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Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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nichole

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Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 01, 2020 7:24 pm

Hello,

I have an old Allen at home with a very cheap Hauptwerk setup - a $15 midi-usb cable and a $150 windows laptop. It works fine for me with just occasional audio glitches. The only problem is that the sound of the organ I play on Sunday mornings now seems so inferior that it is a real distraction for me during services. The church instrument is an Allen Protege C6c. What would be needed to get a decent Hauptwerk setup in this context? Is the audio more complicated with external speakers or would I just need a solid computer?
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magnaton

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 9:28 am

Hello Nichole:

Your user id doesn't state where you are located. A Hauptwerk install or upgrade for a church or other commercial venue requires more planning:
- Where is the Allen located front, side, in a choir loft?
- How big is the sanctuary?
- How is the organ used; accompanying a choir, cantor, or congregation? Or just on special occasions?
- Do you want to supplant the Allen tone generation with a Hauptwerk 'engine'? Also refereed to as a headless system.
- Are you the sole organist? How computer/MIDI savvy are you or the other organist who play there?
- To get the best sound from Hauptwerk, it is not advisable to piggy back on the existing Allen audio but it can be done.

I would recommend talking to a consultant who has done this sort of work before or at the very least search the HW forum to see what others have done. To me this is one of the most exciting aspects of Hauptwerk, allowing churches to retain their current investment and upgrade to a more thrilling sound at minimal cost.

Danny B.
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randallschmid

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 3:14 pm

Nichole - The below link is a post by an individual trying to do the same thing. Since the C6c does not have audio inputs, you would need to open up the Allen box and do some wiring if you want to use its audio system.


https://organforum.com/forums/forum/ele ... k-question
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engrssc

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 8:58 pm

nichole wrote:What would be needed to get a decent Hauptwerk setup in this context?


The short answer is a good, thought out plan. Follow that with time, money and the desire to succeed no matter what (happens). The audio part, IMHO, is probably the more difficult part of a successful HW installation.

Rgds,
Ed
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Dallastaylor

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 2:50 am

Hi Nichole. I have been trying to do a similar thing with my Allen Protege C-14C which is still in good working order and I don't want to destroy it. What I do is not invoke any of the Allen stops and only rely on the Allen for the combination pistons. This avoids the 2 sounds conflicting. I also use the Allen EAC (Enpanded Audio Capability) box.
https://www.allenorgan.com/products/midi/allen-eac.html . Someone from Allen came and fitted this because in addition to the box on the organ top there is a computer board that has to be attached inside the organ. This internal card is attached to the EAAC box by a think cable. And you connect your HW system to this box. The purpose of the box is to use the Allen amplifier to direct your HW sound to the existing Allen speakers. There has been considerable support from the HW forum for my efforts and you may find it helpful to look at that. It is in the same section as this post. Good luck
Dallas
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magnaton

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostTue Jul 07, 2020 12:12 pm

Dallastaylor wrote:I also use the Allen EAC (Enpanded Audio Capability) box. https://www.allenorgan.com/products/midi/allen-eac.html.

I just went to the EAC link. Its interesting and good marketing that Allen specifically states the EAC is for a Midi keyboard, digital piano, or CD player. They also take time (again) to boast that Allen is the preferred choice for pipeless organ technology. I infer this to mean 'not recommended as an audio source for a PC based organ system' but its being done anyway.

Danny B.
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randallschmid

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 08, 2020 12:33 pm

I had the opportunity to evaluate the EAC attached to a significant custom installed Allen as part of an organ search committee in 2015. During my evaluation, I attached quality sound source to the EAC in a major Allen multi-channel installation. The sound was muddy, veiled, lacking in detail, and was highly colored.

There are a few things to consider when deciding to invest in using an Allen's sound system for other than its original intended purpose - to reproduce Allen organ samples..

Allen advertises that their customers will be able to obtain replacement parts for 30 years. They do this by not changing or updating their technology. If you look inside a new Allen, you will see electronics and loudspeakers that look like it they were developed in the 70's and 80's. The EAC and the other bolt-on options such as the general midi module have been around for ca 20 years. The GM module sounds are similar to a 1980s vintage portable keyboard.

There is a reason why hobbyists value the Allen keyboards, but generally discard the electronics and sound system when converting to Hauptwerk. The keyboards are very good and hold up well. The sound systems are sub-par.

The main draw for an Allen is you flip on a switch and it works. The church does not need technical resources to deal with copy protection, os updates, midi issues, etc. and it will last unchanged to 30 years.
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engrssc

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 08, 2020 1:52 pm

While some may criticize, the best set up using an Allen was to as mentioned, abandon the basic Allen electronics and create a totally independent HW system using only the keyboard MIDI output from the Allen console. The church in this case wanted to keep their original Allen payable because as they said to protect their original investment.

OK, no problem. Except after they heard what the HW system was able to do, most of the time that's what they use. The drawbacks, if that is the correct word was (A) having two sets of speakers and (B) not having stop control from the Allen console's tabs.

Presently on the table is a proposal to re-do the Allen controls so that they could control HW stops, etc. This would disable the control of the Allen which was the original,proposal. All is on hold right now because they don't know how soon they will have live services again.

Only one (of 3) organists used the original Allen system which became a "talking" point by several members of the congregation. I tend to agree, it'a a bit different to do hand registration with a Launchpad My suggestion was to use the L/P as a combination action system with pre-registrations.

Rgds,
Ed
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randallschmid

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 08, 2020 2:06 pm

Ed,

Is the church considering sustainability? What would they do if you weren't around as a technical resouce?
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Grant_Youngman

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 08, 2020 2:12 pm

Based on what I've gathered listening to a variety of recordings from a C6c, and it's similar Protege brethren, I hope the congregation is mostly deaf … :-)
Grant
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engrssc

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Re: Adding Hauptwerk to an Allen in a church

PostWed Jul 08, 2020 3:14 pm

Grant_Youngman wrote:, I hope the congregation is mostly deaf … :-)
.
As my mother would have,said "Now, now Grant" :wink:

randallschmid wrote:Ed,

Is the church considering sustainability? What would they do if you weren't around as a technical resource?

There are 3 other HW guys who are within 50 miles that could easily take over. Plus in this installation as in many that I do, there is an identical, backup computer ready to go - on site - in the closet.. The only need, if there is any computer issue is to move the dongle. The computer "exchange/swap" involves 5 cables which are color coded (using brite nail polish). Now if the Allen has an issue, they have an Allen guy available

In defense of their Allen, it has served them for many years. They do have an acoustic piano as well. There is really a practical limit to the "what if?" thing.

Rgds,
Ed

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