PipeChat Digest #39 - Tuesday, August 19, 1997
 
 


(back) Subject: Re: Any thoughts would be appreciated From: Harold Stover <Stovorg@worldnet.att.net> Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 02:39:11 +0000   At 05:12 AM 8/18/97 +0000, Roger Pariseau wrote, concerning Andrew Wallace's request for opinions about organs vs. electronic imitations of same (I think I may be in trouble already):   >A few weeks ago, as I flicked through the channels, I caught part of a Dianne >Bish two-organ duet featuring her enormous whatever-it-is in FL and a Rodgers >"950" [snip] Other than the "classic" Rodgers flutes ("the Rodger's sound"), the >electronic organ's recorded sound was as good as that pipe organ's recorded >sound.   Andrew - do not, repeat DO NOT go by recorded sound as you attempt to reach a decision. Some recording techniques are notoriously unreliable when it comes to organ sound. For example, there was a long thread on piporg-l recently about the discrepancy between the sound of the big Moller at St. George's NYC when heard on E. Power Biggs' recordings (exciting to many) and when heard in person (distressing to almost all). See if you can dig up the correspondence from the piporg archives.   >Way back when Virgil Fox was concertizing and >recording, his make-to-order "Touring Rodgers" certainly sounded much like >the one at Riverside Church (acoustics notwithstanding).   Not in MY memory! (Heard the Rodgers in person a couple of times - heard Riverside often and played it a couple of times)   >IMHO, the best reason for purchasing a (good) pipe organ is that the >church's investment could well be around longer than the church. The >inordinate rate of growth in digital technology, and in electronics in >general, would caution me against buying a _digital_ electronic organ: will >there be repair parts in 15~20+ years?   Good point, and, despite the undeniable advances in electronic technology, they still just plain don't sound like the real thing to my ears. I do try to keep an open mind - a church here in Portland ME where one of my students plays bought a new Allen last year. I have played it several times and listened to it as the student played. Some of the sounds come damn close, particularly the 16' pedal stops, which always used to be the least convincing in terms of electronic thud and hum. BUT, the sound coming out of the speakers still strikes me as one-diminsional and opaque in a way that wind-blown pipes never do. I have been very impressed (as have many organ builders) with the quality of Bob Walker's electronic 32-foot tone, and would not hesitate to recommend it to a church desiring 32s without the space for the real thing, but state-of-the-art isn't cheap. You can get entire two-manual "organs" from some of the less-reputable electronic builders for what Walker charges for two stops.   >Were it my church and my decision, I'd spring for a 1970~1975 Rodgers >Classical organ. You'll get great psycho-acoustical effect, depending upon >the room, of course. Since those instruments use off-the-shelf, available >at Radio Shack, generic electronic parts, any electronics tech with a >schematic can repair the things. Actually, you don't really need the >schematics except, perhaps, for the amplifiers.   OK, here goes: It is my misfortune to have to play my early service every Sunday and many weddings and funerals on the 1980s-vintage Rodgers device in my church's chapel. (The Sanctuary, Deo Gracias, is equipped with an organ). Please everybody, don't respond by asking what model this thing is - I don't know and frankly don't care. What I do know is that it in no way resembles an organ except in the superficial appearance of the console, and even that doesn't hold when you push a piston and discover that it is blind, i.e., the stop-tabs don't move and you have no way of knowing what is really on. The sound, though the entire compass of the "instrument", is uniformly hideous. Nothing balances a way that even the least-experienced organ builder would be able to achieve, either within the compass of an individual stop or in combination with others. I have yet to find any organ literature that sounds even halfway convincing on it. The "swell pedal" (in reality a merely a volume control) produces an effect which in no way resembles the swell on an organ. The console is already showing signs of wear far beyond what a 10-year-old console from any reputable organ builder would show, and the amplification system is already full of white noise and hum (although the local Rodgers service guy explained the white noise by telling me that they jack the treble EQ up "to make it sound as bright as a real organ".) In three words - sorry, Roger - I HATE IT. Caveat emptor, Andrew, Radio Shack or no Radio Shack!   I am prepared to admit that there are certain very limited cirsumstances where an electronic imitation may, in fact, be a reasonable answer, but the question for your 2000 families, Andrew, is a paraphrase of the old Hallmark slogan: do they care enough to buy the very best?   Cheers, Harold    
