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My modular virtual MIDI organ project

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  • Ian Nel
    replied
    After looking at some of the hardware you use, it occurred to me that I could replace the (now non-operating) brass synthesizer section of my Lowrey top panel with a slim sound rack, do you have a recommendation please?

    Thanks, Ian

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  • Ian Nel
    replied
    Hi there - interesting thread - thank you! I've just built a virtual organ into my Lowrey Citation cabinet. I have a tiny space left for a rhythm unit, something that would give me basic drums, maybe some background accompaniment - nothing fancy, I prefer doing the playing myself. I don't want to use a software solution, as I don't want the complexity of a mouse or touch screens or midi controllers to operate the drums, so it has to be a hardware solution, easy to find buttons to start and stop etc. I'm searching the internet using all the devices you've listed in this thread - but do you have a quick solution to recommend please?

    Many thanks, Ian

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  • Momboc
    replied
    If I'm going to have a 'modular' organ then I need a few modules.

    Here is my current stack of sound modules:

    Allen MDS - Expander II (newly acquired)
    Ahlborn Archive Module 202 (newly acquired)
    Ahlborn Classic Module (newly acquired)
    Roland Sound Canvas SC-88ST Pro (newly acquired)
    Roland JV-1010
    Hammond XM2 + XMC2 Drawbar Controller
    Roland XV-5080
    Yamaha Motif Rack ES
    Ensoniq MR

    Click image for larger version

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  • Momboc
    replied
    Here is the current shelf mounted configuration of my virtual organ system.

    2 Edirol PCR800 61 note controllers
    Roland PK5 pedalboard
    1 PC with 2 touch screens - vArranger on the left screen and Kontakt on the right



    And, here is the Hammond Aurora cabinet that I'm thinking of decanting the Edirol MIDI controller keybeds and control surfaces into - so that I have a MIDI Controller with an Organ form factor.

    It will also be more aesthetically pleasing




    Photos hot linked from my Organ Forum album
    Last edited by Momboc; 02-20-2018, 01:53 AM.

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  • Momboc
    replied
    Sorry that you can no longer see the photos in this thread.

    For those who are not aware, the photos in this thread were hosted on Photobucket.com. Photobucket have changed their terms of service so that continued third party use of photos hosted on their site now require me to pay an (exorbitant) annual fee - which I will not do.

    It is much cheaper for me to just acquire my own domain and set up my own website rather than use Photobucket's expensive third party hosting product. So standby for me to build the website. I will also use a related Youtube channel.

    In the meantime, I have purchased a couple of unrepairable Hammond LSI organs that I intend to reuse for the next phase of my MIDI organ project.

    I've also bought Cantabile Performer as the VST host for my MIDI organ. I'll see how that goes when I integrate it into the system.
    Last edited by Momboc; 12-18-2017, 08:02 PM.

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  • Admin
    replied
    Looks like an interesting project. Thanks for the photos. Keep us informed of your progress.

    I'm somewhat surprised that there isn't more interested in this VPO forum. Guess many are too focused on oiling their tonewheels.

    Leave a comment:


  • Momboc
    replied
    I have adopted 'Varranger' as the control engine for the home/entertainment part of my virtual organ setup. http://www.varranger.com

    This is the vArranger Main Screen User Interface



    To make this software easier to use I am building a custom hardware MIDI control surface to operate the virtual controls on the vArranger interface.

    Here is my current layout for the prototype control surface I am building.

    Last edited by Momboc; 08-01-2016, 06:27 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Momboc
    replied
    Welcome down to the 'virtual organ' section of the Organ Forum.
    There is some latent interest in this thread because the view count keeps going up. So here is an updated status of my system.

    My current system consists of:

    PC with:
    ASUS MoBo
    i7 Intel Processor
    12GB RAM
    1Tb SSD
    M-Audio 1010 Soundcard
    Dual 17inch touch monitors

    Windows 10

    vArranger
    Band in a Box 2016
    Native Instruments Komplete 10 Ultimate (mainly using Kontakt5 Sampler with NI's Virtual Instruments in the K10 Ultimate bundle, plus some third party libraries - Vir2 Instruments and Sonic Reality)
    Hauptwerk V4 Advanced Edition
    Silver Octopus 80 Rank Willis Pipe Organ samples
    Paramount 4/50 Theatre Organ samples

    Cakewalk Sonar Platinum

    Edirol PCR800 61Note MIDI Controllers (stacked into a console organ configuration)
    Roland A800 61Note MIDI Controllers
    Roland PK5 13Note MIDI Pedalboard
    Roland RD64 (64Note Hammer Action controller/piano)
    Novation Zero SL Mkii MIDI Controller
    Expression and sustain pedals

    Hammond 25Note MIDIfied Pedalboard
    Conn/Klann 32Note Concave & Radiating AGO Spec MIDIfied pedalboard

    Roland XV5080 Sound Module
    Yamaha Motif ES Rack Module
    Ensoniq MR Rack Sound Module
    Hammond Suzuki XM2 Sound Module + XMC

    Behringer Mixer
    Pyle 8 Channel Amp
    Various speakers
    2 x Leslie 710s


    Standalone Yamaha CP4 stage piano

    A range of old Allen Organs waiting for conversion to MIDI controllers
    Last edited by Momboc; 08-01-2016, 06:21 PM.

