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  • #16
    Here is a Rodgers Trio in Louisville KY--might be worth a day trip to go check it out: https://louisville.craigslist.org/ms...5320.html--the one is an early model from the 1960's.

    And here is one of Conn's 3-manual Theatre organs, again in Louisville: https://louisville.craigslist.org/ms...737021828.html

    And a Conn in Robinson, Indiana--a bit more of a drive: https://terrehaute.craigslist.org/ms...768257151.html

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    • #17
      Wow, thanks for the links! I'm curious, which would you go with, the Rodgers or the Conn? Thanks again!
      sigpic
      1956 Hammond C-3
      Circa 1965 Leslie 145
      1963 Hammond D-152
      1963 Hammond C-3
      1959 Hammond HR-40 Tone Cabinet
      Motion Sound Pro 3
      Motion Sound Low Pro
      1958 Hammond M-3
      C.Bechstein D282 9'3" Concert Grand
      1977 Wurlitzer 200A

      Comment


      • #18
        Conn is no longer in business, but uses an AGO pedalboard and has divided expression. In addition, the keying contacts in the Conn are a known source of problems. Because of this, I'd recommend the Rodgers. If Conn didn't have those issues, I'd recommend it. But if you are going to make the trip to Louisville, you should look at both, and the one below as well.

        Here's an Allen in Louisville: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Allen-made-...AAAOSwJqNbEXbH. Note that the ad allows "make an offer".



        Here's an analog Allen--voicing will be somewhat limited, but what it has will be good. Don't know if the electronics have been stripped or not, as the seller indicates "console only"--maybe it just needs speakers. Price is right (free). http://barton.theatreorgans.com/selectedad.asp?ID=24189

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        • #19
          I recently acquired a Rodgers Trio 321C. I really like it and it suits my needs, but it does have limitations. I was planning on getting a non-working organ to convert to a VPO, but the Trio showed up on the Denver Craig's List and is almost completely working. So I'm playing it as is (it's fun and I really like the sound) and will add VPO capability over the next year or two.

          The pedalboard is 32-note radiating concave, but is reduced to about 7/8 AGO. It seems to work OK for me even though I have long legs and wide feet. The reduced size pedalboard means the console is only 54" wide and 30" deep. I wanted to put a large organ in my finished basement and the staircase is narrow with a 45 degree elbow half way down and tight access at the top. The Trio is pretty much the maximum size that fits.

          It's heavy: 540 pounds without pedalboard and bench. I decided to take the innards out and move the empty case, about 260 pounds without lid, back, and speaker panel. The electronics (other than power supply + amp) are on two large wooden frames and weigh about 100 pounds. Reassembly was surprisingly fast. I have the console on appliance rollers so I can open the back to get at the innards.

          As mentioned above, almost all the electronic parts are standard analog components. I'm a computer engineer with (I hope) enough analog knowledge to keep the Trio going indefinitely. The schematics are good. I don't know if there are Rodgers techs around (or how expensive they are) so it's nice if you can do the work yourself. The Rhythm chip is the only custom part, but the preset board which controls all the stops has a lot of 12V 74Cxx parts that may no longer be available. I don't care if the rhythm dies and if I lose the preset board I can replace it with an FPGA. The bother is that I'd need lots of extra parts to convert between 12V Trio logic and 3.3V FPGA I/O levels. So I hope the 12V CMOS logic keeps working for now. If it gets to the point that I can't fix the innards then my Trio will become VPO-only.

          There are also some old light bulbs that may be hard to replace. The piston buttons have tiny light bulbs and I need to replace one of those one of these days. There is also a light bulb for the expression pedal. One of these days (or preferably years) that bulb will go and the Trio will be Really Loud with no control from the pedal. Stop rail light bulbs are available and I replaced the music desk lights with LED strips, saving 17 watts or so. Yay!