(back) Subject: Re: Any thoughts would be appreciated From: RMaryman@aol.com Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 22:51:30 -0400 (EDT)   In a message dated 97-08-17 14:17:58 EDT, you write:   << Last, does anyone have an suggestions for getting =91buy-in=92 from th= e parish for the project? To some, I=92m sure, the current organ is fine --- >> >HUMOR ALERT<   A really BIG, loud explosion, especially when accompanied with lots of sm= oke usually is a dramatic way to get the message to hit home. This tactic is especially effective on Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday OR a visit from the local Arch-Bishop (or better yet the Cardinal).   Here's a tactic that *may* help you decide. Have Allen set up their MDS organ Have Rodgers set up their Organ Let both sales Reps adjust Their organ to suit the acoustic of your build= ing >>THEN<< Play them side-by-side in a recital so that each piece gets played once o= n each instrument. You MUST use an impartial 3rd party organist (IF you can find one, that is, since most have a stated preference for one or the oth= er brand)   at the end of this program, usher the sales reps OUT of the church and le= t the congregation VOTE on which they liked the best. The winner gets the sale, and the loser got to hear a good reciatal on the competition's organ.   Rick Maryman   PS - take the money you would use to buy the electronic organ, Contact th= e Organ Clearing House and Buy a previously-owned Pipe Organ and have it rebuilt and installed.  
(back) Subject: My Home Install: How long it takes, what/how many things used! From: Craig Elders <MIS0003C@tcuavm.is.tcu.edu> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 97 22:26:23 CDT     Good day to all!   I took off a couple of weeks before the fall semester starts and stayed at home to work on my home project. No helping others, no playing anywhere, just me and my Pipe Organ. I finished 2 more of my "big" 2-rank chests and 4 "offsets". I am getting better as these chests look so nice - it is a shame that so much of it will not be seen! I even completed my Swell frame and have my 4 "big' chests mounted and 7 of the ranks of pipes all standing up - WOW what a sight, and I might say, a long time to get to this point. My Great has been standing for over a year now so there might be an end someday!   But what I wanted to share with you was something I have promised so many and also the list. That is, what it took in time and materials. So for the two two-rank chests I completed I kept a log of the supplies and the time I spent. So many have asked how long it takes and the materials I have used, so here it is.   LET ME SAY - right up front before I get abused, this is MY pipe organ and I have taken tips, ideas, and knowledge from so many builders and friends. Many I can never thank enough for taking the time to "guide" me and those that have given me hands-on instruction. The ranks I have chosen, how I have constructed the chests, what materials I have used are what *I* have done. I know that there are many other ways to tackle such a massive undertaking, but this is what *I* have done. Please accept this message this way. Again, thanks to all those that have helped me with my dream and if I can be of assistance to anyone, just let me know!   Most of my "big" chests holds 2 ranks each. So what I will describe is my "typical" 2-rank chest.   WOOD USED: ========= Toeboards: Poplar 1-1/4" Chest Sides/Ends: Poplar 3/4" Bottom Boards: Baltic Birch Plywood 3/4" Rack Boards: Baltic Birch Plywood 1/2"   OTHER STUFF USED: ================= How Many Item -------- -------------------------------------------------------- 20 #10 x 2-1/2" Round Head Screw (Toe Boards to sides/ends) 20 #10 x 2" Round Head Screw (Bottom Boards to sides/ends) 12 #10 x 3/4" Flat Head Screw (End Boards to sides) 40 Compression Springs 80 #10 Washers 20 Rack Pins 30 Feet of Cork Ribbon 5 Foot length of 1" Panduit 6 Feet of #10 Solid Copper Wire (Return) 122 Electro-mechanical Valves (various sizes)(I used Reisner) 244 #4 5/8" Pan Head Screws (For Reisner valves to toeboards) 3,000 Feet of wire (Copper wire like phone wire) (25' from chest) 150 Feet of wire for valve return line many Dr. Peppers, Chilled   TASK/MAN HOURS: ===============   1. Cut/Trim/Glue/Clamp - Toe Board....................1 Hour 2. Mark for pilot holes and rack pins.................1 Hour (Time to calculate hole placements is not included here! Many hours, I use a spreadsheet) 3. Drill Pilot Holes ................................ 