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Guest Andrew Butler

Any Views?

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Well, that explains a good deal...

 

Personally, I just can't get my head around all this.  The whole point, to me, of a house organ is something upon which to practice - i.e. become a better organist, learn notes and improve articulation.  For that, I would rather have a mini tracker soundboard with 2 contrasting 4' flutes and pedal coupler, plus a tremulant, which would probably occupy about the same amount of space.  Or a 2 manual harpsichord with pedals fitted. 

 

I often hear a lot of guff talked about "releasing the note".  I was surprised yesterday to learn that when proper scientific experiments have been conducted with oscilliscopes, even on an electric action instrument, the difference between a perceived "good" performance and "bad" performance was scientifically found in the release of the note rather than the start of it.  That would seem to make a harpsichord or little tracker job the most demanding and productive route to take for practice, no matter what you usually play.

 

Unless it's just for fun, of course...

I completely agree and would be interested to learn more about these experiments. I have found (the hard way) that the 'best' (as in gives me the truth however unpalatable) practice instuments I have access to are a (very) temperamental (in both senses) clavichord and my small house organ (again with a very unforgiving action). With one's head more or less 'inside' the instrument the effect of careful/careless fingering/footing is immediately audible - both attack and release. That said I find it essential to take all this preparation to a more 'colourful' instrument for registrational/organ mangement purposes and I would want an electronic Cavaille-Coll/English romantic instrument of the sort we are discussing if I wasn't so lucky as to have a late Father Willis to play - which also forcibly reminds me of the time it takes big (real) pipes to speak properly....

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I'm very happy to re-state my absolute delight with the custom built Wyvern organ installed in my church in February this year. This, of course, uses the Pheonix system. The quality of the flutes in particular, closely matched by the principals and reeds, is just phenomenal. There have been several occasions when I've been practicing and vistors have come up to me to ask where the pipes are - even though they're staring at an unappologetic battery of unscreened loudspeakers.

 

I undertook a great deal of "field research", followed up by on site visits with a subset of my PCC, before our contract was awarded to Wyvern. In what is, of course, a very subjective area, to my ears it came down to a straight choice between Wyvern, who are very competitive in their pricing, and Copeman-Hart at double the price. I'm sure Phoenix would have matched the Wyvern sound - which in the end I thought was the best.

 

Phoenix and Wyvern, I believe have an agreement not to quote against each other, but I'm sure both offer an unmatched ability to deliver a top quality digital instrument and a very competetive price.

 

Hi

I have a Wyvern Toccata III smiling at me from the other end of my study and its a joy. I guess that I can see that a small tracker pipe organ would enable a disciplined approach to practice, but additional light and shade does make for a lot of enjoyment too... I don't own the house where we live so putting a pipe organ in is not really possible.

I am inclined to think that one would have to go a long way to beat the Wyvern sound -- especially at the price!

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............and look what Lichfield cathedral is getting - all good fun with the recently rebuilt and enlarged pipe organ. It will be interesting to see how they use all this combined organ force! (Mind you I believe that the acoustics there are not brilliant.)

 

http://www.phoenixorgans.co.uk/installatio...-cathedral.html

 

AJJ

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............and look what Lichfield cathedral is getting - all good fun with the recently rebuilt and enlarged pipe organ. It will be interesting to see how they use all this combined organ force! (Mind you I believe that the acoustics there are not brilliant.)

 

http://www.phoenixorgans.co.uk/installatio...-cathedral.html

 

AJJ

 

Aha an interesting mixture/mix-up of stop names. Some fairly standard British names and others from all over the place. So what is this organ? Seems to me that it could be neither one thing nor another.

 

I once had an Electrophonic Organ built by Lewis York of Southampton in the 1970s and that was a real mish-mash of stop names.... still, I guess it's what ever lights yer fire! :o

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Aha an interesting mixture/mix-up of stop names. Some fairly standard British names and others from all over the place. So what is this organ? Seems to me that it could be neither one thing nor another.

 

I once had an Electrophonic Organ built by Lewis York of Southampton in the 1970s and that was a real mish-mash of stop names.... still, I guess it's what ever lights yer fire! :o

Oopsie... :o This email refers to the instrument I found via a link on the Phoenix site to the new orgueaphone in Leeds RC Cathedral....

 

(will now run away and blush) :o

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Guest Andrew Butler
Hi

I have a Wyvern Toccata III smiling at me from the other end of my study and its a joy. I guess that I can see that a small tracker pipe organ would enable a disciplined approach to practice, but additional light and shade does make for a lot of enjoyment too...  I don't own the house where we live so putting a pipe organ in is not really possible.