          I would be afraid to get an old digital organ with plug-in boards because if anything goes wrong you probably cannot repair it and replacement boards are either unavailable or expensive.

          The Trio stops are fairly limited, so review them before getting a Trio. I'm not worried long-term since I will be adding VPO some day. The Accompaniment manual has percussion (which I don't use) and only a few other stops. It would have been nice if the chimes (which are quite nice) were there instead of on the Great. Solo has a nice set of stops. I mostly use Great on the left hand and Solo on the right. The Solo's Glockenspiel is a trip. So in my case the third manual isn't much use until I go VPO. My organ training is classical but I love the horseshoe style and theatre organ sound.

          Great has a Piano stop which makes a decent Banjo. The Harpsichord stop is pretty awful IMO. Great has a 16' Tibia, but it doesn't do the lowest octave which is annoying. VPO will solve all these some day.

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          • #20
            Seems like the Rodgers would be the way to go then, but that Allen sure is impressive looking! I wonder if it also does the dishes?
            sigpic
            1956 Hammond C-3
            Circa 1965 Leslie 145
            1963 Hammond D-152
            1963 Hammond C-3
            1959 Hammond HR-40 Tone Cabinet
            Motion Sound Pro 3
            Motion Sound Low Pro
            1958 Hammond M-3
            C.Bechstein D282 9'3" Concert Grand
            1977 Wurlitzer 200A

            Comment


            • #21
              Some Conn owners have had their problematic key busses replace, so it is worth checking the organ out and asking.

              Comment


              • #22
                Wondering what your (and others) thoughts are on a vintage Wurlitzer theatre organ from the 50's, 60's or 70s. How do they compare to the Rodgers or the Conn? And forgive my ignorance, but did Hammond ever make a theatre organ? Any good?
                sigpic
                1956 Hammond C-3
                Circa 1965 Leslie 145
                1963 Hammond D-152
                1963 Hammond C-3
                1959 Hammond HR-40 Tone Cabinet
                Motion Sound Pro 3
                Motion Sound Low Pro
                1958 Hammond M-3
                C.Bechstein D282 9'3" Concert Grand
                1977 Wurlitzer 200A

                Comment


                • #23
                  Rodgers, Conn, and Allen made organs intended to sound as much like a theatre pipe organ as the electronics of the era were capable. Other manufacturers such as Lowrey, Hammond, Thomas, and Wurlitzer made organs with some of the theatre organ's appearance (horseshoe stop rail, dog leg bench, some stop names, etc.) but did not have voices that were particularly pipe-like nor stop lists that followed theatre pipe-organ tradition.

                  Hammond made one or two theatre organ type models, but they don't have a strong reputation--their most admired efforts were the tonewheel organs, of which you have two good examples.

                  I will be a "broken record" on this subject, and repeat: the big issue with all these manufacturers, except Rodgers and Allen, is that the companies are all defunct, and spare parts can be an issue. The organs are old enough to need some degree of service on a regular basis, so having an organ that has support is important.

                  If you use an internet search on whichever brand of interest, and search for videos, you can find many videos of people providing demonstrations (some good, some bad) of most of these brands.

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                  • #24
                    This was very helpful. Thank you! I’ve now narrowed it down to the three that everyone seems to favor, the Rodgers, Allen and Conn. I appreciate everyone who has responded to this thread! Happy Holidays to all!
                    sigpic
                    1956 Hammond C-3
                    Circa 1965 Leslie 145
                    1963 Hammond D-152
                    1963 Hammond C-3
                    1959 Hammond HR-40 Tone Cabinet
                    Motion Sound Pro 3
                    Motion Sound Low Pro
                    1958 Hammond M-3
                    C.Bechstein D282 9'3" Concert Grand
                    1977 Wurlitzer 200A

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      In my humble opinion, you could save yourself a lot of $$ and increase your flexibility substantially if you went with a Hauptwerk setup.

