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Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

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sjkartchner

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Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 12:54 pm

Ok, this recent listing of a 4 manual Allen custom Heritage instrument for $135,000 has me wondering just what sort of Hauptwerk instrument a person could assemble for similar dollars, and whether it would clearly be preferable to the Allen instrument: http://allenorganstudioaugusta.com/default.asp?page=News5. As noted in the listing, the price does NOT include transportation, installation, voicing, etc., but does include a full compliment of the current Allen speakers. This particular instrument also includes Laukhuff keyboards.

Of course, the Allen instrument is essentially an American Classical instrument (there is no indication that it includes the multi-suite stop lists typical of the Quantum line), so there really may not be a comparable Hauptwerk sample set available. But I imagine that a custom Hauptwerk instrument with comparable audio capabilities using a sample set such as Rotterdam, Caen, Salisbury, Zwolle, etc. would be roughly comparable at least in numbers of stops to the Allen instrument, and likely more interesting/usable in terms of registration possibilities (the Allens are always tied to the American Classical framework even when other suites such as French, Baroque, etc. are available).

So how much would a comparable instrument cost in the Hauptwerk world, and would it be a suitable substitute for the Allen?
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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amateurorganist

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 1:23 pm

They are asking $135k for a secondhand organ from 2005. Sounds like a rip-off to me.

The truth is the sound quality of Hauptwerk is million times better than any electronic organ and you can build a set up for a fraction of the price.
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sjkartchner

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 1:45 pm

amateurorganist wrote:They are asking $135k for a secondhand organ from 2005. Sounds like a rip-off to me.

The truth is the sound quality of Hauptwerk is million times better than any electronic organ and you can build a set up for a fraction of the price.


I suspect they will have no problem finding a buyer for the organ, although at perhaps a somewhat reduced price from what they're asking. What I'm particularly interested knowing is how a comparable Hauptwerk instrument would work for the typical Church or institutional setting (as opposed to a smaller residential installation) given the challenges of obtaining an appropriate (and attractive) console and dealing with the acoustic issues (wet versus dry sample set, speakers, amplification system, etc.). As we already know, there simply is no way a Hauptwerk system can achieve the startup speed that a dedicated electronic instrument like the Allen will have (typically less than 10 seconds), so we will need to accept as a given that the Hauptwerk system will be somewhat less attractive from that perspective. But all else being equal is what I'm particularly interested in exploring.
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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TheOrganDoc

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 2:31 pm

I have been praying that one of our Hauptwerk Geniuses will devise a Computer like device, :D
that will Load Hauptwerk as well as its sample sets and a multi channel sound output board,
and be able to start up and be playable at least as fast as an Organ Blower would start up ! :roll:

Come On you Hauptwerk computer Brains Out There ! ! !

"My Artisan Organs Midi Interface, utilizes two commercial plug in Computing Boards, and
starts up almost instantly,
and after use it is shut off by its power switch,
I've Never had any problems with it " !

I suspect that it still runs on,"BASIC", Reliably ? ? ?

! ! ! ! PLEASE ! ! ! !, the most obvious HW drawback is it's start up time !
Mel..............TheOrganDoc...............
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magnaton

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 3:06 pm

sjkartchner wrote:This particular instrument also includes Laukhuff keyboards.

(the Allens are always tied to the American Classical framework even when other suites such as French, Baroque, etc. are available).

So how much would a comparable instrument cost in the Hauptwerk world, and would it be a suitable substitute for the Allen?


The Heritage custom organ is based on the Renaissance technology. I was a organ consultant about 10 years ago for a digital/pipe combo and chose the bid that included this model. It was a great deal as the list of options you chose didn't effect the price: Laukhuff Ivora keyboards, rosewood sharps, rosewood stalks for the draw knobs, rosewood rocker tabs, different engraving styles, backrest for the bench, etc. Interesting was the dealer suggested we get the backrest since there was no charge and could easily be taken off if not wanted however Allen (over) charges $$ for this to added later on after the sale.

It is my opinion the reason for the American Classic sound is popular with Allen is that some of the other suites are a little too exotic for accompanying a congregation for hymns or service music. It could be some of the default samples assigned to these suites are the culprit. Of course the stop nomenclature is usually American Classic so instead of having to remember that with the French suite the Diapason is a Motre or the Basson becomes a Bombarde, etc. its easier to stick with the "what I read is what I get".

Rodgers has a nice take on switching between the variable organ pallet styles. You can switch all the stops to use a different suite like the Allen or just change any one or few stops you desire; want an English Tuba instead of a Classic Trumpet, no problem.

