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    Allen R-230

    How much do you all think my Allen R-230 is worth? I am the original owner; I bought it in 2001, and it has always been in my home and has been well cared for. It has both its internal speakers and two HR100 external speakers, plus a non-Allen subwoofer to take care of the low end of the 16' stops. It is a great little instrument, but I'd love to upgrade, and part of the equation is how much I might be able to get for my 230. Thanks in advance for any insights you can give me!

    #2
    My guess would be somewhere between $9k and $14k.
    Sam
    Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
    Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

    Comment


      #3
      As I have often said when asked this kind of question... it depends! As a tech with wide Allen expertise, and who professionally restores and resells Allen organs through my shop, I can sell an organ that new for about $12K or so, BUT my price includes delivery, setup and complete professional installation, voicing with DOVE and a one year warranty.

      Honestly, you probably shouldn't expect to get even half that much selling it from your home without any of the after-sales extras that a shop or dealership will provide.

      BTW, that is a marvelous organ and happens to be what I have in my home right now as my daily practice instrument, though I have heavily modified mine, converting it to 4 channel mode (which requires knowledge of DOVE as well as new amps and certain other additional hardware) and equipping it with large external speakers and a headphone jack. I'd hope to get $15K for mine if I were to sell it, because of the special mods.
      John
      ----------
      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        As I have often said when asked this kind of question... it depends!
        I entirely agree .

        As a tech with wide Allen expertise, and who professionally restores and resells Allen organs through my shop, I can sell an organ that new for about $12K or so, BUT my price includes delivery, setup and complete professional installation, voicing with DOVE and a one year warranty.
        I realize that there is a big difference between a private sale and a dealer with warranty. However, for a little R-230, there isn't that much setup, and I could certainly do all that there is for the new buyer if they are local. I could easily describe what needs to be done to a distant buyer. Voicing with DOVE, however, wouldn't be possible unless the buyer is local, and that takes a lot of time, so that would have to factor into the purchase price.

        Honestly, you probably shouldn't expect to get even half that much selling it from your home without any of the after-sales extras that a shop or dealership will provide.
        That's a bit disappointing. I do think that your location vs. mine probably will play a factor too though, in favor of me getting a better price. Everything seems to be more expensive up here than in the South.

        BTW, that is a marvelous organ and happens to be what I have in my home right now as my daily practice instrument, though I have heavily modified mine, converting it to 4 channel mode (which requires knowledge of DOVE as well as new amps and certain other additional hardware) and equipping it with large external speakers and a headphone jack. I'd hope to get $15K for mine if I were to sell it, because of the special mods.
        I have thought about expanding my organ to four channels, but would really like to upgrade to a 3m instrument and then worry about special modifications .
        Thank you for taking the time to share your expert thoughts!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by mlaird View Post
          I have thought about expanding my organ to four channels, but would really like to upgrade to a 3m instrument and then worry about special modifications .
          Thank you for taking the time to share your expert thoughts!
          You are wise to move on up to a 3m if that is your goal. It takes a LOT of time, knowledge of the inner workings of DOVE, and some hard-to-get hardware to convert a simple 2-channel Renaissance organ to four channels. I did it because it's in my home and I wanted to enjoy it best I can, as I probably won't ever move up to a newer or larger home organ. Also, with the channels divided, it's a little more like the larger Allen I play at church, with its divided setup. But for selling it yourself, best to "sell it like it is," as Allen used to stress to us out in the dealerships. I do wish I could tell you that you'll get $10K for it, and perhaps it will bring more in another market. It really is sad here in the south, with the dominant flavor of church rapidly becoming sold out on the "Sunday morning stage show" worship model (I use the term "worship" loosely), dispensing with traditional organs (though going nuts over old Hammonds with Leslie speakers). Too many such churches are practically giving away their nice classical organs, often quite new and large, which greatly depresses the market here.

          I'm a big talker and love to put in my two cent's worth on any discussion, so you're certainly welcome to what little my posting offers of value. Best wishes for continued enjoyment of the organ. Keep on posting here and make yourself a part of this wonderful group of certifiable organ nuts!

          John
          ----------
          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
          Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
            It takes a LOT of time, knowledge of the inner workings of DOVE, and some hard-to-get hardware to convert a simple 2-channel Renaissance organ to four channels.
            Why is it so hard? I thought it would just involve changing some channel assignments on the audio board and then getting the right amps and speakers. I had heard a while back that it was possible, but never investigated it seriously.