1 Hour (Rackboard tacked to Toeboard for pilot) 4. Drill Toe Boards ................................. 2 - 2-3/4 Hours (Drill 1/2 from top, 1/2 from bottom) 5. Drill Rack Boards................................. 2 - 2-3/4 Hours (Drill 1/2 from top, 1/2 from bottom) 6. Burnish Toe Board ................................ 1 Hour 7. Cut Sides/Ends/Bottoms ........................... 1 Hour 8. Drill/attach sides/ends/bottoms .................. 1-1/2 Hour 9. Final Sanding .................................... 1 Hour 10. Apply finish (Lacquer Sealer/sand/lacquer/sand) .. 2 Hours (not to bottom of toe board where valves go) 11. Pilot Drill for Valves (mark and drill) ......... 1-1/2 Hours 12. Attack Valves (2 screws/valve (Reisner)) ........ 3-4 Hours 13. Solder Return to valves ......................... 2 Hours 14. Solder Signal Wire to valves .................... 2 Hours   Other time consuming things: Sanding!; I mark the top and bottom of toeboards with the pipe number and the hole size. When you are drilling 1/2 of the hole, turning the board to fit the reach of the drillpress and over to drill the other 1/2, you forget which way you are drilling and changing bit sizes. So, I just take the time up front and "put the numbers in" for me to follow. I also do this on my rackboards as I drill them the same ways. More sanding! I run about 25' of cable from my chest. I build some junction boards with brass pins and wrap all the leads to their pin, but I don't solder. By using the board and a little power supply, I can see that all the valves are working like they should. The boards are a documentation of which wire goes to which valve. Also, I hope to attach my chests to connectors of some kind, so that is why I have not soldered the wires. Anyway, I think that there is as much other "stuff" to do to complete a chest as all the major tasks I have listed above combined.   Finally, every day I learn something new. What I have discovered is that it is almost just as fast to build 2 chests at the same time as it is to build 1! The startup/setup/cleanup phases and the huge task of changing and changing and changing drill bits is a major factor.   For my wiring, I drill and glue a 5/8" dowel - 4-1/4" long into the to board, between any valves. I screw the panduit to these dowels to hold all the wires. Before I glue in the dowels, I drill a hole one inch below where the panduit is attached. This is where I run my copper wire for the return. I solder the return wires from the valves to this wire. Then I run my "phone" cable down the panduit and then out to the individual wires. I also "coil" the wire to the valves around a 1/4" drill bit to make a "spring", then attach. (This way, if I have a problem or later need to do maintenance, I can just pull the wire and get some extra.) Again, this looks so neat, it is hard each time to close all that up. May be I should use glass sides so I can see all my work.   Well, that is a stab at what I have been doing. I have 15 ranks standing in their place on their chests. I have some offset chests ready to go. I still need to design and construct a chest(s) for my 16' Bassoon/8' Oboe, my Swell III Mixture, my Tierce, and a new little 2' Spitzprincipal I just had to have on my Swell. That will make 24 ranks. I want to get everything I have made in place to be sure all my calculations are correct. It has been a hard task getting 17 ranks into my Swell chamber, 3 ranks are 16'ers (16' Pedal Bourdon, 16' Lieblich Gedeckt (2nd Pedal Bass and also on Manual as 16/8, and my 1/2 length Basson/Oboe). Looks like it is going to all fit with even a couple walkways in there. Now, where is that cymbelstern going to go? (Oh, I guess next to the bubble machine, strobe light, and of course, the rotating dance ball.)   Hope this has been of interest to some of you. And, if you are ever in the Cowtown area, I would be glad to have you over to see it in person. (I am sure there will even be some sanding that must be done or some more wire to solder! Bring your work clothes, I have the Dr. Peppers already cold!)   Have a great week and you Northern types, please send some cooler air down this way!   Your friend, Craig Elders   C.Elders@TCU.edu  
