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Baldwin C-601 3-manual drawknob

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  • Baldwin C-601 3-manual drawknob

    Anyone care to speculate on value for one of these? May need to find a home for one. These are from the 1970's if I remember correctly.
    Last edited by TylerPiano; 03-18-2021, 02:02 PM.

  • #2
    Wow. That brings back memories! I picked up one of these back about 2001 for $500 and used it in a 300-seat church for several years. It was an amazing "tour de force" in analog electronics, with perhaps the largest number of gate and filter boards ever built into a stock-model church organ. It has the "guts" to produce 50 or so truly independent stops, no borrowing or unification. Even several sets of oscillators so that the pitches are also randomly offset rather than phase-locked across the stops and octaves.

    But its complexity was its un-doing. Try as I might, I never actually had it all working in all those years. Just too many extremely sophisticated circuits, thousands of components -- diodes, capacitors, transistors, resistors, capacitors -- and some of them had reached their expiration date, I'm sure.

    The keyboards were a delight to play, at least IMHO. Each key is a balanced wooden stick with lead at the back end to provide just the right touch. A sturdy pedal board too, as I recall. I don't remember thinking the drawknobs were all that great, but certainly functional. Ours had a setterboard combination action, which worked for the most part, though a few stops quit responding to it over time.

    And that is one HEAVY console. It is probably the heaviest organ I ever tried to deal with. It may weigh 1000 pounds, for all I know. Just a monster. And probably too large to fit through any standard doorway. We brought it into the church through double doors.

    Anyway, it really has little remaining value, though it's an interesting bit of Baldwin organ history. And for a dedicated owner willing to continually fix and tinker and with the skills to nurse it back to health when it fails, it makes a fully serviceable organ. The console could of course be gutted and used as a MASSIVE base for a VPO, but that begs the question "why use such an enormous hulking console if the VPO equipment would fit into a console 1/10 that size and weight?"

    Like many other "noble experiments" of the past, this one has a place in organ history, but perhaps not in anybody's real home or church. I do know of several of these that got hauled out behind the barn and burned in a brush pile. Good luck with whatever you work out to do with it.
    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


    • #3
      Thanks John,
      I had read some older posts where you had commented on this model before..good information to have. My tech and I went through it for about an hour. This one does not have the setter board. Only 2 stops not sounding that we would need to trace down further, everything looked good at those 2 drawknobs. A few drawknobs binding but otherwise in pretty good shape. Nice wooden keys as you mention. It is massive...definitely around 1,000 lbs. and it's 38" deep. If it weren't for the depth issue I would keep it around as a practice instrument. I might see if I get any interest on Ebay. Not sure this will even fit in my dumpster. Thanks again.

      Comment


      • jbird604
        jbird604 commented
        Editing a comment
        One time I was in on the installation of a new organ replacing one of these monsters in a rather large church. A representative from the company providing the new organ was there (Johannus) and we were sort of humorously discussing what to do with the old Baldwin. He remarked that when encountering these in the past he used the "Saws-All" method of disposal. (If you're not into power tools, a SawsAll is a large reciprocating electric saw that can quickly cut through some very tough materials.) That solves several problems -- cuts it up into pieces small and light enough to carry out easily to the dumpster or the burn pile.

        Of course a rep for a modern organ company might tend to be cynical about old "junk" like this, while some of us can still the potential in one of these for some good music-making. BTW, it turned out that an older gentleman in the church who had been the organist when that Baldwin was new wanted it, and he had a huge old southern mansion with plenty of room for it and the pile of enormous speaker cabinets.

    • #4
      What an interesting bit of history! It had a 32' Contre Bombarde as well as a 32' flue in the pedal! In addition to that, it has Carillon/Chime controls on one side, and I can't tell what was on the other side. It makes me wonder what the stoplist was as well and the channels used to reproduce that stoplist.

      It will take a dedicated person to restore/maintain this instrument. I really do hope it is preserved for future generations to hear–and be thankful for digital organs!;-)

      Thanks for sharing it with us, Tyler.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

      Comment


      • #5
        Michael,
        Since you asked.

        Comment


        • #6
          And finally...

          Comment


          • #7
            Tyler,

            Thank you so much for documenting the stoplist of this organ. I'm impressed it had Mixtures in all divisions except the Choir, and on the Choir, there was an Unda Maris! The stoplist appears very complete, with the exception that most of the Pedal stops were borrowed from other divisions, but I guess that makes for less circuitry.

            Diapason Chorus in the Great, Reed Chorus in the Swell, almost a Cornet in the Swell, Salicional 8' paired with the Voix Celeste 8' in the Swell, and a raft of Percussion in the Great! I've left out some things, like the 32' Contre Bourdon and 32' Contra Bombarde, but I'm surprised how similar the stoplist is to many of Allen's & Rodgers' larger analog and digital organs through the 1990s. I'm guessing people would call it "American Classic" or even "Baroque Revival," but any way you look at it, that organ would perform most literature authentically.

