View Full Version : Roland c-190 or Viscount Cantorum VI

Jun-16-2008, 18:18
I want to purchase a portable electronic organ and I have considered the Roland c-190 and the Viscount Cantorum VI.

The Roland has 76 keys (is it an advantage?) and the sound samples come from the Rodgers wave library.

The keyboard of the Viscount simulates the tracker touch of a real organ (:confused: do all organs have a similar touch?) and it has historic temperaments.

It would be important for me to see your opinions before deciding for one of these.

Jun-16-2008, 23:48
Welcome to the most entertaining place in cyberspace, where fun lives and a community thrives.

Frayjuan - the world's your oyster when it comes to digital organs, my only adivce, stick within your budget AND see if that includes a full pedal board and at least two manuals. Ain't no brand loyalty here, but I like Makin (English) digital organs because I like the organ they were sampled form (Liverpool Cathedral, England).

Jun-17-2008, 05:58
Thank you for your advice. I´d love having a two manual and full pedalboard instrument, but actually what I need is a portable one.

Jun-17-2008, 06:32
then you're not talking about "digital organ" you're talking about synthesizer, and there's a big difference...I own a Yamaha digital keyboard, wasn't particuarly expensive, but I love it and it's almsot full size keyboard is better (and sometimes not) than standard 5 octave synthesizer.

Jun-17-2008, 15:22
Well; I have a charming old Roland synthesizer, but what I want is an easily transportable instrument with organ sounds, and the possibility to combine those sounds, just like a single-manual organ. With no furniture and no pedal board. Ahlborn H6, or Ahlborn Parvus II are other possibilities, but I can´t find retailers. I know that a cheap organ can´t offer a good sound, but I´d like two know wich of Roland C-190 and Viscount Cantorum VI has better sound.

Jun-19-2008, 19:06
I noticed on the Pianoteq site that a new organ keyboard is being rolled out (it might be by now) that folds onto itself and latches like a suitcase. It has two parts that are hinged that unfold and voila, a full keyboard. Of course, the site is for paino sounds (which are wonderful, by the way) and also something that is a blend of piano/organ. They also have wonderul harpsichord sounds. I had a harpsichord when I lived in Atlanta. A friend of mine made it and when I used to play it when I would visit, he offerred it to me one day. When I moved, I sold it to a church. It was quite quaint.

I loved to play Mozart on it. For the organ I played mostly Bach. Piano is a mixed bag. The more I sit at my keyboard and try to remember music, it is surprising how much I have forgotten. But, eventually some things do come back to memory and my fingers just "do their thing" and surprise the heck out of me.

the website is: http://www.pianoteq.com

If you explore the site, you will find the foldable keyboard. Looks pretty cool.

Jul-18-2008, 08:07
greatcyber - I emailled pianoteq ... and I must say I'm not impressed. Didn't even bother to respond when I asked about purchasing and shipping to my part of the world ... sheesh, no sense of customer enterprise, that's for sure.

Sep-10-2008, 22:39
I own both of these. . .

I really like them both--the advantage of the Cantorum is the harp and celesta sounds, the Roland dosen't have this.

The extra keys on the Roland make dual-manual playing on one keyboard easier.

The Roland also lets you solo a MIDI voice on the swell--even with the manuals coupled.

The Cantorum dosen't couple manuals. . .the only way to play the swell on it is to split the keyboard at the lowest note on it or play it through an external keyboard. . .or MIDI source.

The cantorum's strings and chimes suck--but the other voices are very nice.

The Roland has great MIDI sounds--all from their samples. . .negative--you can't layer piano w/strings. . .

They both have out of this world harpischords & flues. The Roland has more versitilities. . .

The Cantorum has a better keyboard--much nicer.

Ask for questions. . .

e~mail me at dmichaelfuller at verizon dot net.


