A refurbished console can be a great way to have an organ at home without breaking the bank. They're especially suitable for those that aren't interested in changing sample sets, or those that want traditional stop controls.
There are so many good consoles out there where the fabric has outlived the original electronics. It's such a shame to see them go to waste.
Typically we re-wire the whole console so that most or all of the original controls can be used with the virtual organ. Apart from the fact that you need to have a computer screen somewhere near, we can make it as close to playing a traditional organ as possible.
The examples below give you some idea of what is possible.
This large Makin organ was rescued from destruction by our lucky customer. Originally being an en-fenetre (built in) console, we had to make a lot of new woodwork to encase the original framing. We stained this to match the rest of the wood, and you can hardly tell now that it wasn't meant to be a stand alone console. There are 120 drawstops on this, which now control the Hereford cathedral and the Paramount 341 sample sets. We also supplied a significant 10 speaker audio system to go with it. It makes quite a sound in its new home.
This was a 1981 3 manual drawstop Norwich organ. Whilst normally we like to keep drawstop consoles as they are, for some reason, this one had been glued together, so we had to destroy the stop jambs to get them out. Rather than rebuild them, we decided to try touchscreens in their place, and there was just enough room. New Fatar keyboards and our engraved wooden topped pistons complete the ensemble.
This was an Ahlborn Bradford organ from the 1990s. These are nice consoles because they have extremely high quality pedal boards. We'd done one of these before, but this one was the first for us with lighted stops. These provided some challenges, but we made it work, and the stop layout is a very close match for the virtual St Anne's organ that ships with Hauptwerk. We supplied this complete with an audio system to the customer's soon to be dedicated organ room - if only we were all so lucky!
We're particularly proud of this organ. It started off as a pretty battered Wyvern church style shell (see below). We built it up to make room for 3 manuals, added the horseshoe top, got it all painted white, highlighted the features in gold, fitted some pipe organ keyboards that are a very close match for Wurlitzer keys, and Rogers pistons that also look the part. we refurbished the pedals, fitted colour changeable LED lighting and a touch screen. It's running Paramount 341 through a Yamaha reverb unit to our standard supply M-audio sound system.
This is a nice example of a basic organ. The customer, like many, just wanted a basic instrument to practice on. As such, we retained the original non-motorised stop tabs. Many of these consoles come from the early 80s or before. At that time, the quality of the plastic keyboards that were available was very low. We replace these, often with proper pipe organ keyboards. Compton ones in this case. The arrangement of the customer's room meant that it would have been difficult to arrange speakers as we normally do, so we mounted some on the back of the console firing upwards with a sub-woofer mounted in the bottom of the console.
This console was a very lucky eBay find! Our customer had been looking out for a three manual drawstop console, and we saw this on eBay one day for a bargain price. It had come from a church that was having their pipe organ rebuilt, and despite this console being basically new in pipe organ terms (maybe 25 years old), they were having a new one built. The organ builder didn't have room to store it, so put it up for sale. Good news for us. Its Kimber Allen built and all components of the highest quality. 49 drawstops was a good match for the Haverhill sample set.
This console we got from a local church that was upgrading. It now resides in a school helping the next generation of organists practice. It is the first one we did with motorised stop tabs. This one did keep the original keyboards but we added some extra pistons to match the existing ones.
This was the first job we ever did. A Viscount Domus 8 from the early 80s. Nothing was added to the hardware, but all the switches wired up for use on the virtual organ. Simple consoles like this can make bargain practice instruments. But having non-motorised tabs and pistons can be annoying. Best to stick to hand registration with these types of consoles.