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Thread: Rodgers 4-manual VPO Project

  1. #1
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    Rodgers 4-manual VPO Project

    Here's my current project to replace the console I sold out of my living room months ago. It's the Rodgers prototype that Matt Neil had listed on eBay recently. There is some missing veneer edge trim but otherwise is in outstanding condition. The keyboards are Roland velocity sensitive models with the non-slick surfaces. They are in a double 8x8 matrix. I'm starting out ignoring the velocity but want to add that later in order to do some piano or synth sounds as an option on top of Hauptwerk. The cabinet is about 34" deep so an easy fit through the front door. So far as I can tell this prototype uses the same parts as the Artist series model on the Rodgers web site. All the internal electronics had been removed but the SPI boards for pistons and the rocker tabs are present as well as the interconnecting cables.

    So far this has been a fun project with a few curves thrown in like having a mix of FFC (1.27mm pitch) and FFI (1.0mm pitch) ribbons in the same console. Made for a couple of mistakes laying out adapters to wire to my encoders. Will try to post more soon.
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    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    John,

    So YOU picked up that console. It couldn't be a better fit. Please keep us posted on your progress--plenty of pictures!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  3. #3
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    I will add some photos soon. I just got word that my adapter boards to go from conventional ribbon cable to the FFC for the Roland keyboards have shipped, so the manuals will be playing in a couple of days. I've borrowed a set of AGO pedals and the matching reed relay board from a smaller Rodgers console. That just leaves the SPI connections to the pistons and stop modules. The correct connectors arrived today, so with a quick (?) test to verify operation I'll be able to lay out a PCB for that connection or perhaps just do that on a protoboard since it's just two ports, one to all the stops and one to all the ribbons. The SPI circuits were further complicated by the use of CA1168 line driver ICs which is really smart but a tough nut to crack without a schematic.

    All for Hauptwerk of course. I run a PC with 96GB of RAM to handle the Goerlitz sample set from Sonus Paradisi. Audio is via a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 to six Behringer 3031A's with a Rythmik Audio sub. Awesome, but sitting idle the last few months for lack of a console. My family is starting to doubt whether I will ever build a "keeper" as it is hard to resist selling them once they are working. I guess the journey is half the fun.

  4. #4
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    Here are a set of photos related to my current activities with this conversion for Hauptwerk.

    The first photo shows two adapter boards I built to convert the 8 flex ribbons from the 4 Roland keyboards to 20-pin ribbon cable for compatibility with my matrix encoder/decoder. The encoder is on the right with the red piggyback module. In between there is an I2C board which has 64 connections. I'll use that for the pedalboard which came from an older non-matrix (bus) Rodgers. It will also pick up the 10 pistons and a toe switch on one of the expression pedals. Three expression pedals and four additional pots will also connect to the encoder.

    I don't currently have an encoder that can do both the matrix and I2C connections as well as a pair of SPI channels to talk to the two SPI chains for the lighted rockers and the pistons, also lighted. So I will be using a bus encoder for that. The red proto-board in the center is a small adapter to add a line driver to this 2nd encoders SPI channels and to convert to the flex ribbons. The flex connector on the left is the one that was 1.27mm pitch and needs to be swapped to the 1.0mm pitch connectors that arrived yesterday.

    The third photo is the back side of a Raspberry Pi with a 7" color touchscreen. That will eventually be mounted in the console as a menu device. This has gotten me thinking of quite a number of functions I can add to the console since I do the programming. It could be used to add perhaps 15 extra stops, could provide a nicer way to make MIDI translation table changes than the cryptic Sysex method I'm using now.

    The intention is to eventually convert one or more manuals to velocity, but that may be months away. Always glad to say more about the details and add any information about the encoders that doesn't appear on my web site.
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    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    I feel I may me talking to myself on this thread, but based on some encouragement let me add a final photo.



    Four Roland keyboards with the ivory-like touch, ready for a future conversion to velocity sensitive. Using Hauptwerk with the Goerlitz sample set from Sonus Paradisi. Computer is running 96GByte of DRAM. Speakers are 6 Behringer 3031A's and a Rythmik Audio sub. Much more planned but for now it is 100% playable and sounding quite grand. Total expenditures would be in the 7 to 8k range with HW, sample set, speakers, console, audio interface, etc.

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    p Piano AllenAnalog's Avatar
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    Rest assured you are not talking to yourself; I've been watching for updates on your progress. That is a nice looking installation of a very interesting console. I remember seeing photos of it when it was for sale on ebay. I don't doubt that it sounds quite grand with that complement of speakers. That must be quite the sample set if it takes that much RAM. Is there a betting pool in your household as to when you'll get an offer for it you can't refuse?
    Larry

    Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI, Moller Artiste organ roll player
    Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
    Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers, 4 matching Allen tone cabinets (including 2 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

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    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks! I still have plenty left to do. Many of you will agree that no project is ever finished. There are some obvious issues like the borrowed bench and pedal board. The lack of a back panel isn't a problem in the current location. I still want to add the 7" touch screen for menus, extra stops, and any new features I think of.

    The pistons include some nice engraving like "USER MIDI IIIB" that I want to make functional by adding MIDI outputs to control an external piano or other synthesizer. I am thinking of adding a pair of speakers to the sub to create a full frequency pedal section. I have rear speakers that I could put to use for surround, though this 6 channel sample set includes both direct and diverse front channels.

    Meanwhile the Rodgers 900x in the garage is waiting for some attention. Perhaps my first project should be to practice playing the organ as I am "intermediate level" at best. I'm more into facilitating the talents of others, but I do love the music as well and need to enjoy it more.

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