Sep-16-2008, 15:57
then you're not talking about "digital organ" you're talking about synthesizer, and there's a big difference...I own a Yamaha digital keyboard, wasn't particuarly expensive, but I love it and it's almsot full size keyboard is better (and sometimes not) than standard 5 octave synthesizer.
I have a question. I've never heard about this definition of a 1-keyboard organ as a synthesizer. A synthesizer is a whole another world, why should you call it synthesizer when the electronics, engine, sound it's just the same as a digital organ w/ cabinet but stripped down to plastic case with only one keyboard? I don't really understand this. A synthesizer is by default a keyboard with no samples, and organs (till viscount developed the physis and since manufacturers stopped making mid60s electric organs with oscillators) were only with samples!!! Don't want to quarrel about definitions, just that this definition doesn't make sense to any other keyboard player, stick to wikipedia definition for example...

Corno Dolce
Sep-16-2008, 16:20
Aloha tegshee,

Ah yes, the gret debate about digital organ v. synthesizer. These days a digital organ in the classical sense of the word has real pipe organ sounds that are *sampled* from *live* instruments. Synthesizers don't generally have true pipe organ sound sampled - only a poor approximation.


Corno Dolce :):):)

Nov-08-2008, 22:36
I have the same question as Frayjuan. I want to buy either the Roland C-190 or the Viscount Cantorum. Either the Cantorum II , III, OR VI, although the VI is a bit on the expensive side for me. I only want it for home use but do not have space or finances for a full size organ. I was actually looking for a second hand Roland C-180 but can not find any for sale. Which has the most realistic pipe organ sounds, the Roland or the Viscount? If they were equal in sound quality I would probably choose the Roland as it has more keys than the Viscount. And what is Tracker touch? I have never played an organ keyboard,only the piano.

Nov-10-2008, 14:37
To get the most flexibility from an instrument, go with the Roland! Organ sounds are equally as good on both, the Roland reeds sound more American, and the Cantorum's reeds sound more European.

Tracker touch--it has a springy click sort of feel--to simulate all of the mechanical action a tracker organ has--think of what the inside of a spinette piano looks like--all those pulleys and levers to make a hammer hit a string, tracker touch is a system very similar but on a much bigger scale.

The Roland's touch is very similar to many organs--most any with electric action.

Also, the Roland is far more portable and much lighter weight, as it's case is VERY NICE wood-grained and black plastic. The Cantorum is HEAVY, as much of its case is made of wood-veneered MDF (basically a board made from sawdust and glue!--the same stuff as the crappy furniture from Wal-Mart or Ikea!) (Side note--I'm an antique freak!! I've got stuff from when JS Bach was still alive!)

Nuber one reason for a Roland--Budget!! It is about half the price of the Cantorum VI! (at least in the USA!)

Nov-10-2008, 17:31
Thanks for all that info,looks like the Roland is the one to buy.:)

Jan-21-2009, 08:52
Finally I have bought the Roland.

It has some beautiful organ sounds, but its reeds (trumpet, oboe,...) are a little bit artificial. I have connected a one octave pedalier and another keyboard via midi, but in one of the keyboards the manuals sound permanently acopled.

Some non-organ sounds are worth, specially the oboe and the flute.

More things:
It has different temperaments.
Actualizing the firmware is a really difficult task.
Splitting the keyboard you obtain a really odd distribution of the octaves. It is difficult to play.

Jan-22-2009, 15:23

With other posts in other forums, I read this post months ago when I was wondering which portable electronic organ I had to buy in order to learn (small budget and small room, no experience in keyboards but strong one in music).

Here are the reasons which made me choose for the cantorum:
- tracker touch, simili ivory keys
- "sound power"
- european sound (it seems)
- new quality of sound (it seems, compared to other Cantorum II or III, Roland C180, Ahlborn SL61)

My goal is to learn organ keyboard, and not keyboards in general (piano, synthetizers...), that's why I wanted (if possible) to train my fingers on a "classical european mechanical transmission organ feeling" keyboard. :grin:

However, I did not have chance to hear the C190 personnaly.

