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Topic Options
#703838 - 06/02/08 04:20 AM Keyboard like organ
ROMagister Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 518
Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
Which of the popular keyboards (say under $500) are best at representing a good pipe organ, especially as registration flexibility ?

My Casio CTK-800 which should be dirt cheap by now, has:
- Church Organ: an OK principal chorus with 8', some 16', 4' and 2'. Maybe 5-6 stops pulled for the fixed sample.
- Chapel Organ: brighter, 8', relatively more 4' and 2'.
- Pipe Section: a gentler flute group like a small Swell section, with prominent fifth (some Nazard)
- Theater Organ don't know what to tell, sounds richer than the Church Organ but not too much like 'Tibia clausa'.
- and ~15 fixed Hammond like registrations, from pure sinusoid (8') to Full Drawbar (9? components) some with Leslie effect pre-sampled
- Trumpet is the solo instrument sampled, not the organ stop. Oboe similarly etc.
- French horn works nice as bass addition, or very high.
Can also mix any 2 (only equally loud). Can split at any point.

No Bombarde, no Posaunenbass, no Quintadena or Bourdon/Gedackt, no celestes, no Mixture/Scharf, no Tierce, no string-like-flutes etc.

Any better on entry to mid-level Yamaha, Roland, Korg etc ? Anyone listened to their voices and together, not just look at the list ?

Or maybe go full software and use the keyboard only as entry device, and a PC emulator like Aeolus or others using "sound fonts" ?

Any tip for a cheap and good enough computer-compatible pedalboard ?

#703839 - 06/06/08 10:22 PM Re: Keyboard like organ
Ken Knapp Offline

Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2317
Loc: Pennsylvania
At the price point of $500 or less you will pretty much be looking at either Yamaha or Casio. I have a personal preference for Yamaha, but Casio isn't bad either. The real issue, though, is going to be your speakers and amplifier. 10 watts and those small speakers won't really do justice to a pipe organ voice, no matter how good the sample is. In fact, you might be better off looking into a decent sound system to add to the Casio you already have.

I have several keyboards, the best one being a Kurzweil. What I did with that was to run it through a Logitech computer speaker system. I think the bass amp is 120 watts and the mid and treble amp is 80 watts. It sounds great and it is only about $129.00 for the system.


Piano Organ Depot
Hammond Organ Technician
Vice President - MITA, International

#703840 - 06/07/08 01:40 AM Re: Keyboard like organ
ROMagister Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 518
Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
Of course you're right about the speakers ! The inbuilt 2x 2.5 W can barely produce pure 64 Hz (Sine Bass or 8' Hammond) with ~10x attenuation. Surprisingly, the basic "church organ" still sounds almost normal, showing how much other overtones matter to hearing.

I hooked it to a Phillips 80 W (peak 300, know that's more hype) bass reflex subwoofer + satellites and it can really shake a house, or a moderate sized hall ! Tested until 16 Hz (Organ Bass being 16' + 8' and with -12 transpose = one octave below).

So, The question is about the electronic source. Any basic keyboard giving Bombarde or the other specific 'organistic' sounds ? including a mellow rich association of 'string flutes' ? and enough flexibility in registration ?

#703841 - 07/03/08 10:30 AM Re: Keyboard like organ
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3331
Loc: Virginia, USA
You know, as long as it has MIDI out, I think any keyboard will do. I have a $50 one with MIDI out, wish I had a couple more.

I have Miditizer and Hauptwerk, and the results from my keyboard into headphones are not bad. You might want to try that route with a decent amplifier. (I can't help you with that part, I'm not sound system literate.)
gotta go practice

#1333949 - 12/26/09 05:27 AM Re: Keyboard like organ [Re: TimR]
ROMagister Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 518
Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
A heavy metal hymn with pipe organ sound (forgive the garish photos):
ManOWar - The Crown and the Ring

This 2008 version sounds like a modern sampler keyboard, with samples originally recorded from a true pipe organ but purified, unified etc. (A true pipe organ sounds in practice slower, warmer and sloppier). The building-up arpeggio-chord (0:16...0:31) sounds like added with the PIANO-sustain-pedal feature ;-)

Can anyone experienced with pipe organs describe the registration at the start ? sounds like heavy buzzy reeds... Bombarde ? Posaunenbass ? anything else... ?

The original 1988 piece was a true pipe organ (some sources say Birmingham - UK or US?), and the similar arpeggio-chord building up through the crescendo-roll. And a much more massive male choir.

#1349801 - 01/14/10 08:33 PM Re: Keyboard like organ [Re: ROMagister]
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it sounds very electronic to me but I think you are correct with the bombarde.. perhaps a Posaune, Bassone, a contrabass 16,
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Ă•un (apple in Estonian)

#1438490 - 05/17/10 02:58 PM Re: Keyboard like organ [Re: apple*]
keyboardplaying1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 52
Loc: Winnipeg
Any good midi keyboard with synth style keys is good, is you combine it with some good software. The kawai mp5 digital piano has some of the different sounds and harmonics of a real pipe organ, but obviously it has piano style keys.


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