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  • Small Pipe Organs

    Are there any companies now days that will make a 4 or 5 rank unified pipe organ for churches? I think they would be very nice in lieu of some of the very expensive large digital organs that don't have the sounds of many of the analog electronics which of coarse were much cheaper. Also a pipe organ could be easier to repair, and there would have to be any of those "boards" of computer chips that have been sent to the factory where they might be fixed or might not be at all. A pipe organ would provide very natural sounds if voiced correctly as well as a gifted and talented organist could choose the specifications for the ranks and stops. I think they would last longer and be more economical for many churches as well as private homes if wanted there.

    James
    Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
    Baldwin Spinet 58R
    Lowrey Spinet SCL
    Wurlitzer 4100A
    Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


    Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

    Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
    Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
    Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

  • #2
    Wicks would probably build one, if they are still doing new pipe organs. Reuter might, too, but it would probably be an expensive job. Really almost any pipe organ repair house could put one together with blowers, chests, and pipes from supply houses. Klann might put one together, too, or even Organ Supply Industries.

    Certainly you can find a builder for a 4 or 5 rank tracker, but that wouldn't be unified.

    There is a lot of money in just the hardware of an organ console, so it's hard to make a pipe organ that competes with an entry-level digital organ. More commonly, small used pipe organs are very affordable. Used consoles are often available for a builder who will assemble an organ from used parts.

    R.A. Colby is another house that could put together a small pipe organ using 2nd hand components: http://www.racolby.com.

    Comment


    • #3
      You pay, they build. I fear it is as simple as that. But economics are against you. Electronics are easy compared to a one-off design of something mechanical. With a pipe organ you have to design, build and voice every pipe you put into it. Each pipe that you put into it will dicate the layout of the windchest and the wind provision. Each mm you shift the console to left/right/fore/aft/up/down will be important and accounted for. Pipe organ building is very hard to industrialise and standardise. Electronics on the other hand can be easily adapted with some software, the console is of standard design with a few buttons and switches added with a drill bit and some wire.

      If you really want, there are lots of second hand pipe organs around large and small. But beware that organists will "need" a large organ with lots of stops "because of the possibilities". Never mind they can or will use them. I see lot of those small organs going away to be replaced by electronics because of this. My pipe organ is one of those small ones.

      You are right that maybe in the long term a real pipe organ is more economical. If kept simple and electronics are kept away from it then they are very repairable and durable if well made. But people don't count like that. They see the budget and the price now and figure that the electronic one will last its "lifetime" without any need of service, tuning, repair, etc. While a pipe organ is seen as something that will need constant attention, tuning, repair, etc. That very likely the electronic will indeed serve well for 10 years and when it fails then will be an expensive thing to repair as parts are not available anymore is not thought of. So it will likely have to be replaced but then again the same reasoning will be followed and in any case it will probably not be their problem.

      Comment


      • #4
        There are several pipe organ companies that will build small instruments for practice in institutions, small churches, chapels or for home use. Companies like Wicks and Kegg use direct-electric action chests so there are no pneumatics in them and every chest is a unit chest by default. Depending on the features desired, there may be electronic switching systems installed, either to control the pipes or to provide multiple-memory banks for the pistons. But for a small organ, a simple diode-matrix or even relays can be used to eliminate all electronics except the DC power supply required to produce voltage to operate the pipe magnets.

        Some builders can take parts that they have in stock from organs that were removed from service (console, chests, pipework) and create a new instrument. Or they can acquire one of many pipe organs begging for a new home (as on the Organ Clearing House site) and rebuild it to your specification. That cuts down the cost.

        The Associated Pipe Organ Builders Builders of America (APOBA) web site lists members and links to their individual web sites. There are also many other pipe organ builders that are not APOBA members but who also have the capability of creating a small instrument for you.

        http://www.organclearinghouse.net/

        http://apoba.com/members
        Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Havoc View Post
          You pay, they build. I fear it is as simple as that. But economics are against you. Electronics are easy compared to a one-off design of something mechanical. With a pipe organ you have to design, build and voice every pipe you put into it. Each pipe that you put into it will dicate the layout of the windchest and the wind provision. Each mm you shift the console to left/right/fore/aft/up/down will be important and accounted for. Pipe organ building is very hard to industrialise and standardise. Electronics on the other hand can be easily adapted with some software, the console is of standard design with a few buttons and switches added with a drill bit and some wire.