Well, in a few weeks I'll be able to tell you more about the Cantorum VI, as I will receive mine ;)

Jan-23-2009, 13:47
I have been using a Roland C190 for two years now and over all I am fairly satisfied with it. It is used mainly as a home practice instrument for my role as organist to two churches with pipe organs. I also take the instrument around with me to the care homes where I play for the old folks. On occasion it has provided the accompaniment for services in small churches/chapels where there has been no other instrumental provision. I would say that it is in use for approximately twenty-five hours a week in all of its roles.
So, how has it performed?
The organ sounds are excellent, and making full use of the alternative voices available, allows for a wide range of classical music styles. (Though in the early days, I had to keep resetting the instrument to its factory settings after getting carried away with the possibilities !). I fairly quickly abandoned the 'two-manual' function as more nuisance than it was worth, with hands having to be often at the extreme ends of the keyboard to cope with the octave shift.
A volume (swell) pedal is absolutely essential for this instrument, and I obtained the Roland EV-5 for about twenty pounds and it works fine. Setting the volume pedal (which only affects the Man 11 sounds) to zero in the closed position, allows for interesting swell effects as you open the pedal while playing Man 1 sounds. Experimentation is everything !
I said above that the organ sounds are excellent. I would modify that verdict in respect of the Trumpet voice which is pitiful. The alternative sounds available to the Trompete settings are interesting but not much to my liking - you may feel differently. The instrument redeems itself however with the orchestral brass sound. This can be used as one of the best digital trumpet sounds I have heard - and its position in the Man 11 group means it can be brought in on the swell pedal to superb effect.
The orchestral sounds are generally of a better quality than the organ sounds, but the design team at Roland must have had a collective brain fart when deciding what to layer with what. It is impossible to layer strings with piano, or voice with piano or strings. These are unquestionably the most popular layers in other digital keyboards, and the configuration of the Roland in this regard is baffling.
The instrumental solo function (only available on Man 11) is effective, but takes some getting used to. Any degree of detache in the right hand will immediately shift the solo sound to the left hand which can be annoying, but practice makes perfect - as they say.
The Roland C190 is a complex instrument and any new user will be spending a lot of time with the handbook open. Time spent this way though will pay dividends.
Amplification. 'Out of the box', the Roland is a perfectly good home-use instrument, with more than enough volume and bass-to-treble quality to cope with whatever your home-use requirements might be. My own use of the instrument away from home, has involved using a stand-alone keyboard amplifier (15inch bass and a one and seven eighths treble thingy, 200 watts, and with a seven channel EQ) I had to pay attention to the bass effect with this kit and make sure the output sound didn't turn to mush. In fact the appearance of the EQ ended up as a 'down-turned mouth' picture, which is opposite to that normally found, but it works.
I also plug the Roland in to my p.a. kit, (a pair of passive twelve inchers plus 'tweeters' and fed from a 2 x 200 watt mixer amp). This particular setup has coped well accompanying over a hundred and fifty people in a church building which can seat three hundred. Levels were never more than two-thirds max. Thinking back, I recall that I also added in the keyboard amp to provide a bit of whoomph at the bottom end.
All in all, the C190 is a versatile and interesting piece of kit, a bit quirky in operation, and as I have found it, able to cope far beyond its designed use parameters.
Lastly, I also have a Viscount Vivace 40 organ which I keep in one of 'my' churches. The MIDI function allows me to play either instrument from the other with a whole range of interesting possibilities which I am still exploring. Needless to say, that Roland orchestral brass sound seems to figure quite a lot in my experiments !
I am sorry that I came late to this topic, but hope this has been useful for anyone interested in this instrument.
Best wishes
Chris Baker - Durham UK

Jan-23-2009, 22:00

Thank you for your very precise post about orchestral sounds and amplification, ChrisB.:up:

In my humble opinion, it seems however that the Roland C190 is attractive for its versatility, the possibilities to play orchestral sounds.
But when we compare the pipe organ sounds, which one is better? (when the goal is to play electronic pipe organ)

Well, as I said, I never heard the C190 in real, but today I found the mp3 on the Roland website (http://www.rolandce.com/classic/products.php?language_id=EN&product=3&title=Roland%20C-190), and my question is: are these real samples from C190?
When you compare these mp3 with samples from Cantorum VI, it looks like that Roland ones are midi files! :o Listen to Demo 17 (Passcaglia from J.S.Bach)...:confused:

Here you can find samples from the Cantorum VI (http://www.viscountorgans.net/download.htm). I must admit that I'm very surprised with the difference. (If Quiktime does not work, you can find mp3 versions here: http://www.viscount-organs.pl/utwory%20mp3.html)

What do you think when listening to samples?

