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  • question about practice organ


    A person I know is offering to sell me an Allen MDC 20 organ. The price will be around 800 dollars. I am only using this as a practice organ for smaller room in my apartment. I will give the specifications and then please tell me if you think I should accept his offer!!!

    Stop List:

    GREAT: 16ft stops: Principal, Bourdon, Bassoon...8ft stops: Principal, Flute, Trumpet...

    4st stops: Octave, Flute...2ft: Piccolo

    SWELL: 16ft: Violone, Lieblich Gedeckt...8ft: Gedeckt, Oboe...4ft: String, Flute...2ft: Blockflote

    PEDAL: 16ft: Principal, Bourdon, bassoon...8ft: Octave, Gedeckt, Horn...4ft: Flute

    GENERAL FEATURES: Random Motion, Chiff, Reeds F, Reverb, 5 memory pistons

    SWELL FEATURES: Celeste Effect, Percussion, Sustain, Vibrato

    GREAT FEATURES: Carillon, Percussion, sustain, vibrato

    CONDITION: Excellent



    YEAR MADE: 1977



    So, what do you think?

  • #2
    Re: question about practice organ

    Some people really dislike the MDC Allen's, but I don't find them to be all that bad.And at the price you are being quoted it should be a bargain. Not too long agoI saw one sell for about $2500, thoughthat price included delivery, setup, and a warranty from a dealer.

    If the "princess" pedalboard doesn't bother you it should make a good practice organ, particularly since you want itto fit in a small space. The Allen princess pedals were designed for that very purpose. Retaining the 32 notes of the AGO board, radiating and concave as well, the pedals differ only in beingslightly closer together andshorter, all in the interest of taking up less floor space. The sharps are noticeably smaller, but I've played on this pedalboard quite a lot and found it easy to adapt to, and no problem going back and forth to an AGO pedalboard.

    The stop list is adequate for practice, but there are no mixtures, no mutations,and no couplers. It is nice, though, that you have separate tremulants for the two manuals.

    The MDC technologyis primitivewhen compared to a modern digital organ. There are really only about 3 distinctly different stops shared about on the 3 divisions at various pitches and levels. But that constraint is no worse than a typical unit analog organ, or a unit pipe organ, for that matter. The "celeste effect" on the swell is a bummer, as each celestenote you play will take 2 of the 12 notes the system can play at once, so if you play a six-finger chord using the celeste you can't even play a pedal note with it! However, this limitation rarely shows up in actual usage, unless you normally play such expansive chords and use the celeste all the time.

    The carillon stop on the great is also a note hog, using up a bunch of polyphony for each note. It's best to use the carillon stop solo, not even accompanying with chords on the swell, because so much note-robbing goes on it will sound awful. But playing one note at a time it works OK.

    None of the other stops will cause this note-hogging effect. In fact you can put down all the stops on the great manual at once (except the carillon), play a 10-finger chord, and still play 2 notes on the pedalboard. I don't know why they had to make the celeste and the carillon work in such an awkward manner when the rest of the organ works like a regular Allen MOS digital.

    Of course, the fact that it is digital means that it won't require tuning or regulation. These organs have a good service record, too, most of them in my area having never needed any repair beyond routine maintenance. There are several "voicing" controls on an audio control board inside so you can regulate the volume and tone of the three ranks separately. You can make some rather dramatic changes using thesecontrols, so they should be used with caution.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.


    *** 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!