          If you really want, there are lots of second hand pipe organs around large and small. But beware that organists will "need" a large organ with lots of stops "because of the possibilities". Never mind they can or will use them. I see lot of those small organs going away to be replaced by electronics because of this. My pipe organ is one of those small ones.

          You are right that maybe in the long term a real pipe organ is more economical. If kept simple and electronics are kept away from it then they are very repairable and durable if well made. But people don't count like that. They see the budget and the price now and figure that the electronic one will last its "lifetime" without any need of service, tuning, repair, etc. While a pipe organ is seen as something that will need constant attention, tuning, repair, etc. That very likely the electronic will indeed serve well for 10 years and when it fails then will be an expensive thing to repair as parts are not available anymore is not thought of. So it will likely have to be replaced but then again the same reasoning will be followed and in any case it will probably not be their problem.
          But, an electronic organ will never have the same sound quality as real pipes, and a well designed four stop organ can be much nicer than a digital fifty stop instrument. I mean, seriously, at what point are you going to use that 32' Contra Tuba? having a huge instrument is not required for practice. my home organ is a single stop and no pedals, and that is fine because I have access to a decent pipe organ in a church. A small pipe organ is great for practice, and you should look into the extension side of things. you an get a twenty sop organ out of five ranks with ease.

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't think any organ company would turn down the work with the possible exception of some of the more snobbish "boutique" builders who charge big bucks for anything and everything. I'm sure my company would build such an organ if asked.

            The P&S Organ Supply Company has small, stock model organs but I believe that they are all trackers - I could be mistaken - so the idea of a unified design would not work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Terpodion View Post
              I don't think any organ company would turn down the work with the possible exception of some of the more snobbish "boutique" builders who charge big bucks for anything and everything. I'm sure my company would build such an organ if asked.

              The P&S Organ Supply Company has small, stock model organs but I believe that they are all trackers - I could be mistaken - so the idea of a unified design would not work.
              I just had a look at their website, and all their stock organ can be electric or tracker.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by APipeOrganist View Post
                But, an electronic organ will never have the same sound quality as real pipes, and a well designed four stop organ can be much nicer than a digital fifty stop instrument. I mean, seriously, at what point are you going to use that 32' Contra Tuba? having a huge instrument is not required for practice. my home organ is a single stop and no pedals, and that is fine because I have access to a decent pipe organ in a church. A small pipe organ is great for practice, and you should look into the extension side of things. you an get a twenty sop organ out of five ranks with ease.
                I disagree with this. I think a very well-designed 4-stop tracker can be a wonderful, timeless musical instrument for what it is , but you will pay for it from someone like Dobson, Fisk, or one of the others. It will sound wonderful for what it is, but you will not play big French works for instance, or even big hymns, convincingly on it.

                Every single one of the ubiquitous 5-rank mass-market unit organs that Wicks, Moller, and even lesser builders made so many of, I find seriously lacking from a musical standpoint for really ANYTHING. The individual ranks are okay enough, but usually in common expression, and any attempt at a chorus means wading into serious unification and voice-robbing. This is where I think the whole idea of a very small pipe organ as an instrument of integrity breaks down: Unless you keep the stops close to straight, which means giving up any intimation of a "chorus," you're in serious tonal compromise. If you give up the "chorus," you give up several of the major effects of the organ in church or literature use, unless you happen to be in a very small room where this would be less likely anyway.

                I WOULD take the 50-stop electronic, properly installed, over the 3-5 rank unit pipe organ. A larger pipe organ is obviously a better choice most of the time, but in the low end of the market, it's no accident that production of these electric action and EP 3-5 rank single-chest unit organs have basically died out, because electronics have indeed come far from where they were even 30 years ago. This is precisely the market that one can get a serious electronic for in which it happens to be in many cases a better, more flexible musical instrument than the very small pipe organ, for the same or less money.

