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Sequencers revisited

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    Ok ... I am convinced enough ... desperate enough ... to want to give this thing a try. I simply can't get my choir to sing to organ accompaniment. Mainly because it is physically behind them but also because I don't conduct much when I accompany. The final cut-off is about it. This works with piano for some odd reason but organ and they just fall to peices. The Anthem I want to do for Easter will have more moving parts: brass, handbells ... I see a train wreck looming, unless I can also get an organist, which maybe I could have, if I made the arrangements last year. Besides, there are several other anthems with delicious organ accompaniments I would like to try, and I would quickly exhaust our music budget if I was constantly bringing in guest organists. Not that I know any.

    So that out of the way, and I know you good gentlemen and ladies will politely gloss over my earlier holier than thou attitude towards sequenced organ accompaniment and help me put a working system together by Easter Sunday. Preferably Palm Sunday so I can work out kinks. I had linked an MR-200 Sequencer proprietary to Rodgers Instruments. I like that I wouldn't have much trouble describing it to the Trustees who would have to approve the purchase. Currently unknown is how the organ recognizes the sequencer. How and where they need to be in proximity to each other. John mentions using his to start the Processional. Is the sequencer where he can physically control it or must he rely on someone else? Are there 'remotes'? My organ does not have MIDI tabs. Each division has two MIDI pistons and it is my impression that they are input controls. There is a set of the usual MIDI IN/OUT/THRU jacks under the keydesk, and it is my impression that they are active full time, not only when MIDI pistons are pressed on the console.

    As I understand it from this thread, the sequencer does not record stop changes but only piston changes? However it can make piston changes occur during playback? Would the dedicated sequencer made by Rodgers have better integration in this regard? Would I be able to record not just piston changes but stop changes as well? I really don' know anything about this aspect of digital organs because I haven't been that interested before. I can get up to speed fairly quickly if it is presented as if to someone mentally challenged. So, to summarize, I would like to know: what must the initial configuration of the organ be in order to be controlled by the sequencer? How quickly does the organ recognize the start of a sequence? Do you set the initial stops on a piston in the sequence? Must all stop changes be done with a piston? Thanks.


    • samibe
      samibe commented
      Editing a comment
      What is your organ? The extent of the MIDI implementation on the organ affects how the sequencer needs to be set up. It also depends on how complicated the organ accompaniment needs to be. A song with only one registration and swell/crescendo position will only require note on/off (to and from the organ) to produce the song. A song with several registrations with full expression will require note on/off, stop (or piston) controls, and expression control.
      John's sequencer is an Allen module with a remote, IIRC. Also, John's use of pistons is a way he used to get around the different stop lists between his organ at home and the organ at his church.
      Last edited by samibe; 01-28-2019, 11:48 AM.

    Thanks, the organ is a Rodgers Trillium Masterpiece 928. I suppose MIDI is fairly extensively implemented from the looks of things. When I asked about John's setup it was to learn exactly how the 'remote' is used. Rodgers has a sequencer branded as such that functions much like the Allen sequencer. The Rodgers sequencer would be an easy sell to the people pulling the purse strings. A used laptop less so. Most of my questions are procedural and operational in nature. It might seem simple to you to "use a VPO on a computer just for the midi sequencing abilities" but that is not simple to me. I suppose I will figure it out though.


    • samibe
      samibe commented
      Editing a comment
      Good point. That looks like an awesome organ to play and the MIDI implementation looks complete. You might have to change some of the settings for MIDI in the QuickMenu so that the organ will send and receive information for the notes, shoes, and stops. I don't think the MIDI pistons would do anything as far as a sequencer is concerned (they seem to control the additional voices in the build in MIDI box). I think a Rodgers sequencer would be nearly plug and play.
      Generally, the trickiest part of midi is making sure everything is communicating correctly both ways (i.e. making sure the sequencer is expecting the Gt notes, stops, and expression values to be on channel X, Y, and Z).
      I haven't used a Rodgers sequencer, so I don't know the actual procedures to run one or set one up.
      Last edited by samibe; 01-28-2019, 12:29 PM.

    My sequencer is one made by Allen just for Allen organs. It has an infrared remote control that I can use from the rear of the church to start the processional remotely. The sequencer itself sits on top of the console. Not sure Rodgers has anything just like this though.

    Any modern unit will record everything you do as you play, including notes, stops, pistons, and expression. I think the old PR300 that Rodgers sold for years does all that, but floppy disk storage may be a problem. And I don't know that it has a remote control. Someone might have to press the Play button for you.

    Roland's MR200 is more modern and might be a good choice. Should work perfectly with that organ.
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches


      As long as one has no keen prejudice against them, floppy disks work as well as they always have. As stated earlier, the MIDI files are extremely small enabling dozens to be stored on one 1.44 MB disk. Their reliability only becomes an issue when recorded disks sit around for a long time (many years). Anything recorded today will play for several years and can always be transferred to a hard drive via an inexpensive USB floppy drive.

      While they may not be readily available for new purchase, I would venture to say that within your church there are simply dozens, if not hundreds, moldering away in various drawers of various parishioners. And you only need about three. And a machine that uses floppies should be very "attractively priced". Both Yamaha and Roland made such machines in the late 80's to early 90's. USB is what ultimately supplanted floppies and the Roland Atelier line didn't make the jump until 2007, incredibly. So it isn't THAT far back in many cases.
      Roland Atelier AT-90s, AT-80s, AT-70, 30, and 15. Roland VR-760 combo
      Yamaha S-90, Kurzweil PC-3x, Casio Privia PX-330, Roland E-80, G-70, BK-5, Leslie 760, 820
      Moved on:
      Allen 3MT/Hauptwerk, Technics GA1, Yamaha HX1, AR80, numerous Hammonds, including 2 M's, an L, 2 A-100's, XP-2, XM-1/1c, & an XK-3. Roland Atelier AT-30, 60r, 80, & 20r(2 units), and a slew of Leslies (147, 142, 760, 900, 330).
      Korg Triton Le-61, Casio Privia PX-310 & 110, and Kurzweils: PC-2x, SP-88, Pro-III, K1000


        Actually the MR-200 also uses floppy disk storage despite being a much newer piece of equipment than the PR300. I haven't seen either one up close, but I've seen two MR-200 for sale online. I have sent the particulars to my Trustee Committee for consideration, but while looking for an MR-200 I came across a program called Organ Assist! I am very intrigued with this program. So much so that I contacted its author and got a very warm and informative email in response. It appears to need a good deal of setup in return for a drop dead easy record/play back routine once over the setup hump. And you are working with whatever laptop platform is comfortable to you. And its free ...
        Last edited by Leisesturm; 02-01-2019, 09:47 AM.


          Has anybody tried Aria Maestosa? Just did a little experimenting with it sitting at desk -- wrote a few notes but couldn't then figure out how to send the track back to the beginning or play it.