I am inclined to think that one would have to go a long way to beat the Wyvern sound -- especially at the price!

 

I agree about the Wyvern sound - but, again, I have a slight problem with the spec of the Toccata - if it's correct on the website; a Clarinet on the Great with 16 & 8 Trumpets, on a 3 manual...? :o

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I agree about the Wyvern sound - but, again, I have a slight problem with the spec of the Toccata - if it's correct on the website; a Clarinet on the Great with 16 & 8 Trumpets, on a 3 manual...?  :o

Hi

 

I had the spec changed on mine. I shifted the Clarinet to the Positive, (lost the 1' Sifflote which I had really no use for). Also had a Clarion 4' added to the Great in place of the Clarinet. Wyvern were able to do that at the planning stage, and they were really very obliging and kind in every way.

 

I have queried them on the Clarinet on the Great thing as I do think that it is a mistake on the Toccata, and it was interesting that at the time I made my order for the organ (earlier this year), they told me that someone else had just said the same thing.

 

I also opted for the midi extra voice sounds so it can be very orchestral and theatrical! And I sold most of my CDs on Ebay in order to help with the purchase cost.

 

I've just been beavering away at the Bach F minor P & F and it is such fun! (Would be even better fun if I could play all the right notes in the right order.) :o

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............and look what Lichfield cathedral is getting - all good fun with the recently rebuilt and enlarged pipe organ. It will be interesting to see how they use all this combined organ force! (Mind you I believe that the acoustics there are not brilliant.)

 

http://www.phoenixorgans.co.uk/installatio...-cathedral.html

 

AJJ

 

This will be handy - when I worked in the cathedral school, I used to have to accompany school services, which we held in the Lady Chapel, on the chamber organ.

 

I'm not sure why they want to have an installation in the nave, except, I suppose for accompanying concerts, as the distance to the main organ console is quite large.

 

The acoustics aren't brilliant, no, but the organ is wonderful. Andrew Lumsden has a CD out that he recorded just after the most recent H&H rebuild - well worth listening to ; some "standard" repertoire (Crown Imperial, GTB Elegy, Elgar Sonata, Bridge), some less so - Jacob and the Angel. The Crown Imperial is a very good rendition - crisp and quick.

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I'm not sure why they want to have an installation in the nave, except, I suppose for accompanying concerts, as the distance to the main organ console is quite large.

 

I'm sure the main reason is that the pipe organ is tuned sharp (C=540), making it difficult with an orchestra.

 

JJK

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Guest Andrew Butler

Although my original question when starting this topic related to Phoenix organs, I am interested to note that (obviously because of the company connections) Wyvern have been mentioned, but no other manufacturers...................

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I'm sure the main reason is that the pipe organ is tuned sharp (C=540), making it difficult with an orchestra.

 

JJK

 

Only *very* slightly, like a quarter tone. But yes, I can see that would be a problem, although I would assume that it'll be adjustable between the sharper and "normal" pitch.

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Guest Lee Blick

I went to the Wyvern organ studios earlier this year. Their instruments are a world apart from what they were manufacturing in the the 1980/90's. The Wyvern organs have improved markedly over the last few years.

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Just for the record, Wyvern's " Wpx system" was designed by Dave Bostock when

he left Makin and started Phoenix organs.

 

The organ consoles for  Custom Wyvern's/Phoenix/Copeman Hart are built

by Retanus who also make consoles for pipe organs ( see http://www.renatus.co.uk/braunton.htm)

 

I am sure Copeman Hart would tell you that they make their own consoles! However, I have heard that Renatus have made some of them....

 

JJK

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You're right - in an ideal world, a house organ should be all of these things, but I think you're assuming the existence of a non-house organ on which these skills could be used 'for real'. The pipe organs I get to play regularly are all desperately in need of rebuilding and/or chucking. Articulation is something of an abstract concept if you're praying that the note will sound at all.

 

er, probably, guilty as charged. I think of it in terms of getting my fulfilment out of my 44/IIIP at home, cos I don't get to play such things in the normal course of events anywhere else. (And while it's true that a clinical little 3-stopper might improve my technique to the point where I might aspire to higher things, I sadly haven't the hours available).

