely to be better, will fell like a better organ to play. I can't vouch for the sound, but my guess is that it is designed not sound as good as their Trillium organs.</p>

          I wouldn't say Rodgers is an unstable business. They have been owned by Roland for the past 20 years. Some of their marketing decisions have had me scratching my head though. For a while there they had Italian models and US built models that were essentially the same. Italian ones were cheaper, and also inferior build quality. They finally decided that this kind of marketing was just smoke and mirrors and didn't help their image. Now they only import a single model to the US from Italy, and it doesn't even have an AGO pedalboard.</p>

          AV
          </p>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma



            More great input -- and fast. Thanks, gang! I really didn't want to specify any brands because I basically believe in both companies, but obviously that was needed. </P>

            I guess I didn't say before that the 537 is musically one of the most incredibly nice 2-manual elecs I've played, esp. considering its beautiful MIDI sounds were automatically included. A store near my church happens to have one second hand but the mgr (a great guy) won't tell me why the previous owner got rid of it. He wants $9K, but it's not worth 10c to me if it's not going to do right. </P>

            Johannus is intriguing -- and wow, the Sweelinck deal is less than $18k at the moment!?! Anybody ever played that brand over time? Somehow I suspicion it's harder to get service for? Really, I can't bring myself to trust anything but Allen or Rodgers, but would love to be persuaded otherwise. </P>

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help! Urgent! My church's dilemma



              Here's what the website (http://jarvismusic.com/rodgers_insignia_series) tells us about the Insignia 548:
              </p>

              "Rodgers' Insignia Series organs are the product of a joint development
              effort by Rodgers Instruments, Roland Corporation and Roland-Europe.
              These value-priced, full-size classical organs are produced at the
              Roland-Europe manufacturing facility in Acuaviva Picena, Italy."</p>

              If you don't like the Insignia, ask the dealer how much it would cost to upgrade to a Trillium. They are great sounding organs and usually a dealer will be happy to upgrade for a few thousand dollars more!$[:P]$
              </p>

              Comment


              • #8
                It's been 4 years. Have you been able to resolve the problems with the Rodgers 548? Somewhere someone has posted this model was made in Oregon, and that few models are still being made in Italy. Not sure if this is true. I'm also wondering whether a less than talented service person could have been the problem. Many years ago our church had a strange problem with our Rodgers 110, vintage 1971, in that volume for the flute section would drop to practically nothing when the cold season came, then return to normal with the warmer weather. I'd adjust the master flute volume in the back as best I could. Mentioned this to the service person whenever he was out for other problems, but nothing ever changed so I assumed it was something I'd live with. Then after several years a new service tech came on board. First visit he corrected the reason for our service call then went all over the organ straightening out the sagging flute problem and everything else he could find including full tuning. He arrived at 3pm and left around 11pm charging only $300, which I considered a bargain to have the organ work as good as new even though more than 20 years old at that point.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by John E. Remmel View Post
                  Be not afraid! Go to Johannus.com and check out their limited time 50% off. I have just bought a Sweelinck 37 for under 20,000 dollars. Read all of their literature on the net. This is a top notch company. Finacially solid. The time is limited. Submit your request and they will find a dealer in your area to help you. Good luck.</P>


                  John Remmel</P>


                  Michigan City, IN</P>
                  Hi,

                  I live in The Netherlands, so I know a view things about Johannus Organs. Johannus financilly stable? I don't think so!!
                  A view months back Johannus Organs let go at least 15 employees, I heard rumors speaking about Johannus let go 25 employees.... The factory who made the consoles is bankrupt!

                  The churches who owns an Johannus organ are in general dissatisfied about their installation. The organ sound does not support the congragation singing, and the sound fits not the buildings. It is a real problem. Last year we (Allen Organs Benelux) replaced a 9 years old Johannus Monarke by an Allen Q 285. There were all the time troubles with the Monarke, and Johannus were not able to fix these problems, and said to this church: Well the best thing to do is buy a new Monarke...
                  This church decided then to install an Allen Q285, after the listen and play several Allen installations in Holland.

                  Gerrit de Vries

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have to confess that I've fallen in love with this crazy i548 machine over time. Yes, it has its kooky flaws and things that refuse to work right, but I've had to admit it is a truly amazing package.

