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  • Need a forum for people who want to add electronics to a pipe.

    It looks like the various forums are full of questions about adding MIDI or other voices to electronic organs. And I've seen discussions about adding pipes to electronic instruments. But I didn't find one where there was any discussion on adding electronics to a traditional pipe organ. I think I've read over most of them, but I didn't see this discussed.

    I'm guessing that some of the purists will think this is a sacrilege. I play a 2 manual Estey organ at a small United Methodist Church. It has about 12 ranks. I'd like to have some additional solo voices to use for instrumental music.

    I've heard good things about Walker and Peterson voices. But I don't know how they interface with the capture action and presets of my console. The console was redone about 7 years ago. I THINK the system used Walker electronics. Fiber optics transport the signals to the pipe chamber.

    I'd like to get an idea of costs to add 12 to 16 solo voices to this instrument.

    Thanks for any input or advice.

    Bach-On
    Last edited by Bach-On; 08-24-2013, 06:18 AM.
    Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

    Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
    Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
    We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
    Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
    I'm a Methodist organist.
    I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
    Became a Technology Specialist.
    Retired from Education after 32 years.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
    I've heard good things about Walker and Peterson voices. But I don't know how they interface with the capture action and presets of my console.
    No problem whatsoever incorporating add-on digital voices that interface with the capture action, presets etal; it's merely a matter of $$$.

    On a limited budget, you can also go the cheap route with add-on voices controlled by a touch screen like this one:

    http://phoenixorgans.com/installatio...stallation=108
    2008: Phoenix III/44

    Comment


    • #3
      Does the Esty Organ already have MIDI output installed?
      My MIDI controlled, module and software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post427320

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, Clarion. But to be honest I think I knew that. I think I'm looking for some specifics. I've played a Rodgers where pipes were added. I liked it. But I haven't played a pipe organ with Walker or Peterson voices. Frankly, I'm not sure I understand why they are so much better than Allen, Rodgers, or Phoenix - or others. You mentioned $$$. How much $$$ is typical is what I'd like to know.

        I don't think the virtual organ route is the way to go. Not everyone will understand that approach and make good use of it. Presets and tabs most people understand. I don't have room for additional tabs. So I'm guessing that these are programed with some sort of digital readout where you step through the available voices. Can these voices be programed to be part of the organ's regular presets?

        Thanks again!

        BO

        - - - Updated - - -

        - - - Updated - - -

        Momboc, I was advised by our technician that MIDI could be added. We do not currently have it on the Estey. BTW - Is it Esty or Estey? I just couldn't remember.

        BO
        Last edited by Bach-On; 08-24-2013, 06:19 AM.
        Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

        Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
        Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
        We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
        Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
        I'm a Methodist organist.
        I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
        Became a Technology Specialist.
        Retired from Education after 32 years.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you have two basic approaches:

          1) Add an internal electronic tone generation system to the organ which is integrated with the existing manuals and capture action

          I looked at Peterson's website and I could only find an electronic 'low note' tone generator
          Which Walker system were you considering?

          2) Add a MIDI capability which can then drive an external MIDI tone generator

          An external tone generator could be either:
          - hardware based e.g an Allen Vista module, http://www.allenorgan.com/www/produc...llenvista.html Artisan Sound engine http://artisanorgans.intartists.com/...nd_Engine.html or something similar
          - software based such as Hauptwerk http://www.hauptwerk.com/

          With respect to the issue of using the Organ's existing tabs and pistons to control an external module - Hauptwerk can certainly be readily configured to respond to these controls providing the controls are set up to transmit MIDI signals when they are activated/deactivated

          I think that the MIDI approach would be the least expensive and most flexible - but it is a pity that the Organ does not already have this capability.
          Last edited by Momboc; 08-23-2013, 09:24 PM.
          My MIDI controlled, module and software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post427320

          Comment


          • #6
            Sorry, couldn't find a forum for barbarians and huns.

            Comment


            • #7
              Havoc,

              Intelligent Equine animals are seldom appreciated by the majority of society.

              BO
              Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

              Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
              Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
              We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
              Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
              I'm a Methodist organist.
              I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
              Became a Technology Specialist.
              Retired from Education after 32 years.