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My advice to anyone thinking of buying a off the peg Digital Electronic is to make sure whoever u choose gives you 10 years parts and labour guarantee. There is a difference with the Wyvern -Phoenix system despite the fact they used the same technology. And that is to do with the number of channels available to put through the speaker system. In my opinion they are not enough to give a overall sound. I have a demo CD o f the Phoenix sent to me and I found the Bass to be unsatisfactory and the reeds to be rather too thin and gritty. Of course others might think different. I still say the Makin system is far more superb . The sound of these instruments would blow u away. I have a CD of Ian Tracey playing the Carillon -Sortie by Mulet and it was hard to tell at times if it were a pipe or Electonic I was listening too. Another factor to consider with these instruments is where the internal fuses are located should one blow during a service and yes folks they do blow. I play in a Crematorium and we had to wait a week before we could get a engineer out to put the Organ right. Ask the question too are these Organs protected from electrical storms and magnetic fields ? And the easiest way to tell if a organ is any good or not is when u switch it on ! They should not be any loud thump or hissing at all. If there is then its been badly designed .

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I understand in the past they made there own but now have Renatus to make them.

 

I am sure Copeman Hart would tell you that they make their own consoles! However, I have heard that Renatus have made some of them....

 

JJK

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Yes the organ on the Phoenix demo CD has alot of french reeds so the sound is thin. try the Wyvern (Phoenix) demo disk which is sampled from a hill organ,bass is superb!

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My advice to anyone thinking of buying a off the peg Digital Electronic is to make sure whoever u choose gives you 10 years parts and labour guarantee.  There is a difference with the Wyvern -Phoenix system despite the fact they used the same technology.  And that is to do with the number of channels available to put through the speaker system.  In my opinion they are not enough to give a overall sound.  I have a demo CD o f the Phoenix sent to me and I found the Bass to be unsatisfactory and the reeds to be rather too thin and gritty.  Of course others might think different.  I still say the Makin system is far more superb  .  The sound of these instruments would blow u away.  I have a CD of Ian Tracey playing the Carillon -Sortie by Mulet and it was hard to tell at times if it were a pipe or Electonic I was listening too.  Another factor to consider with these instruments is where the internal fuses are located should one blow during a service and yes folks they do blow.  I play in a Crematorium and we had to wait a week before we could get a engineer out to put the Organ right.  Ask the question too are these Organs protected from electrical storms and magnetic fields ?  And the easiest way to tell if a organ is any good or not is when u switch it on !  They should not be any loud thump or hissing  at all.  If there is then its been badly designed .

 

 

If you want to hear any organ properly you must hear it `in the flesh'. A CD can only give you an impression - and can sometimes be enhanced.

 

FF

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  And the easiest way to tell if a organ is any good or not is when u switch it on !  They should not be any loud thump or hissing  at all.  If there is then its been badly designed .

 

Hi

 

A couple of muting relays can make the most horrendous start-up noises disappear - that's one reason they're fitted to many power amplifiers. A "thump" on switch on is fairly normal - although it shouldn't be too loud. It's absence could just be muting relays!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Paul Isom

Glad you like the organ - I did all the design work (stoplist, sample choice, and final finishing). I worked for Wyvern at the time and had great fun with the voicing software. Certainly the software allows you to inject that little bit of je ne sais quoi into the instruments. It was fun trying to build something a little more English. However, the Mixtures were a real problem and still to my mind have too much of a sting in the tail. All the speakers were in the apse, and disposed to try and achieve a convincing mix. The Pedal division had three substantial speaker cabinets (including a bass column) and many more drivers. The building was very kind to the organ, but there is no doubt that separate and copious amounts of bass speakers are a must in any pipeless instrument.

 

Despite my enthusiasm for the system, when the chips were down, my wife and I were able to source a small pipe organ for home use, and this gives us many hours of pleasure. I for one would rather play on a modest pipe organ at home, rather than a huge well-stocked digital instrument. In mainland Europe - it is possible to pick up a small pipe organ from around 6,000 Euros upwards. In our search I encountered many outlets for second-hand organs. If you would like to know more, please email me and I'll send you the links.

 

I think those who purchase digital instruments for their houses are under no illusion that it would be impossible to install such an organ in their house if it had pipes. However, there is no doubt that the real thing is really more satisfying.

 

The biggest problem that occurs with digital instruments in churches in is that caused by the meglomaniac organist, or simply by bad advice given by a salesman - that of the organ that is too big for the building. Very few churches are prepared to listen to advice given by diocesan organs advisors on this subject, as the prospect of numerous 32' stops, Tubas, gadgets and widgets and choices of voicing prove too much temptation.

 

When will people learn!