            It really is sad here in the south, with the dominant flavor of church rapidly becoming sold out on the "Sunday morning stage show" worship model (I use the term "worship" loosely), dispensing with traditional organs (though going nuts over old Hammonds with Leslie speakers). Too many such churches are practically giving away their nice classical organs, often quite new and large, which greatly depresses the market here.
            I entirely agree. Too many churches seem focused on providing entertainment instead of worship.

            Comment


              #7
              The main difficulty in converting the R-230 to four channels is the hardware required. You have to either find or build yourself a four-channel audio cable to run from the REN-II cage to the amplifier location. That might sound simple, but the output from the cage is on some kind of Molex (I think that's the brand) connector to which you must add the additional pins and wires. Would be far simpler if Allen simply listed in their parts catalog a four-channel cable ready-made, as they obviously have to use when building one of the larger models that uses all four outputs from the cage, but I couldn't find such a thing for sale in their catalog, so I had to resort to making one from scratch. Then you have to replace the existing 2-channel amplifier (which in my R-230 was an ADC dual amp assembly) with a four-channel amplifier. I was able to salvage and repair an older ADC quad unit. Then you have to modify the fanning strip that screws to the front of the ADC amp chassis to carry your four audio channels to whatever relays or terminal strips or whatever that you will use to attach your speaker cables to. That is the easier part of it, but still takes some doing to make it look right. There isn't a lot of spare room inside the R-230 console to mount any extra stuff, but I was able to mount a second antiphonal relay somewhere in the area of the amps so I can control both my great and swell speakers (which I switch off when I want to use headphones).

              Then you must have the proper version of DOVE and the necessary configuration file for the R-230 (which should be found on almost any CD containing DOVE software), and then you have to at least understand the routing terminology -- "frames" and "groups" and such terms -- in order to gather up the swell stops and separate them from the great/pedal. Again, not a huge deal, but it took some head-scratching the first time I did this. And the various other settings related to how the four channels will be used, how the virtual acoustics outputs will be directed, "front" and "rear" acoustics, and so on. It was an interesting process, but I doubt that I'll ever be doing such a thing again, so it was all just for my own amusement.

              My setup is still a bit on the primitive side, and if I ever sell the organ I'll have to go to great lengths to explain to a new owner how I've done all these mods. The great/pedal still sound through the original internal speakers, controlled by one of the relays and tabs, and the swell sounds through the external speakers, controlled by the other relay and tab.

              I'm enjoying it and feel that the stops really came to life when given all this extra audio in which to live, but if I sell it, I may wind up reverting to two channels just for simplicity. So my advice to you is to not do any mods until you have the organ you want to keep!
              John
              ----------
              Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
              Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
              Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
              Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

              Comment


              • you795a
                you795a commented
                Editing a comment
                The type of connectors that plug into the cage are AMP/Tyco brand connectors. That is the brand that Allen used mostly. The IDC connectors are also AMP/Tyco. I used to work for Allen.

              #8
              Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
              Too many such churches are practically giving away their nice classical organs, often quite new and large, which greatly depresses the market here.
              On a related note, where are such churches "practically giving away" their organs? I have been watching craigslist and eBay for years, and have not seen very many 3m Allens for sale, unless you include older ADC and MOS models. I'm really interested in Renaissance or newer. MDS organs sounded great for what they were, but I am not fond of Phelpsavant voicing, which MDS perpetuated. It wasn't until Renaissance when I could voice an Allen to sound like I really wanted.

              Comment


              • jbird604
                jbird604 commented
                Editing a comment
                I'm probably speaking "ministerially" to say this is truly common. And many churches start out thinking they'll get a lot of money for one before they wind up nearly giving it away. In the past 3 years, I've seen one church start out asking $25K for a massive MDS80 with 30+ speaker cabinets only to let it go for about $8K, and another church asking $20K for an MDS60 only to let it go for about $6K. A friend here in town picked up an MDS51S recently for just a few thousand dollars. These are all large full-featured 3m organs comparable to new models costing $100K to $250K in the present lineup.

