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Voicing a Conn 651

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  • Voicing a Conn 651

    Has anyone done any revoicing of Conn organs? I have a 651. I've adjusted the trems and balance between the tibia and complex for better orchestral playing. Has anyone adjusted volumes of individual voices? I'd like the 16' pedal tibia louder and the 16' tuba a little softer.(These seem to be out of balance) Also would like to lower the tibia high end and increase the lower end (probably due to old capacitors drying out). Also would like to up the volume of the strings as they seem to be a soft string, not loud enough for solo work or string chorus. If I had the model with 2 strings or the schematic, soft & loud strings, I'd be able to see the difference and adjust the strings on the 651.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Voicing a Conn 651

    Many models of the theaterette line have soft string. On the schematic for an old 550 the schematic loop for soft string indicates a capacitor at .0068-400 and a resistor value 8200 ohms. On the 580 schematic accompaniment manual has a cello voice with a cap at .0068 and a resistor value 6800 ohms which is followed by another resistor at 2700 ohms that creates an accompaniment strings (softer). On this model another step down is used on the great manual. The diapason loop is modified by an additional resistor to creat 8' Viole d'Ochestra. That is followed by an 8' soft string loop with a .0082 cap and a 5600 ohm resistor.

    I appears that the root you are drawing from will determine whether a resistor will modify the tone or an r/c circuit. Let us know how you succeed.


    • #3
      Re: Voicing a Conn 651

      Thank you. I'll play around with the resistors. Mainly, I want the accomp string louder. The great manual is OK. The accomp string is too soft. But after changing the balance of the complex and tibia channels, using the string on the accomp with the 4' coupler works pretty good. I found that after listening to lots of recordings, boosting the complex .vs. tibia channel is more of the George Wright style where the color voices are really noticeable, while other organists tend to be more tibia oriented. Some of these changes could be necessary due to the age of the organ and the changes in the capacitors as they dry out.

      I did find in the service manual that there are pots for the pedal 16' voices, so that will be easy to change.

      A pipe speaker might be loading down the bass side of the tibia channel, so I'll change how its connected that so the bass is stronger and the high end isn't so bright. I may run it through a separate amp. This could be more of an effect of the acoustics of the room it is in - very large with hard walls. But that's what organ voicing is all about, isn't it?

      I'll keep you posted.


      • #4
        Re: Voicing a Conn 651

        Thanks! Your mastery of organ modifications is most impressive. I agree, personal taste in the organ's voicing must be foremost. I'm guilty of being a tibia fan, which could owe to my long time exposure to Baldwin and Thomas (which are truly flute organs). It has only been in my later years that I've had the opportunity to try most brands and even within the same brand I have owned instruments with completely different personalities. I'll look forward to hearing more about your project.


        • #5
          Re: Voicing a Conn 651

          I agree with your desire to make thr strings more assertive. The
          strings are really at the heart of an orchestral (my 2 cents

          The relative volume levels on a theatre organ between stops goes something like this:

          maximum Trumpet 16' TC, 8'

          Diapason 16',
          8', 4'

          16' TC, 8', 4'

          16' TC, 8', 4'

          Flute (open, melodia type) 16', 8', 4', 2 2/3', 2', 1 3/5' most
          electronic organs do not have this most valuable voice

          minimum Vox Humana 16' TC, 8', 4'

          The volume level of the 2' Piccolo tends to be louder because it
          is the only 2' stop and needs to blend with all combinations. Today's
          fashion in theatre organ volume regulation makes the volume level lower
          as you ascend the keyboard. In the past, the regulation did not change
          significantly except that the bass end is louder for use as pedal
          stops. My string is very assertive with the shutters open which makes
          it useful in combination with the louder stops such as the diapason.

          My personal preference is to have the volume level across the
          pitch range constant, stronger for the pedal bass, and a little
          brighter for the 2 2/3, 2, and 1 3/5. This allows me to simulate a
          classical organ sound if desired as well as theatre organ sounds
          depending on the type of music played. It is usually possible to use
          the 16' stops as a base and play an octave up to get a different sound


          • #6
            Re: Voicing a Conn 651

            I don't know why, but Conn didn't have a crossover between the 6x9 and the 12" on the complex channel, so I added one along with adding 2 small sets of pipes, one for each side.

            Now if I knew why they put a fife instead if a tierce on the great manual??? Do I really want to get out the soldering iron and move 50 or so wires up a couple of notes? (not 61, as it doesn't go up all the way.) I miss the color a tierce adds. Don Baker and George Wright used it frequently.

            Turned up the pedal bourdon and diapason and lowered the tuba so now the pedal voices are more in balance. Added a large pipe set (with speakers replaced with 6x8 woofers) to the 15" speaker. Thinking of inserting an L -pad to cut the 15" a little and send more to the pipe set. Plugged up the notch on the pipes - as that really makes them poor for bass notes. As anyone knows when you put a hole in a pipe - it raises its frequency. So now the bottom end is fuller and the long pipes give a slower attack on the pedal.

            Sped up the trem slightly.

            I still want to look at adjusting some of the voices. As on the pedal, the accomp. tuba is out of balance with the diapason and string. The diapason and string should be louder. If done, the tuba might then balance out OK. The diapasons and tubas could be a little fatter & rounder. But then that's why pipe speakers work so well on a Conn - their characteristics do that.

            I found that the pizzacatto effect heard on Wright and Baker recordings is really the "Voiced Funmaster" using the harp, piano or harpsichord. on the great manual.

            I'll add a Midi contact set later for the orchestra bells and a midi box for a wood harp. Thinking of toe studs to parallel the presets, making the presets programmable, and an on/off toe stud for the traps and "funmaster". I have to figure out where to add extra controls.

            The stop rail is full. The key cheeks are metal, filled up with little extra space. The stop rail is also metal and I don't like doing metal work in the organ without lots of shop vacs running to suck up the shavings. Unfortunately, this organ is in a large dining room where shop vacs would not be appreciated (but a great room for the organ with the high ceiling and hard walls.) Maybe a few of the super strong neodinum (sp?) magnets on both sides would collect all the metal shavings???


            • #7
              Re: Voicing a Conn 651

              Thanks for keeping us up to date on the project. When I had my Gulbransen D I got some information from amember of the experimental D project (forum members cleared up the confusion that there were actually two D models; the experimental and the production model) and he told me that George Wright was very involved in the development of the organ for a music dealers convention.

              I could imagine from that information we could also believe he had some input into special Conn models that were used for his recordings. It is not far fetched to believe the performance wasn't on a production model or at least not using factory specs. Congradulations of sorting out all these nuances. You stand every chance nowof owning the best Conn in the country!