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Thread: Allen Renaissance R-230 -- Is this the Holy Grail?

  1. #151
    p Piano KOC62's Avatar
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    May 2017
    South Dundas, ON, Canada

    Those two links makes sense to me that most of the problems lie with the loudspeaker reproduction, and perhaps why I have tended not to care much for organ music because all my listening would be on a speaker system and not a live pipe organ. Thanks admin for those two links.

    However, the 2nd link appears to suggest, at least to me, that a minimum of a 4 channel system can be made to sound quite good. Whether this is "good enough" to fool most casual organ music lovers remain to be seen (or heard?).


  2. #152
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Arkansas, USA

    Reading those articles might lead one to believe that the situation is quite hopeless and depressing, given that the arguments here are strong that dozens of independent amps and speakers are needed to produce acceptable organ tone free of intermodulation distortion and the grossly unpleasant beats of "signal mixing" that are said to be rampant in the sound of all electronic organs.

    Today's builders are of course aware of these shortcomings, and various methods are employed to minimize these effects in their organs, at least in all but the smallest and cheapest of them. While no builder I know of is offering 128 speakers per division (which at one point is presented as being necessary to avoid nearly all possible un-musical interactions among the stops and notes), it is notable that some larger offerings from Allen at least (and presumably others) do have several channels per division, with C-C# division of all voices, and sometimes even more elaborate separation schemes. Not perfect, but a step in the right direction.

    I know these defects of the speaker organ are real, and I have heard them myself. Anyone with a MOS Allen having dual computers can easily set up a demo like the one he gives in the first article. Instead of having the left and right main channels playing through separate amps and speakers, use a "Y" cable to join them and play through the same amp and speaker. Draw the Prinzipal 8 and play middle C. You will clearly and distressingly hear that out-phasing. Of course Allen never intended for the outputs of two MOS computers to be mixed like that, and all models that I know about give each computer output its own amp and speaker. You can still get some outphasing though, as the octaves are intentionally detuned a bit, so playing two C notes an octave apart on the same stop will produce a small amount of outphasing, though not nearly as badly as when two separate computers are tied together ahead of the amps.

    Curiously, my Renaissance doesn't seem to exhibit a whole lot of this outphasing, even though there are undoubtedly some differently tuned stops of identical footage that will be sounding through the same audio channel. For example, there are five 8' stops on the swell (one is a celeste), and each one is slightly different in pitch from the others. Leaving out the celeste, there are four that might be played at the same time, two in each audio channel. The two that share a channel are not tuned alike, so there is always a subtle beat between them.

    Multiply that by the 30-something stops, and you might have a recipe for sonic disaster. But in practice it doesn't sound that bad. In fact, I hear no more outphasing when playing full organ chords on the Renaissance than I hear on the MDS at church with similar registration. So something is going on that counteracts this un-musical and unpleasant effect.

    Could be simply that there is so much of it going on, and at so many disparate rates and frequencies, that the ear chooses to ignore it. Or it could be that Allen has engineered something into the Renaissance system that minimizes the outphasing. I can't imagine what that would be, but you never know what can be accomplished with the magic of digital tone generation

    I tend to think that the outphasing is minimized when the audio system has plenty of headroom at every stage. So using high quality DAC chips, followed by high quality pre-amp circuitry and high-powered amps ought to help reduce the amount and seriousness of the outphasing. Also, attention paid to getting the stops and notes tuned far enough part is probably a good thing. If the two 8' tones being shoe-horned into the same channel differ by only 1 cent, as in the example recording in that link, there is a very slow beat, and the episodes of outphasing seem to last fairly long. But if the notes were tuned 5 cents apart, which is no more discrepancy than you might find in a typical pipe organ chest, the beats would be faster but also lighter and briefer in duration, thus less unpleasant. That may be part of what Allen has done in the Renaissance system, as there is actually several cents deviation among the stops at middle C in each division.
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches

  3. #153
    Administrator Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    The increased number of samples per voice and longer length samples in modern instruments somewhat minimizes phasing effects. For example, I hear virtually no phasing on my Hauptwerk instruments. Compare the long, individual, stereo samples per note of Hauptwerk to the 1/2 cycle waveform for the entire compass of MOS and ADC era Allens and you'll understand why statistically the likelihood of phasing occurring due to mixing is less.

    Also, Allen, Hauptwerk, and others now are using algorithms to route notes optimally to avoid distortion and phase related problems. Hauptwerk has multiple routing algorithms from which to choose, including C/C# split.

  4. #154
    ppp Pianississmo Dutchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by rjsilva View Post
    Really great to read jbird! Thatís exciting and interesting.

    I think that is better. Not meaning to complain about VPOs, but rather say there is a longstanding charm and value with instruments from certain manufacturers sounding a certain way. Iím a pianist and the personality aspect is there like it is in the organ world, even among pianos from the same manufacturers (for instance Steinway prides themselves on the variation from instrument to instrument). I see all of that as a benefit.

    To me VPOs lose some of that because the software itself has no personality as an instrument, and the actual personality comes from an instrument that is presented as belonging somewhere else. Itís not really presented as your instrument sitting in front of you, but an instrument pretending to be an instrument somewhere else. This was one (of many) of my ideas for my VPO project which has been indefinitely shelved (for reasons I cannot specify at this point). I wanted to maximise the direct connection between the instrument and the organist. Similar to how you appreciate the ĎAllení sound.
    I react to this old post because it is referred to in a recent other topic ("Does this organ exist"

    rjsilva, I cannot say how I agree! Every single phrase is 100% my own thoughts! Especially your remarks about personality AND the feeling of direct connection between instrument and player.

    At last somebody who shares my opinion on this point, in the Netherlands it sometimes seems one have to apologize not to have bought a VPO but a DO.

    Grtz, Dutchy

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