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Billy12345
Sep-15-2006, 19:11
Hello fellow musicians,

I am new to posting so if I don't do everything just so, please forgive my ignorance.
I am looking for a good used three manual digital organ for my home. I have enough space to include separate speaker cabinets, etc. My concern is that I don't know enough about digital organs to make a wise decision. Of course, I would enjoy as close to a pipe organ sound as possible. I realize that Allen and Rogers make digital organs and I have played both. I'm not completely satisfied with either as yet. I really don't want lighted drawknobs!
I have heard that the Phoenix organ company makes a good instrument at an excellent price tag. I realize that I am on a pipe organ forum but I thought that someone could steer me in the best direction.
I would appreciate your frankness and your help. My budget could bear between 4 and 8 thousand.
Billy 12345

pb05
Sep-21-2006, 11:09
You do not make clear where you do live. The reference to Allen and Rodgers makes me think that you are in the US. Anyway, I don't think I can help you much, but here is what I can say.

I have a limited knowledge of the technology of digital organs, but having purchased this year an old digital (probably the very first generation) for my home practice, I started to look at this subject and I am trying to acquire a more clear idea of today's offers. Generally, Ahlborn and Johannus are considered the best in (continental) Europe. No idea about the US though. There are many factors and parameters to look at, but after careful examination of the specifications, hearing, playing and inspecting the physical feel of the actual product will be the principal guide for the final decision.

All depends on what you are looking for, on what your needs are. For example, in my case, I was interested in doing a minimal investment in such an instrument, just to cover the needs for my organ studies. At the time, I knew nothing about digital organs and my decision was based purely on hearing and playing the instrument. It was in very good condition for such an old instrument (10-12 years old), and it performed acoustically leaps above what I was trying to achieve with my modest synthesizer. A completely new world for a very attractive price. Oh, and it has pedals too ;) .

So, this is just to tell you that you have first to ask yourself what exactly you do need, before making your mind up. And today, most manufacturers, the most known at least, offer more or less comparable products and the game now is played in the details that can be very important, according always to the needs and goals.

I would invite you to think about this and ask more. I will have perhaps some answers.

bombarde32
Sep-22-2006, 22:15
Hello fellow musicians,

I have heard that the Phoenix organ company makes a good instrument at an excellent price tag. My budget could bear between 4 and 8 thousand.
Billy 12345

Hello all! My first Magle post. I just bought a new Phoenix. In my opinion they are the absolute best (except maybe for M&O). Unforunately you won't find any used. They are too new a company and their instruments are too good. Their samples are light years ahead (IMHO) of Allen, Rodgers and Johannus. The prices are well under what the others charge as well. What I really like is that each instrument is built custom to your specs both in the stoplist, what and where controls are, et cetera.

Unfortunately ... as I said ... you won't find them used. You will have to buy new (and wait in line 10-12 months for it to be built/delivered). As a VERY rough guide ... expect to pay around a thousand a stop minimum. For a 15-20 stop 2 manual that is probably double your budget :eek: :(

As an alternative ... if you can get your hands on a used console you may be able to purchase the Phoenix system and install it yourself. You will have to be able to do the voicing yourself though. I don't know of anyone personally who has done this so no idea if anyone ever has or if Phoenix would allow it.

- Regards

P.S. Phoenix is actually a European company. There is a North American (Peterborough Ontario) and U.K. branches. Phoenixorgans.com and phoenixorgans.co.uk

Billy12345
Sep-22-2006, 22:40
Thanks for your input. I am from the US (Alabama). pbo5, I think that I know for what I am looking. Hopefully, I can find a used organ to meet these specifications. Versitility, 3 manuals, AGO pedal board, not necessarily cutting edge technology. A good sound and a good practice instrument. Thanks also to Bombarde 32 for the input on pricing for the Phoenix. It certainly makes sense that they are too new for used ones to be available as yet. And another source tells me that Phoenix Organs can be upgraded so there will probably not be as much turn over. Thanks again to you both.
Billy12345

Krummhorn
Sep-23-2006, 02:01
Hi Bombarde32 ... welcome to MIMF

Enjoyed reading about the Phoenix organ and went to their website. Pretty impressed with sound clips of the softer voices. There is something about full ensemble though that can only come from wind blown pipes, something that the 'toasters' are getting closer to replicating.

pb05
Sep-23-2006, 15:35
pbo5, I think that I know for what I am looking. Hopefully, I can find a used organ to meet these specifications. Versitility, 3 manuals, AGO pedal board, not necessarily cutting edge technology. A good sound and a good practice instrument.
OK. I don't think that I can help on where to look.

