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  1. #1
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    Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    I was asked by a member in another forum as to why I don't have a reel-to-reel deck with my stack of cassette decks.

    I started typing this up in the "What Are You Listening To Right Now?" thread in that forum, but soon realized it was way too large of a post and too way off topic, so made it its own topic thread as I'm sure a lot of the members there (and you guys/gals) might enjoy reading about it and possibly have questions.

    Anyway, this is exactly what I had written in that thread...

    I have about a dozen Maxell 7" RTR tapes from my father from when we had a 19 rank pipe organ in our house (that we built over a very long period of time). it was one of, if not the very first pipe organ to be fully controlled by a computer (late 1980's) with control boards from Peterson Electro-Musical that we had to hand wire into the console and all of its controls, keys and pedals, custom control circuits and servos designed and built by my father, and the computer with a 386DX processor running DOS 6.0 and Cakewalk Pro 1.0, where every single note had to be manually entered in along with its duration, timing, expression, stop choice, etc, etc. All of this was driven from the computer through a early, primitive version of midi (was not the midi standard of today) to a control/driver device that had to be custom built with bits from Peterson and bits of my father's own design.

    We then upgraded to a Roland Sound Canvas SC-55 to not only listen to what we were entering into the software via headphones or through the stereo, but to also use it as the driver via midi to the control boards in the console, eliminating that clunky, cobbled together controller/driver device discussed above. It was a very complex, if not cumbersome setup by today's standards, but it was TOTL pioneering/leading technology back in 1987 - 1991 when the SC-55 came out.

    I was 7 years old when I got heavily involved in helping my father EVERY DAY working on this organ. I was 21 when it was fully completed. All built into the 2-car garage which was walled off from the shop area, full sound insulated, temperature insulated and climate controlled. A large closet size opening was made in the wall in the foyer, covered on the outside with two folding closet doors, and a pneumatic swell shades on the inside to control expression, again, fully controlled via the computer and directly by the console of course.

    Speaking of expression, while playing the organ, or the computer playing it, my father built a device that was directly connected to the swell shades (little silver box in top left of last photo above the chimes with RCA cables coming out of the top of it). This intercepted the signal between a dbx 760x mic preamp for the two Shure 48v phantom powered mics in the organ chamber (garage) to a pair of Alesis MicroVerb (I and II) reverb units in the living room, one for the front of the room, the other for the back end of the room. Finally, a Yamaha REV100 reverb piped into the main stereo for recording purposes. He had at his disposal a Tascam 112 Mk II, a Tascam 122 Mk II a Pioneer RT-707, all purchased new, and my oldest brother's Nakamichi DR-1. Lastly, the two of them went in half and half for a brand new Panasonic SV-3700 professional DAT recorder (which I have).





















    One thing is certain, I can definitely listen to cassettes any time I want to as I have this lovely vintage stack behind my listening seat in the back corner of the room.

    The silver JVC KD-A8 is the deck my father bought new back in 1978. Probably the best 2-head deck ever built, and the thing weighs 27 lbs! He sold his original one after it issues that could not be fixed. This one he purchased a few years ago in mint condition, though it needs to be served. Everything about it works perfectly, but the belt(s) need to be replaced and it could probably use an alignment. It plays for about 6 minutes then stops (luckily, before it damages tapes).

    The Nakamichi DR-1 on top is the deck my oldest brother bought new in 1992, after selling his DRAGON which was struck by lightning and destroyed. It was recently fully serviced and works perfectly.

    The Nakamichi 582 below it is a deck my father always wanted, but never got back in the day. Instead, he purchased brand new a couple of 680ZX's which were ultimately better decks. Unfortunately, he sold both of them off later on. The 582 has also been fully serviced and works perfectly. He purchased a few years ago as well, around the same time as the JVC.

    The Yamaha K-1020 on top of the JVC is a deck I purchased a few years ago as it was a deck I always wanted but could never afford new because I was 11 years old when it came out. LOL It has Dolby B & C, HX Pro, and dbx Noise Reduction. Either my father or one of my brothers had the broacher for it and I just really liked the looks of it. You know, kid priorities, though with that being said, I was no dummy when it came to stereo equipment as a kid.

    The two dbx 400x "Program Route Selectors" I purchased recently specifically for this stack. Reason one because my father had the dbx 200x in his system and my oldest brother had the 400x in his system back in the 80's. I bought two because they only have 3 tape inputs each and I have four decks, and plan on getting two RTR decks eventually which will take up all six inputs.

