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  • Schober organs



    We've mentioned these a few times. I came across this site:</P>


    http://www.users.cloud9.net/~pastark/schober.html</P>


    Andy</P>
    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

  • #2
    Re: Schober organs



    There is also a fairly active Yahoo! Group for these: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SchoberOrphans/</P>


    I am a member and participate in both venues. (My home organ is a Schober Recital Model, unfortunately not operational at the moment due to procrastination in a modification effort.)</P>


    David</P>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Schober organs



      Andy, and DavidC,
      </P>


      Thanks for the info. I do remember having literature about all of these organs by Schober. At one time I had a record of them being demonstrated, and I will say it for what it is worth, they sounded very much if not the same as a Baldwin. I also read where Baldwin gave them rights to some of their patents, etc. Also, I noticed some of the stop names are very much like the numerous Baldwin organs I used to see and play on at the dealers store.</P>


      James</P>
      Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
      Baldwin Spinet 58R
      Lowrey Spinet SCL
      Wurlitzer 4100A
      Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


      Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

      Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
      Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
      Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Schober organs



        The Schober organs were voiced by using what the inventor, Richard Dorf, called the "Formant" method. Early instruments had 12 separate tone generators, one for each key name, and used octave dividers to produce the 85 pitches (for the Recital and Theater Models); these waveforms as generated were square waves, but the tone generators also had active integrator circuitry that produced sawtooth waveforms for distribution to the keyboards. The latest models had a single-board tone generator that used a 2 MHz oscillator and a Top Octave Synthesizer IC to produce the 12 highest pitches, followed by octave dividers to generate the 85 pitches required. The single board generator did not have integrators but instead used a network of resistors to add together the octave-related pitches to produce a stairstep waveform that approximated a sawtooth.</P>


        In either system, the sawtooth pitches were connected to the various keyboards (2 manuals and pedals) and their switching mechanisms connected key-selected pitches to register busses for 16', 8', 4', 2 2/3', and 2'. These, in turn, were passed to Registration Circuits that included the stop switches and stop filters to modify the register bus waveforms to the desired forms. An ingenious circuit was incorporated to subtract the register signal of the next higher octave at half amplitudefrom the principal register and this regenerated the square waveform for use in stopped flue and certain reed voices. This technique was able to function because the 2 octaves received signals from the same keyswitches and the wave cancellation always worked.</P>


        The Formant method involves essentially overtone subtraction from basic waveforms that contain an ordered sequence of octavely-related pitches. Flute filters were basically low-pass filters that removed most of the higher harmonics; strings were high-pass filters that emphasized the higher harmonics, and reeds had resonant circuits to emphasize certain ranges of pitches. Diapasons used flute filter designs but were also fed thenext octave higher registerin reduced value to strengthen the second harmonic.</P>


        My understanding is that the Baldwin organs used very similar circuitry (perhaps not the ingenious woodwind circuits) and exactly the same concept of filtering the complex waveforms controlled by the keyswitches into modified forms imitative of the desired stops. This is why the Schober and Baldwin instruments of that era pretty much sounded very alike.</P>


        The Schober Recital Model used stop filters built on identical pluggable circuit boards that connected into the Registration Circuits via 10-pin connectors--this was called the Library of Stops (R) feature, and it allowed the organist to build and install any 32 stops that could be built within the available pitch registers, just by creating a filter card with the right input(s) and components to shape the waveform. Whatever stop tablet controlled the filter board was the one currently assigned to that stop name, and replacement custom-engraved tablets were also available.</P>


        For its day (1960s and 70s) this system produced surprisingly good sound (to my ear, at least) and building the kits yourself cut the cost about in half. The Schober sound is very much outdated now, but one has to consider what its competitors were like.</P>


        David</P>

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Schober organs



          David,</P>


          Richard H. Dorf was very ingenious, and his books regarding the electronic organs of days past are very good. However, as mentioned in my post the record I had of the Schober Organs did sound like a Baldwin to me. I have mentioned several times here on the forum that Baldwin are not one of my favorites. However, a tech swears that the Baldwin transistor 48C that I have is nothing but a Thomas under the hood. Well, they used the square wave generator which produces very similar tones. It is more tolerable that than older ones sound wise for my ears.</P>


          I still say the old line Wurlitzer ES organs did a nice job of being an excellent church organ where a pipe organ could not be had for numerous reasons, and a Conn church model would be a good second. I have played numerous Baldwins which I don't care for that much, but will admit the church model I have is a step up from the older ones.</P>


          Baldwin hasthat brassy sound, and the strings are so buzzy. I have heard people refer to them as the old brassy Baldwin, and one church organist said he hated to play the Baldwin at church. You have a great knowledge of how these work, and you are to be commended for sharing with us here on the forum.</P>