You can certainly find good 3-manual organs in your budget range. "Good" is always a relative term and depends on your expectations. For example, if you can read french, here (http://www.france-orgue.fr/orgues/index.php?zpg=org.doc.fch&ido=357) is an example (used organ) for 5400 euros. There are many parameters to look at, but from the most important are the sample loop length (today's digital organs use samples of real organ pipes), the detail of samples, the dedicated amount of memory of the organ and the sound separation through channels. And built construction of course.

In your case, I don't think you should start your search based solely on the paper specifications, partly because even used organs that have good technical profiles by today's standards, would be way beyond your budget. You should more look for occasions in the US, like the european link I cited above, and make visits on site to hear and play the organ.

Fortunately or unfortunately, unlike computers, digital organs hold very well their value. This is related to the fact that the people using them are a tiny minority in the music market.

pb05
Sep-23-2006, 22:13
Hi Bombarde32 ... welcome to MIMF

Enjoyed reading about the Phoenix organ and went to their website. Pretty impressed with sound clips of the softer voices.

I agree, they have some impressive samples showing that these organs are of high quality. Final judgement though should be reserved upon hearing the actual instrument in appropriate acoustic conditions.

Very good samples can be found in the other manufacturers that I mentioned above. It seems though that some Johannus recordings are substantially better than the Ahlborn ones. Take as example this one (http://www.ahlbornorgeln.de/AHLBORN_ORGELN_-_Dietrich_Buxtechude_-_Praeludium_und_Fuge_g-moll.mp3) (more samples here (http://www.ahlbornorgeln.de/html/klangbeispiele.html)) and the recording or mp3 compression problem is more than visible (or audible ;)) in the beginning. On the other hand, there are some pretty impressive Johannus samples in this (http://www.musicland.com.au/index.asp?pgid=32) page. But I don't think that the real difference between Ahlborn and Joahnnus would be so big as the above samples let you believe. Furthermore, the Johannus marketing looks more eloquent than the Ahlborn one. That's why I insist that final judgement should be made after seeing and hearing the instrument in person.



There is something about full ensemble though that can only come from wind blown pipes, something that the 'toasters' are getting closer to replicating.
What do you mean? What are "toasters"?

Krummhorn
Sep-24-2006, 01:31
Hi pb05,

"Toasters" is a slang term sometimes used by pipe organ builders describing the electronic and/or digital reproduction of wind blown pipes. For the record, I am not a pipe organ builder, nor am I opposed to electronic and/or digital reproduction of actual wind blown pipes. It was meant in a humorous way. :o

I did not mean to offend anyone nor was it meant to convey that I personally am opposed to electronic/digital reproductions - I am partial to Allen, however, having been in insitutional sales and later as a road technician.

pb05
Sep-24-2006, 01:46
Hi pb05,

"Toasters" is a slang term sometimes used by pipe organ builders describing the electronic and/or digital reproduction of wind blown pipes. For the record, I am not a pipe organ builder, nor am I opposed to electronic and/or digital reproduction of actual wind blown pipes. It was meant in a humorous way. :o

I did not mean to offend anyone nor was it meant to convey that I personally am opposed to electronic/digital reproductions - I am partial to Allen, however, having been in insitutional sales and later as a road technician.

Thanks for the clarifications Krummhorn.
No, I did not take offence, I was just curious. :)

So, you do compare the tutti between a pipe and a digital organ. Of course you cannot expect the same level of performance. However, it seems that progress has been made. Johannus (http://www.musicland.com.au/index.asp?pgid=158) claims that their full organ settings are similar to what one finds in a real pipe organ in sound characteristics. A little hard to believe without being a witness and it does not mean that others too, who do not speak too much, have not made progress in the same direction. But as I said previously, it appears that Johannus marketing is stronger than other's.

