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Allen MDS-312 vs MDS Theater III

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  • Allen MDS-312 vs MDS Theater III

    Looking at a couple of options for pre-owned organs: An Allen MDS-312 (with external speakers) at $7000 vs. an MDS Theater III (the self-contained model but with externals) at roughly the same price. Both in great shape. Any thoughts on which is the better instrument? The 312 doesn't have tuned percussions in the stoplist but it does contain the midi expander, otherwise very similar specifications.

  • #2
    At one time I owned an MDS Theatre III and it is a fine instrument. I've not played an MDS 312. I wouldn't consider a theatre organ unless it had percussions in the stoplist, at least the basic ones of Chimes, Chrysoglott, and Glockenspiel, and maybe Xylophone. Remember that with the MIDI Expanders you can't use more than one Expander voice on any division at a time (without going through some shenanigans to trick the expander) so you can't do Chrysoglott and Glockenspiel, or Glockenspiel and Chimes via the expander.

    The limitations of the Theatre III were;

    1) the lack of a 4 ft flute on the Accomp--though it does have a Tibia there, it is naturally voiced a little too strongly for Accomp purposes. You could voice all the Accomp tibias (and Vox, as it is in the same channel) down to get a better accompanimental blend, but that would make the Vox pretty weak there.

    2) I also did not like having no 16 ft Clarinet and Oboe, which would have been quite useful. Other than that, the Theatre III was an excellent instrument.

    I've seen MDS Theatre III's for about $5,000, and if you can find a Deluxe version, I'd go for that. The addition of the toe studs is very useful.