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Rodgers 702 utilize MIDI for pipe organ control

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  • Rodgers 702 utilize MIDI for pipe organ control

    I posted a couple other questions regarding running some layperson diagnostics on a Rodgers 702 that is somewhere around 15 years old. I was the organist when this organ was purchased and enjoyed playing it. I used the PR300S MIDI module several times - even sequencing the piano part of a piano+organ duet so that I could play the piano/organ duet by myself for offertory.

    Is it possible to use the MIDI output of the Rodgers 702 to control a pipe organ relay system that is capable of accepting MIDI input? It's been years since I played this organ, and I've been told that it it not functioning right now. I have located the Owner's Manual online and read the MIDI section.

    - By pressing a certain combo of pistons, the digital organ can be turned off (Local Off) so that no sound is produced but MIDI information is sent on activated MIDI master channels. IOW, the organ becomes a MIDI keyboard.

    - At first glance, I thought that would be great. I would be able to temporarily disable the digital organ and simply use a single cable to connect the 702's MIDI OUT to the MIDI IN port of my pipe organ control system. That way I wouldn't have to connect to 61+61+32+stops+crescendo pedal contacts and run thick cables to input cards as I did with the 1950's Austin console.

    - For controlling the 702, each manual, stop, and expression pedal resides on certain MIDI channels and can be controlled by a MIDI sequencer. But . . I'm not sure the reverse is true.

    - Upon further reading, it seems that MIDI OUT keying is only done on the Great manual. In fact, I remember using the Great to do sequencing with the PR300S. So, I'm not certain that I will be able to use the current MIDI.

    Anyway, brevity is very difficult for me. Have I clearly asked my question? Is it possible to send MIDI data from Swell, Great, Pedal, Stops, expression pedals via MIDI OUT to the MIDI IN of another MIDI device (as opposed to only Great manual keying data)?

    Keith in Athens, GA.

  • #2
    One of the real Rodgers experts needs to give you the final word. I know that MIDI on Rodgers organs went through an evolutionary process, three "phases" that they called Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3. In Phase 1, I believe that only the Great manual was MIDI-ed.

    However, the 702 is a fully digital organ, modern enough that it was built after all that went on. So it should have a full MIDI implementation, and both send and receive on all divisions, expression, pistons, stops, etc.

    But here's where my expertise ends. I'm not really sure what kind of MIDI signals are sent out by the pistons or stops. I seem to recall that there is something quirky about it. While the standard MIDI setup today will have the stops and pistons sending unique data of some sort (program changes or something), that may not be the case with your 702. And if so, there could be some problem making the pipe organ decoder communicate with the Rodgers.

    Somebody with more knowledge please help him.
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!


    • #3
      Keith: Check to see if the organ is equipped with a pipe interface board. If so, you may be able to utilize it for pipes. As for the MIDI, John has it pretty well on the nose. However, when stops are set, they are programmed to certain channels on the organ. There may be a 4-6 channel pre-amp, but yet fed through a cross-over network and somehow crammed into 3 or 4 channels. On the PR300 or PR300-S, you should be able to sequence using both manuals, and the pedals. I wouldn't disconnect the digital portion of the organ as if you do get the pipes to work, the digital portion, if voiced right, will enhance the sound. Good luck. B630


      • #4
        Thank you. It's been at least 12 years since I've played the 702. One time I utilized the PR300S to play a piano/organ duet by myself. I recorded the piano into the PR300 and played it back while I played the organ. I do remember doing the recording from the Great because of the little lever next to the Great expression pedal that serves as the damper pedal.

        I do not remember recording anything into the PR300 using both manuals and pedal.

        I do remember reading something in the PR300S manual that the PR300 and the organ communicated using code other than General MIDI. If I wanted to "SAVE" what I did to the floppy, I had to press a sequence of buttons to save it as General MIDI.

        Of course, pre-recorded floppies would set stops and play both manuals and pedals which was fun to watch so I could see the registrations. The question is whether or not the organ SENDS MIDI signals from all divisions. IOW, PR300>702 plays everything, but does 702>>PR300 record MIDI from all divisions. If so, connection to my Opus-II control system should be easy. Make sure the relay assigns the tracks to the proper divisions. If this does not work, I would have to tap into the actual contacts of keys and stops.

        We did not purchase any options on this organ except for the PR300S. If the organ happens to have the pipe control module in place, could you please tell me what it looks like and where to look.

        Thanks for your help,


        • #5
          Keith. On the inside of the organ will be a board labeled “pipe interface”. This is used along with another board where the pipes are to “handshake “ and make the notes work. Hadn’t done a lot with hybrids so not sure where to go from here. As for the pr300s, your particular organ will work on all manuals, as well as the pedals. Follow the instructions on both the organ and pr300s. If the device is working properly, you should have no problem. One more thing, if the pipe interface is midi controlled, the organ should work. Good luck on both parts. B630