Krummhorn
Sep-25-2006, 00:14
Hi pb05,

I have heard some recordings of the Johannus - quite impressed with the overall tone quality.

Contratrombone64
Dec-06-2007, 02:17
http://www.phoenixorgans.com/recordings.htm

greatcyber
Jun-14-2008, 22:22
Listening to many of the electronic versions of pipe organs out there is quickly becoming an obcession for me. I find myself at my computer for countless hours, even forgetting to take the time to prepare meals and/or go to bed.

I have to thank you all for the wealth of information on these forums. It has truly opened my eyes to what is possible with some time, patience, and of course, some money.

Since I have been googling my head off, I came across this YouTube download that I thought would be nice to share...just to see if it makes the same impression on anyone here as it did on me. I was especially moved by the trumpet sounds. And to think that this organ is in someone's lounge/living room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaoDKTRh5P4

Let me know if you like it.

Stephen

Contratrombone64
Jun-16-2008, 00:18
greatcyber ... where on this vast planet do you live? I'm in Australia.

Billy - thanks, it's been a fascinating thread.

nullogik
Jun-17-2008, 15:41
If you're looking for new then the European makes like Viscount, Johannus & Ahlborn Galanti will offer you the best value for money and a higher spec at your price point.

Personally, I'm a fan of Allen organs (Rodgers are good too), but for your budget you'd only be able to afford a tiny new Allen or Rodgers which you may find underwhelming and which you may "out grow" quite quickly.

Alternatively, if you go second hand then there is plenty to choose from.

I'd personally stay away from the likes of Johannus and Viscount instruments that were built before the mid 1990s. These are known for their poor build quality and so-so reliability - and parts are hard to get hold of these days. However, in the last few years they've improved vastly and are now not too far off the likes of Allen when it comes to build quality.

If you go second hand then you can't go wrong with either an Allen or Rodgers. On your budget you should be able to get a digital instrument built from the late 1980s onwards (depending on spec of course). These instruments are built like tanks and will go on for many years. There are also still parts around for if you ever need to repair them.

Personally, I like larger instruments, so I'd go second hand and purchase myself something like a late 1980s/early 1990s Allen three manual.

greatcyber
Jun-19-2008, 18:54
greatcyber ... where on this vast planet do you live? I'm in Australia.

Billy - thanks, it's been a fascinating thread.

Contratrombone64~I live in Montreal, Quebec. I jsut moved here in January. My husband and I moved from Fort Lauderdale. Yes, I know, people always ask why we would leave south Florida and move to Canada?!? One word answer should suffice: Bush! We have become more than disheartened with the US over the past several years and my husband being Canadian allows for us to live an open and honest life without the biggotry and gay-bashing that happened to us in FLL. It is a shame we had to leave our country, but, boy, are we HAPPY now. Of course, moving in the height of winter was an adjustment and one of our dogs wouldn't go out of the house for 3 months, but cost of life is cheaper, food is better, people are actually PLEASANT and our only task now is to learn to speak French. Thank goodness for Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur.

But this forum has been a God-send for me...not to mention a wealth of information. It is allowing me to go back to music, which I have been away from for some 35 years or so. I'm really getting into the virtual organ programs and am having my mom send me all my old organ music from Florida. I used to play in church when I was 17. I'm 51 now. Just starting all over again. It's fun, actually.

Cheers,
Stephen

Corno Dolce
Jun-19-2008, 20:58
I warmly recommend the organs made by Van Der Poel:

www.vanderpoelkerkorgels.nl

menschenstimme
Jun-25-2008, 05:11
I am new posting to this site as well. I am intrigued reading all the different thoughts on electronic or digital organs. Has anyone out there heard an organ built with Musicom? technology? I have, and I haven't heard anything else that will touch it.

nullogik
Jun-25-2008, 17:56
Hello again, Menschenstimme!

menschenstimme
Jun-27-2008, 01:03
Hope everyone is well. I never got an answer back on my question, so I didn't know if I posted right.

greatcyber
Jun-27-2008, 02:12
I am new to this site as well. Has anyone out there heard an organ with Musicom technology? I have, and to me, there is nothing that touches it.