    Below that is a dbx 224x Nosie Reduction System which I also purchased. Since Dolby can vary from deck to deck, brand to brand, and actually is more aggressive, if I make any recordings of my own, I'll use the dbx 224x between all decks. Not to mention, the dbx noise reduction just sounds much better than Dolby.

    On the very top, a Rane Balance Buddy BB44x which has been upgraded to BB88x status, meaning two 44x units in one chassis. This is to connect the full stack to my system in the front of the room via XLR to play and record,

    To finish off the stack, I want to eventually purchase a mint Pioneer RT-707 like my father had, as well as eventually get the Revox A77 that he wants to give me. But since the whole stupid Covid thing, we haven't been able to see him since his 80th birthday last March.











    Charles
    Preamp | Amplifiers: Schiit Freya + | Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 | NuPrime STA9 x 2
    DAC | Digital Source: Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit | Raspberry Pi 4
    Speaker Management: DBX DriveRack Venu 360
    Speakers | Subwoofers: DIY Open Baffles | JL Audio e110 x 2
    Power Conditioning: Blue Circle Audio | APC
    Cables: Wireworld | Pangea Audio

  2. #2
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Thanks for this post. That's a beautiful set up. I love pipe organs. Saw many while I was in Europe.

    Lakeland, FL is app 10 miles or so from where I grew up in Winter Haven, FL.
    Sincerely,

    Calvin

  3. #3
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
    Thanks for this post. That's a beautiful set up. I love pipe organs. Saw many while I was in Europe.

    Lakeland, FL is app 10 miles or so from where I grew up in Winter Haven, FL.
    Thank you, and you're welcome.

    And yes, small world. Winter Haven is just down the road from here.
    Charles
    Preamp | Amplifiers: Schiit Freya + | Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 | NuPrime STA9 x 2
    DAC | Digital Source: Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit | Raspberry Pi 4
    Speaker Management: DBX DriveRack Venu 360
    Speakers | Subwoofers: DIY Open Baffles | JL Audio e110 x 2
    Power Conditioning: Blue Circle Audio | APC
    Cables: Wireworld | Pangea Audio

  4. #4
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Wow,

    Some work , Building that organ! Thats some serious Chops



  5. #5
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    Wow,

    Some work , Building that organ! Thats some serious Chops


    It was some very serious, very time consuming work.

    A lot of the windchests were old, used units that obviously had to be completely rebuilt with new wire, electromagnets, pneumatics, leather, felt, cork, etc, etc. Sometimes they were modified with new toe boards and foot boards to accommodate different ranks of pipes. About half of the windchests were designed and built from scratch by us (dad mostly). The entire console was stripped, gutted, cleaned, rewired and modified as were the two relay chests out in the shop on the other side of the organ chamber wall that we put up (wall bolted directly into the concrete floor and the modified joists in the attic), which those were gutted, rewired, modified, and expanded. There were several ranks of pipes that had to be modified to be voiced differently to match to the voicing of the rest of the organ (for that Romantic/Baroque period voicing). The lowest octave of a few ranks of pipes were mitered as to keep their proper length, but to fit vertically within an 8' tall ceiling. Dad even created the 16' extension to the 8' Oboe. It was designed and hand made from scratched and voiced perfectly into a 16' Contra Bassoon which seamlessly blended into the 8' Oboe.









    Charles
    Preamp | Amplifiers: Schiit Freya + | Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 | NuPrime STA9 x 2
    DAC | Digital Source: Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit | Raspberry Pi 4
    Speaker Management: DBX DriveRack Venu 360
    Speakers | Subwoofers: DIY Open Baffles | JL Audio e110 x 2
    Power Conditioning: Blue Circle Audio | APC
    Cables: Wireworld | Pangea Audio

  6. #6
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Very cool Charles, brings back memories of the Wanamaker Organ in D'town Philly. Now all we need is Larry Ferrari !
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  7. #7
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    Very cool Charles, brings back memories of the Wanamaker Organ in D'town Philly. Now all we need is Larry Ferrari !
    Thank you, sir. And yes, very familiar with the Wanamaker Organ. Largest organ in the world with 464 ranks. I believe my father worked on that organ actually. Unfortunately, I never saw or heard it, only in recordings.
    Charles
    Preamp | Amplifiers: Schiit Freya + | Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 | NuPrime STA9 x 2
    DAC | Digital Source: Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit | Raspberry Pi 4
    Speaker Management: DBX DriveRack Venu 360
    Speakers | Subwoofers: DIY Open Baffles | JL Audio e110 x 2
    Power Conditioning: Blue Circle Audio | APC
    Cables: Wireworld | Pangea Audio

  8. #8

    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by chops View Post
    I was asked by a member in another forum as to why I don't have a reel-to-reel deck with my stack of cassette decks.