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  • Momboc
    replied
    I just cross-graded from Native Instruments 'Komplete' Version 8 to the Komplete 9 Ultimate package.

    If any one is interested in emulating my MIDI driven, software sampled organ approach, Native Instruments occasionally offer special deals on their products. Up until the 9th November 2013, they have a half price special on their Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 Ultimate bundles.

    Of course, if you are starting from scratch you would need to buy the full version and not the upgrade or crossgrade. Komplete 9 (full boxed version) is discounted to $499 USD and Komplete 9 Ultimate (full boxed version) is discounted to $999 USD.

    If you don't want the entire Komplete bundle then you can buy a full version (at half price) of Kontakt for $199.50 USD which includes the Kontakt library of 1000 instruments (43 GB of samples).

    The Kontakt library instruments are here

    http://www.native-instruments.com/en...rview/library/

    I originally bought Komplete because it contains a large bundle of NI products - particularly the full version of Kontakt (the sample engine) plus it contains a massive number of additional sampled instrument libraries. This includes 16,000 sounds and 370 GB of samples.

    http://www.native-instruments.com/en...uded-products/


    I really must get around to producing a demo video of what my system can do.

    Leave a comment:


  • Directora13
    replied
    and THANK YOU for the pcorgan.com link ! So many realistically possible options, even for me!

    Leave a comment:


  • Directora13
    replied
    Hello and thanks for your help.

    I sing and play piano/keyboard, but I want to master pedals on a pipe organ, or any full AGO pedalboard. I use my fp-7 for gigs, so is it possible to disconnect it and reconnect the pedal board ? I The more I read and check out classifieds the more inclined I am to wait out a 32 board and buy two smaller keyboards and set things up myself. That or save my pennies and buy something newer. I would love something like the organ that was at the right of your screen on your Youtube video.

    Good luck with your project . lovely organ. I will keep reading and learning

    Leave a comment:


  • Momboc
    replied
    Originally posted by Directora13 View Post
    Wow .. thank you so much for such detailed information.. while I am not handy with a soldering iron, one of my band
    members is and we were discussing my midi/organ dream/project just yesterday.
    I'm inclined toward an AGO spec 32 note pedal organ, if I can find one, otherwise this is a great alternative and probably more within my budget (sigh).
    I keep checking ebay and craigs list but feel overwhelmed by the choices. Lots of Hammonds and Lowrys but I'm not sure if that's the sound I'm looking
    for... and lots of tabs/functions I'm not familiar with, but then again , may in the future need to be. I currently play on a Reuben Midmer pipe organ
    (apx.1870's): 2 manuals, 20 stops 20 ranks, 30 note pedals. I would love to get my hands on a used 3 manual/ full pedalboard for home practice or
    similar to the Roland C-330 or Rodgers for it's compact size under $2000(WAY under) Any suggestions?
    You mention playing in a band, but also mention playing a pipe organ so I'm not sure of which space you are interested in. If you're interest is an AGO
    spec organ with three manuals and a 32 note pedalboard, then you can keep an eye on the 'Classifieds' section of the Forum (see the last tab on the
    search bar above) or start your own 'Want to Buy' thread.

    I think a two manual organ will be easier to find and a lot less expensive. Some of the older Allen MOS 1 or MOS 2 series organs may suit.

    I see three options with these older Allens:

    1. play them as is - using their existing voices. Allen still provide spare parts but in some cases the parts may cost more than the Organ is worth. These
    older Organs lack MIDI capability so this defeats the purpose of being down here in the MIDI section of the Forum.

    2. retain the Allen voices and add some MIDI capability - by incorporating some aftermarket encoders onto the existing Allen keying and/or stop tab
    systems. The Forum's Admin makes something along these lines for the MOS2 Allens and Harrision Labs for the MOS1's.

    3. gut them of their Allen electronics, reuse the harware (console, manuals, tabs, pistons and pedalboard) and add MIDI encoders (and decoders if you
    want to have moving stops) to create a large MIDI controller (Warning! - soldering iron and wire cutters required). I'm just about to complete doing this to
    an Allen Model 301 MOS 1 Organ. This is the same console that is pictured in the first image in Post#12. You can see it in action here (without the stop rail and side boxes fitted) playing the Hereford Cathedral sample set on Hauptwerk:

    http://youtu.be/D-PyzM8Jz0w

    Then I might actually get around to doing this one:

    http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post217509

    The main problem with old consoles is that you will not have velocity sensitive manuals which effectively limits you to playing in the Classical, Theatre or Hammond organ genres - unless you change the key contact system or decant some velocity sensitive MIDI keyboards into the Console.

    This is one of the reasons that I have gone down the stacked MIDI controller route - so that I can play orchestral, band, vocal, piano, synth and any other
    samples/voices that respond to MIDI velocity information.