            Now, I'm even more disheartened that it might not be able to be saved, even if just for history's sake. Oh, well. I'm just today getting the garage wired for service, so I have no time for trips (my wife would kill me too).

            Michael
            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
            • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

            Comment


            • #8
              Michael, the stop list is as impressive as it looks. And to be fair, the stops in the pedal division that are marked with other divisions are in fact fully independent stops. The markings only indicate which division each stop is expressed with. There is literally no borrowing or unification in this organ.

              This is possible because each stop has its very own set of 61 gate diodes, these several thousand diodes contained in large component drawers in the rear of the console. At the diode gates, the signals are collected in groups of about one octave each per stop and cabled to the "tone color" system in the upper part of the console. In the tone color box, each stop has its own filter board, each filter board contains several discrete filters, one for each octave or other grouping by which the signals are gathered at the gates.

              On each stop's board, the several octave groups are summed into a single signal which is switched on and off by the drawknob for that stop.

              Mixtures are handled in a slightly different manner, with the mixtures themselves created or "composed" on a set of boards that blend the outputs of several oscillators and dividers into 61 composite mixture "notes" that are keyed together instead of rank by rank like the rest of the stops.

              The stops of each division are then mixed down into however many channels the purchaser had ordered and paid for. Theoretically each stop could have its own channel, but in practice these organs were usually projected through about 12 or 13 main channels and then a set of 3 or more antiphonal channels if desired.

              It all sounds quite grand, and on paper it is, but it didn't really "sound" as grand as one would wish due to the obvious limitations of all analog technology -- it can only be at best a rudimentary simulation of the tone color of a given pipe rank. And back then there was no realistic way to simulate the pitch activity, the way an individual pipe sort of "yips" up to pitch on the attack, and then sags in pitch for a millisecond or two as the key is released. So these organs probably didn't ever fool anybody into thinking they were real pipe organs. But they were very elaborate and complete and made a serviceable substitute for the real thing.

              These organs and all the other noble work of the analog pioneers make me want to see them all preserved, but I also know that few people have the space or want to deal with a half ton console and enough speaker cabinets to fill your living room to the ceiling. Especially when a compact and lightweight modern digital can give you the same or better stop list that sounds almost indistinguishable from the real thing and fits neatly into a small alcove in your living room.
              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


              • #9
                Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                Mixtures are handled in a slightly different manner, with the mixtures themselves created or "composed" on a set of boards that blend the outputs of several oscillators and dividers into 61 composite mixture "notes" that are keyed together instead of rank by rank like the rest of the stops.
                John,

                Did the Mixtures "break back" as the pitch ascended?

                Michael
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                Comment


                • jbird604
                  jbird604 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes. The technical manual for that model includes an elaborate chart that shows the frequencies combined for each note of the mixture. Every few notes in the scale there is a break where the topmost component is removed and a lower component replaces it, just as in pipe organ mixture scaling.

                  Because of the complexity of this scheme, the same mixture composition is used for all divisions. But the different filter boards used in each division give the mixtures the necessary subtle differences.

                  As with most analog systems, the mixtures are simply made up of fifths and octaves, and there are no separate oscillator ranks from which to draw the raw pitches. So they are not perfect mixtures, as digital organs can produce, but they are about as good as the mixtures on any other analog organ.

                • michaelhoddy
                  michaelhoddy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  One interesting analog note is that AOB actually did address the issue with tempered fifths in their mixtures by providing an independent pure-tuned 1-1/3' Principal-tone oscillator set that would generate all the non-unison pitches in the mixture, with the unison pitches drawn from the regular Principal rank (which was typically unified anyway, at least in the vast majority of production organs). The mixtures in a given division, whether III or IV or V or more, would come from those two ranks. At least that's how the Great mixtures were handled.

                • jbird604
                  jbird604 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That was a great thing for AOB to do. I've often wondered why other builders didn't do that, at least on premium models. But of course that added to the cost...

              • #10
                Interesting footnote to this particular organ which I just discovered. This organ was originally installed at Green Acres Baptist here in Tyler TX and at some point Bill Stephens came down and added additional couplers to the existing specs and made some other modifications. So the organ as we see it now has evolved from when it left the factory.

                Bill Jeffreys

                Comment


                • jbird604
                  jbird604 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bill Stephens was a fine guy. When I was just an upstart in the organ service field, I could call him and ask anything about one of the Baldwin analogs and he was eager to guide me to understand and repair whatever I was facing. One of the greats of the past.

              • #11
                I've often wondered why Baldwin, Rodgers, and Conn did not use a divider rank to generate perfectly tuned fifths and thirds for their mixtures and mutations. It would have been an easy way to get them in tune, and the square wave outputs make for easy keying and wave shaping. I think the lack of "ensemble" in these stops would have been acceptable.

                Comment

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