Another example, with the same music score:
- Roland: Demo 10
- Viscount: Cantorum 6-8.mp3
Roland "human choir" sounds are far better, but for me pipe sounds are not as good as Viscount ones.

As the difference seems sometimes to be obvious with web samples, perhaps it would be a good thing that dmfuller (see above) who owns both Cantorum VI and Roland C190, could tell us if samples are OK for the Roland? :)

Jan-24-2009, 01:21
Hi criptlyon,
The demo set on the Roland site is simply the set included with the instrument itself. They are MP3s. Yes, all the sounds you hear are available on the instrument, though a fair amount of experimentation is required to obtain some of them. I agree that demo 17 is poorly registered, but it is nevertheless an MP3. I would say that it was over ambitious to expect this monumental piece to come across well on a small instrument like the C190.
The Viscount samples similarly, are those included with the instruments. I am slightly suspicious of the ambient effects, but not having heard a Cantorum 'live' so to speak, I am unable properly to judge. The set in your first link is exactly the set contained within the Vivace range, and I am able on my V 40 to reproduce all of the sounds. This suggests that Viscount are being honest with their Cantorum demos also.
Generally, I agree with you that the Cantorum sounds seem better that those of the C190 in the recordings offered. As you say, it needs someone with both instruments to give a definitive verdict, but this would neccesarily be subjective. For myself, I am happy with the Roland organ sounds, and am able to achieve just about all I require from the instrument.
Best wishes
Chris Baker - Durham UK

Jan-24-2009, 14:42

Please excuse me if I was a bit too much "one sided minded" when I spoke about samples. It's true that I personnaly find Viscount samples better, but I also true that the C190 ones are real good, as well as the instrument is a more vesatile, more "open" instrument than the Cantorum...:)

Finally, I think the "goals" of both instruments are not exactly the same, and in your case, it seems your choice was the good one, as you already have a V40 ;)
In my case, for now I don't have any organ, my Cantorum VI will be at home in two weeks... Nevertheless, I heard and tried it in the shop, and the samples are exactly the demo songs included in the instrument.

About the "hands at ends of the keyboards splitted" phenomenon, if I understand well and if I say something true, the Cantorum VI can shift splitted manuals in 4' and 16': this could be an advantage for this instrument.

Best regards

Feb-09-2009, 17:01
Hello to all! I now have my Cantorum VI for two days... and it sounds astonishing for a portable organ! :D

I can now really assure that the Viscount samples (see some posts above) are exactly what it sounds in real.

As a sound comparison is finally difficult without having both Cantorum VI and Roland C190 at home, I can nevertheless list down several cool features I tried last week end on my Cantorum:

- "tracker touch": I never played on a real mechanical transmission pipe organ, so I can't say if it is close to "reality". It is somewhat like a very hard synth touch. The white keys are in a simili ivory with two engraved horizontal lines near black keys, and with some chamfers on lateral sides, they look very nice.

- different temperaments and different sound styles (baroque 1 and 2, romantic, symphonic) are clearly different, and I am quite happy to have the possibility to choose which kind of sound I prefer for which score.

- manual 1 octave up and manual 2 octave down (chosen separately or both): very very useful when splitting the keyboard: the two voices can overlap each other without any problem!

- possibility to record what I have played to listen again and track down mistakes (many mistakes these days...)

- possibility to adjust individually the volume of each voice

I need to practice a lot to inspect and try the usefulness of some features, but all in all, I'm very happy with my new instrument.

The sound volume it plays is sufficient for my room in my small flat, without any external amplification. I don't push the volume further than half for the "plein jeu", I am too afraid of neighbors coming to the front door yelling "stop it! you pipe organ fanatic!" ;)

Feb-17-2009, 17:45
I'm looking to sell my Cantorum VI........

