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Dulciana

Digital Organ For Practice

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I recently sold a large upright piano using eBay. To my dismay the buyers said they would move it themselves. It hadn't occurred to me that anyone would be so foolish. I asked them if they realised how heavy it was - no they hadn't - it's over 200 kilo I told them and they asked how heavy was that!! I explained it was the weight of 10 full suitcases - and that they should have a lorry with a tail lift and a heavy duty trolley..... Anyway I made them sign an agreement that removal was at their own risk and they were responsible for any damage..

If you sell an instrument on eBay I recommend specifying a bit more than "Buyer collects"

Irrelevant really, but it made me think, with a smile, of that wonderful Laurel & Hardy movie where they're moving a piano...

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Irrelevant really, but it made me think, with a smile, of that wonderful Laurel & Hardy movie where they're moving a piano...

 

Or the two chimps on the old tea advert - 'Do you know the piano's on my foot?' 'No but if you hum it I'll play it'

 

AJJ

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Guest Barry Williams

I learned this evening that it is possible to purchase an 'expander box' containing a library of a hundred stops, any sixteen of which can be used at any one time. If this is fitted to a standard console, with keys, pedal board and stops, it makes an inexpensive practice instrument. The total cost of the hardware, assuming a second-hand console was used, could be less than £3,500.

 

I hope to see one of these set up shortly. If it is satisfactory I will post details, as this may be a suitable and affordable solution to the problem of home organ practice.

 

Barry Williams

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I learned this evening that it is possible to purchase an 'expander box' containing a library of a hundred stops, any sixteen of which can be used at any one time. If this is fitted to a standard console, with keys, pedal board and stops, it makes an inexpensive practice instrument. The total cost of the hardware, assuming a second-hand console was used, could be less than £3,500.

 

I hope to see one of these set up shortly. If it is satisfactory I will post details, as this may be a suitable and affordable solution to the problem of home organ practice.

 

Barry Williams

 

Thanks, it sounds interesting.

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I learned this evening that it is possible to purchase an 'expander box' containing a library of a hundred stops, any sixteen of which can be used at any one time. If this is fitted to a standard console, with keys, pedal board and stops, it makes an inexpensive practice instrument. The total cost of the hardware, assuming a second-hand console was used, could be less than £3,500.

 

I hope to see one of these set up shortly. If it is satisfactory I will post details, as this may be a suitable and affordable solution to the problem of home organ practice.

 

Barry Williams

 

Rodgers Instruments make the MX-200, which has around 100 organ stops and about 7 or 8 hundred orchestral sounds.

I don't think this would be any good if this was what you were thinking of.

My church has one of these on the Rodgers, which is fine for using with other stops on the organ but probably not by itself.

 

JA

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When I bought my Wyvern I deliberately went for an instrument that would not do much more than a representative pipe organ. As I wrote once before - I even tried to get them to remove the Autobass and replace it with something of more use but this was not possible. I get distracted easily enough as it is so I avoided any makes of instrument with stop libraries or choices of whether to play on Cavaille Coll or Schnitger that day - I have one of my organ 'profiles' set to a baroque tuning which I find quite envigorating but apart from that nothing else out of the ordinary. The ability to tweak the voicing has been handy - various balances have been adjusted to suit my 'space', tremulants have been made slower etc. but the thought of optional Tubas, Regals, Pleins Jeux etc. all at the flick of a switch fills me with a moderate horror. Even if there had been the option for pipes I would not nevertheless gone for a minimalist stoplist as I probably would have got bored with that too - the above digital gives me enough resources to keep me interested but not so much as to defeat the object of having it there in the first place.

 

AJJ

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Guest Barry Williams
Rodgers Instruments make the MX-200, which has around 100 organ stops and about 7 or 8 hundred orchestral sounds.

I don't think this would be any good if this was what you were thinking of.

My church has one of these on the Rodgers, which is fine for using with other stops on the organ but probably not by itself.

 

JA

 

The name mentioned to me is not Rodgers.

 

I will report fully following my enquiries, in the hope that the information will be of use to those seeking a practice organ at home.

 

Barry Williams

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I learned this evening that it is possible to purchase an 'expander box' containing a library of a hundred stops, any sixteen of which can be used at any one time.

