John Kinkennon 

retired  field engineer, programmer, piano tuner...

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MIDI Encoders for the DIY'er with a vintage organ console! 

My latest project has been the 'midification' of this beautiful Allen ADC 4100DK organ console.  I've replaced most of the original electronics with my latest MIDI Matrix Encoder.  Like my other conversions this was a very affordable project if one doesn't factor in some cost for the hours of effort involved.  The results are nothing less than astounding.  Used with Hauptwerk software these consoles produce a sound that compares favorably with commercial solutions priced from 50k upwards.

Our first VPO (virtual pipe organ) shown below was a dated theater organ which we converted to MIDI to run the Hauptwerk virtual organ software.  This Rodgers 321A "Trio" circa '75 was soon playing sampled pipe organ sounds from Paramount Organ Works as well as a variety of classical organ sample sets.  The Rodgers Trio was a fine analog instrument for its time and it was exciting to give it a new lease on life.  The console electronics were replaced by my own MIDI circuit designs, and we added a couple of swell pedals and toe studs which wouldn't be found on a normal 321A.  This endeavor was accomplished with a "surplus" organ console, a handful of new circuit boards, software from Hauptwerk and an existing computer and sound system.  The acoustics of a larger hall were provided by Reaper audio and the LiquidSonics convolution reverb plug-in.

Rodgers 321A with new pedals    

Our second project was the midification of an Allen 603-D.  Though built as a two manual instrument,  we added a third manual, resizing the coupler panel and raising the music desk about two inches.  With this project the drawknobs were fully functional.  They could be used to select "stops" manually, and they also moved in or out in response to preset combinations selected via "pistons" under each keyboard.  The slot for ancient punched cards was no longer needed except to accept "TIPS", but the other Allen controls such as the transpose knob were functional.