                In mid-level unit pipe organs, as I have said elsewhere on this forum, I think you really need to have around 10 ranks minimum for it to be a suitably flexible and satisfying instrument for general use for the long term for most players and listeners.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't know why the idea keeps going around that an electronic organ is only good for about ten years. I see organs that are far older than that and are still being played in churches in this area. I personally own two organs that are about twenty five years old that are delightful to play and have no problems.

                  At about twenty five years, a pipe organ will have started to deteriorate in sound, with the languids dropping down and throwing off the brightness of the pipes, and also dust and dirt started to affect the sound. If the organ has pneumatic pouches, the leather will start to give way, and the organ will need to be rebuilt, and a price that may approach the original cost of the organ. Even if the organ has mechanical action, the aforesaid pipe problems will appear.

                  A good electronic organ, with proper external amplification and speakers, can certainly be a viable option to the very small pipe organ.
                  Mike

                  My home organ is a Theatre III with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The LDS church used to replace electronic organs every 20 years but has now gone to a 35 year replacement cycle. Obviously they think they'll last that long, probably based on their experience.

                    One thing that seems never to be discussed about organs for small space is that a really big organ (e.g., 50 rank) whether electronic or pipe really doesn't develop the proper sound in a small space. I've often thought that a small, say 5 rank or so, pipe organ with straight design (not unified) might be very capable in a small space, such as a home, and very satisfying to play.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Doesn't it all come down to what you want to do with the instrument? Churches vary greatly in size, acoustics, worship style and congregational singing. As noted in another thread, even a six channel Allen ADC organ can get lost in a church with a soft ceiling and filled with people wearing soft clothing.

                      As far as practice instruments in homes, again it all comes down to what you want to do with the instrument. If it is to practice keyboard and pedalboard technique, preparing for performance at another location, then it doesn't matter that much what you have as long as the instrument has some flexibility. You work out the exact registrations on the instrument where you will perform.

                      If you are playing for enjoyment at home and want the full experience of being able to work with a wide range of organ literature, then for most people there really is no practical substitute for an electronic instrument.

                      As my analog instruments age (45 years for the oldest) I know there will come a time when I either have to spend an enormous amount of time replacing capacitors or give up on those tone generators. My newer digital instruments will some day be cost prohibitive to repair and those too will potentially become unusable. But those well-built consoles can have a future as the "user interface" for new tone generators.

                      The Britson I recently acquired has finally given me the entry point into virtual organs that I've been seeking. (No, the keyboard encoder problem is not fixed yet. Getting to the circuit boards requires more mechanical disassembly than I have time for at the moment.) You can only do so much with a single Roland MIDI keyboard when you are used to 2-3 manuals and pedalboard on an AGO console. So I've had some fun playing MIDI files from the Contrebombarde site and using the Britson as the driver for both Hauptwerk and MidiTzer virtual organs.

                      I still have a mental disconnect between sitting on a bench in my living room and having the sounds of a huge cathedral pipe organ or a large Wurlitzer coming out of my speaker banks with several hundred watts of amplification. On the other hand, it really is a rather thrilling experience! I call it my "virtual reality organ trip" and while it is taking time to adjust, I think I am becoming addicted.

                      Soooo... despite my screen name on here, as an electrical engineer I am becoming convinced that the days of filling an organ console with board after board of highly customized electronics with parts that turn into "unobtanium" will eventually become cost prohibitive in a declining market for electronic organs.

                      New PCs with lots of processor power and memory are relatively cheap these days. Touch screen displays are not horribly expensive. When they die you get another one. Your license for the software and organ sample sets transfers to the new hardware. The more permanent investment is in the keyboards, pedalboard and MIDI encoders. Go to a site like PCOrgan.com ( http://www.pcorgan.com/Fotos3EN.html ) and see the incredibly creative consoles that people have built around software-based virtual pipe organs.

