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Guest Andrew Butler

Any Views?

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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. 

 

Absolutely right. My 5000 odd "pipes" would certainly not fit, and even if they did would make a terrible noise!

 

The choice is between

1. a "flight simulator" approach, creating an illusion of an organ in a much larger building, and able to simulate the registrations and registration aids needed to tackle a large part of the repertoire.

2. A real organ scaled for the room - likely to have 3 stops - with a sensitive mechanical action, and very good for practising the basics of technique.

 

Both may be serious practise tools, and both may be a lot of fun in different ways. The answer for me, if and when space and funds allow, is to have a real organ and a simulator!

 

JJK

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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 don't understand this. I think the phoenix system offers up to 64 channels, and I'd be very surprised if Wyvern WPx is any different. Typical installations of course have rather fewer channels, but this is not a technology limitation - more to do with money and/or space.

 

Of couse even 64 channels is not "enough" when compared to a pipe organ, but I've never heard of a Makin installation (or any other in the UK) with 64 or more channels!

 

JJK

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Has anyone had experience of the newer small Allens? - I have not played one for years and then they were a bit 'American Classic' in sound etc. How do they compare to Phoenix, Copeman Hart, Wyvern etc.?

 

AJJ

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During the research prior to my church placing our order with Wyvern, I paid a visit to the Allen showrooms. My personal view, which is of course highly subjective, was that the showroom instruments sounded much like Allen organs have always sounded. I also found that the console layouts and stop control provisions made these instruments difficult to play.

 

My choral society had a one-day hire of a 3-manual Allen when we did the Vierne Messe Solenelle and Saint-Saens Messe a quatre voix in Tewkesbury Abbey. Again a highly subjective view, it was adequate but rather 2-dimensional and lacking in character when compared to the Wyvern.

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Guest Andrew Butler

I play a 3 man Wyvern occasionally (St John The Baptist, Harrietsham, Kent - installed about 2 / 3 years ago) and find it comfortable to play apart from the couplers which are arranged as rocker tablets above the swell keys and you have to duck slightly to see them unde the music rest. Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth. Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?

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I play a 3 man Wyvern occasionally (St John The Baptist, Harrietsham, Kent - installed about 2 / 3 years ago) and find it comfortable to play apart from the couplers which are arranged as rocker tablets above the swell keys and you have to duck slightly to see them unde the music rest.  Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth.  Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?

 

 

 

 

I would think it is more to do with how the Organist wanted it voiced. I play several Wyverns in Birmingham. A older 2 manual Digital version before WPX was out. the voicing is not too my liking and tends to produce a WA WA WA Efect on Full Swell. the latter version WPX excellent. there is one in one of the Crematoriums I play in and the Great just sings out beautifully considering there is a five rk mixture on it ! The Wyverns are good value for money and definately a lot cheaper then the Copeman hart which I find rather twangy especially in there 32s.

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Guest Paul Isom

[i play a 3 man Wyvern occasionally (St John The Baptist, Harrietsham, Kent - installed about 2 / 3 years ago) and find it comfortable to play apart from the couplers which are arranged as rocker tablets above the swell keys and you have to duck slightly to see them unde the music rest. Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth. Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?[/i]

 

Harrietsham was a product of the organist's personal wishes. It's rather more spikey and agressive than I would have liked. The tabs are under the music desk so that they could have a few more speaking stops in a small console, hence the need to duck. It really was a case where the resident organist (a very nice chap) wanted a Larigot on the Swell instead of an Open Diapason 8' (I would have had the Open Diap.). It's a curious thing that organists tend to prefer extremes when faced with a choice........