I googled musicom technology and found the website: www.musicom-ltd.com very interesting, indeed. It seems like it would be a logical way to control pipe organs, what with the midi input/outputs, etc.

I continue to be amazed at technology!:cool:

menschenstimme
Jun-27-2008, 03:07
Check out this website: www.covenantorgans.com, then go to installations, and North Carolina, and listen to the samples. Virgil would have loved the one from the Lutheran church. I think Rodman Wanamaker would have as well

greatcyber
Jul-01-2008, 20:45
Thank you for sharing the link. I can't wait until I get my organ in a few days and start to really have fun with MIDI. I believe I will wind up with Hauptwerk software, but still haven't totally decided. I will have to MIDI-ize the 2 keyboards and the pedal board, and from what I have researched, that should cost about $375 USD.

I hope my neighbors like classical organ music. If not, they are in for a "rude awakening."

Stephen

greatcyber
Jul-07-2008, 19:08
I found some more great organ samples at http://pcorgan.com (http://pcorgan.com/)

Really beautiful sounds.

Stephen

Contratrombone64
Jul-10-2008, 06:35
There are some strong opinions here about what's best "hauptwerk, etc" my two cent's worth: do your own research and find one your most comfortable with, because, like most trains, you'll get to your destination, your seats might just be different coloured.

Albert
Oct-14-2008, 07:36
Listening to many of the electronic versions of pipe organs out there is quickly becoming an obcession for me. I find myself at my computer for countless hours, even forgetting to take the time to prepare meals and/or go to bed.

I have to thank you all for the wealth of information on these forums. It has truly opened my eyes to what is possible with some time, patience, and of course, some money.

Since I have been googling my head off, I came across this YouTube download that I thought would be nice to share...just to see if it makes the same impression on anyone here as it did on me. I was especially moved by the trumpet sounds. And to think that this organ is in someone's lounge/living room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaoDKTRh5P4

Let me know if you like it.

Stephen
It sounds good except for full organ - but that could be made worse by the recording method. It appears to be an Ahlborn when I look at the keywords, or at least it has an Ahlborn module in there somewhere.

Ntalikeris666
Jan-21-2009, 00:56
I have found a Pretty good Organ company, named Content Organs that has to offer more than i expected. For Example http://www.contentorgels.nl/product1.aspx?catid=30
The Mondri 5400 has Approx 10000 Euros the 5600 arround 12000 and the 5800 14000.
For the stops and manuals they provide i have to say that it is a really reasonable price. You are also able to choose what wood should your organ be made of, what type of keyboard (Wooden, High quality handmade tracker action keyboards) and also to choose what kind of pedalboard you want as well as and other many features , which you can see in the website.

Sound Samples: http://www.contentorgels.nl/newsDtls.aspx?id=21
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5u-ykr6WPo&fmt=18

Content Organs has and more models, custom made, but the Mondri Pastorale series are my favorites.

So what do you think?

Personally, i would rather buy a 3 manual 53 stop high quality organ (with quite good sound) rather than a 2 manual 10 stop Phoenix organ, which will cost twice as much.

Nicholas

Valkyrie
May-21-2009, 01:10
Hello
I am a Mezzo Soprano, Choir Director & Pianist who has always played pipe organs in wonderful repair at churches I've attended. I am so very spoiled. Until now.
I have just moved to a wonderful congregation with a great grand piano. They are really in need of an instrument with a wonderful organ sound. I will probably have to buy it myself and will definitely consider used.

I do not know anything about synthesizers and digital organs/pianos.
Can someone give me a place to start?
The organ we have is very old, and has speakers inside. Too overpowering for the choir and director which are very nearby, but won't reach the opposite side of the sanctuary. Where do I start?
I need a wonderful pipe organ sound (don't we all?) with speakers I suppose that are not only in the cabinet.

Please help me.

Thank!

Valkyrie

menschenstimme
Jun-02-2009, 10:15
To Valkyrie,

If you are looking for the truest sound of pipes, check out Covenant Organs. I have sound that sampling just doesn't do it. Individual stops may sound decent, but the warmth and ensemble just isn't there. Covenant does not use sampling (recordings of pipes played back), they use generated sounds but with the warmth, clarity, and ensemble of choruses. You can literally build pipes on the computer. I have been a church organist for 41 years, and I have never heard any non-pipe organ (digital or analog) do what these organs do. It is the only system that I would even consider integrating with real pipes. Check 'em out at www.covenantorgans.com. You'll be glad you did.