                    How so? I've found there's very little it can't do in the repertoire – often quite beautifully. To take it point by point:

                    The sounds are at least the quality level of your average later Austin or Moller, putting aside for the moment the MIDI candy box. Their variety beats that of every pipe organ of a similar stoplist and a vast number of others as well – tons of American organs of any size more than 60 years old for instance. Taking into account the lamentable placement of thousands and thousands of pipe organs, our sounds as deployed through a Sony floor stereo directly into the sanctuary are often glorious. The obvious question is what it would sound like with the builder's best speakers – perhaps the sky's the limit.

                    The stop rail includes singing principals (including two manual mixtures), buzzy or otherwise colorful reeds, fun mutations and a lovely Swell celeste. But the VoicePalette department is awesome. In toto we have four different celeste pairs to choose from and IIRC they're full-length. Factor in the other flues you combine with them and it's dreamy. The Palette includes a nice 4' Schalmei-like stop in the pedal; a duly angular krummhorn in the swell; an alternate cornet in the great; two oboe choices off the swell Trompette and more.

                    Full-length celestes are a luxury I would never care to be without. Langlais' La Nativité is just one case where you really feel their lack with a tenor C rank – I've found scads more in exploring standard repertoire.

                    The plucked and struck MIDI sounds are way beyond what I'd thought for the first year or two – because I hadn't heard them from the business side of the speakers. Once I did, I realize they were amazingly realistic – and we're talking piano, touch-sensitive harpsichord, harp and nylon-string guitar! It's a joy to use these freely, weaving them in and out of the organ sounds as taste and imagination demand, and congregations love them.

                    The console is a work of brilliance carried out unevenly. (Indeed, our 548 is comparable to a painting by a masterly but failing artist -- a condition not limited to electronic makes, of course!) The keyboards love to played. They're beautiful, quite symmetrical, and do NOT, thank God, have “imitation tracker touch”. Buttons and dials are just right and work reliably so far. Tacky as lighted buttons and stop controls always looked, let me tell you it's a gas to have them and makes a console all the more fun besides telling you which piston(s) you've pushed last.

                    Drawknobs are really cool and I've loved having them in previous assignments, but I'm now totally sold on a row or two of lighted tilting tabs above the top manual for your stops as well as couplers – at least on a smaller organ. (Stepped stopknobs are snazzy too, the only problem being that only your page turners can read what's on them.) On the 548 everything's directly in front of you; stop action is totally silent. It feels pleasantly as opposed to soullessly modern.

                    The MIDI connections (T-O-I) have been my doorway to high adventure in repertoire using the Cakewalk Sonar digital sequencing program – but that's an article presently in progress. They are a gas, though, and since this organ was made organs have gone to only in and out connections and then to straight USB.

                    When the dealer finally replaced the very defective (but also very engaging) Rodgers 537 we started with, I was in too foul a mood to consider the scope of the new machine. She would try to get me trying the extra sounds but I just growled “just get us an organ that works, please!” True to form, the new organ had lots of problems too, a critical mass of which have been fixed. Thinking at the time of only the wonderfully reliable Allens I'd played on for years I was thoroughly disgusted with the hassles. But things sprang into perspective just recently when a major pipe builder refurbished one of its organs for a new church where a former student of mine is incumbent: problems problems problems, and I'm told this is far from unique in the pipe world today. The local firm the builder worked with to trouble-shoot it told me the electronics were decades behind the time -- he and his partner were there for days or a week straightening the console's innards.

                    The 548's stops are still in crazy regulation. The sustain hangnail on the swell pedal, which would add more magic to the classical guitar option, is defunct – the only solution offered is replacing the organ's motherboard, a step I'm reluctant to take. The range of the bass-on-great feature and its opposite number still can't be set. But the regulation can be fixed (been meaning to review the process) and all told even the polyphony issue doesn't bother me any more. The only question hanging in in midair is how long this organ's going to last. Time will tell, but things are now remarkable stable.

                    I was unaware of the new meaning of polyphony (limits on the quantity of notes/stops that can be actuated at a time) and for whatever reason the dealer didn't explain it to me -- just kept saying "it's too bad you weren't here for the model selection."

