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  • 3-Manual Consoles of the 70s

    Greetings! :-)

    In my search for a 3-manual home theater organ, I found surprisingly few. I was looking for an organ based on transistor technology, but before the advent of proprietary circuit board, generally leaving the time frame in the 70s. This led me to the Conn 651, which I have recently acquired. I know there must be other organs that fit this mold, but I have not found any. The vast majority of theater organs from this time period are only 2 manuals.

    This thread is meant to compile the home theater organs that fit this mold:
    • 3-manuals
    • transistor-based
    • Vastly generic electronic components

  • #2
    To be accurate, all circuit boards are pretty much proprietary. The only "generic" circuit boards are typically for prototyping. I suspect you mean, though, proprietary custom IC's or other proprietary custom circuit components.

    Rodgers built several models that fit the latter description: The Trio models 320, 321, and 322; 33E, 34E, 36E, 327 Marquee, 333 Olympic, 340 Century. The rhythm maker circuit did use a custom programmed logic array in the organs fitted with that (later Trios, 327,333, and, maybe, the 340). They also made some custom very large theatre organs.

    Thomas Organ built a few Palace models, 901, 903, 904, and 921 in the 1960s; these had three 61 note manuals and 32 note pedalboards, unlike the Trianon 606 which had 44-44-56 note manuals and 25-note spinet style pedals. No real proprietary IC's in these but they did use "couplates", a packaged ceramic substrate with resistors & capacitors in them. While you might not be able to replace these, there is nothing in the couplate that couldn't be reconstructed on a prototype board to give you the identical circuit.

    Allen made, perhaps on a custom basis, 3-manual oscillator theatre organs.

    Conn also had the 580 Theatrette Spinet.

    Wurlitzer 805 Centura (third manual was a synthesizer) & some others with a short 3rd manual.

    And Artisan offered kit organs including several 3-manual Theatre console models.

    The Conn and Rodgers models (especially the Trios) were probably the most popular of the 3 manual theatre organs with full keyboards and AGO or very-nearly AGO pedals.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think Toodles has covered them all apart from the Conn 650, the model before your 651.

      The Wurlitzer 805 and its predecessor the 4573 (same organ, different name!) aren't true theatre organs, that 'toy' third manual being a useful, if basic, monophonic synth.
      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by toodles View Post
        . . . Conn also had the 580 Theatrette Spinet.
        That one was a very good seller in the days that I worked the floor in a music store. Sold more 580's than its smaller two manual version.

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        • #5
          There is much to be said for the additional flexibility that the 3rd manual adds to a theatre organ, so it is not surprising that the Conn 580 was popular.

          Comment


          • #6
            And the 580's third deck was arguably more useful than those of the consoles, it certainly had more variety. It was one of my favourites to play back in the early 70s.
            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


            • #7
              I have gathered for my museum a dozen or so instruments, my favorite being the Conn 650. It was the 3-manual some have modified to become a MIDI instrument. I started but decided against that decision, to keep it as a pristine example of what was available in those days before I embraced the organ as a serious instrument.

              I began with a WurliTzer that had 2 regular keyboards with a sort-of mono synthesized mini-keyboard at the top. We have come a long way since those days, and it is exciting to become involved with today's technology.

              I have since acquired some broken Conn 650-ish consoles for their awesome carpentry design and gutted them, including a 2-manual promotional touring model of the last remaining 216 WurliTzer in its original location on Planet Earth in our local theatre where I began a restoration project. The MidiTzer 216 is based on this instrument, so it is a perfect virtual organ to play that software from MIDI keyboards set into this console desk.

              pk
              StentroVox.com

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