It is for sale in the Antique Shop I run in Petersburg, VA.

The Oak Antique Mall
400 N. Sycamore Street
Petersburg, VA 23803

[Regulator Edit: Personal email address and store url removed]
[Please use the PM system for personal contact if interested in this item]

I've had it about 2 years....I'm asking $1,500.00 US for it and accessories.

The Oak accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

I'd prefer pick-up by buyer, but will help if buyer arranges pick-up & delivery. Buyer responsible for all shipping and handling charges.

Feb-17-2009, 18:35
Hello dmfuller,

Even if I'm not going to buy your Cantorum VI as I already have mine, may I ask you if you have some "special" informations about this organ?
As for example: if you were satisfied with it, if some technical problems had appeared along its short life (2 years), if you ever contacted Viscount for whatever reason, what do you think about its stops, its features, etc..?

In fact, I would appreciate any feedback (bad or good) you have about the Cantorum VI :grin:

Thank you!

Feb-17-2009, 18:38
OOpps, sorry, I did not remember your old posts about the Roland and the Cantorum in this thread... :o

Please don't take into account my previous post.

Jun-24-2009, 15:19
Sorry for the delay! Samples are great on both--it all depends on the reverb settings--even a pipe organ in a dry room sounds terrible!!!

For the c190 I have it set to gothic church reverb to the max setting--it gives you that lingering of overtones so often left out of digital instruments. (This really makes the Trumpett sound great on here--in fact with the reverb it sounds like the Skinner trumpet I have at 'my' church!)

For the viscount--again--maximize the reverb--it makes all the difference in the world.

The roland is by far more american sounding, and the viscount more european sounding.

If you have to pick only one--

If you need a versitile PORTABLE insturment--pick the Roland--I use this for everything from weddings to christmas & birthday parties, at the old folks home and everything in between. This case is made of plastic--very sturdy and light weight.

If you want a soley classic digital organ--that is too heavy to be considered portable--most of the case is made of MDF--basically sawdust held together with glue--very very very heavy......

In fact sometimes I regret buying the viscount--as it is nearly $1,000.00 more here in the US than the roland, plus it is so heavy and cumbersome to move, i've had it stored in a cupboard for nearly a year. However it has awesome sound--I recorded some songs on it--a bunch of my "pipes only" buddies couldn't tell--and the few tracks I recorded on a pipe organ were deemed to be the digital ones!!! Ha!!!

Jun-26-2009, 10:23

Well, when you say:

However it has awesome sound--I recorded some songs on it--a bunch of my "pipes only" buddies couldn't tell--and the few tracks I recorded on a pipe organ were deemed to be the digital ones!!! Ha!!!it is exactly why I chose the Viscount! :D
Please note also its "tracker touch" and simili ivory keyboard which is very well done.

John Sayer
Oct-29-2009, 13:11
I evaluated both instruments. The Roland's 76 keys are a waste of time, neither piano nor organ. The plastic key touch is also rather unpleasant.

The Viscount has a much more satisfying key touch, though slightly fewer voices and no Man I - Man II coupler. The 4 Baroque/Romantic/ Symphonic sound libraries offer some very attractive, authentic sounding stops. The 'split' function takes a bit of setting up but can be useful for chorale plreludes etc. You need a few moments between pieces, however.

Overall, i'm very pleased.


Oct-03-2013, 14:05
Well here we are, 4 years further on and I still have not bought an organ, still putting up with my Korg SP 250. My question now is about the Roland C-200 and C-230, are they much better than the C-190? And do you still think the Cantorum VI is the best of the three?

Ghekorg7 (Ret)
Oct-09-2013, 11:17
)))))) hi ericbrad, 4 years it is !

Well, in 2013, for a portable pipe organ setup I'm using :

win8 laptop with i7, 16GB ram, GrandOrgue software v0.3.1340 x64, M-Audio Axiom pro USB keyboard 49 keys and Roland PK-5a pedalboard.