Ahlborn have offered this for many years.

 

Such "sound modules" have, of course, been standard practice in the wider world of digital keyboards since the late 1980s - I've got a stack of four rigged up here. Although, perhaps, I should say "were standard practice". Nowadays, most people use virtual synths on their PCs or Macs.

 

If the digital organ market follows the rest of the electronic keyboard market, Hauptwerk and the like will have cleaned up within a few years' time. It may still say Rodgers (or whoever) on the box, but it'll essentially be a PC on the inside.

 

Richard

(who about 12 years ago was deputy editor, Keyboard Review...)

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When I bought my Wyvern I deliberately went for an instrument that would not do much more than a representative pipe organ. As I wrote once before - I even tried to get them to remove the Autobass and replace it with something of more use but this was not possible. I get distracted easily enough as it is so I avoided any makes of instrument with stop libraries or choices of whether to play on Cavaille Coll or Schnitger that day - I have one of my organ 'profiles' set to a baroque tuning which I find quite envigorating but apart from that nothing else out of the ordinary. The ability to tweak the voicing has been handy - various balances have been adjusted to suit my 'space', tremulants have been made slower etc. but the thought of optional Tubas, Regals, Pleins Jeux etc. all at the flick of a switch fills me with a moderate horror. Even if there had been the option for pipes I would not nevertheless gone for a minimalist stoplist as I probably would have got bored with that too - the above digital gives me enough resources to keep me interested but not so much as to defeat the object of having it there in the first place.

 

AJJ

I too looked for an instrument which would "not do much more than a representative pipe organ." After playing instruments by Allen, Makin, Viscount Rodgers etc I opted for an Eminent as supplied by Cathedral Organs. This had the advantage of letting you choose your own specification, and whether or not to have proper drawstops or the cheaper lighted tabs. In the end I went for the drawstop model, and after a year's use I am still extremely impressed with the sounds it makes. The voicing can be arranged to suit your own requirements. The console is beautifully made and lacks the "tackiness" of the Viscount - the pedal board feels "solid" and the drawstops are standard units. In appearance the console is just like that of a pipe organ. Yes it does have a sequencer, midi imput, different tunings, extra stops etc, but the controls for these are simple and well disguised!

 

I can thoroughly recommend the Eminent.

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I have been using the post-Christmas 'down-time' to redouble my efforts to investigate and eventually buy a practice instrument as soon as possible. My shortlist comprises the Eminent DCS 326 from Cathedral Organs Ltd and the Ahlborn Praeludium II from Classical Organs Ltd. I will try and play examples of these over the next few weeks, however, does anyone have first-hand experience of either or both of these two models?

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I have been using the post-Christmas 'down-time' to redouble my efforts to investigate and eventually buy a practice instrument as soon as possible. My shortlist comprises the Eminent DCS 326 from Cathedral Organs Ltd and the Ahlborn Praeludium II from Classical Organs Ltd. I will try and play examples of these over the next few weeks, however, does anyone have first-hand experience of either or both of these two models?

 

Have you tried Allen? I've just bought an Allen CF-2a (http://pearsaa1.memset.net/~allenorg/index.php?page=church-organs) which I'm very pleased with. Although the pedalboard is less deep than normal, I found it much more comfortable than the Wyvern Sonata. The quality seems very high. I had divisional pistons and a headphone socket fitted and the Great & Pedal made unenclosed. Anyone who lives near Peterborough (I know: why would anyone?) is welcome to come and try it.

 

It's very basic: one specification (although there's a choice of 2). I have software which allows me to do some voicing (adjust treble/bass) and alter any stop or note for volume. Beautifully made console.

 

It wouldn't fit in the door! They had to take it away and "split" it. If I want to move it again, though, I can split it myself and then put it together again.

 

Stephen Barber

 

P.S. I do play a proper organ on Sunday mornings ( Harrison - 1917).

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Well Santa brought me a new toy (!) this Christmas in the form of a (more or less) custom designed 3 manual Wyvern-Phoenix Toaster (!) with sounds based on William Hill pipework. Alas that it arrived at a busy time, but now I'm just getting around to setting some pistons, and re-learning old repertoire!