                To be honest, I haven't seen a 3m Renaissance given away yet, but some pretty amazing bargains have been mentioned on this forum and in other quarters where organ are discussed. The prices shown in ebay listings are in most cases way above what they'll actually get for an organ, as they repeatedly list one, lowering the price, or they wind up selling their organ in desperation to one of the "flippers" who'll come out and pick it up for next to nothing and then list it on ebay for a ridiculous price that he himself will never get either. Most of the sales take place off ebay, where the sellers make "deals" with the buyers and never let it be known how little they actually get for an organ.

                And in your area, things could be different. Our state and region are dominated by a large evangelical denomination that has completely turned away from traditional music. At the highest levels of the organization leaders are being advised to convert to the "Sunday morning stage show" model and to dump their organs. (Perhaps this isn't actually in the literature being sent out to the "worship pastors" but it is definitely the line of thought they are being fed by the emphasis on this type of music at denominational gatherings, conferences, workshops, camps, etc.)

                Those of us who are hanging on to traditional church music are the beneficiaries, at least for a while, of this movement away from organs in church. I have a Renaissance in my home that I got for shockingly little, and a large MDS at church that also came to us for a small fraction of the cost of a new one. So keep your eyes and ears open.

              #9
              Hi,

              What makes you think there are huge numbers of 3 man. RENNAISANCE Allen organs out there for the taking. These organs came out around 1998, and so are at best 20 years old. Around that time Allen's sales declined noticeably. Especially the last 10 years. Since organs are bought for the long term, there are relatively few used organson the market. Narrowing the field to 3 manual, you will find very few in the used market.

              I would suggest, keep looking, be prepared to look quite a distance, and also to pay more than you initially wanted to.

              Cheers AV

              Comment


                #10
                I have seen MDS instruments advertised for quite reasonable prices, and I'm sure you're right that the asking prices are higher than what the sellers can actually get for those instruments. Unfortunately for me, the MDS sound has never been my favorite, as high-quality as it is. The tightness of the tuning, and the overall style of voicing are just not my taste. I swapped out the reeds on my Swell division for Cavaille-Coll samples and am much happier with them. The balance between the reeds and the mixtures as well is much more to my liking than what I could ever get out of an MDS organ. That's why I don't think I'll ever go back to a pre-Renaissance Allen, unless it's a console I'm going to use just for Hauptwerk.

                I am keeping my eyes open for such an upgrade. Let me know if you have any suggestions on where to look besides eBay and craigslist.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Arie V has a good point -- the total number of Renaissance 3m organs out there is relatively small compared to MDS and ADC models, thus there are likely to be fewer available on the used market either now or later. However, I would say that the fact that the oldest of them are only 20 years old doesn't really keep them from being "nearly given away." I have seen absolutely shocking things happening in the world of church music around here -- fairly modern and very expensive digitals and even quite decent pipe organs being taken out of service, and in some cases literally TAKEN OUT of the church, as more and more congregations bow to pressure from various quarters to "change their style" before they "shrivel up and die." So it wouldn't surprise me at all to see a large Renaissance 3m joining the "ranks" of used ADC and MDS organs on craigslist, ebay, Facebook marketplace, and other such lists. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open.

                  But it might be fruitful for the OP here (mlaird) to consider going the Hauptwerk route, given his interest in selecting the individual stops of the organ. Even though Renaissance models have a decent selection of stops that can be substituted for the stock disposition, Hauptwerk gives you virtually unlimited options. And there are other VPO options, such as jOrgan, that allow a user to design an organ from scratch, building up each and every stop from a vast library of real samples as well as synthesized organ tones, crafting every characteristic and modifying the tone color just as a pipe organ builder might be able to do.

                  And Hauptwerk or VPO systems can be put together quite inexpensively using a gutted Allen or Rodgers console to which one only needs to add a computer system and an audio system. Of course some of us (myself included) are still not fully comfortable with these software solutions and prefer a "hardware" organ that simply turns on with a switch and works and plays like an organ when we're ready to practice!


                  John
                  ----------
                  Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                  Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                  Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                  Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                  Comment


                    #12
                    I think I would enjoy the challenge of building a Hauptwerk or jOrgan instrument, but I'm afraid that would take enough of my time that I wouldn't have as much time to actually play the organ. That's why my preferred option is to find a turnkey instrument that does what I want, and I vastly prefer moving drawknobs over the lighted gadgets found on most electronic brands, so Allen is my preferred choice. I do appreciate hearing alternative ideas, however, so feel free to throw them this direction so I can weigh the possibilities!