    I started typing this up in the "What Are You Listening To Right Now?" thread in that forum, but soon realized it was way too large of a post and too way off topic, so made it its own topic thread as I'm sure a lot of the members there (and you guys/gals) might enjoy reading about it and possibly have questions.

    Anyway, this is exactly what I had written in that thread...

    I have about a dozen Maxell 7" RTR tapes from my father from when we had a 19 rank pipe organ in our house (that we built over a very long period of time). it was one of, if not the very first pipe organ to be fully controlled by a computer (late 1980's) with control boards from Peterson Electro-Musical that we had to hand wire into the console and all of its controls, keys and pedals, custom control circuits and servos designed and built by my father, and the computer with a 386DX processor running DOS 6.0 and Cakewalk Pro 1.0, where every single note had to be manually entered in along with its duration, timing, expression, stop choice, etc, etc. All of this was driven from the computer through a early, primitive version of midi (was not the midi standard of today) to a control/driver device that had to be custom built with bits from Peterson and bits of my father's own design.

    We then upgraded to a Roland Sound Canvas SC-55 to not only listen to what we were entering into the software via headphones or through the stereo, but to also use it as the driver via midi to the control boards in the console, eliminating that clunky, cobbled together controller/driver device discussed above. It was a very complex, if not cumbersome setup by today's standards, but it was TOTL pioneering/leading technology back in 1987 - 1991 when the SC-55 came out.

    I was 7 years old when I got heavily involved in helping my father EVERY DAY working on this organ. I was 21 when it was fully completed. All built into the 2-car garage which was walled off from the shop area, full sound insulated, temperature insulated and climate controlled. A large closet size opening was made in the wall in the foyer, covered on the outside with two folding closet doors, and a pneumatic swell shades on the inside to control expression, again, fully controlled via the computer and directly by the console of course.

    Speaking of expression, while playing the organ, or the computer playing it, my father built a device that was directly connected to the swell shades (little silver box in top left of last photo above the chimes with RCA cables coming out of the top of it). This intercepted the signal between a dbx 760x mic preamp for the two Shure 48v phantom powered mics in the organ chamber (garage) to a pair of Alesis MicroVerb (I and II) reverb units in the living room, one for the front of the room, the other for the back end of the room. Finally, a Yamaha REV100 reverb piped into the main stereo for recording purposes. He had at his disposal a Tascam 112 Mk II, a Tascam 122 Mk II a Pioneer RT-707, all purchased new, and my oldest brother's Nakamichi DR-1. Lastly, the two of them went in half and half for a brand new Panasonic SV-3700 professional DAT recorder (which I have).





















    One thing is certain, I can definitely listen to cassettes any time I want to as I have this lovely vintage stack behind my listening seat in the back corner of the room.

    The silver JVC KD-A8 is the deck my father bought new back in 1978. Probably the best 2-head deck ever built, and the thing weighs 27 lbs! He sold his original one after it issues that could not be fixed. This one he purchased a few years ago in mint condition, though it needs to be served. Everything about it works perfectly, but the belt(s) need to be replaced and it could probably use an alignment. It plays for about 6 minutes then stops (luckily, before it damages tapes).

    The Nakamichi DR-1 on top is the deck my oldest brother bought new in 1992, after selling his DRAGON which was struck by lightning and destroyed. It was recently fully serviced and works perfectly.

    The Nakamichi 582 below it is a deck my father always wanted, but never got back in the day. Instead, he purchased brand new a couple of 680ZX's which were ultimately better decks. Unfortunately, he sold both of them off later on. The 582 has also been fully serviced and works perfectly. He purchased a few years ago as well, around the same time as the JVC.

    The Yamaha K-1020 on top of the JVC is a deck I purchased a few years ago as it was a deck I always wanted but could never afford new because I was 11 years old when it came out. LOL It has Dolby B & C, HX Pro, and dbx Noise Reduction. Either my father or one of my brothers had the broacher for it and I just really liked the looks of it. You know, kid priorities, though with that being said, I was no dummy when it came to stereo equipment as a kid.