Back to the original question of a comparable HW equivalent, the money here is in the console: 4 wood core keyboards, moving draw knobs, pistons, expression shoes, and studs galore, MIDI ready, beautiful finish, etc. new or used you will have to pay of these amenities. For fun I'll guess $20K on the high side for this console. Then for a HW engine and respective audio another $20K. So my answer is $40K. Here is the worksheet I used to determine the HW side:

Hauptwerk Commercial Lic 1200
Insprired Acc PAB Extended 1000
Computer, i7 32MB 1600
MOTU 24Ao audio interfaces 2 @1100 2200
Studio monitors 40 @250 10000
Assorted cables 45 @8 360
SVS Subwoofer model PB-2000 3 @800 2400
Power Relays 2 @200 400

Total 19,160

~Danny B.
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sjkartchner

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 3:57 pm

magnaton wrote:Back to the original question of a comparable HW equivalent, the money here is in the console: 4 wood core keyboards, moving draw knobs, pistons, expression shoes, and studs galore, MIDI ready, beautiful finish, etc. new or used you will have to pay of these amenities. For fun I'll guess $20K on the high side for this console.


I suspect the console will be the biggest challenge for someone wanting to create a comparable Hauptwerk system. The Allen consoles, although certainly not in the league of a typical modern-day pipe organ console in terms of quality and durability, are nevertheless quite attractive and very functional. As I recall from asking around at the National AGO Convention a couple of years ago, a new pipe organ console with the specification size of the Allen instrument could easily run $50,000-$75,000 USD+. So the challenge would be coming up with a new or like-new console that would look at least as nice as, and be of at least comparable quality to, the Allen console for a reasonable price.

I currently use my Allen R300 (small 3 manual) as the Hauptwerk controller. However, having to buy even a used electronic instrument just to use as a Hauptwerk controller becomes a rather expensive proposition in and of itself and the console would still likely need to be modified (at least the stop names) to match up with a particular sample set.

Also, most if not all of the used pipe organ consoles available on the resale market are quite worn and therefore would require significant refinishing/restoring, and would also most likely require a full MIDI retrofit.
Of course, if someone is willing to put in the time and effort, all of this can be accomplished for less money. At that point, however, it no longer is an apples to apples comparison to a turn-key system like the Allen Heritage.
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostTue Mar 08, 2016 6:39 pm

sjkartchner wrote:
The Allen consoles, although certainly not in the league of a typical modern-day pipe organ console in terms of quality and durability, are nevertheless quite attractive and very functional.


I agree if your talking about present day. I've seen older Allen consoles built in the 1970s in much better shape than a comparable Reuter or Austin console. This is from personal experience. For a time Allen made excellent consoles built to last as did Rodgers, wood core keyboards, solid wood cabinetry, solid workmanship on components built to withstand wide temperature swings. I have a 3 manual Rodgers Triology that is stained and finished on the inside and the large oscillator panels have a few coats of shellac! This way the organ retains it's beauty whilst the back is off and being serviced :lol:

In a previous post I mentioned the best deals usually happen before the organ is listed for sale on-line or by the dealer, i.e .word of mouth. A friend in AL picked up an older 3 manual Allen, tab console, for free as it was struck by lightning. After the insurance settlement it was deemed to the landfill but one phone call and it found a home and is now used as a HW console. Fortunately most of the keyboard and pedalboard wiring survived. The only cost was for MIDI encoding boards.

It's bitter sweet that we can pick up some nice organ consoles somewhat cheaply, especially the 2 manual ones. Three manual consoles can still carry a premium (pending on age) as the ones I see advertised are still functional and the sellers have a firm price.

~Danny B.
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sjkartchner

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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostWed Mar 09, 2016 3:37 pm

So, the question remains: How you do you assemble a comparably-spec'd Hauptwerk system with a console that has at least four wood-core manuals and sufficient movable draw knobs, and that is attractive, traditional looking, new or like-new and durable, without having to spend the time, effort and money upgrading a used console (either pipe or digital) or spending tens of thousands of dollars (US) to have something built? This is the quandary I see when trying to compare the costs of the turnkey Allen Heritage system to a comparable Hauptwerk system.

BTW, the reason I'm interested in this exercise is that at some point I would like to see a suitable Hauptwerk system used in the larger, non-organ-equipped concert hall at the local university as well as for a practice instrument in the university's organ studio, and/or perhaps as a site-built instrument in a larger purpose-built addition to my current home.
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostWed Mar 09, 2016 4:38 pm

Perhaps during the next AGO convention (Houston-June-2016) we could make the comparisons... :wink:
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostWed Mar 09, 2016 8:32 pm

sjkartchner wrote:So, the question remains: How you do you assemble a comparably-spec'd Hauptwerk system with a console that has at least four wood-core manuals and sufficient movable draw knobs, and that is attractive, traditional looking, new or like-new and durable, without having to spend the time, effort and money upgrading a used console (either pipe or digital) or spending tens of thousands of dollars (US) to have something built? .