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Guest Andrew Butler
[i play a 3 man Wyvern occasionally (St John The Baptist, Harrietsham, Kent - installed about 2 / 3 years ago) and find it comfortable to play apart from the couplers which are arranged as rocker tablets above the swell keys and you have to duck slightly to see them unde the music rest.  Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth.  Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?[/i]

 

Harrietsham was a product of the organist's personal wishes.  It's rather more spikey and agressive than I would have liked.  The tabs are under the music desk so that they could have a few more speaking stops in a small console, hence the need to duck.  It really was a case where the resident organist (a very nice chap) wanted a Larigot on the Swell instead of an Open Diapason 8' (I would have had the Open Diap.).  It's a curious thing that organists tend to prefer extremes when faced with a choice........

 

Interested to hear you know the organ; I am uneasy about the Choir spec too, although having the speakers in the choir is useful. Can't see the point of the nazard and the mixture; I feel the Tierce would have been more use there than on the great.... Yikes; student just arrived!

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[i play a 3 man Wyvern occasionally (St John The Baptist, Harrietsham, Kent - installed about 2 / 3 years ago) and find it comfortable to play apart from the couplers which are arranged as rocker tablets above the swell keys and you have to duck slightly to see them unde the music rest.  Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth.  Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?[/i]

 

Harrietsham was a product of the organist's personal wishes.  It's rather more spikey and agressive than I would have liked.  The tabs are under the music desk so that they could have a few more speaking stops in a small console, hence the need to duck.  It really was a case where the resident organist (a very nice chap) wanted a Larigot on the Swell instead of an Open Diapason 8' (I would have had the Open Diap.).  It's a curious thing that organists tend to prefer extremes when faced with a choice........

 

The current 'Sonata' model now has both.

 

AJJ

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Guest Andrew Butler
The current 'Sonata' model now has both.

 

AJJ

 

Yes, but at Harrietsham the number of stops per division was an issue.

 

Mmm - the Sonata. Am I alone in feeling uneasy about the Sesquialtera on the Great? Why not just a Tierce as there is a 12th - was it bcause the 12th in the sesquialtera would be more flutey? Problem then to me is that a Sesquialtera (12/17 variety as opposed to a Tierce Mixture so-named) does not belong on the same division as harmonic flutes.. but I am open to other views on this.

 

On a different tack, i regularly play a Viscount from 1993, model Jubilaeum 245, that purports to be sampled from the Walker at St George's, Bickley. If so, I cannot claim to be impressed........ I cannot reconcile the Bickley spec with the Viscount - ie which stop on which division comes from where ......can Paul Isom throw any light on this one please.....? :lol:

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Guest Andrew Butler
It really was a case where the resident organist (a very nice chap) wanted a Larigot on the Swell instead of an Open Diapason 8' (I would have had the Open Diap.).  It's a curious thing that organists tend to prefer extremes when faced with a choice........

 

The said Very Nice Chap is no relation to me by the way! :lol:

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Also, the Great mixture doesn't "gel" to my mind - seeming excessively loud and flutey, as does the Twelfth.  Is this a common feature with Wyverns, or was it a "one-off" based on the resident organist's preference?

Interesting you should mention that. My Wyvern B282 is old hat by today's standards - it's one of the earliest Bradford models - so not really comparable with what they will be producing now, but the Great Fifteenth is decidedly flutey on both the Classical and Romantic specs. Stops it screeching anyway. The Swell Mixture is pretty flutey too. None of the Mixtures is terribly convincing really, though I probably didn't help the situation by having their volumes increased ever so slightly - probably not a good move.

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Anyone know anything about these please?

 

http://www.comptonorgans.co.uk/

 

Mainly, they are an agent for Viscount instruments, but put their own sample data into them.

 

When I visited (a couple of years ago) they also had a custom 3m instrument based on musicom technology - this was their demonstrator. However, I had a feeling it was the only custom instrument they had built, and weren't really selling any.

 

I also understand they do some refurbishing of old Compton electronic instruments.

 

JJK

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Guest Andrew Butler

How do people who have played them find the Phoenix/Renatus consoles with rocker tablet stops in vertical rows on the side jambs?

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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!

