Page 1 of 1

Organ Update

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 5:21 pm
by jwillans
I really enjoy reading about everyone's projects, particularly the spin off blogs. My organ project has been finished for a few months now. I'm so pleased with the result that I wanted to share details of it with other forum members. Below are some photos of the finished result.



The base for the organ is an old Wyvern console which was originally an analogue instrument with masses and masses of heavy duty electronics. Once the original electronics had been stripped out, it was considerably lighter. The midi conversion was done using electronics provided by Jordan at midi boutique (highly recommended) using a hwcw and 4 * keymux64 to support the existing bus bar architecture on the swell, great, pedals and stop tabs. The conversion was fairly painless although quite time consuming.

I built a custom PC for use with the console which uses an Athlon 3700 processor which has 1MB on board cache. I plan to upgrade to an AMD multicore chip when these come down in price a bit. The case is an Antec Sonata II and is virtually silent with a low noise CPU fan. The PC currently has 2gb of high performance memory, which I may increase in the near future. The whole setup is headless since there is no need for a monitor/keyboard/mouse for day to day use of the machine.

From the outset I planned to use the Skinner organ samples from Milan Digital Audio, and I am blown away by the quality of these. I have converted the original three manual stop distribution to one that works with two manuals (in most cases moving choir stops to the swell). I am very much looking forward to the Skinner sample set for HW2, I have bought, but not yet run, HW2 in anticipation of these being released.

As you can see from the photos the organ is heard through headphones, we live in a small house so I'm sure the neighbours would appreciate an amplified sound. However lack of sound does cause a problem demonstrating the organ to family and friends. I recorded the following demos from the console so that they too could hear how good the Skinner organ sounds:

I bind unto myself today

Prelude on Anima Christi

Faith of Our Fathers

The only thing that remains to do on the organ is to either replace, or re-engrave, the stop tabs with the correct voicing for the Skinner. As you can see, on the left of the music stand I have a list of the stops for reference - although this is less than ideal, I'm getting quite use to it!

I am already thinking about my next organ build which will be likely a three manual instrument again built around the Skinner sample set. Originally I thought about using real drawstops, either home built or bought, but I am currently leaning towards a couple of touch screen monitors built into either side of the console.

Thanks for reading,


PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 1:56 am
by Stefanussen
Very nice. :D Listened to the recordings, you are a good organist.

Do you have a reverb on there? Did you manually apply it?

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 4:46 am
by jwillans
Hi Stefan - Thanks for your kind comments. The reverb is the natural reverb from the Skinner samples. When playing with the headphones it really does give a feeling of being in a large church.


PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 8:26 am
by claire
Looks and sounds great! Seeing your and GDay's projects is very inspiring.
Have fun playing it!


PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 10:02 am
by GDay
Hi James,
Very nice project! Congratulations. Even though my project is almost complete, I still enjoy very much to see and hear what others are up to.

Nice selection of music. How did you record and post them?


PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 10:42 am
by jwillans
Hi GDay,


The music was recorded using the 'digital out' on the organ's sound card into a mini disc, the mini disc was subsequently plugged into another computer via a 'digital in' to get the music onto a PC where I can produce a CD/mp3s of the recordings. A rather long winded way of doing it, but the best I could do at the time.


A suggestion

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 11:41 pm
by CHRIS 037
Hello James,

Congrats. on your beautiful organ. I very much enjoyed your music samples.

You mention that it's difficult to demo to visitors what the instrument sounds like. Perhaps you could get the Behringer 4-channel headphone amp. I got one at the suggestion of another posting on this forum about a year ago. It does a fine job. I happen to have a few different pairs of headphones and when I have visitors and wish to demo HW on the computer, I can have up to four listeners (including myself). I would think a fantastic sound like the Skinner instrument is at its best through headphones.

I notice the Behringer headphone amp (Powerplay PRO XL, model HA4700) is currently on sale at for $109. It's a single rack-mount unit. Each channel has volume and tone controls. I have used the rear outputs (there are also front outputs) to drive small monitor speakers with a subwoofer, too, though phones is the best sound.

Again, congratulations on your fine project.

Leo Chris.

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 5:36 am
by jeffwolverton
Hi James,

Great organ! You did a fine job. I loved your recordings and was wondering where I could get a copy of the sheet music for that arrangement of "Fath Of Our Fathers" it sounds really great on the Skinner.

Thanks for sharing your project with us,
Jeff Wolverton

PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 4:53 pm
by jwillans
Thanks for all the kind comments.

Jeff - I think the music is probably out of print and I suspect out of copyright, I'll check tomorrow. If this is the case, I'll arrange to send you a copy. I'll let you know.



PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 11:47 pm
by jeffwolverton
Thank you so much James!

Jeff Wolverton

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:33 am
by jdp
Hi James,

You did fantastic job - beautiful console and nice recordings. Congratulations!

Do you mind placing these pictures in MIDI Gadgets Boutique Gallery page ?


PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:14 am
by jwillans
Jordan - Please go ahead. It is my pleasure in return for the excellent products and services you provided me with.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 6:08 pm
by earlwgreen
Great job James!

It gives me hope with my old Allen 3 manual.

I may be asking for info next year when I try to redo it with the Skinner or Cavaillé-Coll samples.

Very nice mp3's.

Thanks for sharing.