No need today to go for a digital organ. Axiom pro has great touch. The sound from i7/Grandorgue is top HQ leave's Roland and and all digital hardware stuff obsolate.

If you need a bigger organ for home, again use as main engine the computer and built a custom console controller. There are many out there to choose.

Oct-28-2013, 19:47
I am trying to go down the GrandOrgue route but so far havn`t got it to work. Installing it seems very complicated. I have a MIDI interface unit and have connected my Korg SP250 keyboard to my computer (W7 64bit). I did try the Miditzer organ software and actually got it to work, but only the bottom section of my keyboard made any sounds.

Oct-28-2013, 20:48
I am trying to go down the GrandOrgue route but so far havn`t got it to work. Installing it seems very complicated. I have a MIDI interface unit and have connected my Korg SP250 keyboard to my computer (W7 64bit).

I suggest you to watch a few GO tutorial:
especially http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoF1DxtoS3g

PS: In my option, you have assigned a manual to the pedal.
In GO, this is fixed by just right click on the events and using listen for events.

Ghekorg7 (Ret)
Oct-31-2013, 23:58
Hi ericbrad

P250 is a beautiful keyboard though as it has 88 pianotype keys will be harder to play pipe organ literature.....
In fact I did some xperiments with my older Korg SG1D 88 and a single sustain pedal, using EMU x-midi simple Midi/usb cable to my similar win7 x64 T4400 dual core laptop.

Hehe, it is possible to get superb sound and some good functions to help in a live situation.

After you study these tutorial videos and do your homework (needed !!) then you can :

Set SP250 to transmit to midi channel 2 (usually default for the great manual or hauptwerk or grand orgue ect)
I'm assuming you'll use at first a simpler 2m/p sample set like Vendaam, or indeed the superb Demo organ which comes native with the program !!!!.
In GrandOrgue also set the great manual to receive in ch2,
swell/positiv in ch 1
Pedal in ch 3

Then, use the positif to great coupler to add stops to the great as will be the sole manual available there. Or you can have it always on and get all Grt and Sw stops as one division.
Now the pedal. Use your sustain pedal to engage disengage the Pedal to Great coupler found in extra couplers permantly in use as native functions in GO software.
Assign your sustain pedal (right click, wait for event ect) to use it as on / off, so you'll get great bass for your left hand when needed. Also you can use the monophonic version ie only the lowest notes will sound with pedal ranks/stops.

Here this setup works very well indeed and you can also use your extra keys from your Korg as physical stops (right click on stop, press the appropriate/as your taste key on Korg then set toggle, so the virtual stop will stay on until deactivated from a second press of the key)
You can assign also general pistons to your extra keys. And you can get a kinda real organ image, if you assing the virtual stops as are in the sample set, left and right.
I mean, since the lowest note on the majority of organs have C1-036 and top on treble from C5-84 or D5-86 or E5-88 or F5, G5 up to C6-96, you're left with no more than 28 stops control (in a 61 keys manual), 13 on the right and 15 on the left ;-)

There are real positive/continuo organs that indeed they use the real keys for stop levers ! like the Purcell Major, which it comes with one manual 61 keys, but its compass is up to F5-89, then G5, A5, B5 and C6 are 4 stop "levers" for engaging/disengaging 8', 4', 2'2/3 and 2' respectively. Then it has more : The F#, G# and A# are tuning switches (415, 440, 468) Cooool, so we can model such a setup with just a 61 keyboard, imagine now with your 88 !!

The easiest way to get a top sound with no latency is to use Asio4all (free), do not forget this. Midiger is not using Asio at all.... only Directsound and native windows driver.

But to get to this point you really must do your homework on how to use grandorgue software to 100%

Have real fun !

Nov-03-2013, 13:52
Why not also use the voice normal voice selections for some things too? GO has been able to recognize the "extended" program change messages for more than 127 voices for a long time - they will probably not fit for stops, but maybe for divisionals, generals, ...
GO 1382+ will support that for organ matching too, so that you can use that for sampleset switching too.