                    Comment


                      #13
                      I'm with you on that! I too would probably enjoy the challenge of building up a VPO, but what I really want to do is "play" the organ, not necessarily "play with" it. So far I've managed to be fairly satisfied with one or another hardware organ that I could find to bring home.

                      (You probably don't know my backstory -- the Allen R-230 happens to be the TWELFTH home organ I've had in the past 20 years. Being an organ tech and installer, I have the chance now and then to pick up good used organs. I've had some very lovely home organs including a couple of Allen ADC models, a couple of Rodgers digitals, and my favorite before the R-230 was a little Viscount! I have told myself that I'm keeping the R-230, but now and then I get the "itch" to try something different. So far I've resisted, as the R-230 is so sweet and also happens to match up pretty closely in spec with the MDS45 I play at church, well enough that I can record disks at home on the SmartRecorder and have them play back correctly on the organ at church.)

                      But when I watch youtube videos of guys playing their fabulous VPO's using sample sets from some of the world's most magnificent cathedrals, and hearing those incredible sounds, feeling totally immersed into the environment of those beautiful places -- well, I get to thinking I'd really like to do that too! Some of the "turn-key" Hauptwerk systems such as the "Live!" series from Johannus or the Mixtuur organs from Holland sound quite interesting to me, and ought to operate just as easily as a true hardware organ. But then I still like being able to transfer my disks from home to church, and I'm sure the church is not going to get a new organ any time soon.

                      Maybe one day I'll have the time, money, and space to have more than one organ at home. Then I might have an Allen side by side with a nice big VPO.
                      John
                      ----------
                      Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                      Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                      Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                      Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                      Comment


                        #14
                        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                        The Allen R-230 happens to be the TWELFTH home organ I've had in the past 20 years.
                        Wow! That's a lot of "organ transplants" .

                        Maybe one day I'll have the time, money, and space to have more than one organ at home. Then I might have an Allen side by side with a nice big VPO.
                        My dream is to have an Allen whose sound I like, and then add something like Hauptwerk onto it as optional extra voices. Then I can just play the hardware organ when I don't want to fiddle, or I can add in the software stops if I do. I was thinking about doing that with my R-230, but I really want the third manual in order to play my French literature, so I am hoping I can find a 3m instrument before the urge to start fiddling gets too strong.

                        Comment


                        • jbird604
                          jbird604 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Yes, using a late-model Allen as the console for a Hauptwerk system is a perfect idea. I'm pretty sure that HW would respond properly to just about all the Allen's hardware controls, keys down, of course, but also expression and crescendo, piston presses, stops on/off. A person could of course use a touch-screen for stop selection as well.

                          And you are wise to get the console you want before you start your tinkering. No need to go through all that twice.

                          I have indeed done a lot of "organ transplants" and usually got a better organ with each trade. But I have had both good ones and lousy ones at home. One of my first home organs was a HUGE Baldwin D-422, a very fine-sounding organ. Drawback, besides the enormous size, was that it needed to have at least 6 audio channels to sound right, or even 11 or as many as 16 if a person had the room for all those speakers, and I didn't have the room. I was mixing it into just two or three channels. When someone offered me good money for it, I let it go. The big lesson I learned from it was that having a real AGO church organ at home really did help me play better at church.

                          Now and then I had a lesser organ. For a while I had nothing but a couple of Casio keyboards and a 13-note MIDI pedal board under the table. That was just barely better than nothing at all. Another time I had to use a Yamaha stage organ (model HX-1, I think) that had a 27-note concave/radiating pedalboard. It was better than the two keyboards had been, but still not the real thing. Eventually, I got back to having a solid AGO church organ at home, Allen, Rodgers, Viscount. Every time I got one set up to my liking, we'd have a prospect wanting something "just like that" so out the door it would go!

                          Since the R-230 came along (by a strange set of circumstances -- the church where it was mistakenly thought it had problems that couldn't be fixed and they wanted a bigger one anyway), I have resisted selling it. After all, I have several decent older Allens in the shop for potential buyers, and the R-230 is just such a close match to the organ I play at church. But one of these days I may let it go if the price is right, and if I have another one ready to bring home.
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