                    Having an organ that's always in tune is every bit as major a factor in sound impact than tone color. If, as I suspect, these organs can still serve stably for thirty years, I seriously doubt I'd ever prioritize pipes or encourage a church to do so again – and my long-term Diogenes search for the right home instrument isn't all Allen MDS anymore.

                    A local AGO official subbed for me and left a note saying she loved the organ -- which has incidentally had the benefit of my piston-setting genius :-)

                    As always, your comments and input are zealously sought. Shoot down any of this meditation you like – let's have some perspective on my new perspective. There are many complaints against Rodgers organs these days, but I can't recall offhand hearing that lifespan is one of them.
                    Last edited by Victor Jules; 04-05-2017, 01:47 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, the best part is that you're so happy with it :) If the congregation agrees then all is good, no?

                      To offer a perspective on your new perspective, I might disagree about not recommending a pipe organ, at least in cases where a church has the budget and space for one. My church was fortunate to be able to get a Walker digital organ last year, voiced by Bob Walker (with additional touch up voicings). It'd be rather difficult to beat the sound quality. However, when I recently visited a smallish 1929 Skinner pipe organ it was more lovely, more 'there'. Hard to describe. If I had to choose between the two I'd probably choose the Skinner even though it has less than half the stops. I can't say that about all pipe organs I've heard, but if you can get a good one which is installed well it'd be hard to beat with a digital. Solely in terms of sound, I mean.
                      Viscount C400 3-manual
                      8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                      Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That's why a Skinner is top rated

                        Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                        Well, the best part is that you're so happy with it :) If the congregation agrees then all is good, no?To offer a perspective on your new perspective, I might disagree about not recommending a pipe organ, at least in cases where a church has the budget and space for one. My church was fortunate to be able to get a Walker digital organ last year, voiced by Bob Walker (with additional touch up voicings). It'd be rather difficult to beat the sound quality. However, when I recently visited a smallish 1929 Skinner pipe organ it was more lovely, more 'there'. Hard to describe. If I had to choose between the two I'd probably choose the Skinner even though it has less than half the stops. I can't say that about all pipe organs I've heard, but if you can get a good one which is installed well it'd be hard to beat with a digital. Solely in terms of sound, I mean.
                        Skinner earned the reputation because their sound quality is top notch. Always take fewer really great sounding stops vs. more mediocre ones.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for this input. I've mostly played in smaller churches (though I've amply practiced and concertized on huge ones) that had good organs but no mixtures and maybe one reed. To have an assortment of these in a small situation is like driving a Cadillac after years of Nissan.

                          I know I'm a heretic and more than 99% of organists would disagree with me on the pipe issue, but placement is a key issue sometimes overlooked. I've heard great pipe organs that sounded exactly like dull electronics because of this factor, including one of the great remaining theater organs.

                          Many, many chancels were built to swallow music and do it with great aplomb for generations. Electronicity improves directionality, at least.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd not call you a heretic :)

                            Voicing and design of a pipe organ is obviously going to be the main factor as to whether it sounds good or not in the space it is in. I recently visited a Schlicker (I'll be posting details soon) which was a very nice organ. Nice personality to the sound and an excellent feeling console. However, overall the sound was too bright. The Swell mixture, Scherp IV, was nearly unusable with the shades open (the long time organist there, who was responsible for convincing the church to get the organ, rarely used that stop!).

                            But that same principle applies to electronic organs too. Perhaps it's easier to address sound deficiencies, whether it be through speaker placement, EQ, etc., but if it's not suitable for the space then it'll not sound very good.
                            Viscount C400 3-manual
                            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't know where the rest of my #10 (above) went. Continuing: the variety of sounds on the 548 is just incredible. I was so wroth at the dealer and Rodgers because of the extremely faulty 535 they initially sold us (and the numerous problems they initially had to fix on this 548 that they replaced it with!) that I blew off any discussion of the ‘extra' sounds inside - "Just give us an organ on which the basics all work PLEASE!"

                              The 548's supplemental organ sounds (reached by holding the set button and tilting a stop tab) are incredibly good. Have been roundly exploiting the 548's resources for 13 years and still have barely touched goodies like the Swell krummhorn and clarinet and Pedal 'MIDI' things (will deal with the ‘MIDI' dept below). I have 3 lovely celeste choices on the Swell and one on the Great, a beautiful cornet on both and so forth.

