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  • Organ Report/Review

    Well the Pakefield festival is over, and while more subdued then previous years (Presumably due to the economic climate) manufactures are still pushing forward.

    The big disappointment (Known a number of weeks before the festival started) was that the new Bohm Amodeaus system could not be completed in time, so Bohm did not attend. (It will now be launched at the Okey festival later this week)

    This report relates to the organs (Or items connected with organs) on show rather than the arrangers that were on show, however if you are interested in what is going on in the arranger world, I have done a separate report in the General Arranger forum on the Synthzone forums here http://www.synthzone.com/forum/ubbth...iew#Post331720

    As would be expected all the concert performances were top notch (Something for everyone) and great entertainment for the evening, and informal afternoons.

    The report will be in manufactures alphabetical order:

    KeyB

    This was featured on the Trevor Brown stand, and as in previous years gave a cracking performance and sound, with the Leslie simulation supplementing the sounds excellently. (If you can’t afford a Hammond make sure you take a look at the KeyB)

    Lowrey

    What can one say, they are an infectious instrument, as while not having the latest sounds and styles out there, they are so beautifully integrated that once you start playing the time just fly’s by. (As it should with any instrument, it’s just that the Lowrey sees man/women and machine in perfect harmony)
    Video /sound demos (And even listening to live demos) don’t show what Lowrey is about until you actually play them. (Sales were going along nicely to those upgrading their Lowery's and to new users)

    Orla

    Similar to the Lowrey but at a much lower price, (The price points where they cross are an ideal transition from one to the other) there just great to sit down and play. (As with Lowrey sales were going along nicely)

    Roland

    Up to their usual standard, with for me their latest series really going up a notch. (The orchestral voices on previous models were like their arrangers in that they sounded good, but as if produced on a synthesizer rather than a recording of the real instrument)
    The biggest play of course was their new portable featured by Pete Shaw, and a cracking sound it produces, (Just remember that if you want to add a pedal board (They don’t come as standard) even the cheapest adds a fair bit to the price) even though it is less well equipped then the console organs. (If you’re looking for a portable organ to ignore the Roland will be your loss)
    The final unit featured was their new BK7 sound and style module (Which includes a selection of midi wizards to set it up for any type of instrument) which must be a real bargain at under £1000, particularly when you take into account how good the sounds and styles are. (It will give the higher priced Ketron modules something to think about)
    Before the demo of the BK7 a brief description of how it came about was given. Roland was developing a new TOTL arranger (To be called the G90) to replace its existing TOTL arrangers (Which are starting to show their age) however with the downturn in the economy, plus the low level of the Roland arranger sales compared to the opposition, they decided to combine all the development into the BK7 and make it available at an affordable price. (The BK7 is the G90 without the Keys, Harmoniser, Real time controls etc.)

    Thomas

    The company was set up in the late 90s and used the Wersi technology of the 90s (Which still stands up well today) and if you looked at early models they were the old Wersi models with a different badge.
    The new models are of their own design (Although still based on an uprated version of the Wersi Livestyle sound system as far as I could gather) and I have to say the fit and finish looked a bit DIY, (Although they were more prototypes rather than production models) and the sound, well! A big disappointment for me as they didn’t sound as good as the instruments that were available in the 90s, and they will certainly need to improve if they are to survive the competition
    The most interesting was the integration of the Ketron SD 2 sound module (A cracking little box) with the 90s Wersi instruments, (Including the Golden Gate option that was available on the CD line) which allow you full control and editing of the SD 2 module (Remember the SD 2 only has a volume control with rest being controlled by Midi messages) from the Wersi Touch Screen. (Well done Thomas)

    TRX-Tyros

    The Yamaha Tyros series of arrangers are probably the best selling arrangers on the market, (And if you like a nice smooth CD sound quality with limited editing deservedly so) however most owners had upgraded from Electones and were starting to miss the Lower manual and Pedal Board, so some owners had been cannibalising old organs and building the Tyros with a lower keyboard and pedal board into them.
    The TRX system combined with the USB Regi-Stick adds all this back into one easy package, thus giving you all the sounds and styles of the modern arranger with the most of the convenience of an organ (They are available as console or portable add on) with the latest USB Regi stick allowing for a split lower manual (Which is no mean feat when you consider the native Tyros range only has one voice for the left hand/lower manual although you do have to modify your playing technique slightly though)
    NOTE: once you start adding these features the price creeps up quite a lot, so if you’re thinking of changing a proper organ may still suit you better, just don’t dismiss the TRX system as it will be your loss.

