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Thread: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs

  1. #1
    Senior Member skippy's Avatar
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    Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Hi Folks,</P>


    I had a few discussions with organ lovers as to what distinguishes an Analog organ from a Digital organ. Myunderstanding is: If the tone generation is a wave form and the various voices are produced by filtering I call it Analog. If the voices are samples or assembled from samples I call it Digital. Enlighten me please!</P>


    Cheers,</P>


    Skippy</P>
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  2. #2
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Leaving the drum boxes out for the moment and concentrating on the tone generation of the organ's voices.</p>

    Use of samples or S+S (Sample and Synthesis) would be digital. True digital additive synthesis (like Kawai used) and FM synthesis are also digital (though I suppose you could do this using analogue oscillators. Physical Modelling will be digital - when Roland et al apply it to organs.</p>

    Creation of waveforms in other ways, whether through subtractive filtering or waveform addition, would be analogue.</p>

    Of course there may be some digital circuitry in analogue organs, but not actually a crucial part of the tone generation process - all sorts of control circuitry etc. Also maybe for top octave synthesis.
    </p>

    Maybe a little simplified, but that's basically how I'd read it. Pretty much what you said, Skip.</p>

    Andy
    </p>


    </p>
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  3. #3
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Then you get into something like the "New B-3" from Hammond-Suzuki. Uses true waveform addition to create the various authentic tone colors, but the tone sources are digital. </P>


    (Just wanted to complicate the issue a little.)</P>


    John</P>
    John
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  4. #4
    Senior Member skippy's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs

    [quote user="jbird604"]


    Just wanted to complicate the issue a little.</P>


    John</P>


    [/quote]</P>
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    You just did. It is surprising how many peopletag anything containing IC's or LSIC's as digital.</P>


    Skippy</P>
    AS FAR AS ORGANS ARE CONCERNED - I'M A GOOD MECHANIC AND A HOPELESS DRIVER.
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  5. #5

    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Skippy</p>

    Your interpretation is essentially correct. In the audio technology business, the difference is in how the sound from the source mic or pickup is massaged and conveyed to the end user. In the digital world, the source signal is converted early on into numeric form, and essentially stays in that form until just before it enters the final power amplifier before driving the speaker. All mixing, leveling, tone contouring, limiting, etc. is done numerically in digital memory on the discrete samples of audio, which, in the (rapidly disappearing) CD biz, represented samples at fixed time steps of 22.67usec (44100 samples per second). Sampled fast enough (per Mr Nyquist) and with the tiny steps cleverly filtered away so that the waveform is smoothed to closely duplicate the original source signal plus any processing that took place, we hear it as sound. </p>

    Analog, on the other hand, was the domain of vinyl records and tape, where the continuous voltage variations coming from the mic or pickup was captured on studio quality master tape. All mixing, dubbing, equalization, etc. was done on actual playback signals from the master tape, using preamps, filters, and limiters, then re-recorded on another tape. That tape was used to cut record mold plates to press vinyl discs, and/or mass duplicated to cassette tapes. The key thing about analog is that it is continuous time; the waveform streams continuously in replication of the original signal plus any analog processing that was applied.</p>

    The analogy in the organ universe, is that a purely analog organ is one where the source signal is generated by mechanical (tonewheel) or electronic (oscillator + divider) means, and essentially stays in that form all the way through to the power amp and speaker. The signal may encounter various filters and gain stages and mixing points along the way, but the waveform traverses those stages as a continuous-time varying voltage rather than broken up into time steps and represented by numeric values. The organ itself could contain digital circuitry that is used to simplify the control of various audio modifying parameters such as harmonic mixture and filter settings, but nowhere along the way is the actual signal converted into numeric values and worked on in the digital domain prior to feeding the power amp.
    </p>

    Just as there is raging debate in the audiophile world regarding the sound quality of "analog" recordings (vinyl records) versus "digital" ones, I suspect similar lines of argument exist in the organ world. </p>

    exp
    </p>

  6. #6
    Senior Member skippy's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Thanks Guys,</P>


    I willpresent your comments to someone who needs to be corrected.</P>


    Cheers,</P>


    Skippy</P>
    AS FAR AS ORGANS ARE CONCERNED - I'M A GOOD MECHANIC AND A HOPELESS DRIVER.
    Hammond C3 & M102 & Elegante & PR40. Yamaha D85 & D65 & FS30 & MC600 & GX76. Thomas Celebrity Royale 871, Kawai T5 & E550, Conn 643 & 632 & 552.Lowrey H25R2. Elka EP12. Orla D6180, Wurlitzer 4430 & Omni 7000 & 555. Roland D70 & RA90 . Ferrofish B4000+. Leslie 145 & 705 & 710 & 720

  7. #7
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    Exp,</P>


    That is an amazing explanation. Just about covers every base! Enjoyed reading it.</P>


    The debate in the audiophile community is only mildly echoed in the organ world, as far as analog vs. digital.AFAIK, no remaining analog organs are being produced. Analog organs were always extremely complicated and expensive to build relative to the limited tonal resources, and digital just blows it away in that regard.One could still manage to put together an analog organ today, but the cost would be incredibly huge compared to a similar digital.</P>


    When the first digital organs were marketed by Allen in 1971, the sound was primitive, in the sense that the samples were exceedingly short (in fact only 1 waveform per stop, not even different waveforms for different keyboard regions) and there was no variation in tuning among stops, the frequency of each note being simply stored in a ROM table rather than as an inherent part of the sample. Even the attack and decay character was not unique to each stop, but all stops had the same envelope.</P>


