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Wersi Helios, Galaxis et al

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    Wersi Helios, Galaxis et al

    Just trying to catch up with and understand the history of electronic music and in particular organs: what was the big deal with Wersis in the 70s and 80s apart from, it seems, being expensive gear.

    It seems to me, even as a kit they were not really that affordable, were they?

    I read a complete Helios kit would have set you back roughly £4000? In the 80s.

    I do like the various recordings and how they sound, but Eminent sounds similar to me. Not sure how much more affordable they were.

    Yes, Wersi organs (and Dr. Boehm organs) were rather expensive - even as a kit. Other manufacturers like Eminent, Solina, Farfisa, Hohner, Yamaha, Technics, Viscount, GEM and so an were much cheaper in Europe (Lowrey, Hammond and other US brands were very expensive here, too). But you should consider that they hardly could offer anything that could match a Helios concerning the specs. And maybe only a few like Yamaha or Lowrey could offer something that would match Galaxis - but also at extraordinary costs.

    So I think in the top range there was not a lot of alternative choices that were really cheaper. I mean: 3 keyboards with 5 octaves with a full set of drawbars and even a „programmable“ preset memory ... not many organs could offer that in the 1970th.
    Owned Philips Philicorda, Viscount Fair Lady and Cabaret de Luxe, Hohner Virtuos, Yamaha electone c-605. Now playing Hammond Aurora Classic, Technics GA3 and Roland G-800.


      So, they were highly advanced in comparison. Hence, the price tag.


        Having recently completed an analysis of the four principle 'W' series variants, the Galaxis did not move the post much further forward than the Helios' capability. In terms of voicing, there were only a few more voices, enough to count on one hand, an extra Wersivoice effects unit, an extended pedalboard and dual top octave synthesisers for note generation.

        The capability of the top range of the Galaxis only marginally extended into producing higher frequencies just above the range of the Hammond B3 but well below the X66 and H100.

        A significant difference is the control the Galaxis had over functionality of the H100 and X66 in that the Hammonds had 2 combined drawbars and the Galaxis 4 drawbars where the four highest harmonics are controlled individually. (see chart enclosed).

        I could only afford a standalone Wersivoice when I was in my teens (£250), the whole package for the Galaxy (UK) was in the region of £12,000 at the time, almost three or four times my whole take home pay for the year.

        Click image for larger version

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        Neil Jenson 'Connoisseur' 3/35 VTPO. Gulbransen Rialto II.
        Building a full set of WERSI W3 voice filters and designing new Hammond X-66 voice filters for a new MIDI controlled organ.
        Various Leslie speaker projects including 'Rotosonic' L102, L103, L212S and building a new L122 cabinet.