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What's involved in MIDI for Allen ADC 2010-T

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  • What's involved in MIDI for Allen ADC 2010-T

    So, I've looked and read around a bit about this but am still confused. Allen ADC organs are digital so if I understand correctly they could be retrofitted with a MIDI controller (and then potentially use that to connect to something like Hauptwerk, etc.), right? I know Hauptwerk needs a computer but what about just getting the organ "midi-fied" (if that's a word!), let's say, with Allen's MIDI box? Are there additional boards that would need to be purchased, or is it like some of the projects I've read about where every key needs to be soldered to new wires that go to the MIDI system? Can the current organ stops continue to be used and the MIDI system just added as an additional stop or something like that? Hope my questions make sense...trying to explore this world in a bit more detail having recently acquired this one and thinking about potential future projects. What's the value in adding Allen's MIDI box - are there that many more registration options than what the ADC 2010-T already has (alongside the card reader and cards that it has)? Any guidance or pointing me to resources is very much appreciated!
    Inspired by greatness in others to aspire to play better myself
    -------
    Allen ADC-2010 (Digital, 1983)
    Allen 416-TH (Theater, 1975) - broken

  • #2
    I'm looking into a similar situation at the moment, looking at converting a late 80s ADC instrument, and the short answer is that it's not so easy. Allen's MIDI protocol for these early models, when present, was not a full implementation. MIDI was note on/off only, with no stop or piston data received or transmitted. And since the capture system was also proprietary, there are few if any few if any easy "plug and play" solutions. A small company named Zuma briefly manufactured a board that would interface with the Allen capture system, but that is no longer available. So, at this point, most of the guidance I'm getting is that with ADC models, you're actually better off ripping out most of the Allen electronics and starting from scratch.

    A few years in technological advancement makes a big difference. I have a Hauptwerk system set up with an Ahlborn organ made a few years later than the Allen model we're discussing, and it has full MIDI implementation that made everything pretty easy--although I can't use the Ahlborn's pistons with HW.

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    • #3
      Ah, interesting. And I take it the Zuma solution is not easily found, used, online? I'm definitely not looking at ripping out the Allen interior - I enjoy the stop sounds of this organ and am really just exploring future expansion options. Allen's MIDI box seems like it could be an option. I do find the Hauptwerk videos I've watched pretty convincing, however - love the concept of having the registrations and acoustics of the world's great cathedrals at my fingertips in my own home to pair the appropriate styles and eras with the appropriate period organs, etc! Would love to find a way to eventually add that on without dismantling the current functionality of the organ.
      Inspired by greatness in others to aspire to play better myself
      -------
      Allen ADC-2010 (Digital, 1983)
      Allen 416-TH (Theater, 1975) - broken

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      • #4
        Less than 15 Zuma Stop Controller Boards were sold between their introduction in 2013 and last manufacture in 2019, an average of two a year. Along with a doubling of the manufacturing cost since 2013, that's another reason they're no longer being manufactured. You're not likely to find them on the Internet or elsewhere outside of an organ console.
        -Admin

        Allen 965
        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
        Hauptwerk 4.2

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        • #5
          You can't have your cake and eat it too.

          Either stick with the original Allen ADC system (while it still works and remains economically repairable) or break out the wire cutters and soldering iron
          My MIDI controlled, module and software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post427320

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          • #6
            Momboc may have said it right...

            Options are (1) the Allen ADC MIDI translator board, which will probably cost you over $1000 if purchased new -- it is easy to install, plug and play, gives you note-on/note-off MIDI data for all manuals and pedals on a single MIDI output jack. Does no damage to the existing Allen system, the Allen voices remain, all console functions are unaffected. But there is no transmission of stop, expression, or piston data, so you're on your own getting that MIDI data picked up and transmitted to Hauptwerk or other VPO software. It can be done, but I don't know of a plug and play commercial product that is dedicated to that purpose.

            Or (2) remove the Allen hardware entirely and use the extremely fine key contacts and reed switch pedal contacts to connect to a good MIDI encoder system, which will cost a lot less money than the Allen translator board. Downside is that you will lose the Allen voices and you'll be in for a pretty good bit of work, wiring all the switches to your encoder.

            Since your 2110 has the excellent DM-3 capture action with moving tabs, you can probably leave that system in place, letting the capture action continue to function with the pistons. It is a totally separate system, unrelated to the Allen tone generator system, so it will continue to function normally it you don't cut any of its wires. You can then use the existing reed switches that are now switching the Allen stops to switch the signals to your MIDI encoder, thus giving you full integration of pistons and stops with the VPO. The expression pedals on the Allen use LDR cells, but it is possible that the MIDI encoder you purchase will connect directly to these cells, as they are just "potentiometers" but operate on a different principle than rotary pots.

            So, yes, you CAN convert the console to MIDI for a VPO with pretty good results, but it's not nearly as easy as it would be with a newer Allen organ or with one of several other brands from the same era. Rodgers, for example, had pretty much full MIDI implementation in the late 80's in the final run of analog organs, and other companies such as Viscount were also a little bit ahead of Allen in getting MIDI to market.

            Best course of action would be to purchase a newer Allen, from the MDS or Renaissance era. These models have full MIDI implementation. You get a MIDI output that functions independently of the Allen tone generator, so you can keep the Allen stops and add on VPO stops at will. It's especially easy if you find an MDS Allen from about 1995 or later, as they have dual MIDI outputs, one of them "switched" for use with the expander module, and the other one "unswitched" -- on all the time, perfect for use with a sequencer or with Hauptwerk.
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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