(back) Subject: Re: Any thoughts would be appreciated From: Roger Pariseau <grinder@west.net> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 21:09:04 -0700   At 02:39 AM 8/19/97 +0000, you wrote:   >At 05:12 AM 8/18/97 +0000, Roger Pariseau wrote, concerning Andrew= Wallace's >request for opinions about organs vs. electronic imitations of same (I= think >I may be in trouble already):   You're not in trouble with me, Harold. I mostly agree with you. There _is_ no substitute for a good pipe organ! However, there are instances where logistics prevent installation of a PO or boards/committees just cannot be moved. =20   >>A few weeks ago, as I flicked through the channels, I caught part of a >>Dianne Bish two-organ duet featuring her enormous whatever-it-is in FL and >>a Rodgers "950" [snip] Other than the "classic" Rodgers flutes ("the >>Rodger's sound"), the electronic organ's recorded sound was as good as= that >>pipe organ's recorded sound. > >Andrew - do not, repeat DO NOT go by recorded sound as you attempt to reach >a decision. Some recording techniques are notoriously unreliable when it >comes to organ sound. For example, there was a long thread on piporg-l >recently about the discrepancy between the sound of the big Moller at St. >George's NYC when heard on E. Power Biggs' recordings (exciting to many)= and >when heard in person (distressing to almost all). See if you can dig up= the >correspondence from the piporg archives.   That's odd, Harold, since the recording process -- even the best -- always lessens the dynamic range and typically alters the "live" sound negatively. In any event, the sound of both organs made both instruments sound very good indeed given the limitations of TV sound. My tube plays through an elaborate home theater system (38 drivers).   >>Way back when Virgil Fox was concertizing and >>recording, his make-to-order "Touring Rodgers" certainly sounded much like >>the one at Riverside Church (acoustics notwithstanding).=20 > >Not in MY memory! (Heard the Rodgers in person a couple of times - heard >Riverside often and played it a couple of times)   Chaq'un =E0 son go=FBt. (I type as I turn green with envy!)   >>IMHO, the best reason for purchasing a (good) pipe organ is that the >>church's investment could well be around longer than the church. The >>inordinate rate of growth in digital technology, and in electronics in >>general, would caution me against buying a _digital_ electronic organ:= will >>there be repair parts in 15~20+ years? =20 > >Good point, and, despite the undeniable advances in electronic technology, >they still just plain don't sound like the real thing to my ears. <snip>   And, most likely, they never will. At least not without extremely elaborate multi-channel, multi-amplification, multi-speaker systems. And here we get to near-new pipe organ expenses. I remember with no fondness all the flack I took from pastors and such when faced quarterly with my bill for revoicing and tuning individual oscillator plug-ins. I wonder how apoplectic those same people would have gotten with invoices for day/week-long tunings/voicings of POs?!   >>Were it my church and my decision, I'd spring for a 1970~1975 Rodgers >>Classical organ. You'll get great psycho-acoustical effect, depending= upon >>the room, of course. Since those instruments use off-the-shelf, available >>at Radio Shack, generic electronic parts, any electronics tech with a >>schematic can repair the things. Actually, you don't really need the >>schematics except, perhaps, for the amplifiers. =20 > >OK, here goes: It is my misfortune to have to play my early service every >Sunday and many weddings and funerals on the 1980s-vintage Rodgers device= in >my church's chapel. (The Sanctuary, Deo Gracias, is equipped with an >organ). Please everybody, don't respond by asking what model this thing is >- I don't know and frankly don't care. What I do know is that it in no way >resembles an organ except in the superficial appearance of the console, and >even that doesn't hold when you push a piston and discover that it is= blind, >i.e., the stop-tabs don't move and you have no way of knowing what is= really >on. The sound, though the entire compass of the "instrument", is uniformly >hideous. Nothing balances a way that even the least-experienced organ >builder would be able to achieve, either within the compass of an= individual >stop or in combination with others. I have yet to find any organ literature >that sounds even halfway convincing on it. The "swell pedal" (in reality a >merely a volume control) produces an effect which in no way resembles the >swell on an organ. The console is already showing signs of wear far beyond >what a 10-year-old console from any reputable organ builder would show, and >the amplification system is already full of white noise and hum (although >the local Rodgers service guy explained the white noise by telling me that >they jack the treble EQ up "to make it sound as bright as a real organ".)= In >three words - sorry, Roger - I HATE IT. Caveat emptor, Andrew, Radio Shack >or no Radio Shack!   