                      I converted an older Rodgers 3 manual that I got for close to nothing (you basically gut out the organs internals and convert it into a big MIDI controller), and interfaced it to the Hauptwerk system. Now, with one organ console, I have around 8 different organs....a couple of theater organs, a German Baroque, French Romantic, American 20th Century, etc.

                      It's an affordable and extremely flexible solution that I feel every organist looking for something in their home should investigate. Especially when you consider there is virtually ZERO costs for maintenance.
                      Here's a pic of (almost) the whole setup. Not pictured are the 2 speakers in the rear of the room. All total are 8 channels.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      1st born: 1958 B3 & 1964 Leslie 122
                      Most Proud of: 1938 Concert Model E paired w/ 1948 Leslie 31A & Vibratone (Leslie) 30A (c.1942)
                      Daily Workhorse: 3 Manual Rodgers running Hauptwerk 4.2
                      New Kid on the Block: Hammond Novachord (year not determined yet)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by JoeyB3 View Post
                        In my humble opinion, you could save yourself a lot of $$ and increase your flexibility substantially if you went with a Hauptwerk setup.
                        What the heck? Just take one of the Hammonds and convert it to a Hauptwerk system and save yourself even more money!

                        Originally posted by JoeyB3 View Post
                        I converted an older Rodgers 3 manual that I got for close to nothing (you basically gut out the organs internals and convert it into a big MIDI controller), and interfaced it to the Hauptwerk system.
                        Roughly how much is "close to nothing" for a complete Hauptwerk system (i.e. console, software, hardware, speakers, etc.)?

                        Doctor Robert, are you after the look and/or the sound? If it's the look and sound, then what Admin, John, Toodles and others have suggested is definitely the way to go. It's the choice I'd make. If you don't care about an authentic look (i.e. horseshoe console), you could try the Haupwerk (computer-based) route. However, I don't recall you requesting classical pipe organ sound (i.e. German Baroque, French Romantic, American 20th Century, etc.).

                        Best with your search.

                        Michael
                        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                          What the heck? Just take one of the Hammonds and convert it to a Hauptwerk system and save yourself even more money!l
                          Is that an attempt at humor/sarcasm? And here I thought we were trying to offer opinions and options for someone in need....

                          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                          Roughly how much is "close to nothing" for a complete Hauptwerk system (i.e. console, software, hardware, speakers, etc.)?
                          If you read my post properly, you would notice that I got the Rodgers unit for "close to nothing." I believe I got it for $300.
                          As for the rest of it....I had a spare PC lying around, which after reformatting and only installing Win10 and the Hauptwerk software ran extremely efficiently.
                          The audio interface was around $150....speakers....again I had some lying around, but probably invested another few hundred for the rest. Plus the H/W software and sample set prices...which are easy enough to find prices on.

                          All in all, I would guestimate my total investment in at around $1800. And for that, I have around 8 or so "organs" for whatever style I wish to play, and have the ability to expand if I choose. I will offer one BIG caveat though....I did this conversion myself. If you do not have the wherewithal for such a project....then that must be considered as well.

                          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                          However, I don't recall you requesting classical pipe organ sound (i.e. German Baroque, French Romantic, American 20th Century, etc.).
                          The H/W setup allows for more than just classical....there are plenty of theater organ sample sets. Again - easy to peruse the Internet and find out.
                          Here is an example of one for free: https://www.hauptwerk.com/news/news/...gan-available/

                          IMO - assuming you cannot afford (or choose not to afford) a brand new theater organ, if you are going to invest in an old one that will have its problems, require maintenance at some point, and then concern yourself if there is a supply of parts and then pay someone to service it...one should consider a H/W setup. It's nothing more than a MIDI controller, a PC, an audio interface, and speakers. EVERY piece of that puzzle is a minor issue in terms of maintenance. Plus you have the advantage of having as many different styles/types organs as you desire. For a HOME setup - I find it the most logical solution.