    The two dbx 400x "Program Route Selectors" I purchased recently specifically for this stack. Reason one because my father had the dbx 200x in his system and my oldest brother had the 400x in his system back in the 80's. I bought two because they only have 3 tape inputs each and I have four decks, and plan on getting two RTR decks eventually which will take up all six inputs.

    Below that is a dbx 224x Nosie Reduction System which I also purchased. Since Dolby can vary from deck to deck, brand to brand, and actually is more aggressive, if I make any recordings of my own, I'll use the dbx 224x between all decks. Not to mention, the dbx noise reduction just sounds much better than Dolby.

    On the very top, a Rane Balance Buddy BB44x which has been upgraded to BB88x status, meaning two 44x units in one chassis. This is to connect the full stack to my system in the front of the room via XLR to play and record,

    To finish off the stack, I want to eventually purchase a mint Pioneer RT-707 like my father had, as well as eventually get the Revox A77 that he wants to give me. But since the whole stupid Covid thing, we haven't been able to see him since his 80th birthday last March.











    Impressive!! Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

  9. #9
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by chops View Post
    Thank you, sir. And yes, very familiar with the Wanamaker Organ. Largest organ in the world with 464 ranks. I believe my father worked on that organ actually. Unfortunately, I never saw or heard it, only in recordings.
    Question ,

    Why is it 95% of Organ recordings its as if they are paying extra for the use of the low pedals notes , its brah brah brah then 3 seconds of low pedal pipe pumping then back to Brah, brah ..


  10. #10
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    The Dave Wilson recording i have is the best capture of a large pipe organ ...

  11. #11

    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Awesome project! And a great way to enhance the parent-child bond!

  12. #12
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Chops: That is an amazing project on the pipe organ, thank you very much for posting those great photos! You also have a very nice selection of cassette
    playback decks and dbx devices....well done!
    Legacy Audio VALOR, Legacy Audio i.V4 ULTRA 4ch amp, Legacy Wavelet with HDPlex 200W LPSU & Revelation Audio Labs Passage Cryo-silver DC Umbilical, Esoteric P-02, D-02, Cybershaft Premium Limited Type2 OP21A 10 MHz Clock, SHUNYATA TRITON v3 & TYPHON QR, Avatar Acoustics AfterBurner8 duplexes, Elrod MASTER SERIES Diamond & Statement Gold Power cords, Elrod Statement Gold XLR, Elrod Diamond XLR, Shunyata OMEGA Q4R & SIGMA v2 power cables, Shunyata SIGMA AES/EBU 110ohm, Shunyata SIGMA CLOCK-50, Shunyata Anaconda Zitron XLR, Elrod Statement Gold speaker cables x 2, Adona AV45CS4, AV45CS2 & AV45CS1, Composite Audio CF-2010, HRS DPX Damping Plates, Stillpoints Ultra SS. Ultra Bases

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  13. #13
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    Re: Our Residence Pipe Organ & Cassette Decks... (Trip Down Memory Lane)...

    Quote Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
    Chops: That is an amazing project on the pipe organ, thank you very much for posting those great photos! You also have a very nice selection of cassette
    playback decks and dbx devices....well done!
    It was for sure a great time. I really enjoyed being out there working on the organ all the time. It was fun and a great learning experience. If organ building and maintenance was still a lucrative business down here in FL, I would definitely be doing that. I literally grew up doing it, so I wouldn't need any training. It seems the best places to be for that kind of business these days is up north, out west, and over in Europe.

    And yes, the cassette decks have always been a thing for me, taking me back to my youth, especially with that JVC KD-A8. I spent many of late nights with my father in front of his stereo with one dim light in the room and watching the meters on that deck, as well as the graphic display on his Azden GX-50 equalizer (which I have), and the output meter on his massive Technics SU-8099 integrated amplifier, which I also have. It needs to be recapped though.

    Stereo equipment these days don't have those mesmerizing meters and displays anymore like they used to. It's a shame really.
    Charles
    Preamp | Amplifiers: Schiit Freya + | Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 | NuPrime STA9 x 2
    DAC | Digital Source: Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit | Raspberry Pi 4
    Speaker Management: DBX DriveRack Venu 360
    Speakers | Subwoofers: DIY Open Baffles | JL Audio e110 x 2
    Power Conditioning: Blue Circle Audio | APC
    Cables: Wireworld | Pangea Audio

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