          So, we all have our opinions. Back in the days when organs were so popular competition was fierce, but Hammond seemed to be the going thing as for the most part the sound was pleasant if played right. However, I have heard them make some of the most terrible sounds this side of the moon. I look back now, and realize how I have changed regarding my choice in sound. All of that heavy vibrato with those drawbars not set correctly, that sound creates a nervous twitter plated sound my ears just can not tolerate. It is not for serious music at all, and I had to play one in a churchwhere actually Hammond was way out of place. The whole thingis a machine, and of coarse mechanical therefore nothing more can be expected.</P>


          Back to the saying, "it's just a matter of opinion when the monkey ate the soap."</P>
          <P mce_keep="true"></P>


          James</P>
          Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
          Baldwin Spinet 58R
          Lowrey Spinet SCL
          Wurlitzer 4100A
          Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


          Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

          Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
          Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
          Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Schober organs



            James, I cannot refute what you have said and opinions do vary. The Schober Recital Model was an instrument I felt I could afford and offered a reasonably good imitation of pipe organ sound for the money. As to sounding like a Baldwin, I'm sure that there were similarities because the same general concept was used for the voicing. The beauty of the Recital Model (as opposed to the other Schober models) was its use of the Library of Stops (R) kit that enabled the organist to create or modify the stop filters to produce tones that were more desirable. (If the organist wanted to, it would have been possible to build an instrument with 32 stops of all 16' voices or some other strange voicing. I don't know that anyone would do that, but one could.) I don't know when the recording you heard was made, but Schober did change the standard voicing for the Recital Model back in the 1970s--there was a somewhat different stop list and some of the stops that were retained had been revoiced. I never built the newer stop versions so I cannot say whether they were an improvement or not. They also produced a list of Theater voicing stop filter specifications for organists who wanted to play theater-style music; a percussion group was also available. I didn't take advantage (?) of either of those possibilities.</P>


            David</P>

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Schober organs



              David,</P>


              Thanks for sharing this great info. I did not know about their improvements at all especially as you have described above in detail. I am sure that is great sounding organ. I was shocked when I heard the Schober on the record and it sounded just like an old Baldwin. I just hate them, but could tolerate them for church especially the large models with 32 pedals. I still preferred others many times over, but Baldwin is just one I could never tolerate or really care for at all.</P>
              <P mce_keep="true"></P>


              Yes, I have two, the spinet is to thump around on for fun, and see what it will do. When it goes more down, it will go to the landfill or be advertised for parts via Craiglist. I might have saved it from going to the landill or city dump already by taking it for a few dollarsfrom the tech I used to work with some.</P>
              <P mce_keep="true"></P>


              The church model I have was a result of an outright trade with another techfor a big old Conn 650 which I did not like either. This Baldwin 48C is a step up from the older models of the Baldwin. It is a nice church organ for a modest church or a practice instrument when playing serious music.</P>
              <P mce_keep="true"></P>


              James</P>
              Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
              Baldwin Spinet 58R
              Lowrey Spinet SCL
              Wurlitzer 4100A
              Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


              Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

              Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
              Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
              Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Schober organs



                Back in the 70's my neighbor had a Schober Recital organ. After trying all the store models, I found that the Schober came closest to pipe sound of any organ except Rogers (way too expensive). My wife and I built a Schober Theatre organ and we took lessons for a couple of years using the Schober for practice. The addition of a tape reverb system greatly enhanced the sound. The random, slight speed variation gives life to the sound. I noticed that new Allen Quantum organs use a similar wholly electronic pitch and volume slight variation to take the too perfect curse off of the digital sound.
                </p>

                The only disadvantage to the frequency divider design is that when stops are combined, phase cancellation occurs and a true ensemble build up does not occur. A similar effect occurred with the Allen, but not as pronounced.. Many separate speaker channels helps the digital organ. Possibly the Schober would have been better if multiple sound channels were used, mixing the sound acoustically. Generally, the Schober was very good for it's time.</p>

                However, the church where I was taking lessons obtained a new pipe organ. The Schober did not quite come up to the pipe organ sound. An ad appeared in "Theatre Organ" magazine for a Wurlitzer Style D theatre organ (6 ranks, two 16'). I went nuts (according to my wife) and purchased it sight unseen. A friend told me that a small pipe organ could fit into a large closet so I was not concerned about size. Wrong!!! Even a small organ takes quite a bit of space. The sound of the pipe organ has spoiled my ears for the electronic sound. The ensemble build up effect can not be matched.</p>

                At this this time I wish that I had kept the Schober, it would be fun to play occasionally. I have been lucky with the Wurlitzer, it was in a church for 30 years and well cared for. It is still playing on much of the original leather. Playing at least a few times a week keeps it working, letting it sit for months leads to problems.
                </p>

                Comment

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