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  • Choices, choices

    Hi there

    Looking at getting an older, used spinet with upper/lower manual to pursue organ learning. I've used (and continue to use) a VST product with my CP5 to get organ sounds for some backing tracks for some amateur work I do, but thought why not simply start this route with a cheap spinet and at some point down the road upgrade the organ to something more permanent and usable even in a solo setting.

    Anyway, with an eye then to very inexpensive but nothing too cringe worthy in general organ sounds, I have two on my market of late for consideration: Conn Model 450 and Yamaha Electone HC-4W.

    Intend on heading into town to check these out, but can use any opinions in advance. On the surface, the realization that the HC-4W has actual MIDI IN/OUT is attractive on the surface.

    I've heard a few Electones in my time, from some classic E70 to very simplistic and not very good sounding home models. But that is about it as I've spend the decades with pianos more than anything else.

    So appreciation in advance for any/all.

    Beans57

  • #2
    What type of music do you want to play? That will have a big bearing, and do you need MIDI?

    According to the records, Conn never made a 450. The 4xx Caprice/Minuet series skipped that number and went from 440 to 460 (in different eras). They did make a 540 Minuet, but it's ancient - 1961/63 - so I'd scrub that one straight away, unless you want to restore an organ as well as play it.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
    Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

    Comment


    • #3
      Styles vary between modern/alt rock, blues, jazz - I bounce around with my piano and guitar in these styles, and of late I've been adding in some keyboard work to old time acoustic string music. The MIDI was something I didn't even consider when starting to look around, but that was an interesting touch if only for direct playing of notes vs the Yamaha CP5 that I've been using of late the isn't really cut out for anything approaching organ keyboard work.

      Going to check this out today or tomorrow. Fellow got back to me . . it is a Conn Model 430. As to rebuild, no . . . I'm looking for something that I could use now. And indeed, down the road (say 2 or 3 years) upgrade to something that could benefit myself and the music.

      Thanks for the response.

      Comment


      • #4
        And another response received this a.m. and I get a Conn Prelude Mode 314 tossed into this limited mix.

        Comment


        • #5
          And where are you and what's your budget?

          Comment


          • #6
            Up in central Alberta (Edmonton region). This round I wanted to stay inexpensive . . only to get moving in the direction and able to learn fundamentals and upgrade 2 - 3 years down the road. So for used I was looking at sub $500. But like other musical instruments I've taken up over the years, if not reasonable sounding would tend to lose interest rapidly and I don't want to get into that situation.

            The past couple days, so much more for consideration but one thing I've realized is that there 'are' (to me) some fairly nice units on the market in this area that seem to have positive comments from those in the know. But by and large these units are 'very' hefty in size/weight and for the moment I was hoping to have something more manageable as where this would go in my current place is a bit of a trip up/down/sideways and would be very difficult looking at some of the specs of the larger units. To give you an idea, I have brought in a 73 Rhodes suitcase fairly easily, Hohner ElectraPiano - which I'm restoring, easily, but had 'huge' problems with just a larger sized chest freezer in that I had to take out the top of some oak hand railing leading to the lower floor. Which . . considering that now, I was a fool to glue that back in place . . .

            That all said, in a year or so I'm selling this acreage and things will be rearranged in any newer place to have main floor for much of my music as much as possible. Next to impossible in my current place. Not something I thought of until just recently when I started to get a better idea of the size and heft of these larger and much more attractive units . . . attractive in spec and sound I should add.

            I am thinking at this point considerably more thought needed at my end. But nevertheless glad I found this forum.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ditch the Conns from your list. The 430 is almost 60 years old and the 3xx Preludes were always the poor relation in the Conn range, they just didn't have that rich sound. And you won't find a 'real' Conn later than 1981. After that, Kimball took over and lots of gimmicks tarted coming in and the quality went down, IMHO.

              From the type of music you like, you need something more up to date. If you want something that's light and not a huge piece of furniture, consider Yamaha's HC, HE, HS and MR series (and perhaps the smaller EL series models too), or the smaller models in the Roland line. Technics is another name to throw into the mix. All Japanese, and that means quality build and reliability. But as always with anything 15+ years old (and they all will be) you take a chance that spares might not be available if you need them. That issue means that prices are on the floor. Sub $500 should not be a problem, you should pick up some of the ones I've mentioned for less than that, or even snag one as a freebie.

              Only trouble is Canada tends to have higher prices than the USA and UK. But it's a buyer's market everywhere so you can haggle from a strong position.

              Tell us what you find and we'll tell it to you straight!
              It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

              New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

              Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
              Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
              Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
              Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the focus!

                You are right about Canadian pricing. Again and again I see units that I'm surprised what folks are offering 'or' what they end up selling for. 'Classic' and 'vintage' seem to be common catch phrases on these.

                The sounds I've been working with to date have been VST-based (Native Inst. B4 to be exact) and I don't sense anything coming close to that in my selections over the next few years, but perhaps something of a different sound by with reasonable quality to it. And something that could be 'played' in a more classic dual manual organ style rather than this fiddling with software through various means. That said, the MIDI OUT thing I never even considered for some of these units and perhaps that is a feature I'll pay secondary attention to as I continue here. And slow down my search to find something more to my use and liking.

                Thanks again. And yeah . . . if something comes up and questions or even if I go ahead and the same, I'll be back in touch.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've driven B-4 and VB3 (watch out for the superb new version of that one - only about ten years late, but looks like it's worth it) from a little Yamaha HE4, a Kawai SR6 and now my Roland AT900P. The only thing to watch is latency, and if your computer's audio system can get that down to playable amounts - less than 20ms, preferably less than 10 - then it's a very good way to get Hammond sounds on a budget!
                  It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                  New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                  Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                  Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                  Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                  Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                  Comment

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