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Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...

Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby ddcmemph » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:39 pm

I have an Allen MDS-71S in my church, installed in 1995. I want to play Hauptwerk through my existing console and speakers. I'm aware that I can route the audio in through the RCA jacks connected to the MIDI expander, but I don't want to use just that because it doesn't adequately route sounds to the speakers for the appropriate manuals.

I opened up the organ today and I think I generally understand how the routing works out of the MDS unit (RCA cables), into some more boards that route the signal to the amps, and then from the amps to the speakers. There are 8 RCA cables that come out of the MDS unit, labeled "audio channels." Does anyone have any experience or advice on combining the output of the MDS unit with Hauptwerk sounds? It looks like I could use RCA splitter cables to connect Hauptwerk directly in at that point in Allen's audio routing, but I wanted to see if anyone had experience with this and could tell me if I was barking up the wrong tree or if I'm working in the right direction.

Image of the MDS unit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mcs0xvlv3rjza ... 8.JPG?dl=0
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby engrssc » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:39 pm

Probably the easiest way.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby jbittner » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:16 am

You should not use conventional splitter cables to combine multiple outputs into a single input.

See this:
http://www.rane.com/note109.html
Anything that can be hooked-up wrong, will be. You-know-who said that, and she was right. A wye-connector used to split a signal into two lines is being used properly; a wye-connector used to mix two signals into one is being abused and may even damage the equipment involved.


There are wye cables with the required mixing resistors available, but they're not easy to find.
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:01 am

I said above probably the easiest, but will add not the best. I've mentioned that before and have been "over ridden" (comment wise) from others, which I (still) don't agreee with. A summing box/connection is a better way if you are looking for an unbalanced passive connection setup to combine 2 outputs into 1 input. (In the case of the MDS-71S times 8.)

Have read from Rane 'Why not Wye?' http://www.rane.com/note109.html as JBittner mentioned. There are various boxes thst are available, esp RCA routers that can be "re-purposed" to accomodate the mixing resistors for the better setup.

A box such as:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Panlong-8-Way-AV-Switch-RCA-Switcher-8-In-1-Out-Composite-Video-L-R-Audio-Sel/123652473411?epid=1840340672&hash=item1cca430243:g:BlsAAOSwAPxcaq~i:sc:ShippingMethodExpress!61073!US!-1:rk:9:pf:0
could be used by re-wiring the available 24 - RCA jacks and adding the resistors giving you 8 inputs from the existing MDS-71S plus 8 inputs from Hauptwerk audio with 8 outputs back into the MDS-71S.
.
A slight amount of work for a better result? Definitely. Your call.

Rgds.
Ed
Last edited by engrssc on Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby organtechnology » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:33 am

engrssc wrote:I said above probably the easiest, but will add not the best. I've mentioned that before and have been "over ridden" (comment wise) from others, which I (still) don't agreee with. A summing box/connection is a better way if you are looking for an unbalanced passive connection setup to combine 2 outputs into 1 input. (In the case of the MDS-71S times 8.)

Have read from Rane 'Why not Wye?' http://www.rane.com/note109.html as JBittner mentioned. There are various boxes thst are available, esp RCA routers that can be "re-purposed" to accomodate the mixing resistors for the better setup. A slight amount of work for a better result? Definitely. Your call.

Rgds.
Ed


I had a customer who purchased a 16 channel, 8 output buss mixer (not cheap) to mix the Allen and the Hauptwerk analog audio streams. He later took the mixer out and only used the Hauptwerk audio because it was far superior to the Allen audio and he wanted to use the Allen combination action through MIDI.

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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:43 am

organtechnology wrote:I had a customer who purchased a 16 channel, 8 output buss mixer (not cheap) to mix the Allen and the Hauptwerk analog audio streams. He later took the mixer out and only used the Hauptwerk audio because it was far superior to the Allen audio and he wanted to use the Allen combination action through MIDI.


I ran into a similar situation not long ago. The only advantage (in this case using a Rodgers instrument) was to keep the original instrument available as a backup.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby ddcmemph » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:18 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. The updates for this particular project:

- I'm going to do it in the signal chain right before it goes to the amps, rather than right out of the MDS unit. That way the signal from the Allen organ can still go through all the intended chain but Hauptwerk outputs don't get included in any unnecessary processing.

- I'm going to use RCA switching boxes so that either the Allen or Hauptwerk can be used, but not both simultaneously.

- I agree that if I'm doing this, I'm probably not going to go back to the Allen organ and am going to stick with Hauptwerk. There are two of us organists at the church (I'm the music director, but we also have another organist at the church), so having both options available is helpful. If we go all-in with Hauptwerk I may replace the stops with touchscreens but we're not ready to do that yet until we get more experience with it, and this gives us an extended trial period without making it a permanent solution yet.
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Re: Routing audio into Allen MDS-71S

Postby engrssc » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Sounds like a good plan. Always nice to have an additional option.

Rgds,
Ed
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