Presumably you don't - there are certainly competent pipe organ building firms who are prepared to build consoles that can be used to control not pipes but an electronic instrument - an example is the very fine replica of the four manual Willis concert hall organ at St George's Hall Liverpool which the present day Willis firm were commissioned to build: http://cathedrallancaster.blogspot.co.u ... pdate.html

I've played it in their factory and a very grand experience it was too. But such a console won't come cheap - the Hauptwerk "bit" would be a small proportion of the total cost of such a project. And whilst you could potentially leave the computer on sleep so it woke up quickly, frankly if you have that sort of budget for a console you might as well order a RAID configuration of SSDs to allow near-instantaneous boot up.

If you don't want to spend that sort of money then either you have to refurbish an existing console if you can find one (four manual examples are few and far between) or you have to build one yourself. Then it's the cost of your labour versus the convenience (and likely delay due to existing orders) of commissioning a professional build. In total my four manual console (admittedly with touchscreens not drawstops, and second hand pipes not new) probably cost 10% of what a Johanus Monark with custom designed pipe front console cost, though it was a steep learning curve for me and behind the lovely oak veneer it's built largely of MDF to save money.
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostThu Mar 10, 2016 5:01 am

One of our console suppliers is now using SSDs and DDR4 RAM as standard.
They say it takes not more than 13 seconds from start to playable.
We also plan to use Kimber-Allen drawstops in some future organs.
Douglas Henn-Macrae
Authorized Hauptwerk Reseller
http://www.midi-organs.eu / http://www.gundulf.org.uk
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostThu Mar 10, 2016 6:23 am

To be honest these pointless comparisons are getting tiresome to say the least.

First of all those instrumentes are totally out of reach money wise.

Secondly, if you really can't wait a bunch of minutes for Hauptwerk to load a sampleset that is infinitely better than any of those synth like overpriced organs then by all means enjoy them.

I mean Hauptwerk is ahead of anything on the market sound wise, end of story; it's modular too, you can build on it, upgrade your pc, your sound capabilites, your sounds, your keyboards ecc ecc.

Sorry to come off as ranty but I had to vent, how many more hauptwerk vs allen/rodgers/ogletree/overpricedbuilder do we need? XD :lol:
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostThu Mar 10, 2016 5:57 pm

davsim wrote:To be honest these pointless comparisons are getting tiresome to say the least.

First of all those instrumentes are totally out of reach money wise.

Secondly, if you really can't wait a bunch of minutes for Hauptwerk to load a sampleset that is infinitely better than any of those synth like overpriced organs then by all means enjoy them.

I mean Hauptwerk is ahead of anything on the market sound wise, end of story; it's modular too, you can build on it, upgrade your pc, your sound capabilites, your sounds, your keyboards ecc ecc.

Sorry to come off as ranty but I had to vent, how many more hauptwerk vs allen/rodgers/ogletree/overpricedbuilder do we need? XD :lol:


:D. Not so pointless to me because I keep being confronted with the apparent reality that either I spend the big bucks to get the kind of console I would enjoy seeing in a top notch installation, or spend a whole lot of time and effort retrofitting a used console or building something from scratch. I keep hoping for a different way of approaching the problem, but so far no such luck.
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostThu Mar 10, 2016 7:20 pm

As with the recent post comparing the Marshall and Ogletree to Hauptwerk, this comparison, in my opinion, also does not have any merit. One would HOPE that any $135,000 digital organ would, in the least, sound equally as good as a Hauptwerk costing 10X less.
I do not want to sound like a salesperson for Hauptwerk so I prefer to let Hauptwerk do the talking for itself. I have never owned a commercially digital or electronic organ except a Hauptwerk (since 2008). I used to have a 15 rank pipe organ in my previous house ( a combination of a nine rank 1911 vintage Estey and six ranks from a similar vintage Hilgreen Lane. You can say whatever you want about mis-matching, but at least it was a real pipe organ. Its funny how you can get really spoiled on real organ tone. I'm certainly not a "purist" but I do know what real organ sound, sounds like.

I don't really care how M&O, Allen or Rodgers, samples their organ sounds, certain sample sets available through Hauptwerk sound amazingly authentic. I can only say this because I can afford to purchase a sample set that is within my means. $135,000 for the Allen, or over $200,000 for a 32 channel Allen I heard two years ago better sound good.
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Re: Hauptwerk vs 4 Manual Allen Custom Heritage

PostFri Mar 11, 2016 12:03 am

I give up. All this has become is a "Hauptwerk is clearly better than anything else that isn't a real pipe organ" thread. Trust me, I understand the benefits of Hauptwerk. What I was asking is how does a person (or church or institution) most economically achieve a Hauptwerk installation that is at least comparable in look, functionality and durability as the Allen Heritage system currently listed for sale.

I understand that not everyone can afford to spend $135,000 on an electronic organ. That was not the question. The question also wasn't why would anyone in their right mind even consider spending that kind of money on an electronic organ. The question, again, was simply how does one realize the benefits of Hauptwerk in an environment where looks and functionality, as well as sound, are of paramount concern.

Thanks to those who directly responded to the question. This thread appears to have run its course.
Stan Kartchner, Tucson, AZ USA
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