 

Whilst there's nothing quite like a pipe organ, this takes some beating, and I's a happy camper! :D

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Guest Echo Gamba

My church has recently installed a Viscount Prestige 40 to my customised spec - takes some beating sound-wise; quite different from previous generation Viscounts.

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Well Santa brought me a new toy (!) this Christmas in the form of a (more or less) custom designed 3 manual Wyvern-Phoenix Toaster (!) with sounds based on William Hill pipework. Alas that it arrived at a busy time, but now I'm just getting around to setting some pistons, and re-learning old repertoire!

 

Whilst there's nothing quite like a pipe organ, this takes some beating, and I's a happy camper! :D

Well I know its not what our hosts want us to be discussing, but I don't think our 3M Wyvern-Pheonix could be bettered. Only Copeman-Hart came close - at literally double the price.

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Guest Echo Gamba
Well I know its not what our hosts want us to be discussing, but I don't think our 3M Wyvern-Pheonix could be bettered. Only Copeman-Hart came close - at literally double the price.

 

I have it on very good authority that earlier in the year Copeman hart were in negotiation with Viscount to use their (Viscount's) current system. It really is good, and much better than a 5/6 year old Wyvern nearby that I play from time to time.

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I have it on very good authority that earlier in the year Copeman hart were in negotiation with Viscount to use their (Viscount's) current system. It really is good, and much better than a 5/6 year old Wyvern nearby that I play from time to time.

I've often thought that if the electronic organ had been invented first and someone came along and said "I can produce these sounds by using thousands of pipes, lots of woodwork and metal, taking up cubic metres of space, requiring periodic tuning and costing much more" he would be laughed at.

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............ but not by our very patient and tolerant hosts who have asked us not to talk about such matters on this forum!

 

Malcolm

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I have it on very good authority that earlier in the year Copeman hart were in negotiation with Viscount to use their (Viscount's) current system. It really is good, and much better than a 5/6 year old Wyvern nearby that I play from time to time.

 

 

..............which would in no way reflect the current Wyvern-phoenix technology then, would it?!

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Guest Echo Gamba
..............which would in no way reflect the current Wyvern-phoenix technology then, would it?!

 

Presumably not - but I am talking of keyboard quality as well as sound.

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Has anyone noticed that Choir and Organ has started a series featuring pipe organs for practice at home?

(This may be their answer to Bombarde32's suggestion that practice organs should be compared in their esteemed publication, but he was talking about toasters)

To kick off, Ian Stoupe of Hillsborough has 'gone public' with a Man 8.4.2. + Ped 16 that has cost him about £11k.

They seem eager to feature other practice organs; I look forward to seeing board members' instruments appearing in future editions...

Ian

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Presumably not - but I am talking of keyboard quality as well as sound.

Others have previously commented on the difference between Wyvern's custom build and stock models. My own experience is with custom built. All aspects of the instrument, including console layout, comfort, keyboard touch, and of source, sound, are of absolute top quality. Since this instrument was installed we have seen the church become a venue of choice for the best independent chamber choirs in this area.

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Guest Cynic
Others have previously commented on the difference between Wyvern's custom build and stock models. My own experience is with custom built. All aspects of the instrument, including console layout, comfort, keyboard touch, and of source, sound, are of absolute top quality. Since this instrument was installed we have seen the church become a venue of choice for the best independent chamber choirs in this area.

 

 

Neil,

as you know, I am familiar with the Cheltenham churches, and on reflection you may agree with me that if groups wish to use your church as a venue this may well have more to do with you and the nature of St.Mary's Charlton Kings than it has to do with the organ. Speaking in a broad generalisation, churches in Cheltenham are sharply polarised and at least half have been spoiled by the carpet and drum-kit brigade. The other half can be very unapproachable/inflexible!

 

I have never heard your electronic organ, and I entirely understand why you had to have one - yours is a mediaeval cruciform church with few later additions in which anything non-mediaeval can be accommodated - but IMHO your claim that your instrument is anything other than a very good organ-substitute is a bit OTT! [Loyalty, enthusiasm, etc. etc. I find very commendable.]

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Presumably not - but I am talking of keyboard quality as well as sound.

 

 

Don't really see your point - you can have gold bloody plated keys if you pay for them, which would go for any decent organ builder - pipe or electronic! :P

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