              Comment


              • #8
                - - - Updated - - -

                Momboc,

                I've searched the Net. Walker doesn't seem to provide a lot of details - at least not that I've found. It's "call for more information". Truthfully, I've never actually played an organ with Walker voices or even heard one that I knew had them. So I really don't know that much about them. In fact, I might listen to it and decide "that sucks". I've just heard OTHERS I trust say the Walker voices were excellent. But they might have been trying to sell beachfront property in Idaho.

                We have an Allen R-230 at home with the Allen extra voices. Some are OK. Some aren't. And it takes a lot of work to step through all the various screens. I repeat - pistons, tabs and drawknobs are much easier to understand. I'm not a technology dullard, and I'm certain I can learn it. But the next organist might not relate to it. I don't want to saddle the organ with something that requires a PhD in Engineering to program. I know it isn't rocket science, but many people are still technology challenged. As an example, I went to a school to install anti-virus software on the classroom computers several years ago. One formidable 60'ish teacher told me I didn't need to do so in her classroom. She pulled a big can of Lysol out of her desk and told me she sprayed all the headphones on her computers every day. To be fair - she probably knew a lot more about phonics and diagramming sentences than I did. She wasn't stupid, but technology wasn't part of her experience. And there is a lot of that going around.

                The technician who redid the organ swears by the Walker sounds. He once casually mentioned $14,000 to add them. But I didn't pursue it. Now, I'm thinking about it. And for you purists - the money just isn't there to expand with pipes. The physical space is also not there without extensive renovation. And that is NOT in the game plan at the church. Half of the members attend a guitar and drum service where the organ isn't used. They aren't the slightest bit interested in doing anything to improve the organ. They want a better sound system. I'm a reasonably decent salesman. But additional pipes would be a VERY hard sell - similar to selling pogo sticks in surgical recovery ward.

                BO

                P.S. I'm partial to the Visigoths, over Huns and Barbarians. My goal is to do my part to provide a good worship experience and harmony within the congregation. I know what I like, and what I don't like. I express my opinions. But if the vote goes the other way, what should I do? Do I limit what can be done because of my personal bias against certain instruments? No. But if I don't like the decisions and trends I see, I can leave.
                Last edited by Bach-On; 08-24-2013, 07:14 AM. Reason: Additions
                Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

                Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
                Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
                We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
                Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
                I'm a Methodist organist.
                I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
                Became a Technology Specialist.
                Retired from Education after 32 years.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi,

                  Walker technical pipe organ voice extensions are among the very best available. Typically their stops have a more visceral quality to them than say Allen, Rodgers, and others. The only other company that can match them is Marshall & Ogletree.

                  There are a number of reasons for this. Walker uses many long samples with very high sampling rates, so there is lot's of definition in the tone. Also, their electronics and DACs, voicing capabilities, audio systems are designed from the point of view of a wide bandwidth of near zero to 45 KHz. The result is a more open, defined sound, very noticeable on reed stops, and then played in chords. Also, projects incorporating Walker Technical have a factory voicer, usually Bob Walker come and work his magic on the stops, to blend and incorporate them into the pipe organ scheme.

                  The very fact that many pipe organ builders use Walker equipment for stop extensions is a testament to their acceptance in the industry.

                  Walker can be integrated using a MIDI input, or by parallel inputs.

                  There are other solutions available that may do the job.

                  One way is to MIDI-fy the console and using a MIDI box such as the Allen Ensemble or the Rodgers MX-200 (which may not be available anymore). They can add decent stop sounds, along with the GS MIDI library. The results won't be near as good as Walker, but may add what you are looking for. Another product which may be of interest is the Viscount CM-100, very flexible, configurable, voicable, etc. I have added a number of these to pipe organs with success.

                  Although Walker may be more expensive than other solutions, the results are usually worth it. Certainly Walker is less expensive than using new pipe work. And likely less expensive than using used pipes, chest, etc. as well.

                  I would suggest you go and hear an organ with Walker digital additions, you will likely be surprised. You should also go and hear other hybrid solutions as well.

                  AV

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have heard Walker and heartily agree with Arie. In our area there is a huge all-Walker instrument with maybe 60 or 70 stops, speaking through about 30 audio channels, and it is one awesome organ. There is another large instrument built by Rufatti with a number of Walker digital stops augmenting the pipes. I certainly cannot tell which stops are pipe and which are digital, at least not just sitting at the console and trying them out one by one.