    If it exists at all, you will find that the MIDI implementation on most 'home' organs (e.g Lowrey, Technics, Roland Atelier, Yamaha, etc) is not adequate. They will send note
    on/offs (some with only fixed velocity) and maybe some limited program changes or Control Change messages but not much else and their implementation is not reconfigurable - so 'Home' organs typically don't tend to serve well as MIDI controllers. Again, why this thread is positioned down here in the MIDI section.

    I want to be have fully assignable (and therefore reconfigurable) buttons, knobs and sliders so that I can determine which MIDI messages are sent when I
    operate the controls on the Control Surface.

    If you want to see the myriad approaches to 'MIDI organs' (mostly driving Hauptwerk software and associated sample sets) then take a look
    here:

    http://pcorgan.com/FotosEN.html


    Also, I have a Roland FP-7 with midi in/out. Only one manual but I can split the keyboard . Can I connect a pedal board to it using your configuration?
    I had a look at the manual for the FP-7. You can plug a pedalboard into the FP7's MIDI in and use it to control the internal voices of the FP7. You can also
    connect the FP7 into a PC/Mac via USB and use the FP7 to control software on the PC.

    However it doesn't appear to be written up in the manual that you can have the FP7 act as a MIDI interface for the pedalboard into the PC. This may be
    possible but it isn't documented and you'd have to try it to see.

    Otherwise, if you have a separate MIDI interface on your PC then you can plug the FP7 in via USB and plug a pedalboard in via the MIDI interface; or go for the MIDI merge solution depicted as Option 2 in Post #9.
    Last edited by Momboc; 09-06-2013, 06:08 AM.

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  • Directora13
    replied
    Wow .. thank you so much for such detailed information.. while I am not handy with a soldering iron, one of my band members is and we were discussing my midi/organ dream/project just yesterday.

    I'm inclined toward an AGO spec 32 note pedal organ, if I can find one, otherwise this is a great alternative and probably more within my budget (sigh).

    I keep checking ebay and craigs list but feel overwhelmed by the choices. Lots of Hammonds and Lowrys but I'm not sure if that's the sound I'm looking for... and lots of tabs/functions I'm not familiar with, but then again , may in the future need to be. I currently play on a Reuben Midmer pipe organ (apx.1870's): 2 manuals, 20 stops 20 ranks, 30 note pedals. I would love to get my hands on a used 3 manual/ full pedalboard for home practice or similar to the Roland C-330 or Rodgers for it's compact size under $2000(WAY under) Any suggestions? Also, I have a Roland FP-7 with midi in/out. Only one manual but I can split the keyboard . Can I connect a pedal board to it using your configuration?

    I think I've asked enough questions for today, lol.

    Thanks to you and all others who might respond.










    Thanks !

    Leave a comment:


  • Momboc
    replied
    Originally posted by Bach-On View Post
    Interesting setup, Momboc. That looks like a fun project to keep you off the streets and out of trouble.

    Some here will probably know the answer, but I recall that Allen started using magnets in the pedals that triggered magnetic switches actually located in the console. There was not actual physical connection. It makes me wonder, do most pedal boards have the switches integrated into them, or are the switches in the console?

    Bach On
    Allen Organs use a curved wooden strip, containing 32 reed switches, which is attached to the bottom front of the console. You can see the strip under the expression pedals and toe studs in this picture of Allen 301 console.

    With the pedalboard properly mated and aligned to the console, a pedal note is activated when the pedal is depressed and a magnet fixed to the front of the pedal is brought into proximity of the associated reed switch.





    You can see the magnetic blocks stapled to the front of each pedal on the Allen pedalboard in the following photo.

    The pedalboard that I am converting for use in this project came from a Conn Theatre organ and it had small metal 'fingers' screwed to the front of each pedal that would depress a switch mounted inside the console when the pedalboard was properly mounted to the console .

    I think that most organs with detachable pedalboards have the switches located inside or on the console.





    Below is a photo of the inside of the Allen reed switch panel. You can see the reed switches located in the bottom of the notches in the back of the panel. I have removed the original Allen matrix wiring and I am rewiring the Allen panel with a scan row system.

    Because the converted Conn pedalboard will be a standalone MIDI controller, it will have the switches mounted on the pedalboard.

    Underneath the Allen panel in the photo is a ribbon cable reed switch array made by Midi Gadgets Boutique that connects to one of their pedal encoders. I will be using this array for the Conn pedalboard and I'll have to make up a suitably curved board to mount the reed switches (which are hidden under the black heat shrink tube). Small magnets will be attached to the front of each pedal to trigger the reed switches.





    Hammond 25 note pedalboards also use fingers on each pedal to depress an array of switches mounted inside the console.
    Here is a photo of the Hammond pedals and above it is the switch unit (which has been removed from an old Hammond console).

    Last edited by Momboc; 09-01-2013, 02:39 AM.

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  • Bach-On
    replied
    Interesting setup, Momboc. That looks like a fun project to keep you off the streets and out of trouble.

    Some here will probably know the answer, but I recall that Allen started using magnets in the pedals that triggered magnetic switches actually located in the console. There was not actual physical connection. It makes me wonder, do most pedal boards have the switches integrated into them, or are the switches in the console?

    Bach On

    Leave a comment:

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