(con't from Part I)
Expander sound modules record an amalgamation of pipes as a composite; they are not sampled note by note or stop by stop and are not channeled as they are in a VPO.
To retrofit a digi organ as a VPO however involves disabling the instrument's voices and internal console speakers if present to configure it to play sample sets; this makes it impossible to create blended ensembles pairing a VPO sample set with the instrument's own sound colors.
Since all digi organ consoles built after 1980 are generally MIDIfied, if one happens to own such an organ and is contemplating an expansion with additional theatrical sound colors, couplers, and tremulants, and if one desires to create ensembles by combining the instrument's own tonal resources with the new, then one might consider the addition of a Duet Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ (VTPO) out-of-the-box MIDI system (photo).
Duet consists of a lighted control panel (photo), a black tone generator box, and three furnished cables; one simply connects one cable between the MIDI OUT plug and Duet's tone generator box, another cable between Duet's control panel and tone generator box, and the stereo audio cable from Duet's tone generator box to the instrument's auxiliary Audio Inputs or audio system; one plugs in the power, and the unit is ready to go.
Duet uses Sven Meier's J-Organ and its relay and will work with any MIDI host keyboard or set of keyboards; it's made in the USA by MIDI Concepts LLC and was designed by former Conn Organ engineers and developers; the product carries a 2-year warranty, parts and labor and is provided with ongoing live support; it is a complete virtual theatre pipe organ (VTPO) addition to MIDI organs and keyboard instruments and requires no special soldering, programming, or technical expertise to connect.
Duet is an add-on unit; it is NOT a retrofit, and it is NOT an expander module that plays representative composite organ sounds -- it contains the entire works of a digital VTPO and relay, less console and audio system, in a 24" x 10" control panel 3-1/2" deep with a 10-1/2" x 12-1/2" out-of-sight black tone generator box 3-1/2" high; it produces 24 sampled pipe ranks times two (tremmed and untremmed), provides footages from 32' to 1', and has lots of couplers including Blackpool (Great to Solo) couplers; it also accommodates Second Touch on keyboards equipped with this feature for the Accompaniment and Pedal, has 4 separate tremolos (Main, Solo, Tibia, Tuba/Diapason), 11 sampled tuned percussions, 11 struck percussions (traps), 8 toys (effects), and responds to MIDI expression messages with all important bass compensation; it's output is 2-channel stereo (R/Main, L/Solo) and may be specially configured with 5.1 output.
The control panel (photo) provides artistic vari-colored, registrable "Smooth Touch Lighting Tactile Stops" that allow one to register each division as desired; by making stop changes to one division at a time, the number of controls one can access exceeds most comparable 3-manual 24-rank theatre pipe organs.
The Duet Type II Premium unit features a 10-step front panel user-adjustable Ambience/Reverberation control which permits room and depth setting for each selection one plays; it also has a front panel Master Volume knob which permits adjustment of the strength of Duet's voices to any degree desired for blending with the organ's voices; it also has a Solo Pizzicato coupler and a unique Solo/Great transfer switch to give single and 2-manual instruments much of the playing flexibility of a 3-manual organ.
Duet has 256 note polyphony and utilizes Sven Meier's J-Organ and its relay which has sound fonts from a number of sources and makes, including Wurlitzer, Kimball, Barton, Page, and some ranks the Conn engineers have sampled, all balanced and refined with emphasis on ensemble and a big-organ sound; individual stops may also be played alone, and stop changes may be present on combination pistons or made on the fly.
Duet also comes in a Standard version having non-programmable pistons, and its sample sound fonts also may play through the console's bottom 3 manuals and Pedal, through 2 manuals and Pedal, or just through a single MIDIfied digi keyboard/stage piano.
There are 3 ways to use or mount the Duet panel: 1) on the rack where it works surprisingly well even with sheet music in place, as the piston buttons are always accessible (as a variation, a rack extender can be obtained so both the Duet and music can sit side by side), 2) under the organ knee panel where it can be extended or retracted as desired, like a drawer (the piston buttons would still be accessible with the drawer closed), or 3) mounted using a side stand to the left or right side of the instrument.
The addition of a MIDI device like this can add a new dimension of orchestral sound colors and effects to the already existing and wonderful sounds of the traditional church or concert organ, thus giving it a theatrical side, adding special couplers, trems, tuned percussions, traps, and effects, more than doubling its existing sound colors, and multiplying its utility at least tenfold.
This unit is portable and can be taken on gigs outside the home and connected to any MIDIfied digi keyboard, stage piano, or organ where it can provide entertaining theatre organ sounds of uncanny realism at a variety of venues including hotels, nursing homes, extended care facilities, school auditoriums, churches, and even concert halls.
Duet has everything aboard that would be needed to accompany a silent motion picture in the best theatre organ tradition.
Again, Duet is NOT a sound module or a retrofit; it's an add-on ready-to-plug-in-and-use VTPO having a highly reliable and very stable Linux Computer system which does NOT involve one's home computer or monitor; it has a solid-state (non-moving) hard drive with removable and upgradable flash memory; since Duet never connects to the internet, it never has virus problems, and, since the organ is all digital, it does not use electronic components such as capacitors, resistors, coils, transistors, and lots of connectors, all of which can age and fail.
Duet has physical piston buttons mounted in its "piston box" which also houses the toy sound effect pistons; it provides 10 levels of 10 general pistons which may also be used as divisional pistons, if so desired.
When the unit arrives it has 70 of its 100 pistons already programmed with a whole gamut of typical, varied, novel, and very useful theatre organ registrations developed over years of playing and careful listening, all of which are user settable and changeable.
Duet comes programmed for one's particular MIDI channels and with the critical MIDI cables and connectors, ready to interface with one's existing system.
Duet is the most cost-effective VTPO on the market and is ready to play out-of-the-box, simple to connect, meticulously designed, voiced, balanced, and registered to produce a vast number of distinctive and astounding solo, ensemble, and novel theatre organ combinations (plus a classical section), and added to this is an adjustable imaging and BOSS ensemble enhancement.
The result is a sound to be envied by the best of them.
Possibilities for tremmed and untremmed voices and couplers available from this product which show on its stop control panel, custom graphics, and piston row (photo) are as follows:
One 32' stop (Diaphone)
Eleven 16' stops (1 Diapason, 1 Tibia, 2 Flutes, 2 strings, 1 Vox, 5 more reeds)
Nineteen 8' stops (2 Diapasons, 3 Tibias, 2 Flutes, 4 strings, 2 Voxes, 8 more reeds)
Eight 4' stops (1 Diapason, 2 Tibias, 1 Flute, 2 strings, 1 Vox, 1 Clarion)
Three 2' stops (1 Tibia, 1 Piccolo, 1 string)
5 Mutation stops (5-1/3' Tibia, 3-1/5' Tibia, 2-2/3' Tibia, 2-2/3' Flute, 1-3/5' Tierce)
Nine tuned percussions, piano additionally available at 16' and 4'
Three percussion modifiers
Eleven traps (struck percussions)
Pedal traps disable tablet
Eight toys (effects)
Manual to pedal unison couplers
Solo pizzicato coupler
Sub, Super, and Unison Off manual couplers
Five Blackpool (Great to Solo) couplers (Sub, Unison, Super, Quint, Sub-tierce)
Four Tremolos (Main, Solo, Tibia, Tuba/Diapason)