                          Even if you wanted an "authentic" theater organ look - there are plenty of old theater organ consoles out there that are junked/cheaply discarded and can be salvaged and converted to H/W.

                          Why would I want to invest $ in a 20 (or 10, or 15) year old organ for HOME use and worry about when it craps out? All the stuff in a H/W setup can be swapped out in a heartbeat and for cheap in comparison. Plus - at the touch of a button, I can change the organ from a theater organ to a Baroque organ an not have to leave my seat!

                          If others do not find a value in that, that is fine as well. My opinion and advice comes from considerable practical experience using H/W. If someone is against it, I would hope the person is approaching that opinion with the same level of experience with it.

                          Doctor Robert: explore ALL options. If you are serious about this, it's an initial investment you only want to make once. But make the decision confident you are knowledgeable of everything. It's your money.
                          Last edited by JoeyB3; 12-14-2018, 07:34 AM.
                          1st born: 1958 B3 & 1964 Leslie 122
                          Most Proud of: 1938 Concert Model E paired w/ 1948 Leslie 31A & Vibratone (Leslie) 30A (c.1942)
                          Daily Workhorse: 3 Manual Rodgers running Hauptwerk 4.2
                          New Kid on the Block: Hammond Novachord (year not determined yet)

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JoeyB3 View Post
                            Is that an attempt at humor/sarcasm? And here I thought we were trying to offer opinions and options for someone in need....
                            Humor. I guess it missed the mark in your eyes.

                            Originally posted by JoeyB3 View Post
                            If you read my post properly, you would notice that I got the Rodgers unit for "close to nothing." I believe I got it for $300. As for the rest of it....I had a spare PC lying around, which after reformatting and only installing Win10 and the Hauptwerk software ran extremely efficiently. The audio interface was around $150....speakers....again I had some lying around, but probably invested another few hundred for the rest. Plus the H/W software and sample set prices...which are easy enough to find prices on.

                            All in all, I would guestimate my total investment in at around $1800. And for that, I have around 8 or so "organs" for whatever style I wish to play, and have the ability to expand if I choose. I will offer one BIG caveat though....I did this conversion myself. If you do not have the wherewithal for such a project....then that must be considered as well.
                            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I guess the price of getting your "feet wet" with Hauptwerk depends a lot on your starting point. The Britson organ I got for free had MIDI, which worked 100%. Downloading the free version of Hauptwerk, a free sample set, hooking up my daily-use laptop and feeding the stereo output of my laptop into my existing living room audio system cost zero dollars and two hours of time.

                              Later, when I added MIDI to my Allen ADC-5300 (to control a Roland synth and my Deagan chimes) I already had the free Hauptwerk setup on my laptop and plugged it into the Allen just for fun. That took 15 minutes. Again, zero cost since the MIDI on the Allen was purchased for other purposes.
                              Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

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                              • #30
                                Being a novice, the term Hauptwerk is Greek (or German, as the case may be), to me. And I must confess, I am a decidedly non-computer, technical sort of guy, so if I did invest in having a vintage organ converted to MIDI and all the rest, I would definitely not be doing the work myself--I fear I may accidentally create a doomsday device!

                                But returning to my ignorance of the whole Hauptwerk thingamabob, is there a magazine devoted solely to the Theatre Organ afficianado? That may a good way for me to come to terms with all of the new-fangled nomenclature, in addition to pleasurably immersing myself further in the whole Theatre Organ experience.

                                - - - Updated - - -
                                sigpic
                                1956 Hammond C-3
                                Circa 1965 Leslie 145
                                1963 Hammond D-152
                                1963 Hammond C-3
                                1959 Hammond HR-40 Tone Cabinet
                                Motion Sound Pro 3
                                Motion Sound Low Pro
                                1958 Hammond M-3
                                C.Bechstein D282 9'3" Concert Grand
                                1977 Wurlitzer 200A

                                Comment

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