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Guest Paul Isom

SORRY I FORGOT TO SAY WHERE THE ORGAN WAS!

 

Glad you like the organ (the temporary organ at Arundel) - I did all the design work (stoplist, sample choice, and final finishing). I worked for Wyvern at the time and had great fun with the voicing software. Certainly the software allows you to inject that little bit of je ne sais quoi into the instruments. It was fun trying to build something a little more English. However, the Mixtures were a real problem and still to my mind have too much of a sting in the tail. All the speakers were in the apse, and disposed to try and achieve a convincing mix. The Pedal division had three substantial speaker cabinets (including a bass column) and many more drivers. The building was very kind to the organ, but there is no doubt that separate and copious amounts of bass speakers are a must in any pipeless instrument.

 

Despite my enthusiasm for the system, when the chips were down, my wife and I were able to source a small pipe organ for home use, and this gives us many hours of pleasure. I for one would rather play on a modest pipe organ at home, rather than a huge well-stocked digital instrument. In mainland Europe - it is possible to pick up a small pipe organ from around 6,000 Euros upwards. In our search I encountered many outlets for second-hand organs. If you would like to know more, please email me and I'll send you the links.

 

I think those who purchase digital instruments for their houses are under no illusion that it would be impossible to install such an organ in their house if it had pipes. However, there is no doubt that the real thing is really more satisfying.

 

The biggest problem that occurs with digital instruments in churches in is that caused by the meglomaniac organist, or simply by bad advice given by a salesman - that of the organ that is too big for the building. Very few churches are prepared to listen to advice given by diocesan organs advisors on this subject, as the prospect of numerous 32' stops, Tubas, gadgets and widgets and choices of voicing prove too much temptation.

 

When will people learn!

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Despite my enthusiasm for the system, when the chips were down, my wife and I were able to source a small pipe organ for home use, and this gives us many hours of pleasure.  I for one would rather play on a modest pipe organ at home, rather than a huge well-stocked digital instrument.  In mainland Europe - it is possible to pick up a small pipe organ from around 6,000 Euros upwards.  In our search I encountered many outlets for second-hand organs.  If you would like to know more, please email me and I'll send you the links. 

 

I think those who purchase digital instruments for their houses are under no illusion that it would be impossible to install such an organ in their house if it had pipes.  However, there is no doubt that the real thing is really more satisfying. 

 

The biggest problem that occurs with digital instruments in churches in is that caused by the meglomaniac organist, or simply by bad advice given by a salesman - that of the organ that is too big for the building.  Very few churches are prepared to listen to advice given by diocesan organs advisors on this subject, as the prospect of numerous 32' stops, Tubas, gadgets and widgets and choices of voicing prove too much temptation.

 

When will people learn!

 

How nice to hear some sense from a purveyor of toasters. It's possible to pick up a small pipe organ for far less than that - the IBO website is crawling with redundant small 1 and 2 manual instruments, many of which would be suitable for either home installation or judicious modification - if it's a choice between that and a bonfire, why not? I had an email about a rather nice Hunter being destroyed - the contractors had demolished half the church, then Ralph Allwood turned up with his camera and emailed the whole world hoping someone would rescue it. Sadly is was bulldozed anyway.

 

One of the stipulations for electronic instruments in this diocese is that they should have drawstop consoles - extra cost, but possibly a good way of a) making the experience more like that of a pipe organ, especially for students and ;) making the cost of refurbishing the existing pipe organ more comparable...

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Guest Paul Isom

Actually I am an EX-purveyor of toasters. I became a diocesan organs advisor and was also head-hunted to teach music technology at a boys Grammar School. The experience in 'the industry' has proved useful when dealing which churches who wish to purchase a substitute.

 

For those who think I might be biased in one direction or another - think again. A colleague of mine (a pipe organ builder) remarked that he thought it would be twice as difficult to get an electronic in a church now I was a DOA - not so; just an overriding desire to get it right!

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"The biggest problem that occurs with digital instruments in churches in is that caused by the meglomaniac organist, or simply by bad advice given by a salesman - that of the organ that is too big for the building. Very few churches are prepared to listen to advice given by diocesan organs advisors on this subject, as the prospect of numerous 32' stops, Tubas, gadgets and widgets and choices of voicing prove too much temptation.

When will people learn!"

 

Paul I agree, and there are a few on the Pheonix website!

I think that some DOA's don't give advice on a digital organs other than

where you can place the speakers inside the organ case, they not interested on giving advice on specifications!

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