I could not agree with you more. You won't get PO sounds from any analog EO but you _can_ get a psychoacoustically pleasing effect from a properly set up and adjusted EO. =20   I believe I said 70~75-era Rodgers and that only because the stuff that makes it go will be around for a long time. They _do_ have their sonic limitations but, thanks be to all on high, those instruments are easily revoiced. Some tinkerers make quite a hobby of adding/changing the stops on that era of Rodgers organs. Then you remove the side-firing mid-range speakers and tweeters in the S-100 (or whatever) tone cabinet and add forward-firing boxes of your own design, quadruple the amplification driving the remaining pair of 15" woofers and add four more amplifiers to drive your mids and tweets. That takes care of one (voice) channel. Duplicate for the remaining channels. All that aside, the parts used by those instruments are and will be available for many, many more years -- technically there simply will not be a "miniturization" to make them= extinct.   Insofar as the 80s-era Rodgers, I could not agree with you more. They're hardy beasts and I serviced perhaps three of them out of warranty. A Conn dealer got one in on trade and it came complete with all instructions and schematics (!). We had a fine time scrutinizing them over coffee -- and copy machine -- before we attacked the instrument itself. They retained the individual oscillators for frequencies above (I'm guessing here) C-13 (C2 in piano lingo). Below that they used an interesting construct of op-amps, resistors and caps. Those fat, low-frequency generators had by then gotten enormously expensive. Since you like authentic-sounding bass, I can readily envision your distress when addressing the keydesk. (I yanked the Rodgers op-amps and put a Devtronix pedal extension in one of them to satisfy a customer.) Like earlier editions of Rodgers organs, I believe all the stops in the 80s-era Rodgers could be revoiced and I suspect some teenybopper organ player has gotten to the instrument's innards. Your Rodgers serviceman should have noticed that and taken care of it IMHO.   I'm no longer servicing organs (except for gigging musicians and certain pastors/rabbis who lean on me). I do, on occasion, visit LA music stores where Rodgers and Allen organs are on display. To me the (relative) transformation is amazing. Those imbalances -- especially in scaling -- are gone and the individual stops can be fantastically realistic. In combination, however, I agree with you, Harold, that the depth just ain't there. Nor that subtle interaction, beyond ensemble effect, that free-standing pipes offer.   But, let's face it, Harold. We notice the difference; how many clergy and lay committees can? =20   >I am prepared to admit that there are certain very limited cirsumstances >where an electronic imitation may, in fact, be a reasonable answer, but the >question for your 2000 families, Andrew, is a paraphrase of the old= Hallmark >slogan: do they care enough to buy the very best?   To get back to Andrew: I accepted his statement that he is faced with having to purchase a plug-in, no argument. Given that reality, which plug-in should be strive to get his church's board to go for? I suggest the 70~75 era Rodgers despite its voicing and scaling problems because it's repairable for the long-term future. Given a lot of TLC from someone who know's what s/he's doing and some supporting amplification and speaker systems, such an instrument could service his parish for a long time indeed.   I may be overstating my case but I've seen what happened to customers who purchased a $15~18,000 organ in the mid-80s who cannot now get the manufacturer-unique LSI to repair the thing.   -- Roger Pariseau - grinder@west.net --------------------------------- "Not only do we learn from the mistakes of others, but we also=20 learn that it is wiser to enthrone and follow principles than it=20 is to enthrone and follow people." -- Marilyn Vos Savant  
(back) Subject: Forwarded Message: Rebuilding Hinners and Albersten Organ From: "Dr. Peter G. Pocock" <pgpocock@ix.netcom.com> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 21:34:39 -0700   This message was forwarded to me from our web page. If anyone can help this person, please reply directly to them, not to the list as they are not a list member,   thanks,   Pete!   ======Forwarded Message============   Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 18:52:37 -0700 (PDT) From: donteen@cyberdrive.net Reply-to: donteen@cyberdrive.net To: pgpocock@ix.netcom.com Subject: PipeChat Web Page Message   I am currently rebuilding a Hinners and Albersten Organ. I do not know what year it is from but the patents are from 1887. Also, parts of the organ are from Hammond patent 1885. Does anyone have info?