                      My thinking is evolving as I ponder what is important to ME. The physicality of keyboards with a good feel and an AGO-spec console is important. The way the tones are generated is becoming much less important. The mental clash between my actual surroundings and my virtual acoustic surroundings is slowly being resolved. And the joy of making music with a stunning sound is growing on me every day. It actually inspires me to practice more. And yes, it is grand fun to change the same "organ" from a movie theater WurLitzer to an English cathedral Willis as I indulge my eclectic organ interests.
                      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Interesting thread and ideas I must say.

                        Originally posted by AllenAnalog View Post
                        Doesn't it all come down to what you want to do with the instrument? Churches vary greatly in size, acoustics, worship style and congregational singing. As noted in another thread, even a six channel Allen ADC organ can get lost in a church with a soft ceiling and filled with people wearing soft clothing.

                        As far as practice instruments in homes, again it all comes down to what you want to do with the instrument. If it is to practice keyboard and pedalboard technique, preparing for performance at another location, then it doesn't matter that much what you have as long as the instrument has some flexibility. You work out the exact registrations on the instrument where you will perform.
                        I agree it comes down to what you want to do with the instrument. The point where it comes to is "some flexibility". Very often this is taken as being able to "play all literature, in all circumstances". And I think that is a mistake unless you are talking about an organ that is going to sit in a concert hall (and even then). A church organ that has to service a parish must be able to lead singing, play some festive music when occasion asks for it, somthing for a funeral etc. But when are you going to play a french romantic toccata? Now the most likely answer is "at a concert". But my take is to design the organ for its function and adapt your other uses to its possibilities. If the organist playing the concert can only play his toccata and not adapt his programme to the organ, then maybe he is not the artist he thinks he is (same if it is a she).

                        So likewise I think a concert organ should not be designed to lead congregational singing. Because of its design to play the rest of the literature it might be possible but it should not be the goal to design it for. Neither should a home/practise organ be a concert instrument. You're not going to play up against a choir, nor a full orchestra. You will not need 5 manuals and 50 stops. At most it would play with a "chamber orchestra", a couple friends maybe. But most chamber orchestras I have seen playing with an organ do this with a very small single manual chest organ, even in quite large venues.

                        Originally posted by APipeOrganist View Post
                        But, an electronic organ will never have the same sound quality as real pipes, and a well designed four stop organ can be much nicer than a digital fifty stop instrument. I mean, seriously, at what point are you going to use that 32' Contra Tuba? having a huge instrument is not required for practice. my home organ is a single stop and no pedals, and that is fine because I have access to a decent pipe organ in a church. A small pipe organ is great for practice, and you should look into the extension side of things. you an get a twenty sop organ out of five ranks with ease.
                        Oh, I agree. Mine has 5 ranks, 2 manuals and pedal, straight tracker but it is an old church organ where the organist wanted a "large electronic organ so he had more possibilities". It isn't ideal as a home instrument but as access to church instruments isn't easy around here it does well enough.

                        I really wonder how much of those "possibilities" that organist uses in reality. You see, that church is used for maybe 2 services a week where he plays (might be others without the organ) and the occasional wedding and funeral. Congregation? Let's say there are 50 people at a service and that is a big number over here. Concerts? Maybe he'll play one a year and there will be even less people than at a service. I'm not being facetious, attendance is really bad. The numbers I quote is what it was when I played 30 years ago. It didn't got better since. The priest of that church my organ comes from had 5 other churches to service and was in his late 70's. He longed to stop because it was to taxing but there was noone else to take over. This year there were 6 men entering the seminary. Big news because it was as many as the year before.

                        Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
                        I disagree with this. I think a very well-designed 4-stop tracker can be a wonderful, timeless musical instrument for what it is , but you will pay for it from someone like Dobson, Fisk, or one of the others. It will sound wonderful for what it is, but you will not play big French works for instance, or even big hymns, convincingly on it.
                        Absolutely! But do you have to be able to play the big french works or big hymns? Apart from some serious big churches or concert halls I fail to see where would be the NEED to play those. And if it is for practise then a single rank for each manual is enough. The real problem is assessing needs.