                              I was till recently blest with a church member who was always up near the organ at postlude time -- his job was changing the hymn number cards. This fellow, though mostly a rock and roll bassist and professional DJ who barely reads a note, has an innately musical intellect and soul. (Once when I used Langlais' Epithalamium which, to me, describes nature slowly waking up in the spring, he reported the exact same impression after church!?!?!)

                              Every week he would make some extremely insightful, good-natured comment about the postlude or how great the organ sounded and so forth. I so enjoyed demonstrating to him what was going on on the instrument. Another luxury is that our minister is an organist himself.

                              I've created over 2,000 Cakewalk Sonar MIDI tracks of repertoire on the 548 and ‘performed' them on both the 548 each Sunday on MIDI instruments elsewhere. The tracks cover a huge variety of classical genres e.g. Bach suites for unaccompanied violin - I've even used a short instrumental from a James Taylor album.

                              Considering the instrument, its ‘MIDI' sounds are simply astonishing. The good ones, that is -- piano, harpsichord, harp, classical guitar, choirs, chimes, violin, choirs and so forth. I didn't even realize this till I had a student playing the piano patch and then started listening to them (via tracks) much more from out in the nave.

                              I'm a very tough customer when it comes to these sounds on any instrument - have made a detailed study of them in a long-term search for a home ‘keyboard.' It's certainly inconceivable that there's (for instance) a harp on any of those comparable to ours - most are laughable above G4 or thereabouts. (Of course Youtube demonstrators spend 99% of the time on piano sounds.) If there are realistic ‘nylon guitar' etc. like ours on another classical organ model I'm keenly interested in knowing about it.

                              My general piston #5 (of 8) is harpsichord and voix celeste on Swell (harpsi plus strings, in effect) and piano on great. #6 is unchangingly set for harpsi, plenum and celeste - comes off as harpsi, organ and strings. I use both constantly for orchestral as well as keyboard music - the allegros of the well-known Marcello Concerto in D minor were killers on #6 in recent weeks. Since the harpsichord sound is nice and big I'll sometimes adjust its ‘velocity' (volume) in Sonar.

                              When Rodgers isn't being great in the ‘MIDI' department it's a little bit kooky. (I put ‘MIDI' in quotes for such use as those patches are not to my knowledge intrinsically MIDI-bound in any way, though that's their common designation.) The 535 had a vibraphones patch - gorgeous but on a church organ? Our ‘MIDI' flute and oboe are percussive. I guess that's the word - each note decays quickly - though they're fine for fast music and you can use the swell pedal to fake a normally held note at the end.

                              I'm not claiming, for instance, that our violin sound (which very handily runs the entire compass of the Swell manual!) would hold up against a Stradivarius and so forth. Vibrato and serious sustain will have to be added for the guitar by some external device at some point - the sustain hangnail on the swell pedal has never worked. I'm basically talking about a congregational level of discernment, but this trained organist with two degrees and almost 50 years on the bench just loves the 548's sound too - I'd be extremely loth to give it up for most fine all-pipe organs, partly because all of our stop controls are totally silent and (except the pistons etc.) in an incredibly convenient single rail of tilting tabs.

                              So we're having some great times with this thing. Yes it was hell getting to the point I'm describing, as I've chronicled elsewhere here. On the other hand a major pipe organ builder over a century old did an installation in my city (a rebuild of one of their own) and it was almost as much trouble technically as we'd had! I was called in to assess the problems and work with the authorized local fixers. I won't repeat what they said about the console electronics etc., but this situation really helped get mine into perspective.

                              I suspect that Allen installations are quite reliable, maybe those of some much smaller builders. If I were in a church looking to order a new organ I'd definitely try Allen - but would be ready for anything as long as this economy continues and established companies are teetering on the brink.

                              Meanwhile I'm having a blast. The 548 may go totally bust tomorrow, but it certainly seems ready to serve another half-century.

                              Everybody get Cakewalk, now - it turns you into two people and has recently been made freeware.

                              Oh -- THANK YOU ORGANFORUM for keeping this thread active. Wish they all were! :)

                              Comment


                              • myorgan
                                myorgan commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Oh -- THANK YOU ORGANFORUM for keeping this thread active. Wish they all were!
                                If you need a thread re-opened to append useful new information, let a Moderator know, and we can re-open the thread.

                                Michael
                            Working...
                            X