                    The Walker people are very nice and easy to talk to. You should give them a call, tell them what you want, and let them give you some ideas. Since the current console has been recently modernized, it may in fact be easy to add new stops and integrate them perfectly with the tabs and pistons. Of course good work is not cheap, but you might be able to add a plethora of new solo stops for the price of a single new pipe rank.
                    John
                    ----------
                    *** 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!

                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                      It looks like the various forums are full of questions about adding MIDI or other voices to electronic organs. And I've seen discussions about adding pipes to electronic instruments. But I didn't find one where there was any discussion on adding electronics to a traditional pipe organ. I think I've read over most of them, but I didn't see this discussed.

                      I'm guessing that some of the purists will think this is a sacrilege. I play a 2 manual Estey organ at a small United Methodist Church. It has about 12 ranks. I'd like to have some additional solo voices to use for instrumental music.

                      I've heard good things about Walker and Peterson voices. But I don't know how they interface with the capture action and presets of my console. The console was redone about 7 years ago. I THINK the system used Walker electronics. Fiber optics transport the signals to the pipe chamber.

                      I'd like to get an idea of costs to add 12 to 16 solo voices to this instrument.

                      Thanks for any input or advice.

                      Bach-On
                      Just to throw some numbers around....you will probably need a new nameboard with additional stop controls (I am guessing here that your organ has stop tabs as opposed to draw knob units) so figure about $350 for the new nameboard plus each stop control will cost $70 to $100 when you add all the extras. To add pistons, new keyslips would be necessary, altho if you have a decent compliment of thumb and toe pistons, this may be unnecessary, particularly if your organ has multi-level combination memories.

                      MIDI capability can be added easily to any electro-pneumatic organ using a variety of vendors products....Peterson, SSOS, Opus 2, Syndyne, et al all have capacity to add MIDI to operate in parallel with the control system now in use. It might help to know what system is in use now as it may be that that system can be upgraded or modified with original-vendor equipment specifically designed to work with the existing system.

                      Sound generation equipment can come from a number of sources, as previously noted, once MIDI is operational. Talk to your pipe organ service provider to find out what his preferences are (if he has any), or contact a local organ technician/builder.

                      Walker is the preferred system for many pipe organ builders that use digital pedal stops and digital percussions. Viscount, Ahlborn-Galanti, Allen, Rodgers, Musicom, Artisan, and others have sound generation systems that can be interfaced with pipe organs using either MIDI or proprietary systems. there are plenty of choices out there at multiple price points.

                      To find out the costs, you need a starting point that details what pipe ranks you have now, what voices you want to add and where you want them to go. THEN you can start thinking about real-world costs.

                      Rick in VA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the input, Rick. I have a request in to our pipe organ tech.

                        Bach On
                        Make being happy a way of traveling, not just a destination.

                        Church organ - 2 manual 12 rank Estey Pipe Organ with 12 Artisan Digital Stops
                        Home organ - Allen R-230 organ (We also have 48 pipes in a facade)
                        We have a Yamaha 6' 8" Grand
                        Have used an older Korg T3 keyboard and MIDI for doing musical arrangements.
                        I'm a Methodist organist.
                        I taught high school chorus, elementary music and middle school music.
                        Became a Technology Specialist.
                        Retired from Education after 32 years.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
                          I've searched the Net. Walker doesn't seem to provide a lot of details - at least not that I've found. It's "call for more information".
                          Walker doesn't provide a lot of details, because as a custom manufacturer, with infinite options, they can provide you with anything you wish, (and can afford!) Details Walker provides is commensurate with the details you provide to Walker.

                          If you are at all serious about engaging Walker to augment your current organ, then the very least they should expect is a demonstration of serious intent on your part by providing them with:

                          1. Complete detailed specs and pictures of the organ and environment you wish modify;

                          2. Complete rundown of the modifications you desire.

                          Walker is an excellent manufacturer; one of the very best!! And for the very best, you will definitely have to PAY for that feature.
                          Last edited by Admin; 09-14-2013, 07:29 AM. Reason: fixed quote tag
                          2008: Phoenix III/44

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