                        Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
                        Every single one of the ubiquitous 5-rank mass-market unit organs that Wicks, Moller, and even lesser builders made so many of, I find seriously lacking from a musical standpoint for really ANYTHING. The individual ranks are okay enough, but usually in common expression, and any attempt at a chorus means wading into serious unification and voice-robbing. This is where I think the whole idea of a very small pipe organ as an instrument of integrity breaks down: Unless you keep the stops close to straight, which means giving up any intimation of a "chorus," you're in serious tonal compromise. If you give up the "chorus," you give up several of the major effects of the organ in church or literature use, unless you happen to be in a very small room where this would be less likely anyway.
                        That only means that those "ubiquitous 5-rank mass market unit organs" were not suitable for what they were used. Very likely they were sold on the promise of "lots of possibilities (look at all those stop knobs) on the cheap" to people not knowledgable but having the decisionmaking capacity.

                        Originally posted by AllenAnalog View Post
                        Soooo... despite my screen name on here, as an electrical engineer I am becoming convinced that the days of filling an organ console with board after board of highly customized electronics with parts that turn into "unobtanium" will eventually become cost prohibitive in a declining market for electronic organs.

                        New PCs with lots of processor power and memory are relatively cheap these days. Touch screen displays are not horribly expensive. When they die you get another one. Your license for the software and organ sample sets transfers to the new hardware. The more permanent investment is in the keyboards, pedalboard and MIDI encoders. Go to a site like PCOrgan.com ( http://www.pcorgan.com/Fotos3EN.html ) and see the incredibly creative consoles that people have built around software-based virtual pipe organs.
                        Totally aware of that. I dumped the old Johannes analog organ. Nobody wanted it, impossible (*) to repair as well. (*) maybe not impossible but I wouldn't want to do it and I'm an electronic designer.

                        And how many times have you already upgraded that pc, memory, HD, SSD, software etc? Your license transfers? Does your Windows license transfers when you buy a new pc? Can you still activate a windows XP license? Do you get a new license when they go from 32-bit to 64-bit? Ask the people using Photoshop or other Adobe software. You can transfer the software from a Phoenix organ to another one? Software as a service is becoming the norm these days. You simply rent it from a server somewhere that only exists as long as you pay and the company is there. The day they decide to stop the server, your organ will be dead. I had to buy a new license when Eagle went from version 6 to 7. Would have had to buy a new license when Cool Edit Pro became Adobe Audition (went open source). How many people have already bought the same music on LP, CD and some other digital format?

                        Maybe a lot of remarks that do not have directly bearing on the organ market but really do you think that if any of those old pipe organs that are 200 years old would have been PC based they would still play? Technology advances and sometimes becomes unusable. The simpler it is, the easier it is to keep working.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe a lot of remarks that do not have directly bearing on the organ market but really do you think that if any of those old pipe organs that are 200 years old would have been PC based they would still play? Technology advances and sometimes becomes unusable. The simpler it is, the easier it is to keep working.
                          I think another very pragmatic consideration is the prevalence of cheap, disposable technology. If you view instruments as heirlooms with staying power for generations (and that's definitely a very valid consideration), then this is anathema to you. But if you are utilitarian and pragmatic, there's the realization that yes, you can replace the electronic with another one when it reaches the point of no meaningful return. And you can probably do it for less than the sum total that's been spent on keeping the pipe organ in tune and in repair. I'm not saying everyone would agree with this, but it's a worthy consideration.

                          As for the PC/software analogy, I'm not sure that holds up because all the license and software migrations one might do in an update every 3 years still cost the same or probably much less than very typical repairs and maintenance that one would also do to keep the pipe organ in good shape in the same period.

