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Thread: Saville Organs

  1. #1
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Saville Organs

    I guess some of those things actually worked well and lasted for a long time. The ones I know about quit working a very long time ago. They developed tuning instability within a few years of installation and churches gave up on trying to keep them in tune and in good playing order.

    A beautiful massive console, though, that ought to be worth something by itself.
    John
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    Home: Allen MADC-420 ...........finally!
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  2. #2

    Had same experience, John. SE PA had an active dealer who sold a bunch in the 1970's.... I had the impression their RC oscillators doomed them. The S Sovereigns were supposed to be budget line, but Taylor Music was selling 10 generator Sovereigns for around $30K installed then, which seemed a lot of money when you looked at the guts of the organ. Maybe the "sewer pipe" speakers were gold-plated inside...? <grin>

  3. #3
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Yep. Those were some high dollar cardboard tubes!
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 ........ at last!
    Home: Allen MADC-420 ...........finally!
    Shop: More organs than I can count.... some working, many not!
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  4. #4

    Hi,

    I used to tune a large Saville a number of years ago. When it was built, it was considered a landmark organ. Very American sounding, with a large ensemble, that you rarely hear in electronic organs, even today. It was built in 1968, and had over 1,000 oscillators. The instrument might still be there, but is not used anymore.

    The problem was tuning stability. The Cermet pots used were highly unreliable. Pretty much after every tuning, one or two oscillators would slip in their tuning within a couple of weeks.

    Here is an article on the philosophy of organbuilding according to Saville. I realize it is not directly a Saville organ here, but they certainly borrowed the concept. Here is the link, http://www.kineticjim.com/locheorgan.htm

    AV
    Last edited by arie v; 04-18-2013 at 01:38 PM. Reason: add link

  5. #5

    Excellent points all. I remember heading an organ committee in the early 1990's and one of the main proposals was from Saville's successor of sorts, AOB. While the organ they were proposing was heavily unified, its ensemble blew out anything from the major US and import competition at the time. Arie's right - there has not been much of a competitor even to this day, in terms of as compelling an ensemble, although Copeman Hart, Veritas, and Covenant organ builders are apparently using some form of Musicom with multiple channels to try to emulate such a chorus.

  6. #6
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    My parents' church had a Saville--2 manual, and it always sounded very good to my ears. In its final years it developed reliability problems with the expression circuit--volume would suddenly jump. I don't recall ever having the sense of tuning problems. It sounded very pipe-like to me.

  7. #7
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    I heard a couple Savilles and grew up playing an AOB every weekend as a kid at church. We didn't really have tuning issues with the AOB, so I guess that was more a Saville issue. It needed periodic touch-up, but nothing too extreme. HUGE ensemble, but our $39,000 1987-era AOB only had 8 "ranks" extended over two manuals and pedal. 43 amp channels with the same number of cardboard tube speakers though!

    The competing proposal when the organ was bought was for an Allen ADC-5000 with double audio and a B-40 subwoofer. To this day, I'm not sure which would have been the better organ long-term.

  8. #8
    Senior Member myorgan's Avatar
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    I met Saville for the first time at a LDS church where I played a piano recital for my senior year of high school. I was impressed it actually had mixtures and sub/super octave couplers. The only organ I had been familiar with until that time was an Allen TC-3S in a heavily carpeted church (my home church). I was impressed with the Saville at the time, and have always regarded them favorably since, but have not run into any since. But then, that was before I had ever had an organ lesson, so I'm not sure how reliable my memory is.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 3 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DKC / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  9. #9

    When you get that many oscillators, you've got a big ensemble all right! Tenth Pres Philly had around 2000 (26 generators each with 49-109 oscillators) and it had a definite "WOW" to it. Arie, you probably recall Allen bragging that it had "33,000 solid-state devices".... imagine recapping THAT organ <grin>

    Quote Originally Posted by arie v View Post
    Hi,

    I used to tune a large Saville a number of years ago. When it was built, it was considered a landmark organ. Very American sounding, with a large ensemble, that you rarely hear in electronic organs, even today. It was built in 1968, and had over 1,000 oscillators. The instrument might still be there, but is not used anymore.

    The problem was tuning stability. The Cermet pots used were highly unreliable. Pretty much after every tuning, one or two oscillators would slip in their tuning within a couple of weeks.

    Here is an article on the philosophy of organbuilding according to Saville. I realize it is not directly a Saville organ here, but they certainly borrowed the concept. Here is the link, http://www.kineticjim.com/locheorgan.htm

    AV

  10. #10

    Would love to know if there are recordings of the 10th Pres. Philly analog. I thought I'd read somewhere [here] that it had 40 oscillator ranks though, not 26? In any case, Allen probably had a recording in a secret company archive...unlikely to ever see the light of day though.

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