    Wersi

    Were at a slight disadvantage with the amount of demo time available to them as they were in the same room as Yamaha, which had the bulk of the demo time allotted to them, (Previous years have seen them both separate) plus they were concentrating more on the new Pegasus Wing arranger.
    Headphones were available for all instruments on show, so that you could play them to your heart’s content.
    Since Music Store bought the brand name, the organs have gone from strength to strength (The fact that they are now competitively priced as helped as well as the fact upgrades are now focussed on what customers want, rather than what Wersi wanted) which is good to see in this day and age.
    There is still some way to go to get the Wersi name back up as it was in the 70s & 80s (Something the now defunct Wersi company didn’t seem interested in) but with the new updates (R45 is in final testing phase, which should (Although not confirmed) include the Klaus Wunderlich and James Last sound/style pack options, as well as many other updates) should really move it further forward into a more integrated whole. (NOTE: Although based on OAS 7 the Wing arranger keyboard has a completely different OS and is not interchangeable with previous Wersi OAS instruments)

    So there you have it, while the market is quiet (Due to the economic climate) there is still much going on in the organ world, so it definitely is not dead yet, in fact for many manufactures it is just getting stronger. (The fact that the TRX system is selling so well proves that there is still a market for organs of all types)

    I hope you found the report interesting, however this is just my view, so make sure you do your own research (In particular play the instruments rather than just listening to demos) to make sure they will be for you. (Remember your spending a considerable amount of money)

    Bill
    Last edited by abacus; 09-20-2011, 03:05 AM. Reason: Added Link

  • #2
    Excellent post, thanks for taking the time.

    Pity about Böhm — I think they're on borrowed time. Good to see Lowrey, Orla and Roland flourishing however and continuing to give home organists a choice in an ever diminishing market.

    It will be interesting to see if the new owners of the Wersi brand are prepared to invest in R&D and bring out some genuinely new instruments.

    Comment


    • #3
      I enjoyed reading your report. I wonder how many "strange" varieties await organists, if they look around. I have a Nord C2, which incorporates a sampled pipe organ. The Nord website gives good information to interested organsists. I know this is a step away from the organs you report on, but taking up less room and costing less might appeal to some organists. The Hammond X200E is one "fully orchestral" organ I heard demonstrated recently, and that might be another variety for interested people. I think your report opens up the chance for us all to help each other with comments about available instruments ... and "Why upgrade?". I am cautious of "gas": gear acquisition syndrome.
      Graeme

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by abacus View Post
        Well the Pakefield festival is over, and while more subdued then previous years (Presumably due to the economic climate) manufactures are still pushing forward.


        Thomas

        The company was set up in the late 90s and used the Wersi technology of the 90s (Which still stands up well today) and if you looked at early models they were the old Wersi models with a different badge.
        The new models are of their own design (Although still based on an uprated version of the Wersi Livestyle sound system as far as I could gather) and I have to say the fit and finish looked a bit DIY, (Although they were more prototypes rather than production models) and the sound, well! A big disappointment for me as they didn’t sound as good as the instruments that were available in the 90s, and they will certainly need to improve if they are to survive the competition
        The most interesting was the integration of the Ketron SD 2 sound module (A cracking little box) with the 90s Wersi instruments, (Including the Golden Gate option that was available on the CD line) which allow you full control and editing of the SD 2 module (Remember the SD 2 only has a volume control with rest being controlled by Midi messages) from the Wersi Touch Screen. (Well done Thomas)

        Bill
        Hi Bill,

        I'm a little bit upset. Why you not telling the truth about THOMAS?
        The new THOMAS Paramount was a Prototype and the Technology inside is our own development (based on Dream's SAM)
        Why you telling such rubbish?
        Yes, this "THOMAS Paramount" looked a bit DIY. We produced this organ "by hand" two days before Pakefield started.
        But the organ works complete!

        For the next time, before you write such rubbish, call me direct, I will give you all informations, open the instruments for
        you that you can see what technology is working inside.

        Sorry for my bad english, it's not my first language.

        best regards from the cold germany

        Christian Schmitt
        THOMAS Organs Europe

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello Christian Schmitt

          The information I was given at Pakefield by those that were demonstrating the Thomas, gave myself and others the impression that the new models were still based on the old Wersi technology, if that is incorrect I apologize, however I can only go on the information I am given. (However the rest of the report still stands, and as I mentioned the sound is my personal opinion)

          Regards

          Bill

          Comment


          • #6
            It's now four months since the initial report. Perhaps you would care to give details and photos of the finished Paramount in the Products and Reviews section and upload full colour brochures to the public gallery.

            Andy
            Moderator
            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 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 see that Christian has pretty much ignored your request Andy. Seems he just wants to complain.

              Frankly his approach is pretty poor since he identifies himself with Thomas. I believe he should be trying to make Thomas Organs look good, now sour.

              Of course, that is just my opinion.
              Lloyd
              Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

              Comment


              • #8
                Christian

                I have deleted your latest, identical post. There is no need to repeat it again.

                So here's a chance for you to set the record straight. Let's have some information on the latest Thomas range so we can at least see what you're making these days. All I can see on you website seems to be older models - the site says it was last updated in 2009. Clicking on your 'UK Dealer' links to the shop of an old friend of mine in the UK, but his site doesn't mention Thomas. Is he still your UK man? Where are the new organs made, by the way? I see Thomas Organs Malaysia mentioned on your site. Designed in Germany, built in Malaysia, perhaps?

                Please let us have some new information. You know how rare home organs are these days, we need all the makes we can get!

                Andy
                Moderator
                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 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

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