Have a great evening,
Menschenstimme

Ntalikeris666
Jun-02-2009, 16:35
Hello
I am a Mezzo Soprano, Choir Director & Pianist who has always played pipe organs in wonderful repair at churches I've attended. I am so very spoiled. Until now.
I have just moved to a wonderful congregation with a great grand piano. They are really in need of an instrument with a wonderful organ sound. I will probably have to buy it myself and will definitely consider used.

I do not know anything about synthesizers and digital organs/pianos.
Can someone give me a place to start?
The organ we have is very old, and has speakers inside. Too overpowering for the choir and director which are very nearby, but won't reach the opposite side of the sanctuary. Where do I start?
I need a wonderful pipe organ sound (don't we all?) with speakers I suppose that are not only in the cabinet.

Please help me.

Thank!

Valkyrie

Well , if you can buy real pipes do it, but if not, i have two companies to suggest.

The first is Phoenix Organs, which have magnificent sounds and quality and has competitive prices.
Another nice company is content organs, which have a more European sound and dont have the sound immaculancy that Phoenix have (in a good way though, as you feel like playing like lets say in an older organ). Content also has really nice consoles which remind positif organs.

criptlyon
Jun-10-2009, 17:04
Hello Walkyrie,

As far as I have read on many forums, you will get many different advices about which organ has the best sound.

If I may, I would tell you some "research tips":
About modern electronic organs that are brand new nowadays: know that there are two concurrent technologies to create the note: sampling and synthesis. For example, Johannus uses sampling technology, as well as up-to-now Viscount models (i.e. except the "Physis" models).
In fact, for those using sampling, you will find arguments are about the length of samples, the number of samples, and some modifications to simulate "wind effect", etc...
For those using modelling or synthesis, you will find different hardware or software used (Musicom, customed musicom software or (it seems) completely new and patented Physis modelling for Viscount). Please note also that, for the same brand (for example Viscount), expanders can be modelling sound whereas organs use samples.

Those who choose pipe modelling technology will say that only this technology can make you feel the "ensemble sound", with pipes influencing each others when played simultaneously. However, it seems that "samples addicts" have found also the way to model this with samples.

I don't know which one is the best. Even if you were sure about the number of keyboards and pedalboard disposition, about the stops you want, there are also so many things that must be taken into account that it will be difficult to choose: woodwork used for the console, amplifiers and speakers numbers, speakers disposition, keyboard quality...

If you can listen to these different organs, it will be better! :)

wljmrbill
Jul-09-2009, 00:07
I always liked the Johannus. I played a 3 MANUEL model for a number of years in the 1980's at an Episcopal Chmurch and was very satisfied with it's sound and performance. Recent models I have listened to lately..still sound good and I believe you might be able to find an oldedr used one used one.. Go to: Daffur organs.com and they might be able to help your in your search.

Luis Enrique
Jan-01-2010, 07:33
My advice: visit www.allenorgan.com. You will find out plenty of interesting data about models, design, etc. To my taste, l Allen sound and quality is the best in today digital organs

LastCorpseStanding
Jan-02-2010, 04:25
I've played a number of different brands, although not Phoenix, and I've played around with Hauptwerk a couple of times. Honestly, for home use, I would take a good hard look at Hauptwerk. If you're from the US, you may have heard of Walker Technical from Pennsylvania. Second only to M&O in my opinion, but very pricey. I used to play an all Walker digital organ in Ajax, Canada. Do a YouTube search for lastcorpsestanding and some posts of that organ come up. That being said, my experience with HW is that it is coming very close to Walker.

HW is expandable, and quite flexible. And that style of system may become the new norm for digital organs in the near future. Check out the listening room at Milan Digital Audio, or do some YouTube searches.

If you look around the forums here, you'll also see other HW style systems that are talked about in depth.

Phoenix can do a HW style system using their own samples. I'm currently looking at that solution for my present church. Have fun looking.