30/07/18

 

 

 

 

    My journey started in the mid 1950s; I discovered an old 78rpm disc in my brother's vast collection of 78 rpm discs, entitled "Honey", organist Lew White.

I fell in love with that sound. Next Ken Griffin on the Hammond. My brother Brad bought me George Wright's LP "Have Organ will Travel"; I couldn't stop playing it, Granada, Veradero (my favourite); I used to hum it in my mind when sitting in boring work committee meetings.

I convinced my dear mum, to let me have music lessons; unfortunately my dad wasn't interested in my ventures.

Lionel Huntington, was my first music teacher, Piano lessons were first on the agenda; Harry Bluck took over, however, my piano was so bad, I found it horrible to play; he visited and had a look at the piano and commented that it was not suitable for anyone to practice on; no new piano, so he cancelled my lessons.

I took on having organ lessons from Henk de Jager, Then along came Winifred Hall and things changed; no organ at home, however, I did get to practice at the studios.

 


 

    My first organ lesson was on a Stromberg Carlson single keyboard instrument; I hated the sound and felt like giving up straight away.

It was great to move onto a Hammond M3. Loved the sound back in the early 60s.

16 yo, seated at a Hammond M3.

 


 

My first live Theatre Pipe Organ experience was in Adelaide 1965; I had just joined the Airforce and was in base camp at Edinburgh South Australia. Knight Barnett was the resident organist.

     The Regent theatre became my favourite place to go on Friday nights for the next few months, who cares what was showing; I just went to hear the organ.

     In 1965, I was lucky to attend my first TOSA convention at the Regent in Adelaide.

     Tony Fenelon played a cameo appearance; "Nola"; the rendition was fabulous.


 

In April 1966; I was posted to Canberra; playing the organ in one of the music stores and servicing electronic organs became quite consuming and also a very enjoyable pastime. It also brought many students to my home and before long every evening and Saturday mornings were spent teaching.

In 1968 I had dreams of building something like this.

 

In the early 70s I built an Artisan Oriental console; the shell was huge and I decided that it was too big for a home, the wood was used to make speaker cabinets and a homebuilt Leslie.

I didn't build this by the way; just an example of one looks like.

 

A photo from a 1969 Artisan Manual.


 

1974 was the big year; I bought my one and only electronic organ, it was a Conn 651, I loved the sound and it was used in many concerts by visiting and local artists; Don Kingston, Ian McLean, Clinton White. In no time at all, I had added 16 audio channels a homebuilt Leslie and a real set of orchestral bells.

 

 

 


In the 1990s I built a Sonics Creations  analogue system, however, technology outran me.


 

Just some minor changes.   it became my first virtual theatre pipe organ in 2003.

3 rows of Syndyne tabs.

 

 

The empty console went to a friend's home in 2006.

 


 

 

It was replaced by this homebuilt console (it took me 12 months to complete this project) and it became my pride and joy; an installation with 60 audio channels and many virtual organ samples controlled by

 "The White Beast".

    The Conn Organ Pipes work like a massive cross over unit,  I mainly use them for a few string ranks and they are useful for late night practice; I have a config setup which only employs the pipes.

 

Just had a fresh coat of gold paint.

 


 

New Music Rack.


 

 

My Conn 651 went through many changes; having many channels in the beginning, all in mono in those days; I used different brands of speakers and in doing that, it created an unusual phase effect; these brands are no longer made and eventually disappeared into the ether.

In the Mid 1990s I started to construct an analogue organ kit supplied by Sonic Creations. I liked the sound.

     A 12 note tone generator board took around 7 hours to build. Again, technology outran me, by 2000,

     I built an Artisan System using Alesis QSRs with Artisan samples.

Next on the agenda came Gigastudio! 12 months work on 44 ranks supplied by friends; Ian McLean and I worked like crazy to get all this up and running. We found Gigastudio to be pretty greedy on resources and I only had the 32 bit version, so software crashes were frequent.

Hardly a blink went by and Hauptwerk came along; I purchased HW version 1 and I thought yes, this has possibilities.

Around 2007, my friend Ian Mclean bought me Neil Jensen's Connoisseur 3/27 sample set as a birthday gift, it was very kind of him.

Well, that really started the ball rolling and it wasn't long before I purchased the Connoisseur 3/35 set. I couldn't believe my ears! A real Theatre pipe organ sound in my own home, WOW!

All the speaker cabinets were homebuilt back then, but you know what it is like; must try this unit and that unit! JAYCAR party speakers and Dick Smith amplifiers and quite a few homebuilt Playmaster and 100 watt Kit amps.

 


 

 

A few years ago, I purchased a pair of Behringer Truth 2031A self powered speakers. I liked the sound and over the next 8-9 years I accumulated 38 of these units and that now makes up the sound system for all the ranks; the other JAYCAR party speakers and homebuilt speaker cabinets are used for effects and the traps.

Some people have found these speakers to be unreliable; so far I have been lucky, no problems. I am a qualified electronics technician and I have a circuit diagram for these units; so if any problems crop up... well.

My first subwoofer, was a JAYCAR 6th order bandpass; driven by a 300 watt RMS FET amplifier, it would shake down to 7 Hz.

I needed a subwoofer that would levitate carpets and someone put me onto Deware.

The Housewrecker now supplies those deep 32' wall shaking sounds I was looking for. An isobaric wall shaker I believe.

Driven by this.

Homebuilt Kit.

I took the Housewrecker plans to the local hardware store and they cut the panels for me; all I had to do was cut the holes for the 4 x 15" speakers, screw the panels together and wire up the system to a 525 watt RMS dual amplifier. It was well worth the effort.


 

I use the 15" JAYCAR party speakers for the pedal divisions Main and Solo and the big subs (3 of them) are assigned as Auxiliary channels in Hauptwerk  V 4.2 from the Pedal division.

 


The Latest Addition.

An 18" subwoofer, powered by a 180 watt amplifier,

mounted in the rear of this Transmission Line cabinet.

 

 

This new unit really shakes the place.

 

 

 


 

Hauptwerk version 4.2 works well and with 4 usable configurations, it is fun to have at least one permanent config and the others are available for endless experimentation.

Today there are many sample sets to choose from and depending on my mood and the type of music I want to play on any certain day, they fulfil my musical needs.

  1. Connoisseur series 3/35
  2. Paramount series; 3/10 ~ 4/50
  3. Milan series
  4. Barton series
  5. Moller series
  6. Many Classical sample sets.

To Be Continued!


 

Owen Jones

 
This site was last updated 30/07/18

 


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