                          The other utilitarian consideration is whether there's more artistry in 5 pure, mostly un-unified ranks of pipes, or 50 electronic samples of great pipes. This is again a personal decision, UNLESS it's the church's money that's being spent, and in that case, at least in my opinion, it becomes a matter of what will be the greatest long-term value for the mission of the church's worship, which is at least at some level, inspiration.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My comment about the license being transferable should have been more explicit - I was referring to a paid MidiTzer or Hauptwerk license, not the PC operating system license. The only upgrades I make to my machines are added memory when applications require it. I don't change operating systems just because it is trendy; I only do it when they are no longer supported, and that life cycle takes many years. There is certainly no reason to change an operating system every three years for a dedicated function PC.

                            This discussion has two forks - home use and institutional use. To quote a recent Nobel recipient, "The times they are a-changin'" in ways that most would not have predicted just 15 years ago. (And I'm talking about the US now, not Europe or other parts of the world where values and traditions are very different.) Many churches are changing worship style and more than a few are closing or consolidating with another congregation, closing one of the buildings. Both pipe organs and huge electronic organs (see the recent thread about that huge Allen ADC organ that sold for less than $ 7,500) are going begging on the market. So the heirlooms of many generations past are not valued the way they used to be.

                            I can say the same thing about home organs in the US. Almost nobody wants great grandma's pump reed organ these days. And one look at Craigslist in any major US city shows hundreds of electronic organs from the past 65 years being given away or offered for very little money. (Hammond organs are often the exception to this but even those linger or are offered at a very low price in certain markets.)

                            Over the past 15 years of my professional career I have installed many PCs that have a single dedicated function, from running show fountains to stage lighting to huge Christmas shows. There is one specialty piece of software running on the machine. They are NEVER connected to the Internet, so they don't require anti-virus software or security updates. Once the system is up and running, it keeps going for many years. By using top quality PCs I typically recommend a hard drive upgrade just because of the age (usually 5-8 years, depending on use), rather than anything breaking. I've never had a motherboard or memory failure and by using only Western Digital server-grade hard drives (not that expensive) I've never had a drive failure.

                            There's no reason that these same procedures can't apply to a dedicated PC running a virtual pipe organ program. I have no doubt that people selling turnkey VPO consoles do exactly that. The problem comes in if you are just fooling around and use that PC for many other purposes, with lots of other software loaded on it, and connect it to the Internet. Or if you take an old PC with lots of stuff already loaded on it (and with many operating system patches) and try to use it to run a VPO program. Your operating system eventually gets corrupted and you then ponder upgrading to a new version of it because the old one doesn't work like it did when it was new.

                            So yes, the PC hardware can be considered disposable but there is no reason it can't last 8-10 years (my office machine is 8 years old and has had one new hard drive installed as a precaution, not because it failed) with a replacement cost of about $1,500 so we are talking $150 to $190 per year of depreciation.

                            I'm only beginning to explore this approach for my personal use. But as I contemplate the potential repair cost of my 1977 MOS-1 Allen, should I have a major board failure, and the quality of the sound it makes, I'm asking myself a lot of questions that just two years ago never crossed my mind.

                            If you want the sound of real pipes and have the budget for it, you can't beat the real thing. But don't go down that road because of its legacy value - you can't depend on that any more. This isn't simple and there is no one right answer. Each individual or group needs to consider needs, wants, options, costs and "aural satisfaction" before making a decision.
                            Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just considering HD's, in the years I have been building and running my pc's they have gone from RLL to IDE to UDMA to SATA (1-2-3) with a sidejump to fast-wide-SCSI and SCSI-Ultra-160. Slots going from XT to 16-bit XT, pci, pci-X, pci-e, Vesa, agp and others.

                              The problem is that if one part of your dedicated pc is killed, you often have to trown away the whole pc because you cannot get a replacement part, or there are no drivers for the OS you are still using for your replacement part or they just refuse to play politely along. And if you then upgrade the pc, then the application that is 10 years old isn't working in the new OS or it needs a special IO card that doesn't even fit in the new pc. Keeping old stuff working is hard, certainly if you're doing (pseudo) real-time IO.

                              Now if you don't have a problem with that, fine.

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