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Visited a nice 1929 Skinner organ

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  • Visited a nice 1929 Skinner organ

    I visited a really nice 1929 Skinner organ this morning. It's a relatively small 3-manual organ, ivory keys and drawknobs, 20-something stops, in a medium size room with lots of stone. In great condition.

    The current organist/music director I think also works for Emery Brothers, an organ servicing company. The organ has had some very tasteful and appropriate improvements with the intention of not disturbing the original design and console too much. Only the choir division was under expression, but he made excellent use of it.

    It really sounded special, hard to describe. Very pretty, moderate sound, but still with power. It was in excellent tune as well! I've actually not heard an organ with such a pleasant tuning (I believe a particular person at Emery tunes it).

    Glad I went to visit it. I'll very likely go back to spend some time practising on it.
    Viscount C400 3-manual
    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

  • #2
    >>Only the choir division was under expression<<

    So, the manual divisions are Great, Choir and what? Not a Swell. Very curious. 1929 is way before the neo-baroque took hold so I know it isn't something like a Positive or Brustwerk. An Echo perhaps? An unexpressive Echo? Again, very curious. In any case the organ sounds like it is very nice from your description. I love the sound of an original E.M. Skinner.

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    • #3
      The third is a Swell actually. The pipe 'chamber' was pretty interesting. It was a cove off of the front of the chapel. You could see pretty much all of the pipes. The ranks under expression (I think the organist said 4 ranks) were up at the top in a nice looking sort of box.

      Really effective shades, by the way. There was quite a difference when they were closed vs. open. I don't have a lot of experience with pipe organs in person but it was the most I've heard.
      Viscount C400 3-manual
      8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
      Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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      • #4
        That does sound like a treasure! Is there a web page that has pics and details about this one?
        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

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        • #5
          I hope to visit there again in the next month and I'll take some photos and also make some recordings.
          Viscount C400 3-manual
          8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
          Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

          Comment


          • #6
            It's been a while, but I finally visited this organ again. It wasn't in as nice of tune as it was when I heard it before (really was a superb tuning before) but it wasn't in bad tuning and still sounded good. I was previously mistaken—this organ has both the Swell and Choir under expression.

            Here's the console.

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            There was no pipe facad the last time I was there, the pipes were all exposed. I'm not sure if this is original or newly added.

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            The stops. The drawknobs and keys are all ivory.

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            I made some recordings today also. And just for fun, here's a recording I made today in comparison to a recording I made 7 months ago of the Walker Technical at my church. I'm not going to say which is which, although if you listen with headphones you'll probably be able to figure it out easily enough. I wish I had remembered my registration on the Walker recording when I made the one today—one stop difference on the Walker recording and they would have sounded extremely similar (had I used the same mics)!

            I should say that I made one of the recordings with my Little Blondie mics and the other with the built-in mics on my Sony D50 recorder—the Little Blondies sound a lot nicer and more detailed. The recording with the D50 mics captured less wind sound although the two organs had about the same amount of wind sound in person with these registrations.

            https://soundcloud.com/user-65508924...skinner-organs
            Viscount C400 3-manual
            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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            • #7
              They do sound amazingly similar! A cursory listening doesn't really tell me which is which. I sort of liked the first one better, possibly because it sounded a bit more refined and also a little more complex harmonically (though that could be due to the microphones or the difference in registrations).

              If I had to guess, I'd say the first one is the Walker, mainly because it sounds like a recording that you made very intentionally with your best mics, and the second one is more like what you'd pick up with a handheld recorder's built-in mics, and the sound is a little more ragged and raw, and possibly just a tad more "real" in a couple of spots, a little bit of an extremely high harmonic in the sound near the beginning that digital might not be able to reproduce. But they are very much alike.
              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

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              • #8
                Yes, the Walker is the first and the Skinner is the second. If you listen closely enough, you can also hear various mechanical pipe organ noises in the Skinner recording, and some of the 4' notes are a bit more out of tune than the Walker would be. In the Walker recording I have a stop that has a pronounced attack which I think might be the Holz Gedeckt on the choir. If that one wasn't on I think they'd sound even more similar.

                I'll go back at some point, hopefully once it's tuned again, and make a recording with the Little Blondies.
                Viscount C400 3-manual
                8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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