My mother taught me that if you can't say something nice, keep your trap shut! So I have sat on my hands whilst contributors have compared and contrasted Wyverns, Pheonixes, Johanssons, Bradfords, Allens. And then, amidst this land of good but misguided intentions, I came across an oasis in the form of a small, quiet voice that answers to the name of Paul Isom. ;)

 

Taking as inspiration and a bit of artistic licence, Winston Churchill's infamous retort to Bessie Braddock who when she declared, "Winston, you're drunk!", replied "Bessie, you're ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober", a toaster, however good a toaster it may be, will tomorrow still be a toaster. Whereas a pipe organ, despite any intermittent wind problems, will tomorrow and for many more tomorrows still be a pipe organ, long after the toaster has blown a gasket. :D

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Taking as inspiration and a bit of artistic licence, Winston Churchill's infamous retort to Bessie Braddock who when she declared, "Winston, you're drunk!", replied "Bessie, you're ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober", a toaster, however good a toaster it may be, will tomorrow still be a toaster. Whereas a pipe organ, despite any intermittent wind problems, will tomorrow and for many more tomorrows still be a pipe organ, long after the toaster has blown a gasket.  :D

 

Hear hear.

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My mother taught me that if you can't say something nice, keep your trap shut! So I have sat on my hands whilst contributors have compared and contrasted Wyverns, Pheonixes, Johanssons, Bradfords, Allens. And then, amidst this land of good but misguided intentions, I came across an oasis in the form of a small, quiet voice that answers to the name of Paul Isom.  ;)

 

Taking as inspiration and a bit of artistic licence, Winston Churchill's infamous retort to Bessie Braddock who when she declared, "Winston, you're drunk!", replied "Bessie, you're ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober", a toaster, however good a toaster it may be, will tomorrow still be a toaster. Whereas a pipe organ, despite any intermittent wind problems, will tomorrow and for many more tomorrows still be a pipe organ, long after the toaster has blown a gasket.  :D

 

Hmmm!! - ok if you have space at home etc. and our two girls crashing about the place would cause severe nerve problems for me if there was a pristine pipe organ parked in the corner of the front room. There is also the cost of course - if digital were the only practical way then I for one would go for that - but with the proviso that any megalomanic tendencies would be put to one side. One also needs to think carefully about it's purpose and purchase accordingly. And this from an otherwise committed pipe organ person!

 

AJJ

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Whereas a pipe organ, despite any intermittent wind problems, will tomorrow and for many more tomorrows still be a pipe organ, long after the toaster has blown a gasket.  :D

 

Not the one in our church. It's number of tomorrows is very limited. It was never very good, and is now on its last legs - 18 years after its last major rebuild.

 

JJK

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Not the one in our church. It's number of tomorrows is very limited. It was never very good, and is now on its last legs - 18 years after its last major rebuild.

 

JJK

 

Try 50 years without any major work...

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Try 50 years without any major work...

 

and that's a great big lump with electric action and nightmare switchgear.

 

There's just nothing to wear out on a mechanical organ, apart from bushings every 100 years or so.

 

I suggest you consider changing organ builder, JJK!

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Yes, but surely in the 50/60/70 year bracket - not the 10/20?

 

And it's highly likely that timber/leather/glue will still be available in much the same form in 50/60/70 years time.

 

I had an unfortunate experience some years ago of buying what should have been rather a nice three manual home toaster, but it was then some years old. As soon as things started to go wrong engineers just shook their heads and went away laughing at the prospects of me ever sourcing replacements for the bespoke ICs therein.

 

Admittedly this isn't (or shouldn't be) the case with Allen organs - they proudly advertise that they carry spares for every organ they've built since 1939 - although it would be interesting to put this to the test. Would they in fact recommend that you replaced the innards of your 1939 valve-toaster with a few thousand quid's worth of new boards?

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The bellows?

 

I always wonder about this... Are bellows not the thing that the choirboys used to pump on behalf of the organist (no rude comments, please) to provide wind, and thus unlikely to be found in modern organs? Or are belllows the same as reservoirs? Or am I completely confused?

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