    At that point, many organists dismissed Allen's new product as a passing experiment. Few would have guessed that this first effort in fact spelled the doom of theanalog organ business.</P>


    Today's digital organs are light years ahead of that first one. In most cases, every stop consists of numerous carefully recorded samples. The samples themselves contain the startup (attack) and decay sounds of the actual pipes, so they represent a very realistic capture of pipe tone. Each stop has its own appropriate attack and decay characteristics and retains its own tuning quirks, as if it were a rank of pipes. This makes the sound far more realistic and far less "sterile" than those early Allens.</P>


    The debate seems to have turned to digital vs. pipes. I'm sure there are still folks out there who love the sounds of the old analogs. I actually work on one now and then that sounds surprisingly good and even wins me over for a while!</P>


    On the whole we've accepted the fact that typicalanalog organs with their extreme borrowing and unification and other shortcomings have been superseded by digitals for good reasons. Few of us who play a modern digital would want to go back to even the best analog we ever heard.</P>


    Interesting topic, Skippy.</P>


    John</P>
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    John
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    Church: Allen MDS-45 ........ at last!
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    Shop: More organs than I can count.... some working, many not!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member arie v's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    John,</p>

    Very interesting thread.</p>

    Yes, analog organs, at least as far as church/classical, became history around 1992, when AOB went under. I don't think anyone built an analog after that. Rodgers and Johannus switched over to digital around 1991. So you are correct in saying the analog vs. digital debate is pretty much over. </p>

    The debate is now sampling vs synthesis, or pipe vs digital. Synthesis is making noise these days as physical modelling. The interesting thing to me is that physical modelling and other forms of synthesis have a more analog quality to them. Sampling type instruments have a sound to them that makes them sound like a recording. Both types of tone generation have improved in the last 10 years. </p>

    As for older analog organs, I service quite a few of them, there are a few that interest me. They are the ones that have greater musical resources, more extensive audio, and greater voicing controls. Generally the run of the mill analog from the 70s and 80s don't interest me. I service a decent sized Rodgers from about 1983 (I think it is an 870), which sounds nice. I see the odd AOB, which I find an exceptional design. Also Shaw, which was made in Ontario, Canada, made some really interesting organs, with huge numbers of audio channels. At Classic, where I worked, we built some very fine instruments. However, most of these organs are now over 25 years old, which means they are on the down side of their life-span,</p>

    The other thing that makes the analog organs less desirable, is they don't have any kind of MIDI implementation. There seems to be little to no market for these older organs, no matter how good they were considered at one time. </p>

    I agree with you John, few of us would really want to go back to the analog era. Also, few of us would want to go back to early digital (such as Allen's MOS-1 and MOS-2 organs) Pretty soon the debate will be between digitals from the late 80s and the newest ones, about the improvements, real and perceived, between the various manufacturers, etc.</p>

    Pretty soon, if the decline in sales of organs is not halted, the debate will be what caused the demise of the organ. Then all other debates will become irrelevant.
    </p>

    AV
    </p>

  9. #9
    Senior Member skippy's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs

    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">


    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Travelling back in time to the 60s and 70s - can anybody think of any consumer electric/electronic product that was more elaborate and complex than the electric/electronic organs of that era (forget about the toys)? How many washing machinesor TV's could you have purchased for the price of an American console? Through all these decades of development little credithas beengiven to the dedicated people behind the scenes that made it possible to enjoy the electric/electronic keyboard instruments of today and yesterday. Randomly ask any number of people about Bill Gates. Then ask them what they know about Laurens Hammond orDonald Leslie. Little or nothing! Yet they are continuously exposed to the sounds of the past playing their MP3s, games or Midi Files. Can you imagine a PC without a sound card?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o></SPAN></P>


    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN BEING BLIND OR DEAF - WHAT WOULD IT BE? You can still drive a car if you are deaf. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"></SPAN>But you can not listen to your Leslie cranking up. You donít realize the visual part of ageing if you are blind.<o></o></SPAN></P>


    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Think about it.<o></o></SPAN></P>


    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Cheers<o></o></SPAN></P>


    <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">Skippy<o></o></SPAN></P></SPAN>
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    AS FAR AS ORGANS ARE CONCERNED - I'M A GOOD MECHANIC AND A HOPELESS DRIVER.
    Hammond C3 & M102 & Elegante & PR40. Yamaha D85 & D65 & FS30 & MC600 & GX76. Thomas Celebrity Royale 871, Kawai T5 & E550, Conn 643 & 632 & 552.Lowrey H25R2. Elka EP12. Orla D6180, Wurlitzer 4430 & Omni 7000 & 555. Roland D70 & RA90 . Ferrofish B4000+. Leslie 145 & 705 & 710 & 720

  10. #10
    Member lparsons21's Avatar
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    Re: Definition of Analog Organs - Digital Organs



    This has been an interesting thread, I've thoroughly enjoyed it.</p>

    Like many, I really like the flexibility that going digital has brought to the world of organs. If you look back at the organs of the 50's and 60's, it is hard to picture what passes for even an entry level organ today. </p>

    OTOH, lots of the 'organ sound' brings to mind the sound characteristics of many of those older analog organs. There is just a quality in that sound that the digital organs don't provide. Sure, the 'trumpet' on today's organ sounds much more like a real trumpet than any of the analogs did, but is it really a better sound? Part of that sound came from very different approaches to speakers and amps for analogs compared to these modern organs.</p>

    I enjoy my digital organs a lot, but I keep looking for an older organ to bring into the mix when I want to hear what I remember on that very first organ I played. Unfortunately all those organs are getting very long in the tooth and all too many have bitten the dust already.</p>

    </p>
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